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Up for grabs

Have you ever considered a deal that is almost too sweet to consider. Have you ever walked straight into a room seeing that one special item thinking that the price is off, too good to be true. Yet, you look again, as inconspicuous as possible and as you do the maths in your head three times over, you start to realise that you are there, others are there but they either missed the deal, or they were looking at something else. That is where I find myself this morning. Not unlike a day in 2001, as I walked into a small obscure bookshop where I noticed the original 7 hardcover books of Tolkien’s the Lord of the rings with his autograph, the price? £39, I felt like a thief when I paid the man, he sold it with a blank expression in his eyes. I walked out shaking like a leaf and I remained in denial for at least two more days. This is how I feel now when I look at Handelsblatt Global (at https://global.handelsblatt.com/finance/goldman-sachs-weighs-deep-london-cuts-amid-brexit-concerns-685516), where I see ‘Goldman Sachs Weighs Deep London Cuts amid Brexit Concerns‘, could they actually be this stupid? Could I get my fingers on Goldman Sachs for almost literally an apple and an egg? That is a Dutch expression for selling or purchasing something for anything massively below expected price. Like buying the Ducati 1299 Panigale for only £99.95. It’s a world gone mad, and in this case Goldman Sachs will end up doing their own devaluation. Consider the facts. They move away from the central Hub London, which has been there for a lot longer than the Euro, they are now moving to Germany where there is a civil law system and the KWG (Kreditwesengesetz) is Iron Law. Whilst at the same time, its two nephews German Solvability Directive (SolvV) and German Mindestanforderungen an das Risikomanagement (MaRisk) can rock the foundations of the Goldman Sachs board in Germany in ways they have never comprehended (or so it seems). That is the move they are ‘advertising’? That article, with a picture of Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, like he is looking out of a window wondering where the hell his retirement is at. At that same move, we see the quote “Personnel in Goldman’s trading business who develop new products as opposed to advising customers would move to the bank’s headquarters in New York, the sources said“, so those making new products will move away from the area of the people buying it, so they either fly back and forth (impacting contribution) or work remotely alienating their customer base. So is this a serious considered move?

If so, than Goldman Sachs needs to realise fast that once their UK base is deflated to the size they claim, and when the Frexit vote passes, Italy and Germany will not have any options to keep it all afloat. More important, with logistical options diminished and having pissed off France and England, they would have to face conditions to move to France and they end up not getting a foothold into the UK to the degree they once had, because the competitors of Goldman Sachs, like Morgan Stanley would have gobbled up a few of the London links Goldman Sachs lost, in addition, CITIC who took a few body blows will be hungry for whatever Goldman Sachs left in the air as they moved to the mainland, lowering the value of Goldman Sachs overall. In that atmosphere Lloyd Blankfein needs to realise that the move is more than just a bad idea. Perhaps he does know, perhaps this is another shot over the bough to the UK telling them to play nice or else. This from a firm who in a 639-page report was accused of misleading investors and setting out to depress the US mortgage market, ensuring that it would win high stakes bets that the market would fall. That firm is playing footsie and chicken with the UK? Well, that is one that they will not just lose, it will be the act that any person with an apple and egg (preferably boiled hard) could walk into the board of directors offering that as payment for the firm. I wonder who in that board of directors will take the offer first. For the Macquarie group the move would be very nice, that group could grow a lot. They might resort to taking the small fish that Goldman Sachs left alone, but those 800 firms might not have stellar results, but they have remained stable for at least half a decade and even as we agree that stable is not sexy, it does make for a very nice secure foundation to grow on, good luck getting such results from Poland, France or Spain. and as France and Spain are founded on the local markets for language reasoning, the Frexit groups will see Goldman Sachs as a remnant of dire pasts, is that regard there is (a speculation by me) the chance that Goldman Sachs would, through the move facilitate the customers they had to port away as those clients are no longer represented through London, which still has a sizeable value to the clients they had whilst in London.

You might think that this is all untrue and that Goldman Sachs will continue in London in a diminished capacity. Well, consider that one of the largest greed driven entities is downsizing by 50%, do you think that this is merely a corporate downsize? the 50% moving away had its jobs to do, by doing it somewhere else, it is not doing in an additional location, it is doing it in another place, with a different set of admin laws and goals. If you had an accountant, and he is sacking 50% of its staff, do you think you get the same level of service, or is it possible that whomever remains in London needs to look at twice the amount of clients? And if we accept that, how much care will you receive at the same amount of annual contribution? With its posturing Goldman Sachs forgot the cardinal rule, it needs clients and clients in the UK remain, clients remain but their perception on begotten service will diminish and they will seek the firm giving them the service that they expect to receive, the time they expect to receive and GS will be only half its size with other offices in different time zones. So yes, there will be a consequence for Goldman Sachs. The offer that seems too good to be true. So as CITIC, Morgan Stanley start their campaigns, their visibility with advertisement like: ‘the firm that has been in London for the longest of times remains, and we will give the same amount of attention and resources, dedicated to you, your business and what you need‘. That firm could start up softening the Goldman Sachs clients and the moment the announcement of the move comes they just need to invite those clients to a nice breakfast meeting with a deal ready to be considered for signing. You see, the moment the move is announced and the moment Frexit will seriously start, the investors will realise that the UK market was a lot more important and when XNYS:GS hits (-4.62%), I’ll just walk in holding an Apple and an Egg seeing who in the board of directors will take the deal.

As HSBC and UBS are closing ranks with Goldman Sachs, you have to consider that I am wrong!

That is only fair. Let’s face it, I have no economic degree. Yet, when Brexit came, when it became something serious, these people were all ignoring it, they were all claiming that it would never go this far. I was proven correct and now the Financial Gravy Train is changing gears as it’s not as profitable as some expected it to remain, those people are trying to restore their Status Quo and their amount of gravy per pay check. Yet, the unfounded move, the emotional outcry of these people making no less than 50 times the average income, those people are trying to force open a dialogue and a new place of exploitation. The quote: “UBS chairman Axel Weber said that about 1000 of the Swiss bank’s 5,000 employees in London could be affected by Brexit, while HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said his bank will relocate staff responsible for generating around a fifth of its UK-based trading revenue to Paris” is actually a lot more funny than even he realised (at http://www.afr.com/business/banking-and-finance/goldman-sachs-hsbc-ubs-all-warn-of-moving-jobs-from-london-on-brexit-20170118-gtu8cj). You see, Frexit is still growing and it is slowly becoming a realistic prospect. So when the Wall Street Journal stated 15 hours ago “A “Frexit” would likely unleash chaos across the currency union and undermine the broader EU in a way Britain’s departure wouldn’t“, we now see that those 20% revenue generating people from UBS will be on the shores of a Civil Law country  whilst the confusion is only increasing. As for the other part of me being correct, we’ll have to make this small sidestep. On May 15th 2013 (yes 3.5 years ago), I forecasted in ‘A noun of non-profit‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit) “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen“, I made the prediction of loss of stability, in addition, a quote not from me “Movements in sovereign spreads affect CDS spreads and bond yields of Italian banks, and are transmitted rapidly to firm lending rates“, this was predicted by Edda Zoli at the IMF. Do some of you remember the issues in Italy on losing the credit rating it had is now a clear marker to consider. Even as the parameters for the Italian downturn are not matching completely the elements in play include the ones I and Zoli stated, meaning that Italy will get a few more negative bumps to deal with (not major ones though).

You still think I am that wrong? I have been involved with data cleaning for decades, I have seen the ‘weighting games‘ some played and now that the party is over, they are running for the high ground, whilst making boasts of clearing away from the market like horse traders. This is all fine, yet the players that are not as big can now shore up their levels of stability growing their overall value by a massive amount, because that is where the UK now is, its economic forecast is growing and the rash statements are doing the opposite as the competitive peers of Goldman Sachs are almost volunteering their free time to help Goldman Sachs pack up and leave the UK so that they can move in on the Goldman Sachs share, because there is no way that Goldman Sachs will not lose a fair chunk of it.

So as Frexit grows (I never expected it to be this strong at present, just a really serious factor), we now see that Marine Le Pen is now leading the polls for the first time after taking advantage of Fillon’s declining popularity among France’s working class voters. I think that this is not the only part, the increased forecast of the UK is doing equal reinforcement of the end of the Euro and perhaps even the end of the European Economic Community. Not because that was the goal, but the fact that all these small nations were too deep in debt and Italy, the third anchor is in massive problems, that large barge cannot remain afloat with only the German anchor in place. My view of 2013 is now showing to be the correct one.

