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Zurich Financial Services
11 октября, 00:00

Казахстан-2016: О чем жалеет Тони Блэр?

 Интервью с заместителем исполнительного директора ИАЦ – Андреем Карповым.  Британская газета Financial Times опубликовалаинтервью с бывшим британским премьером Тони Блэром. В публикации есть такойпассаж: «Господин Блэр сказал в интервью журналу Esquire, что отдал более 10миллионов фунтов стерлингов на благотворительность с тех пор, как покинул(резиденцию премьер-министра). Он указал, что несколько сожалеет о том, что былсоветником президента Казахстана Н.Назарбаева». Почему вдруг Блэр, которого многие считали одним из самых эффективныхлоббистов Астаны, допустил выпад в адрес своих казахстанских партнеров?А.Карпов: Я быне спешил с однозначными оценками этого материала. Много неясностей. Почемувдруг сразу несколько авторитетных британских изданий затронули эту тему? Счего вдруг такая синхронность? Это внутри британский контекст или в теме есть внешний выход? Поэтому для начала надо убедиться в том, что все эти заявления экс-премьера соответствуют действительности. Перекрестные ссылки – с однойпубликации на другую, например, создают несколько странное впечатление.Допустим, все, что изложено в публикациях правда. Тогда отправная точка для всей этой критики —  Блэр действительно решилвернуться в большую политику и учитывая критику некоторых западных структур в адрес Астаны решил "заработать очки". Но в таком случае самобичевание – худший способнапомнить о себе как о действующем политике. Наоборот, из статей прямо следует, что стаким бэграундом, который Блэр заработал за последние пять-шесть лет,перспектив в качестве нового вождя крестового похода против консервативнойпартии он практически не имеет.И тут вопрос не в деньгах, которые онзаработал в Казахстане. Это ведь был далеко не единственный источник доходовдля бывшего британского премьера. В списке его клиентов, напомню, фигурировали JPMorgan, страховая группа Zurich Financial Services, правительство Кувейта иинвестиционный фонд Абу-Даби Mubadala. Но если ты в течение длительного времениоказывал услуги правительству страны, пиарил экономические реформы в РК, азатем вдруг «поменял флаги» вЂ” кто после этого поверит в эффективность твоихвозможностей? Т.е. репутационные риски от подобных публикаций неизбежнопревысят информационный эффект. Странно все это. А чем занимался Тони Блэр в Казахстане?А.Карпов:Официально Тони Блэр давал советы по реформированию экономики Казахстана. Некоторые авторы называли его "советником Нурсултана Назарбаева". Пожалуй, самая точная формулировка — "консультант".За эту работу он, по данным The Telegraph отоктября 2011 года, получал около 8 млн. фунтов в год. По более поздним даннымдоходы команды Т.Блэра были скромнее — общей стоимостью в $6 млн. И это за весьпериод его работы в Казахстане. Поэтому говорить о каких-то непропорциональных затратах едва ли можно. Деньги шли не только Блэру, но и на обслуживание работы всего офиса. Это важный момент.О каком офисе идет речь? А.Карпов: Судя по всему, работа былаорганизована через частный консалтинговый центр Tony Blair Associates.Экс-премьер позиционировал себя не только в качестве персонального консультанта, но и — шире - в качестве советника ряда министерств "по повышению эффективности управления Казахстана".Но тут нужно понимать, что основную, техническую работу выполняли сотрудникиофиса, а не сам британский политик.В году 2015 TheSundayTelegraphопубликовала еще один довольноострый материал. Согласно данным газеты юридическая фирма супруги Блэра такжесотрудничала с казахстанским министерством юстиции, зарабатывая 1000 фунтов вчас. Сообщалось, что компания Чери Блэр Omnia Strategy заключила с министерством юстицииКазахстана соглашение о системном обзоре «двусторонних инвестиционныхдоговоров». Критерии успешности данного проекта довольно сложно просчитать. Поэтому наиболее вероятно, что все сводилось к традиционному формаут лоббистской деятельности со стороны семьи Блэр. Строго говоря, это и есть основная информация по публичной деятельности экс-премьера. Если так, то что стало причиной для таких сомнений в правильности сотрудничества с Казахстаном? Блэр много раз упоминал о важности поддержки со стороны ЕС реформ, проводимых казахстанским руководством. Согласитесь, что все это слабо согласуется с репликой про то, "что мы разрешили деньгам стать слишком большим вопросом". А.Карпов: Я могу ошибаться, но это психология ландскнехта. Похоже, что в нынешних условиях особой необходимости в его услугах больше нет. А он сам, чисто эмоционально, не чувствует себя настолько связанным какими-либо личными обязательствами. Ничего сверхкритичного сказано не было, но на фоне прежних заявлений о дружбе и любви осадок остался.Похоже, что Тони Блэр решил, его собственное политическое будущее должно строится на модных трендах, где все постсоветское, это, если не империя зла, то уж точно не комильфо. Ок. Тогда ждем примера для подражания — едва ли такие перемены красят политика и человека. 

03 июня, 11:25

Топ-20 мировых финансовых центров

Организация Long Finance составила глобальный индекс финансовых центров. В первой двадцатке финансовых центром доминируют города Северной Америки и Азиатско-Тихоокеанского региона.

03 июня, 11:25

Топ-20 мировых финансовых центров

Организация Long Finance составила глобальный индекс финансовых центров. В первой двадцатке финансовых центром доминируют города Северной Америки и Азиатско-Тихоокеанского региона.

03 июня, 11:24

Топ-20 мировых финансовых центров

Организация Long Finance составила глобальный индекс финансовых центров. В первой двадцатке финансовых центров доминируют города Северной Америки и Азиатско-Тихоокеанского региона.

