MacroSolve: Does Every Business Need a Mobile App? - Yahoo Finance MacroSolve: Does Every Business Need a Mobile App? - Yahoo Finance

Sunday, May 27, 2012

MacroSolve: Does Every Business Need a Mobile App? - Yahoo Finance

MacroSolve: Does Every Business Need a Mobile App? - Yahoo Finance

TULSA, OK--(Marketwire -05/10/12)- MacroSolve, Inc., doing business as Illume Mobile (MCVE.PK) (MCVE.PK) ("MacroSolve," "Illume Mobile" or the "Company"), a leading provider of mobile technologies, apps, and solutions for business, today announced that on May 8th, 2012, Donald Trump Jr. was featured on Fox Business' Markets Now with Cheryl Casone and Dennis Kneale discussing the world of business apps and the defense of innovation (through the context of software patent litigation).

In the segment, Donald Trump Jr. and Fox highlight the importance of utilizing mobile technologies for businesses today.

"Today, perhaps the most important piece of real estate that someone can have, is... on their smartphones," claims Donald Trump Jr. "To be able to control a piece of that face, is really critical for business."

Another topic of interest discussed was software patent litigation and, in Mr. Trump's words, the defense of innovation in America. Mr. Trump was stalwart in his defense of MacroSolve's robust patent portfolio and defended a number of lawsuits against major corporations including: Facebook, Walmart and Marriott.

"There are patent trolls and then there are true innovators," states Mr. Trump. "Before anyone was even thinking about... patents and mobile apps and communicating this way, these guys [MacroSolve] came up with the technology to be able to do that. That kind of foresight and that kind of thinking really needs to be protected in this country."

Coming off the recent launches of a number of innovative mobile applications including one for the Trump organization, the business-to-business app company released its first quarter results demonstrating its 5th consecutive quarter of top line revenue growth.

Illume Mobile provides custom mobile solutions, and specializes in three industry-specific mobile application platforms: sales (SaleSentral), dining (DineSentral), and personal safety (GuardianSentral). SaleSentral takes sales information and presentations mobile through the development of a customer interface used for uploading and managing content, creating a sales toolkit to use anytime, anywhere. DineSentral makes it easy to promote a restaurant's brand, maximize sales and connect with customers by utilizing rich graphical content, social media, customer loyalty, customer feedback, and integration with third party applications. GuardianSentral is an easy-to-use smartphone application used in tandem with your current campus security offering (emergency phones, campus police, etc.) to provide real-time GPS tracking of individuals who feel they are in danger.

"Businesses of all sizes recognize the need for a mobile strategy," says Steve Signoff, CEO of Illume Mobile, "but businesses are also savvy and know that having a mobile app means more than just checking a box."

Fox Business' Cheryl Casone asks, "Does every business need a mobile app?" Through the innovative mobile technologies being developed and made available by companies such as MacroSolve, it wouldn't make business sense not to take advantage.

About MacroSolve
MacroSolve, Inc., doing business as Illume Mobile, is a pioneer in delivering mobile apps, technologies, and solutions. Leveraging its intellectual property portfolio, MacroSolve enforces its landmark patent while providing mobile app products and services under the name Illume Mobile. MacroSolve is positioned to become a leader in the mobile app development services space, which is projected to become a $100 billion market in 2015 according to Research2Guidance. For more information, visit Illume Mobile at

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains projections of future results and other forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Important factors that may cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in the projections and forward-looking statements included in this press release are described in our publicly filed reports. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to, the acceptance of our products, lack of revenue growth, failure to realize profitability, inability to raise capital and market conditions that negatively affect the market price of our common stock. The Company disclaims any responsibility to update any forward-looking statements.

CBA Analytical Report: Bahamas Financial Services Industry Begs Reform -

The Bahamas finds itself in some debate over the actions of its securities commission assisting the Canadian province of British Columbia in preventing the violation of its securities provisions, and perhaps other laws. The situation is instructive and should clarify an age old problem which many Bahamians seem not to understand. The securities Commission of the Bahamas should be commended on doing the kind of job it should do more often, if the Bahamas wants to build its economy, international reputation, and develop a Capital Market Driven Economy (CMDE), as advanced by the Council for Concerned Bahamians Abroad (CBA) in several of its previous reports at .

The Bahamas must base its future on productive legitimate enterprise, and be a cooperative and collaborative player in world financial affairs, rather than a small “Black Hole” outlier whose primary claim to fame in Financial Services is viewed from the outside by powerful international forces as assisting in the violation of the laws of other countries. The Country must avoid acts seen as encouraging and promoting the international movement and disappearance of monies down a virtual “Black Hole” never to be further traced by anti-terrorist, anti-money laundering, and taxing authorities and agencies.

