Archive for June, 2012

John Embry on Gold, Silver, Currencies and Commodities


Commodities / Commodities Trading
Jun 30, 2012 – 11:16 AM

By: Ron_Hera


The Hera Research Newsletter is pleased to present the following insightful interview with John Embry, Chief Investment Strategist of Sprott Asset Management LP, where he plays an instrumental role in the corporate and investment policy of the firm. Mr. Embry, who is a world renowned expert on the gold market and on gold and precious metals mining shares, currently focuses on the Sprott Gold and Precious Minerals Fund. Mr. Embry has researched the gold sector since 1963 and has more than thirty years of industry experience as a portfolio management specialist.

After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Mr. Embry began his investment career as a stock selection analyst and Portfolio Manager at Great West Life, where he later became Vice President of Pension Investments for the entire firm. After 23 years with the company, he became a Partner in United Bond and Share, an investment counseling firm acquired by Royal Bank in 1987.

At Royal Bank, Mr. Embry was named Vice-President, Equities and Portfolio Manager at RBC Global Investment Management, a $33 billion organization where he oversaw $5 billion in assets, including the flagship $2.9 billion Royal Canadian Equity Fund and the $250 million Royal Precious Metals Fund, which was the #1 ranked fund in Canada for its 2002 net performance of 153%.Hera Research Newsletter (HRN): Thank you for joining us today. Let’s talk about gold stocks.

John Embry: Gold stocks represent a tremendous value in relation to the price of gold and to the fundamentals of the sector. There has been tremendous shorting activity by hedge funds and, as a result, dedicated gold funds have experienced redemptions. Retail investors, who are natural buyers of these stocks, have been annihilated by the price action. This has created one of the finest opportunities, if not the finest opportunity, that I have ever seen.

HRN: Do you have a short term price target?

John Embry: I don’t look at short term price charts for gold. In a market as heavily interfered with as this one, charts can be made to look any way you want in the short run. As I see it, if you don’t like gold at these prices, then you must like currencies. My partner Eric Sprott often says, the U.S. dollar is the best looking horse in the glue factory. If the U.S. dollar is the world’s strongest currency, that’s the best endorsement for gold that I can think of.

HRN: Do you believe that currencies are losing value?

John Embry: The fact is that economies are slowly melting down. The problem is excessive debt in almost every corner of the world. The only way to deal with the debt is through aggressive growth, but fabricating growth through more debt won’t work. The idea that you can get the economy to move forward by creating even more debt just doesn’t wash. We can’t service the existing debt, even at artificially low interest rates. I don’t see any easy way out. We have to get the excessive debt out of the financial system. Either policy makers are going to create mounting inflation or there will be a deflationary debt collapse.

HRN: Europe seems to be a case in point. Do you think the Euro will break up?

John Embry: The Eurocrats who constructed the currency aren’t going to give it up easily. The key is how much the Germans are going to go along with. They realize that there’s a huge loss for them if the Euro falls apart. I wouldn’t want to be in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shoes. Germany is trapped in the Euro because it relies on exports and German banks hold the debt of other European countries. Despite the bailouts and the inflationary policies of the European Central Bank (ECB), Germany doesn’t have much choice.

HRN: How can European governments solve their debt problems?

John Embry: The problem is that it would take a horrific debt collapse to set the stage for future expansion. There is no politician on earth that wants that to happen on their watch. Consequently, policy makers will resist deflation and we’re going down the opposite road, which means mounting inflation or possibly hyperinflation. I don’t think politicians will change the system. I think the system will change the politicians.

HRN: Can the economy recover in a high inflation scenario?

John Embry: Creating even more debt is not going to work. To me, high inflation is the most corrosive thing that can happen to an economy or to a country. I’m really worried that neoclassical, Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman, who are prescribing even more debt, will bring about a collapse.

HRN: Are these problems the result of Keynesian economics?

John Embry: If you really applied Keynesianism as Keynes originally envisioned it, the government was supposed to run surpluses when the economy was growing to pay for the deficits that would be created during downturns. That’s been conveniently forgotten. We’ve had an astounding build up of debt. I don’t think people fully realize how serious this is. I’m amazed at how complacent people are. We’ve never been in a position like this in the entire history of the world.

HRN: Why do you think people are so complacent?