28 октября 2015, 14:37

The Paradox of Paul Ryan: Why the Tea Party's Right to Be Wary

Only in a world where Cosmopolitan magazine can declare the Kardashians "America's First Family" and the multi-billionaire loose cannon Donald Trump is perceived by millions as the potential steward of our nuclear arsenal could about-to-be Speaker of the House Paul Ryan be savaged as insufficiently right-wing. This is after all a man who made his bones in Congress and the Republican Party as an Ayn Rand-spouting, body building budget-buster slashing away at the body politic like a mad vivisectionist, as well as an anti-choice, pro-gun zealot who never met a government program he liked (except the military, whose swollen budget he would increase until we are all left naked living in a national security state). But the former vice presidential candidate is widely cited among many of his colleagues as a likable enough chap who is polite to his elders in the hierarchy of Congress, and this makes the more rabid bomb throwers seethe. To them, that chummy, self-enlightened pragmatism as well as his past embrace of immigration reform qualify him as a so-called RINO, a Republican in Name Only, a "squish." Time makes ancient good uncouth, as the poem goes, and in the words of Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly's "Political Animal" blog, "Nowadays if you are guilty of having ever supported 'amnesty' your other heresies will be uncovered, however old they are. The other way to look at it, of course, is that the GOP continues to drift to the Right, making yesterday's ideological heroes suspect." The House Freedom Caucus, the fractious faction of radical right-wingers gerrymandered into a permanent demolition squad, successfully conspired to bring down House Speaker John Boehner and his designated successor Kevin McCarthy. They have for the moment agreed to support Paul Ryan's speakership, but not with the unanimity that would constitute an official endorsement. Further, it seems that for their support to continue once he takes the job Ryan must pledge to curtail some of his powers and enable the insurgents to continue to wreak havoc on the day-to-day business of the House without fear of punishment by the grown-ups. There's a paradox to all this. Despite his ideological kinship with the anti-government crowd, Paul Ryan is the embodiment of the troika of money, power, and politics that corrupts and controls the capital, the very thing the tea partiers detest. Ryan is "a creature of Washington," Red State's Erick Erickson wrote. "He worked on Capitol Hill, worked in a think tank, then went back as a congressman. He speaks Washingtonese with the best of them." He's a master at the insider cronyism that defines Washington today. Just look at Ryan's choice as his new chief of staff: David Hoppe, the personification of the supreme K-Street lobbyist, his footprints stamped all over the tar pit of Washington patronage, his hands chapped from rubbing at the prospect of the big bucks corporations pay for government favors. A 29-year veteran staffer on Capitol Hill, he's a poster child for the revolving door through which members of Congress and their staffs rotate in the endless cycling between public service and private lucre. In Hoppe's case, the rush of air from the revolving door would jumpstart the windmill in a Dutch landscape painting. The indefatigable journalistic sleuth David Sirota went digging into federal records this week and reports that, "Hoppe has lobbied for such major financial industry interests as insurance giant MetLife, the National Venture Capital Association and Zurich Financial Services." Hoppe also has scurried along the inner corridors and back rooms of government for the investment firm BlackRock. Imagine: this man will now be sitting right there beside the Speaker of the House after working for a company which, Sirota writes, "could be affected by efforts to change federal financial regulations and which could benefit from a recent proposal to shift military pension money into a federal savings plan managed in part by the Wall Street giant." What's more, Hoppe has lobbied for Cayman Finance, "whose business 'promot[ing] the development of the Cayman Islands financial services industry' could be affected by legislation to crack down on offshore tax havens." The big tax avoiders must be licking their corporate chops. Hoppe's other clients have included the "free-trade" promoting and job-busting US Chamber of Commerce, recently outed as perhaps the tobacco industry's most influential champion not only in Washington but the entire world. And then there are Sony, AT&T, Amazon, Delta Airlines and the candy and food behemoth Mars, as well as the Lebanese al-Mawarid Bank. Eric Lipton at The New York Times adds that Hoppe has worked for Sheldon Adelson's Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and as a registered foreign agent, "representing the governments of Kosovo and the Philippines." There's even more. Hoppe's listicle of paymasters continues, as reported by Lipton: "The more than 100 companies and trade associations he has represented over the last decade have paid $95 million in lobbying fees, according to records filed with the United States Senate clerk, for work that Mr. Hoppe and his colleagues have provided, to his firm [Hoppe Strategies], to Squire Patton Boggs, or to Quinn Gillespie & Associates, where he once served as president." And it turns out that Hoppe is just one of the network of Ryan pals who have turned their Capitol Hill experience into pay dirt. Catherine Ho at The Washington Post notes, among others, Ryan friend and former Senate staffer Tim McGivern, "a longtime AT&T lobbyist who last month joined the lobby firm Ogilvy Government Relations." Others in the Ryan orbit include two former aides of then-Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House majority leader who was found to be so deeply embedded in the money machinery of Washington's crony capitalism that he was embarrassingly trounced by an obscure tea partier running against him in their Republican primary. (Now that successful challenger, David Brat, has endorsed Ryan. Oh, the temptations, the temptations ready for plucking!) You get the picture. Paul Ryan, waiting to be crowned speaker of what was once called "The People's House," prepares for business-as-usual. Committed to the sad and sordid Washington game that has so angered Americans on every point of the political spectrum, he is about to be named one of its Most Valuable Players. And if anyone tells you otherwise, just recall for them the testimony of one of Ryan's own Republican colleagues, Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, who says he can't support Ryan because, "If you've got problems with a man today, and the man tells you, 'Tomorrow, I'll be a different person' - it doesn't happen." -- 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.

23 октября 2015, 22:43

When Companies Send Their Employees to Volunteer Overseas, Everybody Wins

With the launch of the sustainable development goals last month, companies have started to look at ways they can get more involved to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change. One of the most obvious ways that companies are already partnering to work towards these goals is by encouraging and paying for their highly skilled employees to volunteer around the world. These programs, like Microsoft's MySkills4Afrika, IBM's Corporate Service Corps, Pfizer's Global Health Fellows (to name just a few), have a history making a positive impact in the short-term while developing leaders more capable of leading us towards a more equitable world in the long-term. To help highlight the benefits of these programs, I sat down with one of our partners, Matthew Farmer, Managing Director of Emerging World. He just published a new study, the Corporate International Service Learning Impact Benchmark, which examines the value that these programs deliver. 1. What classifies as an international corporate skills-based volunteering program, or as you call it, a CISL Program? A CISL (or Corporate International Service Learning) program is an initiative with clearly outlined business objectives and employee development objectives. In these programs, employees travel across international borders to apply their skills to address a real need. In the process, they end up developing really valuable skills that come back to benefit the sponsoring employer Companies run these programs for a variety of reasons, including leadership development, international market development and to increase employee engagement. We purposefully don't call these programs "volunteering" programs because the experience is so different from traditional programs, and its benefits much more vast. However, most ICV (International Corporate Volunteering) or Experteering programs can also be classified as CISL programs. 2. Some companies have been doing this for over 15 years... why do you think they started? The first companies that started this kind of initiative started to do so in the mid-to-late nineties. What drove these very early adopters - such as Accenture, PwC and Zurich Financial Services - was surprisingly different in each case: like marketing, philanthropy, and employee engagement. However, they all learned that there are some potent benefits that were the same, regardless of why they started. It has been these underlying benefits - like market development, innovation, and employee development -  that have brought more companies to establish programs. But the real accelerator in adoption has been driven by global megatrends facing all businesses, such as the increasing importance of emerging markets, increasingly diverse work forces, the growth of experiential learning and leadership development programs, and the increasing value placed upon corporate citizenship. Simply put, it makes great business sense to create socially and environmentally responsible programs that create business value. 3. Why are more companies are engaging in these programs than ever before? There is very robust evidence that these programs create benefits for all stakeholders. Our most recent study, conducted in partnership with five leading global companies - BD, Credit Suisse, EY, GSK and Microsoft  and with responses from over 300 participants - clearly demonstrates how these programs develop skills in participants, make a positive impact, and are good for the business. In addition, there are some greater forces at work, too. Consumers are demanding that companies engage in social change programs, and The United Nation's Global Goals for Sustainable Development are requesting that companies also take action. In fact, Global Goal #17 calls for global partnerships to end poverty, inequalities and injustices, and climate change. As our study shows, CISL experiences - when properly constructed - provide the learning and development that's required to build this kind of leadership while creating environmental, social, and business benefits in the process. 4. When you say properly constructed, what do you mean? The research shows that simply having the experience is not sufficient for it to be truly developmental from a career perspective. Factors such as the following are all critical to the program having an ROI: The quality of matching assignments to participants The degree of line manager engagement The curriculum of support when individuals return to the workplace all affect how impactful the experience will be. Properly constructed experiences take these kinds of factors into account. Their design helps individuals plan for the learning experience, reflect upon it, and then apply new learning to their work upon return. 5. What are a few samples of CISL programs Programs can be quite diverse. They vary in a number of ways including duration, seniority level, and whether for individuals or group. Programs like the EY Vantage Program, Pfizer's Global Health Fellows and GSK's Pulse Programme are longer, from 6 weeks up to 6 months. Others such as the education assignment in Credit Suisse's Global Citizens program are shorter. In the same way that length varies, group size varies, too. While EY's and Pfizer's programs are individual based, Microsoft Front Lines program, BD's Volunteer Service Trip and IBM Corporate Service Corps are group-based. Another area is program design for scalability. While the Front Lines and Executive Service Corps programs are designed for executive level talent and curated in small batches, with a significant cost per head investment. Microsoft's MySkills4Afrika program is designed with technology in mind, using a matching platform to support scale, connecting people for about the price of a conference for 1-2 week project and based on a per-project application to anybody within the company.   6. What were the most surprising findings of your research? On the whole, quite a lot of thought goes into designing and supporting a CISL program. In this research we were able to begin to look at which areas of support actually impacted the results that companies were achieving. Interestingly, the perceived amount of preparation that participants received made no difference to the results they achieved but the degree to which people were supported upon return had a significant impact on a number of areas such as employee learning, retention, career mobility and upon employee engagement. We were also pleasantly surprised by how high the approval rating was. We made a very conscious effort to reach out to former employees of programs as well as existing employees and reached back many years to previous participants to obtain a balanced sample and while we knew that these programs were popular with participants, to hear that 99.7% of participants had recommended the program to at least one other colleague since participating was very interesting. I've not come across other programs with that level of approval. It equates to only one person in a sample of over 300 people not having recommended the program.   7. What was the least surprising finding of your research I'm not sure if it is the least surprising finding but certainly the most reassuring one is the observation that the most impactful experiences for an employee (in terms of learning, engagement, career mobility and retention) are those in which employees felt there was genuine need for their skills on the project - On the one hand, this means that there are diminishing returns in creating assignments that do not meet real needs. This is good news for those people that want to see corporate engagement as a tool for achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. 8. What is next for you and this research? Our intent is to establish a benchmark against which companies can compare their programs against, while continuing to better track the social and environmental impact that these programs can have. Our research indicates that every company should have a program like this, and we're going to continue to capture more evidence to not only highlight why companies should, but also how to make them the most impactful. 9. What advice do you have for companies looking to get involved in programs like this? The best programs align business objectives with social objectives. We also know from the research that the more these align, the more these will sustain and stronger the impact will be. But don't get stuck over-planning. The benefits are so consistent that we recommend piloting as soon as possible, just make sure to get senior sponsorship and be sure to include line managers in the program. For more information, here is an article in DEVEX about why every company should have a program like this, and another in Triple Pundit with tips to easily pilot and scale one. 10. How can we learn more? We have a number of online information sessions for people to join and find out more.  Each session will also feature representatives from some of the participating companies to illustrate the findings from their own experiences. If you have a general interest in this area of work and would like to understand more, please register for Insights into CISL Long Term Impact on 29th October 2015 10:30 EST, 15:30 GMT, 16:30 CET If you have a Learning and Development interest in this area of work and would like to understand more about how CISL programs can develop global leaders, please register for Leadership Development that Lasts: Using CISL to deliver your Learning and Development goals on 12th November 2015 10:30 EST, 15:30 GMT, 16:30 CET If you already have an international corporate volunteering, CISL or equivalent leadership program and are interested in benchmarking your program, please register for Building Stronger Programs: Insights into the CISL Impact Benchmark Study on 19th November 10:30 EST, 15:30 GMT, 16:30 CET You can also download a summary report here. 11. How can my company's program be included in this benchmark report? In our opinion, CISL is an important approach, not just for companies but also for the wider world, and the more data we have about its impact the more effective we can make it.  The study has been designed so that companies with CISL programs can have their own initiatives benchmarked against other participating companies, at the same time as gathering an important dataset that they can use to communicate the value of their program to stakeholders. Companies wishing to do so can contact us to talk through the options. -- 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.