Is it a done deal? No it is not. Someone with actual power in Goldman Sachs could realise that these boast fests are counterproductive and that the boasts only achieved that some doors can no longer be opened by Goldman Sachs. They would have to call, make a proper appointment and they would have to sweeten whatever deal they are hoping for, impacting their dividend in the process. Goldman Sachs played a hand that held a few Trump cards (pun intended) and without those the next few hands will need to be played extra careful and cautious. You see, they lost a little more because those playing now might not have considered 2012 Amsterdam. There we see: “De bank verloor in de nasleep van de crisis veel klanten door negatieve berichtgeving over de rol van Goldman Sachs in de kredietcrisis van 2008. De bank wil deze klanten nu terugwinnen. Het nieuwe kantoor moet vooral de dienstverlening naar klanten toe verbeteren” meaning “translated: The bank lost in the aftermath of the crises many customers through negative messaging on the role of Goldman Sachs in the Credit Crises of 2008. The bank wants to regain these customers. The new office will have to increase the service levels to clients“. This part has two sides, not only regarding clients they will lose in London, in addition, the Dutch clients had a benefit in time zones regarding London, and they will not have that with Germany. So there is more than one fish on the Barbie (read: BBQ) and the impact will be felt and smelled. You see, Amsterdam was never an option for Goldman Sachs, yet as more important reasons GS frowned at the capping of bonuses in 2013 as mentioned by minister Dijsselbloem at that time. Which is rather funny as Germany in this 2017 election year is actually moving in hard on to cap executive pay. This we got from Handelsblatt Global Edition just a week ago, so the move could potentially come with a few nasty sides for those working through the move.

OK, I will admit that Goldman Sachs might not be up for grabs, but it should be clear that if they do move, they will be receiving a few body blows and those come at a price for many at Goldman Sachs. The question however is not, if that is the hard part, the hard part comes when the winner is announced in merely 16 weeks, at that point we will see how realistic Frexit has become. You see, it is not just Marine Le Pen and Front National, Independent Emmanuel Macron, former economy minister will also hold the referendum and together they represent a lot more than a mere majority of the French population, the fact that this reverberates with the populous is an issue for too many as he is not proclaimed left or right, he places himself in the middle making the Fremainers a minority with less and less people in it. Making the move of Goldman Sachs to Germany lacking wisdom as France and the UK will have to unite in whatever trade deals they can have meaning that the UK forecast will grow faster and faster, whilst the French forecast will be less and less dire. The only one who gets to look at that label will be Goldman Sachs.

What a difference a boast makes! Could be a nice future Goldman Sachs slogan, if they survive the ordeal!

 

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On this Friday 13th

There have been a few events going on, with all the hustle and bustle from America we are moving towards a possible point that this nation will be officially renamed, when that happens other domino stones will be pushed into a different direction. Yet there is still time, so we can ignore it for now. What was interesting for me, was a Facebook mail that has all the elements of becoming a flame, a wave of emotions, intentionally set in that way. Yet the part that was actually interesting were the facts that it had. Those facts were indeed interesting to look into, yet not by themselves. At this very moment I am digging to confirm certain numbers and see if they hold up.

 

Income 2013 Income 2014 Change

Aetna, Mark Bertolini

$30.7M $15M -50%
Centene, Michael Neidorf $14.5M $28.1M 93%
Cigna, David Cordani $13.5M $27.2M 101%
Humana, Bruce Broussard $8.8M $13.1M 48%
United Health, Stephen Hemsley $12.1M $66.1M 546%
Wellpoint Joseph Swedish $17M $8.1M -47%

These are health insurances and their CEO’s. This group of 6 have in their hands the health options of the bulk of Americans. Now, before we act in outrage, which we might still do, we see that two of them lost half their income, which in the worst situation, that person (Joseph Swedish) makes in 2 days the same I make in a year. In opposition, there is Stephen Hemsley, who makes in a day, the same I would make in 6 years. Now, we can make this about the imbalance, yet that is not what this is about.

Let’s not forget that these are manages health carers. In September 2016 we saw CNN report “A recent report by Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits forecasts that the average family health care plan will cost $18,142, up 3.4% from 2015. That’s faster than wage growth in America“, and “Premiums on the Obamacare exchanges are expected to rise by double-digits this year“. Now, we need to tread carefully here, health care systems require more work and they need to look to what happens in the future, not just what happens now, So when we see Aetna report in 2016 a total revenue of 60 billion, yet an operating earnings of 2.7 billion, we see that there is a margin, yet not an overly exaggerated one. This is part of a system for 23.5 million members. In this on page 7 we see that the revenue is comprised of commercial and governmental premiums totalling 51.5 billion. Yet it goes further, when we see the growth that Aetna has had, the merger deal with Humana, which is interesting as it is set as a 37 billion merger, yet when we see the quarter of quarter growth of 3 years at least, does it make sense to see this as a mere 37 billion dollar merger when the operating revenue has been in excess of 58 billion for well over 3 years? In addition, Aetna reported an operating gain against costs of over 30%, so when we see the CNBC quote on November 10th 2016: “The Affordable Care Act was built on a flawed model that required getting as many people as possible into the insurance system, Bertolini said. And he said he thinks the Republican Party will make good on its promise to repeal it“, we wonder with their operating profits, a managed health care system no less, what are we not seeing? As stated, compared to the revenue, the profits are not outlandish, yet the entire Obamacare issue seems to give another view, one that clashes with the view that we see at Aetna. Now consider another quote, one we see on December 13th 2016, in bizjournals.com. Here we see: “As one of its arguments against the acquisition, the U.S. Justice Department says the deal would drive up prices on health insurance exchanges in 17 counties where Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Louisville-based Humana (NYSE: HUM) now compete“, you see where there is competition, prices are pushed down, so how come I suddenly see an increase in health insurance exchanges? The final part is one that strikes a sting on the violin of chaos too. Consider the quote: “Bertolini also testified that Molina Healthcare Inc., which has agreed to buy Medicare assets from Aetna and Humana for $117 million if the merger is approved“, now let’s be honest that $117 million is nothing to sneer at, yet what are these Medicare assets exactly? Where is the write-off? You see, two companies with a total revenue exceeding $100 billion annually over the last 3 years, in that light $117 million is close to no blip on the radar (0.11%). So why was it mentioned, why put Molina Healthcare Inc. in the picture? Well, like the other two players, they have had quarter on quarter growth for 3 years too, more important, even as their revenue is not as impressive of the two others, we see that annual on quarter, 2015 brought close to 50% growth, whilst 2016 is expected to surpass the 30% mark, those are operating revenue growths nearly unheard of in this day and age. And this is not the adult media sales, this is healthcare, so as we expect that there will always be growth, we need to see where the interests are of these players. Let’s not forget that the picture is changing. Humana Inc. is a for-profit American health insurance company, they clearly state this, so what will become of Aetna when that merger goes through? How will the picture change and how will that impact the members? They are both Managed health care, yet Aetna is not outspoken ‘for profit’, the numbers do bear this out to some degree. Yet in all this is not about the members or patients. This is about the shareholders and both have plenty, the question becomes what direction will Aetna take? Will we see a board of directors that find themselves in agreement with the senate under Emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero, when in 19 AD they proclaimed: ‘Puer Pauper‘ (fuck the poor), which by the way coincided with the expulsion of the Jews from Rome, life is full of irony at times. The reason to make mention of this is because Israel has a health care system not unlike the Netherlands. A compulsory plan where all Israeli citizens are entitled to basic health care as a fundamental right. There a person can sign up with one of four official health insurance organizations which are run as not-for-profit organizations, this is where we see the massive difference. ‘run-for-profit‘ comes at a price and that price is the additional dividends that the members must pay the shareholders. It is not that simple, but you get the idea. In all this the fact that this approach made Israel 4th in terms of efficiency and Israel was ranked 6th healthiest country in the world by Bloomberg rankings. These are numbers any government could be proud of. Neither the US nor the UK make that top 10, according to the article in Bloomberg, the UK doesn’t even make the Top20. So as we realise a few numbers and this all leads to a lot of questions, we can agree that there is nothing against ‘for-profit’, yet who remains in the US with the option to afford this? Perhaps that is why the link to Molina Healthcare Inc., just a small token proclaiming to remain ‘for the people‘, whilst relying on tax deductions and write offs to remain ‘for the shareholders‘. However, let’s face it, these two (Mark Bertolini and Bruce Broussard) are almost the lowest ones on the Health Care CEO list of incomes, still making per day about what I make per year. Yet even as their incomes drew the attention, it is the coverage, the operating profits and the for-profit sides in some of these Managed Health Care groups, whilst we see places like fortune.com inform its upcoming ‘victims’ that the costs will go up: “costs are expected to grow 6.5% through next year. While costs have finally reached a point of equilibrium after years of double-digit growth” as well as “36% of employers are even considering a defined contribution strategy where they would provide a set sum of money to each employee to pay for health care, and if a health care plan exceeds that sum, the employee is on the hook for the remainder of the cost“, so whatever increased quality of life the Americans did not get, there is information that well over 10% of the employers have adopted this strategy. Such plans, especially with the for-profit health care managers will see a shift in costs, from employer to employee. Fortune.com gives as reason: “There’s two primary factors that affect health care costs: how much is being consumed and the price for services and drugs. As it turns out, prices aren’t what’s primarily adding to the rising trend. It comes down to more people consuming more care“. I personally believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle lane. Both the needs of an aging population and the pharmaceutical patents driving up prices as pharmaceutical patents are chomping down on maximised profit per pill. In this Forbes reported two days ago that the pharmaceuticals are not happy. Here we see the quote “Much of Medicare is now run by private sector insurers like Humana or Aetna, who already bid on drugs to get lower prices (this is known as Medicare Advantage)“, Yet President elect Donald Trump stated: “I worry today that the pharmaceutical industry has a very false sense of relief or security because of a Trump administration and a Republican Congress. I think we should recognize that the drug pricing issue is a populist issue. Americans are rightfully angry. The fault is not, surely, on the pharmaceutical industry’s shoulders, but we bear that because we make the drugs. We innovate the drugs, and as a result of that, whether we like it or not, or we want to try to explain it or not, we have to deal with it.” As stated more than once in the past, I do believe in capitalism, yet at what point does capitalism become plain greed? When we look at the top 20 pharmaceuticals, they are hiding behind a 2% growth, yet these 20 companies which include Novartis, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson were making 547 billion in 2014, whilst we see that 13 of them are turning a profit with one of them 127%, these are only the 2014 numbers, the profits have been steadily increasing, at the expense of those requiring medication, at the expense of a health care system that can afford less and less. In all this we see that places like Pfizer kept a gross profit of well above 38 billion and they weren’t even the best scoring one. Yet, the connection go on a lot further. You see, with Pfizer we see James C. Smith who is also on the public board of Thomson Reuters, Suzanne Nora Johnson is also on the board of American International Group, Inc. (insurances). James M. Kilts serves on the board of MetLife Inc. as well as Nielsen Holdings N.V. The list goes on. A group of board members already on a massive income, adding the incomes from other boards where they serve with incomes most people dare not dream of. What is more interesting is how we see an almost illuminati sized cloud of interaction with media, insurances and other interactions. All essential and profitable for Pfizer. When we look at Novartis that list of directors takes an even more interesting turn. Ann Fudge who also serves on the board of the US Council on Foreign Relations, with additional functions at Unilever as well as the Northrop Grumman Corporation. Pierre Landolt, Ph.D. who is also the chairman of the Swiss private bank Landolt & Cie SA, a Financial Institution in Brazil and a few other enterprises. Andreas von Planta, Ph.D, linked to HSBC, Moller Finance, and the regulation board of the Swiss stock exchange and finally Srikant Datar, Ph.D., who goes beyond mere Novartis, with additional board placement with ICF International Inc., Stryker Corp. and T-Mobile US. The pharmaceutical boards read like a weave of corporate interaction with links all over the Fortune 500. A conspiracy theorists wet dream.