John Embry: I think it’s cognitive dissonance. When confronted with something that’s really unpleasant, and to which there’s no easy solution, the average person will basically block it out and look for somebody to tell them that everything is fine. The mainstream news media and the government are doing that as we speak. Consequently, the average person doesn’t have a chance of understanding what’s going on. The man in the street doesn’t have a clue what’s coming.

HRN: What about investment professionals?

John Embry: I have a lot of close friends who have been in the investment business for 40 years and they don’t want to hear it.

HRN: Won’t the Federal Reserve and other central banks simply bail out the system?

John Embry: They think that printing money will buoy the markets and that that’s good, but it won’t solve any of the problems. Although you may get a momentary lift in the financial markets, when it plays itself out we’ll be back in the same situation, but with money that’s being systematically destroyed.

HRN: Does printing money work in the short term?

John Embry: There are nominal prices and real prices. Printing money is very deceptive and people are confused by its effects. I am only interested in real returns, not nominal returns. If you have a nominal return that’s caused by inflation, you’re losing money because governments tax nominal gains.

HRN: Can governments inflate their way out of debt?

John Embry: The U.S. federal government, for example, has reached a stage where forty cents of every dollar spent at the federal level is borrowed and a lot of that money has been printed. There has never been a case in history where that hasn’t led to financial disaster. If you study any empirical evidence, they’re in a hopeless position. They’ve only been able to get away with it so far because the U.S. dollar is the world reserve currency. If the United States wasn’t able to print money and was trapped in the European Union, it would just be a massive Spain.

HRN: So, governments can’t inflate away their debt?

John Embry: Inflation is the easier, more expedient route to take, but I would not rule out an accident. For example, if policy makers push austerity too far they could trigger a deflationary spiral that would be impossible to reverse. I subscribe to the Austrian theory of economics. In his book Human Action, Ludwig von Mises wrote that there is no way to avoid the collapse of a credit boom and that more credit expansion simply destroys the currency.

HRN: Don’t inflationary policies help banks and support the financial system?

John Embry: The ECB could do another Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) or the Federal Reserve could buy more U.S. Treasuries in the open market but that’s not really solving the problem. If you actually evaluated the banking system and marked all the assets to market, the system would be insolvent.

HRN: And the basic problem is too much debt and leverage?

John Embry: The over the counter (OTC) derivatives situation is so surreal I can’t begin to express it. Correctly calculated, the notional value of all OTC derivatives is in excess of one quadrillion dollars globally. The vast majority are related to interest rates. Central banks have to keep creating liquidity to prevent these instruments from collapsing.

HRN: What can the Federal Reserve and other central banks do?

John Embry: They’re lost either way. They’re running a massive lab experiment with monetary policy and don’t have a clue what the outcome is going to be.

HRN: Do you think the U.S. economy can grow its way out of debt?

John Embry: When I was a kid back in the 1950’s, most women didn’t work. Americans maintained their standard of living by putting a second person to work. When that was expended they made up the difference by going into debt and, eventually, they used their homes as cash machines. Now student loans total more than $1 trillion. I just don’t see where the consumer demand is going to come from going forward. You can’t get blood out of a stone.

HRN: What do you think the outcome is going be?

John Embry: I believe that before this is over we’ll have a new currency system, probably backed by gold.

HRN: Do you support the gold standard?

John Embry: One of the greatest periods of wealth creation was when we had a gold standard in the second half of the 19th century. It’s hard to believe that it’s going to be 41 years since there has been gold backing for any of the major currencies in the world. That is what has allowed the massive build up of debt that we have today. If there had been a gold standard, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in. Western governments don’t want the gold standard because it restricts their ability to dole out favors.

HRN: But the gold standard doesn’t prevent financial panics.

John Embry: There are always going to be financial panics, but, under the gold standard they tend to be short term. If we had had a gold standard, there would have been a number of cleansing periods where excess debt was eliminated. The Federal Reserve allowed the build up of debt that led to the stock market bubble and crash of 1929 and to the Great Depression, which was followed by World War II. It took about a decade to build up the debt and more than a decade to deal with the fallout. It’s taken more than 40 years to build up the debt we have today and I don’t know how long it’s going to take to correct it.

HRN: What does this mean for the average person?

John Embry: I think living standards of most people in the world, particularly in the West are going to decline precipitously. The Federal Reserve recently reported that the net worth of the median American family has fallen nearly 40% since 2007 after adjusting for inflation. Before this all plays out, I think the percentages are going to be far larger.

