Business leaders aim to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland - Business leaders aim to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland -

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Business leaders aim to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland -

Business leaders aim to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland -

TWO of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs, Sir Tom Hunter and Jim McColl, will take part in an event tomorrow aimed at inspiring the next generation of industry leaders.

Business leaders, academics and industry chiefs from across Scotland will tell the gathering at Holyrood how entrepreneurialism can deliver sustainable economic growth at all stages of a business.

Sir Tom said: “Scotland’s future is in all of our hands. We need to stand up and be counted and deliver for the future of this proud, proud nation.

“Do what we have always done and we will be defeated; innovate - experiment; aim high, aim long and I do believe we can reinvent the modern world.”

The event is jointly organised by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government and other ontributors will include

First Minister Alex Salmond, Finance Secretary John Swinney, Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick and Murdo Fraser, the convenor of Holyrood’s economy committee.

Ms Marwick said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish Parliament can today provide a platform for debate by bringing together over 200 leading names from the world of business, politics and the public sector.

“The seventh annual Business in Parliament event provides an exciting and unique opportunity to discuss and debate the role of entrepreneurialism in delivering sustainable economic growth in Scotland.”

Mr Swinney said: The Scottish Government, with our enterprise agencies and local authorities, work closely with business and industry to ensure the country continues to be a competitive place to do business, generating innovative ideas and new entrepreneurs.

“Scotland is recognised for its contribution to shaping the modern world through innovation and it is important we work together to build on this reputation and ensure Scotland retains its position as the most competitive environment to do business in the UK.”

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France's cut to retirement age worries business - Daily Telegraph

The decision makes good pre-election promises from the new French socialist president Francois Hollande to undo his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s increase in the pension age.

French politicians have cited “social justice” to explain the move, which goes against trends seen across much of the Western world as nations face the costs of aging populations. “In our view the measure is a move in the wrong direction,” said economists at Citi.

The new retirement age of 60 will apply to those who entered the workforce at 18 or 19 years old and are judged to have contributed long enough to the pension system.

The government said the decree, affecting about one in six retiring workers, will be finalised later this month and take effect in November.

American Financial to refinance $200 million in debt - The Business Journal

American Financial Group  Inc. plans to refinance nearly $200 million in debt, it said Thursday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

American Financial (NYSE: AFG) said it plans to issue senior notes and use the money it borrows and cash on hand, if necessary, to pay off $112.5 million in senior notes. It pays a 7.5 percent interest rate on those notes, which are due in November 2033. American Financial also will pay off $86.3 million in 7.25 percent notes that are due in January 2034.

If it has money left over from the debt offering, American Financial plans to pay off part of the $115 million in 7.1 percent debt that is also due in 2034, it said in the filing. It could also use additional money it raises for general working capital purposes.

The downtown-based insurer didn’t say how much it plans to raise in the debt offering, what the interest rate will be or when it will make the offering. It will provide that information later.

American Financial’s stock rose 17 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $39.42 in mid-morning trading Thursday.


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The D2D Fund and The Center for Financial Services Innovation Attends the Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting -

D2D and CFSI to launch a mobile app development competition aimed at helping consumers make smart financial choices and improve their access to high-quality financial services

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The D2D Fund (D2D) and The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) committed to launch and administer a mobile applications competition as a part of the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting. The FinCapDev Competition will offer cash prizes and recognition to those who develop the best mobile applications (apps) to help Americans make smart financial choices and better access financial services.

Fall 2012, D2D and CFSI will solicit proposals from developers, students, financial service firms, entrepreneurs, social innovators and more to develop functional mobile apps to promote financial access and capability. Entrants to the FinCapDev Competition with the best submissions will receive cash prizes, access to expert advice, and other resources needed to successfully develop and launch final prototypes. Such resources include design, technology, marketing and business strategy consulting support and access to research and open data sets on the supply of financial products in the U.S. and middle and lower-income consumers’ financial services preferences and behaviors.

