Month: June 2012

UK business prospects improved for now, says BDO survey

June 27, 2012


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A survey of UK businesses says short-term business prospects have improved, with the consensus on current trading levels at a 12-month high.

However the eurozone crisis may harm longer-term growth, says the report on the survey by the Centre for Economic and Business Research for business services firm BDO LLP.

BDOs Output Index, compiled from business surveys covering some 11,000 respondents, rose to 96.7 in May.

A reading above 95 indicates growth.

BDO said its findings suggested the UK was returning to growth. Mays reading was the highest level for a year, it said. In April, the index was put at 95.8.

Despite the better reading for output, BDO found that confidence had taken a knock.

BDOs Optimism Index has dropped for the third consecutive month, from a peak of 98.0 in February to 95.5 in May.

That index, measuring expected business performance two quarters ahead, suggests that UK firms expect growth to tail off later in 2012, according to BDO.

Peter Hemington, a partner at BDO LLP, said the eurozone crisis was casting a long shadow: Given that half the UKs export goods go to the eurozone, its hardly surprising that the ongoing turbulence there is denting longer-term growth prospects here.

The biggest issue for UK businesses at the moment is that the strength of the pound against the euro has made UK exports much more expensive, significantly denting export and growth prospects.

He continued: Its clear that UK business people are worried by the eurozone crisis and are scaling back plans for hiring and investing. This massively threatens the already fragile growth prospects for the economy.

The government should consider boosting growth by spending on infrastructure, taking advantage of the low cost of government borrowing, he urged.

Swinton Commercial Insurance Advises Business Owners to Safeguard Their …

June 25, 2012


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Swinton Commercial, one of the UK’s leading brokers of business and
commercial property insurance, is advising business owners to ensure
that their premises are fully maintained in preparation for the
severe weather conditions.

The Met Office has placed parts of the country on high alert – in
particular those living in exposed coastal areas in the south west
and Wales – with up to three inches of rainfall, and gale force winds
of 70mph expected in parts of the UK.

Flooding can spell disaster for businesses, leading to long-term
damage and expensive repairs, which in turn can impact on day-to-day

With this in mind, Swinton Commercial is offering the following tips
to business owners looking to safeguard their premises from the
effects of the extreme wet weather:

— Check your existing insurance policy to make sure you are covered for
water and flood damage
— If your premises are situated in a flood-prone area, take extra
precautions to prevent water damage occurring e.g. fitting water-
resistant skirting boards
— Make sure external electrical appliances such as fuse boxes are fitted
with protective coverings, and that these have not degraded or been
damaged in any way
— Check window fittings and ensure that all joins are watertight. You
could also consider fitting insulating plastic around windows to prevent
— Where necessary, hire a qualified professional to assist with repairs
and improvements

Brian Greenfield, Chartered Insurance Broker at Swinton Commercial,
said: “Damage caused by flooding is a serious issue for business
owners which can lead to costly repairs and long-term structural
damage to the premises. We would advise business owners – in
particular those who operate in flood-prone areas – to prepare for
all eventualities in case the worst should happen. Having the correct
business insurance policy can also provide additional cover, should
your business be affected.”

Notes to Editors:

About Swinton Commercial:

As one of the UK’s leading commercial insurance brokers, Swinton
Commercial has the expertise and industry knowledge to provide you
with highly competitive business insurance that’s tailored to your

With 34 branches across the UK, including 19 regional centres,
Swinton Commercial has quickly established itself as the UK’s local
broker, offering a dedicated team of advisors with specialist
industry knowledge in many sectors.

Your local Commercial Account Executive has an in-depth understanding
of the insurance market in your area and will arrange a face-to-face
appointment with you, taking the time to thoroughly understand your
business and its specific requirements.

We cater for most types of business – from small start-ups to
well-established organisations, comparing quotes from leading UK
insurers to find you the right level of insurance, at the right

What’s more, our award-winning offering has over 80,000 business
customers – and we’re growing fast.

Visit for more information or call 0800
954 3802.

SKV Communications
Anna Goulding and Alyssa Harrison
0161 838 7770

SOURCE: Swinton

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

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Santa Cruz entrepreneurs build new business on predicting crime

June 23, 2012


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SANTA CRUZ – A couple of Santa Cruz entrepreneurs are predicting success with their new crime-prevention business.

