AmeriFirst Welcomes New President to Southwest Division AmeriFirst AmeriTrust Company News 2018-04-02 Staff Writer Share AmeriFirst Home Mortgage (AmeriFirst), a division of AmeriFirst Financial Corp., has announced the appointment of Ronald Bergum as President of its newly formed Southwest Division. As a recognized mortgage industry leader, Bergum has held numerous executive level positions in the mortgage industry, with his most recent position of CEO at Prospect Mortgage, LLC, as well as serving as Co-CEO of Indymac Bank’s Retail Lending Group, and EVP of Production and Sales for the Western Retail Division of American Home Mortgage.“Ron has the unique ability to take his vision, passion and in-depth understanding of the mortgage industry’s competitive landscape and motivate his talented team to achieve exceptional results,” said David Gahm, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of AmeriFirst. “He has a track record of establishing a solid business foundation and building it into an industry leader and doing so in an industry that is often volatile and challenging. We are confident in his ability to successfully take us through this new phase of growth in Southern California.”AmeriFirst, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, opened its first Southern California branch in Rancho Cucamonga in mid-March of this year. Bergum will oversee the advancement of the company’s entrance in this market by with an initial team of 12 personnel who will offer a full range of purchase, refinance, renovation and construction loan options.The new full-service home loan center is operating under the name “AmeriTrust Home Mortgage,” to avoid confusion with Amerifirst Financial, Inc., which also operates in the southwest region.Bergum joins an organization comprised of over 600 professionals aimed at expanding homeownership opportunities, improving local communities, and making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. “I am excited and proud to be part of such an amazing company,” said Bergum. “We are fortunate to have recruited an incredibly talented team here in Southern California who is dedicated to delivering the same excellent customer experience for which the organization is known.” April 2, 2018 550 Views in Headlines, journal, News, Origination
RelatedAberdeen Airport experiences passenger growthA high demand for flights from the UK in July has helped boost airline traffic this summer.NATS records airport traffic declineTraffic at UK airports declined 0.8 percent in August compared to the same month last year, new figures have revealed.NATS reports UK air traffic declineNATS reports UK air traffic decline The number of flights handled by air traffic control organisation Nats was ten percent lower in January 2009 compared to January 2008.A total of 167,322 flights were handled in UK airspace in January – a fall from January 2008’s figure of 185,885.Forecasters had expected a decrease because this January had an extra weekend day, with Saturdays and Sundays seeing fewer flights than weekdays.Commenting on the figure, a Nats statement said: “All centres and airports where Nats provides the service saw a reduction in traffic this January, with the domestic market down by 12 percent, transatlantic arrivals and departures down by 9.5 percent and ‘other’ arrivals and departures down by 10.1 percent.”Despite the declining figures, flights to Greece and Turkey reported growth of 19 and 3.7 percent respectively, with long-haul flights between Canada and Germany increasing by 11.9 percent.Short-haul flights between Ireland and France were also up, recording an increase of 12.4 percent.Nats announced last month that it had handled 2.4 million flights in 2008, a 1.5 percent decrease from 2007’s figure. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
Stanislav GeorgievNetflix’s content has little appeal for CEE audiences, and OTT is currently only really useful as a way for pay TV providers to deliver catch-up and multiscreen services, attendees at the NEM heard this morning.Speaking on a panel on DTH and OTT at the event in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Stanislav Georgiev, head of broadcast at Telekom Austria Group, said that Netflix’s content is “irrelevant for this region” and that the subscription VOD service’s catalogue in this part of the world was “very disappointing”.He said that given that the latest US shows are broadcast on free TV channels, there is little rationale for SVOD across the region. Georgiev said OTT was really only needed as a technology solution to offer catch-up and multiscreen.Georgiev said that it is very hard to monetise OTT in the region, and in particular SVOD, and claimed that the likely revenues relative to the cost of content simply does not make it viable.Georgiev said Telekom Austria, which launched DTH in Croatia relatively recently, wanted to service households with whatever technology is available. “OTT is a natural step for multiscreen. We started with linear channels in Austria and added SVOD. But the primary reason we used OTT technology is interactivity – catch-up services and non-linear services and multiscreen.”He made an exception of Pickbox’s SVOD offering, saying that the local player had a relevant service for the region because of its content. “If something comes that is relevant, we as a telco would love to deliver it. If there is nothing relevant we make our own investment to offer interactive features [via OTT].”Telekom Austria’s strategy is to offer bundled services, driven by broadband rather than TV. “You have to start with broadband and then offer TV services on top of that,” he said. “If you go into a market where 80% of homes have satellite dishes then satellite makes sense.”Bill Wijdeveld, VP of business development at pay TV operator M7 Group, speaking on the same panel, said his company also saw OTT an enabler for things that are not efficient to do over satellite such as catch-up TV. “It is fully complementary,” he said.He said that M7 Group was beginning to build hybrid offerings to complement its DTH offerings and will launch its hybrid IP and satellite box in the Czech Republic and Slovakia this summer, enabling it to offer catch-up services. It has already launched this in the Benelux region and Austria.Wijdeveld said that M7 was open to making Netflix