23 января 2015, 14:21

«Глобальные риски 2015»

Геополитические, социальные и экологические риски являются главными опасностями для мира в ближайшие годы. Об этом говорится в новом докладе Всемирного экономического форума (ВЭФ) «Глобальные риски 2015» (Global Risk Report 2015). В документе также высказывается предупреждение о том, что возможности существующих систем глобального управления недостаточны для борьбы с глобальными рисками. Доклад «Глобальные риски 2015» подготовлен совместно с Marsh & McLennan Companies, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Zurich Financial Services, Центром управления рисками Уортонской школы бизнеса, Оксфордской школой бизнеса и Национальным университетом Сингапура на основе консультаций с ведущими политическими и общественными деятелями, экономистами и учёными из разных стран мира. Документ отражает мнения 900 экспертов, ответивших на вопросы Обзора глобальных рисков, проведённого Форумом с июля по сентябрь 2014 года, в рамках которого оценивается восприятие вероятности рисков, воздействие и взаимосвязи 28 глобальных рисков на временном горизонте в 10 лет. Риски группировались по пяти категориям: экономика, окружающая среда, мировая политика, общество и технологии. Оценивались потенциальная степень влияния на ситуацию в глобальном масштабе и взаимосвязь с другими рисками. Результаты этого исследования включены в доклад. В отчете также изложены мнения о ряде формирующихся рисков и изолированных факторов, присутствующих в картине глобальных рисков этого года, которые могут оказаться неожиданными в будущем. Как показали результаты исследования, в 2015 году главными вызовами для глобального мира станут геополитические риски. Они занимают первое место в иерархии самых вероятных угроз, указанных в докладе. Авторы исследования указывают, что в предыдущие годы, особенно после глобального экономического кризиса, геополитические риски практически не угрожали миропорядку, но спустя 25 лет после падения окончания Холодной войны геополитика вновь вернулась в центр мировой повестки дня. Среди наиболее вероятных рисков отмечаются межгосударственные конфликты, разрушение государственных институтов и риски утраты власти национальными правительствами вплоть до полного распада государств. В качестве примеров эксперты приводят ситуацию в Украине и события на Ближнем Востоке — в Сирии и Ираке, где власти практически утратили возможность сдерживать экспансию «Исламского государства» на своих территориях. Наряду с этим геополитика всё больше влияет на экономические процессы по всему миру, поскольку экономические инструменты всё чаще применяются для решения геополитических задач. С одной стороны, государства пытаются расширить геополитическое влияние через политику межрегиональной экономической интеграции, создание торговых союзов или трансграничные инвестиции; с другой стороны, они используют в качестве средств влияния такие инструменты, как протекционизм или экономические санкции. В перспективе подобные действия могут угрожать принципу глобального экономического сотрудничества как таковому. Поэтому в докладе нынешнего года особое внимание уделяется взаимосвязи рисков, которые имеют системные последствия, требующие от государств и институтов повышенной гибкости при реагировании на них. Следует отметить, что в докладе 2014 года главными рисками назывались экономические и социальные угрозы (такие как рост имущественного неравенства и безработица) и экологические (природные катаклизмы и изменение климата). В нынешнем году, на ведущие места вышли, кроме геополитических, социальные и экологические риски. Среди них особо отмечаются безработица и неполная занятость, риски, связанные с изменением климата, глобальные эпидемии, а также кризисы, связанные с дефицитом водных ресурсов в Центральной Азии, на Ближнем Востоке и в Северной Африке. При этом, по мнению экспертов, именно кризисы, связанные с дефицитом водных ресурсов, в перспективе грозят человечеству наиболее тяжёлыми последствиями. Пять ведущих глобальных рисков с точки зрения вероятности: 1. Межгосударственные конфликты с региональными последствиями (геополитические риски). 2. Экстремальные погодные явления (экологические риски). 3. Проблемы государственного управления (геополитические риски). 4. Распад государственности и кризис государственных институтов (геополитические риски). 5. Высокий уровень структурной безработицы или неполной занятости (экономические риски). Пять ведущих глобальных рисков с точки зрения воздействия: 1. Кризисы, связанные с дефицитом водных ресурсов (социальные риски). 2. Массовое распространение инфекционных заболеваний, глобальные эпидемии (социальные риски). 3. Распространение оружия массового уничтожения и террористические атаки (геополитические риски). 4. Межгосударственные конфликты с региональными последствиями (геополитические риски). 5. Проблемы адаптации к изменению климата (экологические риски).

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04 июля 2014, 02:26

Zurich продает розничный бизнес в России

Группа Zurich завершает эксперимент с розничным страхованием в России с убытком в 300 млн долл. Ее розничный бизнес, представленный компанией "Цюрих", выкупает инвестиционная группа "Олма" за 1 млрд руб. (менее 30 млн долл.). Об этом говорится в сообщении группы Zurich. Zurich Financial Services начала розничный бизнес в России в 2007 году, приобретя компанию "Наста". С 2009 года компания работает под именем СК "Цюрих". "В момент покупки это была довольно привлекательная компания", — говорит генеральный директор "Эксперт РА" Павел Самиев. В первые годы введения ОСАГО компания быстро росла, замечает Самиев. "Потенциально было понятно, что убыточность вырастет, но только потенциально", — добавляет он. Успешному развитию розничного бизнеса помешал начавшийся финансовый кризис, а затем и проблемы в автостраховании, которое составляет большую часть портфеля компании.

