Investment Teams with Personal Stakes

For investors choosing hedge funds and managers, trust and reputation rank high on their priority list.  M&M Investment Company have pointed out that having a large personal stake in one’s own hedge fund is a good sign of a trustworthy hedge fund.  As such, the firm comprised a list of some of those individuals and in this article, we review three of these.

JZ Capital Partners Limited founder and CEO David Zalaznick knew what he was doing when he established the firm.  Having been a Vice President Carl Marks & Co., together with Jay Jordan, he founded Jordan/ Zalaznick Advisers, Inc.  Zalaznick is also connected to philanthropic endeavors.  In the past he was Vice Chairman of the Board at Cornell University (as well as chairing its Finance Committee), while being a member of their  Private Equity and Investment Committees.  Today he is a Trustee Emeritus of the academic institute.

Reade Griffith is another hedge fund manager who has invested his own personal wealth in his hedge fund.  As co-founder of Polygon and TFM (in 2002 and 2005 respectively), Griffith boasts a long career in the industry.  In addition to these firms, in the past he founded the Citadel Investment Group’s European Office, where he was CEO.  He also had a key role at the firm’s Global Event Driven arbitrage team in Tokyo, London and Chicago, as both Senior Managing Director and Partner.

As CEO of Caledonia Investments, Will Wyatt has made some quite bold movements at the firm.  In 2011, when the firm was encountering some underperformance issues, Wyatt attempted to bring the firm through to the other end by decreasing its holdings.  He believed that a flotilla of sub-scale investments – not big enough to have any real material impact – would mean the firm was not utilizing its management resource in as efficient way as it could be. Wyatt joined the firm in 1997 and became director in 2005.  Five years later he was promoted to company CEO.

In conclusion, as supported by experts in the field and recorded in an article in The Actuary,

“hedge fund managers are encouraged to have an amount of their own money invested in the funds they are managing. This is analogous to a bank that will not lend money to an entrepreneur unless the entrepreneur has a certain amount of their own capital tied up in the enterprise. Similarly, a hedge fund manager with cash involved in the fund has an increased incentive to perform well.”

America’s Best Destinations

Photo by Hromoslav.

TripAdvisor compiled its list of 25 of the country’s best destinations. Based on millions of voluntary reviews of travelers, the ratings are based on how well the many hotels, restaurants and attractions were rated during a 12-month time frame.

New York City was the winner as the overall best rated destination for the seventh year in a row. However, coming in second place, and third, and fourth, were different cities all in Hawaii. Lets take a look at the rest of the list.

5.    Las Vegas

Rainbow Falls in Hilo, Hawaii. Photo by Amitoda.

6.    Orlando
7.    Chicago
8.    San Diego
9.    San Francisco
10.    Key West
11.    New Orleans
12.    Washington, DC
13.    Sedona, Arizona
14.    Charleston, South Carolina
15.    Mount Desert Island, Maine
16.    Savannah, Georgia
17.    Branson, Missouri
18.    Nashville, Tennessee
19.    Jackson, Wyoming
20.    Moab, Utah
21.    Asheville, North Carolina
22.    Boston
23.    Napa
24.    Miami Beach
25.    Aspen

Mandala Funding Ltd Stakes PT Sugih Energy with $41 million Loan

Cayman Islands based Mandala Funding Ltd has agreed to a funding scheme worth $41 million for the oil and gas exploration company known as PT Sugih Energy, through its subsidiary Eastwin Global Investments Ltd.

The recently appointed finance director of Sugih Energy, Rahman Akil said that $31 million would be used to pay for the Lemang oil and gas development. Sugih Energy has a 34 percent stake in Lemang.

The cost of development which was promised was for $11 million in 2016 and $20 million in future cash for the coming year of 2017.

“We will use the other $8 million to refinance corporate’s debt and the remaining $2 million for corporate’s cash,” Rahman said.

The Lemang Block exploration was approved by the government of Indonesia in 2007. In November of last year the production phase began in the Akatara field, starting with 300 barrels of oil per day.

“We plan to drill five more wells in Akatara field, increasing the production to 1,500 bopd at the end of the year,” he said.