available through its boxes. “For Netflix it may be wise to team up with operators. We don’t see it as a threat. We are a content enabler.”CEE markets ‘too small’ for NetflixYesterday at NEM, Central European Media Enterprises (CME) co-CEO Christophe Mainusch said that Netflix will not be able to compete with local players in central and eastern Europe because the markets are too small to justify a significant investment in local content by the subscription VoD giant, and because the price difference between Netflix and existing pay TV services is not large enough to incentivise pay TV subscribers to churn.Mainusch said that local broadcasters and video-on-demand providers had two advantages over Netflix. First, he said, the price difference between pay TV and Netflix was not as great as in the US. Second, Netflix has no local content in the CEE markets, unlike in the US. He claimed that CME’s on-demand services, Voyo and – in Croatia – Oyo, are therefore likely to be able to compete effectively.Christoph MainuschMainusch said that most primetime viewing at CME-owned Nova TV in Czech Republic, for example, is locally produced content. He claimed that Netflix will not be able to compete because these markets are “simply too small”. CME and its peers can provide compelling VoD platforms that will be able to outperform transnational players, he added.Mainusch said that predictions of the decline of traditional free and pay TV broadcasting in general is misplaced. He said that total TV usage has increased by 13% in the CEE countries in which CME is active over the last 10 years, and the number of channels in the Czech Republic has almost doubled in the same period. The number of free channels has increased five fold in 10 years, he said, while pay TV penetration has grown from 39 to 65% over the same period.“TV has experienced immense fragmentation over the last 10 years. The number of channels will grow in the next 10 years by 50%. But fragmentation – the increase of the number of channels – is much stronger than the loss of viewing of main linear TV channels.”He said that traditional broadcasters can stay ahead by following a multichannel strategy. The main TV groups in Czech Republic have only lost 10% of their viewership despite the proliferation of channels., while CME’s ad market share has grown from 48% to 54% over the last 10 years.“The question is will the TV industry experience the same fate as the music industry and will the CEE market experience the same as the US market?” said Mainusch, referring to US ‘cord-nevers’ – millennials who had never signed up for pay TV and never would.He said the answer is no, noting that TV had always reached consumers electronically and the changes were not so disruptive as those faced by the music industry.Mainusch said that challenges remain – notably the advance of multiscreen viewing and the proliferation of content sources. “We are fighting for the time of consumers and competition is stronger as we are confronted by new players, but these risks are balanced by opportunities to make our content available on all platforms at all times.”Mainusch said that online share of advertising had grown from 4% to 17% but that TV’s share had also grown in the last 10 years, mostly at the expense of print. He said that TV is still the strongest and “generates a deeper connection and attracts more attention than any other medium”.To ensure that this continues, TV has to be available on all platforms. “Fragment before others do it for you” and maintain strong brands, he advised. “Don’t be afraid of Facebook and Twitter. Use them as well they need our content and will be valuable partners for us in the future.”Mainusch said premium content is key to the future of TV as is a local presence and a strong investment in news and journalism. In addition, broadcasters have to offer millennials the content they want and ensure that it is present everywhere and convenient for viewers, he said.Live OTT is part of the future of TV and the future of the internet is “more like TV rather than the other way around,” according to Mainusch.He conceded that linear broadcasters do face challenges, noting that premium content is expensive, and that demand for premium content in CEE is much greater than the market is able to provide. The main means of financing content is advertising and there is therefore a need for measurement systems that capture all video consumption in order for broadcasters to make money from non linear consumption, he said. “Time shifted viewing is measured but not allocated to the channels in some of our markets.”
Global sports media outfit Perform Group, which operates the DAZN sports OTT TV service, has named former ESPN president John Skipper as its executive chairman.Skipper, based in New York, will oversee all of Perform Group’s operations and strategy and report to the Board. Simon Denyer, Perform Group’s Founder, will continue as CEO based in London.Perform is majority-owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. Commenting on the appointment of Skipper, Blavatnik said that Perform was “one of the most important brands in the sports media industry and a key holding in the Access portfolio”.Skipper resigned from ESPN in December, citing “substance addiction” as a reason for his surprise departure. He later told the Hollywood Reporter that a cocaine dealer had attempted to extort him. He was replaced on an interim basis by ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer.“Simon and his team have built an enormously impressive company, providing an excellent base to establish a global leadership position in the over-the-top sports subscription business, the clear future of sports delivery. Perform Group’s platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world,” said Skipper“Perform is rapidly expanding its role in sports media with significant investments in the best content and our own platform. We are now preparing to push forward with the expansion of DAZN, our live and on-demand streaming service, in more major markets around the world. DAZN is revolutionising how fans watch their favourite sports. John is one of the most significant leaders in the history of our industry, and I am delighted that he has agreed to join me and the team to help take Perform to the next level of our ambitions,” said Denyer.