HRN: Do you foresee any wider impact on society?

John Embry: When I was growing up in the United States after World War II, I didn’t realize how remarkably fortunate we were as a society to have such a strong middle class. Seldom in history has there been a middle class to equal what transpired in the U.S. and Canada from the 1950s to the 1980s. We basically took it for granted because that’s all we ever knew. The middle class in the United States is disappearing. What happens is that you have massive poverty and a small wealthy class. It’s one of the worst things that can happen to a society and it can lead to civil unrest. If there’s no reason to buy into the system, people will act up.

HRN: Do you view gold and silver as commodities?

John Embry: I view gold and silver as monetary metals. The mainstream news media conflates gold and silver with industrial commodities, but they’re really a competitor to the currency system. Gold is the antithesis of paper money.

HRN: I’ve read that central banks are buying gold.

John Embry: Confidence in currencies is misplaced. There is a strong flow of gold from West to East. The Chinese, Indians, Russians and Vietnamese know perfectly well what’s going on with the U.S. dollar and the Euro. They are buying physical gold and the West has been stupid enough to sell it to them.

HRN: What’s your view on China?

John Embry: I’m not optimistic on China in the short run. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) recently cut bank reserve requirements by 150 basis points to stimulate 1.2 trillion yuan ($190 billion) of new lending because they don’t want growth to fall from around 8% to 7%. As I see it, they’ve dined out on Western profligacy for 20 years and have become the most unbalanced economy in the world. An inordinate amount of China’s economic activity is generated by exports and by all manner of capital spending on manufacturing, real estate, infrastructure and more. The slowdown in the world economy has revealed massive overcapacity in many sectors.

HRN: Can China develop a consumer-driven economy?

John Embry: The idea that China’s economy can morph into a consumer-driven economy is preposterous. The very same consumers are employed in sectors like manufacturing where there is massive overcapacity. If the world slides into another global recession, which is not beyond the realm of possibility, I don’t see how China stays out of it and if they don’t then there’s no engine of growth left in the world.

HRN: So, even with a rising middle class, China remains dependent on exports?

John Embry: The fact is that China has become the world’s manufacturer but the ability of their two largest customers, Europe and the United States, to consume is being constrained. China is not going to be able to keep selling more year over year. The HSBC manufacturing index has fallen to recessionary levels.

HRN: It has been predicted that China will become the world’s largest economy. Do you think that’s true?

John Embry: I think China will probably dominate the 21st century. The U.S. dominated the 20th century but it went through some very tough times in the first half of the century.

HRN: With a slowdown in China, what’s your view on commodities like copper or crude oil?

John Embry: In the short term, I’m worried about commodities. In a deep global recession, I expect there will be extreme monetary debasement, which will hold up the nominal prices of commodities more than supply and demand factors would suggest.

HRN: Do you foresee a bear market in commodities?

John Embry: We are in a short-term bear market that will be arrested by monetary debasement.

HRN: But there are value buying opportunities?

John Embry: Given my views on currencies, commodities that are already depressed could be decent repositories for wealth. I like agricultural products. As the global economy continues to develop, I think the supply of food is going to be a major issue.

HRN: How can investors protect their assets in a global recession?

John Embry: The only things I’m comfortable holding are precious metals and, because they are so cheap now, precious metals mining shares.

HRN: Where do you think the price of gold will end up?

John Embry: I’m more concerned with how many ounces I own than with how many U.S. dollars I can get for them at any given point in time. Gold and paper money are going in opposite directions.

HRN: Thank you for your valuable time.

John Embry: It was my pleasure.

After Words

John Embry doesn’t mince words and his track record speaks for itself. A defender of the gold standard, John Embry sees gold and silver as currencies competing against the U.S. dollar and the Euro, which are losing value because of extreme debt levels, weak economic fundamentals and policy induced inflation. According to John Embry, abandoning the gold standard has led to unprecedented debt levels that could take decades to unwind. In the mean time, inflation seems likely to wipe out the middle class. While his outlook for commodities is bearish, John Embry believes that gold and silver and related mining shares remain the best way for investors to preserve their wealth.

About Hera Research Hera Research, LLC, provides deeply researched analysis to help investors profit from changing economic and market conditions.  Hera Research focuses on relationships between macroeconomics, government, banking, and financial markets in order to identify and analyze investment opportunities with extraordinary upside potential. Hera Research is currently researching mining and metals including precious metals, oil and energy including green energy, agriculture, and other natural resources.  The Hera Research Newsletter covers key economic data, trends and analysis including reviews of companies with extraordinary value and upside potential.