In brief, it has been reported that Gibraltar Global Securities a Bahamian based and apparently owned financial service company has been declared “Unsuitable” to do business in the Province of British Columbia by the Securities Commission of British Columbia (BCSC). The company and its Canadian affiliate “Global Securities” also faces other sanctions and fines in a hearing scheduled for June 12, 2012. The principals of the Bahamian company have publicly complained that it is a sovereignty issue and that the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) was wrong in providing the BCSC with information it involuntarily retrieved from Gibraltar in a 2010 “surprise” visit to Gibraltar’s offices. The SCB seized documents containing information which the British Columbia government claimed existed, and which Gibraltar had reportedly refused prior requests for discovery, claiming protection from “Fishing Expeditions” not allowed by Bahamian “Financial Secrecy Law”. Also, Gibraltar now claims that the SCB should be investigated in the matter, as its actions will hurt the Bahamian industry, and reverberate internationally among clientele seeking offshore services and protections.

The SCB has admitted to sending the seized documents to the Provincial government thus giving them evidence needed for their subsequent ruling and actions. Generally, this is how a competent securities Commission is expected to operate, and based on current law and regulations, the SCB seems to have been justified considering the prior discovery requests and resultant refusals by Gibraltar. The BCSC in its ruling also offered evidence that Gibraltar and Global had previously proffered formal statements specifically denying their engagement in the activities the retrieved documents later evidenced they were involved in. More on the specifics of the case can be viewed at .

While the CBA can only opine as to the actual facts as reported in the BCSC ruling and elsewhere, an evaluation based on what has been reported, reveals a situation which is highly instructive. Notably, this is not the first incident the Bahamas Securities Commission has had with Canadian based and affiliated financial service operations. There have been several prominent examples. Due to the lack of a federal securities commission, oversight regulations, and enforcement capabilities, the Canadian securities system which is Provincially based, has come under much scrutiny and criticism. Some observers have gone as far as to state that parties hurt by Canadian related financial services must often depend on transactional connections to the long and powerful arm of the U.S. Securities operations and laws for enforcement solutions. Ironically, this is also one reason the more prudent Financial Services operations in the Bahamas have traditionally and facially steered away from U.S. based transactions whenever they can. The situation in Canada has led to disparate enforcement of securities matters, and internal and international forum shopping by questionable Investment practices and promoters. The Bahamas has unfortunately become a forum shopped by some of these entities due its history as an offshore center with laws touting financial secrecy, and with local actors amenable to lucrative, less enforceable Canadian, as compared to highly scrutinized U.S., based transactions.

The view from outside is extremely important in this area. The Bahamas cannot build and maintain a financial services industry or any industry for that matter, which is viewed from the outside as assisting in the violation of the laws of other countries. This is particularly so when the laws being violated are those of world leading countries, and where our actions may be seen as contravening international norms of financial practice. Simply because we are a sovereign nation with our own laws, does not mean we can do any and everything to make money.

A simple rule that actors within the Bahamian Financial Services industry must remember is that within International Law and Relations, “Might Is Almost Always Right”. This may be a sobering realization for the less well heeled nations, but it is one to take important notice of. While International law and treaties may be interpreted by international bodies with some token representation from smaller nations, such laws are generally established by the larger more powerful forces, and always unilaterally self interpreted and enforced by them in protecting their interests. Unresolved international disputes only exist when two behemoths disagree, but generally when a behemoth confronts a small actor in an international dispute, most knowledgeable observers realize who will ultimately win. Numerous examples of this can be cited but is unnecessary in the context of this report, and may be covered in a follow up report on .

Large powerful countries and international organizations in attempting to protect their interests will strive to do so, particularly when the moral and ethical situation, and international law is arguably on their side.

The new Minster of Financial Services Ryan Pinder, a highly trained and U.S. experienced Tax and Business Transactional lawyer has his work cut out in reigning in unrealistic actors and expectations in the Bahamas Financial Service community. His appointment breeds hope that financial services can now be focused on bringing foreign income and jobs from legitimate foreign business setup and financial services, rather than from the assistance of “Black Hole” financial services couched in terms like “sovereign protected”, “wealth management”, “high net worth offshore asset protection” et al.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now for any objective observer to see. Large important production based world economies will not allow small non-production related economies like the Bahamas to assist foreign violations and abuse of their laws. The recent BCSC ruling, FATCA, OECD, The Patriot Act, and several others now in the pipeline are clear examples that the problem for countries like The Bahamas is not going away.

Both Prime Ministers Ingraham and Christie recognized the problem, and Ingraham though criticized for giving in to the OECD during his first terms in office should be applauded for doing what was morally and ethically right, even if he may have been forced to do so. It is important to note that Christie in his first term did not try to repeal Ingraham’s decision, apparently recognizing the futility of attempting to do so in face of the clear writings upon the international wall of financial compliance. In addition, he appears to have an obvious inclination and predisposition to make the Bahamas a more important and respected player on the world stage. Members of the Bahamas Financial Services Community who do not follow the views espoused in this CBA report, should not be surprised, or expect Prime Minister Christie to take any steps which will put the international reputation of the Bahamas at risk.