The virtual reality headset market returned to growth in Q3 2018 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined VR and AR device market, according to IDC.The research firm said that global shipments for VR headsets reached 1.9 million units in the third quarter, up 8.2% year-on-year, as discounts on existing products and interest in new ones led to shipment gains in both the consumer and commercial markets.During the quarter, IDC estimated that shipments of screenless viewers such as Samsung’s Gear VR declined 58.6%, while standalone headsets grew 428.6% and accounted for 20.6% of the VR headset market.Facebook’s Oculus Go and Xiaomi’s Mi VR – the same headset, offered in different markets by the two companies – together shipped nearly a quarter million headsets worldwide, making it the most popular standalone headset by a wide margin, according to the research.Tethered VR headsets, meanwhile, surpassed one million units for the second time, making Q3 2018 the best third quarter on record. IDC said that Sony shipped 463,000 PSVR headsets during the quarter followed by Oculus with 300,000 and HTC with 230,000.“The VR market is finally starting to come into its own,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “On the consumer front, the combination of lower prices and increased content is beginning to resonate with users. Meanwhile, commercial adoption is also on the rise for a range of use cases, including training, design, and showcasing.”IDC’s program vice president, devices and augmented and virtual reality, Tom Mainelli, added: “The VR market is entering a new stage of maturity, where companies are setting aside the unrealistic expectations around explosive market growth and are focused instead on building more sustainable businesses.”The news follows a recent CSS Insight report that claimed sales of virtual and augmented reality headsets and glasses will decline year-on-year in 2018 before returning to growth in 2019.CCS Insight expects that slightly less than 8 million AR and VR devices will be sold in 2018, down from 10 million in 2017. However, it projects sales will grow to 14 million in 2019 and reach 52 million in 2022, with the technology still holding significant long-term potential.
The marriage of Google and Motorola Mobility raises a number of intriguing possibilities, writes Kate Bulkley.Several years ago the verb ‘to Google’ entered the dictionary. It meant finding something online, generally by using the world’s most popular search engine site. But the recent US$12.5 billion (€8.7 billion) acquisition by Google from Motorola Mobility, which includes the mobile phone handset and set-top box making businesses as well as 17,000 patents, means that for the pay TV industry, and the technology business in general, the term Googling could be taking on a much bigger definition.Google has built its reputation on search software and knowing stuff about those who use it. Any interest in hardware was minimal – for example, the Google TV set-top is more a means to an end than a destination in itself.And that generally has been the thinking in the technology business: hardware suppliers were one kind of company and software suppliers were another. Of course Apple has shaken that up big time, re-introducing the vertically integrated model to great success by owning hardware, software and services. Others have taken note: the first big thing the new head of Nokia did after he joined the Finnish mobile handset maker was to tie-up an exclusive software deal this past spring with Microsoft.The needs of Google’s own Android operating system – and the lacklustre performance of Google TV – have led the search giant to take a page out of Apple’s handbook. By buying Motorola, Google has power in both the hardware and software worlds and, crucially, it has the patents it needs to build an intellectual property fortress around Android and against rivals (including Microsoft and Apple).It’s pretty clear that it is Motorola’s patents that are the most important part of the deal. Protecting the Android mobile ecosystem is key to Google’s future as its moves beyond the PC. There is a patent war underway in the mobile space and Google needs ammunition to defend Android. It is little wonder that the shares in companies like HTC and Samsung went up on early news of the deal because the market figured that Googorola would license the Motorola patents to these handset makers, strengthening their own positions in the ‘Android versus the others’ battle.The hardware businesses produce much lower margins, and it is argued that Google doesn’t ‘get’ hardware. Google itself has downplayed the importance of the hardware side of the business, although Googorola could integrate its hardware with Android and leave other handset makers out in the cold. So far the market believes that keeping other manufacturers on board is more important than a vertical integration strategy like that of Apple. (Of course Google could just label the hardware businesses – both handsets and set-tops – as ‘too difficult’ and sell them off.)On the set-top box side, pushing an Android-only agenda could prove difficult. One industry executive told me he couldn’t see big US pay TV clients (including Comcast) that buy quite a bit of Motorola kit being told they now have to accept an Android-powered set-top box that opens them up to sharing advertising revenue with Google.For the moment at least, Google has said that it will run the Motorola hardware businesses as a separate operating unit. Googorola would be the single largest equipment supplier to the US cable industry, beating Cisco by two-to-one in sales. The set-top box business produces US$3.7bn in revenues and throws off over 85% of Motorola Mobility’s operating profits, but once subsumed in Google it would be a minnow. According to Bernstein Research, on a 12-month basis the set-top business would represent 8% of Googorola’s consolidated revenues and just 2.6% of the new company’s operating income. And perhaps more importantly, the set-top business in the US is more open than it was, with companies including Pace, Samsung and Technicolor picking up business. (Smaller players might face a slightly different situation, especially if they are up