WASHINGTON: ‘ GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE FEDERAL BENEFITS BY 1.7 PERCENT IN 2015 ‘

AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON (AP) – The government says millions of older Americans who rely on federal benefits will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments next year.

It’s the third year in a row the increase will be less than 2 percent.

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WASHINGTON: ‘ WORLD FINANCIAL LEADERS PLEDGE TO ACT BOLDLY ON WEAK ECONOMY ‘

#AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON – October 12 – World financial leaders are pledging to act boldly and ambitiously to give a weak and uneven global recovery some momentum, but they have often fallen short in the past when trying to follow through on their promises.

The pledge from the International Monetary Fund’s policy-setting committee comes after a week of volatile swings in the financial markets – powered by concerns that parts of Europe may be sliding into another recession.

Source: Extract Courtesy of AP 

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UNITED STATES: ‘ IRS Wrongly Withheld Information in Hundreds of Freedom of Information Cases ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – October 06  – The Internal Revenue Service wrongly withheld or failed to adequately search for records in hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests, while accidentally releasing sensitive taxpayer information in other instances, an independent government watchdog found.

In a review of IRS compliance with the Freedom of Information Act released Thursday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported the agency “was not consistent in its service to individuals who requested information under the FOIA/Privacy Act.”

TIGTA sampled FOIA requests to the IRS and found 11 percent “in which taxpayer rights may have been violated because the IRS improperly withheld or failed to adequately search for and provide information to the requests.”

“When the sample results are projected to their respective populations, approximately 336 FOIA/Privacy Act and 17 I.R.C. § 6103 information requests may have had information erroneously withheld,” the report states.

Source:

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WASHINGTON: ‘ Executive Actions Aimed at Rolling-Back Off-Shore Deals ‘

#AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON – September 23 – The Obama administration on Monday unveiled long-awaited executive actions aimed at rolling back a recent rash of offshore tax deals.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the new rules would at least lead companies to second-guess the benefits of shifting their legal addresses abroad — and slashing their tax bills in the process.

The new rules target the economic benefits of the tax deals and seek to make it more difficult for companies to complete these kinds of cross-border-mergers, known as “inversions.”

These transactions may be legal, but they’re wrong,” Lew told reporters on Monday.

For some companies considering deals, today’s action will mean that inversions no longer make economic sense.”

Still, Lew  also stressed the new rules, which would go into effect for deals that close Monday or after, don’t eliminate the need for Congress to act when it returns to Washington after November’s elections.

The secretary added that the department would consider further rules if Congress remains deadlocked on how to stop the deals.

This ensures that offshore tax deals will continue to be a potent political debate this year, after Democrats have questioned the patriotism of companies that move abroad.

I believe America does better when hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and everyone plays by the same set of rules,” President Obama said in a Monday statement praising Lew and the new rules.

The Treasury’s announcement could give a new spark to a Democratic campaign issue that has yet to catch fire with voters.

Democrats have hammered companies like Burger King, medical device-maker Medtronic and pharmaceutical company AbbVie for seeking to reincorporate abroad.

Source: 

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‘ Members of the House of Transportation Committee Discuss Private Financing for Pubic-Private Partnerships ‘

#AceFinanceNewsUNITED STATES (New York) – When members of the House Transportation Committee trekked this morning to Manhattan for a roundtable discussion on private financing for public projects — also known as public-private partnerships, or P3s — with financiers from J.P Morgan and other firms, they got a message of both opportunity and caution.

“The focus on U.S. infrastructure from participants around the globe has never been at this high a point,” said Jamison Feheley, managing director and head of the public finance team at J.P. Morgan, which recently served as lead banker to the state of Washington on a $1.1 billion toll revenue bond financing program for building a new bridge across Lake Washington to replace an ageing span.

He cited reasons for the interest: “The attractiveness of U.S. assets, the stable political environment, and the long-term nature of the assets, the stable and predictable returns.” He told the panel “the amount of calls we field on a weekly basis from participants around the globe asking ‘how do we invest in U.S. infrastructure?’ – I’ve never seen anything like it.”