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Saturday, June 30th, 2012 EN No Comments

Dr Anita Sands honored with 2012 Women of Concern Award, in New York

Head of Change Leadership at UBS awarded for outstanding achievements as a business leaders and women’s advocate

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Siobhan Walsh, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide U.S.; Patricia Harty, Editor of Irish America magazine; and Jenna Wolfe, Sunday Today Show co-host and Women of Concern MC

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Concern Worldwide US has recognized Dr Anita Sands, Head of Change Leadership at UBS Wealth Management Americas, with the 2012 Women of Concern Award for her outstanding achievements as a business leader and advocate for women.

At the 10th Annual Women of Concern Awards Luncheon, in New York City, this week Sands accepted the award from the international humanitarian organization.

Speaking about Sands Siobhán Walsh, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide US, said “Dr. Sands embodies what it means to be a Women of Concern Honoree—what she has accomplished professionally and academically are second to none and a source of inspiration for women everywhere.”

She continued “She has also been a strong champion for the advancement of women domestically and internationally so that more women will be able to reach their full potential.”

Sands traveled with Concern to Haiti where she witnessed the organization’s efforts to rebuild the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

“Whether in the most remote, rural communities or on the most densely populated city streets, Concern is truly reaching the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in society,” Sands said.

On accepting the award from Concern said she applauds “Concern’s team in Haiti and celebrate the strong Haitian women—and the millions of other women and children touched by Concern’s work—who are true examples of extraordinary accomplishment.”

In her role as Head of Change Leadership at UBS Wealth Management Americas, Sands is responsible for executing the company’s transformation strategy through the innovative technologies and industry-leading platforms.

Sands joined UBS in 2009 as Chief Operating Officer. Before coming to UBS, she was the youngest-ever Senior Vice President at the Royal Bank of Canada and was the Managing Director and Head of Transformational Management at Citigroup. She holds a Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular Physics and a First-Class Honors degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Queen’s University of Belfast, as well as a Master’s degree with highest distinction in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

As an advocate for women, Sands is a member of the International Women’s Forum, a mentor for The W.O.M.E.N. in America, the executive sponsor for UBS’ Women’s Employee Network, and a previous board member of Women in Capital Markets.

Sands will join past Women of Concern Honorees such as Hoda Kotb, Today Show co-host and Dateline NBC correspondent; Amy Ellis Nutt, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author; Pat Mitchell, CEO of PBS; Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairperson of The American Ireland Fund; and Ann Curry, Today Show co-anchor and NBC correspondent.
 


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Saturday, June 30th, 2012 EN No Comments

Kraus Gets More Time to Fix AllianceBernstein

Fund Scope | Scoreboard

AllianceBernstein has become a poster child for the agonies of asset management since the crash of 2008. The New York firm was managing $400 billion in assets on May 31—4% less than it had a month earlier and about half its peak on Dec. 31, 2007. Investors have been withdrawing more money than they have been depositing in the firm’s long-term funds every quarter since Jan. 1, 2008, according to Morningstar. Net revenue for 2011 fell 7% while adjusted net income per share fell 29%. And the stock price is down 86% from its top on …

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Saturday, June 30th, 2012 EN No Comments

Connecticut Bank to Use Overlay Technology for Wealth Management

The banking unit of People’s United Financial (PBCT) of Bridgeport, Conn., will use Smartleaf’s overlay technology for its wealth management business.

This will give the $28 billion-asset bank access to new ideas through third-party models while also improving customization, tax management and efficiency, Smartleaf said Tuesday. The bank’s portfolio managers will retain control over their clients’ assets while continuing to offer open-architecture research.

Smartleaf, based in Cambridge, Mass., provides overlay portfolio management products. Its clients include U.S. Bancorp (USB), Comerica (CMA) and BBT (BBT).

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Friday, June 29th, 2012 EN No Comments

Here’s What Sallie Krawcheck Would Say To A 27 Year-Old Banker Asking For …

sallie krawcheck

Bloomberg via YouTube

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REVEALED: This Market Maker Dropped His Pants During The Euro 2012 Quarter Finals


Tom Keene asked Sallie Krawcheck, Merrill Lynch’s former Wealth Management CEO, a really awesome question when she was Bloomberg TV this morning.