against Google’s applications such as YouTube and Google TV sitting on top of the operating system in a hybrid IP/QAM set-top box.)A handheld device using Android and integrating Google search and Google Plus, the fledgling social network, could make competitors from Apple to Facebook sit up and take notice. But on the other hand, Google has had little success up to now selling the idea of Android to pay TV operators and Google TV is not even out of the starting gate yet. I can see the attraction of ‘doing an Apple’ but I think Googorola will face a tough sell.According to Bernstein Research, Googorola should try to keep the US cable business onside by offering help with addressable advertising and audience measurement. But success would hinge around what the percentage is for both sides as well as who owns the data. I can imagine that this won’t be an easy discussion, in any case.The new definition of being Googled? Pay TV operators should probably keep their set-top box options open or it could come to mean more than they bargained for.Kate Bulkley is a broadcaster and writer specialising in media and telecommunications. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vodafone was hit by a perfect storm in its end of year results, leading the mobile and fixed telecom giant to cut its long-preserved dividend by 40% after it sustained a massive loss.While the company’s €7.6 billion loss was primarily due to a loss on disposal of Vodafone India (following the completion of the merger with Idea Cellular, Vodafone was also hit by competition in key markets including Spain.Including the VodafoneZiggo JV in the Netherlands, Vodafone had 13.6 million TV customers at the end of its financial year, stable year-on-year, with a significant decline in Spain offsetting some gains elsewhere.Vodafone said it maintained good momentum in all markets except Spain, where it has struggled in the wake of its decision not to renew unprofitable football rights.In the Spanish market, the company lost 49,000 TV customers along with 123,000 fixed broadband and 115,000 mobile customers. However, it saw an upturn in its fiscal Q4, with the addition of 36,000 TV customers and 1,000 broadband customers. Vodafone revamped its TV offering in Spain last month, with new thematic packs bringing more flexibility for customers.In Germany, Vodafone’s biggest TV market, the company’s cable unit lost 92,000 TV customers, which it said reflected the loss of low ARPU basic access customers following the shut-down of analogue services.Group revenue declined by 6.2% to €43.7 billion. The company posted an operating loss of €951 million, down €5.3 billion, primarily due to impairments totalling €3.5 billion in Spain, Romania and Vodafone Idea and €0.3 billion of losses from its equity associates and JVs, with losses in Vodafone Idea partially offset by gains at VodafoneZiggo and Safaricom.CEO Nick Read said that the group had experienced “good growth in most markets but also increased competition in Spain and Italy and headwinds in South Africa. These challenges weighed on our service revenue growth during the year, and together with high spectrum auction costs have reduced our financial headroom”.Read confirmed that Vodafone expects to complete its acquisition of Liberty Global’s German and central European businesses in July, following the final decision of EU regulators on the deal.Vodafone has meanwhile confirmed that it will switch on its 5G service in the UK on July 3, the first time it has confirmed a UK date for 5G. The company has set a goal of building Europe’s largest 5G network, reaching over 50 cities by the end of 2020 following commercial launches during the summer.
In This Issue. * Jobs and inflation data * Manufacturing sector disappoints * Gold and silver shine * Most currencies rise And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Metals turn in a stellar performance… Good day.and welcome to Friday morning. The relative calm that we saw on Wednesday gave way to some strong moves yesterday in all of the asset classes, which especially holds true for metals. Things began the day on the slow side but really took off around lunch time. I was in search of the trigger but couldn’t really pinpoint anything so I think it was a combination of several items that pushed traders over the line. Economic data, focus on a September taper, disappointing earnings for Wal-Mart, as well as the unrest in Egypt all had a hand in the cookie jar. Since I mentioned economic data, let’s take a look at the tape. The list was quite extensive but let’s first check out the weekly figures. The number of initial claims dropped to 320k and was the lowest figure since October 2007 while the previous week was revised up to 335k. It’s clear that firings or layoffs have been becoming less frequent, as evidenced by the six year low seen in the jobless claims, but is that due to a strong wave of new job hirings. If we look to the July jobs report, you can make the case it at least supports that view but I haven’t seen where job creation is sitting on a six year high that would offset the six year low for initial claims. The number of those receiving jobless benefits is still fluctuating around 3 million, but the latest report did fall below that mark. If we include the 1.55 million who have exhausted their traditional benefits or currently receiving emergency and extended benefits, we still have roughly 4.5 million receiving some type of employment related assistance. The better than expected outcome has traders betting on a better than expected August jobs report, which we’ll see right before that all important Sept Fed meeting. Both the jobs report and the next item that I’ll talk about, which is CPI, strengthened the case for tapering so the dollar actually increased during early trading. The cost of living, also known as the consumer price index or CPI, increased for a third month in July as it matched the expected result of 0.2%. The annual headline inflation figure increased to 2%. As Chuck has explained several times, inflation impacts people differently as everyone’s basket of goods will vary, but I just don’t see how anyone who lives in the real world has only experienced 2% inflation. The government likes