A convergence of forces is driving interest in P3s, including low interest rates, pension funds’ searching for predictable returns, and an unwillingness by Congress to increase gasoline taxes to finance infrastructure building. Or as Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D- Mass., put it, “because we in Congress don’t have the courage at the moment to actually do what we have to do on the Highway Trust Fund,” which is facing inadequate revenues from the gas tax ……………

Read More of this well written article from By Tom Curry @ Roll Call the Container

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‘ France Will Go Ahead With Two Mistral Helicopters Carriers Against US Opposition ‘

#AceFinanceNews – PARIS – May 30 – France will go ahead with the sale of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia‘s navy despite US pressure to halt the deal, the French Defence Ministry told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

Mistral_helicopter_carrier_ship_France_french_001

Contract liabilities will be honoured and finalised in October-November, the ministry’s press service said, confirming comment by President Francois Hollande visiting Berlin earlier this month.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has also announced that the deal with go through, noting on a visit to Washington that Russia “had already paid more than half” of the contract cost and that “according to law, there is no possibility to say ‘no’ to the deal.”

He added, however, that France would take “a final decision” on this issue in October. “Let’s wait and see what the situation and legal regime will be like,” Fabius noted, referring to European Union sanctions on Russia over events in Ukraine.

The US has interfered with the France-Russia deal on the Mistral helicopter carrier: a group of democratic members of the Congress has sent a letter to NATO’s secretary general urging to persuade Paris to refuse from the deal with Moscow and to sell the warships to NATO. The initiative was supposed to become a “strong signal” to Russia concerning Ukraine.

The US has made several attempts to scuttle the contract, where the French authorities confirm the obligations are observed properly. France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said during his visit to Washington in May, Russia had paid over half the contract price and thus no legal grounds existed for saying “no.”

RT – TASS – Military News

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`Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism As Cost to Corporate Business is Taking Its Toll ‘

#AceFinanceNews- says back in November 13 2013 the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) met together with a number of people to thrash out aspects of Terrorist Risk. This was a “Statement in Conjunction with House Financial Services Subcommittee Hearing on Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA)”

According to WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following letter is being issued on November 13, 2013, by the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT):

Attendees:

The Honorable Randy Neugebauer      The Honorable Michael Capuano

Chairman                            Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Housing &            Subcommittee on Housing &
Insurance                           Insurance

Committee on Financial Services     Committee on Financial Services

United States House of               United States House of
Representatives                     Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                Washington, DC 20515

Statement as Follows:

Dear Chairman Neugebauer and Ranking Member Capuano:

Thank you for convening this important hearing to further examine the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). CIAT is a broad coalition of commercial insurance consumers, formed immediately after 9/11 to seek a way to restore availability of commercial terrorism insurance for American businesses and the broader economy. CIAT’s diverse membership represents, among others, commercial real estate, banking, energy, construction, hotel and hospitality, entertainment, manufacturing, transportation, the major league sports, as well as public sector buyers of insurance including colleges and universities. CIAT is the true consumer voice on terrorism risk insurance, as we are comprised of the principal policyholders of commercial property and casualty lines of insurance in the United States.

CIAT strongly supports the TRIA program. For more than a decade, TRIA has made it possible for businesses to purchase the terrorism risk coverage they need at almost no cost to the taxpayer. TRIA brought stability to a marketplace that was severely paralyzed following 9/11, and it remains a critical component of ensuring economic continuity following another large-scale terrorist attack.

It is imperative that TRIA be extended beyond 2014. A recent study by Fitch Ratings concluded that it is “unlikely that substantial private market capacity would arise as a substitute” were TRIA to expire(1). Bloomberg Government’s analysis concurs, indicating “there is no reason to assume that reinsurers will re-enter the market if the TRIA program expires, and every reason to assume that the availability of coverage will fall.”(2)

We remember all too well what happens when terrorism coverage is not available: commercial borrowers lose their ability to get financing – or go into technical default on financing covenants, billions of dollars in real estate-related transactions stalled or cancelled, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. Simply letting TRIA expire is not a realistic option.

