Don’t miss your chance to listen, learn and communicate with the president of the state’s leading broad-based business association. At our Lunch with Brinegar stops around the state, Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar updates area business leaders on issues impacting your region, introduces Chamber programs and services that benefit your bottom line and answers your questions. Registration is FREE for Indiana Chamber members; $19 per person for non-members, and the events take place from 11:30- a.m.-1:00 p.m. local time.
Some people hear the term attorney general and they immediately fear negative consequences. Yes, the office undeniably carries out certain legal duties. But, in this case, the AG is offering help to many businesses that are unknowingly breaking the unclaimed property law.
BizVoice magazine offers this column explaining the current amnesty program. Below is information from the AG’s office regarding free education sessions that will help you play by the rules.
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General will offer three free unclaimed property reporting education sessions in June that will provide the essentials of reporting and compliance for office managers, accounting practitioners, and other legal and financial professionals responsible for the unclaimed property function in their organizations. Sessions will last approximately one hour, with additional Q&A time at the end. Attendees will have the opportunity to refresh their knowledge, clarify questions about the amnesty program, be advised of new legislative changes and learn new software tools.
The agenda will include:
Introduction to unclaimed property: basic definitions and rules of jurisdiction
Identifying unclaimed property: property types, dormancy periods and effective due diligence
Preparing your report: registration, common reporting errors and advantages of electronic reporting
Sessions will take place at the Indiana Government Center from 10-11 a.m. Dates are June 2 (conference room 2), June 9 (conference room 4) and June 16 (conference room 2). Participants must RSVP no later than 48 hours prior to each session. Once registered (include preferred date in subject title) with firstname.lastname@example.org, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with additional information. Include attendee name(s), title, company, phone number and e-mail in your registration message.
We offered earlier today a look at some of the key provisions in the still-being-debated financial reform bill in Congress. Here’s a brief overview of some of the other components (full 1,300-plus-page bill here).
Bank Capital Standards – Under an amendment adopted unanimously with little fanfare, banks with more than $250 billion in assets are forced to meet higher risk- and size-based capital standards. The Treasury and Fed oppose the measure authored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), warning it could make it harder for U.S. officials to negotiate global capital standards with foreign regulators.
Mortgage Risk – Require firms that securitize mortgages and other loans to hold a portion of the risk on their own balance sheets, but under an amendment added on the floor also would direct regulators to establish a category of less-risky mortgage products – primarily fixed-rate, fully amortizing loans – that would be exempt from the risk-retention rule.
Hedge Funds – Requires hedge funds that manage more than $100 million to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as investment advisors and disclose to the agency information about their trades and portfolios.
Corporate Governance – Gives shareholders of public corporations a non-binding vote on executive pay and the SEC the authority to grant shareholders proxy access to nominate directors.
Insurance – Creates a new Office of National Insurance within the Treasury to monitor the industry, recommending to the systemic risk council insurers what should be treated as systemically important, as well as coordinate international insurance issues. The office would produce a study and recommendations to Congress on ways to modernize insurance regulation, but it is explicitly not a new regulator.
Credit Rating Agencies – Establishes a new self-regulatory organization for credit rating agencies designed to eliminate a conflict in the current system in which an institution pays for its rating and, at times, shops for the best rating it can get for the lowest price. The SEC will appoint members of the new regulatory body that will then assign credit-rating agencies to provide initial credit ratings of financial packages.
Investment Advice – Several Democrats had hoped to tighten regulations for broker-dealers who give investment advice, but they weren’t given a floor vote on their amendment despite near constant lobbying from consumer groups. As it stands, this provision makes recommendations and directs the SEC to study the differences between fiduciary standards for investment advisers and broker-dealers.
A sweeping financial reform package passed the U.S. Senate last week. With a version already passed in the House, now compromises must be worked out by a conference committee to be led by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D- Mass.). The indication is they would like to send a final bill to President Obama by July 4.
However, there remain significant points of contention to be negotiated between the House and Senate; perhaps most notably the Senate provisions forwarded by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that require banks to spin off their derivative trading to affiliate entities. Over the next few weeks, advocates will continue to promote their position on the several items at play and the final product is still in question.