What would she tell a 27 year-old banker asking her for career advice? Where should they go?

Krawcheck has worn a lot of hats on Wall Street — CEO, research analyst and more — so she really knows her stuff. She told Keene that she thought there would “always be an opportunity in wealth management” because one of our nation’s issues is that people don’t save enough for retirement.

And when people realize that fact for themselves, she said, they want a personal relationship with someone who will help them figure everything out. For the most part, Americans are too invested in this country and not enough in emerging markets etc.

People need guides. So, in short, there will always be a future for bankers in the wealth management sector.

Sounds optimistic. But the industry as a whole, said Krawcheck, is going through a “secular change.” And, yes, she means something just as ominous as that sounds.

Here are some of the darker things she said about the future of banking:

“Make no mistake, Dodd-Frank took entire revenue streams from some of the these companies and what we really don’t know is…with the Volcker Rule and without proprietary trading how much of the bottom line did that drive? Because propietary trading for the institutional business is akin to net interest income for the retail business…. These two revenue streams drive a tremendous amount. What is on the top line falls almost completely to the bottom line. So they really support an enormous amount of profitability and jobs within these organizations.”

So yeah, watch what happens when the prop traders are really all gone.

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Friday, June 29th, 2012 EN No Comments

Investors Favor Emerging Debt Over US

(Bloomberg News) Global investors
managing more than $500 billion are buying emerging-market debt and
shares of well capitalized companies to avoid the European debt crisis
and low-yielding havens such as U.S. Treasuries.

“Balance
sheet strength is a big theme for us at the moment,” said Anne Richards,
chief investment officer at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, which
oversees 185 billion pounds ($288 billion). “Many European equities are
high risk while we are also nervous about U.S. Treasuries, which look
overvalued.”

Surging
borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, Europe’s third and fourth-biggest
economies, have pushed up prices of traditional haven assets such as
10-year Treasuries and German bunds, which are offering negative real
yields. That’s leading investors who met this week at the annual Fund
Forum conference in Monaco to look to emerging markets for capital
preservation as well as growth.

“People are
underestimating the health of Asian issuers,” said Richards, who is
buying Indonesian sovereign debt, Latin American corporate bonds and
gold to guard against major shocks in Europe. For growth, Aberdeen fund
managers favor European stocks with strong balance sheets and customers
in emerging markets such as HSBC Holdings Plc.

Jim
McCaughan, chief executive officer of Principal Global Investors LLC,
which manages about $250 billion, agrees there’s “not much point” in
buying U.S. Treasuries at current yields. He prefers emerging-market
debt and equities along with U.S. commercial property yielding 6 percent
to 7 percent.

“The euro
zone will be a source of volatility and a headwind probably for a few
years to come,” he said. There is a 25 percent chance Europe’s leaders
fail to deal with the crisis or get voted out of office and replaced by
nationalist politicians who reject the euro, McCaughan said. That would
cause Europe’s economy to contract by between 5 percent and 8 percent in
a year, he said.

The European
Union summit, which started yesterday, comes a week after 10-year
borrowing costs for Spain, the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, first
reached the 7 percent level that prompted euro members Greece, Ireland
and Portugal to seek bailouts.

Euro-area
leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to ease
repayment rules for emergency loans to Spanish banks and relax
conditions on possible help for Italy after 13 ½ hours of talks ending
at 4:30 a.m. in Brussels today. Even so, the leaders struggled for
consensus on reducing market pressure on Italy and Spain.

Short of
satisfying Germany that fiscal and structural reforms are in place,
Europe’s weaker countries may have to wait until a “major event” spurs
Merkel into taking “bolder steps,” according to Jose Antonio Blanco, the
chief investment officer for Europe at UBS AG’s Global Asset
Management. UBS GAM has 80 billion Swiss francs ($83 billion) under
management.

Blanco, who
can only hold European assets, said he’s keeping more of his funds in
cash because there’s a lack of safe investments in Europe and he wants
to be ready to invest when leaders agree measures to stem the crisis.

“After any
sign of significant action, we expect markets to rally so we’re holding
cash to maintain maximum flexibility,” he said.