Mandala Funding, the lender of the financing, is a subsidiary of Singaporean Mandala Energy Ltd, which also has an interest in Lemang Block. Ownership of the block is shared by three companies: PT Sugih Energy Tbk through Eastwin Global Investments Ltd with 34 percent shares; Ramba Energy Ltd through PT Hexindo Gemilang Jaya with 35 percent shares; and Mandala Energy Ltd with 31 percent shares.

New Program Launched to Help Students Learn About Educational Loans

It is quite common for students seeking higher educations after high school to take out student loans to help finance their journey through college or university. Unfortunately many students find themselves weighted down by debt when they graduate, or worse, when they quit school without a degree.

The problem has reached outlandish proportions with current student debt estimated to be the mind-blowing amount of $1.26 trillion. The sheer magnitude of the debt is motivating the US Department of Education to get into gear with a new program designed to teach college-bound students all about federal student loan programs. This experimental program, which will present the advantages and disadvantages of student loans, will hopefully help students make the right choices for them.

“It’s important for students to make good decisions about their student loan borrowing,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. “Students at these institutions will receive proactive and ongoing counseling and they will gain tools to better understand and manage their own finances.”

Some students leave school with staggering debt, in some cases as much as hundreds of thousands of dollar’s worth.

The program, which is considered an experiment, will be introduced in 51 post-secondary institutions. Thirty-five are public, two-year schools, 14 are public four-year institutions, and one is a private, non-profit four-year school. The last is a proprietary institution.

“This experiment will yield important information about whether additional counseling improves student outcomes, including program completion and loan repayment,” Mitchell added.

US Could Lose Japan Business If TPP Fails

A study by a White House economist states that if Congress fails to pass the trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China could interfere with US business in Japan.

The next few weeks are crucial for the determination of the way the world’s three largest economies, China, Japan and the USA, will align themselves, says the study. The TPP helps establish export-focused businesses from medical equipment providers to cattle ranching to compete successfully in Japan. Without TPP it is likely that US businesses will lose market share in Japan to highly competitive Chinese companies.

“If we don’t do it, it’s not that we end up at zero—we end up at a negative,” White House economist Jason Furman said. “China and other countries would move forward, would conclude agreements, and it would be easier for them to export with each other.”

In addition to the US, Japan and Australia, nine other countries signed the TPP agreement in Atlanta last year. China is not a signatory to the agreement. President Obama would like to see the agreement passed, and is working hard to persuade the Republicans in Congress to vote for the deal after the election. Both presidential candidates, Clinton and Trump, have stated their opposition to TPP, albeit for different reasons.

If the US does not ratify TPP, the deal will just stagnate in the US while other countries in the bloc will continue with their efforts to ease trade in the region.

Kick the Bad Habits of Poor People

indexThere is more to increasing wealth than having a good job and a budget. Avoiding the pitfalls of some bad habits can also go a long way in helping you achieve your financial goals more quickly and easily.

  • Having bad physical habits can do more than just harm your health. For instance, one study on people who smoke found that the net worth of heavy smokers was $8,300 less than non-smokers. Moderate smokers saw a $2,000 differential. The average effect of smoking on wealth was a 4 percent decrease for each year the person smoked, the approximate number spent each year on cigarettes. This study did not examine the negative effect smoking has on the cost of health insurance, and the extra time spent at the doctor. In other words, stop smoking and you will significantly improve your financial situation.
  • Who your friends are and what their financial habits are can have a huge effect on a person’s own habits. If your friends spend their weekends drinking, eating at expensive restaurants, and shopping at the mall, there is a good chance that you will, too. Start hanging out with people that spend their time and money wisely, and some of that wisdom, and wealth-building habits, should rub-off on you.
  • The way your parents raised you is a big influence on your own money habits. Unfortunately, you can’t pick your parents, but you can make a conscious choice to make different choices when it comes to your own money. Take a closer look. Did one or both of your parents gamble too much? Drink? Max out their credit cards? Don’t let their bad lifestyles effect you negatively. Rather use them as examples of what not to do, and you can go beyond them in your ability to build your own, and your family’s financial security.

