Ford Launching New Financing Scheme to Attract Young Drivers

Ford Motor Company will begin to offer a new type of car purchasing plan which will be a kind of middle ground between a traditional car finance program and a car hire agreement, which could be a model for the way cars will be purchased in the future.

The car manufacturing giant will start offering finance deals for as short a term as one month to buyers in the US who are not interested, or cannot afford longer, yearly leases. The “variable-term leases with flexible payment options” will combine maintenance, insurance and towing services into one monthly premium which can either be renewed or opted out of each month.

The hi-tech company Canvas will run the program, but Ford’s US consumer financial credit provider Ford Motor Credit, will back up the scheme. David McClelland, executive vice president of marketing and sales at Ford Motor Credit said his company “recognized the need for financial services and technology to facilitate our future vision.”

Canvas, formerly Breeze, was purchased by Ford at the end of 2016. The tech company is expert in providing short-term vehicle finance to drivers working for Lyft, Uber and others. Ford is using Canvas’s web-based platform, as well as their familiarity with short-term leasing, to attract a broader range of customers. The program is hoping to attract young drivers, especially those who would otherwise not be eligible for auto financing.

CEO of Canvas, Ned Ryan said, “Our mission is to identify, test and launch financial products that meet the changing needs of consumers. We’re addressing the void in the consumer space between daily rentals and long-term (financial) commitments.”

Barclays Penalized for Overcharging Customers

The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced that London-based Barclays Bank will be refunding its customers almost $100 million in fees that were wrongly charged.

According to the SEC the banking giant overbilled their investment clients by almost $50 million.

“Barclays failed to ensure that clients were receiving the services they were paying for,” said C Dabney O’Riordan, co-chief of the SEC Asset Management Unit.

The re-imbursement will total US$97, including the original $50 million overcharge plus a US$30 million penalty and another $13.8 million in interest. The money will be placed in a fund dedicated to reimbursement and compensation of the overcharged investors.

Barclays charged about 2,000 clients for due diligence and monitoring services which were not delivered as expected. An additional 63 investors paid too much for mutual fund sales charges as a result of the bank recommending pricier share classes.

The SEC also found that 22,138 accounts had billing mistakes.

Barclays has neither denied or admitted to wrongdoing. A formal expression of guilt could expose companies to harmful investor lawsuits. The SEC almost never requires any admission of guilt.

Bridgeton Landfill and the EPA

Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year reached an agreement with Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, there has been a noteworthy shift on the enhancement of air quality in the region.  According to Mark Hague, Administrator for the EPA Region 7, “the installation and operation of these air monitors is an important step in evaluating the air quality in the community. These monitors are the latest in a series of steps taken by the Bridgeton Landfill under EPA and MDNR oversight to help ensure air quality around the landfill is protective of public health.”

It seems that already, positive results have been incurred from the new air monitors at the landfill sites. Further air monitoring is taking place in two other places too:  one near St. Charles Rock Road and the other near the Spanish Village water tower.  These locations were chosen by the EPA in an attempt to have the monitors are able to cover air emissions under various wind directions.  As well, they will bolster the actions being undertaken the nearby Rider Trail monitored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

These monitors form just part of the $200 million that Bridgeton Landfill has invested in “odor control, environmental remediation and site improvements.”

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.