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Friday, June 29th, 2012 EN No Comments

Hilco Launches New Unit to Provide Valuation Services for Illiquid and Non …


NEW YORK, Jun 28, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Hilco, a world leader in tangible and intangible asset valuation and
monetization solutions announced the launch of Hilco Valuation Advisory
(“HVA”), which provides independent third party valuations and
reasonableness opinions on existing valuations of less-liquid and
non-publicly traded securities. Clients include private equity funds,
hedge funds and business development companies that invest in such
assets.

Aryeh Sheinbein has been named Managing Director and practice leader. He
had been the head of the internal valuation and asset management group
at Plainfield Asset Management. Prior thereto, he was the co-head of the
Hedge Fund Portfolio Valuation Group at Duff Phelps. Mr. Sheinbein has
also held investment research positions with JP Morgan, UBS and Bank of
America.

“As the market for investing in illiquid securities has evolved, having
an independent third party to value or confirm the value of a fund’s
securities helps investors, auditors and regulators get more comfortable
with the process a fund uses to determine the carrying values,” said Mr.
Sheinbein.

Joining Mr. Sheinbein is Mr. Edward Friedman, Vice President, who also
came from Plainfield Asset Management, where he spent the last three
years specializing in illiquid securities valuations. Prior thereto, Mr.
Friedman was with Duff Phelps, working on a broad range of valuation
services, including private equity and hedge fund clients needing
illiquid asset portfolio valuations.

HVA will take its place within Hilco as part of Hilco Appraisal Services
(“HAS”), the international provider of value assessment solutions
covering all categories of tangible and intangible assets. Thomas
A. Greco, CEO of HAS, said, “The addition of a respected and experienced
portfolio valuation team strengthens our already market-leading
position. Aryeh and Ed bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our
organization, which will be of great benefit to our customers.”

Hilco Valuation Advisory is headquartered in New York City. Contact
information for Mr. Sheinbein and Mr. Friedman is:

Aryeh Sheinbein Managing Director asheinbein@hilcoval.com Tel:
212 610-5666 Cell: 646 239-6168

Ed Friedman Vice President efriedman@hilcoval.com Tel:
212 610-5644 Cell: 646 276-5967

About Hilco

Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois (USA), Hilco is a privately-held,
diversified financial and operational services firm whose principal
competency is understanding and maximizing the value of business assets,
including retail, consumer and industrial inventory, machinery and
equipment, real estate, accounts receivable, intellectual property and
going-concern enterprises. Through an integrated platform of more than
20 business units operating on five continents, Hilco helps companies
and their professional advisors assess asset value, maximum value for
said assets through asset disposition and acquisition services, and
create value through advisory and consulting services. Hilco serves
retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, directly and
through their lenders, investors and advisors, including private equity
firms, hedge funds, investment banks, law firms, turnaround
professionals, accounting professionals, bankruptcy trustees and
receivers. For more information please visit our web site:
www.hilcotrading.com .

SOURCE: Hilco



        
        Hilco 
        Mr. Jim Glickman, 847-849-2931 
        jglickman@hilcoappraisal.com
        


Copyright Business Wire 2012

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 EN No Comments

Ignis strikes £5bn annuity mandate deal

Ignis strikes £5bn annuity mandate deal

Guardian Financial Services has awarded Ignis Asset Management a £5 billion annuity mandate, marking one of the largest deals struck with a single investment manager in recent years.

Guardian took on around £5 billion of annuity in-payment liabilities from Phoenix Group Holdings – the parent firm of Ignis – in June this year.

Ignis manages around £30 billion of assets against liability benchmarks and is the fifth largest manager of annuity assets, based on the end of last year’s Financial Services Authority returns.

Chris Samuel, chief executive of Ignis, said: ‘This is a significant and long-term win for Ignis.’

At the end of last year, Ignis had around £81.5 billion in assets under management and administration.

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 EN No Comments

Focus Financial Partners Named by Crain’s New York Business a "Fast 50 …


NEW YORK, Jun 28, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Focus Financial Partners, LLC (“Focus”), the largest partnership of
independent wealth management firms, with over $50 billion in assets,
today announced that Crain’s New York Business has recognized it
as one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the New York area.

The “Fast 50” winners are privately held companies with at least $20
million in 2011 revenue ranked by revenue growth from 2008 — 2011. Focus
achieved 36 percent growth over three years, and 2011 revenue of $179.6
million.