Business star Tamer Hassan: I could have killed Richard Gere - The Sun

Like if you're a Christmas tree farmer and you throw one slightly too far over the pile. Just nudge it back a bit.

But when Football Factory star Tamer Hassan didn't know his own strength in the workplace, he went and dislocated Richard Gere's shoulder.

And it only made him even more respectful.

Tamer says: "Richard Gere's over 60 years old. His passion for the industry and the game is just as strong as when he started. He's a beautiful individual, a profesional and very committed.

"We did a film called The Double with Martin Sheen.

"Me and Richard were rehearsing for a month for a big scene. I said 'let me use the stunt double, and you can slip in where you can' - not wanting to hurt him.

"But Richard being Richard as committed as he is, said 'no, I'm doing it.'

"I took a knife off him, jerked his shoulder and it popped out."

Richard's shoulder wasn't the only thing that popped out. The crew then went on a mammoth break, as production shut down when the Pretty Woman actor was unable to film for three months!

"To his credit, he went away, healed, came back and finished the scene," Tamer added.

"If I can be like him at his age I'll be a very happy man."

I talk to Tamer at the new Jongleurs Picadilly - along with his pal, EastEnders star Ricky Grover - ahead of their Comic Idol talent search.

And Tamer has an idea of somebody he thinks would made a useful entrant - his best pal Danny Dyer.

"Danny is probably one of the funniest kids you’ll ever meet.

"He’s got such a likeability to him. He’s so sweet, so lovely. I know people will think I’m being biased, but he had me at hello.

"Danny, Ricky and Ray Winstone - three Canning Town boys - I think it would be the funniest show at Jongleurs ever."

With ex-fighter Ricky in our presence, the conversation flows easily into boxing. Ricky says stand-up, and getting in the ring, aren't too dissimilar.

Tamer isn't so sure, as his mind is elsewhere during a fight.

"You’re mainly worried about women," he says.

"I always used to bring the birds. You’re never going to lose in front of a girl are you? That was my trick anyway.

"I would put the most beautiful cheerleaders round the England training pitch. When women are around, men put the most effort in ever.

"You see it in the gym. When we were kids, and a girl walked into the gym, we exceeded ourselves.

"But now they’ve given the girls physio roles like at Chelsea, so everybody’s rolling around injured!"

It seems Tamer is at home discussing our national sport. Having returned from the States, he can now enjoy it in the comfort of his local. While meeting Danny to work on their new film, following their last hit Freerunner.

And to plug the film's DVD release, Tamer challanged pro freerunner Chase Armitage to a 'Man Vs Tube' race, below.

PRO freerunner Chase Armitage takes on the London Underground

Tamer says: "I’ve been out in LA for two years, for my sins, and I’m happy to be back.

"I came back and wrote a movie. It wasn’t planned, it just came to me.

"The distributors were saying ‘we all want another Tamer and Danny movie’, so I went ‘alright, I think we’ve covered everything. Dead Man Running, to The Business, to The Football Factory.

"I said ‘what do you want?’ They said ‘everything combined’.

"So, thinking on my feet, I said ‘what about two football agents, unearthing the corrupt underbelly of the football industry’.

"They said ‘can you write something?’ and I said ‘yeah’ so called Stephen Reynolds - who’s a fantastic writer.

"We sat down in a room for 8 hours a day for 5 days straight. We went back and said ‘here’s 135 pages'."

Not a bad week’s work, for a dyslexic man.

"I suppose not!" he acknowledges.

FOOTBALL Factory star sits down with his EastEnders' pal Ricky Grover

Tamer - like his EastEnders pal Ricky - has struggled with the condition in the past, but can now memorise pages in minutes thanks to developing a photographic memory.

"Its like, if you’re deaf, you get higher senses in other things. I think dyslexic people have a heightened creativity."

Fans of the Football Factory star will be used to seeing him killing or being killed, so this time around things will be different.

"I’m usually just being violent and Danny ends up with the girl, so I’ve got a love interest in this one," says Tamer.

And the tough guy is still casting for the female part.

"We’re still looking," he adds. "The character is amazing, she drives the film.

"She could actually steal the movie."

"The character portrays women as being the strong one because I’m a great believer that if any man says he is the strong one at home is either lying or miserable."

So is Tamer the boss in his own home?

"Nooooo. Of course not, no way.

"In the bedroom, yes! But everywhere else? Not a chance."

Tamer isn't even the boss in a kebab shop - despite his Wikipedia page's claims that he 'had his eyebrows done after being teased while working in his parent's restaurant'.

Tamer laughs: "I've got no idea where that came from.

"My dad was a carpenter, my mum was a seamstress, we've never had a kebab shop - and I was never called mono!"

And while the hardman does admit to having his eyebrows 'tended to', he won't give away how.