Below are descriptions of the major components in the Senate bill (see the 1,300-plus page bill in its entirety):
New Regulatory Authority – Gives federal regulators new authority to seize and break up large troubled financial firms without taxpayer bailouts in cases where the firm’s collapse could destabilize the financial system. Sets up a liquidation procedure run by the FDIC. Management could be removed, with shareholders and unsecured creditors bearing losses. Other provisions would make it harder for top executives at the failed firms to claim large compensation packages, and it would give the government power to limit payments for certain creditors of failed firms. The Treasury would supply funds to cover the upfront costs of winding down the failed firm.
Consumer Agency – Creates a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the Federal Reserve, with rulemaking and some enforcement power over banks and non-banks that offer consumer financial products or services such as credit cards, mortgages and other loans. The new watchdog would have authority to examine and enforce regulations for all mortgage-related businesses, large non-bank financial companies such as big payday lenders and consumer reporting companies, and for banks and credit unions with assets of more than $10 billion.
Derivatives – Requires the vast majority of all derivatives trading be executed on a public exchange as opposed to between banks and their customers as many contracts are currently. Most controversially, the bill would adopt language written by Sen. Lincoln that would compel any large commercial banks that have access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window to spin off their derivatives trading business. The Fed, FDIC andTreasury, as well as the banking industry, have argued against this measure.
Financial Stability Council – Establishes a new, nine-member Financial Stability Oversight Council, comprised of existing regulators, charged with monitoring and addressing system-wide risks to the nation’s financial stability. Among its duties, the council would recommend to the Fed stricter capital, leverage and other rules for large, complex financial firms that are judged to threaten the financial system. In extreme cases, would have the power to break up financial firms.
Oversight Changes – Eliminates the Office of Thrift Supervision, but an attempt to strip the Fed of its oversight of thousands of community banks was reversed with an amendment. Would empower the Fed to supervise the largest, most complex financial companies to ensure that the government understands the risks and complexities of firms that could pose a risk to the broader economy.
Federal Reserve Oversight – Calls for a one-time government audit of all of the Fed’s emergency lending programs from December 2007 onward, including facilities used to help deal with the collapse of Bear Stearns & Co. and the program to stabilize asset-backed securities markets. The Government Accountability Office would also review the Fed’s corporate governance, including whether there are conflicts of interest inherent in the current design of the Federal Reserve System.
Summary of remaining key components to be posted later today.
From Clinton County to the bright lights of the television studio: Indiana Chamber member Shoup’s Country Foods (Frankfort) will be featured this Memorial Day (May 31) on QVC between 11 a.m. and noon. The network will promote Shoup’s famous Hogburgers — aka "the ultimate porkburger" — as well as Shoup’s seasoning. Representing the company will be Amy Shoup Mennen and Cindy Shoup Cacy.
And if the thought of these meaty treats gets your mouth watering, go ahead and check out the company’s web site. Perhaps you can place an order for your own Memorial Day celebration. You might also be interested in Shoup’s catering offerings and mini-hog roasts, as well.
TopRank blog writer Lee Odden recently penned some very useful thoughts on cultivating an effective marketing strategy on Twitter. I know I speak with many members about social media, as well as how useful Twitter is as a marketing component. As Odden explains, these things seem to vary from industry to industry, so it’s important to understand yours. I really recommend reading the entire post, but here are a couple of key points:
Where does Twitter fit in?
3. Where does Twitter fit within your overall online marketing strategy? Is Twitter meant to be a customer service tool? Brand monitoring? Monitoring for sales opportunities? Promotion of other corporate social activities? (ie blogging, Facebook, YouTube, Etc) Does it support some other communications function?
As a communications and social networking tool, Twitter can connect with customers, prospects, journalists, employees, candidates, investors and marketing partners. Understanding where Twitter fits within the overall mix of online marketing and communications will help with: allocating monitoring and engagement resources, establishing a working social media policy, workflow management and reporting. You may very well find a number of synergies available through Twitter, such as connecting with journalists and bloggers for PR purposes but also encouraging link usage when citing the company to assist with SEO efforts.
Twitter is a tool and only as useful as the tactics you use.