For us it is not about who they are connected to, but how such links could be used to maximise profits. The idea that the Pharmaceutical industry has its representation, and on the other side we see an optional Novartis with its board member Ann Fudge who also serves on the board of the US Council on Foreign Relations, how is that for hedging your bets on both sides of the profit sandwich?

On this Friday 13th we see news in the Guardian mention of the NHS winter crisis, we have been seeing from all directions the Obamacare and how Obamacare Premiums are expected to Increase by ‘Double Digits‘ in 2017, one can only hope that the first digit is a ‘1’. With pharmaceuticals and insurances both on the maximisation of profit, the people in several places are pushed in a corner with no place to go see about any options.

Only the superstitious will think that the health care news will be better tomorrow, it is Friday 13th after all.

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Condoning corruption!

There is no escaping the news, FIFA is currently getting smeared all over the place, but before we start painting the roses red, the question we must ask is who are we trying to appease?

Our own sense of morality perhaps?

My first writing on all this started on March 19th 2014 in ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/03/19/any-sport-implies-corruption/), There I looked at the first allegations against Qatar. The evidence presented was highly debatable. It took me to a response Lord Denning gave in the trial Miller v. Minister of Pensions [1947] 2 All ER 372. The statement was “more probable than not”. In the end, I had reservations on whether Qatar was guilty of bribes. I finalised my view with “it is more likely than not that three people were falsely set in an illegal light so that several unnamed persons could walk away with many hundreds of millions of Euros“. My view was apparently a lot more optimistic!

Now we get to the news of the last few days.

On May 27th FIFA officials get arrested on corruption charges. (06:00)
On May 27th Criminal investigation into 2018 and 2022 World Cup awards opened (09:30)
On May 27th FIFA presidential election to go ahead, no 2018 and 2022 World Cup revotes (10:30) (source: http://www.espnfc.com.au/)

At 14:30 4 members, Chuck Blazer, Jose Hawilla, Daryan Warner and Daryll Warner plead guilty. So, even as daddy Warner proclaims his innocence, it seems that he was able to instil values of corruption in his boys. However just now in the Wall Street Journal (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/three-men-with-ties-to-former-fifa-official-aided-probe-1432859617) gives us the quote “businessmen who have been involved in ventures…including ventures involving their father”, which gives way to daddy Warner being in water a lot warmer than he might find comfortable.  But in all this, the disturbing part is not the fact that FIFA seems to be corrupt through and through, it is odd in my view that this has been going on under the watchful eye of police forces all over Europe, as well as Interpol. These events were all brought to light by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (of FBI for short). Is that not puzzling? I was not the only one thinking this. A similar thought came from Chris Bryant MP (at http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-the-papers-32925653)

When we consider certain facts.

From USA Today we get “Blazer was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee from 1996 to 2013, when he was replaced by Sunil Gulati. That same year Blazer was accused of taking over $15 million in payments from FIFA over the course of his tenure and was suspended“, so now suddenly he is regarded as a ‘Report: Former FIFA executive-turned-informant‘ and he had a $6000 apartment for his cats! So, basically he had a pussy place for that cash? Yet the part that is linked here is “CONCACAF’s offices took up the entire 17th floor, but Blazer often worked from two apartments where he lived on the 49th floor“. It seems to me that there is a lot more going on here. Is it perhaps (mere speculation) that certain meetings were to be taken in a deniable setting? More important, I get it that the FBI caught on, but why did the Police forces all over Europe remain blind to all this? In addition, this also brings the entire Michael Garcia debacle again into focus. The fact that this level of corruption had been going on, and as far as we can tell, it happened under the nose of Michael Garcia. When we consider he had been digging into the entire corruption issues for both 2018 and 2022, it seems odd that no flags were raised when we consider the lavish lifestyle of some members. The fact that his appeal to publish the entire document he worked on was overthrown, now these people will get to explain a lot as the corruption scandal spins out of control and anyone now trying to withhold information could end up painted black by the ‘corruption brush’!

It is Attorney General Loretta Lynch who says it best: “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks”, so over two generations, decades in activities and the President Sep Blatter remains blind to it all? I am not stating whether he was involved, that is up to the FBI and they did not find anything, the fact that he should have been aware something was wrong is ample evidence that Sep Blatter is nowhere near fit to preside over FIFA. Not when something like this goes on for decades under his presidency.

If we accept the view from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/28/fifa-expose-british-press-andrew-jennings-sunday-times-corruption-fa), where we see: “Andrew Jennings, 71, who has traced Sepp Blatter’s footsteps for more than a decade. Jennings worked for the Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama. His BBC film about FIFA corruption, The Beautiful Bung, appeared as long ago as 2006“, so as we consider these facts and the fact that this happened, for a large extent under the eyes of Sep Blatter, as we see that he had made no moves since the 2006 film, which should have been an eye opener for him, Scotland Yard and Interpol, but it was the FBI in 2015 who got it done!