to concentrate on core inflation, which strips out food and energy costs, so the core July consumer inflation rate increased to 1.7% from 1.6%. I recently received my homeowner’s insurance bill and I can tell you it increased a heck of a lot more than 1.7% or 2%. Anyway, the Fed was making a big deal about inflation running too low, so the increase supported those looking for a September taper. And that’s right about where taper friendly data ended and so did the dollar buying bias. The empire manufacturing report, which is the New York area, came in both lower than expected as well as lower than the previous reading but it did remain in positive territory. The same scenario can also be said about manufacturing in the Philly region as we saw that report come in lower but did manage to keep it’s head above water. While we’re on the manufacturing sector, industrial production or factory output was flat during the month of July by coming in at 0.0% and was lower than the previous reading of 0.2%. The sister report, capacity utilization, measures the amount of plants currently in use and fell to 77.6%. We also saw the manufacturing production report fall for the first time in three months by coming in at -0.1% in July. Those three reports helped to turn the tide against the dollar as the contingent of traders hyping the taper talk had to make a quick exit. It still amazes me how the market has become so wishy washy and temperamental. I’ll quickly touch on the remaining data from yesterday, starting with the TIC flows. This report, which tracks foreign investment in US securities, used to hold a lot of weight but lost its relevance when the Fed began its massive bond buying program. Regardless, we saw foreigners sell a record amount of Treasuries in June with China shedding the most since December 2011. We also saw a consumer confidence report fall a bit while a homebuilder confidence index rose to the highest level since Nov 2005. We get housing starts and building permits for July this morning and then next week shapes up to be pretty bare in the data department that will primarily focus on more July housing data. As I mentioned, the currency market turned on a dime as the euro was trading with a low 1.32 figure early in the morning but was back up in the mid 1.33 range when I left the office last night. The big story wasn’t necessarily currencies, although it was a good day for many of them, but instead gold and silver stole the show. Silver gained over 5% while gold was up nearly 2.25% yesterday and to take it one step further, the returns so far this week were roughly 13.5% and 4% respectively. It sure is nice to finally see some tlc given to these assets, but we can attribute the gains to several factors. First, the fall in equities has definitely helped but a weaker dollar, the unrest in Egypt, the rise in commodities as a whole, and breaking through some technical barriers all lent a hand. With gold breaking through a key resistance level of $1,350, the stage was set for a lot of black box trades that jumped the priced up to $1,370 in a hurry. Silver topped $23.19, which was the highest price since May 22, and has risen 24% from the nearly three year low on June 27. I was very surprised as to how fast the metals prices changed course from some relatively large losses in the morning to those lofty levels in the afternoon. The currency earning the gold star yesterday was the Swiss franc as it appreciated just over 1%. The euro had a good day so the success of the franc wasn’t totally self fulfilling but we did get a report that showed the Swiss current account surplus for 2012 increased to 66 billion, or 11% of GDP. Since I mentioned the euro, I saw a report where the German chamber of commerce believes that Germany could surpass the US as the world’s second biggest exporter after China. The pound sterling also finished the day on the winning end and rose into the 1.56 handle after July retail sales increased more than expected. The Mexican peso came in last place as thoughts that lower US stimulus will lead to a slower economy and the Brazilian real got knocked down to a four year low of 2.35. The big question remains as to when the government says enough. As I came in this morning, the lofty levels we saw yesterday afternoon have remained intact for the most part as gold is sitting on $1,365 and silver on $22.90. Not that it will have an impact on the currency since its pegged to the US dollar, but Hong Kong GDP rose more than expected in the second quarter and contributed to the government increased growth estimates this year to 2.5%-3.5% from the previous forecast of 1.5%-3.5% in May. We also saw the measure of eurozone exports increase for the first time in three months as it rose 3% in June while July inflation held steady at 1.6%. Other than that, housing data due this morning will get the day started. For What It’s Worth.U.S. Treasury yield hits highest level since 2011. The 10-year Treasury yield has reached a two-year high, as traders speculate positive economic reports will lead the Federal Reserve will phase out quantitative easing earlier than expected. The 10-year yield hit an intraday high of 2.819% on Thursday, according to Tradeweb. I just wonder if the Fed members are beginning feel the heat from these higher yields. To recap.The dollar started the day on the rise but that quickly reversed direction and ended the day in the dog house. The improved weekly jobless number and marginally higher inflation supported a September taper while the slower industrial and manufacturing numbers poured cold water on those thoughts. July housing data will take over today’s data dump as well as dominating next week’s sparse schedule. Gold and silver stole the show by putting together some impressive gains while most currencies finished in positive territory. The Swiss franc and pound sterling led the way while the Brazilian real and Mexican peso struggled. Currencies today 8/16/13. American Style: A$ .9177, kiwi .8079, C$ .9682, euro 1.3342, sterling 1.5641, Swiss $1.0794, . European Style: rand 9.9909, krone 5.9122, SEK 6.5204, forint 224.98, zloty 3.1678, koruna 19.3616, RUB 32.9212, yen 97.53, sing 1.2702, HKD 7.7542, INR 61.7063, China 6.1665, pesos 12.8345, BRL 