Attorney Caleb Baskin and Councilman Ryan Coonerty have taken the experimental predictive policing program used by the Santa Cruz Police Department and created software that they hope to sell to law enforcement agencies around the nation. The duo, who founded the co-working business NextSpace, say theyve raised more than $1 million so far to fund their newest venture.

Officers can use this to inform decisions and dedicate specific resources to specific areas, Baskin said. This can help direct the officers patrol time so they can deter or actually catch someone in the act.

PredPol, the name of their software, is based on an analytics model developed by a group of researchers, including mathematician George Mohler of Santa Clara University. The model used data gleaned from a study six years ago at the Los Angeles Police Department.

The LAPD, which started testing the model in its Foothill Patrol Division in November, has seen a 36 percent drop in burglaries and a 13 percent reduction in overall crime since then, according to Coonerty. By comparison, crime is up 2 percent citywide, he said.

Santa Cruz police analyst Zach Friend learned about the model in October 2010 and began working with Mohler last year to test it at the Santa Cruz Police Department.

In the year since the test program started in Santa Cruz,

Compass Business Solutions Launches Video Communication Fundamentals Training …

June 20, 2012


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Compass Business Solutions, the nations leading provider of technical training for Ciscos TelePresence product line, is pleased to announce the expansion of its course offerings with Video Communication Fundamentals.

Henderson, NV (PRWEB) June 09, 2012

Compass Business Solutions maintains its leadership position as a provider of advanced level telepresence and videoconferencing technical training. The addition of entry-level technical training provides its students with a curriculum designed to build a successful career in the video communications industry from the ground up.

Compass students have indicated the need for video communication training at all levels, beginner to advanced. The Video Communication Fundamentals course formalizes the foundation training requested by our students, stated Jules Trono, President of Compass. We are committed to contributing to the growth of the video communications industry through education. This course with our recently launched sales training and the expansion of our electronic on-demand training provides students with training at every level. Compass is the largest provider of telepresence and videoconferencing training in the US and also offers private training sessions globally.

This course provides students with a strong technology base knowledge of video networks, signaling and protocols which is needed for a successful technical career in visual communications, stated Jason Ball, Sr. Instructor with Compass. It also prepares students for the Polycom CVE exam because the Polycom curriculum covers similar topics, although this course goes into a much deeper level and covers additional topics such as firewall traversal.

Students or companies interested in learning more about Compass training programs in the US and globally can visit, and can contact Lisa Santiago at +1 (760) 688-4045 or +1 (877) 234-0635 for more information.

About Compass Business Solutions

Compass, the nations largest provider of telepresence and videoconferencing product line training, provides a one-stop resource for sales, technical and end-user training for visual communication products (

Compass Business Solutions is a learning company focused on helping people use and support video communication and telepresence technologies to improve their business. Training sessions follow a best practices approach to optimize all aspects of video usage and support. Compass was founded in 2008 by industry professionals who have been working with telecommunication and video technologies since 1989 and who helped launch Tandberg University in the USA in 2006, then becoming Ciscos first authorized TelePresence Specialist Learning Partner in the US.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

‘There’s No Debt Crisis In Europe, It’s A Monetary Crisis’

June 17, 2012


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I stole the title of this post from a PowerPoint slide that Lars Christensen sent me. Perhaps theres a bit of hyperbole there, but it reminded me of my research on the Great Depression. During 1931, all the Very Serious People were obsessed with the debt crisis. In some mysterious way they believed this was a major cause of the Depression itself. Im not sure why, I think it had something to do with confidence. Interestingly, the debt crisis never really got resolved. Instead it just gradually faded away as an issue, as by late 1932 it was becoming increasingly clear that intergovernmental debts were not going to be repaid. And as the debt crisis receded, people discovered that the Great Depression was still there.

Of course you all know the rest of the story. One by one countries discovered that the real problem was monetary, and recovery didnt start in a country until it had abandoned the gold peg and started boosting NGDP rapidly.