Is there no blame? With this level of negligence? I hardly think that is the case and as I see the presidency of Sep Blatter should be cut immediately. In addition, if FIFA wants to regain any level of credibility, it has in my view, no other option but to publish the full report by Michael Garcia. You see, what is in there will be revealing, but I feel certain that what is not in there might be worth even more. Because all this happened, because certain steps were not done and even the tail coat of Michael Garcia is very likely to get smudged. Now let me be clear, I do not believe that Michael Garcia did anything wrong, yet as he started his role in July 2012, he must have had a few thoughts on how he can remain so isolated from the entire pack, as it was devouring the better part of 150 million. Red flags should have been raised in the corner of his eyes, but that might be just me speculating!

The other part hit me when I read the article “Chuck Blazer: FIFA ‘supergrass’” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/32913599), when we consider the quote “it was at this time that Blazer signed a contract with Concacaf that entitled him to 10% commissions on all sponsorship and TV rights deals through his company Sportvertising, giving rise to his nickname of ‘Mr Ten Percent’“, so he gets 10% and still he gets on the Trans Corruption Express? In 2011 he gets the option to become the inside man, the informer. It seems to me that this person has been given a way to lavish life, with 2 repayments. The first one of 1.9 million and another one still to come. I reckon his attorney will use the ‘colon cancer card’ for maximum effect.

I reckon, the FBI did in light of the inaction by so many others, a great job!

The question on everyone’s mind will be regarding the future of FIFA, because without a complete overhaul and without a complete rewriting of the rules, there is every chance that FIFA might not be tolerated any further. There is one more matter, which was set at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/may/28/australian-police-asked-to-investigate-500000-payment-to-fifas-jack-warner. Here we see ‘Australian police asked to investigate $500,000 payment to FIFA’s Jack Warner‘. So this is another ball game. My question is in the first degree, what was the payment for? Was there a receipt? The Sydney Morning Herald had an interesting part: “The $500,000 payment by the FFA to a football association bank account controlled by Warner – a payment ostensibly made to redevelop a stadium in Trinidad and Tobago“, so why was the Football Federation Australia paying to redevelop a stadium there? The second quote “The FFA on Thursday defended its failure to report the matter to Australian or US police on the basis that FIFA – the organisation now at the centre of an international corruption storm – asked them not to” is even further troubling. Basically, FIFA officials seem to get away with it, the moment the word ‘FIFA’ and ‘request’ are mentioned together, the simple application of Common Sense went straight out of the window.

Even though there will be no resetting of 2018 and 2022, issues still need to be addressed. There is now an additional side to all this. Editors seem to forget at times what they do, but let me remind you regarding the article I wrote on November 14th 2014 called ‘Sacking the editor?‘, in there Martin Ivens is quoted by Reuters: “Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported that some of the “millions of documents” it had seen linked payments by former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam to officials to win backing for Qatar’s World Cup bid”, is that not interesting? So, did the police act on any of that? Is it perhaps possible that the allegations from a newspaper actually hindered a criminal investigation? It is hard to say as the direct facts are murky (and my view on UK Criminal law is murky too), but it all gives way to a hidden stream of events under the FIFA tsunami that is now hitting the press. Has the press shouted ‘wolf’ so often that certain officials stopped acting? That is the direct question here, because the indignation that Chris Bryant MP voiced (Labour) is very real. Why did the FBI solve that what should have been squarely in the corner of Scotland Yard and Interpol. Andrew Jennings is only one of many sources that seem to have been ignored by many people and players on numerous levels.

So, are we condoning corruption? Before you say ‘no’ consider how long this issue was unattended and the fact that the FIFA president, who remained oblivious to the entire matter is at this point likely to be re-elected calls for even more questions. The last part was released half an hour ago. We must give option to refer to the Serious Fraud Office with some laughter as it is now assessing the ‘materials’ which give voice to the fact that Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank were used to transfer cash. Didn’t we see two of those banks in other ‘issues’ involving cash?

Is anyone else finally waking up?

The Original Indictment: fifa-indictment-webb-etal

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The outspoken lie

This is the issue we have seen many times in the last months. The lie perpetrated by people (including journalists) to keep them in some fake shape of ethical non-prosecution. The clearest one was shown by the Guardian Yesterday (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/22/secret-bank-of-england-taskforce-investigates-financial-fallout-brexit), it is not the first one, it will not be the last one and until some individuals get out of their lazy chair, it will never improve. The quote “News of undercover project emerges after Bank staff accidentally email details to the Guardian including PR notes on how to deny its existence“. This is not even close to an accident, you do not ‘accidently‘ add journalists to confidential e-mails. This is almost like me going to Lucy Pinder (famous UK Presenter) stating: “Can you please stand there, now bend backwards a little and please keep your legs spread and without knickers, so I can ‘accidently’ land my penis into your vagina” (sorry about the graphical intensity Miss Pinder)! Either event does not happen accidently, only intentional or orchestrated as I see it! We will likely hear on ‘accidental’ typos, on how names were the same, but the cold reality is, is the mere fact that some people are trying to be some misguided whistle-blower yet the other group are doing that intentionally, some to warn ‘friends’, some to influence the market. And this event is nowhere near the only one. I wrote about Brexit yesterday in my article ‘Is it all Greek to you?‘ there are several issues in play. There is the link to Natixis, regarding their over half a Trillion Euro issue. Is that information not really handy to have? So in my view what is currently ‘regarded’ as an accident is possibly a simple case of either whistleblowing or corruption! The next quote is another one we need to take issue with “The revelation is likely to embarrass the bank governor, Mark Carney, who has overhauled the central bank’s operations and promised greater transparency over its decision-making“. The issue is, is that there is no issue. The Bank of England has a clear responsibility to investigate economic impacts, this means that both Brexit and Grexit are to be investigated. You see, if Brexit becomes a necessarily evil, those making the decisions would need to have all the facts, not just ask for the facts at that point. So, 30 seconds after the Guardian revelation, Natixis and all its links, Airbus, HSBC and a few other players will now be preparing their own kind of noose, threatening the UK government on the consequences of going forward on Brexit, the equations as per today will be pushed in other directions, including by the US, who would get into deep insolvent waters the moment Brexit becomes a fact. So, the accidental mailer is in my view an intentional traitor to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. That person is an even bigger traitor as this is not about where the freedom of choice for a sovereign nation lies, but the fact that it is no longer able to get the true facts ready for the people to freely make a choice on, so when the referendum does come, the people are likely to get misinformed because powerful players do not like it when their profitability is on the line. It is of course every little bit useful for the large industries who believe in keeping the status quo of exploitations high, dry and mighty. So even though Mark Carney will likely be under fire of questions as per Monday, we must also see that in this case our Canadian Marky Mark is totally innocent (in this case). He did what a responsible governor of the Bank of England did. He made sure the correct facts were collected (tried to do so without kicking a fuss), a task that is now less likely to be successful. So as we look at what happened, according to the Guardian article, we see “The email, from Cunliffe’s private secretary to four senior executives, was written on May 21st and forwarded by mistake to a Guardian editor by the Bank’s head of press, Jeremy Harrison“, so as I see it a mail from Sir Jonathan Cunliffe went to 4 senior executives. Now we suddenly see that Jeremy Harrison had it. Was he one of the 4 recipients? It seems unlikely as the text would have stated something slightly different. It is the formulation that gives way to the notion that it is likely (read: possible) that one of those executives forwarded the mail to Jeremy Harrison and he did give it to the Guardian. So we have two issues. Who gave it to Jeremy and was the release to the press more intentional than not? That question remains an issue. Is this orchestration or blatant treason. Let’s not forget that treason means: ‘The betrayal of someone’s trust or confidence‘, in this case the trust AND confidence of the British parliament. So the people are confronted with a spokesperson who likely spoke out, against the wishes of the ruling governor. So this event will have consequences from Monday onward. The markets will react and after that we will see more events into escalations as the British people will get to see over the week how the Greek fallout will hit the markets and the European economies as a whole. The non-actions, or any act regarded too small by the people will shift political allegiances fast, yet that effect is less likely to be felt in the UK and more likely to impact France at present. And these Brexit revelations are not the first ones. That Greek tragedy called insolvency is riddled with ‘leaked’ documents all over the place. In February 2015 we had ‘Leaked documents reveal what Greece had to say at the Euro group negotiations‘, in this view, I agree with blogger Raúl Ilargi Meijer who wrote less than a week ago “Whenever secret or confidential information or documents are leaked to the press, the first question should always be who leaked it and why” (at http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/05/the-imf-leaks-greece/), but that is not what orchestration is about, is it? So are the events from the Bank of England orchestration too? If so fine (well not entirely, but that would not be my call), if not then please fire Jeremy Harrison and give me his job. I have no proper degree for the function, but at least I will not be leaking any documents. These events go a lot further then just Greece of course. The Herald Scotland gives us ‘Civil servant who issued RBS leak email links with Better Together leader‘ (at http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/revealed-civil-servant-who-issued-rbs-leak-email-links-with-better-together-leader.120666908) gives us “THE Treasury civil servant who issued an email leaking sensitive information about Royal Bank of Scotland’s plans to leave the country in the event of a yes vote had links to the head of Better Together campaign, it can be revealed“, so again the question regarded is, is this not corporate treason? Consider the quote “Now the civil servant who issued the communication can be identified as Robert Mackie, the son of Catherine MacLeod, who was a special adviser to Better Together leader Alistair Darling when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer“, was he preparing his own more comfortable future? Getting himself into the proper future setting with friends of Alistair Darling? These are questions to be asked, for sure. Of course, a valid question might be, why would the Royal Bank of Scotland, leave Scotland if it becomes independent? Is it about the lost power of image of its board members? I do not proclaim or imply to have the actual answers, but the truth is not likely to come out, which means we end up living an outspoken lie, does it not? My own little island Australia is not without its own negative merits here. The title ‘Leaked documents reveal problems within Air Warfare Destroyer program‘ should give cause for concern, because that is not a mere commercial/political issue, it is a military issue, where one might expect a little more bias into ‘disclosing’ classified information (me going out on a limb here). we see the information (at http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4232702.htm), where we get the quote “But documents obtained by Saturday AM reveal the alliance is now worried continued cost blowouts and delays are harming its shipbuilding reputation“, of course ‘cost blowout’ usually means that the leaders of those projects did not have a proper clue to begin with and the amount of 9 billion gives a lot more weight to my statement (the UK NHS IT program being a nice piece of 11 billion pounds in evidence), but that is not too unexpected. The quote “MARK THOMSON: With an alliance contract where you don’t have somebody clearly in charge, you can rapidly find yourself in a situation where things go wrong and people are looking at one another passing blame, not taking responsibility, and decisions aren’t made” is precisely to the point. Our own Marky Mark (not the one running the Bank of England) shows the major influence, a person that is clearly in charge. I would add that quality of communication tends to be a solid second one in these projects. You see, as these elements go back and forth the e-mail (read Memo) goes on and on. When someone is in charge we get that defining moment when they hear (or should hear). ‘Shut Up! This is what we have decided on!‘, yet military contractors (like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman) are very trained in encapsulating questions within answers, adding premises so that the water is murky, as this is all about their continues consultancy as those people are like lawyers, they bill by the hour per project (as I personally see it), so here again, we see the outspoken lie, now not by telling, but by omission through non-clarity. So as the article ended with “Last year problems with the AWD program prompted former defence minister David Johnston to warn he wouldn’t trust the government-owned Australian submarine corporation to build a canoe“, on one side it seems odd to bite the hand that feeds you, on the other hand the question becomes what evidence did he have access to? Was this a political move to shelter individuals or signal true issues? So now we get the news (less than 2 hours ago at http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/first-air-warfare-destroyer-launched-at-asc-osborne/story-fni6uo1m-1227366174513) ‘First Air Warfare Destroyer launched at ASC, Osborne‘, which should be a huge reason for parties as well as spoil a bottle of bubbly against the hull of that beauty. Yet, the article is not all good news. We see that in the quote “The occasion was overshadowed to a degree by Friday’s release of a Federal Government audit claiming the destroyers cost three times as much to build in South Australia as they would if they had been built overseas. It also found the total cost of the project had blown out to $9 billion“, so here are my questions in this:

  1. Could we ever rely on our defense by getting things build overseas?
  2. Who kept check on the expenses?
  3. If I go over the books and If I can cut more than 20% by invalidating time wasted on drawn out lines of ‘communications’ (I mean those long winded memos from these military contractors), will I get 10% of the 20% saved? (This should amount to 180 million) not bad for a few months’ work! You know, I had a dream where I ended up with 160 million and bought a nice house on Guernsey. I am willing to settle on 20 million less!

So here we see the outspoken lies! Political, commercial and even military, lines of miscommunication drained through ‘leaked’ documents. Is it all orchestration? Is orchestration not the same as treason when we consider the allegiance those people were supposed to have (in opposition where ‘leaked’ documents are a tactical move)? It would be for a court to decide, yet we will soon learn that these matters will not make it into any court, and as the cost blowout of 9 billion is shown, this leaky path will pay handsomely into the hands of businesses like Raytheon and Natixis, and what do you know, there are links between these two as well! So is this last statement my outspoken lie? Or can we agree at least to some degree that these companies all talk to one another? So in the end are governments getting played and who is actually in charge? That would be a very valid question as the bill got pumped by 9 billion, where 10% of that 9 billion could have solved the Australian legal aid issue (as well as a few other issues), so will any investigation into that issue result in a new outspoken lie (read: carefully phrased political conclusion without further accountability by anyone)? Time will tell!

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Finding inspiration

The act to incite, perhaps even a form of stimulus. Yet, when we go back to a more theological page we see: ‘a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul‘. So what is wrong with inspiration? You see whilst inciting could be seen to encourage a positive term, incitement is for the most ALWAYS negative. When we see incitement we see: ‘the action of provoking unlawful behaviour or urging someone to behave unlawfully‘, why not see incitement an act as to encourage positive change? Even stimulus is now nearly always seen as a negative. The stimulus package being a foremost example.

In an age where hardship rules, we could use a positive force, yet when we see that projection of feigned wellness is combined with managed bad news, what positive force could be atoned? This is the thought that has been in the back of my mind as I am completing my current assignment. A choice I made in the past, whenever I get one step forward, the next instance I am facing two steps back. This is perhaps just a situation that exists between my two ears (as we refer to mental issues).

Greece is not even the foremost example on my mind. There are other issues where we see a change on what is for some and will never be for most. The next part seems a little repetitive as I have mentioned these parts in the past.

  1. How is it possible?

Here we see a side of the world that seems out of context as per last year. Forever the oil prices were going up and up until it went beyond $120. Profits were astronomical. Now, as prices are just below the lowest basement, we see the following parts (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/26/bp-profits-down-still-in-deep-water). “It’s a big week for big oil, with both BP and Royal Dutch Shell reporting results. Despite crude prices hitting a 2015 high at the end of last week, they are still almost 50% down since last June, which means continuing trouble for the businesses“. Now consider the reality. Take a litre of crude oil, ½ becomes Petrol, one third becomes Kerosene and the rest goes into dozens of other products. Now consider the history of your shopping. Since 2008 (and since the oil drop of 2014), when did your petrol price go down and by how much? Jet fuel should go down, yet Virgin, Qantas and others are keeping the Jet fuel surcharge in place. So at present we have accounted for almost 85% of the crude oil, the rest goes into products like soap, Vaseline and other carbon based artefacts.  None have ever made a decent downgrade in price. However, the article claims on such hardships even though the price of the raw resource is still lower than ever. So what stories are we being told? Are the oil companies guilty of incitement to exploitation?

  1. How are we in this position?

Here are 8 mergers for last year, several more are to come and hundreds more have passed and a fair amount of mergers are set at mega billions, several in the pharmaceutical industries.

Lets take a look at a few of the 2014 mergers: Value: $67.1 billion, May 18, 2014, Value: $46.8 billion, June 15, 2014, Value: $46.8 billion, April 7, 2014, Value: $25.3 billion, February 18, 2014, Value: $23.6 billion, March 11, 2014, Value: $19.4 billion, February 19, 2014, Value: $17.1 billion, April 30, 2014, Value: $16.01 billion, January 13, 2014. Total $262 billion. Now consider that these mergers are for the most tax-free when they are seen “as reorganizations through acquisition. Under this model, companies must swap, rather than outright sell, assets and equity such that the two companies end up becoming one new company with an agglomerated store of assets and equity“, that is very nice for the boards of directors and as multiple borders are broken, many options (highly complex ones) open up to maximise non taxability. Yet, many governments have done next to nothing to curb this form of greedy exploitation at the expense of the local governments whose protection they enjoy and the exploited workers who are left at the short end of the stick in many cases, again and again. There is often little consequence for the acquiring party will soon find themselves in an upward reorganisation, but the other party is more often than not in a less positive position, which is the way of the world, I will not oppose the issue of reorganisation and acquisition, yet the laws have been bend beyond reasonable. In the near past there was a level of equilibrium, as the governments got a slice of that pie. Now, as too many levels of non-taxability are offered, we see a completely unbalanced view of life, to a smaller part in regards to rich industrialists, but to the largest extent to a whole score of enabling politicians with a limited sight to the future whilst blind staring to what was in the past the ‘now’ and never to adjust the future of what should be.

