The Importance of Knowing Your Financial Picture

Our country is currently facing some disturbing economic times. What does this mean for you? Instead of letting all the negativity in the news today bring you down, this is the best time to start looking at where your financial life is, and how it can be better.

Possibly, if home buyers going into their first home knew something about their own financial situation before getting a mortgage, we wouldn’t be facing this financial crisis today. I feel there is a real need for financial literacy education in our country today.

What can you do to help? You can assess where you are and try to make your personal situation better. Let each of us be a role model for others, especially our children.

First, let’s find out the honest truth:

1. Do you know what your personal financial picture is?

2. How much money do you owe, and what is the value of all the assets you own?

3. Do you have a written budget, or at least an idea of what your monthly budget is?

Don’t worry, you are not alone if you answer “no” to one or all of the above. Here are some things you can do today to start getting a better picture of where you stand financially:

* Organize your home filing system. If it seems overwhelming, do 15 minutes at a time. You’ll be surprised in what you can get done in just 15 minutes a day!

* Get a stack of statements together…YES, you MUST do this part (get the current bank statement, current investment account(s) statements, and all current loan and credit card statements together)

*… stop putting it off, and let’s take a look at how much is in your bank account! Also, stop ignoring the credit card statement and really look at the number in the “Current Balance” box. Is it shocking?

* If the credit card debt is eating away at your sanity every month, I guarantee there is a simple fix.. READY? Stop spending on credit cards! Make a concerted effort to live on less than you make while you are figuring out where you currently stand.

* Work on a written monthly budget. Know what all the loan payments are you need to make every month. Know what your housing, food, clothing, transportation and personal expenses are every month.

* Start trying to find “extra” money in your budget that can consistently go towards paying down debt, saving for retirement, or investing in a business.

You can dream about making it “big time” all you want…but if you don’t know where you are starting from, it’s hard to get a realistic picture of what it will take to get to where you want to go… so let’s get doing this thing!

I believe that the more each of us accepts responsibility for our own finances, the less we as a country have to face financial market meltdowns. Each of us must work on making our own lives better. Go forward with the belief that your life is what you make it and only you have control over your financial future!

Source by Rebecca Tervo

Foreign Capital

INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL MOVEMENTS

International Economics or international business has two parts – International trade and International Capital. International capital (or international finance) studies the flow of capital across international financial markets, and the effects of these movements on exchange rates. International capital plays a crucial role in an open economy. In this era of liberalisation and globalisation, the flows of international capital (including intellectual capital) are enormous and diverse across countries. Finance and technology (e.g. internet) have gained more mobility as factors of production especially through the multinational corporations (MNCs). Foreign investments are increasingly significant even for the emerging economies like India. This is in-keeping with the trend of international economic integration. A Peter Drucker rightly says, “Increasingly world investment rather than world trade will be driving the international economy”. Therefore, a study of international capital movements is much rewarding both theoretically and practically.

Meaning of International Capital

International capital flows are the financial side of international trade. Gross international capital flows = international credit flows + international debit flows. It is the acquisition or sale of assets, financial or real, across international borders measured in the financial account of the balance of payments.

Types of International Capital

International capital flows have through direct and indirect channels. The main types of international capital are: (1) Foreign Direct Investment (2) Foreign Portfolio Investment (3) Official Flows, and (4) Commercial Loans. These are explained below.

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign direct investment (FDI) refers to investment made by foreigner(s) in another country where the investor retains control over the investment, i.e. the investor obtains a lasting interest in an enterprise in another country. Most concretely, it may take the form of buying or constructing a factory in a foreign country or adding improvements to such a facility, in the form of property, plants, or equipment. Thus, FDI may take the form of a subsidiary or purchase of stocks of a foreign company or starting a joint venture abroad. The main feature of FDI is that ‘investment’ and ‘management’ go together. An investor’s earnings on FDI take the form of profits such as dividends, retained earnings, management fees and royalty payments.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the global expansion of FDI is currently being driven by over 64,000 transnational corporations with more than 800,000 foreign affiliates, generating 53 million jobs.

Various factors determine FDI – rate of return on foreign capital, risk, market size, economies of scale, product cycle, degree of competition, exchange rate mechanism/controls (e.g. restrictions on repatriations), tax and investment policies, trade polices and barriers (if any) and so on.

The advantages of FDI are as follows.

1. It supplements the meagre domestic capital available for investment and helps set up productive enterprises.

2. It creates employment opportunities in diverse industries.

3. It boosts domestic production as it generally comes in a package – money, technology etc.

4. It increases world output.

5. It ensures rapid industrialisation and modernisation especially through R&D.

6. It paves the way for internationalisation of markets with global standards and quality assurance and performance based budgeting.

7. It pools resources productively – money, manpower, technology.

8. It creates more and new infrastructure.

9. For the home country it a good way to take advantage in a favourable foreign investment climate (e.g. low tax regime).

10. For the host country FDI is a good way of improving the BoP position.

Some of the difficulties faced in FDI flows are: problem of convertibility of domestic currency; fiscal problems and conflicts with the host government; infrastructural bottlenecks, ad hoc polices; biased growth, and political instability in the host country; investment and market biases (investments only in high profit or non-priority areas); over dependence on foreign technology; capital flight from host country; excessive outflow of factors of production; BoP problem; and adverse affect on host country’s culture and consumption.

Foreign Portfolio Investment

Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) or rentier investment is a category of investment instruments that does not represent a controlling stake in an enterprise. These include investments via equity instruments (stocks) or debt (bonds) of a foreign enterprise which does not necessarily represent a long-term interest. FPI comes from many diverse sources such as a small company’s pension or through mutual funds (e.g. global funds) held by individuals. The returns that an investor acquires on FPI usually take the form of interest payments or dividends. FPI can even be for less than one year (short term portfolio flows).

The difference between FDI and FPI can sometimes be difficult to discern, given that they may overlap, especially in regard to investment in stock. Ordinarily, the threshold for FDI is ownership of “10 percent or more of the ordinary shares or voting power” of a business entity.

The determinants of FPI are complex and varied – national economic growth rates, exchange rate stability, general macroeconomic stability, levels of foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank, health of the foreign banking system, liquidity of the stock and bond market, interest rates, the ease of repatriating dividends and capital, taxes on capital gains, regulation of the stock and bond markets, the quality of domestic accounting and disclosure systems, the speed and reliability of dispute settlement systems, the degree of protection of investor’s rights, etc.

FPI has gathered momentum with deregulation of financial markets, increasing sops for foreign equity participation, expanded pool of liquidity and online trading etc. The merits of FPI are as follows.

1. It ensures productive use of resources by combining domestic capital and foreign capital in productive ventures

2. It avoids unnecessary discrimination between foreign enterprises and indigenous undertakings.

3. It helps reap economies of scale by putting together foreign money and local expertise.

The demerits of FPI are: flows tend to be more difficult to calculate definitively, because they comprise so many different instruments, and also because reporting is often poor; threat to ‘indigenisation’ of industries; and non-committal towards export promotion.

Official Flows

In international business the term “official flows” refers to public (government) capital. Popularly this includes foreign aid. The government of a country can get aid or assistance in the form of bilateral loans (i.e. intergovernmental flows) and multilateral loans (i.e. aids from global consortia like Aid India Club, Aid Pakistan Club etc, and loans from international organisations like the International Monetary Fund, the Word Bank etc).

Foreign aid refers to “public development assistance” or official development assistance (ODA), including official grants and concessional loans both in cash (currency) and kind (e.g. food aid, military aid etc) from the donor (e.g. a developed country) to the donee/recipient (e.g. a developing country), made on ‘developmental’ or ‘distributional’ grounds.

In the post Word War era aid became a chief form foreign capital for reconstruction and developmental activities. Emerging economies like India have benefited a lot from foreign aid utilised under economic plans.

There are mainly two types of foreign aid, namely tied aid and untied aid. Tied aid is aid which ties the donee either procurement wise, i.e. source of purchase or use wise, i.e. project-specific or both (double tied!). The untied aid is aid that is not tied at all.

The merits of foreign aid are as follows.