"The time is right for a competition like this,” commented Timothy Flacke, Executive Director, D2D Fund. “Mobile technology has reached near ubiquity in the US, but many of us have only begun to fully appreciate the power of the modern phone. We believe the competition will challenge creative, thoughtful people to push the boundaries of this new technology - with lasting benefits for consumers and the country."

“The FinCapDev Competition is an ideal way to spur the development of next-generation tools help consumers' access financial products and better manage their money,” said Jennifer Tescher, president & CEO of CFSI. “We are excited to work with developers across the country as they think creatively and share their app proposals centered on meeting this important consumer need.”

D2D and CFSI have a long history of promoting financial access and financial capability for middle and lower-income consumers through research, pilot projects, convenings and education efforts. The competition capitalizes on the sponsors’ expertise, while introducing a new public challenge tool to their approach. In the near term the FinCapDev Competition will introduce new high-value apps into the market; over time the Competition will nurture an emerging “ecosystem” of stakeholders focused on the potential of mobile technology to increase financial inclusion.

The FinCapDev Competition is made possible by funding support provided by The Ford Foundation and the Citi Foundation.

To learn more about D2D, visit or CFSI, visit

About CFSI:

The Center for Financial Services Innovation is the nation’s leading authority on financial services for underbanked consumers. Since 2004, its programs have focused on informing, connecting, and investing – gathering enhanced intelligence, brokering and supporting productive industry relationships, and fostering best-in-class products and strategies. CFSI works with leaders and innovators in the business, government and nonprofit sectors to transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to or follow us on twitter @cfsinnovation.

About D2D:

Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund strengthens the financial opportunity and security of low and moderate income consumers by innovating, incubating and stimulating new financial products and policies. Operating at the intersection of the private, non-profit and public sectors, D2D incubates and promotes practical applications with social impact that might otherwise lack a champion to nurture and bring them to market. D2D was incorporated as a 501(c)3, non-for-profit organization in 2000 and is headquartered in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, across the street from Harvard University's recently opened Innovation Lab. For more on D2D, go to

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media.

To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI’s Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at

About CGI America

President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) to address economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting in June 2011, CGI America participants have made more than 100 commitments valued at $11.8 billion. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will improve the lives of three million people, create or fill more than 150,000 jobs, and invest and loan $354 million to small and medium enterprises in the United States. The 2012 CGI America meeting will take place June 7-8 in Chicago. To learn more, visit

The Center for Financial Services InnovationMedia ContactMaris BishSpecialist, Marketing and

Source: The Center for Financial Services Innovation

Financial mania: why bankers and politicians failed to heed the warning signs of the 2008 credit crisis -


Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Central Government

Western economies displayed the same kind of manic behaviour as psychologically disturbed individuals in the run up to the 2008 credit crisis -- and it could happen again, according to a new study.

Bankers, economists and politicians shared a “manic culture” of denial, omnipotence and triumphalism as they threw caution to the wind, says Professor Mark Stein, the award-winning academic from the University of Leicester School of Management.

Observing - but not heeding - the warning signs from the collapse of the Japanese economy in 1991 and the 1998 crisis in south-east Asia, the financial world in the West went into an over-drive of denial, escalating its risky and dangerous lending and insurance practices in a manic response, he says.

Professor Stein, who has today (June 7) been awarded the iLab prize for innovative scholarship, identifies and describes this manic behaviour in the 20-year run up to the credit crisis in a paper published in the Sage journal Organization.

The causes of the banking collapse that plunged the UK and many other countries into recession have been well documented but an important question remains:  Why did economists, financiers and politicians fail to anticipate it?

Professor Stein argues that the financial world was suffering from collective mania in the two decades running up to the events. “Unless the manic nature of the response in the run up to 2008 is recognised, the same economic disaster could happen again,” he warns.

He defines the manic culture in terms of the four characteristics of denial, omnipotence, triumphalism and over-activity.  “A series of major ruptures in capitalist economies were observed and noted by those in positions of economic and political leadership in Western societies.  These ruptures caused considerable anxiety among these leaders, but rather than heeding the lessons, they responded by manic, omnipotent and triumphant attempts to prove the superiority of their economies.”