We are all feeling these shortcomings now, Greece a lot more than the others I might add!

Now we get back to Greece for one simple example. The one thing Greece had to do for well over a decade is the step only taken (if we can believe the press) only last week (at http://www.newsweek.com/greece-launches-frantic-crackdown-tax-evaders-ahead-repayments-324927), here we see the story of Leonidas Bobolas, arrested and not to be released until back taxation had been paid. Some might think it is a solution, for me and many others it is a final desperate act by a government that did not take things serious until it was too late. This must be a laughing moment for Kostas Vaxevanis, whose list must be very important at this moment, but there is every chance that the truly big rollers are getting away with it all and more important, the money that will be gotten here is nowhere near the amount required for the payments over the next 16 weeks. It is the final spasm of a nation that has every real danger of becoming extinct a second time. New Greece might soon join Ancient Greece as it becomes forgotten, slowly but surely.

OK, I admit that this future is unrealistic (not to mention vastly exaggerated), but is that not how the Greeks currently feel? A system so broken that the people are suffering. The place where Democracy was born by the mind of Aristotle. It was the foundry where the Olympic Games were devised, yet in all its social paths, the one path forgotten was the safety of the Greek future. Why will this tax evasion path fail? Well, consider that Leonidas Bobolas is ‘regarded’ as one of the large evaders, now consider that his due taxation was less than 2 million Euro and add to this the following quote: “Government data suggested that some €70bn was owed in unpaid tax at the end of 2014. Transparency International found the country’s opaque tax code and corruption of tax collectors meant evasive tax arrangements could be set up for as little as €100“. To get to 70 billion, they would need at least 55,000 tax evaders, all due 1.5 million, now consider the Kostas Vaxevanis list that covered less than 2100 names. The amount due cannot be met, not even close through this way. In addition we see even more posturing of inaction. This comes again from Yanis Varoufakis who stated: “one of the key reforms the government was proposing was the creation of a fully independent tax commission to tackle the problem“. I would personally translate this into a delay of up to 24 months with no actual actions at all. This one arrest is just for show as I see it, a few more will make headlines, but in the end, the funds will not be there on time and we can state that clear evidence of inaction from the Greek government is a mere display of fact.

Why mention Greece?

Greece is at present the extreme example, but not the least of the issues. It shows a governmental failing that is present all over Europe. Greece in its position is only the first one to visibly no longer manage its upcoming bills. The majority of European nations have maintained an inability to manage budgets, which is the second tier in this. As these governments make new mentions of ‘stimulus’ as a solution, it only masks an inability of forward momentum, whilst on the other side of that formula we see governmental spending sprees that cannot be covered in any way, shape or form. One example is the Dutch Stimulus package of 2009, one document (at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/sgp/pdf/20_scps/2009-10/01_programme/nl_2010-01-29_sp_en.pdf) forecasts a GDP growth of 2% in both 2011 and 2012, a number that would never be achieved, in the end, the growth would be -0.2% and -0.6%, the year after that it was -0.8%, we can speculate that without the stimulus it would have been worse, which is a likely result, but the fact remains, how well are the people off? Let’s not forget that stimulus packages are basically loans, the interest on those billions go somewhere, so in the end the people pay! France with its 26 billion package in 2008 would not see a positive jump until late 2013, then only 0.6%, after that until 2014, France only marginally kept its head above water. Italy does not even get close to those numbers and only had one moment in 2013 where they were positive at 0.1%, the rest is all negative. They pushed in a mere 9 billion. So with three nations, Europe has spent 44 billion and no real results to show. It could be debated as I stated earlier that the state of affairs for those nations would be a lot worse, I could agree with this on the mere premise of the thought. Yet, the one issue that should have been done, namely proper budgeting has not been achieved by any of these nations for over a decade and debts are stockpiling. This has been at the centre of my considerations for a long time.

 

Whether this is mere bad budgeting or a completely unbalanced system where corporations have been uber enabled, whilst their rights are not questioned is another matter entirely. In that regard we have the HSBC view (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/hsbc-warns-it-could-leave-uk-over-eu-referendum-uncertainty), where the option of the UK leaving the Eurozone would make HSBC move offices to other shores. Yet, when we google this bank we see articles on how they pay millions and millions less than expected. Now, these articles are not the ones you should have too much faith in, but with this much smoke, the question becomes, were tax bills burnt? I am willing to partially ignore the Swiss scandal as this is only one instance, it is the overall picture that goes far beyond just the HSBC. When we consider Libor, the fines of billions that followed with banks all over the world, we see that populations all over Europe, even on a global level are denied the funds for their support that they should be entitled to. Yet, the paths taken now are also questionable. I support to the larger extent both the Conservative path as well as the Australian Liberal party. Here we see a protection against naming apparent tax-dodgers. My reasoning? If a company engages in legal paths for revenue and investments whether on shore or offshore where the tax laws allow for it, the companies who are creative enough to exploit the loophole shouldn’t be punished. This is at the core of the issue, the tax system has to be fixed and altered. Yet, as we see with HSBC, politicians are often too scared for their own political hide (as I personally see it) and will push forward any tax change. This has gone on for over a decade and many changes are yet to be properly addressed. This is at the heart of the matter.

In the end, what is the wisest of actions? To cater to HSBC and mind liking parties that seem to pay the minimum in taxation, whilst at the same time, the millstones of debt are dragging down all European nations? The UK might have the highest European debt (1.7T), yet the path that the conservatives have taken its population has the best options to lower the debts whilst offering a modest growth. The inability of the other European nations to adhere to this is only one of several factors. Greece is now becoming a larger issue as their timeline of pushed from April to May and now we see the mentioning of June by Yanis Varoufakis: “We wish to merge the current review with the June agreement“, which is now a more pressing issue as the voters in May would steer fast into a direction many will not like, this is the danger, as emotion drove Greeks towards Syriza, that same dangerous move could push the UK voters stronger towards UKIP and the Euro exodus that could follow. Another version where we see a legal incitement away from the Euro, there is no inspiration, just a need for what could be regarded as ‘false sense of security‘. That danger only increases when we consider the next quote: “Tsipras said he was optimistic an interim agreement would soon be reached. But Greeks know another bailout will be needed even if the short-term €7.2bn is secured“, that part and the inability of the Greek government to seriously commit from day one is at the heart of all this.

A need to incite a tax system that works more honest towards the nations that give ‘free’ protection to the corporations that seem to shun a moral refinement is needed. Not just for the UK, but for all European nations. Yet, will this happen? This is the question we should ask when we look at the papers from the IEA (Institute for Economic Affairs), where we saw on December 1st 2014 the following quote: “Despite the Conservative’s pledge to raise the threshold to £50,000, over 5 million taxpayers will pay the higher rate of income tax by the end of the next parliament. Indeed, it is likely that the number of higher rate taxpayers will continue to increase even if the threshold is raised“. I question the spirit of this. You see, the groups are 24.1 million in the basic rate and 4.5 million in the higher rate (source: UK Statistics Authority). I do not deny these numbers, yet, raising the threshold will force other measures too. A more immediate and more just move would be to increase the 0% rate from £10.6K to £13K, which will also benefit the higher rate to some extent (£2.5K less taxable), after this I personally advocated raising both groups, the Basic rate +1% and the higher rate +2%. he reasoning is simple, in the end a budget has to be met, even though we see these ‘holier than thou‘ groups all moving for more tax breaks, yet, in the end, until tax loops and tax havens are dealt with, the tax coffers will remain massively underfunded. Let’s not forget that the UK has to meet a 1.7T issue, all using official bank notes with the ‘£’ symbol (replacing IOU’s in place). If the IEA really wants to push certain tax shifts without properly balancing the equation, we will see a push for drastic austerity sooner rather than later. It is not a mere guess, it is an outcome of mathematical certainty. Only after a serious dent has been made in the total debt, then it would be possible to consider a change. All this is now endangered when we see ‘promises’ by Ed Miliband as he states: “Labour will pledge to deliver a surplus in the current budget as soon as possible in the next parliament. This could allow the party to borrow to fund capital investment for infrastructure projects“, so a surplus and MORE borrowing? So basically he will likely spend his budget and the budget of the next administration in one go. The UK is still dealing with the borrowing acts of a previous governing labour. I see at the heart of ANY government at present, the need to borrow ZERO, whilst still reducing the overall debt to some degree (not possible to state by how much), this is the only way to incite true growth, to inspire a growing economy and to stimulate some version of ‘quality of life’. There are a few steps that any of the elected parties could do, but that requires vision, I have some answers, but filling that solution will take a different view, not one of borrowing, but one of an adapted vision that allows for new growth by changing the equation of costing, a different approach to a changing world where the UK moves ahead stronger still, which will be good for the entire Commonwealth at large!