1. It promotes employment, investment and industrial activities in the recipient country.

2. It helps poor countries to get sufficient foreign exchange to pay for their critical imports.

3. Aid in kind helps meet food crises, scarcity of technology, sophisticated machines and tools, including defence equipment.

4. Aid helps the donor to make the best use of surplus funds: means of making political friends and military allies, fulfilling humanitarian and egalitarian goals etc.

Foreign aid has the following demerits.

1. Tied aid reduces the recipient countries’ choice of use of capital in the development process and programmes.

2. Too much aid leads to the problem of aid absorption.

3. Aid has inherent problems of ‘dependency’, ‘diversion’ ‘amortisation’ etc.

4. Politically motivated aid is not only bas politics but also bad economics.

5. Aid is always uncertain.

It is a sad fact that aid has become a (debt) trap in most cases. Aid should be more than trade. Happily ODA is diminishing in importance with each passing year.

Commercial Loans

Until the 1980s, commercial loans were the largest source of foreign investment in developing countries. However, since that time, the levels of lending through commercial loans have remained relatively constant, while the levels of global FDI and FPI have increased dramatically.

Commercial loans are also called as external commercial Borrowings (ECB). They include commercial bank loans, buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit, securitised instruments such as Floating Rate Notes and Fixed Rate Bonds etc., credit from official export credit agencies and commercial borrowings from the private sector window of Multilateral Financial Institutions such as International Finance Corporation, (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), joint venture partners etc. In India, corporate are permitted to raise ECBs according to the policy guidelines of the Govt of India/RBI, consistent with prudent debt management. RBI can approve ECBs up to $ 10 million, with a maturity period of 3-5 years. ECBs cannot be used for investment in stock market or speculation in real estate.

ECBs have enabled many units – even medium and small – in securing capital for establishment, acquisition of assets, development and modernisation.

Infrastructure and core sectors such as Power, Oil Exploration, Road & Bridges, Industrial Parks, Urban Infrastructure and Telecom have been the main beneficiaries (about 50% of the funding allowed). The other benefits are: (i) it provides the foreign currency funds which may not be available in India; (ii) the cost of funds at times works out to be cheaper as compared to the cost of rupee funds; and iii) the availability of the funds from the international market is huge as compared to domestic market and corporate can raise large amount of funds depending on the risk perception of the International market; (iv) financial leverage or multiplier effect of investment; (v) a more easily hedged form of raising capital, as swaps and futures can be used to manage interest rate risk; and (vi) it is a way of raising capital without giving away any control, as debt holders don’t have voting rights, etc.

The limitations of ECBs are: (i) default risk, bankruptcy risk, and market risks, (ii) a plethora of interest rate increasing the actual cost of borrowing, and debt burden and possibly lowering the company’s rating, which automatically boosts borrowing costs, further leading to liquidity crunch and risk of bankruptcy, (iii) the effect on earnings due to interest expense payments. Public companies are run to maximise earnings.

Private companies are run to minimise taxes, so the debt tax shield is less important to public companies because earnings still go down.



Factors Influencing International Capital Flows

A number of factors influence or determine the flow of international capital. They are explained below.

1. Rate of Interest

Those who save income are generally interest-induced. As Keynes rightly said, “interest is the reward for parting with liquidity”. Other things remaining the same, capital moves from a country where the interest rate is low to a country where the interest rate is high.

2. Speculation

Speculation is one of the motives to hold cash or liquidity, particularly in the short period. Speculation includes expectations regarding changes in interest and exchange rates. If in a country rate of interest is expected to fall in the future, the present inflow of capital will rise. On the hand, if its rate of interest is expected to rise in the future, the present inflow of capital will fall.

3. Production Cost

If the cost of production is lower in the host country, compared to the cost in the home country, foreign investment in the host country will increase. For example, lower wages in a foreign country tends to shift production and factors (including capital) to low cost sources and regions.

4. Profitability

Profitability refers to the rate of return on investment. It depends on the marginal efficiency of capital, cost of capital and risks involved. Higher profitability attracts more capital, particularly in the long run. Therefore, international capital will flow faster to high-profit areas

5. Bank Rate

Bank rate is the rate charged by the central bank to the financial accommodation given to the member banks in the banking system, as a whole. When the central bank raises the bank rate in the economy, domestic credit will get squeezed. Domestic capital and investment will get reduced. So to meet the demand for capital, foreign capital will enter quickly.

6. Business Conditions

Conditions of business viz. the phases of a business cycle influence the flow of international capital. Business ups (e.g. revival and boom) will attract more foreign capital, whereas business downs (e.g. recession and depression) will discourage or drive out foreign capital.

7. Commercial and Economic Polices

Commercial or trade policy refers to the policy regarding import and export of commodities, services and capital in a country. A country may either have a free trade policy or a restricted (protection) policy. In the case of the former, trade barriers such as tariffs, quotas, licensing etc are dismantled. In the case of the latter the trade barriers are raised or retained. A free or liberal trade policy – as in today’s era – makes way for free flow of capital, globally. A restricted trade policy prohibits or restricts the flow of capital, by time/source/purpose.

Economic polices regarding production (e.g. MNCs and joint ventures), industrialisation (e.g. SEZ Policy), banking (e.g. new generation/foreign banks) and finance, investment (e.g. FDI Policy), taxation (e.g. tax holiday for EOUs) etc., also influence the international capital transfers. For example, liberalisation and privatisation boosts industrial and investment activities.

8. General Economic and Political Conditions

Besides all commercial and industrial polices, the economic and political environment in a country also influences the flow of international capital. The country’s economic environment refers to the internal factors like size of the market, demographic dividend, growth and accessibility of infrastructure, the level of human resources and technology, rate of economic growth, sustainable development etc., and political stability with good governance. A healthy politico-economic environment favours a smooth flow of international capital.

Role of Foreign Capital

1. Internationalisation of world economy

2. Facelift to backward economies – labour, markets

3. Hi-tech transfers

4. Quick transits

5. High earnings to companies/governments

6. New meaning to consumer sovereignty – choices and standardisation (superioirites)

7. Faster economic growth in developing countries

8. Problems of recession, non-prioritised production, cultural dilemmas etc

Source by V B Hans

Resume Objective for Position of a Tax Revenue Collector

As you are aware, the objective is the hitting sentence of your resume. It tells about your career goal and how the prospective employer will get benefited if he selects you as a candidate. So resume objective should be specific for particular job profile. Resume objective for position of a tax revenue collector needs to be written considering various demands of the job

Once you are cleared with various roles revenue tax collector has to undertake, you will be clear about how to write various sections of the resume of the tax revenue collector. Resume objective samples are readily available. So consider the activities and write the resume objective accordingly.

Job Demands of a Tax Revenue Collector:

• Tax collection from people as well as business professionals
• Maintain the records, procedures, code changes, accounting procedures. It ultimately is associated with working on financial information
• Take care of the issues related to tax returns and problems associated with it. If any of the legal issues are raised, plan the line of action or work on the line of action to get out of the litigation. Attend casual appeals hearings on contested cases from other co professionals
• Coordination and communication with the tax payers to inform them the procedures, details payment related issues or issues related to refund. Inform the tax payers about over payment or under payment
• Pursue all the activities related to tax returns, ie to fill up the related information, process the information etc.
• Broadly speaking the tax revenue collector deals with taxes, excise and sales tax returns

There are many other activities the revenue collector has to undergo. It is mentioned in the job requirements or job profile. Go through what the prospective employer wants. Understand which sector you are supposed to be more active in? It may be sales tax, excise or income tax. So resume objectives will differ depending upon the sector in which you are looking for a job.

You can refer resume objective samples on the internet and can write the objective that can create an impression at a glance. In other words you may say that it is the decision making statement whether the prospective employer would spare time to read your resume further or not. So beware a good objective statement can make or break the path.

The main purpose of including this statement in the resume is to convince the recruiter that you are the most suitable candidate applying for the post. Hence, it is necessary to carefully write your resume objective.