2.3407, Dollar Index 81.24, Oil $107.50, 10-year 2.78%, Silver $22.85, Platinum $1,521.70, Palladium $756.65, and Gold. $1,364.45 That’s it for today.Chuck will be back in action on Monday so at least you have that to look forward to. I’m going on my first family vacation this weekend to the Lake of the Ozarks, which is about 3 hours away from St. Louis, so I’m looking forward to the closing bell. Actually, my wife and daughter already made the drive yesterday morning and then I’ll meet up with them this afternoon, so it was just me and the dog last night. We have a yellow lab who just loves to pick up anything and everything and drop it at your feet with hopes it gets tossed so that she can chase it. With nobody else to keep her company, I kept getting her favorite toys dropped in my lap while I was trying to gather my Pfennig thoughts. Well, if you haven’t had a chance, take a minute and check out that new MarketSafe CD. That’s it for me today, so until next time, Have a Great Day! Mike Meyer Assistant Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
About a quarter of Americans surveyed say they’ve had trouble paying for their prescription drugs, and a majority welcome government action to help cut the cost of medications.A survey released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many people have skipped or rationed their prescription medications or have substituted cheaper over-the-counter drugs. The result? Those who ration their meds are often sicker, the poll finds. The responses also illustrate why prescription drug prices are such a big issue for the Trump administration and on Capitol Hill. “We’ve heard a lot of stories about the high prices that millions of American patients pay, and struggle to pay, for their drugs every month,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a speech to the Bipartisan Policy Center on Feb. 1. Azar was touting one of a series of regulatory proposals that he says will bring down prescription drug prices for consumers.The survey suggests that a change like that would be well received. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said drug prices are unreasonable. And 63 percent said there’s not as much regulation as there should be to help limit the price of prescription drugs. Don’t see the graphic above? Click here.”Financial barriers for medication use are not rare, and they can actually have and are having, a detrimental effect on our fellow citizens’ health,” Inmaculada Hernandez, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, said in an email. “With the current awareness and the bipartisan agreement in the recognition of drug prices as a major concern, we are in an optimal environment for the design and implementation of policies targeted at controlling prices, and assuring the affordability of medications to the U.S. public.”The poll also offers some guidance about which proposals would be most popular and which arguments proponents and opponents would be able to use to sway public opinion their way.Don’t see the graphic above? Click here.For example, 86 percent of respondents say they support having Medicare negotiate directly with drug companies to get lower prices.Right now, Medicare is barred from direct negotiations, but Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced a bill last month that would change that — a move drug companies oppose.The poll shows that consumer support grows when people are told that such a change could lead to lower prices for senior citizens. But that support for Medicare negotiations crumbles to just 31 percent when people are told that pharmaceutical companies may cut back on research if prices decline. Richard Gonzalez, CEO of drugmaker AbbVie, said just that at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday. In response to a question, he said AbbVie makes a profit in European countries, where its prices are much lower. But if U.S. prices fell to the same level, he warned, “I can just tell you that AbbVie would not be able to invest in the level of R & D that it invests in today.” AbbVie makes the biologic drug Humira, which is the bestselling prescription drug in the world.It’s unclear that this argument will hold up, as the debate over the drug-negotiation bill in Congress progresses. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., responded by saying that the pharmaceutical industry spent $79 billion on sales, marketing and administration last year — $22 billion more than it spent on research.The poll finds that 80 percent of Americans surveyed say that drug company profits are a major factor contributing to the price of prescription drugs. And only 25 percent trust drugmakers to price their products fairly, the poll finds.The poll also finds that 65 percent of people surveyed support tying the price that Medicare pays for prescription drugs to the prices paid by the health services of other countries. The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed that the prices of some cancer, arthritis and other medications administered in doctors’ offices and hospitals be based on an index of prices paid in other developed countries. A group of 57 conservative organizations opposes the idea. “The proposed payment model imports foreign price controls into the U.S.,” the group warned in a letter to the department.But the Kaiser poll finds that the 65 percent of people who like the idea is almost the same as the share who favor outright limits to Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs.The survey also finds widespread support, 88 percent, for another Trump administration initiative — requiring drug companies to include their products’ list prices in television, magazine and other direct-to-consumer ads. The nationwide survey of 1,440 adults was conducted from Feb. 14 to 24. The margin of error for the poll overall is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
