Tuesday 30th June 2015
NEWS TICKER, MONDAY, JUNE 29TH : The mobile service provider CM Telecom says the company will move into mobile payments and has founded CM Payments, a new payment service provider (PSP) that will operate internationally. CM Payments opens its office in Amsterdam. CM was founded in 1999 in Netherlands and specialises in worldwide mobile messaging and payments. The company declares they already have in-house technology and the platform, which can process a large number of transactions per second utilises this technology for the expanded service. The platform also offers connectivity to multiple payment methods including VISA, MasterCard, Paypal, iDeal, Microincasso and Bancontact (Belgium). CM Payments wants to expand cooperation with a number of existing CM customers by using the capabilities of the payment platform. The group consists of, among others, authorities, fundraising institutions, media, e-commerce and telecom players. After a closed beta period, CM Payments will go public. - Despite offering the first prepaid MasterCard with 14 currencies on a single card at ‘spread free’ exchange rates, Centtrip is urging holidaymakers visiting Greece in the next few days to physically take enough spending money for their entire holiday, because it believes local merchants may impose limits on how much they will accept by card, or reject cards altogether as they fear they will not be able to access funds from their own banks. Centtrip hopes that the level of uncertainty facing Greece will be removed soon, and that it can start recommending people use cards again when visiting the country. Greece has announced that banks will be closed until July 6TH – the day after a referendum on bailout proposals, and there is a €60 euro limit on ATM withdrawals. However, foreign tourists, a key driver of the Greek economy, will be exempt from the restrictions. Brian Jamieson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Centtrip, said: “Although customers will be able to use our Centtrip card and others at ATMs, they will be faced with long queues to withdraw their money. Local merchants may also impose limits on how much they will accept by card or reject these altogether because they may be concerned about accessing funds from their own bank. During the current situation in Greece and the uncertainty that prevails, we are advising people to take all the spending money they think they will need for their entire holiday in hard physical Euros. As the situation develops, we will provide further recommendations to our clients and to those travelling to Greece.” - Scotiabank's Commodity Price Index climbed by 4.7% month-over-month (m/m) in May -- the second consecutive monthly gain -- though the All Items Index remains -26.5% below a year earlier. "While global economic conditions remain lacklustre, international oil prices have lifted off bottom and supply disruptions in Western Canada's oil patch have pushed up domestic netbacks," says Patricia Mohr, vice president of Economics and Commodity Market Specialist at Scotiabank. "May and June have witnessed an extraordinary narrowing of the discounts on Western Canada's light and heavy crude oil off West Texas Intermediate (WTI) -- the North American benchmark -- a trend which will continue into July. The Forest Product Index edged down in May by -0.2% m/m and is still -11.5% below a year earlier. However, strong US housing permits in May and a growing backlog of sold, but not yet started units, points to stronger residential construction in coming months. The basic supply of shelter in the U.S. is tightening, with apartment vacancy rates at a mere 4.2% - propelling multiple-unit building permits to an annualized 592,000 units in May, the highest level since January 1990. Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2x4 lumber prices have jumped back to US$300 per thousand board feet from US$262 in April and US$256 in May. After investors bid up LME zinc prices as high as $1.09 per pound in early May, zinc prices have unwound alongside copper to the US$0.92 mark in late June. However, closure of the Century mine in Australia and Lisheen in Ireland in 2015:Q3 will tighten world supplies, sending prices significantly higher by year end. Chinese interest in copper and other mining investments remains strong - a sign that the 'bull run' in base metals is expected to return later in the decade.

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Regulatory Update

Protect Your Firm... And Your Personal Assets!

