Business & Economy
Should You Change Investment Strategies Because of Unrest in Ukraine, Iraq and Israel? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Chris Snyder and Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:24
Advisors To The Affluent Offer Tips for People Concerned About World Events

The summer’s headlines grew increasingly shocking:

• Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Shot Down Over Ukraine

• Israel Steps Up Airstrikes as Gaza Buries Dead

• U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS in Iraq

The violence and instability, along with worries about the Federal Reserve ending its market-bolstering stimulus and raising interest rates, precipitated a negative return in July for the Dow Jones Industrial average, the first decline in 2014. Should you be taking steps to protect your portfolio?

If the recent geopolitical events have made you uneasy about the possible effects on your portfolio, now might be a good time to evaluate the real risks you are taking, says wealth management expert Chris Snyder, co-founder with Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, www.pillarwm.com. (Get their white paper, Intelligent Investing: Making Smart Investing Decisions In Today’s Volatile Market, at the website.)

“You have to allocate your assets to avoid Undue Risk which will help protect your portfolio through  the inevitable wars, natural disasters, recessions and depressions that will occur,” Ashoo says.  “That’s right – not if, will. A well-diversified portfolio provides peace of mind.”

Snyder and Ashoo offer these tips for weathering today’s troubles – and those to come in the years ahead:

•  Ensure your portfolio is diversified.
Modern Portfolio Theory, developed by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Markowitz, tells us that 90 percent of the return in your portfolio is based on the allocation of stocks, bonds and cash, Snyder says.

“The percentages you allocate between these asset classes is far more important than timing the market or chasing around for the best manager, hedge fund, gold/commodities, dividend paying stocks or whatever Wall Street’s next pitch is,” he says.

•  Steer clear of active portfolio management.
Trying to outperform the markets involves active trading, which can have great impacts on your portfolio’s net return. With active management normally comes high management fees and high portfolio turnover, which lead to higher taxes and transaction costs, potentially leaving Wall Street and the IRS the biggest winners!

“World-class investment management must rise above the noise from Wall Street and day to day news headline,” Ashoo says.

• Never make financial decisions based on emotion.

Individual investors tend to buy and sell based on the emotions: greed and fear. When the markets are up, they tend to buy, hoping to catch a piece of the rise, yet when markets are losing, fear sets in and investors sell. Investing with emotion often leaves investors wondering why they are overweight in growth investments before a market drop and subsequently why they were out of the market when it recovered.

“Be sure that you and your investment advisers are qualified to understand and test the volatility and risk consequences your portfolio faces before the next big bad event happens ” Snyder says.

About Chris Snyder and Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo

Chris Snyder and Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo are co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, (www.pillarwm.com), of Walnut Creek, Calif., specializing in customized wealth management advice to affluent families. Their unique five-step consultative process for new clients ensures they have a deep understanding of clients’ goals. With a combined 51 years of experience, they are the authors of numerous published works, have addressed thousands of investors nationwide, and have been interviewed on radio shows across the country.

 
QCR Holdings, Inc. Announces Ruhl Mortgage Partners With Quad City Bank & Trust PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Richard Martin   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:11

MOLINE, Ill., Sept. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ruhl Mortgage and Quad City Bank & Trust, a wholly-owned subsidiary of QCR Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:QCRH), announced today that they have formed a new joint venture to provide mortgage services and products to their clients.

The new venture is pending certain regulatory approvals and is anticipated to commence operation in the fourth quarter of 2014. The combined entity will operate as Ruhl Mortgage.

"Ruhl Mortgage, Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors and Quad City Bank & Trust all have their roots in the Quad Cities Region," said Caroline Ruhl, President of Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors. "Our companies share common philosophies: we are all relationship driven and focused on delivering extraordinary customer service."

"We are so pleased to be partnering with the market leader in residential real estate sales and services," stated John Anderson, President and CEO of Quad City Bank & Trust. "With this new partnership, Quad City Bank & Trust will be able to expand our product offerings and capitalize on the strengths of both companies' commitment to our clients."

Ruhl Mortgage offers purchase and refinance loans, including FHA, VA and Rural Development loans, second home loans, down payment and closing cost assistance programs, and loans for investment properties and relocations. Additionally because of the new partnership with Quad City Bank & Trust, Ruhl Mortgage will now be able to offer portfolio, bridge and new construction loans.

All mortgage staff from Quad City Bank & Trust and Ruhl Mortgage are being offered positions with the new venture. The new company will be led by Jane Schneider, President.

The staff of 22 professionals will include 10 loan officers or loan officer assistants, and 12 operations and support staff. The operations center will be located at 1701 52nd Avenue, Moline, IL.

The company will serve the same regional market as Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors, encompassing 13 MLS's (Multiple Listing Services) throughout eastern Iowa, northwestern Illinois, and southwestern Wisconsin. Loan officers will be located in Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, Dubuque, Iowa City, Muscatine, Clinton, and Cedar Rapids, with travel to other locations as needed.