28 марта 2013, 23:25

Ignore Banks' Bearish Statements on Gold

Jeff ClarkCasey Research Goldman Sachs has lowered its gold price projections and says the metal is headed to $1,200. Credit Suisse and UBS are bearish. Citigroup says the gold bull market is over. So I guess it's time to pack it in, right? Not so fast. As we've written before, these types of analysts have been consistently wrong about gold throughout this bull cycle. Another reason to disagree, however, is history; we've seen this movie before. In the middle of one of the greatest gold bull markets in modern history – the one that culminated in the 1980 peak – gold experienced a 20-month, one-way decline. Every time it seemed to stabilize, the bottom would fall out again. From December 30, 1974 to August 25, 1976, gold fell a whopping 47%. 1976 had to be a tough year for gold investors. The price had already been declining for a year – and it just kept on sinking. Since that's similar to what we're experiencing today, I wondered, What were the pundits were saying then? I wanted to find out.I enlisted the help of two local librarians, along with my wife and son, to dig up some quotes from that year. It wasn't easy, because publications weren't in digital form yet, and electronic searches had limited success. But we did uncover some nuggets I thought you might find interesting. The context for that year is that the IMF had three major gold auctions from June to September, dumping a lot of gold onto the market. Both the US and the Soviet Union were also selling gold at the time. It was no secret that the US was trying to remove gold from the monetary system; direct convertibility of the dollar to gold had ended on August 15, 1971. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; The public statements below were all made in 1976. You'll see that they aren't all necessarily bearish, but I included a range to give a sense of what was happening at the time, especially regarding the mood of the gold market. I think you'll agree that much of this sounds awfully darn familiar. I couldn't resist making a few comments of my own, too. To highlight the timing, I put the comments into a price chart, pinpointing when they were said relative to the market. Keep in mind as you read them that the gold price bottomed on August 25, and then began a three-and-a-half year, 721% climb… [1] "For the moment at least, the party seems to be over." New York Times, March 26.[2] "Though happily out of the precious metal, Mr. Heim is no more bullish on the present state of the stock market than any of the unreconstructed gold bugs he's had so much fun twitting of late. He's urging his clients to put their money into Treasury bills." New York Times, March 26. Me: These comments remind me of those today who poke fun at gold investors. I wonder if Mr. Heim was still "twitting" a couple years later?[3] "'It's a seller's market. No one is buying gold,' a dealer in Zurich said." New York Times, July 20. Turns out this would've been an incredible buyer's market – but only for those with the courage to buy more when gold dropped still lower before taking off again.[4] "Though the price recovered to $111 by week's end, that is still a dismal figure for gold bugs, who not long ago were forecasting prices of $300 or more." Time magazine, August 2.The "gold bugs" were eventually right; gold hit $300 almost exactly three years later, a 170% rise.[5] "Meanwhile, the economic conditions that triggered the gold boom of 1973 through 1974, have largely disappeared. The dollar is steady, world inflation rates have come down, and the general panic set off by the oil crisis has abated. All those trends reduce the distrust of paper money that moves many speculators to put their funds in gold." Time magazine, August 2. This view ended up being shortsighted, as these conditions all reversed before the decade was over. Does this sound similar to pundits today claiming the reasons for buying gold have disappeared?[6] "Our own predictions are that gold will go below $100, with some hesitation possible at the $100 level." As stated by Mr. Heim in the August 19 New York Times. Yes, this is the same gentleman as #2 above. I wonder how many of his clients were still with him a few years later?[7] "Currently, Mr. LaLoggia has this to say: 'There is simply nothing in the economic picture today to cause a rush into gold. The technical damage caused by the decline is enormous and it cannot be erased quickly. Avoid gold and gold stocks.'" New York Times, August 19.You can see that these comments were made literally within days of the bottom! Take note, technical analysts.[8] "'Gold was an inflation hedge in the early 1970s,' the Citibank letter says. 'But money is now a gold-price hedge.'" New York Times, August 29. Wow, were they kidding?! This reminds me of those dimwits journalists who said in 2011 to not invest in gold because it isn't "backed by anything."[9] "Private American purchases of gold, once this was legalized at the end of 1974, never materialized on a large scale. If the gold bugs have indeed been routed, special responsibilities fall on the victorious dollar." New York Times, August 29. The USD's purchasing power has declined by 80% since this article declared the dollar "victorious."[10] "Some experts, with good records in gold trading, declare it is still too early to buy bullion." New York Times, September 12. Too bad; they could've cleaned up.[11] "Wall Street's biggest brokerage houses, after having scorned gold investments during the bargain days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, made a great display of arriving late at the party." New York Times, September 12. No comment necessary.[12] "He believes the price of bullion is headed below $100 an ounce. 'Who wants to put money over there now?'" As stated by Lawrence Helm in the New York Times, September 12. The price of gold had bottomed two weeks before, making the timing of this advice about the worst it could possibly be.[13] Author Elliot Janeway, whose book jacket states, "Presidents listen to him," was asked by a book reviewer about his preferred investments. He writes: "Then, gold and silver? He likes neither. In fact he writes: 'Any argument against putting your trust in gold, and backing it up with money, goes double for silver: silver is fool's gold.'" New York Times, November 21. Mr. Janeway ate his words big-time: from the date of his comments to silver's peak of $50 on January 21, 1980, silver rose 1,055%![14] "Mr. Holt admits that 'in 1974, intense speculation caused the gold price to get too far ahead of itself.'" New York Times, December 19. So, anything sound familiar here? Yes, it was a brutal time for gold investors, but what's obvious is that those who looked only at the price and ignored the fundamentals ended up eating their words and dispensing horrible advice. Investors who followed the "wisdom of the day" missed out on one of the greatest opportunities for profit in their lifetimes. I was pleased to learn, though, that not all comments were negative in 1976. In fact, in the middle of the "great selloff," there were those who remained stanchly bullish. These investors must've been viewed as outliers – they, much like some of us now, were the contrarians of the day. Also from 1976…"Many gold issues, in fact, are down 40 percent or more from their highs. Investors who overstayed the market are apparently making their disenchantment known. The current issue of the Lowe Investment and Financial Letter says, 'We are showing losses on our gold mining share recommended list… but keep in mind that these shares are for the long-term as investments.'" New York Times, March 26. Sounds like what you might read in an issue of a Casey Research metals newsletter.. "The time to buy gold shares," [James Dines] declares, "is when there is blood in the streets." New York Times, September 12. If you glance at the chart above, Jim's comments were made within two weeks of the absolute low. "We're recommending to clients that they hold gold and gold shares," [C. Austin Barker, consulting economist] says. "The low-production-cost mines in South Africa might be interesting to buy for the longer term because I see further inflation ahead." New York Times, September 12. Investors who listened to Mr. Barker ended up seeing massive gains in their gold and gold equity holdings. "The probability of runaway inflation by 1980 is 50%... In light of this, the only safe investments are gold, silver, and Swiss francs,'" said the late Harry Browne on November 21 in the New York Times.   "In the longer run, [Jeffrey Nichols of Argus Research] believes gold's price trend 'is much more likely to be upward than downward.'" New York Times, December 19. The "longer run" won. "'I think the intermediate outlook for gold is a period of consolidation and a bit of dullness,' says Mr. Werden. 'However, six or nine months from now, we could see renewed interest in gold.'" New York Times, December 19. He was right; within nine months gold had risen 13.5%. "Mr. Holt offers some advice to investors who are taking tax losses on their South African gold shares – some of which are selling at just 30 to 35 percent of their peak prices in 1974. 'If leverage has worked against you on the way down,' he reasons, 'why not take advantage of it on the way up?'" New York Times, December 19. Solid advice for investors today, too. "What's his [Thomas J. Holt] prediction for the future price of gold? 'A new high, reaching above $200 an ounce, within the next couple years.'" New York Times, December 19. His prediction was conservative; gold reached $200 nineteen months later, by July 1978. It's clear that there were positive "voices in the wilderness" during that big correction, and as we all know, those who listened profited mightily. There were other interesting tidbits, too. For example, gold stocks had been performing so poorly for so long that some advisors suggested a strategy we also hear today…"It is probably too late to sell gold shares, the stock market's worst-acting group these days, except for one possible strategy: selling to take a tax loss and switching into a comparable gold security to retain a position in the group." New York Times, September 12. Even back then, it was widely known that gold often bucks the trend of the broader markets…"You might put a small portion of your money into gold shares and pray like the dickens that you lose half of it. In that way, chances are that if gold shares go down, the rest of your stock portfolio will go up." New York Times, September 12. Gold miners provided critical revenue and jobs, just like today. From the August 2 issue of Time magazine…"South Africa, the world's largest gold producer, is being hurt the most. The price drop will cost it at least $200 million in potential export earnings this year." "Layoffs at the gold mines would make it even worse – the joblessness could intensify South Africa's explosive racial unrest." The Soviet Union, the world's second-largest gold producer, is feeling the price drop, too. The Soviets depend on gold sales to get hard currency needed to buy US grain and other imports." Gold was also used as collateral…"The international gold market was also roiled yesterday by a report by the Commodity News Service that Iran was negotiating to lend South Africa roughly $600 million, predicated on a collateral of 6.25 million ounces of gold." And just like today, there were plenty of stupid misguided US politicians: From the New York Times on August 27:"The drop in gold bullion prices from $126, which was the average at the first IMF auction June 2, provoked the Swiss National Bank to attack Washington's attitude toward the metal as 'childish.' Aside from the estimated $4.8 billion of gold reserves held by Switzerland, bankers there advocate some role for the metal as a form of discipline against unrestricted printing of paper money." That last statement from the Swiss bankers is hauntingly just as true today. Last, you know how the government in India has been tinkering with the precious-metals market in its country? And how it's led to smuggling? From the New York Times on August 27:"India announced it was resuming its ban on the export of silver. India is believed to have the largest silver hoard and the government there freed exports earlier this year as a means of earning taxes levied on overseas sales. However, most silver dealers minimized the significance of India's move yesterday. As one dealer explained, 'Smuggling silver out of India is so ingrained there that the ban will have no effect on the flow. It never has. Indian silver will continue to ebb and flow into the world market according to price.'" So what's the difference in mood today vs. the mid-1970s? Nothing! This shows that the same concerns, fears, and confusion we have now existed at a similar point in the gold market then. There were also those who saw the big picture and stayed vigilant. Virtually every comment made in 1976 could apply to today. Keep in mind that most of the statements above are from two publications only; there are undoubtedly many more similar comments from that year. The obvious lesson here is that patience won out in the end. It took the gold price three years and seven months to return to its December 1974 high. It only took another 18 months to soar to $850. Today, that would be the equivalent of gold falling until June this year, and not returning to its $1,921 high until April, 2015. It would also mean we climb to $6,227 and get there in November, 2016. Could you wait that long for a fourfold return? This review of history gives us the confidence to know that our gold investments are on the right track. I hope you'll join me and everyone else at Casey Research in accepting this message from history and staying the course. So, what will your kids or grandkids read in a few decades?"Buy gold. It's going a lot higher." Jeff Clark, Casey Research, March 24, 2013. Gold is going higher, but gold producers are going to go higher still. Now, junior gold explorers… if you select the right ones, you'll experience life-changing gains. Identifying junior gold miners with the right stuff is how contrarian investing legends Doug Casey, Rick Rule, and Bill Bonner have made millions – and right now you have the opportunity to hear them reveal exactly how they did it, and how you can, too. It's all happening during the upcoming Downturn Millionaires web video event, which is free. 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26 марта 2013, 03:27