Monday, 30 July 2012 Written by 
Protect Your Firm... And Your Personal Assets! Hoping for a respite from regulatory change?  Think again.  Gathering forces may create a regulatory storm that is even more difficult than the one faced in the 2007-2009 financial crisis.  In this tempest, both the regulated and the regulators will have bull’s-eyes on their backs.  Regulators are likely to become more conservative in their analysis and more active.  It is therefore imperative to assess your firm now and prepare yourself to withstand regulatory inquiries.  You can also expect more scrutiny from investors who will seek to allocate funds only to those firms that they believe are fully complying with applicable laws and regulations. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Hoping for a respite from regulatory change?  Think again.  Gathering forces may create a regulatory storm that is even more difficult than the one faced in the 2007-2009 financial crisis.  In this tempest, both the regulated and the regulators will have bull’s-eyes on their backs.  Regulators are likely to become more conservative in their analysis and more active.  It is therefore imperative to assess your firm now and prepare yourself to withstand regulatory inquiries.  You can also expect more scrutiny from investors who will seek to allocate funds only to those firms that they believe are fully complying with applicable laws and regulations.

What fuels this gathering storm?  Outright major misappropriations by the likes of Madoff and Peregrine's Wasendorf are part of the equation.  In addition, events such as the LIBOR-fixing scandal at Barclays, J.P. Morgan’s “London Whale” trading losses, and MF Global’s failure to segregate customer funds serve as cautionary examples.

These stories highlight that a firm’s assets, reputation, and in some cases, even the firm’s fundamental viability are at stake when things go awry.  As if that weren’t bad enough, senior executives face additional consequences.  In these and other similar incidents, personal assets can be at stake even when others are the primary wrongdoers.  



Think you are immune from these risks?  Think again.  Labaton Sucharow LLP, a plaintiff's law firm, recently published a unsettling study indicating that one in four financial industry professionals in the U.S. and U.K. believe wrongdoing is necessary for success.  If this study is credible, the message it sends to the general public is highly negative.  It speaks to senior management of alternative investment firms loud and clear: sometimes the best-intentioned executive may have an employee who hears an "unintended message" and veers off course.  Intended or not, the executive may ultimately bear responsibility. 

The first line of defense for an investment advisory firm and its executives is to build a culture in which the firm’s standards clearly and consistently meet all applicable regulatory and ethical expectations.  It is particularly important for firm leaders to reaffirm these standards and expectations during times of economic and operational stress, when legal and internal requirements may appear to conflict with business drivers (such as maximizing short-term results).  Employees must internalize that senior management will take the ethical route in order to maximize the long-term value of the firm—and expects them to do the same.

The second line of defense, at least in the U.S., is to develop a governance structure that satisfies the requirements specified in the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual.  This manual offers incentives to companies that adopt a comprehensive compliance and ethics program (and take certain actions upon the occurrence of alleged missteps).  A program that satisfies these requirements will contain elements in addition to those required by the SEC and CFTC.  Complying with the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual can be an invaluable safeguard that reduces the likelihood of an executive or his firm being charged with criminal violations.

The third line of defense is to undertake an honest self-assessment, and to consider the types of pressures that senior management and employees will encounter should the weakened state of the global economy continue.  Topics in the regulatory spotlight should be included in this assessment.  The intent here is to prepare for the possible pressures employees and senior management might face, thereby reducing the chance that hasty decisions are made in the heat of the moment. Ill-considered actions can carry serious penalties and act as a lightning rod for litigation by regulators, investors, and other third parties (such as credit providers).  Advance preparation will help your staff make faster and better decisions if the need should arise. 

You can't always remove that bull’s-eye on your back, but you can at least make the target less bright.

Deborah Prutzman

Deborah Prutzman is the founder and CEO of The Regulatory Fundamentals Group (RFG), a New York-based firm that designs and implements business and risk solutions for alternative asset managers and institutional investors. RFG's senior-led team employs a robust suite of tools, including practical alerts on new and potential industry developments and its powerful RFG Pathfinder® knowledge management platform which simplifies the challenges of operating in a regulated environment.  To learn more about The Regulatory Fundamentals Group call (212) 537-4058, email a representative at Information@RegFG.com or visit RegFG.com

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