Some argue that the ECB cannot inflate, that it must keep targeting inflation at 2%, or else lose credibility. But they arent even doing a very good job in targeting inflation. Youd think that a central bank would be interested in the overall rate of inflation, not just those goods in the CPI. After all, no matter how dumb central bankers may seem, they certainly dont believe that low and stable inflation is good because it holds down the cost of living to consumers. They actually do know about the circular flow of income/expenditure. The standard view among economists is that low and stable inflation reduces menu costs and helps stabilize output. Of course in both cases youd do better with a price index that covered all goods, not just those in the CPI. And as Lars showed in this new post, they arent even coming close to hitting their 2% target for inflation, if we define inflation to include all goods. Indeed, since September 2008 they arent even hitting a 1% inflation target.

Click to enlarge:

Some might argue that the ECB is targeting a different index, and that they must stick with this failed policy in order to avoid losing credibility. It reminds me of how in the Vietnam War, the US military would sometimes claim that they had to destroy a village in order to save it. The ECB will destroy much of the eurozone economy in order to save it. And in the end theyll lose anyway, as politics always gets the last word.

PS. Just to be clear, there are debt problems in Europe. But Wall Street isnt falling on Greek news because of the debt issue, rather it reflects a lack of confidence in the Feds willingness to keep NGDP growing at a healthy rate.

Lenovo Connects ThinkPad Users with No-Contract Mobile Broadband Service

June 14, 2012


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/quotes/zigman/346332/quotes/nls/lnvgy LNVGY

today introduced Lenovo
Mobile Access, a flexible, no-contract mobile broadband service that
gives consumers and business users greater choice and flexibility when
connecting to valued online services. Lenovo Mobile Access provides
pre-connected, always-on, customizable connectivity to the Internet and
corporate networks, making it an ideal solution for users who need
access to online content, applications and services away from their
home, office or public Wi-Fi hotspots. Powered by a scalable cloud-based
platform from Macheen
Inc., the service is now embedded across select models of the
ThinkPad product line and available immediately in the United States and
nine European countries.

“We live in world where it’s not only undesirable to be without online
access, it’s often disruptive to businesses. For that reason we wanted
to create a flexible mobile broadband solution that would be
unparalleled in its ability to help business users stay connected and
working,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager,
ThinkPad Business Unit, Lenovo. “Fundamentally, Lenovo Mobile Access
gives individual and corporate customers options to determine how, when
and where they want to connect with online applications and services,
all at a price that fits their budget.”

Designed to fit the needs of both individual and “prosumer” customers,
Lenovo Mobile Access delivers broadband connectivity that’s available
anytime, anywhere yet users pay only for the access they need. Flexible,
no-contract payment options let casual users buy a “Time Pass” for as
little as USD 1.95 for 30 minutes or USD 8.95 for one day(1)–perfect
to quickly sync email or ensure online access during travel. Users with
more frequent connectivity requirements, or who work with large media
files can purchase monthly plans with 2GB or 6GB of data access, along
with the option for automatic monthly renewal. Businesses can leverage
the same pay-as-you-go options, helping them reduce the cost of mobile
broadband connectivity with right-sized access that can be extended to
large numbers of individual employees.

Business customers can also take advantage of intelligent features
designed to streamline device management, increase security and
productivity for mobile employees, and reduce operational expenses. All
ThinkPad laptops with embedded mobile broadband connectivity ship with
Lenovo Mobile Access pre-activated as the default configuration. A
single SIM is used for global access, enabling mass roll-out
capabilities over a secure connection. Web-based policy management tools
let IT administrators customize permissions and access options by
services or application, for the whole company, specific workgroups, or
individual users. Simple payment options allow centralized, single-payer
end-of-month billing for corporate arrangements.

“To date, connectivity has been ‘off the rack’ and one-size fits all–too
many mobile users are forced to squeeze into a mobile broadband contract
that gives them either more or less connectivity than they need, or they
go without entirely,” said Richard Schwartz, president and CEO, Macheen.
“With service by Macheen, Lenovo Mobile Access lets users trade
ill-fitting plans for tailored connectivity featuring pay-as-you-go
rates and customized access for any device, application and user. Quite
literally, it’s access to cloud-based content, services and applications
that fits the way users work and live, meaning virtually all ThinkPad
users can enjoy the value of true mobility.”