An act to incite stimulus through Inspiration, a positive wave not based on pre-spending.

 

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Questions that follow

Is it not an interesting day, for some Mondayitis is only just now setting in, for some the Mondayitis issue is just a ‘fab’ for others to avoid becoming active until Wednesday around after lunch time, and for another group, well, we never know what they are up to, so let’s ignore them for now. There is however a group that works 24:7 (please do not imply that those people are journo’s).

I am talking about the financial institutions, no matter how we oppose greed, it is the one motivator that will never stop being efficient in many walks of life. That consideration came to me as I read the article ‘HSBC’s response: ‘Standards of due diligence were significantly lower than today’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-responds-revelations-misconduct-swiss-bank) this morning.

The article is to some extent a barrel full of laughs. Let’s have a look at some of the mentioned things. The fun already starts at the second sentence “Private banks, including HSBC’s Swiss private bank, assumed that responsibility for payment of taxes rested with individual clients“, you see the word ‘assumed’, in this case that translate to, the bank sets the responsibility so that it makes an ‘ass’ of ‘you’, banks do not work from the ‘me’ setting (ass-u-me). When was the last time when you received a letter from a bank (any bank for that matter) where the word assumption was used? Most banking contracts have two one-sided parts, what your responsibilities are and how you get charged the moment you make an error (like simply withdrawing a little too much). So are you giggling yet?

The next one is an interesting one for more than one reason “HSBC’s Swiss private bank has reduced its client base by almost 70% since 2007“. Yes it is interesting, because WHERE did those people go to? The fact that they moved away from HSBC is no indication that there was a sudden massive influx of taxpayers, was there? So was the exodus reported on? My bet is that this was not; the statement is likely to be ‘this account is no longer under our care‘. This hunt for tax evasion, sounds nice, but it also comes with a flaw, not that I oppose such hunts (I will forever be roughly $1,915,000 short from making that list), but did some of these ‘witch hunters’ realise that moving these funds would have a side effect? You see, it would all be good and fine if those accounts all resorted to their original nation getting properly taxed, but that is not the case is it? As these Status Quo places get upset the dynamics change, when the accounts can no longer be hidden on Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland or Guernsey. How long until we see a new circle of banks, now in Bahrain, Dubai and Jeddah? Do not think this will not happen, because it already is happening (at http://www.thenational.ae/business/banking/dubai-islamic-bank-confident-on-loans-portfolio-thanks-to-record-profit), so as we are reading on how a bank voluntarily moved from 78 billion to 45 billion, I have to wonder on the impact of the sentence at the very end: “However, providing client data to foreign authorities would itself constitute a criminal offence under Swiss law“. This than gives rise to the question how these changes are enforced. More important, the sentence implies that providing client data to local authorities is an option, and what they do with it, is not covered here, but it is an interesting question to consider.

The second article, which also came from the Guardian discusses more HSBC issues in ‘HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-files-expose-swiss-bank-clients-dodge-taxes-hide-millions), so is this High School of Business Concealers a real bank? Well, that is a moral question not a scientific one. This is where we see more ways to get a case of the giggles. “The Swiss arm, the statement said, had not been fully integrated into HSBC after its purchase in 1999, allowing “significantly lower” standards of compliance and due diligence to persist“, so if we consider the leak by Hervé Falciani, which happened in 2007, considering the fact that the Swiss bank had been acquired in 1999, the simple question ‘Were banking executives allowed to sit on their hands for 8+ years?‘, the question might seem unfair, but no alignment in a bank that was until doing 78 billion seems very odd to me. It almost sounds like a trial in equity. “Yes, sir, I have washed my hands of everything and I have made very certain that I am not being kept in the loop for anything“, might make for interesting academic considerations, but so is the story of the Mayfair prostitute with her Hymen intact (the moral is that neither is realistic).

When you read on you will see the sentence “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai“, so is the interest of HSBC moving towards additional banks? That question is not asked and should some consider asking Lord Green (who was group Chairman of HSBC in those days), they are unlikely to get any answer.

It is so interesting to see the HSBC onslaught all over the Guardian, but this is not just about that event. It is also nice to see how last weekend, Yahoo reported on how the Swiss Franc is boosting business in German brothels, so in the end at least one party is getting screwed (the question is who of course). Weirdly enough, the Telegraph has a passable view written by Peter Spence (yes, I am surprised too). The end has the quote that mattered in my view “What has happened in Switzerland might be a sideshow compared with larger global players, but is illustrative of a world in which central banks are increasingly looked to for answers“, I am not sure whether this is entirely correct. There is a difference between incorrect and wrong, and this one skates on two sides, you see, the mess, which I discussed in ‘A seesaw for three‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/18/a-seesaw-for-three/) is still at the heart of this, there is a credit swap in play with many governments in play, it is a global dance act which includes the US, Japan and the bulk of the EEC nations, as tax havens are now under scrutiny, the people using them are looking for options, some will make a deal, but the larger part will be looking for an alternative, I reckon that the Swiss have been very aware with the move of those HSBC accounts and the question is not just where those 70% moved to, but who else will be moving sooner rather than later. When you consider that, we see the picture as it reshapes the issue. The Swiss are holding on for dear life and at some point the Franc will lose some of its value, but as this happens, we will also see a currency destabilisation. That part is seen (in my personal view) as Switzerland is no longer playing the ‘offset’ game for other loans, which means that the game will transfer to other shores, but which shores will they move to? That part is not a given, but when we see how new players are now willing to become a member of the banking secrets. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia would only need to adopt two rules in their banking laws (if they have not done so already).

  1. Providing client data to foreign authorities constitutes a criminal offence.
  2. Personal wealth can be declared via the bank, who will charge a fee of n% (where it is likely that n < 5).

After that, both the Oval office and Buckingham palace can kiss any chance of those taxable billions goodbye, which could spell a massive exodus from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey towards sandier shores, which will hurt the Commonwealth beyond expectations. All this started from the wrong viewpoint from the very beginning, the US became reckless on how it dealt with its 18 trillion in debt by going after non-taxed fortunes from American account holders, this drive (supported by many) started a new fire and now that the flames are getting higher, those avoiding taxation are moving to shores where not only is taxation an almost impossibility, it will also limit the other acts done by both the US and the EEC to keep their currencies high, which is an act that will backfire to some extent for a longer period of time.

Personally, I am all for holding the wealthy tax accountable; we all have to pay our taxation. Yet, at present, in this economy, we are now chasing those cars, whilst we have no parking lot, so even if one is caught, what to do with this person? The US, Greece, the UK and a few others should have seriously changed certain laws half a decade ago; this mess would not have been so complete. The fact that this hunt is so visible at present gives also pause for that what we do not see. Yes, we see that the US added 257,000 jobs in January, but how many are not shown as we also see that RadioShack is filing for bankruptcy this week with over 4,000 shops expected to close (2,000 went to sprint). A host of Shale gas companies will go the same way, whilst the mountain of companies going under in the oil and gas sector is a lot larger than many can fathom. These events have a clear bearing on the banks too. Shale gas operations, oil platforms, all these places will get hit and it will affect many banks who held onto debts with the certainty that black gold brought, now there is no blame here, yet the consequence of persecuting tax dodgers will also come with another negative boost as a league of them will move to the Arabian shores, when that happens, the little stability the Euro and the US dollar had, will go straight out of the window.