Source by Joe roony

The Importance of Farm Land

Farm land is a source of domestic food supply. Land has always been present. It has different forms and is often classified into types of land such as: Farm, hunting, waterfront, pasture, ranch and recreation. These are all various types of land. Farm land is of utmost importance for our nation. It has been and will be, even in the future. People are neglecting its value and even its purposes due to economic prosperity. The general effect is that city life becomes a norm and farming is a part of the history of our nation.

Evolution of Agriculture

The agricultural industry has experienced its up and down swings over time. In the recent past, America had a Consumer Cooperative Association where farmer families were involved. It became the largest Farm land cooperation in the North America, known at the time as Farmland Industries, Inc. The members of the cooperation benefited from privileges in terms of cost, selling, marketing and distribution. It was an enormous success but it did not last forever. In the 1990s and onwards energy prices and cost rose, while the price of their products; crops, maize and wheat declined. The ultimate impact was bankruptcy. The fall of such a large cooperation has decreased the regarded importance of this type of real estate. The members of the cooperation experienced severe losses and alterations in their routine work. The farmer and business relationships vanished with the bankruptcy of the mutual cooperation.

Supply of Farm land

Farm land is actually decreasing rapidly in its availability. The fall in supply exceeds a million of acres annually. This will eventually have a consequential effect on both price of this real estate and its purposes. The loss of fertile acres is irreplaceable. It serves a purpose of providing food for animals and human beings. The land is rewarding to sell. This is mainly due to the flatness of the lots. It is an idyllic location to construct houses, shopping centers and other infrastructures. The finest agricultural parcels are thus eventually sacrificed for construction purposes.

As property is owned by different farmers it is hard to monitor the rate of sales. The powerful features of this type of parcel is making it a perfect deal. Farmers can easily find buyers and earn a significant reward when selling. The dynamics of patriot can discharge sales and save land but greed often overwhelms it. This is how farm land is decreasing in its availability and it is becoming incrementally worth buying.

Farm land has always been a perfect purchase. The reason for the purchase can vary but, it is worth having farm land. Farm land does serve as a supply of food for the livings of our planets. The government is also offering incentives to purports its retention and reducing the rate of abandonment of its kind. Farm land is important for our nation and the world.

Source by Gregory Akerman

Code of Civil Procedure Section 1179 Motion for Relief From Lforfeiture of Lease in California

A Code of Civil Procedure section 1179 motion for relief from forfeiture of lease in California is the topic of this article. This motion is made pursuant to the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure section 1179 on the grounds of hardship and can be used to obtain relief against any forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement, whether written or oral.

Code of Civil Procedure section 1179 states in pertinent part that, “The court may relieve a tenant against a forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement, whether written or oral, and whether or not the tenancy has terminated, and restore him or her to his or her former estate or tenancy, in case of hardship, as provided in Section 1174.”

The party filing a motion for relief from forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement under section 1179 should include a declaration with detailed facts supporting their claims of hardship, and their claims that any breach was not willful or in bad faith. Tenants who failed to pay their rent due to losing their job but who now have the money to pay all of the back rent and all other damages and costs included in any judgment have a good argument for relief from forfeiture, particularly if they can show that they had always paid their rent on time before losing their job and that they are now employed again and plan to pay their rent on time from now on.

A noticed motion for relief from a forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement should be served and filed at least five (5) calendar days before the hearing although in certain situations the motion may be made orally.

A California Court of Appeal has ruled that a court has broad equitable discretion to relieve a tenant from forfeiture and restore them to their former tenancy in cases of hardship. The law absolutely abhors forfeitures. The Court must impose statutory conditions such as full payment of the rent that is due or full performance of all conditions and covenants of the lease or rental agreement.

Relief from forfeiture is more likely to be granted if the lessor can be placed in the same position as if the breach had not occurred. The principal reason for this is that the penalty of forfeiture is essentially designed to secure the payment of a certain sum of money. If that money is paid with interest, the true purpose of the forfeiture is satisfied.

Courts can also exercise their equitable powers and balance the equities allowing them to take into account all of the relevant circumstances such as whether the breach by the tenant was willful or in bad faith, whether the landlord has acted in good or bad faith, etc.

To view the entire text of any code section cited in this article or any other California code sections use the link shown below.

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml

Source by Stan Burman

Fixturing Ownership Rights in Commercial Leasehold Improvements

It is an invitation to a lawsuit when a lease agreement does not clearly articulate your express understanding of what will and will not be removed from the premises at the conclusion of the lease. If you aren’t certain how your intentions should be expressed, then an attorney should be consulted. Disputes over what is removable by the tenant can be high-stakes in nature, because the materials subject to removal can be valuable. A few years ago, one of our clients had to deal with the “midnight” removal of booths and an entire stainless steel kitchen line in his restaurant building; the defaulting tenant used wrecking bars and an acetylene torch to wreak havoc throughout the building. The impact of this pillaging was devastating to the landlord’s re-let value of the premises-and it was avoidable. Another client of our firm engaged in a dispute over whether a telephone switch was removable; this single, specialized piece of equipment was worth tens of thousands of dollars. Consider the cost of copper in recent years. It’s no wonder that some tenants and landlords have heated conversations about the removal of copper piping or other copper-based products from premises-just the scrap value of such materials is significant.

Recently, another client became embroiled in an argument over removal of improvements from a Laundromat that had thousands of dollars in specialized improvements, some of which were interior while others penetrated the roof of the building housing the premises. Our client’s concerns led to the generation of a memorandum that gave this advice, which, although admittedly limited to the circumstances of the premises, gives some idea of the fact-intensity of any analysis of what property is removable at the conclusion of the term, when the lease indenture itself isn’t sufficiently clear on that subject:

Client:

There are three primary reasons why SMITHCO cannot remove any such leasehold improvements [generally identified below in 1. and 3.-6.] from the premises. First, they never belonged to the current tenant; second, the lease text doesn’t allow any removal of the sort I am advised is contemplated by Mr. Smith; and third, the contemplated removal is contrary to the intention of the original builder-owner of the premises. The items Mr. Smith claims to want to take out therefore are not, by the very terms of the lease, trade fixtures.

The lease does not contemplate that leasehold improvements can be removed at the end of the lease term; that is explicitly the parties’ agreement in Article 5B.-that leasehold improvements paid for by Landlord or installed by Tenant shall belong to Landlord at the termination of the lease. Indeed, the lease is very clear that the Tenant’s Property (so defined in Article 10A.) only includes equipment, furniture, inventory, signs and “movable trade fixtures,” and these clearly are defined by illustration (counters, shelving and mirrors) as things that readily slide away from a wall or are removed easily from limited moorings like screws, without the need to use cutting torches or heavy tools. Basically, movable trade fixtures are unattached to the premises in any but a placement or balance-maintenance manner (see, Mark A. Senn, Commercial Real Estate Leases, §22.4 (2003 Supplement, page 22-20), which recites the deliberately limiting scope of removable personal property included within the expression “movable trade fixtures.”)

Your building was intentionally designed by its original owner for two tenants, with the primary one being a Laundromat, and that owner, like the present Landlord, intended to leave it that way for future operations. The plumbing and electrical lines in the premises, therefore, were not installed for the convenience of one Tenant or for a temporary purpose that might argue in favor of their removal by Tenant at the end of the lease term. Here are some illustrations from the photographs you shared with me of the interior of the Laundromat that demonstrate the unmistakable intention of the Landlord that all items installed by it were intended to be leasehold improvements instead of fixtures:

1. The building owner installed 2″ X 4″ framing around a series of 24″ X 24″ boxes that house the five “bulkheads”; these bulkheads are connected to the premises ceiling by the framing and are bolted to the floor.

2. The wall height in the premises was designed specifically to house industrial-sized dryers.

3. The dryer venting pipes to the roof actually penetrate the roof structure to the outside; so the roof structure was designed to accommodate large venting pipes.

4. The water and waste water piping is specially designed to connect to the bulkheads; any piping removed becomes junk, without market value other than for scrap.

5. The electrical conduit is joined to the electrical panels, so if conduit is severed from any panel, that panel will be compromised, out of compliance with City building code.