"I can't disclose how I've done it unfortunately.

"My daughter would kill me!"

Sounds like The Business man knows who the real boss is.

- TO keep up-to-date with Tamer, follow him on Twitter @RealTamerHassan

Spain hopes to drew European Central Bank into funding Bankia bailout - The Guardian

Spain's government plans to force Europe's central bank into sharing the task of bailing out its troubled financial sector in a potentially controversial move that could spark objections from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Spain is considering proposals to inject €19bn (£15bn) of capital into nationalised Bankia in the form of government debt that could then be used to raise money from the European Central Bank (ECB), forcing it to get involved in what may become a far wider bailout of Spain's creaking banking sector.

Details remain sketchy, but sources in Madrid confirmed that a refinancing involving the ECB was the most probable way forward for a Spanish government that will have trouble raising €19bn itself at a manageable interest rate.

By avoiding the markets altogether, the government would indirectly "push the financing of Bankia's bailout on to the ECB", according to El País newspaper.

But the debt scheme raises questions about how the ECB, Merkel and the financial markets might react to Europe's central bank helping rescue a nationalised Spanish bank laden with toxic real estate.

"You will have to ask the ECB that," said one official in Madrid.

With Spain now key to the future survival of the euro, the news of a probable debt-for-shares deal with Bankia may add further tension to the markets on Monday.

Part-nationalised Bankia, which holds 10% of Spanish deposits, on Friday asked the government for €19bn on top of the €4.5bn provided three weeks ago. That made it Spain's biggest-ever bank rescue.

But growing uncertainty about the euro and worries about Spain as it nosedives into a second recession in three years mean the country must now pay above 6% interest on money borrowed for 10 years.

If Spain's conservative government can bail Bankia out by giving it debt, it may be tempted to use the same mechanism with other struggling banks. That would allow it to avoid a politically embarrassing bailout by the European Stability Mechanism – which the French president, François Hollande, has already said is needed.

Although Spain has successfully refinanced debt and covered its budget deficit so far this year, it may soon come under pressure to raise significant extra sums.

Regional governments, for example, must refinance €36bn by the end of the year. But they are priced out of the market, with regions such as Valencia already given junk status by ratings agencies.

Doubts about the regions produced jitters on world markets on Friday after the Catalan president, Artur Mas, appealed for the government to cover regional refinancing by issuing state-backed bonds.

The Catalonia news "implies that the Spanish government may have to take on more debt and it cannot afford to do so," Richard Franulovich, a currency expert at Westpac Securities, told Reuters.

Spain's boast that it had raised half of its 2012 financing now looks fragile. Its long-term advantage in Europe, due to a low level of public debt four years ago, is also slipping away. A budget deficit of 8.9% last year has forced Spain to borrow significant extra sums to pay its bills.

The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has imposed a fierce austerity programme to bring the deficit down to 3% next year. That has deepened recession and helped push unemployment close to 25%.

The government already expects to inject up to €15bn into banks this year as they set aside €82bn against toxic real estate assets that have slumped in value since a 2008 housing bust. An independent audit of banking assets may uncover further problems, forcing the government to raise more money to help banks.

Bankia revised its 2011 accounts on Friday and found an extra €15.6bn in provisions it must make against potential future losses. It is not clear how Bankia would use government debt to raise money from the ECB. Bankia could use government bonds "as guarantees on interbank operations, go with them directly to the ECB to get money or, in the worst scenario, sell them on the market," El País reported.

In recent weeks Rajoy's government has insisted that the ECB is the solution to Spain's liquidity problems.

If Spain is unable to use government debt to recapitalise banks and cannot raise money on the markets, it may still have to turn to Europe's bailout funds.

"Spain cannot do this alone," said Luis Garicano of the London School of Economics on a blog posting after Bankia asked for €19bn. "I do not understand why the government is waiting to ask for help from Brussels."

British Airways departure

British Airways is expected to lose its largest shareholder after Bankia said it was planning to sell its stakes in several leading businesses. Bankia, which held a controlling share in Iberia before it merged with British Airways, now holds 12.5% of stock in parent company International Airlines Group (IAG). As it prepares to receive a €23.5bn (£18.7bn) cash injection, however, Bankia will be forced into a fire sale by European authorities, competition regulators who typically require bailed-out banks to sell non-core operations and halt dividend payouts until taxpayers have been repaid. Ailing Bankia has 5.3% of energy firm Iberdrola, 10% of hotel company NH and 18% of SOS, a food company. It also has holdings in real estate companies Realia and Metrovacesa.

Money market fund assets fall to $2.569 trillion - Yahoo Finance

NEW YORK (AP) -- Total U.S. money market mutual fund assets fell by $5.35 billion to $2.563 trillion for the week that ended Wednesday, the Investment Company Institute said Thursday.

Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds rose $369 million to $889.88 billion, the Washington-based mutual fund trade group said. Assets of taxable money market funds in the retail category rose $390 million to $702.8 billion. Tax-exempt retail fund assets fell $17 million to $187.08 billion.

Meanwhile, assets of institutional money market funds fell $5.72 billion to $1.673 trillion. Among institutional funds, taxable money market fund assets fell $5.61 billion to $1.586 trillion; assets of tax-exempt funds fell $110 million to $86.95 billion.

The seven-day average yield on money market mutual funds was 0.03 percent in the week that ended Tuesday, unchanged from the previous week, said Money Fund Report, a service of iMoneyNet Inc. in Westborough, Mass.

The 30-day average yield was also unchanged from last week at 0.03 percent. The seven-day compounded yield was flat at 0.03 percent. The 30-day compounded yield was unchanged at 0.03 percent, Money Fund Report said.

The average maturity of portfolios held by money market mutual funds rose to 46 days from 45 days in the previous week.

The online service said its survey of 100 leading commercial banks, savings and loan associations and savings banks in the nation's 10 largest markets showed the annual percentage yield available on money market accounts was unchanged from last week at 0.13 percent.

The North Palm Beach, Fla.-based unit of Bankrate Inc. said the annual percentage yield available on interest-bearing checking accounts was unchanged from the week before at 0.06 percent. said the annual percentage yield on six-month certificates of deposit was unchanged from the previous week at 0.22 percent. The yield on one-year CDs was also unchanged at 0.33 percent. It was flat at 0.53 percent on two-and-a-half-year CDs and steady at 1.13 percent on five-year CDs.

Green Power's money woes linger - Bellingham Herald

PASCO -- Something is going on inside Green Power's space at the Big Pasco Industrial Park.

The lights are on and water is being used, say Port of Pasco officials. Some employees are working on grinding up piles of garbage, but exactly what is being done remains unclear.

Almost three years after the state halted construction on the plant that CEO Michael Spitzauer promises will turn garbage into fuel, Green Power still lacks the necessary permits to finish the project.

The company is half way through a six-month lease with the port and does not appear to be making much progress on the plant or on paying off debts, according to state officials and court records.

Spitzauer told the Herald in an email last week that his company has gotten through hard times and is now paying what it owes and creating jobs.

But Spitzauer still owes at least $21 million to former investors, employees and contractors, said Seattle attorney James Rigby, who is the U.S. trustee on Spitzauer's ongoing personal bankruptcy case.

Spitzauer says that amount is exaggerated.

Pasco plant stalled

Spitzauer first leased Port of Pasco property in May 2008. Previously, he had planned to build an $82 million plant in Fife inside the Puyallup tribal reservation to convert waste to diesel. That project never was built.

It's also unclear if Spitzauer has made any of the mobile biofuel-producing vehicles that he once proposed.

Green Power's partially built biofuels plant in Pasco was shut down in August 2009 because Spitzauer lacked the necessary permits from the state Department of Ecology.

But despite telling state officials that a new permit application would be filed, that hasn't happened, according to Ecology officials.

Green Power still owes the Department of Ecology a $42,000 fine for starting construction without the proper permit and for state staff time spent on his first attempt to get a permit. He must pay that before filing a new application.

Spitzauer, who has told the Herald he lives in the Seattle area, said he's paid the penalty and is in the permitting stages.

Jani Gilbert, Department of Ecology communications manager for Eastern Washington, said Spitzauer emailed state officials Tuesday saying a check was in the mail, but they have not received the payment nor a new permit application.

Spitzauer has had similar problems getting city permits.

Green Power had an air conditioning system installed at the Pasco plant in March without receiving the required city permit, said Mitch Nickolds, Pasco's inspection services manager.

According to the contract Spitzauer signed with Horst Inc. of Kennewick, which installed the units, Green Power was responsible for getting the necessary permits.

Nickolds, who inspected the work earlier this month, said Spitzauer agreed to begin the permit application and pay any penalties.

The usual fine is to pay double the permit fee, which is based on the value of the work, he said.

Spitzauer applied for the building permit Wednesday after the Herald asked him about the issue. Nickolds said it would take about 10 days for the permit to be reviewed.

At the same time, Spitzauer also applied to renew his expired 2009 building permit for remodeling the office that never had a final inspection, Nickolds said.

Steve Horst said he likely still would be waiting to receive the last $16,000 that Green Power owed his company for the $30,000 air conditioning installation project if he hadn't told Spitzauer that he'd reported the payment problem to the Port of Pasco and the Herald.

Financial struggles

On the other side of the state, Spitzauer continues to face personal financial problems.

He has been unable to get a judge to drop a bankruptcy case he filed in 2010 in Western Washington.

He filed for bankruptcy protection three other times that same year, then asked to withdraw his requests and the dismissals were granted.

In the recent case, he has not provided required information about his debts and has failed to appear at meetings scheduled with creditors, according to court documents.