The "Wealth Tax" Contagion Is Rapidly Spreading: Switzerland, Cyprus And Now ....

It was only yesterday that we wrote about comparable problems to those which Russian depositors may (or may not be?) suffering in Cyprus right, this time impacting wealthy Americans and their Swiss bank accounts, where as a result of unprecedented DOJ pressure the local banks will soon breach all client confidentiality and expose all US citizens who still have cash in the former tax haven under the assumption that they are all tax evaders and violators. And in the continuum of creeping wealth taxes which first started in Switzerland, then Cyprus, and soon who knows where else, there was just one question: "The question then is: how many of the oligarchs, Russian or otherwise, who avoided a complete wipe out and total capital controls in Cyprus, will wait to find out if the same fate will befall them in Switzerland? Or Luxembourg? Or Lichtenstein? Or Singapore?" Today we got the answer, and yes it was one of the abovementioned usual suspects. The winner is.... Lichtenstein. Yes: the little principality that is an even greater tax (evasion) haven for the world's ultra wealthy, even more so than Zurich, Geneva or Zug, is now under Big Brother's microscope. But fear not. All the other tax havens listed above are quite certainly about to meet the iron, resolute fist of the US Department of Injustice. After all, unlike TBTF banks, depositors are hardly "systemic", and thus Eric Holder and his henchmen will have zero reservations when pursuing the full extent of the (selectively crony) US laws against them. From Bloomberg: The U.S. has asked Liechtenstein to hand over data on foundations that may have been used to hide untaxed American money from the Internal Revenue Service, a step that may threaten Swiss banks.    The U.S. wants to know the number of foundations set up by fiduciaries -- lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and asset managers -- for American taxpayers, according to a letter sent by the Department of Justice to authorities in the Alpine principality. A “formal request” to fiduciaries will follow, the DOJ said.    “Seeking documents from the Liechtenstein fiduciaries is an important investigative step,” which will shed light on “the roles of banks, of bankers outside of Liechtenstein,” the Justice Department wrote in the letter, adding that it looked forward to receiving the data by March 29.   The DOJ is investigating at least 11 financial firms, including Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER), for allegedly helping Americans hide money from the IRS. The Liechtenstein request will add to the information the IRS garnered as 38,000 Americans avoided prosecution through an amnesty program, which involved paying back taxes and penalties and disclosing their offshore accounts and bankers.    “It’s a further evolution of the Department of Justice using third-party fiduciaries to gather more information on these structures and the banks involved,” said Milan Patel, a former IRS trial attorney who is now a partner at Zurich-based law firm Anaford AG. “This could be bad news for Switzerland, as the information could be used against more Swiss banks.” In case anyone is still confused about what is going on, here is the summary: any geographic venue that for whatever reason was once considered a global tax haven in the "Old Normal", be it Switzerland, Greece, Luxembourg, Singapore, or as the case may be Lichtenstein, is now fair game for confiscation and otherwise expropriation of local capital.  Alas, as this money will not be enough to plug what is not a liquidity but global insolvency black hole, which is made worse daily by the endless interventions of central planners, once the deposits of the wealthy at these small, powerless to defend themselves countries is concluded, next come the entities with the really big deposits: the US, the Eurozone, and the grand daddy of them all: China. In other words, the forced ~30% wealth tax on all financial assets is coming. Just as foretold here first in September of 2011 and as was recapped last weekend.

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22 марта 2013, 11:10

Temenos expands U.S. footprint with TriNovus buy

ZURICH, March 22 (Reuters) - Swiss financial services software provider Temenos said on Friday it had bought U.S-based compliance technology company TriNovus, adding 800 institutional clients to its U.S. customer base and expanding its local expertise and product range.

17 марта 2013, 17:19

Cyprus Parliament To Delay "Rescue" Vote Due To Lack Of Support, Despite ECB Pressure For Pre-Trade Open Decision

The painfully shortsighted Cyprus bail-out, pardon bail-in (also known as wealth tax to those who are actually doing the in-bailing), plan is going from bad to worse. Because in addition to all the previously discussed macro-implications, all of which are adverse and have the full potential of destabilizing the Eurozone once more and lead to bank runs across not only the periphery but the core as well, especially by offshore (read Russian) depositors, there is now a risk that the entire hurriedly-cobbled together "plan" may be on the verge of failure as it may not get a majority vote in domestic ratification. Today, at 4pm local (2pm GMT) the Cypriot parliament was scheduled to meet to vote through and ratify the tax levy plan, presented as a fait accompli at least by the Eurozone FinMins. A few hours ago, this meeting was delayed until 4 pm local on Monday "after signs lawmakers could block the surprise move.... If [parliament fails to ratify the bail-in], President Nicos Anastasiades has warned, Cyprus's two largest banks will collapse." And so the late hour scramble to procure enough vote to pass the depositor impairment begins as the alternative is simply "or else."  The problem is that while for Cyprus tomorrow is a national bank holiday (yes, ironic), the EUR opens for trading in a few hours, with the global equity futures markets, and Japan cash to follow shortly thereafter. And with absolutely no clarity on what the "pre-determined" outcome from the Cyprus bailout will be heading into Monday open, where one of the outcomes is the possible collapse of the country's entire banking system, which would certainly have contagious effects on all of the mainland, Europe is starting to freak out. Bloomberg clarifies the precarious math situation which nobody in technocrat Europe apparently considered when they assumed that they have acquired some 10% of Cypriot sovereignty: With his Disy party holding 20 seats in the 56-seat legislature, he needs at least nine more votes to secure approval and avoid the financial collapse of the region’s third- smallest economy. If he doesn’t get backing for the plan, the banks may stay shut starting March 19, state-run Cyprus Broadcasting Corp. said. Tomorrow is a bank holiday in Cyprus.   “If tomorrow Cyprus’s Parliament rejects the bill, Cyprus opens the road to chaos,” said Afxentis Afxentiou, who was governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus from 1982 until 2002, said on CYBC. If the bill is rejected, “Cyprus will turn into Libya. Even with the pain, we need to follow a normal course, with hope we’ll see better days.” For now, said European pressure is only coming form the ECB, although expect chaos to break out and a full on media onslaught seeking to sooth and calm the markets to result if there is no movement, and no sign of a majority emerging before the first trades hit the EUR pairs. As ANA reports, More from Bloomberg: Anastasiades rejected pressure from an ECB representative to bring a vote on depositor losses to Parliament today, Greek state-run Athens News Agency reported, without saying how it got the information. An unnamed ECB representative pressured Anastasiades to open banks on March 19, the news agency said.   Anastasiades met with leaders of the nation’s political parties yesterday. While he may get support from the third- biggest party, Diko, which backed Anastasiades in the election, Diko’s eight seats won’t assure him a majority. Yet even without a complete market collapse, the damage to Cyprus', and by implication Europe's banking system is done, as the question of who will keep their deposits in European banks after this stunning episode (especially for the Russian billionaire oligarchs who are booking flights into Zurich, Geneva and Basel to shut their accounts immediately) will remain unanswered until we get the March European deposit outflow data, some time in May. George Perdikes, a lawmaker from the Green Party who sits on Parliament’s finance committee, said ways were being examined to soften the blow to depositors. These include giving them bonds linked to profits from the country’s gas reserves, he said in comments broadcast on CYBC after a meeting of the committee’s members with Anastasiades.   “This is a lose-lose situation,” he said. “Whatever happens there will be a massive outflow from Cypriot banks, with or without a haircut.” Ironically, it was Cyprus' tiny position in the grand scheme of European things that allowed Europe to expose how it truly feels about all members- as it turns out everyone in Europe is equal, except for those deemed to be less important than others. So how high does the bar go: Athens next? Or Madrid? Or Rome? Perhaps there is a very good reason why, contrary to the sell-side scrambling to assuage fears of a pan-European bank run, the new Dutch president of the Eurogroup Dijsselbloem declined to rule out further depositors haircuts in other Eurozone countries such as Greece, Spain or Italy. And while readers contemplate that, we hope for the sake of Europe, that ATMs in the latter three countries are well-stocked, because all it will take is one photo of a cash dispensing machine in the periphery to be "temporarily out of service" to be the spark that reignites the European relapse into full outright contagion and panic.