6. The power sources are oversized, meaning that more amperage is available to the premises than would be needed for usual retail sales of goods and services. Here, there is no intention by the Landlord to modify the use of the building, which will be re-let to a Laundromat operation.

You advised me that the rent on the premises is substantially higher than it is at other, comparable Laundromat facilities around the valley-and the reason for that is that the original Landlord intended to recoup the investment in super-infrastructure for this particular use over time. So the intention of the Landlord, evidenced by the rent reserved, was to create a permanent facility for commercial laundry operations with permanent leasehold improvements-and to recoup over time the cost of those permanent improvements. And for nearly 50 years in Arizona, the intention of the parties as respects the use and adaptability of personal property has been the main emphasis in determining which party has a claim of ownership in the fixtures, see Voight v. Ott, 86 Ariz. 128, 341 P.2d 923 (1959).

As for the issue of whether electrical wiring is a non-removable fixture, in 35A Am. Jur. 2d, Fixtures, at §109 (p. 921), the author asserts this proposition: “Electrical wiring is ordinarily considered a part of the realty, irrespective of the other circumstances.” That seems logical from the perspective that the wiring is adaptable to future uses-even non-Laundromat uses-of the premises. That same perspective is suggested by our court of appeals, that in 2005 ruled that wall to wall carpeting is a fixture, in Hayden Business Center Condominiums Association v. Pegasus Development Corporation, 209 Ariz. 511, 105 P.3d 157 (App. 2005). So while intention of the parties is the paramount factor in determining the character of the improvement item, the adaptability of the application and the extent of its physical attachment remain consequential.

The Landlord’s position should be that the Tenant is free to remove the following items from the premises only at the time of its move-out and thereafter: stack dryers; washer extractors; washing machines; water heaters; folding tables, vending and coin changing machines and chairs. And that’s it. Everything else in the premises are leasehold improvements or immovable fixtures; therefore, no wiring or plumbing pipes or fixtures of any nature-including the bulkheads-are to be removed.

It isn’t that difficult to articulate what the tenant can remove from the premises at the conclusion of the lease term; and the parties can agree that any personal property added after lease commencement to the premises (except inventory and equipment mounted on wheels or casters) that has a value in excess of some threshold amount will be deemed by the parties, in the absence of some written agreement to the contrary, to be a permanent accession to the premises-and therefore becomes the property of the landlord from the moment it is installed. One of the disadvantages of printed form leases, of course, is that the provisions about leasehold improvements versus fixtures tend to be scant or, at the opposite extreme, so overbearing as to endanger enforcement against a tenant by a landlord. So, landlords and tenants should discuss what will be added by the tenant to the premises in advance of personal property installation, and what the tenant desires to remove at lease expiration. And, thereby, avoid a donnybrook.

Source by Michael N Widener

Psalms For Prosperity

The psalms of the Bible are a literary treasure chest of prayers for prosperity. Below is a list of which psalms to recite for common financial requests. In some Catholic and Santeria traditions, you say the prayer or write the prayer out after lighting a candle. You may also recite the prayer as many times as you want to transform it into a kind of a mantra.

Psalm 1: To disarm office gossips, discourage those who would harm your reputation

Psalm 3: To conquer fear of poverty

Psalm 5: To ask for a special financial favor

Psalm 6: To ask for mercy from creditors

Psalm 7: To ask that blocks to progress be removed

Psalm 8: To improve confidence, to bring customers to a business

Psalm 10: For encouragement, self-confidence and stamina

Psalm 11: For mercy, tenderness and compassion, to triumph over enemies when backed into a tough corner

Psalm 12: To over come gossip, bad rumors or attacks on reputation, to overcome anxiety

Psalm 13: To overcome anxiety, when backed into a corner

Psalm 14: To renew faith that the universe is unfolding as it should

Psalm 18: For protection of the home, deliverance from enemies

Psalm 19: To receive daily blessings, increase faith in the idea that the universe has a supply for every demand

Psalm 20: For a favorable verdict in court

Psalm 21: To increase one’s spiritual vibration to invite prosperity into one’s life.

Psalm 22: For deliverance from difficult financial situations, when you feel hopeless or backed into a corner

Psalm 23: For serenity, peace of mind and stillness of the spirit, to help access the higher self

Psalm 24: To calm disturbed thoughts, anxiety and still the subconscious and the spirit, relieve fears of the future

Psalm 25: For inspiration, to access the higher self

Psalm 26: For success in financial matters, to gain confidence

Psalm 28: To disarm adversaries, make peace with an enemy, invoke tenderness, mercy and kindness

Psalm 29: To raise your vibration, to purify the home

Psalm 30: For patience and acceptance of divine will, to understand that time brings what we need when appropriate, as a thank you for many blessings

Psalm 33: When feeling fearful

Psalm 35: For victory in a court case

Psalm 36: For when you feel cursed and for protection against the evil eye, to receive divine blessings

Psalm 37: To overcome jealousy, envy, resentment and disappointment, to become serene and still

Psalm 38: For protection in court

Psalm 39: For the courage to confront any problem, to conquer fear

Psalm 40: For the reinforcement of faith in God, to still the mind when you are feeling frustrated

Psalm 41: When feeling depressed or betrayed

Psalm 42: To reinforce the connection between your personality and the higher self; to open channels of opportunity

Psalm 43: For mercy when you find yourself in an unjust situation

Psalm 44: For mercy when you find yourself in an intolerable or unjust situation; to strengthen faith in God

Psalm 45: To increase one’s faith in the power of the subconscious to follow your stated words

Psalm 46: To elevate enthusiasm for spiritual matter, increase one’s faith in the guidance of the higher self

Psalm 47: To reinforce the four cornerstones of prosperity: health, freedom, happiness and love.

Psalm 48: To become a “smile millionaire”, reinforce happiness and faith

Psalm 49: To overcome envy of the prosperity of others

Psalm 50: To reinforce the idea that the universe is benevolent and that all is unfolding as it should

Psalm 51: To quell feelings of guilt or self-criticism

Psalm 52: To correct an unjust situation

Psalms 53: To conquer skepticism and restore faith in the higher self and God

Psalm 54: To master doubts and negative thoughts

Psalm 55: To conquer anxiety and fear

Psalm 57: For when justice, compassion, kindness, tenderness or mercy is needed

Psalm 60: To put the past behind you, for a clean slate in the subconscious

Psalm 61: For help in finding a new home, when in trouble with creditors

Psalm 62: To reinforce faith in the higher self and strengthen spiritual values

Psalm 63: For anxiety, fear and discouragement

Psalm 64: To increase confidence, decrease fears of hidden enemies, to ask to be in the right place at the right time

Psalm 65: To give thanks for blessings that have been received

Psalm 66: To give thanks for an answered prayer and display an attitude of gratitude

Psalm 67: To give thanks for what one has, to eliminate discontent

Psalm 69: For deliverance in times of suffering

Psalm 70: To repel negative thoughts and attitudes of others

Psalm 71: For liberation from limiting thoughts or situations that seem like a trap, for confidence and persistence

Psalm 72: To improve financial conditions in general

Psalm 73: To eliminate those feelings and emotions such as anger, jealousy and resentment that take away our opportunities for our own enrichment and good

Psalm 74: To attract good fortune and repel enemies

Psalm 75: To encourage a job promotion or a hiring

Psalm 76: Traditionally, for luck winning the lottery or luck at gambling

Psalm 77: To restore lost faith in yourself and God

Psalm 78: To tune into the higher self and the resources of the Divine Imagination’

Psalm 81: To increase faith in the goodness of God, faith in the higher self and that we live in a universe filled with endless supply

Psalm 82: To eliminate fear of poverty and injustice; to help get organized and make a “to do” list

Psalm 84: To develop a more optimistic view of the future and attract prosperity

Psalm 85: To find inner stillness, serenity and peace with God

Psalm 86: When feeling despair or discouraged

Psalm 87: To promote chances for success in the arts; to be read out loud before an audition, interview, exhibition or a pitching session

Psalm 89: To ease all pain and suffering, including that of a financial nature

Psalm 90: To express thanks for the blessings received each day, for justice

Psalm 95: To remove prosperity blocks, to be inspired to follow the path that is for your highest good

Psalm 96: To strengthen wavering faith in the face of opposition to your plans

Psalm 97: To resolve problems with creditors

Psalm 98: To keep a joyful heart and an attitude of gratitude for what you do have

Psalm 99: For mercy in legal proceedings

Psalm 100: To repel negative energy and harmful influences

Psalm 101: To get off a treadmill or break bad habits such as overspending

Psalm 102: To receive an answer to a specific problem

Psalm 103: To engage one’s willingness to change for the better, for stillness and serenity and grace

Psalm 105: For forgetting and forgiving oneself for the mistakes of the past, for clearing the subconscious so you can have a clean slate

Psalm 106: For trust in the higher self and renewed optimism for the future

Psalm 107: As thanks for receiving deliverance from a hopeless situation, to break bad personal habits that affect prosperity (laziness, drunkenness, overspending)

Psalm 108: For success in business.