Under TRIA, all insurance against terrorism risk is written in the private marketplace with no upfront federal liability. All losses recognized in the TRIA plan go first through the private insurance mechanism where much of the loss is retained by design. In the absence of TRIA, which ensures industry participation, the federal share of such a disaster could well be larger. TRIA replaces government exposure with private capital, since insurers retain the cost of all but the largest terror incidents.

As a coalition of primarily commercial entities, we instinctively prefer private market solutions. However, the unique characteristics of terrorism (e.g., adaptive, intentionally driven to inflict catastrophic damage, can strike anytime/anywhere, etc.), significantly hampers the reliability of traditional actuarial risk models, thus necessitating a program like TRIA. To this end, we believe one of the strengths of TRIA is the manner in which it utilizes the private insurance marketplace to manage terrorism risk – indeed, as mentioned above all exposure under TRIA starts with private insurance contracts and, due to both significant retentions and the recoupment mechanism, the ultimate risk-bearers under TRIA are the policyholders and the private insurers. We are always willing, however, to consider ways to further limit taxpayer exposure under the program,  which we know is your focus as well.

Overall, we support the current structure of TRIA and are wary of major structural changes. We are open to modifications so long as they do not have the effect of restricting the availability of terrorism insurance. The current retrospective pooling arrangement, nevertheless, has advantages over various “pre-funding” mechanisms because:

—  the retrospective pooling arrangement avoids the need to set
contribution rates based on some guess as to how much in terrorism
losses there will be
—  a pre-funded pool poses temptation to spend the funds on other purposes
—  the uncertain nature and timing of large terrorist attacks leads to the
risk that a pre-funded pool could be either insufficient or
over-capitalized

With respect to the various private sector retention levels under TRIA (i.e., the program trigger, insurer deductibles, etc.), we remain concerned that increasing these levels too much too quickly could restrict the availability of terrorism insurance. We understand, after all, that reinsurance capacity for even the existing retention levels under TRIA is limited.(3) This fact alone demonstrates that TRIA is not “crowding out” the private sector.

Lastly, reasonable measures to attract greater reinsurance and other private sector capacity to the terrorism insurance marketplace are to be encouraged. To date, however, we see no evidence that creative private sector capital alternatives such as CAT Bonds and insurance link securities are sufficiently developed to inject meaningful private capital into the terrorism insurance marketplace. Ultimately, it is important that Congress find ways to incentivize this without impairing TRIA to ensure that terrorism insurance remains available in the event that private sector capacity does not develop to the degree assumed.

We are committed to working with you as you craft a solution to extend TRIA beyond 2014, and we again thank you on your leadership on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

The Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism

American Bankers Association

American Bankers Insurance Association

ABA Securities Association

American Council of Engineering Companies

American Gaming Association

American Hotel and Lodging Association

American Land Title Association

American Public Gas Association

American Public Power Association

American Resort Development Association

American Society of Association Executives

Associated Builders and Contractors

Associated General Contractors of America

Association of American Railroads

Association of Art Museum Directors

Building Owners and Managers Association International

Boston Properties

CCMI Institute

Campbell Soup Company

Citigroup

CRE Finance Council

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, LLC

CSX Corporation

Emerson

Financial Services Roundtable

The Food Marketing Institute

Helicopter Associates International

Hilton Worldwide

Host Hotel & Resorts, Inc.

Institute of Real Estate Management

InterContinental Hotel Group

International Council of Shopping Centers

International Franchise Association

International Safety Equipment Association

International Speedway Corporation

Long Island Import Export Association (LIIEA)

Marriott International

Mortgage Bankers Association

National Apartment Association

National Association of Chain Drug Stores

National Association of Home Builders

NAIOP

NASCAR

National Association of Manufacturers

National Association of REALTORS

National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts

National Association of Waterfront Employers

National Basketball Association

National Collegiate Athletic Association

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Football League

National Hockey League

National Multi Housing Council

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

National Roofing Contractors Association

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

New England Council

Office of the Commissioner of Baseball

Public Utilities Risk Management Association

The Real Estate Board of New York

The Real Estate Roundtable

Securities Industries and Financial Market Association

Self Insurance Institute of America

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association

Union Pacific

University Risk Management and Insurance Association

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Travel Association

UJA Federation of NYC

(1) Fitch Ratings U.S. Terrorism Reinsurance: Looming Uncertainty of Program Renewal, 1 (2013).