Pricing and Availability(2)

Lenovo Mobile Access is available immediately in select models of
ThinkPad Classic and ThinkPad Edge laptops equipped with a 3G module. At
launch, the service is available in the United States, UK, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Contract-free time passes are available in the following increments and
data allotments: 30 minutes (30MB), 1 day (200MB), 1 month (2GB) and 1
month (6GB). Auto-renewable, bandwidth-specific monthly plans are also
available for data allotments of 200MB, 2GB and 6GB. Country-specific
pricing information is available on the Lenovo Mobile Access control

For the latest Lenovo news, subscribe to Lenovo
RSS feeds or follow Lenovo on Twitter
and Facebook.

About Lenovo


/quotes/zigman/21902 HK:992

(adr:LNVGY) is a $US21 billion personal technology
company serving customers in more than 160 countries, and the world’s
second-largest PC vendor. Dedicated to building exceptionally engineered
PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product
innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic
execution. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM
Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and
markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology
products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded
commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers,
workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets
and smart phones. Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan;
Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For
more information, see .

(1)Lenovo Mobile Access rate plans are priced on a
country-specific basis. Detailed pricing information for Lenovo Mobile
Access session plans is available on the Lenovo Mobile Access control

(2)Prices do not include tax or shipping and are subject to
change without notice and is tied to specific terms and conditions.
Reseller prices may vary. Price does not include all advertised
features. All offers subject to availability. Lenovo reserves the right
to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice.

SOURCE: Lenovo

Kristy Fair, 919-257-6329

Copyright Business Wire 2012


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Lenovo Group Ltd. ADS





Volume: 28,251
June 13, 2012 3:50p

P/E Ratio20.24
Dividend YieldN/A

Market Cap$9.51 billion
Rev. per Employee$1.10M


Add to portfolio


Lenovo Group Ltd.


: Hong Kong



Volume: 5.93M
June 14, 2012 11:46a

P/E Ratio20.17
Dividend Yield2.79%

Market CapHK$73.82 billion
Rev. per EmployeeHK$8.52M

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Thunder, Heat get down to business: battling for the crown

June 13, 2012


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Theyve been stalking each other from a distance for months, wondering if and hoping that they might somehow get a chance to meet up again with everything on the line in a playoff series that will settle things once and for all. The Oklahoma City Thunder did their part early, locking up the Western Conference side of the bracket three days before the Miami Heat did the same on the Eastern Conference side.

But now that they are finished with all of that busy work, theyll finally get down to the business of fighting for the crown that both Thunder reigning and three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant and Heat reigning and three-time MVP LeBron James have been hunting their since they started playing the game.

Its only right, James said of The Finals matchup. Its only right.

He was talking about the matchup of the leagues two best teams and the matchup of the leagues scoring champ and MVP as well, since this is the first time theyve met in The Finals since Michael Jordans Bulls knocked off Karl Malones Jazz in 1997.

Linking business meetings to the links: Female execs perfect their drive …

June 12, 2012


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Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger Frances Fran Green, with Epstein Becker Green, chips during the golf clinic. Epstein Becker Green Womens Initiative hosts its Eighth Annual Golf Clinic at The Learning Center at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth, NJ The golf clinic will provide a great opportunity for women executives, attorneys, and business professionals to network in a social setting, where they can not only hone their golf skills, but build new relationships.

Syngenta to divest growing media from Lawn and Garden business

June 11, 2012


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BASEL, Switzerland, June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —
Syngenta announced today that Sun Gro Horticulture Ltd., the leading North American producer of growing media, has signed an agreement to acquire the Fafard peat unit of the Lawn and Garden business. Under the terms of the agreement, Sun Gro will acquire all Fafard’s US and Canadian assets, including employees and production plants.

Robert Berendes, Head of Business Development, said: “Our strategy is to deliver innovative solutions that make flowers easy and rewarding to grow for professional horticulturalists and for end consumers. We will collaborate with Sun Gro both commercially and in R&D to include growing media in our integrated offers. Expansion of these offers will be driven by our leading portfolio of genetics and chemical controls.”

Fafard had sales of $88 million in 2011. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction closed simultaneously with signing of the agreement.

Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 26,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. For more information about us please go to .