FormAssembly’s New $10 Million Series A Funding Aimed at Helping Organizations Safely Navigate Data Collection in an Age of Regulation PRNewswireJune 5, 2019, 10:35 pmJune 5, 2019 data collection platformFormAssemblyfundingGeorge McCullochLevel EquityMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleValidity Receives Strategic Investment from Providence Strategic Growth and Silversmith Capital Partners, Completes Acquisition of Return PathNext ArticleBraze Partners with Snowflake to Provide Customers with Improved Data Agility and Customer Engagement Benchmarks FormAssembly, the leading enterprise data collection platform, announced that it has secured $10 million in Series A funding from New York based investment firm Level Equity. In connection with the investment, George McCulloch, partner at Level Equity, will join FormAssembly’s board of directors.The funding will help FormAssembly accelerate its mission to enable businesses to collect and process data securely and responsibly. This is the bootstrapped company’s first infusion of capital since its founding in 2006, and comes on the heels of a new wave of consumer demand for data regulation; demand which has recently paved the way for the European GDPR and numerous similar legislative attempts in the U.S.“We’re in the midst of a massive shift in the way businesses, consumers, and regulators think about the collection, sharing, and use of personal data,” said FormAssembly CEO and Founder Cedric Savarese. “We have a unique opportunity to combine our state-of-the-art data collection and workflow automation platform with tools and services designed to help our customers be good stewards of the data entrusted to them. Level Equity, with its vast insight and experience, is the ideal partner to help us scale up our vision.”Marketing Technology News: US Podcast Ad Revenues Hit Historic $479 Million in 2018, an Increase of 53% over Prior Year, According to IAB & PwC ResearchFormAssembly is a 2018 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Company in America, and serves thousands of customers, including Fortune 500 leaders such as Amazon, Aetna and Volvo, across verticals where compliance and privacy are critical, such as financial services, healthcare, life sciences, and higher education.“We’re excited to partner with FormAssembly, a company that has established itself as the leader in the Salesforce ecosystem, and is ideally placed to meet the growing demand for secure, compliant data collection,” said investor George McCulloch. “For most companies, building and running a data collection platform is labor intensive and costly due to the expenses incurred in ensuring compliance with complex and ever-increasing regulatory guidelines. FormAssembly alleviates those concerns by facilitating data compliance with an easy-to-use and cost-effective platform.”Marketing Technology News: Hitachi and Virtusa Partner to Advance AI in Financial ServicesFormAssembly intends to use the proceeds to aggressively expand its 100 percent remote team. The company prides itself on having adopted a fully distributed organization, a move which has allowed it to attract top talent from around the globe, and better service its world-wide customer base with around-the-clock support. The emphasis on remote culture and healthy work-life-balance has allowed the off-the-beaten-path company to thrive – and earn a 2019 IndyStar Best Place to Work award in the process.“As an employee, the virtual environment has afforded me the opportunity to move my family all around the country, and I could still do what I love here at FormAssembly,” said Drew Buschhorn, senior software architect, who recently celebrated 10 years at the company. “I firmly believe that autonomy plays a vital role with employee satisfaction and allows us to deliver the best possible product for our customers.”Marketing Technology News: Box Maintains Aggressive Revenue Growth in Q1; Reveals Loyal Customers Continue to Drive Sales
Citation: Winklevoss twins pitch plan to regulate digital money (2018, March 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-winklevoss-twins-pitch-digital-money.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP Twins who made a fortune in cryptocurrency after settling a claim they came up the idea for Facebook on Tuesday pitched a plan to regulate the wild digital money market. Britain urges global regulation of bitcoin A virtual currency policing body proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was welcomed by US Commodity Futures Trading Commission member Brian Quintenz.”We believe adding an additional layer of oversight on virtual commodity cash markets, in the form of self-regulation, is important for consumer protection and to ensure the integrity of these markets,” Cameron Winklevoss said in online post.The brothers, who established and operate Gemini bitcoin exchange in New York City, proposed an industry-sponsored virtual commodity association to establish and police cryptocurrency standards.The Winklevoss twins contended that the creation of an independent regulatory body is the “next logical step in the maturation of this market.”The British government early this year called for global regulation of controversial virtual currency bitcoin, adding that the G20 would address the topic this month.Bitcoin is independent of governments and banks and uses blockchain technology, where encrypted digital coins are created by supercomputers.The virtual currency is not regulated by any central bank but is instead overseen by a community of users who try to guard against counterfeiting.Virtual currency exchanges have seen tremendous volatility, and have sparked concerns they can be used to launder money for criminal networks.Trading of digital currency in the US is regulated as a commodity, such as corn or oil.Quintenz congratulated the Winklevoss brothers for “their energetic leadership and thoughtful approach” to the idea of a regulatory body.”A virtual commodity SRO that has the most independence from its membership, the most diversity of views, and the strongest ability to discover, reveal, and punish wrongdoing will add the most integrity to these markets,” Quintenz said in a statement.The Winklevoss twins are part of the story of Facebook’s controversial genesis story.In 2008, a $65 million settlement was reached with three Harvard classmates—twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra—over their charges that Mark Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from them.The conflict was at the heart of “The Social Network,” the Oscar-winning film written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss call for an independent regulatory body to oversee the digital money market Explore further