4. A firm grasp of the first three steps really needs to be addressed before useful tactics should be implemented. If all you do is focus on Twitter popularity tactics without addressing a plan for reaching other goals (hopefully being popular isn’t the sole goal) then the investment in time and effort becomes more like guesswork.
First and foremost for tactics, the Twitter page needs to be designed and optimized. If a business has the expectation to be perceived in a significant way, then the Twitter page needs to avoid looking insignificant. Tweets need to be diverse, yet follow a theme that is consistent to the messaging and audience goal. Kudos to customers and offering tips are great but alone are not going to attract followers fast.
There are a few tactics with Twitter that are almost always a good idea regardless of the audience, goals and overall plan:
Having a persona or target profile in mind, research Twitter users and follow them.
Associate the Twitter account with something else that is social, such as a YouTube Channel, Facebook Fan Page and/or a blog.
Make an effort to link to a small number of high quality and creatively written resources, daily. Mornings are best. Brand these with a hashtag like #yourbrandtips, where “yourbrand” is the brand within your company that this Twitter account is focused on. It could also be a behavior or action. Ex: #niketips or #runningtips.
Schedule a #yourbrandtips Twitter event every month, two weeks or weekly. This would be run like #blogchat where a real person from your company hosts a chat on Twitter about survey topics. Ideally there would be influential guests involved so that their tweets attract new followers to your brand’s Twitter account.
The company should really post their twitter handle everywhere their web site address is posted.
Find a way to ask followers questions, then use those answers in blog posts, which are promoted via the business twitter account.
Create a Twitter list of a segment of the target audience. One list for each segment. Then solicit followers asking for recommendations of people that belong in the “segment one” list or “segment two” list. Ex: ”librarians” or “network administrators”. Mention that anyone who retweets a link to the list can get added to that list – provided they belong. Lists must be relevant and managed to be of any use. Promote lists with Listorious.com.
Use #FollowFridays or #FF to recognize people that retweet the brand’s Twitter content the most. Also mention influential Twitter accounts that you have had some connection with. They might retweet the #FF and expose the brand Twitter account to new audiences.
The latest numbers from the ELFA’s MLFI-25 are good ones. If the accuracy of the figures match the complexity of the acronyms and the report, it’s positive economic news for all.
ELFA is the Equipment Leasing and Financing Association. It represents companies in the $518 billion equipment finance sector. MLFI-25 is the Monthly Leasing and Finance Index based on the performance of 25 broad-based companies in the industry. In the simplest terms, it reflects the volume of commercial equipment financed in the United States.
The good news is that today’s report shows a 15% increase in business volume for April compared to the same period in 2009. In a March 2010 to April 2010 comparison, the increase was 9% — from $4.3 billion to $4.7 billion. More new business and fewer delinquencies contributed to the totals.
Is it time to break out the champagne and start celebrating? Not quite yet. But business transactions, and just as importantly the confidence to make the equipment purchases in the first place, are essential to economic recovery.
The MLFI is released each month the day before the U.S. Department of Commerce’s durable goods report. Hopefully those numbers will also be positive.
Does your company use a PR agency? For that matter, is your company a PR agency? Glasscubes.com recently conducted a survey that showed 90% of the PR professionals questioned thought results would be better if the agency/client relationship was more collaborative. One would think many of their clients would feel the same way. So Glasscubes offers these helpful tips to improve your relationship, and hopefully improve your visibility in the process.
5 Tips to Improve Agency-Client Collaboration
Every day, Glasscubes helps small businesses improve working relationships by strengthening collaboration. The following tips are based on that first-hand experience, as well as feedback collected in the survey.
Stop thinking in terms of “agency” and “client.” Instead, be part of one team working side-by-side to meet goals. By tearing down the walls separating the agency from the client, you’ll build a more trusting, team-focused relationship.
Reduce reliance on email. Email is quick and easy, but it doesn’t lend itself to give-and-take, back-and-forth communication – one of the driving forces behind effective collaboration. For example, by encouraging conversations on a shared online workspace, agencies and clients can listen to suggestions from multiple people, discuss ideas and work together to develop a solution. Plus, reducing emails means less time wasted searching archives, and no more forgetting to CC someone.