The massive increase in credit derivative deals, industrializing credit default swaps and the removal of regulatory safety checks, such as the repeal in the United States of the landmark Glass-Steagall banking controls were a manic response to the financial crises within capitalism,” he says.

Professor Stein’s award-winning research paper - A culture of mania: a psychoanalytic view of the incubation of the 2008 credit crisis – says this behaviour was also strengthened by “triumphant” feelings in the West over the collapse of communism.

“Witnessing the collapse of communism, those in power in the West developed the deluded idea that capitalist economies would do best if they eschew any resemblance to those communist economies, thereby justifying unfettered financial liberalization and the destruction of the regulatory apparatuses of capitalism. The consequences of this manic response have been catastrophic, with the on-going eurozone crisis being - in many ways - a result of this,” he says.

“Whether one examines the actions of banks and hedge funds, or the limitations of ratings agencies, auditors, regulators and governments, a more worrying and deeper question emerges concerning why so many parties, more or less simultaneously, were implicated in such unprecedented and extreme risk-taking.”

Stocks rise on Wall Street after China cuts rate - AP -

Stocks rose on Wall Street Thursday after China cut its benchmark lending rate in another bid to boost its slowing economy, but an early rally faded after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave no signal of immediate action to prop up the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 80 points at 12,494 shortly after noon. It had been up as much as 140 points earlier. On Wednesday the stock market had its biggest gain of the year on hopes that more economic stimulus might be on the way in the U.S. and Europe.

China cut its benchmark lending rate for the first time in nearly four years, adding to efforts to reverse a sharp economic downturn. It was the first rate cut since November 2008.

"Markets received a near-term shot of adrenalin from China," said Matthew Kaufler, portfolio manager at mutual fund group Federated Investors. "China is the world's economic locomotive at the moment and it can't afford to slow down at a time when other major economies are in precarious positions."

Beijing has rolled out a series of measures to stimulate its economy after growth fell to a nearly three-year low of 8.1 percent in the first quarter and April factory output grew at its slowest rate since the 2008 crisis. Private sector analysts expect this quarter's growth to fall further.

The rate cut is a huge boost for global investors. China has been a major engine of global economic growth over the past few years as the U.S. sputtered and debt crises spread through several countries in Europe.

Industrial stocks that rely heavily on the Chinese market for sales were among the biggest gainers on the New York Stock Exchange. Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar rose $1.17 to $87.83, one of the biggest gains among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average.

The stock market pulled back a little from earlier gains after Bernanke said that the Fed remains ready to act if the economy needs it, but he didn't say any new steps were on the way.

"As always, the Federal Reserve remains prepared to take action as needed to protect the U.S. financial system and economy in the event that financial stresses escalate," Bernanke told the congressional Joint Economic Committee Thursday.

Investors have been worried because a bleaker view of the economy has taken hold in recent weeks, especially as hiring has weakened. U.S. employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year. Since averaging a robust 252,000 a month from December through February, job growth has slowed to a lackluster 96,000 a month. The U.S. economy grew at a tepid annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first three months of 2012.

Some traders had hoped that Bernanke would signal more action from the U.S. central bank after Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said that sustained weakness in job creation could justify more action to support the economic recovery. The Fed's latest bond-buying program is scheduled to wind down at the end of this month.

Investors' fears had also been growing that a collapse of Europe's euro currency union could trigger a panic and cause a global recession.

Some of those fears were allayed Thursday on hopes that Europe is preparing to give Spain financial aid to help the country rescue its banks. Spain is reluctant to accept a full-fledged bailout from its partners in the euro because that would mean giving up control over some of its domestic policies.

Spain successfully raised $2.62 billion Thursday from the bond markets. The interest rate on its benchmark 10-year note fell to 6.02 percent from 6.26 percent late Wednesday, a big drop. Those are positive signs that bond investors are more willing to lend the country money.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose five points to 1,320 and the Nasdaq composite index rose four points to 2,848.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Molina Healthcare plunged $7.62, or 30 percent, to $18.14, after the health insurer withdrew its 2012 profit forecast, citing a possible revenue shortfall in Texas. Molina said member claims in Hidalgo and El Paso have far exceeded its estimates and as a result, the premium revenue it is collecting there will not likely be enough to cover its medical costs.