0 politics SHARE Published on He rang in the second generation of reforms Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s full five-year term as Prime Minister, heading a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government between 1999 and 2004, can be described as the golden period for privatisation of public sector undertakings (PSUs), a thorny and sensitive political issue.While Congressman PV Narasimha Rao as prime minister started the disinvestment of PSUs through minority stake sales earlier, it was Vajpayee who took the bold gamble of taking the asset sale process to an entirely new realm by opting for privatisation of these entities, which was euphemistically called as “strategic sales”.Vajpayee picked an able lieutenant in Arun Shourie, to carry out his plan.The NDA Government first carved out a separate Department of Disinvestment which was later converted into a full-fledged ministry helmed by Shourie with Pradip Baijal as the secretary. A separate Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) was set up to consider and clear transactions.The zeal with which the Shourie-Baijal duo went about their job with the backing of Vajpayee is reflected in the sheer number of privatisation deals.Privatisation dealsBharat Aluminium Co Ltd, CMC Ltd, Hindustan Zinc Ltd, HTL Ltd, Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd, Modern Food Industries Ltd, Paradeep Phosphates Ltd, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Maruti Udyog Ltd, two hotel units of Hotel Corporation of India Ltd and 17 hotel units of Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) were sold to private firms, while IBP & Co Ltd was acquired by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.The privatisation process would have reached staggering proportions had the Supreme Court not stepped in to halt the privatisation of oil refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), observing that the plan to privatise these two firms required parliamentary backing.“…these are not the crown jewels of India’s economy but bleeding ulcers,” Shourie told this correspondent in an interview to BusinessLine at the time when pressure was mounting from his cabinet colleagues such as Ram Naik of BJP, George Fernandes of Samata Party (the Defence Minister who was also the NDA Convenor), Pramod Mahajan of BJP and Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal, to turn back on attempts to privatise some of the PSUs.OppositionOpposition came not just from within the NDA Government but also from the bureaucracy as control over PSUs meant jobs, patronage and the ability to make money through PSU contracts. The NDA Government was also attacked by the Left Parties for privatising PSUs.The Swadeshi Jagran Manch was also against disinvestment and demanded that the Disinvestment Ministry be disbanded, while the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union outfit owing allegiance to the BJP, told the NDA Government not to privatise profit-making PSUs.Scores of other PSUs that were lined up for strategic sales escaped privatisation simply because the NDA, surprisingly, lost in the May 2004 elections.And, disinvestment has never been the same again — either during the ten-year rule of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, headed by Manmohan Singh, or the present NDA government, led by Narendra Modi. Both have been cautious on treading the privatisation path strode by Vajpayee, who managed to keep his detractors at bay. August 16, 2018 AB VAJPAYEE 1924-2018A kitty that funds roads even today Divestment has never been the same again — either during the UPA or the NDA rule RELATED people death COMMENTS SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT
Published on Satellite image taken on October 20, 2018 (09.45 IST) Source: IMD The countdown may have started but it would take longer to announce the onset of a canonical North-East monsoon, according to sources in India Met Department (IMD). This, however, is not to deny the probability of rainfall over the South Peninsula next week rounded off by by the formation of a low-pressure area. Rains sans monsoonAlso, withdrawal of the South-West monsoon, which has overstayed its tenure, should be complete over the next two days. This should normally leave the space for the North-East monsoon, but not just yet. This is being attributed to some ‘extra-territorial anomalies’ involving a high-pressure area farther to the latitudes North of Asia, which actually steers the North-East monsoon flows. Wind-field projections of the IMD too suggest that the easterly winds over entire Peninsular India would achieve peak strength only after October 25. But that will not prevent rains from lashing the South Peninsula falling under the footprint of the North-East monsoon during the emerging week. The US National Centres for Environmental Prediction suggests that organised rainfall that heralds the season would begin only after October 27, more than a week behind the normal onset window. Circulation under watchThe IMD said last night that conditions are becoming favourable for withdrawal of the South-West monsoon from the entire country latest by tomorrow. This would also mean that conditions may become favourable for the North-East monsoon thereafter. There is no simultaneous switchover this time round, though.The IMD also pointed to a persisting cyclonic circulation over the Gulf of Thailand, just across the South-East Bay of Bengal. This is expected to emerge into the North Andaman Sea and under its influence, a low-pressure area is likely to form over North Andaman Sea and neighbourhood by Monday.The IMD does not see the ‘low’ gaining much traction since its movement is forecast to be wobbly. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts tends to agree with it lately. The latter now sees the possibility of a system developing closer to the Tamil Nadu-Sri Lanka coasts by October 30, which should help intensify the North-East monsoon. SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL October 20, 2018 weather COMMENT COMMENTS