"We are a full-service mortgage banker dedicated to each relationship from application to closing," said Jane Schneider, President of Ruhl Mortgage.

Contact Ruhl Mortgage at 309-743-8061 or visit www.RuhlMortgage.com to contact a loan officer, to get pre?approved online, or for more information on home financing.

 
KONE to add light manufacturing to AllenPlace PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Meghan Reilly   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:57

ALLEN, Tex.— KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, will build and occupy a light-manufacturing facility in AllenPlace and will add 80 new positions to the facility, the company and Allen Economic Development Corporation announced today. KONE will expand its current competence by adding a light manufacturing facility to its operations in North America. In May, KONE announced it would be the lead tenant for the $26 million first phase of AllenPlace, and since, has committed to another 121,852 square feet for a light-manufacturing facility in the office park.

KONE now has plans to occupy nearly a quarter of the master-planned, 22.5-acre, 700,000 square-foot, five-building Class A office park being developed by Houston-based Sentinel Capital, LLC, in partnership with Centra Partners, LLC and Triad Real Estate. In addition to the light manufacturing and test facility, KONE will lease office space totaling more than 169,000 square feet at AllenPlace, east of North Central Expressway between West Bethany and West McDermott Drives. The Allen Economic Development Corporation has worked in partnership with Sentinel on the project, assisting with both the real estate transaction and KONE’s expansion.

KONE expects Sentinel Capital to break ground in the next few months and KONE will have most of the positions in place by the end of next year, according to Ron Bagwill, vice president of Supply Operations for KONE Americas. Bagwill said some employees will relocate from a facility that has been operating in Torreon, Mexico, while other positions will be new. He said growth and proximity to U.S. and Canadian suppliers and customers were the key factors contributing to the decision to centralize sourcing, engineering and testing in Allen. The company said it will maintain its operations in Torreon, Mexico, with particular focus on manufacturing the core components of its elevator products, the elevator cars and doors.

“We will be customizing the elevator controls closer to where they are installed in the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “Our centralized location in Allen will simplify logistics, enhance quality and speed delivery.”

“KONE’s commitment to Allen and AllenPlace firmly anchors our vision for this office park, and they will serve as an important physical and symbolic landmark for what Allen means to corporate business,” said Dan Bowman, Allen Economic Development Corporation Executive Director and CEO.

While construction is underway, KONE continues to occupy office space in Allen Central Park and a testing facility in nearby McKinney. KONE is expected to take occupancy in the first half of 2015, according to Greg Nelson of Sentinel Capital. The AllenPlace complex is being designed by the architecture firm Goulas + Associates, Inc.

Ben Appleby, formerly with Houston-based PM Realty Group, represented Sentinel Capital on the KONE transaction and now handles all leasing for AllenPlace.

“This public-private collaboration should speak volumes about our intent and commitment to be a corporate home for growing and developing businesses,” said Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell.

###

ABOUT KONE

KONE is one of the global leaders in the elevator and escalator industry. KONE's objective is to offer the best People Flow® experience by developing and delivering solutions that enable people to move smoothly, safely, comfortably and without waiting in buildings in an increasingly urbanizing environment. KONE provides industry- leading elevators, escalators, automatic building doors and integrated solutions to enhance the People Flow in and between buildings. KONE's services cover the entire lifetime of a building, from the design phase to maintenance, repairs and modernization solutions. In 2013, KONE had annual net sales of EUR 6.9 billion and at the end of the year over 43,000 employees. KONE class B shares are listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd in Finland. http://www.kone.us

ABOUT SENTINEL CAPITAL, LLC

 
Governor Quinn Announces Nearly 20 Percent Reduction in Workers’ Compensation Costs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katie Hickey   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 08:35

Governor’s Historic Reforms Continue to Drive Illinois’ Comeback and Increase Savings for Businesses Across Illinois

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that workers’ compensation costs in Illinois have dropped 19.3 percentage points since the passage of workers’ compensation reform in 2011. This drop, reported by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), reflects a major reduction in the cost of claims paid by insurers and provides key savings for businesses across Illinois. News of the significant reduction comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that Illinois’ unemployment rate has dropped to an almost six-year low.

Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to strengthen Illinois’ business climate, drive economic growth and ensure that all workers are treated fairly and receive the compensation they deserve.

“The major workers’ compensation reforms we enacted in 2011 are protecting workers while continuing to reduce the cost of doing business in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois’ economy is making a comeback and major reforms like those to workers’ compensation are driving it. We are getting the job done for our hardworking men and women and businesses across Illinois.”

The NCCI credits these reductions in workers compensation costs to the 2011 reform signed by Governor Quinn. The Council is an independent bureau that analyzes workers compensation data nationwide and provides information and research to the insurance industry.

“The NCCI’s reported decrease is proof that workers compensation costs are significantly lower than they were in 2011,” Chairman of the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission Michael Latz said. “This demonstrates that insurance companies have had to pay less money on claims since 2011 and have enjoyed more profit.”