Psalm 111: To find the right job or career path

Psalm 112: To enlarge one’s perspective, see the big picture and to allow one to grasp the significance of all their options

Psalm 113: To receive honors, applause, awards, rewards or accolades

Psalm 115: To resist naysayers and uncooperative people, for success in business

Psalm 116: To maintain a daily attitude of gratitude

Psalm 117: To conquer self-pity

Psalm 118: When problems are overwhelming, as a prayer of thanksgiving for blessings received

Psalm 119: (Gambol: Verses 17 to 24) To attract money

Psalm 122: To prosper in business

Psalm 123: To assure the free circulation of kindness as energy in your life

Psalm 126: To understand that problems are temporary and that this too shall pass

Psalm 128: To have a happy and peaceful home

Psalm 129: For deliverance against financial oppression

Psalm 131: To cast off pride, which is thought to attract the evil eye, jealousy and misfortune

Psalm 132: To acquire material goods and property

Psalm 135: To strengthen the heart and will so that one is led to their highest aspirations in life

Psalm 138: For confidence in times when you feel overwhelmed, to lose fear and anxiety about the future

Psalm 139: To instill confidence in God and the Divine Plan that is in store for you, when feeling lost confused or sad

Psalm 141: To receive answers for specific financial requests, for confidence and peace of mind

Psalm 143: To restore faith in your path and renew confidence that there will be a joyful, hopeful tomorrow

Psalm 144: To express gratitude and thanks for blessings

Psalm 145: For when you feel overwhelmed by financial problems and need answers

Psalm 147: For a peaceful heart and serenity during times of conflict and turmoil

Psalm 149: To help understand the timing of divine providence and to understand that there is a supply for every demand

Psalm 150: To obtain blessings and express gratitude for blessings

A simple prayer:

“Dear Lord guide me to honor you with my talents and treasures. Amen.”

Source by Samantha Stevens

Building a Kingdom – Case Study of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited

This article presents a case study of sustained entrepreneurial growth of Kingdom Financial Holdings. It is one of the entrepreneurial banks which survived the financial crisis that started in Zimbabwe in 2003. The bank was established in 1994 by four entrepreneurial young bankers. It has grown substantially over the years. The case examines the origins, growth and expansion of the bank. It concludes by summarizing lessons or principles that can be derived from this case that maybe applicable to entrepreneurs.

Profile of an Entrepreneur: Nigel Chanakira

Nigel Chanakira was raised in the Highfield suburb of Harare in an entrepreneurial family. His father and uncle operated a public transport company Modern Express and later diversified into retail shops. Nigel’s father later exited the family business. He bought out one of the shops and expanded it. During school holidays young Nigel, as the first born, would work in the shops. His parents, particularly his mother, insisted that he acquire an education first.

On completion of high school, Nigel failed to enter dental or medical school, which were his first passions. In fact his grades could only qualify him for the Bachelor of Arts degree programme at the University of Zimbabwe. However, he “sweet-talked his way into a transfer” to the Bachelor in Economics degree programme. Academically he worked hard, exploiting his strong competitive character that was developed during his sporting days. Nigel rigorously applied himself to his academic pursuits and passed his studies with excellent grades, which opened the door to employment as an economist with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

During his stint with the Reserve Bank, his economic mindset indicated to him that wealth creation was happening in the banking sector therefore he determined to understand banking and financial markets. While employed at RBZ, he read for a Master’s degree in Financial Economics and Financial Markets as preparation for his debut into banking. At the Reserve Bank under Dr Moyana, he was part of the research team that put together the policy framework for the liberalization of the financial services within the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme. Being at the right place at the right time, he became aware of the opportunities which were opening up. Nigel exploited his position to identify the most profitable banking institution to work for as preparation for his future. He headed to Bard Discount House and worked for five years under Charles Gurney.

A short while later the two black executives at Bard, Nick Vingirayi and Gibson Muringai, left to form Intermarket Discount House. Their departure inspired the young Nigel. If these two could establish a banking institution of their own so could he, given time. The departure also created an opportunity for him to rise to fill the vacancy. This gave the aspiring banker critical managerial experience. Subsequently he became a director for Bard Investment Services where he gained critical experience in portfolio management, client relationships and dealing within the dealing department. While there he met Franky Kufa, a young dealer who was making waves, who would later become a key co-entrepreneur with him.

Despite his professional business engagement his father enrolled Nigel in the Barclays Bank “Start Your Own Business” Programme. However what really made an impact on the young entrepreneur was the Empretec Entrepreneur Training programme (May 1994), to which he was introduced by Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa. The course demonstrated that he had the requisite entrepreneurial competences.

Nigel talked Charles Gurney into an attempted management buy-out of Bard from Anglo -American. This failed and the increasingly frustrated aspiring entrepreneur considered employment opportunities with Nick Vingirai’s Intermarket and Never Mhlanga’s National Discount House which was on the verge of being formed – hoping to join as a shareholder since he was acquainted with the promoters. He was denied this opportunity.

Being frustrated at Bard and having been denied entry into the club by pioneers, he resigned in October 1994 with the encouragement of Mrs Masiyiwa to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.

The Dream

Inspired by the messages of his pastor, Rev. Tom Deuschle, and frustrated at his inability to participate in the church’s massive building project, Nigel sought a way of generating huge financial resources. During a time of prayer he claims that he had a divine encounter where he obtained a mandate from God to start Kingdom Bank. He visited his pastor and told him of this encounter and the subsequent desire to start a bank. The godly pastor was amazed at the 26 year old with “big spectacles and wearing tennis shoes” who wanted to start a bank. The pastor prayed before counselling the young man. Having been convinced of the genuineness of Nigel’s dream, the pastor did something unusual. He asked him to give a testimony to the congregation of how God was leading him to start a bank. Though timid, the young man complied. That experience was a powerful vote of confidence from the godly pastor. It demonstrates the power of mentors to build a protégé.

Nigel teamed up with young Franky Kufa. Nigel Chanakira left Bard at the position of Chief Economist. They would build their own entrepreneurial venture. Their idea was to identify players who had specific competences and would each be able to generate financial resources from his activity. Their vision was to create a one – stop financial institution offering a discount house, an asset management company and a merchant bank. Nigel used his Empretec model to develop a business plan for their venture. They headhunted Solomon Mugavazi, a stockbroker from Edwards and Company and B. R. Purohit, a corporate banker from Stanbic. Kufa would provide money market expertise while Nigel provided income from government bond dealings as well as overall supervision of the team.

Each of the budding partners brought in an equal portion of the Z$120,000 as start-up capital. Nigel talked to his wife and they sold their recently acquired Eastlea home and vehicles to raise the equivalent of US$17,000 as their initial capital. Nigel, his wife and three kids headed back to Highfield to live in with his parents. The partners established Garmony Investments which started trading as an unregistered financial institution. The entrepreneurs agreed not to draw a salary in their first year of operations as a bootstrapping strategy.

Mugavazi introduced and recommended Lysias Sibanda, a chartered accountant, to join the team. Nigel was initially reluctant as each person had to bring in an earning capacity and it was not clear how an accountant would generate revenue at start up in a financial institution. Nigel initially retained a 26% share which assured him a blocking vote as well as giving him the position of controlling shareholder.