“The recognition of our steady and robust growth reflects the success of
our careful stewardship of our partner firms and in turn, their clients’
interests. Our partners provide customized independent wealth management
services in a growing market that seems keen on a new model rather than
that of traditional brokerage wire houses,” said Rudy Adolf, founder and
CEO of Focus Financial Partners. “The partner firms of Focus Financial
should be proud of this award, and I congratulate them for the vital
role they play in our shared growth and success.”

One of the firm’s most notable recent expansion efforts was a $320
million credit facility that it closed on earlier this year. In May,
Focus helped to bring an agreement to fruition for its partner firm, The
Colony Group (“Colony”), and Mintz Levin Financial Advisors (“MLFA”)
under which MLFA merged with and into Colony. Combined, the two firms
have client assets of approximately $2.5 billion.

With 24 Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) partner and affiliate firms,
Focus is the leading partnership of elite, independent RIAs that serve
wealthy individuals, families, employer retirement programs and
institutions.

For more information about the Crain’s New York Business “Fast
50” list, visit
www.crainsnewyork.com .

About Focus Financial Partners

Founded in 2006, Focus Financial Partners, LLC, is the leading
international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management
firms. With over $50 billion in assets and 750 employees, including 100
partners, Focus provides wealth management, benefit and investment
consulting services to individuals, families, employers and
institutions. Clients benefit from Focus’s independence, unrivaled
access and continuity. Focus principals maintain their entrepreneurial
independence, benefit from the synergies, scale, economics and best
practices of the market leader and achieve an eventual, smooth ownership
transition. For more information, please visit
www.focusfinancialpartners.com .

SOURCE: Focus Financial Partners, LLC



        
        FTI Consulting 
        Kim O'Halloran, 312.553.6733 
        kim.ohalloran@fticonsulting.com
        


Copyright Business Wire 2012

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 EN No Comments

Baird Continues Hiring Spree with Advisors from Merrill, MSSB and …

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Baird has acquired five more financial advisors to fuel its expanding wealth management divisions in California, Oregon and Texas.

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The new hires represent only a small fraction of the more than 250 financial planners that Baird has brought on since 2009 and compliment the approximately 15 offices the company has opened in the same period. According to John Mabee, vice chairman of Baird Private Wealth Management, the firm is not looking to stop now.

“I think it probably will continue,” Mabee said in a phone interview. “Over the last few years a lot of good financial advisors at some other firms have become pretty disenchanted with their current firms and are looking at alternatives. And as more hear the Baird story, we’re getting more attention.”

A veteran of 25-plus years, Patty Estopinal, brings $175 million from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and will be director of the Roseville, Calif. office.

Matthew Fields and Tonya Nichols, who comprised the Field Nichols Group with Merrill Lynch, will become vice presidents of Baird’s Portland, Ore., branch and oversee $170 million in assets. Combined, the two have 32 years of experience.

A 13-year veteran previously at Spectrum, Jayson Bales manages $65 million in AUM and joins as senior vice president at the Dallas, Texas, branch.

In Fort Worth, Texas, Steve Phillips, who has 10 years of experience and oversaw $50 million at JP Morgan, will take over as vice president.

While Baird does not recruit from any specific types of firms, their status as a regional firm has helped draw a good portion from large wirehouses, according to Mabee. After many regional firms were bought out by larger firms, some planners wanted to return to their roots.

“They realized after a while that things really are different between where they were and who they got bought by,” Mabee said. “And we’ve had a lot of success with those people.”

An additional factor, and something that Mabee considers a key part of the “Baird story,” is that the associates own the firm, so it’s their money at risk. That makes the firm more conservative firm in terms of hiring and financial decisions, Mabee said.

“Whenever I talk to a recruit, I say if you don’t pick up anything else I’m talking about, please keep in mind that we’re employee owned and privately held,” Mabee noted.

Although Baird does not claim to hire from particular firms, they do admit to targeting female advisors. Two in this latest class, including the biggest producer in terms of AUM, are women, and the company estimates that female advisors comprise approximately 15% of their recruits since 2009.

“We have a number of projects in place to help our female advisors including a women’s associate resource group, Baird Network of Women Financial Advisors, and we sponsor female advisors to go to summits,” Mabee explained.

Baird’s goal is to have female advisors comprise 15% to 17% of their total population of financial advisors by 2015.

Founded in 1919, Baird is based in Milwaukee, Wis., and oversees approximately $94 billion in client assets.

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 EN No Comments