— Men's Wearhouse dropped $5.66, 16 percent, to $29.91 after the clothing chain reported lower-than-expected results and issued a weak forecast for its second quarter.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Financial worries add to cancer patients' burden - KLTV

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- A small study gives a snapshot into the financial anxieties that plague many patients with advanced cancer and their spouses, even as they struggle against the disease itself.

Four of every five such American patients and their spouses-caregivers in the study said they had concerns about meeting medical costs and suffered "financial stress." Worries about paying medical costs also were tied to lower mental and physical health, the study found.

"Across the board, the longer they were in treatment or reaching the end of life, there were [financial] concerns. There were concerns whether it came to their own well-being or their families' well-being," said study lead author Fay Hlubocky, a clinical psychologist and ethicist at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

She reported the findings this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in Chicago.

The study involved 52 patients with advanced cancers, all of whom were enrolled in clinical trials, and their spouses. While patients in clinical trials are a slightly different group than that seen in the general population (because some expenses of treatment may be paid for), Hlubocky said the numbers from her study "are borne out in the literature generally" for patients battling cancer outside of such trials.

Patients ranged in age from 28 to 78, with a median age of 61. All were married, two-thirds had more than a high school education, and just over half made less than $65,000 a year. Forty-five percent of the patients were employed, as were two-thirds of spouses-caregivers. Each patient and their spouse were asked about a wide range of financial concerns, and they also took part in standard tests assessing depression, anxiety, quality of life and mental/physical health.

The researchers found that at the beginning of the study, 82 percent of the patients and 69 percent of the spouses reported "medical cost concerns," while 79 percent of the patients and 81 percent of spouses said they had "financial stress." Queried a month later, the level of "medical cost concerns" had risen -- 85 percent of patients and 72 percent of spouses now cited such worries.

People who encountered "unexpected" costs related to care had higher anxiety and depression scores than those who did not, the study found. Quality-of-life scores were lower for patients who had financial worries, and the physical and mental health of the spouses-caregivers seemed to decline as medical care cost worries persisted, the study found.

What were patients and their spouses worried about? According to Hlubocky, it ranged from the "little things" -- parking and hotel accommodations, gas and mileage getting to and from doctors' appointments -- to much larger concerns, including insurance coverage (or lack thereof), how to provide for loved ones after death, and even bankruptcy.

Some participants expressed real anxiety in meeting their financial obligations. "We had to pay for an additional hospitalization for a small-bowel obstruction, and insurance would not cover it," one patient told the researchers. "If we had to sell our house to pay, we'd do it."

Other patients felt their illness threatened their livelihood. "My employer has an attendance policy that if violated too many times will result in termination," the patient said. "My appointments have to be midday usually." The patient considered going on disability, "but that would not pay for my insurance."

One expert said these types of fears are all too common for people coping with cancer.

"It is certainly true that the impacts beyond diagnosis and treatment are tremendous for cancer patients," said Dr. Sylvia Adams, ASCO spokeswoman and assistant professor in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City. "They do face several challenges. And as this article shows, there is a substantial number of patients who feel that there is anxiety and depression and lower quality of life associated with worries about financial stability."

Adams said that, even for people with insurance, costs can quickly escalate. These include medication co-pays, transportation costs, time missed from work, child-care issues and the cost of in-home medical devices.

However, both Hlubocky and Adams stressed that, as challenging as things can be for cancer patents, help and resources are out there. First and foremost, they said, is to make sure you have a social worker on your cancer-care team who can point you in the right direction for help.

"There's lots of different foundations and coalitions out there that are willing to help," Hlubocky said. "Certain hospitals, you can just go and talk to the social worker and try and find out what's the best way to help cover some of the financial problems. Many patients don't know. A social worker is an absolutely wonderful person to have on your team."

Adams agreed. "It is very important that the treating team has a multidisciplinary aspect, and that it involves psychological support as well," she said, since the stress of dealing with cancer and its treatment can be overwhelming.

Findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

There are resources for cancer patients and their caregivers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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