Nigel credits the Success Motivation Institute (SMI) course “The Dynamics of Successful Management” as the lethal weapon that enabled him to acquire managerial competences. Initially he insisted that all his key executives undertake this training programme.

Birth of the Kingdom

Kingdom Securities P/L commenced operations in November 1994 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmony Investments (Pvt) Ltd. It traded as a broker on both money and stock markets.

On 24th February 1995 Kingdom Securities Holding was born with the following subsidiaries: Kingdom Securities Ltd, Kingdom Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd and Kingdom Asset Managers (Pvt) Ltd. The flagship Kingdom Securities Ltd was registered as a Discount House under Banking Act Chapter 188 on 25th July 1995. Kingdom Stockbrokers was registered with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange under ZSE Chapter 195 on 1st August 1995. The pre-licensing trading had generated good revenue but they still had a 20% deficit of the required capital. Most institutional investors turned them down as they were a greenfield company promoted by people perceived to be “too young”. At this stage National Merchant Bank, Intermarket and others were on the market raising equity and these were run by seasoned and mature promoters. However Rachel Kupara, then MD for Zimnat, believed in the young entrepreneurs and took up the first equity portion for Zimnat at 5%.

Norman Sachikonye, then Financial Director and Investments Manager at First Mutual followed suit, taking up an equity share of 15%. These two institutional investors were inducted as shareholders of Kingdom Securities Holdings on 1st August 1995. Garmony Investments ceased operations and reversed itself into Kingdom Securities on 31st July 1995, thereby becoming an 80% shareholder.

The first year of operations was marked by intense competition as well as discrimination against new financial institutions by public organisations. All the other operating units performed well except for the corporate finance department with Kingdom Securities, led by Purohit. This monetary loss, differing spiritual and ethical values led to the forced departure of Purohit as an executive director and shareholder on 31st December 1995. From then the Kingdom started to grow exponentially.

Structural Growth

Nigel and his team pursued an aggressive growth strategy with the intention of increasing market share, profitability, and geographic spread while developing a strong brand. The growth strategy was built around a business philosophy of simplifying financial services and making them easily accessible to the general public. An IT strategy that created a low cost delivery channel exploiting ATMs and POS while providing a platform that was ready for Internet and web-based applications, was espoused.

On 1st April 1997, Kingdom Financial Services was licensed as an accepting house focusing on trading and distributing foreign currency, treasury activities, corporate finance, investment banking and advisory services. It was formed under the leadership of Victor Chando with the intention of becoming the merchant banking arm of the Group. In 1998, Kingdom Merchant Bank (KMB) was licensed and it took over the assets and liabilities of Kingdom Securities Limited. Its main focus was treasury related products, off-balance sheet finance, foreign currency and trade finance. Kingdom Research Institute was established as a support service to the other units.

The entrepreneurial bankers, cognisant of their limitations, sought to achieve critical mass quickly by actively seeking capital injection from equity investors. The aim was to broaden ownership while lending strategic support in areas of mutual interest. An attempt at equity uptake from Global Emerging Markets from London failed. However in 1997 the efforts of the bankers were rewarded when the following organisations took up some equity, reducing the shareholding of executive directors as shown below: ïEUR Ipcorn 0.7%, ïEUR Zambezi Fund Mauritius P/L 1.1%, ïEUR Zambezi Fund P/L 0.7%. ïEUR Kingdom Employee Share Trust 5%, ïEUR Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund – 8% redeemable preference shares amounting to US$1,5m as the first investee company in Southern Africa from the US Fund initiated by US President Bill Clinton, ïEUR Weiland Investments, a company belonging to Mr Richard Muirimi, a long standing friend of Nigel and associate in the fund management business took up 1.7%, Garmony Investments 71.7% -executive directors. ïEUR After a rights issue Zimnat fell to 4.8% while FML went down to 14.3%.

In 1998, Kingdom launched four Unit Trusts which proved very popular with the market. Initially these products were focused at individual clients of the discount house as well as private portfolios of Kingdom Stockbroking. Aggressive marketing and awareness campaigns established the Kingdom Unit Trust as the most popular retail brand of the group. The Kingdom brand was thus born.

Acquisition of Discount Company of Zimbabwe (DCZ)

After a spurt of organic growth, the Kingdom entrepreneurs decided to hasten the growth rate synergistically. They set out to acquire the oldest discount house in the country and the world, The Discount Company of Zimbabwe, which was a listed entity. With this acquisition Kingdom would acquire critical competences as well as achieve the much coveted ZSE listing inexpensively through a reverse listing. Initial efforts at a negotiated merger with DCZ were rebuffed by its executives who could not countenance a forty year old institution being swallowed up by a four year old business. The entrepreneurs were not deterred. Nigel approached his friend Greg Brackenridge at Stanbic to finance and effect the acquisition of the sixty percent shares which were in the hands of about ten shareholders, on behalf of Kingdom Financial Holdings but to be placed in the ownership of Stanbic Nominees. This strategy masked the identity of the acquirer. Claud Chonzi, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) GM and a friend to Lysias Sibanda (a Kingdom executive director), agreed to act as a front in the negotiations with the DCZ shareholders. NSSA is a well known institutional investor and hence these shareholders may have believed that they were dealing with an institutional investor. Once Kingdom controlled 60% of DCZ, it took over the company and reverse listed itself onto the Stock Exchange as Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL). Because of the negative real interest rates, Kingdom successfully used debt finance to structure the acquisition. This acquisition and the subsequent listing gave the once despised young entrepreneurs confidence and credibility on the market.

Other Strategic Acquisitions

Within the same year Kingdom Merchant Bank acquired a strategic stake in CFX Bureau de Change owned by Sean Maloney as well as another stake in a greenfield microlending franchise, Pfihwa P/L. CFX was changed into KFX and used in most foreign currency trading activities. KFHL set as a strategic intention the acquisition of an additional 24.9% stake in CFX Holdings to safeguard the initial investment and ensure management control. This did not work out. Instead, Sean Maloney opted out and took over the failed Universal Merchant Bank licence to form CFX Merchant Bank. Although Kingdom executives contend that the alliance failed due to the abolition of bureau de change by government, it appears that Sean Maloney refused to give up control of the extra shareholding sought by Kingdom. It therefore would be reasonable that once Kingdom could not control KFX, a fall out ensued. The liquidation of this investment in 2002 resulted in a loss of Z$403 million on that investment. However this was manageable in light of the strong group profitability.

Pfihwa P/L financed the informal sector as a form of corporate social responsibility. However when the hyperinflationary environment and stringent regulatory environment encroached on the viability of the project, it was wound up in early 2004. Kingdom pursued its financing of the informal sector through MicroKing, which was established with international assistance. By 2002 MicroKing had eight branches located in the midst of, or near, micro-enterprise clusters.

In 2000, due to increased activity on the foreign currency front within the banking sector, Kingdom opened a private banking facility through the discount house to exploit revenue streams from this market. Following market trends, it engaged the insurance company AIG to enter the bancassurance market in 2003.

Meikles Strategic Alliance

In 1999 the entrepreneurial Chanakira on advice from his executives and the legendary corporate finance team from Barclays bank led by the affable Hugh Van Hoffen entered into a strategic alliance with Meikles Africa whereby it injected some Z$322 million into Kingdom for an equity shareholding of 25%. Interestingly, the deal nearly collapsed on pricing as Meikles only wanted to pay $250 million whilst KFHL valued themselves at Z$322 million which in real terms was the largest private sector deal done between an indigenous bank and a listed corporate. Nigel testifies that it was a walk through the incomplete Celebration Church site on the Saturday preceding the signing of the Meikles deal that led him to sign the deal which he saw as a means for him to sow a whopping seed into the church to boost the Building Fund. God was faithful! Kingdom’s share price shot up dramatically from $2,15 at the time he made the commitment to the Pastor all the way to $112,00 by the following October!