Spitzauer's creditors claim they are owed $21 million and have taken the lead in pursuing the case, which isn't the norm, said Rigby, the U.S. trustee overseeing the current case. He called the case unusual.

Spitzauer estimated in court documents that his debts are less than $1 million.

So far, Spitzauer has turned over $55,000 to the trustee. And $50,000 of that was a payment that Spitzauer made to keep from having to appear at a deposition.

The judge refused to discharge Spitzauer's debts, so his creditors can continue to try to collect what they're owed. In the mean time, Rigby said he has found no more assets for the creditors and plans to close the case.

Spitzauer told the Herald this week that his bankruptcy case is private and that he has settled some debts and is arranging to settle others.

But Rajan Babaria, with Texas-based Chakra Energy Corp., which is among four investors who claim Spitzauer owes them $16 million, said in an email to the Herald that Spitzauer has not paid his company anything.

Chakra Energy claims to be owed about $2.4 million, but Babaria doesn't think his company will ever be paid.

Lingering Tri-City debts

Part of the bankruptcy is a $3.6 million judgment and interest owed to a former employee who sued in Benton County Superior Court.

James Osterloh, who was chief engineer for Green Power before he resigned two years into a five-year contract, told the Herald that Spitzauer has been making some payments on his May 2010 judgment.

Osterloh sued Spitzauer and Green Power in August 2009 for using Osterloh's Social Security number and other employment information to open credit card accounts in Osterloh's name and charge at least $54,000.

Spitzauer initially agreed to pay off the credit cards, but when he didn't, Osterloh got a court judgment against him, court documents show.

American Express Bank has sued Spitzauer in Franklin County Superior Court for repayment of the $54,000, according to court documents. That case is not settled.

In addition, two Tri-City companies have filed in Franklin County, claiming they haven't been paid for their work for Green Power.

American Electric of Richland said it's owed $500,000, and Twin City Metals of Kennewick is owed $48,000, according to court judgments.

Elaine Fischer, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor and Industries, said Green Power still owes the state about $27,000 in unpaid wages, interest and penalties. The agency also received a wage complaint from an employee alleging the worker wasn't paid overtime for work between September 2011 and January. Fischer said the complaint is pending.

Spitzauer told the Herald he has a payment agreement with the agency.

While he has been making payments on unpaid workers compensation insurance, Fischer said he has not paid the wage claims and does not have a payment agreement for them.

Because of previous problems with Green Power's late payments, the Port of Pasco required Spitzauer to pay $233,867 in advance for his current six-month lease and water and sewer utilities. That lease expires Aug. 31.

Spitzauer will have to come back before the port commission to request a lease extension, said Jim Toomey, the port's executive director.

Spitzauer said he plans to ask for a lease renewal and more space at the port. He told the Herald that his company is doing well and is assembling mobile biofuels units at Big Pasco for customers.

"We are delivering systems and we are growing," he said in an email. "We are proud of what we do."

IMF boss is in no position to preach - The Guardian

While Christine Lagarde might not care about how the Greeks deal with their financial disaster, I think she might be a little more contrite, since the IMF happily let it all happen (It's payback time: don't expect sympathy – Lagarde to Greeks, 26 May).

Obviously she and the rest of the IMF crew – and all those supposedly in charge of our financial systems – have no answers capable of addressing the scale of this problem. All they can offer involves crushing a nation's people into poverty for a generation, with who knows what long-term results. And, when Greece has been destroyed, Portugal, Spain, Italy and, who knows, France might follow. Will Lagarde shut up then?

The simple truth is that the IMF didn't see the disaster coming over the decade or more when it was happening, they did nothing to tackle the situation when it hit, and now they haven't a clue what to do except cut.

Gordon Brown was in the Metro newspaper recently, calling on the world to recognise the scale of the problem in Europe. His solution – a global bailout to avoid a decade of "unemployment and stagnation" – sounds a lot more convincing than anything the IMF is offering.

But the IMF doesn't seem to realise this and, in several thousand words (Can this woman save the euro?, Weekend, 26 May), Lagarde confirms the poverty of their imagination. Once again we have got the wrong person in the job.
David Reed

• So Christine Lagarde tells us that, for the sake of their children, Greek "parents have to pay their tax"?

Personally, I can't judge how many Greek parents are to what extent in tax arrears. But, more importantly, I also can't judge how many Greek corporate magnates, government officials and contract companies have quietly shunted their cash off to Zurich, Jersey, the Cayman Islands or indeed Delaware (just round the corner from Mme Lagarde's HQ in Washington).

So, before she condemns Greek parents, maybe she should initiate an investigation of how much Greek money has been creamed off and is now sitting in one or other of the many tax havens that we seem unable to shut down.

Yes, if Mme Lagarde is serious about taxation justice, then maybe she should walk the walk rather than just talk the talk.
Alan Mitcham
Cologne, Germany

• As a Greek mother who has religiously paid her taxes for 20 years and had to pay €4,000 extra in 2011, I found Mrs Lagarde's comments extremely offensive.