Higher Prices will Benefit Partners at Starbucks

Starbucks customers will be paying about 30 cents more for their coffee soon. Patrons should be pleased to know than rather than filling the pockets of executives at Starbucks, the increased revenue will be used to give employees a pay raise of at least 5 percent beginning in October.

Starbucks is famous for making the development of its employees a high priority. Workers at the coffee house giant are fondly referred to as ‘partners,’ and they have a nice list of benefits offered to those partners, including comprehensive health care benefits, stock rewards, tuition reimbursements, and training. The company also offers development opportunities to its employees.


Art in the Workplace

modern-officeA couple of decades ago, it might have been the case that a student potentially wanting to make art his or her career would have been discouraged by parents and mentors.  “What sort of job will you get with an art education?  How will you pay the bills?” were questioned often posed.  Today though it seems not only is this not the case, but the opposite might even be true.

Founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University is a “proprietary institution [with] a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,044.” This year, at the 88th Academy Awards, a movie made by one of its alumna was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film.  Its motto: “Your Dream. Your Career. Your Journey” seems to be in line with what people are now saying about the benefits of making art their major at college.

Meg Osman in a recent article in Fast Coexist pointed out these facts:

“The workplace of the future is always being created. Every day, companies are introducing new ideas, strategies, and technologies that change how and where we work. Each year, new graduates enter the workforce with bold ideas about their workstyle preferences and needs. New research is constantly emerging that points to new ways for us to work smarter, healthier, and more effectively. Collectively, these influences are reshaping workplaces and pushing them to a future state that never stops evolving…Even more recently, organizations are beginning to look toward other industries like education, art, hospitality, and more for design ideas that can spur innovative cultures and enrich company offices.”

So for educational institutes such as the Academy of Art University, students can now not only follow their dreams but, at the same time, develop their careers from this via their journey in life.

Finance Professionals Facing Pay Cuts After New Regulations Kick In

After long-delays it looks like regulators will finally have their way; legislation to restrict bonuses were proposed by financial services watchdogs are about to come into practice.

Payouts are being limited as one of the last parts of the Dodd-Frank reforms which were instituted to prevent financial disasters. The new rules will apply to a wider range of employees at large banks and not just the top tier execs, in addition to those working at other kinds of institutions.

The new rules will mostly affect those who are designated as “significant risk-takers.” They include those on the top 5 percent of earners at the largest banks or others who put at risk large amounts of an institutions capital.

When the Famous Die Without a Will

taxWhen a person of means dies without a will, many tax questions arise.  With the sudden death of Prince last month, many conflicts and confusions have come up: song royalties, real estate and his as-yet unreleased compositions.  A principal issue to contend with is how to establish an aggregate value on his potential that fateful day in April 2016.

According to one expert, Jonathan Blattmachr, Principal in the estate planning advisory group of Pioneer Wealth Partners, this matter will indeed be “very groundbreaking.”  Should the IRS triumph, other famous people might start encouraging their estate planners to modify their image rights.  Nonetheless, Blattmachr pointed out, in Prince’s case the IRS and taxpayers will likely remain stumped, and he thus suggests the value of names and likenesses should be absolved from the estate tax. Instead future earnings as ordinary income (as opposed to capital gains) should be taxed.  In a best case scenario determining the value is “horribly speculative,” Blattmachr noted as “Michael Jackson will be different from Prince who will be different from Madonna.”

So how can mistakes in the Prince case be avoided?  Two years ago, the IRS admitted to having “made a mistake” in valuing Michael Jackson’s estate, most notably that of his “intangible and intellectual property… [and] the value of two trusts he apparently set up to borrow against his assets and to transfer assets to his heirs at minimal tax cost during his life.”

The Jackson matter continues even now.  Indeed, just a few months ago – four years after his death – a new way was discussed on what to do about the tax situation.  The problem is quite extensive.   Matt Kadish of Kadish, Hinkel & Weibel said he was “unaware of any cases to date that have addressed whether the value of a person’s image rights are subject to estate tax, and if so, how to value them.”

Right now the law on Prince’s estate remains “unsettled.” His estate now has nine months to file its tax return and estate his net worth, following which the IRS has three years to challenge it. But should the tax man be deemed to be too demanding the estate could end up in tax court.