In return Kingdom acquired a powerful cash-rich shareholder that allowed it entrance into retail banking through an innovative in-store banking strategy. Meikles Africa opened its retail branches, namely TM Supermarkets, Clicks, Barbours, Medix Pharmacies and Greatermans, as distribution channels for Kingdom commercial bank or as account holders providing deposits and requiring banking services. This was a cheaper way of entering retail banking. It proved useful during the 2003 cash crisis because Meikles with its massive cash resources within its business units assisted Kingdom Bank, thus cushioning it from a liquidity crisis. The alliance also raised the reputation and credibility of Kingdom Bank and created an opportunity for Kingdom to finance Meikles Africa’s customers through the jointly owned Meikles Financial Services. Kingdom provided the funding for all lease and hire purchases from Meikles’ subsidiaries, thus driving sales for Meikles while providing easy lending opportunities for Kingdom. Meikles managed the relationship with the client.

Meikles Africa as a strategic shareholder assured Kingdom of success when recapitalisation was required and has enhanced Kingdom’s brand image. This strategic relationship has created powerful synergies for mutual benefit.

Commercial Banking

Exploiting the opportunities arising from the strategic relationship with Meikles Africa, Kingdom made its debut into retail banking in January 2001 with in-store branches at High Glen and Chitungwiza TM supermarkets. The target was principally the mass market. This rode on the strong brand Kingdom had created through the Unit Trusts. In-store banking offered low cost delivery channels with minimal investment in brick and mortar. By the end of 2001, thirteen branches were operational across the country. This followed a deliberate strategy for aggressive roll-out of the branches with two flagship branches ïEUR­ïEUR one in Bulawayo and the other in Harare. There was a huge emphasis on an IT driven strategy with significant cross-selling between the commercial bank and other SBUs.

However, it was further discovered that there was a market for the upmarket clients and hence Crown banking outlets were established to diversify the target market. In 2004, after closing three in-store branches in a rationalization exercise, there were 16 in-store branches and 9 Crown banking outlets.

The entrance into commercial banking was probably held at the wrong time, considering the imminent changes in the banking industry. Commercial banking does provide cheap deposits, however at the price of huge staff costs and human resource management complications. Nigel concedes that, with hindsight, this could have been delayed or done at a slower pace. However, the need for increased market share in a fiercely competitive industry necessitated this. Another reason for persisting with the commercial banking project was that of prior agreements with Meikles Africa. It is possible that Meikles Africa had been sold on the equity take-up deal on the back of promises to engage in in-store banking, which would increase revenue for its subsidiaries.

Innovative Products and Services

KFHL continued its aggressive pursuit of product innovation. After the failure of the KFX project, CurrencyKing was established to continue the work. However this was abolished in November 2002 by government ministerial intervention when bureau de change were prohibited in an effort to stamp out parallel market foreign currency trading.

Sadly this governmental decision was misguided for not only did it fail to banish foreign currency parallel trading but it drove underground, made it more lucrative and subsequently the government lost all control of the management of the exchange rate.

In October 2002, KFHL established Kingdom Leasing after being granted a finance house licence. Its mandate was to exploit opportunities to trade in financial leases, lease hire and short term financial products.

Regional Expansion

Around 2000 it became evident that the domestic market was highly competitive, with limited prospects of future growth. A decision was made to diversify revenue streams and reduce country risk through penetration into the regional markets. This strategy would exploit the proven competences in securities trading, asset management and corporate advisory services from a small capital base. Therefore the entrance had low risk in terms of capital injection. Considering the foreign exchange control limitations and shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, this was a prudent strategy but not without its downside, as will be seen in the Botswana venture.

In 2001, KFHL acquired a 25.1% stake in a greenfield banking enterprise in Malawi, First Discount House Ltd. To safeguard its investment and ensure managerial control, an executive director and dealer were seconded to the Malawi venture while Nigel Chanakira chaired the Board. This investment has continued to grow and yield positive returns. As of July 2006 Kingdom had finally managed to up its stake from 25,1% to 40% in this investment and may ultimately control it to the point of seeking a conversion of the license to a commercial bank.

KFHL also took up a 25% equity stake in Investrust Merchant Bank Zambia. Franky Kufa was seconded to it as an executive director while Nigel took a seat on the Board.

KFHL had been promised an option to gain a controlling stake. However when the bank stabilized, the Zambian shareholders entered into some questionable transactions and were not prepared to allow KFHL to up it’s stake and so KFHL decided to pull out as relationships turned frosty. The Zambian Central Bank intervened with a promise to grant KFHL its own banking license. This did not materialize as the Zambian Central Bank exploited the banking crisis in Zimbabwe to deny KHFL a licence. A reasonable premium of Z$2.5 billion was obtained at disinvestment.

In Botswana, a subsidiary called Kingdom Bank Africa Ltd (KBAL) was established as an offshore bank in the International Finance Centre. KBAL was intended to spearhead and manage regional initiatives for Kingdom. It was headed by Mrs Irene Chamney, seconded by Lysias Sibanda with the concurrence of Nigel after managerial challenges in Zimbabwe. Two other senior executives were seconded there. She successfully set up the KBAL’s banking infrastructure and had good relations with the Botswana authorities.

However, the business model chosen of an offshore bank ahead of a domestic Botswana merchant bank license turned out to be the Achilles heel of the bank more so when the Zimbabwe banking crisis set in between 2003 and 2005. There were fundamental differences in how Mrs Chamney and Chanakira saw the bank surviving and going forward.

Ultimately, it was deemed prudent for Mrs. Chamney to leave the bank in 2005. In 2001 KFHL acquired the mandate as the sole distributor of the American Express card in the whole of Africa except for RSA. This was handled through KBAL. Kingdom Private Bank was transferred from the discount house to become a subsidiary of KBAL due to the prevailing regulatory environment in Zimbabwe.

In 2004 KBAL was temporarily placed under curatorship due to undercapitalisation. At this stage the parent company had regulatory constraints that prevented foreign currency capital injection.

A solution was found in the sourcing of local partners and the transfer of US$1 million previously realised from the proceeds of the Investrust liquidation to Botswana. Nigel Chanakira took a more active management role in KBAL because of its huge strategic significance to the future of KFHL. Currently efforts are underway to acquire a local commercial bank licence in Botswana as well. Once this is acquired there are two possible scenarios, namely maintaining both licences or giving up the offshore licence.

The interviewees were divided in their opinion on this. However in my view, judging from the stakeholder power involved, KFHL is likely to give up the off shore banking licence and use the local Kingdom Bank Botswana (Pula Bank) licence for regional and domestic expansion.

Human Resources

The staff complement grew from the initial 23 in 1995 to more than 947 by 2003. The growth was consistent with the growing institution. It exploded, especially during the launch and expansion of the commercial bank. Kingdom from inception had a strong human resourcing strategy which entailed significant training both internally and externally. Before the foreign currency crisis, employees were sent for training in such countries as RSA, Sweden, India and the USA. In the person of Faith Ntabeni Bhebhe, Kingdom had an energetic HR driver who created powerful HR systems for the emerging behemoth.

As a sign of its commitment to building the human resource capability, in 1998 Kingdom Financial Services entered a management agreement with Holland based AMSCO for the provision of seasoned bankers. Through this strategic alliance Kingdom strengthened its skills base and increased opportunities for skills transfer to locals. This helped the entrepreneurial bankers create a solid managerial system for the bank while the seasoned bankers from Holland compensated for the youthfulness of the emerging bankers. What a foresight!

In-house self-paced interactive learning, team building exercises and mentoring were all part of the learning menu targeted at developing the human resource capacity of the group. Work and job profiling was introduced to best match employees to suitable posts. Career path and succession planning were embraced. Kingdom was the first entrepreneurial bank to have smooth unforced CEO transitions. The founding CEO passed on the baton to Lysias Sibanda in 1999 as he stepped into the role of Group CEO and board deputy chair. His role was now to pursue and spearhead global and regional niche financial markets. A few years later there was another change of the guard as

Franky Kufa stepped in as Group CEO to replace Sibanda, who resigned on medical grounds. One could argue that these smooth transitions were due to the fact that the baton was passing to founding directors.