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This document contains forward-looking statements, which can be identified by terminology such as ‘expect’, ‘would’, ‘will’, ‘potential’, ‘plans’, ‘prospects’, ‘estimated’, ‘aiming’, ‘on track’ and similar expressions. Such statements may be subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from these statements. We refer you to Syngenta’s publicly available filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for information about these and other risks and uncertainties. Syngenta assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changed assumptions or other factors. This document does not constitute, or form part of, any offer or invitation to sell or issue, or any solicitation of any offer, to purchase or subscribe for any ordinary shares in Syngenta AG, or Syngenta ADSs, nor shall it form the basis of, or be relied on in connection with, any contract therefor.

Syngenta International AG Media contact: Analyst/Investor contact:
Media Office Daniel Braxton Jennifer Gough
CH-4002 Basel Switzerland +41 61 323 2323 Switzerland +41 61 323 5059
Switzerland USA +1 202 737 6521
Tel: +41 61 323 2323
Fax: +41 61 323 2424

SOURCE Syngenta

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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Improving the Banking System

June 5, 2012


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Governments grant central banks a monopoly on the creation of hard currency. At the same time, we ordinarily make transactions with other means of payment supplied by commercial banks. This is possible because in our monetary system commercial banks are able to create so-called bank money. These means of payment consist of different banks deposits that can be used with checks, bank transfers, credit or debit cards and direct billings, which make our lives much easier as we do not have to hold or carry bank notes or coins to make ordinary transactions.

However, commercial banks are not free to issue their own currency. Bank money has to be denominated in the currency issued by the national central bank and the banks are legally required to redeem their sight deposits in the currency of the central bank at any time. However, the need to back any single deposit of their clients does not necessarily mean that the bank is keeping all our money in their vaults at all times. According to current regulations, they just have to keep a tiny fraction of it. This is the legal reserve ratio. In the euro zone this is 2% of banks total deposits; and for this reason we call it a fractional reserve monetary system. This system allows for easy expansion of the money supply, but it also involves a significant risk: that of bank runs caused when depositors all try to take their money out of banks at once.

Banks started to operate under a fractional reserve system in the early modern era, when it started dawning on them that in ordinary times, few clients actually asked for the money kept on deposit. So they started to lend part of it out. By doing so, new deposits were created and hence new means of payments. Consequently, banks increased their balance sheets as well as their profits quite substantially, as the costs of backing their new deposits were much lower than the earnings coming form the new loans. Since the mid to late 19th century, with the expansion and development of modern banking, banks were able to offer these new means of payment more efficiently which did not require the use of paper notes or coins. As a result, banks realized that their clients needed less and less physical currency, which resulted again in a reduction in reserve ratios.

But during the 19th century the gold standard regime championed by the British Empire was an effective means to limit monetary expansion, both from central banks and commercial banks, as they still had to keep gold in reserve to back their issuance of money and credit. However, with the abandonment of the classical gold standard during the First World War, banks no longer needed to keep valuable assets in their vaults as the new reserve money of the economy was the notes of the central bank; which, in theory, could be expanded overnight with no tangible costs. This new system, in combination with the running of purely discretional monetary rules, resulted in excessive money creation and, finally, in more inflation and output instability in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Consequently, fractional reserve systems based on fiat currency tend to over-issue money unless strictly controlled by the central bank, or by the emergence of free competition in money. With the former, the central bank commits to a sound monetary rule focused on maintaining the purchasing power of money. Under this rule, both the central bank and the commercial banks are able to create means of payments but are subject to restrictions.

As sight deposits are redeemable at very short notice, banks could be required to fully back all their sight deposits with an equivalent amount of notes. Hence, the reserve ratio would amount to 100% of all sight deposits. Under this regulation, banks could only create new means of payment by lending the money kept in their time or savings deposits. It would result in a more stable monetary system but at the cost of having a less developed banking system, and thus a much smaller money supply.

In my view we do not have to go all the way towards a 100% reserve ratio to preserve the stability of the monetary system, while allowing for the development of the banking system. The gold standard seen in Britain and other countries during the 19th century is a good example of a self-correcting monetary system that nonetheless operated on a fractional reserve basis.

However it is achieved though, greater recourse to preserving the purchasing power of money would go a long way to improving our current monetary system.

CopyrightGoldMoney(c) 2012. All rights reserved.