Encourage collective brainstorming. Barriers develop when agencies think they’re supposed to have all the answers. Likewise, tension is created when clients don’t provide enough input, but still expect agencies to deliver the goods. Instead, brainstorm together and encourage feedback. Combine the collective resources of the agency with the client’s subject-matter expertise for better results. This brainstorming can happen in-person or online.
Build trust. Trust isn’t developed overnight. But, it’s critical to effective agency/client relationships. With trust comes confidence, an openness to new ideas and a sense of partnership.
Continue to evolve. Just because “that’s the way it’s always been done” doesn’t mean it’s the right. Nearly 90% of survey respondents said relationships are “somewhat collaborative,” which is okay, but not good enough. There’s a clear desire to increase collaboration as a means to generate better results. Be willing to shake up traditional agency/client communication.
While we can’t make a prediction with 100% certainty, we can assign probabilities to the next trend for the U.S. stock markets. The major U.S. market indexes (Dow Jones 30, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite) all reached new highs for the rally on or about April 28. Additionally, technical indicators of the market’s underlying health were all strongly positive as well. The correction that has ensued since April 28 has erased between 9% and 11% of the averages’ value. In a less tumultuous time, this kind of performance would be seen as a normal correction and not the start of a new bear market.
There are two root causes for the stock markets’ performance since the end of April:
The U.S. market had not experienced a 10% correction since the start of the new uptrend in March of 2009. We saw two corrections (in June 2009 and January 2010) that declined less than 9% on both occasions. The selling was less intense than of late and the markets quickly rebounded from their lows. This correction probably marks the end of the first stage of the new bull market, where nearly all stocks – regardless of size or quality — go up. The second stage will see more selectivity among investors and moderating returns compared to the past 14 months.
The Greek debt crisis and fallout among other members of the Euro currency zone has reminded investors that risk still exists in the debt markets. The U.S. experienced a private debt crisis in 2007-2008 when the mortgage market imploded and caused several large financial institutions to fail or need significant government help to stay afloat. The Euro crisis is a government debt issue with Greece being unable to sell new debt without the explicit guarantee of the European Central Bank (akin to the Federal Reserve). This rescue package was announced two weeks ago but has yet to allay fears that more trouble may be brewing for Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. We think the rescue package has been effective by bringing down interest rates for all four countries though significant work remains to be done to reduce their budget deficits without causing major recessions in those countries. (This is something all governments need to do!)
A silver lining to the decline of the past few weeks is oil prices have declined from almost $90 to $70 per barrel. Look for lower gas prices as a result. Interest rates have also declined as investors have fled to Treasuries as a safe haven. Mortgage rates will likely decline as well. Finally, the U.S. economy may have finally entered a durable recovery and this momentum is hard to reverse in a short period of time.
Investors can expect that volatility could remain elevated over the next few weeks or months as more news coming out of Europe could influence opinions about the impact on U.S. economic growth.
Myers suggests the following five job-seeking tips parents can impart to their new college graduate:
1. The Most Qualified Job Candidate Does Not Necessarily Get the Job Offer. In today’s difficult job market, strong qualifications and accomplishments are necessary. However, the candidate who will get the job is the one who self-markets and demonstrates to the employer that she is the best fit for the company’s needs, problems and challenges.
2. Research Your Way to Success. Pay attention to local, regional and national sources of business intelligence. Study everything you can about the companies you’re most interested in. Learn to frame your ideas and value in terms that are relevant to the current business and economic landscape.
3. Networking is More Important Than You Think. The best jobs are not obtained through Web sites or help wanted ads. They are acquired through networking. Adopt the discipline of blocking-out time on your calendar for networking activities — now and for the duration of your career.
4. An Employer’s Offer is Never Its Best Offer. You might be tempted to take any job offer in a tight economy. Yet employers expect that you’ve done your salary research, and they anticipate having dynamic negotiations with you. In fact, if you don’t negotiate, the employer will likely be disappointed in you as a candidate.
5. Graduating from School is the Beginning of Your Education, Not the End. No company wants to hire someone whose base of knowledge is not current. As a professional, you should continuously build your credentials that will make you more attractive and marketable as a candidate.