With the explosive growth in staff complement due to the commercial bank project, culture issues emerged. Consequently, KFHL engaged in an enculturation programme resulting in a culture revolution dubbed “Team Kingdom”. This culture had to be reinforced due to dilutions through significant mergers and acquisitions, significant staff turnover because of increased competition, emigration to greener pastures and the age profile of the staff increased the risk of high mobility and fraudulent activities in collusion with members of the public. Culture changes are difficult to effect and their effectiveness even harder to assess.

In 2004, with a high staff turnover of around 14%, a compensation strategy that ring fenced critical skills like IT and treasury was implemented. Due to the low margins and the financial stress experienced in 2004, KFHL lost more than 341 staff members due to retrenchment, natural attrition and emigration. This was acceptable as profitability fell while staff costs soared. At this stage, staff costs accounted for 58% of all expenses.

Despite the impressive growth, the financial performance when inflation adjusted was mediocre. Actually a loss position was reported in 2004. This growth was severely compromised by the hyperinflationary conditions and the restrictive regulatory environment.

Conclusion

This article shows the determination of entrepreneurs to push through to the realisation of their dreams despite significant odds. In a subsequent article we will tackle the challenges faced by Nigel Chanakira in solidifying his investments.

Source by Dr Tawafadza A. Makoni

How to Improve Your iPad’s WiFi Performance

When I bought the WiFi-enabled iPad I knew that I might miss being able to connect over the 3G network. What I didn’t expect was not being able to connect over WiFi! Unfortunately, I’m not alone with my WiFi problems. Many iPad owners are reporting problems with WiFi – either connecting to or staying connected to a wireless network.

If, like me, you’re wondering what to do about WiFi, then read on. I’ve done the research and come up with the top 5 ways to fix the iPad WiFi connection problems.

1. Last things first: the on-off switch. You’d be amazed at how many complex step-by-step instructions end with “if that doesn’t work, turn the iPad off and on again.” Your iPad’s not always “on,” any more than an iPhone is.

  • Hold down the sleep/wake button until the red slider appears, and drag it to the right to power off. To power on, hold down the button again and let the iPad go through its startup routine.

This takes a while, and when you want your iPad to work right a few seconds is an eternity. But always keep this one ready – it’s often the “last resort” right answer.

2. Look Ma, no hands. Users are reporting that if you’re holding an iPad like a book, oriented taller than wide with your hands on its sides, your strong WiFi signal gets weaker, and your weak signal disappears. Don’t.

3. Renew your lease. The iPad has a known issue with DHCP leases. Long story short, it tries to retain an internet address on a DHCP network without renewing its DHCP lease. The network thinks the internet address is fair game, and issues it to somebody else. When working over a DHCP network:

  • Tap Settings/General. Under Auto-Lock, select “Never.”
  • If you’re losing the DHCP connection while working, tap the blue arrow next to the network name and “Renew Lease.”
  • When you finish working on the network, don’t lock your screen without either powering off or turning off your WiFi first. To turn off WiFi, go to Settings/WiFi, and set the switch to “Off.”

4. Turn up the brightness. A lot of power-saving tips advise you to turn down the screen brightness to preserve battery life, but if you’re losing connectivity, it’s a tradeoff. Nobody’s sure, but there’s speculation that the iPad figures that turning down your brightness is an attempt to save battery life, and decides to turn down your WiFi radio too.

Some complaints center on auto-brightness, which is a built-in feature that turns the brightness up and down based on ambient conditions. Turn your brightness up to the max, and you may get a sudden boost to your WiFi signal as well.

5. WEP and QoS.

  • WEP is an encryption protocol. Your iPad is more at home with WPA2, if that protocol is available on the wireless modem you’re connecting to – so dump the WEP setting.
  • QoS selects from a broad range of bands automatically to connect you to the internet – unless, of course, you’re on an Apple product like the iPad. Apple doesn’t support QoS, so disable it.

Finally, if you can’t keep a WiFi connection at least keep current with Apple’s iPad software updates. To Apple, the iPad’s WiFi problems are as real a threat as the competition’s “me too” tablets, and they’ve promised fixes in upcoming software releases.

Source by Barbara Mae

Filing Bankruptcy May Or May Not Be The Answer For You

If you are one those who are some serious debt, you might be really tempted to think that filing for bankruptcy is your only way out of this sticky situation. You have probably heard from the news or from people you know that filing bankruptcy is a breeze and after the filing, you will be literally be freed from the debt you have incurred over the years.

Nobody will dispute the fact that filing for bankruptcy protection is a very easy process, one in which you can hire a bankruptcy lawyer to do, or if you are adventurous enough, you can do it yourself if you are not afraid to fill out tons and tons of paperwork. And who can forget the added benefit that bankruptcy judgment will free you from the debt that has been plaguing you for the last few years. Just like the old saying “there is no free lunch in this world”, once you have filed for bankruptcy, there are definitely consequences which you will need to face post bankruptcy process. It might seem to be the only logical solution for you, but you should really consider all the possibilities and consequences if you choose to file for bankruptcy protection.

Why Bankruptcy Is Not For You

If you have the funds to pay back the creditors, you should strongly consider paying back your debt and not file for bankruptcy protection. Your creditors should be willing to listen to you if you are looking to make a deal with them regarding your debt. Tell your creditors that you can pay them 50 cents on the dollar, hence cutting your debt obligation by 50%. You will want to portray a picture of desperation to the creditors. Tell them that you have limited funds and can only pay back a portion of the debt or else you will need to seek for bankruptcy shelter.

It is only natural for the creditors to want to get the entire amount back from the debtors. But in all honesty, in this kind of economic downturn, a lot of creditors will be “happy” just to get back 50% of the debt. You should already know how much you can afford to pay back the creditors prior to negotiations that you will be holding with your creditors. This is a negotiation, so do not be shy to tell them what you can and cannot afford. Start off by telling your creditors you can only pay back 50% of the outstanding debt. Do not get flustered if the negotiation drag on for days or weeks. It is a negotiation, and it can take time and patience.

Generally speaking if you can really afford to pay back your debt, you should do that to avoid having to file for bankruptcy protection. You want to avoid having the record that you have filed for bankruptcy protection because it will stay in you credit history for up to 10 years. Once you have filed for bankruptcy protection, your credit score and credit history will inevitably suffer as part of the consequence. It is true that you can mend your credit history and credit score, but it is a long and tedious task which require a lot of time and dedication.

Personal Bankruptcy Is For Some People

If it will take you 5-7 years to pay back the creditors, I would strongly consider that you should be filing for bankruptcy shelter. If it will take you that long a time to pay back the creditors, there is a good chance that your credit is already ruined. If that is the case that your credit report and credit history is inevitably damaged, why not save yourself the headache, and money of course, and file for bankruptcy. Since you will need to find a way to fix your credit, and you can “save” the money that you are planning to use to payback the creditors, it will turn out to be a “win-win” situation for you if you are in such dire financial situation.

As part of the bankruptcy process, the creditors cannot harass you any longer when the process has begin. This is set in stone by law that the creditors cannot contact you directly once you have chosen to seek for bankruptcy shelter. Once the bankruptcy court discharges all your debt, it legally means that you have become debt free from the creditors that previously were seeking for repayment of the debt. These creditors will no longer have any legal rights to seek for payment. This is truly the only way you can become debt free if you really have that much debt you are responsible for.

Is Personal Bankruptcy For Me?

We have pointed out some benefits and disadvantages for filing bankruptcy, so what should you do at this point? It is not a secret that filing for bankruptcy can eliminate the debt you have been carrying. Filing for bankruptcy is not for everyone and definitely does not fit every single situation. Instead of beating yourself up over this decision to file or not file, talk to a bankruptcy lawyer who can lay out all the facts related to your particular situation. Filing bankruptcy is a life changing event and should never be taken lightly. If you choose to seek the advice of a bankruptcy lawyer, please note that most bankruptcy lawyer provides free initial consultation. You have nothing to lose by talking to a bankruptcy lawyer to find out what you will be experiencing whether you are in the pre bankruptcy phase, or the post bankruptcy stage.

Source by Steve B Sanchez