Here is the kicker, no matter how wrong the expression ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ is seen in light of the tax dodgers, we must wonder how much lower the coming negative financial waves would have been if the hunt for the tax dodgers would have been delayed. In the end, it was not a solution to not go after them, but the timing truly sucks. This situation translates to governments getting kicked in the head, just as they had just accidently stumbled through no fault of their own. Yet in all this, Greece has made ZERO clear steps in dealing with its own tax dodgers, so where to go next? More questions are to follow, but I am not sure if there will be ANY answers forthcoming as it seems that three parties have painted themselves in the corner, whilst the fourth was not in the room at all, in addition these four parties aren’t even clearly communicating with each other, their only goal is to meet their own needs whilst three cannot move and the fourth can’t get into the room, one would offer the thought that a mere pre teenager would have done a better job of it all. I am not sure if I could disagree.

 

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Rated into immorality

Can anyone explain something weird to me? The news is given (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/14/twitter-given-junk-credit-rating) to impress upon us a combination of values and steps that are beyond immoral. Consider the tweet, tweet twitter engine. I use it almost every day, it is the one unbiased part where we can follow events, people and companies so that we keep up to date, small messages that bring the actual information. A company that had a massive idea, is making money, when we see the quote “Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, pointed to S&P’s own words as comment: “Twitter will continue to experience very strong growth and not encounter a significant increase in competitive pressure.”“, we see issues, but is anyone seeing the question behind it? Then we see the one little gem hidden in all the text “The rating is unsolicited“, is this part of the issue? You see, as we look at companies, their revenue, their profit and some might consider their contribution, so as we look at it why is S&P suddenly decided ‘Twitter given junk credit rating‘? It seems to me that there is an economic shift going on. As companies are doing well, they are now getting downgraded for not meeting the expectations of some analysts.

Yet, where is this world going to?

Consider the application of morale (a word not found in a financiers dictionary) and reasoning for my thought train at present is the following: ‘Forex-rigging investigation: George Osborne gives full backing to SFO‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/14/forex-rigging-investigation-george-osborne-sfo). Libor, Forex, Tesco and there is absolutely ZERO indication that this is just it. At the edge of reason we see the quote ‘Because I don’t want you to see any of my wobbly bits‘, which sounds ample and applicable as the financial district of happily ‘screw everyone over‘, it is all about the wobbly bits, according to Bridget Jones!

Consider the Forex articles. The second one is http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/14/us-banks-forex-crime-idUSKCN0IY0LV20141114. The issue is not just the events, the quote “Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America Corp and UBS were hit with penalties. Barclays is still in talks with authorities over a settlement“, which not just how far the issue has overstepped, but the issue is where banking laws are falling short, short to the extent that we have in access of half a decade. The issues continued after the banking collapse as the financial population continued to be nothing more than an eager courtesan to the bonus they so crave. The end result is a malignant decay of morals, standards and all this now (as I personally see it) on the standards as the poor are left with less than none, so Standards & Poor it is!

We now get back to what I regard to be a new level of exploited levelling. Consider the hidden simplicity that Libor held; now consider that debt ratings Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and the relative newbie Egan-Jones decide on ratings. Combine ‘how to lie with statistics‘ (a famous book by Darrell Huff) and the need to manipulate the market for 23 billionaires and we see the light of junk status made Twitter in a whole new light. Consider the basic state of an economy. A company sells, makes profit and pays taxes, a nation flourishes! This is a naive (remember my non-economic degree?) approach towards the worlds cloud of business. Investors, shareholders, analysts and raters are a cog within a machine of cogs. Yet this inner circular machine is different. It inflates, malleably changes and coaches towards a change that seems to be intent on syphoning and draining virtual cash flows into a different premise of profit, which is then turned to actual money. In an age of debts that go beyond the total of all treasuries, virtual numbers that have little to no foundation. The foundations and the levels they have been compromised towards are of a dimension we never imagined possible. Consider that the big banks have been fined in excess of 2.3 billion (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/12/04/big-banks-fined-2-3b-over-illegal-libor-cartels-more-fines-on-the-way/), I wrote about it in ‘60% confiscated and counting in Cyprus!‘, on April 1st 2013, yet do not think this article to be a joke. I stated “If this is what frightens the US, then consider the consequences of a system like LIBOR being manipulated through the total value of trade. If that would have been off by 11.2%. Out of $1000T (UK and US combined) then that difference would be $112T“, several people laughed out loud then, yet now consider not just Libor, but the audited events of Tesco, the $5.3 trillion market of Forex and the fact that morality might be found in a church, but as we see the evidence, morality is not found in banks and financial institutions, where will it end?

With the Twitter events that question becomes more debatable and the impact that rating companies now impress upon profit turning companies have. Is it just about profit, or about the stated ‘anticipated statement of profit’? As certain ‘analysts’ claim that events are not exceeded, stock becomes junk, waves are created and as such, the welfare of companies are tweaked into a state of artificially changed state, some are inflated, some deflated, but always towards the claim of raters and analysts. The bottom line set towards an algorithm. Consider these states as we have seen not just the change of Tesco, but the events as they also gave way of downgraded profits with Sainsbury, which was not so vocally seen before that day in September. Interactions on many levels, based upon foundations that no one seems to question. Consider how the expectations were set by ‘analysts’ based upon data given to them and data available to them, now consider how Tesco had a quarter of a billion inflated and how the Pricewaterhouse Cooper auditors were ignorant of the inflated condition, now consider how Analysts used that element in predicting waves, the raters predicted and set the value and they are now setting the anticipation of investors and shareholders, an artificial pool with tidal wave creating capacity, and the two elements that have the ability to set the power and size of the waves. So how is your view of financial morality now? Consider the final part in this story. When we consider a story on Fortune titled ‘Twitter is junk, while Alibaba is class, ratings agencies say‘ (at http://fortune.com/2014/11/14/twitter-is-junk-while-alibaba-is-class-ratings-agencies-say/), why is that? Twitter is still holding its own, is it perhaps that the waves of Alibaba can be more easily influenced? Companies valued at the ability where the waves can be decided by the financial cogs, the stability of Twitter is less interesting to them, so they make way for whoever can aid in creating the waves these financial people want. (The last part you read is all speculation on my side), yet speculation or not, when we see the waves of Libor and Forex, are my thoughts so far out of bounds? How Twitter making millions is downgraded, how Tesco, beyond the inflated profits, still made a billion, it’s downgrade of 90% seems excessive beyond punishment, but Tesco is not a good example (because of their own internal manipulation), Consider the Fortune quote “And the fact that Alibaba is 90% dependent on a home market that is slowing, while acknowledged as a risk, doesn’t seem to scare the agencies“, it does not scare them, or it appeals the dependency of Alibaba to make certain decisions down the line? There is a side that seems ignored by all, I personally still have a hard time believing that (as my calculation went in ‘Price Waterfall Blooper‘ on October 25th) the price for 199 auditors could not find two events of inflation of each well over 100 million. Are my suspicions in regards to manipulations that far-fetched?

I wonder how long it will take for the law to catch up, for the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) or Crown Prosecuting Services (CPS) to get a handle on these events and deter these actions to such a degree. There should be additional questions as the raters are all American, in light of their shortfall that approaches 18 trillion at present. It seems that the US has no options, no solution and no resolution strategy, yet we see that the big four give ratings are all American. The last part is not an accusation in any way, yet the fact that the Auditors need new oversight, especially in the light of American auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Cooper as they will face questions regarding Tesco. As the 4 largest auditors include UK and Netherlands, why are there only American raters (of the proportions of the large 4)? With the risk of manipulation, should there not be a British and even a French or a Dutch rating service? Let’s not forget that PwC faces possible investigation, not because they are more likely than not guilty, but because their innocence needs to be proven beyond any doubt, especially in light of the amount of companies audited by them as well as the issue of 199 auditors (as I calculated them) not finding anything. When we consider the length of time that PwC has had Tesco as a customer, yet, these are two separate issues, there is no inkling of suspicion that auditors are part of any manipulation, yet the auditor’s data is essential to such steps.

Where is the solution?

Not sure if I know of one, laws can be made draconian to give much harsher sentence to the transgressors, but the issue is not the transgressors, the issue is that these ‘manipulators’ have by definition of law not broken any rules. Yes, we see the fines of Libor and soon Forex, these transgressions are seemingly clear, but what of the raters and the analysts? The issues of data are at the foundation here. That what is raw data and how it becomes processed data is now at the centre of it all. That what is construed to be the creator of waves through analysts, raters and auditors; Auditors collecting the data, analysts to manipulate (which is what they might see as a simple application of personal preference and weighting) and raters to set the pace for investors and shareholders.

So tell me, how wrong is MY view and why have these influential cogs not been dealt with through legislation?

 

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