Illinois’ combined ratio for workers compensation costs is 93.7 percent. When applied to an insurance company's overall results, the combined ratio is a measure of the insurance company’s profit against losses – a combined ratio below 100 percent shows an underwriting profit. Since 2010, the combined ratio for insurance companies writing workers compensation insurance in Illinois has decreased from 121.4 to 93.7. This indicates that insurance companies are experiencing a decrease in paid losses and retaining more profit.

Today’s news follows an announcement from NCCI in July that it had recommended a 5.5 percent drop in the workers compensation advisory rate for 2015. This decrease will bring the total rate reduction since historic reforms championed by the Governor were enacted in 2011 to more than 19 percent, saving Illinois’ employers more than $450 million. The NCCI advisory rates determine the premiums businesses pay for workers’ compensation insurance.

Last month Illinois’ unemployment fell to a six-year low. During July, 11,200 new private sector jobs were added, including 3,900 manufacturing jobs. The state’s unemployment rate has fallen steadily since July 2013, when it stood at 9.2 percent, and has completed its steepest 12-month decline of 2.4 percentage points since August 1984. Since February 2010, Illinois has added 263,100 private sector jobs.

Governor Quinn made it a priority to reform workers’ compensation and to work with business owners and legislators to make it easier to do business in Illinois. He launched a working group on the issue, proposed legislation and worked with the General Assembly to enact historic reform that is allowing businesses to save hundreds of millions of dollars, driving economic growth throughout the state.

Since taking office and inheriting decades of mismanagement, Governor Quinn has enacted major reforms that are saving taxpayers billions of dollars. The Governor has saved taxpayers more than $3 billion by overhauling Illinois’ Medicaid system, cutting Medicaid spending and rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. He also passed comprehensive pension reform that will save taxpayers more than $140 billion over the next 30 years. Over the last five years, Governor Quinn has cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion.

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Minimum wage momentum is fueled by the facts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jack Temple   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 08:29

Over the past year, a record number of states and cities have taken action to raise the minimum wage. These long-overdue wage increases have won support in both “red” and “blue” parts of the country, and have passed with the shared backing of workers and businesses alike.

In fact, a virtual consensus exists today in support of raising the minimum wage, which would not be possible if, as Mr. Romeo suggests, voters were simply responding to an “urban myth” about the challenges facing low-wage workers. To the contrary, it’s a testament to just how clear that facts have become that workers, businesses, and voters across the country now agree that raising the minimum wage is a top-tier priority for boosting the economy.

It’s important to look at the whole picture when considering the impact of raising the minimum wage. While it’s true that those earning exactly $7.25 per hour tend to be younger, increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would raise pay for 28 million workers earning between $7.25 and $10.10 (and likely some earning just over $10.10, as employers adjust their pay scales upward).

U.S. Census Bureau data confirm the following facts about workers who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour:

  • 88 percent are adults over the age of twenty – not teenagers, as many opponents of raising the minimum wage suggest;
  • The average worker contributes nearly half of his or her family’s entire income, meaning that those who would benefit from raising the minimum wage are not working for side-money but in fact are breadwinners their households;
  • Over 14 million children – nearly one out of every five children in the U.S. – have at least one parent who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Indeed, it’s precisely because so many workers and their families now rely on low-wage jobs to make ends meet that growing numbers of small business owners – including those in the restaurant industry –have started to support raising the minimum wage. After all, when workers do not earn enough to afford the basics, consumer spending plummets, draining the economy of the demand it needs to grow.

A poll released by Small Business Majority in March of this year found that 57 percent of small business owners support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, and that 52 percent of small business owners agree that increasing the minimum wage would boost consumer demand, helping them grow and hire.

The facts are clear: raising the minimum wage is a win-win for workers and businesses alike – it’s those who continue to oppose raising the minimum wage that have rested their case on a myth.

From Aftan Romanczak:
Unfortunately, the public won't realize what they have approved in wage hikes until they see the price inflation on menus because operators will not absorb the cost increase. They also don't realize that if the minimum wage is $15.00, every employee above that rate must be moved up incrementally.

From “Jeff”:
You should all be ashamed of yourselves. The government is involved because you are too greedy to pay a living wage. I hope fast food prices skyrocket and you all go broke.

From Tim Borden:
Be careful what you wish for, consumers!

From “Roccobiale”:
If the public votes in favor of these wage hikes, what you will see is restaurants do either or both of the following: Replace servers with tablets, or add a service fee to the check ( replacing the tip) and the restaurant controls the fee and distributes the monies as they see fit. Restaurants can't pay servers $15 and have them make $ 200 a night while the back of the house gets paid way less. [It] can't happen.

From “Roccobiale”:
Putting the minimum wage to a vote is like asking the foxes if they want to the door to the chicken coop left open. Why is government involved in the business of setting wages for private industry?

 
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