(2) Bloomberg Government, Extending Terrorism Insurance: The case is strong for maintaining a federal backstop in a market too risky for private sector alone, 5 (2013).

(3) According to Eric Smith of Swiss Re, “Based on the most recent estimate, the total amount of reinsurance capacity available for terrorism in the United States is approximately $6-10b — well below the $27.5b insurance marketplace aggregate retention under TRIA and the $34-35b cumulative insurer loss retentions.” The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002; Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Financial Services, 113th Cong. (2013) (statement of J. Eric Smith, President & CEO, Swiss Re Americas, at 4).

SOURCE  Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT)

Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT)

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` US Taxpayers lost $11.2 Billion on the Federal Bailout of General Motors in 2009 – Report to Congress '

#AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON – May 01 – US taxpayers lost $11.2 billion on the federal bailout of General Motors in 2009, according to a government report delivered to Congress on Wednesday.

The figure is an increase from the previous estimate of $10.5 billion.

GM received $49.5 billion to weather bankruptcy restructuring.

“The goal of Treasury’s investment in GM was never to make a profit, but to help save the American auto industry, and by any measure that effort was successful,” said Treasury Department spokesman Adam Hodge.

NEW YORK/DETROIT, June 1 (Xinhua) — In the largest industrial bankruptcy ever seen in U.S. history, General Motors Corp., the top U.S. automaker and once the world’s largest corporation, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday.

The Detroit-based company, for decades a symbol of American manufacturing supremacy, corporate culture and even lifestyle, filed a Chapter 11 petition to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York early Monday morning.

(InAutoNews) Reported – We are in June 1, 2009. At approximately 8:00 am EST General Motors fills for Chapter 11 reorganization in the Manhattan New York federal bankruptcy court.
The filing reported US$82.29 billion in assets and US$172.81 billion in debt. Is the fourth-largest filing in U.S. history after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Washington Mutual and WorldCom Inc.
Shortly after, Obama administration is announcing that the Government will invest an additional $30.1 billion in General Motors(GM) to finance its bankruptcy reorganization – this after the U.S. government provided $20 billion in aid.
And GM is becoming the new GM – without Hummer, Saturn, Saab and many more operations…
So mission accomplished. Right? Wrong!
GM’s boat is once again taking water, writes Louis Woodhill at Forbes. http://tinyurl.com/csedmc4

The US still owns 26% of the company and would need about $53 a share to break even, a far cry from the current price of $20.

That adds up to a current “unrealized loss of $16.4 billion,” writes Woodhill.

The company went public again in November 2010, and the government sold its final shares of GM late last year.

Auto companies were given $79.7 billion by the Treasury Department amid financial collapse.

The companies have repaid $59.1 billion, AP reported.

AP – RT – AFP – XINHUA

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#AceFinanceNews WASHINGTON April 26 Reuters For the fifth…

#AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON – April 26 – (Reuters) – For the fifth Saturday this year, the White House used the president’s weekly address to exhort Republicans to support an increase in the minimum wage, a key part of President Barack Obama’s voter-friendly economic agenda aimed at keeping Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate.

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` US Fund Managers Commenced Warning their Investment Shareholders of Risk to Stocks over Sanctions’

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – April 21 – US fund managers have warned of risks shareholders could face from current or future Western sanctions against Russia, as Washington move to impose more sanctions on Moscow over their dispute on Ukraine.

Since April 4, securities filings have outlined potential problems for funds including the $124.6 million ING Russia Fund, the $841.1 million SSgA Emerging Markets Fund and a number of iShares exchange-traded funds offered by BlackRock Inc.

The filing for the SSgA fund noted that sanctions by the US or the European Union could result in the depreciation of the Russian currency, Reuters reported Friday.

According to the report, US securities regulators contacted fund firms with holdings in Russia last month to make sure they were properly managing risk and disclosing the assets to investors.

US has however promised that if the situation does not get sorted in the Ukraine, they will consider further sanctions on funding and other financial institutions.

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