Of course there is tax evasion in Greece. It is a huge problem and it has not been tackled yet. But there is a very big part of the Greek people that pay their taxes and have seen their incomes shrink. This kind of comment plays directly to the hand of Alexis Tsipras.

The kind of comment that would help now would be, for example, that Europe would help the Greek government locate the huge amounts of money that have fled Greece in the past year.
Irini Andreadi
Athens, Greece

• Given the IMF's destructive and impoverishing policies in sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere, I doubt Christine Lagarde is in a position to make claims about her concern for "little kids from a school in a little village in Niger ... Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens". No one in the IMF, the World Bank or the World Trade Organisation is in a position to preach economic/financial righteousness to others.
Bruce Ross-Smith

• The moral weight of Christine Lagarde's matronising of the Greeks to pay their taxes is not strengthened by the fact that, as director of the IMF, she is in receipt of a tax-free annual salary of $468,000 (£298,000, plus perks).
John Weeks
Professor emeritus, University of London

• To hear that latter-day Marie Antoinette Christine Lagarde tell someone rummaging in bins for food he should pay his taxes is obscene. She should resign.
Michael Paraskos

Mexico vows to push for business interests at G20 forum - Today's Zaman

“By creating a new working group during the Mexican presidency to analyze the impact of the recommendations made by the business community at the Seoul and Cannes G20 summits, we are making sure that the recommendations made in the past are not abandoned,” José Antonio Torre Medina, undersecretary for competitiveness and business regulation of Mexico, told Today's Zaman in an exclusive interview last week in Mexico City.

Fearing that suggestions made last month within the framework of the business group B20 may be in vain, he said Mexico has for the first time pushed for the creation of a new working group in order to follow up on and analyze the impact of the recommendations. The group is called the B20 Task Force on Advocacy and Impact and is co-chaired by Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Company from the US, and Pablo Gonzalez, chief executive officer of Kimberly-Clark from Mexico.

Torre Medina, who acts as the government liaison for this working group, acknowledges there may be high expectations from the G20 to address all the issues brought to the table. However, he says the Mexican presidency will focus on what he called “high-impact suggestions.”

“We will look into achievable commitments,” he said, noting that G20 members represent a very diverse group of countries. “Turkey is different from Mexico in many aspects,” he added.

According to the mandate of this task force on advocacy and impact, the group will first look at the current status and barriers for advancement of the Cannes and Seoul recommendations. It will lobby for the B20 recommendations to enter the G20 agenda and write action plans for the recommendations. Most important, it will create a follow-up mechanism that includes defining a process to permanently track B20 and G20 recommendations.

The businesspeople represented in the B20 group gathered in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta last month to engage in dialogue with G20 participants, with the hope of pushing their interests in the high-level summit to be held among leaders of the world's major economies next month in Las Cabos, Mexico. They submitted a list of proposals to be included in the final declaration of the G20 and established eight working groups on different issues to advance their agenda.

The recommendations, announced by Mexican businessman Alejandro Ramirez, president of the B20 Organizing Committee, state that the G20 should incorporate trade and investment in its agenda; lead by example by rejecting measures that restrict trade; promote multilateral trade liberalization according to rules outlined by the World Trade Organization; and create a working group focused on investment and report the results at the G20 summit meeting.

Eight working groups were established on food security; green growth; employment; transparency and eliminating corruption; trade and investment; ICT and innovations; financing for growth and development; and advocacy and impact.

Torre Medina emphasized there will be different levels of maturity on the progress of these working groups as some were previously established and some are new. He pointed out, however, that the participation of more than 150 international business leaders from 25 nations, with the support of international experts from the World Economic Forum, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as well as Mexican President Felipe Calderón were important. “Without the involvement of key stakeholders, the problems the world is facing cannot be solved,” he remarked.

The undersecretary admitted that fulfilling all the recommendations would not be easy. “In my view, we are improving the process. It is far from perfect, but it is better than before,” he said. “You will see different maturities for each one. It reflects how the summit will improve on key recommendations.”

He pointed out that the most difficult part boils down to the question of how to proceed on the commitments made by the member states. “Everybody agrees on the recommendations, but the ‘how' is the tricky part,” said Torre Medina. Nevertheless, he argued that keeping these issues in focus is vital. “Some will keep traction, and others will stay on the dashboard,” he noted.

Mexican officials also signaled that the solid performance of some member states on different issues may create an incentive for others to follow, thereby making the recommendations a useful tool for all members. “Let's say Turkey has made this. Here are the results and achievements. It can lead others by example. We are really focusing on getting good examples and success stories,” he explained. Similarly, Mexico can do certain things and Canada do others, Torre Medina stated.