03 марта 2013, 17:02

London mayor calls bonus cap ‘moronic’

Boris Johnson has said that the latest EU attacks on the City are motivated by envy, and that the curbs would help drive bankers to rival financial centres

14 февраля 2013, 13:07

Zurich Insurance увеличила квартальную прибыль в 1,8 раза

Zurich Insurance Group (ранее известная как Zurich Financial Services AG), крупнейшая страховая компания Швейцарии, по итогам четвертого квартала 2012 года увеличила чистую прибыль на 82% - до $983 млн по сравнению с $540 млн за аналогичный период 2011 года, сообщается в пресс-релизе компании

11 февраля 2013, 20:58

Davos 2013 - Leading Through Adversity (TIME Debate)

Leading through Adversity Are leaders too risk-averse in efforts to bring the economy back on track? This session was developed in partnership with Time magazine and broadcasted on CNN Money. • John T. Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cisco, USA • Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, USA • Mike Duke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart Stores, USA; Co-Chair of the Governors for the Consumer Industries 2013 • Orit Gadiesh, Chairman, Bain & Company, USA; World Economic Forum Foundation Board Member • Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India • Martin Senn, Group Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Insurance Group, Switzerland; Co-Chair of the Governors for Financial Services for 2013 Moderated by • Jim Frederick, Editor, Time International, USA http://www.weforum.org/

10 февраля 2013, 21:15

Fred Lundgren: The Myth of Social Security's Insolvency

To set the stage for this inquiry, it's appropriate to borrow from Professor Walter Burkert, an expert on mythology and emeritus professor of The University of Zurich. Professor Burkert concludes, "Myth is a traditional tale with a secondary, partial reference to something of collective importance." If you watch cable news or follow Congress, you are undoubtedly saturated with so many myths about Social Szecurity that you probably don't know what to believe. Unless we act, Social Security reform could easily fall victim to the most conservative mythmakers in Congress. We must determine if Social Security faces a system-wide breakdown, or if it's falling victim to a deliberate campaign of misrepresentations. Unfortunately, the national media never seems to get into the details, so this research becomes necessary. For the facts, let's turn to NASI, the National Association of Social Insurance. This is a non-profit research group that analyzes the findings of the Annual Social Security Trustees report. From their analysis, we should be able to ascertain if the Social Security system is becoming insolvent. Here is a conclusive quote from NASI: "The 2012 Trustees Report shows that Social Security is 100 percent solvent until 2033, but faces a moderate long-term shortfall. In 2011, Social Security had a surplus - revenue plus interest income in excess of outgo -- of $69 billion. Reserves are projected to grow to $3.2 trillion by the end of 2020. Then, if Congress takes no action in the meantime, reserves would start to be drawn down to pay benefits." Why have these facts been ignored by Congress and the national media? NASI continues: "Since 1935, the Social Security Program has collected $15.5 trillion and paid out $12.8 trillion, leaving a balance of over $2.7 trillion in the trust funds at the end of 2012." The 2011 to 2012 increase was 64.5 billion dollars. See Historical Data... Here's more from NASI: "The $2.7 trillion is invested in U.S. Treasury bonds. In financial markets, Treasury bonds are considered an extremely safe investment because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States." See NASI video... Wow... I'm sure these facts will be a real buzz kill around right wing think tanks who feign concern about insolvency. A reasoned analysis, such as the one published by NASI, clearly points to the year 2020 as the turning point when the Social Security system begins to draw down its reserves. This begs the question, what is changing in America that will cause reserves to decline? The answer has been celebrated in board rooms for years, especially by recipients of "corporate welfare" who earn profits and bonuses from the labor of minimum wage earners. The old adage that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer is no longer a cliché, it has become America's economic record since the 1970s. This wealth and earning gap necessitates changes in the way Social Security taxes are imposed. Currently, wages above $113,700.00 annually are not burdened by Social Security taxes. This "cap" takes us to the crux of the problem. Social Security needs to tax at least 90% of all wages in America, but because the rich are getting richer and the middle class is stagnating, too much tax exempt wage gains are going to earners who make more than 113,700.00 a year. As a result, only 80% of all wages are now subject to Social Security taxes. See table on maximum taxable earnings... According to NASI, the decline has occurred because those at the top of the economic ladder who make more than the 113k a year have enjoyed more rapid earnings growth than those who make less than the 113k a year. To insure the viability of Social Security, we simply need to eliminate the cap and do some modest means testing for top earners. These changes can insure solvency for another 75 years. This study by The Congressional Research Service leaves no stone un-turned. The findings of the CRS can be summed up with the following simple graph. The graph was published in The Washington Post as part of an article written by Dylan Matthews. The data concerning Social Security is inviolate. Removing the cap is essential. This will require the top 6% of wage earners to pay the same percentage of social security taxes as all the rest of us. We should think of Social Security as an insurance policy that protects all of us from abject poverty. It is morally wrong for the rich to use their power over Congress to "opt out." These are the people who have benefited the most from capitalism so they should certainly pay their share of social insurance. Obviously, the "need" to cut Social Security in order to reform it is pure myth. We have enough compelling arguments to embarrass the mythmakers into civility and compromise but instead, we should expect very little civility and absolutely no compromise. They will give no quarter when threatened by additional Social Security taxes. Regardless, we must stand against their selfish demands for cuts and reductions to the only programs that prevent homelessness and hunger for millions of Americans. Americans have fallen victim to too many destructive myths in recent history. We can no longer afford to fall prey to such subterfuge. Don't expect any help from the pundits of nationally syndicated radio and the big cable news networks. Most of these people "earn" far in excess of the cap while the top ranked talking heads of Radio and TV make tens of millions. These people, like most of those we elect to Congress, will never voice support for lifting the cap because it will raise their taxes. This could be why we hear cut, cut, cut, and almost nothing else. The best way to win this battle is to put these facts in front of the American people at the grass roots level and turn them loose on Congress and the national media. Don't worry about taxing top wage earners. They have plenty of money to pay their fair share of social security taxes. It is time for all top wage earners and all the other Social Security mythmakers to put away their bad ideas and silence their propaganda for the real good of America.

19 января 2013, 23:21

Snow could put UK in a triple-dip recession

Unprecedented third slump in four years looms as shoppers stay at home and vital transport links grind to a haltSnow blanketing much of the UK could push the economy into an unprecedented triple-dip recession, economists have warned.With the icy blast of cold weather showing no immediate signs of letting up, and some places not expected to see green grass again until next month, the economic forecast is equally gloomy. A series of economic releases – including weak trade data, downbeat business surveys and dreary retail sales – have fuelled concerns that official figures out this week will show that output fell in the final quarter of last year.Now analysts fear a cold snap in January could lead to another quarter of contraction, plunging the UK into its third recession in four years. As transport services ground to a halt, Britons were unable to get to shops and restaurants, companies shut down early, construction work was hit, and supply chains were disrupted. Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said retailers would be particularly hard hit, as the weather disrupted Saturday's shopping hours.David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: "The scary thing is that, as the snow falls in London and widespread disruption beckons, we could yet get a drop in first-quarter GDP as well. We would then be in triple-dip territory, albeit for erratic reasons." With the Met Office forecasting snow in parts of the country well into next week, the economic hit could be serious. "Clearly, the longer that the snow and ice lasts, the greater will be the negative impact on the economy," said Archer.The snow, bitter cold and harsh easterly winds continued to cause widespread disruption to travel by air, road and rail on Saturday. Further problems are expected as a blanket of snow falls across the country on Sunday morning in London and the south-east and spreading north throughout the day. A search was under way on Saturday night for three people missing in Glen Coe, following an avalanche.At Heathrow furious passengers vowed to boycott British Airways, the airport and, in some cases, Britain itself as the travel chaos showed little sign of abating on Saturday. One hundred flights were cancelled at Heathrow, 67 of them departures, with passengers given the option to rebook at a later date. On Sunday20% of flights from the airport have been cancelled.Carla Agular, a sales rep from Toronto who was travelling to Ibiza on holiday, said: "I'm never flying BA again, in fact I'm never coming to this country ever again. I will not spend another penny in this country. In the future I'd rather pay an extra $500 to get a direct flight than have to set foot in this country. They knew days ago that it was going to snow, it's appalling." Agular had rebooked her flight by calling BA in Canada, because the airline's website and UK telephone line had closed.Economist Michael Dressley, from New York, had been forced to wait almost 30 hours for a flight to Zurich, missing a day's vital preparation for this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said: "I am never booking British Airways in winter via Heathrow again. It's shambolic. The airline policy of telling passengers that they cannot tell how long the flight has been delayed is infuriating. Never again."Dressley was further frustrated when a second BA flight to Switzerland was cancelled on Saturday, forcing him to take a flight to Basel instead of his original destination, just so that he could escape from Heathrow.Other passengers described luggage going missing for more than 24 hours or being stuck on grounded aircraft for five hours with the onboard crew similarly in the dark over why their flight was delayed.Ken Knutzen from Seattle said: "In front of us there was a family with a 15- month-old baby and they wanted to get off the plane, but they were not allowed. No one knew what was going on, not even the captain."Elsewhere, there was anger that nearby hotels had apparently raised the price of rooms to cash in on stranded passengers. Knutzen and his wife Francis, travelling from Uganda to Canada, paid £289 plus £5 booking fee for Friday night at the Holiday Inn – last month they had paid £95 for a similar room.The company's website was advertising rooms from £47 and "sleep, park and fly" deals from £79, but would not return queries from the Observer. Francis said: "It's so unfair to deliberately raise their prices to cash in on vulnerable passengers, it's greed and it needs to be exposed."Retired entrepreneur Wendy Maitland, from Sark in the Channel Islands, was fuming at missing her flight to Nairobi after being told to wait in a queue that never moved. She said: "It's a national disgrace."Some roads, both motorways, major routes and minor roads remained impassable on Saturday. Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said: "With the snow compacting down and turning icy, we're likely to see treacherous driving conditions throughout the weekend. Any fresh snow on top will just add to the problems." The RAC said it had dealt with nearly 9,000 breakdowns – 10% more than usual.A young woman died when her car crashed near Grantham, Lincolnshire, on Friday evening and seven passengers were taken to hospitalon Saturday after a double-decker bus collided with two cars and ploughed into a garden in Coniston, near Hull. In Northern Ireland 900 homes were without power for a second day due to snow and high winds and 10,000 households in south Wales lost power.Many rail companies operated emergency timetables, thus avoiding financial penalties for failing to meet punctuality targets, although the operators said the motive was to provide the best service possible in the conditions.As homelessness charities geared up for heavier than normal demand on their services and shelters, people were being urged to let services know about rough sleepers they might see out in the cold, by reporting information via the streetlink.org.uk website or by calling 0300 500 0914.SnowRecessionWeatherAir transportEconomic growth (GDP)Mark TownsendJosephine Mouldsguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

13 января 2013, 16:27

Manufactured Cyber-Attacks On Banks Validate One World Currency

Susanne Posel, ContributorActivist Post PNC Bank has issued warnings to 5 million customers that high volume of traffic is a type of cyber-attack meant to slow down their servers. In an effort to block the “attacks” PNC Bank has accidently “blocked access for a small percentage of legitimate customers for an extended period.” The email from PNC stated: “A number of banks in the U.S., including PNC, are seeing an unusually high volume of traffic at their Internet connections. This volume of traffic is consistent with threatened cyber-attacks on the U.S. banking system.” The hackers essentially caused a denial-of-service (DoS) breakdown to occur, blocking out customers because of inundation of traffic. In total 58 downtime reports were admitted by PNC. In 2011, Citibank reported that hackers obtained private information on 360,000 customers. Names, addresses, account numbers and email addresses among other information were taken. Citibank waited 3 weeks to notify their customers of the breach. The security firm Radware stated that attacks on US banks last year originated in Saudi Arabia. Radware said that the malware was created “live” on a server; and came from an independent data center which held servers for corporations that conduct business with financial institutions in America. The logical assessment was that these relationships, by their nature, may be purposefully less secure, thereby allowing hacker attacks to take place. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; The timing of the newly formed “digital al-Qaeda” and their expressed anger over the US-produced anti-Muslim film are questionable considering how the US and Israeli government are setting the stage for a justified war with Iran. This fake hacker group is threatening other countries controlled by the Zionist regime, such as France, Germany and Britain. According to the false flag group:The army was recently formed and we have started to work as a team after we used to work individually. The hacking operations are of course a response to the offense against the prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. In September of 2012, Wells Fargo & Co. upped their cybersecurity measures after being attacked by a nameless, faceless group calling themselves Cyber Fighters of Izz ad-din Al Qassam. Wells Fargo announced in a formal statement:We apologize to customers who may be experiencing intermittent access issues to wellsfargo.com and online banking. We are working to quickly resolve this issue. Senator and self-proclaimed Zionist Joseph Lieberman declared that it was Iran who cyber-attacked Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase in 2011 and began with more frequency this year. Lieberman, as the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee states that the financial attack was spawned from the state-sponsored anti-Muslim film circulating the Middle East thanks to CIA-operatives al-Qaeda. The latest country attributed to the cyber-attacks on US banks is Russia. McAfee Labs warns of a cyber-attack planned for the spring of 2013 that will steal millions of dollars from customer accounts. Thirty US banks have been named as a nameless, faceless band of “criminals” have released a Trojan virus that will remove digital currency from accounts at banks like: 1 Troy Ounce Limited Edition Silver Medallion• JPMorgan Chase & Co • Wells Fargo • Citibank • PayPal/eBay • Fidelity • Charles Schwab • Wachovia • Capital One • Bank of America • Suntrust • eTrade • Ameritrade • Navy Federal Credit Union The scheme is referred to as "Project Blitzkrieg" (PB). In a beta-testing of the assault, it is reported that 300 bank accounts were affected in the United States. The recruitment for PB is being linked to Russian cyber-criminals and an alleged cyber-mafia headed by an anonymous NSD. Those who enter into PB are tasked with infecting specified US computers with predetermined malware, cloning, siphoning passwords and login information, transferring digital information from customer accounts. Pat Calhoun, a senior vice president at McAfee said: Our researchers have been pouring into this and what they have found, they actually found somewhere between 300 to 500 devices in the U.S. that have actually been infected with the particular malware that this individual is talking about. That, combined with some additional research we’re doing, has led us to believe this is true. This is actually a real operation that this individual is planning to launch sometime before spring 2013. The Swiss Federal Institute (SFI) in Zurich released a study entitled “The Network of Global Corporate Control” that proves a small consortiums of corporations – mainly banks – run the world. A mere 147 corporations which form a “super entity” have control 40% of the world’s wealth; which is the real economy. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 7/28/12 */ google_ad_slot = "9833874419"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; These mega-corporations are at the center of the global economy. The banks found to be most influential include: • Barclays • Goldman Sachs • JPMorgan Chase & Co • Vanguard Group • UBS • Deutsche Bank • Bank of New York Melon Corp • Morgan Stanley • Bank of America Corp • Société Générale Using mathematical models normally applied to natural systems, the researchers analyzed the world’s economy. Their data was taken from Orbis 2007, a database which lists 37 million corporations and investors. The evidence showed that the world’s largest corporations are interconnected to all other companies and their professional decisions affect all markets across the globe.Susanne Posel is the Chief Editor of Occupy Corporatism. Our alternative news site is dedicated to reporting the news as it actually happens; not as it is spun by the corporately funded mainstream media. 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12 ноября 2012, 20:22

Moral Petards

A US partial holiday today is being used as an excuse for quiet markets so micro-numbers are of little interest today. But the past week has seen some interesting news stories that TMM think are building into a theme.   Nanny State relaxation -  Two US States legalise the recreational use of  weed and then Denmark scraps it's " Fat Tax"  on foods. TMM would like to think that this was a move away from the nanny statedom of  "Thou shalt not consume things that you like that I think are bad for you (and I don't like anyway,  but that could all change daily by Daily Mail edict) Shoddy BBC Journalism -The BBC Director  General resigns over shoddy Journalism. Yip diddly doo, perhaps someone will soon ask if shoddy journalism stretches into some more benign, though equally misbalanced, reporting of other subjects and hopefully we see a move away from styles that  haven't improved since we wrote this . However the backlash of the moralisers over Entwistle's "Goodbye" payment is typically unthought out. "He's only been in the job 54 days". That post yes, but he's worked at the BBC for 23 years. So that's, what, 2 1/2 weeks pay for every year served? Not THAT excessive over the UK legal statutory minimum for redundancy of 1 1/2 weeks per year.    Figurehead caught fiddling with his author. TMM won't mention his name as he probably still has lots of friends reading this blog (under a mountain somewhere), but he has caught a version of Lance Armstrong disease.  Symptoms being an institutional figurehead trusted to be the pillar of the establishment/sport  found with a midriff resembling a toroid  caused by the blast from their own petard, having just been hoisted with it . As our Doc friends would say "A lot of it around at the moment" .  4 ways of avoiding this outcome 1) Don't do it. 2) Don't get caught. 3) Write a computer code to do the job instead of you, make sure it has no human traits, then retire anonymously to Las Vegas (or Zurich in the case of UBS) and party up hard until you die of your own excesses or the algorithm fails. In which case deny it was your idea and point to a 25yr old quant. 4) Don't be a pompous arse stipulating lists of your own moral codes that you will then trip yourself up on. But make sure you don't damage anyone else in the process. Preferably start with, "Hey, I have few codes of conduct but will get the job done. Am I hired or what?". Berlusconi wrote the manual and  Financial Institutions got away with this method pre 2008 until they started spreading the equivalent of STDs to their best friends.   But there is a theme running through all of the above stories. Whilst popularist policies such as freedom of choice we support, pillars of the establishment are now having their credentials examined in such a detailed manner (whether by social media or FBI agents) that we see these pillars falling around us. All well and good, but our worry is that edifices we actually need are being pulled down faster than they are being rebuilt. Banks - Moral lepers in the populace eyes, but the populace has not yet found an alternative to their perceived evil.  BBC - Most trusted news source in the World (was) and now with a news department in shatters. Where do we turn ? Murdoch? really? Was it worth it?   The UK West Coast Main Line tender - What started as a moral crusade against Branson (= big corp.) vs "tax payer money" (= little man), turned out to be a dumbed down civil service error own goal and remains a mess. Lance Armstrong / Petraeus et al - All brought down harder and faster by moral hypocrisy.  On one hand we want our leaders, institutions and figureheads to be more understanding and representative of society's massed average, warts and all, and yet we also want them to be super-human in their own lives. Is this a growing paradox that will either result in a mass dumbing down of service, ability and responsibility with strong leadership and policy succumbing to the twitterati? Or will the masses, having destroyed all around them, start to compromise on their "moral" demands in return for some pragmatism.  For now we watch with interest the latest moral lynching of companies that legally pay their tax somewhere with a lower tax rate and sincerely hope that society is not going to do its own "Petraeus" and trip itself up on its own moral rectitude.

08 ноября 2012, 21:19

Obama Victory: Increased Gold And Silver Storage In Zurich And Asian Capitals

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,715.00, EUR 1,347.42, and 1,075.84 GBP per ounce. Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,730.50, EUR 1,345.86, and GBP 1,080.75 per ounce. Silver is trading at $31.85/oz, €25.10/oz and £20.00/oz. Platinum is trading at $1,546.75/oz, palladium at $607.30/oz and rhodium at $1,100/oz. Gold rose $2.10 or 0.12% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,718.30. Silver hit a low of $31.209 then recovered in late trade but still finished with a loss of 0.56%. Gold rose for a third day yesterday after confirmation that President Barack Obama won re- election, while stock markets fell sharply and treasuries headed for the biggest advance in 11 weeks. Robust investment demand continues and may intensify after the election and exchange traded products backed by gold attracted $2.5 billion of inflows in October alone. Total inflows in commodities ETPs were $3.1 billion last month, taking assets under management to $201.6 billion for Blackrock Inc alone according to Bloomberg. Many analysts believe that President Obama’s re-election is the “best- case” scenario for precious metals due to implications for monetary and fiscal policy. Obama faces chronic high unemployment, weak economic growth and the upcoming fiscal cliff, not too mention very difficult geopolitical challenges in the form of Israel, Iran, Russia and China. Today, The European Central Bank has its rate decision at 1245 GMT and they are expected to leave rates unchanged. The Bank of England decided to leave its benchmark interest rate at a record low and pause its stimulus plan after the British economy emerged from a double-dip recession in the third quarter. Investors are now again focussing on the US fiscal cliff which will enact $600 billion in tax hikes and severe budget cuts, if no action is taken by the US Congress, than the US will fall deeper into its recession.XAU/GBP Currency 2 Years – (Bloomberg) XAU/EUR Currency 2 Years – (Bloomberg) Gold bullion is not only supported by the uncertainty of the “fiscal cliff” but the Eurozone debt crisis is set to deepen again. There remains the real risk of an exit from the single currency by one or more members and of course the risk of a global recession and Depression which will be responded to by more loose monetary policies by various central governments. More of the world's rich are moving their gold, silver and other valuables away from the economic turmoil in the West to the Asian capitals of Singapore and Hong Kong according to Reuters (see commentary). This is prompting vaulting and storage specialists in the increasingly prosperous region to increase their capacity by creating extra vaulting space. Depositories in Asia report that there are a lot of enquiries from European banks, not because the banks themselves necessarily want to move the assets to Asia, but because their clients are asking them to. These clients include rich Asians who want their valuables closer to home as well as Westerners. Singapore and Hong Kong are two of the favoured destinations. Both have seen a significant increase in gold importations in 2012. With Chinese demand for gold and silver surging depositories are looking to cater to the huge growing swathe of wealthy Chinese and this is leading to increasing vaulting services being offered in Singapore, Hong Kong and now even Shanghai.  China is on its way to overtake India as the world's biggest gold consumer this year, as India's gold demand has taken a blow on record rupee prices and higher import tax while Chinese consumers' appetite for gold remains resilient. We have firsthand experience of this increasing preference for secure bullion storage  as we have seen an increased preference for storage in Zurich and Hong Kong.  Zurich remains the preferred destination for most western investors and of investors internationally but we and other bullion providers are seeing some western clients opt for secure storage in Asia. There is a definite sense amongst some of our American and European clients that storing gold in Zurich and Asia is safer than in London, New York, Delaware or elsewhere in U.S. and this trend is set to continue. Throughout history capital has flowed to where it is most favourably treated and today there is a definite move to own capital and assets outside of massively indebted and near insolvent western democracies. Obama’s second term is likely to see Ben Bernanke continue to devalue and debase the dollar which will lead to increased investment demand and store of wealth demand for gold and to investors seeking storage in Zurich, Singapore and Hong Kong.  For breaking news and commentary on financial markets and gold, follow us on Twitter. Cross Currency Table – (Bloomberg) NEWSGold Rises as Investors Increase ETP Holdings to All-Time High - Bloomberg Gold flat as US fiscal worries support dollar - Reuters China to overtake India in overall gold demand: GFMS - Reuters UK pension funds are holding more bonds than equities for the first time since 1950s – The Financial Times COMMENTARYRich move valuables East, spooked by West's economic woes - Reuters Angst returns on German recession fears and US fiscal cliff – The Telegraph "Standards of living of people in the western hemisphere will continue to decline" – Zero Hedge Hathaway: Gold Setup To Super-Surge To New All-Time Highs – King World News