Asked how all these suggestion will be framed in the final declaration, the undersecretary acknowledged that it will take a lot of innovative work on how to restructure these recommendations and how to make sure that the probability of their realization will go beyond the report. “That is a formidable challenge,” he admitted.

He stated that the B20 did not forget the important player, SMEs, even though their representation in the forum was dwarfed by big corporations. “Many of the task forces have recommendations on SMEs to make sure that they have the right tools and access to innovations and technology. In general, big companies participate in the task forces, but there is understanding on how to involve SMEs in the processes,” Torre Medina explained. In its report, the B20 group noted that SMEs are the dynamo of all economies, in many countries employing around 75 percent of employees and contributing between 30 and 60 percent of GDP and 45 percent of net new wealth.

He emphasized that working groups have a special focus on education. In the employment task force, he said, the B20 recognized the value of educating workers through training. “Learning by doing, not necessarily going to school, provides a value, and we should recognize that value,” he said. He also said the B20 highlighted the role of technology in education. In its report, the B20 group urged all stakeholders to “embrace the opportunities offered by modern technologies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of workers and organizations across advanced, emerging and developing economies.”

Turkey was represented at the B20 task force on ICT and innovation by Ayşegül İldeniz, the regional director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa of the Intel Corporation. In another task force on employment, Rıfat Hısarcıklıoğlu, chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), represents Turkey.

Financial planners at war over poaching - Australian Financial Review

Sally Patten

The chairman of financial planning group Count, Barry Lambert, has accused rival BT Financial Group of unsporting behaviour over its attempts to poach his firm’s advisers.

Since Commonwealth Bank of Australia acquired Count for $373 million earlier this year, the Westpac-owned BT Financial has bought least seven Count practices, a move that senior executives in the industry argue breaks an unspoken non-compete agreement between financial advice and administration businesses.

“It’s not cricket. It’s not the thing to do,” Mr Lambert told The Australian Financial Review. “BT’s behaviour is equivalent to underarm bowling between Anzac friends” – referring to the infamous incident in 1981 when former Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother, Trevor, to deliver the last ball of the match underarm. The incident snuffed out any chance of New Zealand scoring the six required to tie the match.

“I’m very disappointed with the behaviour of BT in the way they are going about business. I’d be surprised if anyone else who knew what was going on would support them.”

Mr Lambert, one of the advice industry’s most respected veterans, said this was his personal view rather than that of CBA or Count.

BT Financial’s poaching of Count advisers is regarded as a “game changer” by some observers and has raised concerns that the Westpac subsidiary has broken traditional ties between planning practices and administrative platforms.

“On the one hand it is part of competition, but [BT] is breaking some unwritten codes around the industry,” said Tony Fenning, chief executive of Shadforth Financial Group, an independent adviser network that is listed on the ASX.

“We would not see as a positive the breaking of those unwritten rules,” Mr Fenning said.

As an independent planning firm, Count used the BT Wrap administrative platform for 25 years, helping build the latter into Australia’s biggest platform business with $86 billion of assets.

Escalating the row between the advice subsidiaries of Australia’s two biggest banks, Count written to BT Financial seeking assurances that BT Wrap has not disclosed confidential information about Count clients that has given BT the upper hand in attracting Count planners.

BT, which has spoken to between 15 and 20 more Count practices about the possibility of them joining the Westpac subsidiary, has denied breaching any of its obligations to Count.

“As BT has explained to Count, BT has fully complied with all of its obligations to Count and to Count’s members, and will continue to do so,” a BT spokesperson said.

“Calculations of the per-client savings that a Count practice can achieve by switching to Magnitude are only performed where this is authorised or requested by the relevant Count practice.

“Beyond that, BT does not propose to comment on the detail of how it deals with its customers and partners,” the spokesperson said.

Some in the industry, including Mr Lambert, are concerned that platforms such as BT Wrap have worked alongside advice businesses to their and their clients’ mutual benefit, but that platforms would now start to compete with advice firms, particularly if they joined a rival company.

BT Financial argued that some Count advisers were questioning whether they would receive adequate support from CBA, saying it was “commercially logical” for them to consider a move to Westpac.

As a result of BT Financial’s concerted campaign to attract Count practices, Count has been forced to raise its retention payments.

Count chief executive David Lane refused to reveal the size of the increase, but a senior industry figure said he had heard it was “substantial”.

Mr Lane said the payments had been distributed evenly across Count practices, so no one would be discriminated against.

He has previously declined to comment on rumours that CBA had set aside $25 million for retention payments to be used to discourage Count advisers from leaving.

BT has denied rumours that it is offering “transition payments” of between $500,000 and $1 million to Count practices that move across.

BT Financial is trying to attract Count planners to its Magnitude advice business.

Magnitude chief executive Phil Butterworth, a former boss of DKN, an advice firm bought last year by IOOF, is expected to give an update on the division’s expansion plans this week.

It is understood that Magnitude has held talks with another 20 planning practices, apart from those that are part of the Count alliance.

No comments: