Finance Ministry seeks easier ARC norms to check bad loans

ET SPECIAL: Save precious time tracking your investments NEW DELHI: In an attempt to stem the tide of rising bad loans in the banking sector , the finance ministry has sought easing of regulations for asset reconstruction companies. The finance ministry has asked the corporate affairs ministry to dilute the norms for appointment of nominee directors in asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) and facilitate quick change of ownership to accelerate sale of assets of sick companies they have taken over. “Immunity for nominee directors and modification of ‘charge’ in dormant companies have been the two key issues plaguing the ARCs,” a finance ministry official said on condition of anonymity. “We expect early intervention from the corporate affairs ministry on these issues.” ARCs buy non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks and financial institutions at a discount. They recover the outstanding amount by either restructuring the firm or through sale of its assets. ARCs, however, are unable to place experts in these companies in the form of nominee directors, as the guidelines state that a person cannot be appointed a director in any company for at least five years if he has held a similar position in a company that had defaulted on its loan repayment. “This is a big issue when it comes to getting qualified people on board as no one is interested fully knowing that this may lead to their disqualification,” said a senior executive with a private sector ARC. Despite efforts to liberalise foreign investment norms, ARCs have not taken off in India. The government had in August 2013 raised the foreign investment limit in ARCs to 74 per cent from 49 per cent, but commercial banks continue to keep the bad loans on their books and follow their own recovery process rather than transfer them to ARCs for disposal. “MCA will also look into the issue of exempting ARCs from substituting the records of registrar of companies for the financial assets acquired by them,” said the finance ministry official quoted earlier, adding that sick companies were non-cooperative, which results in delays in selling assets through the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction. The Reserve Bank of India is examining various measures to improve the efficiency of the recovery system and ARCs have a large role to play in the same. “We need to accelerate the working of debt recovery tribunals and asset reconstruction companies,” RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had said last year. The finance ministry also wants state-run banks to curb their NPAs. Gross NPAs of staterun banks rose Rs48,000 crore to Rs2.03 lakh crore in the six months to September 2013. In comparison, the country’s largest ARC, ARCIL, plans to acquire assets worth only Rs2,000 crore in 2013-14. “The compliance cost should not be too high for ARCs and they can be given these benefits,” said Ashish Bhattacharya, professor at the School of Corporate Governance in Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.
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PepsiCo has invested aggressively over the last few years in emerging markets calling Mexico one of the most attractive markets in Latin America. And the moves are apparently paying dividends: in 2012, emerging markets accounted for 35 percent of the company’s net revenue. “The investments we’ve made to bolster our position in key markets around the world are fueling our success,” said Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s chief executive, in a statement. Mexico, whose per capita consumption of carbonated drinks is the highest in the world, is a Coca Cola stronghold, with the Atlanta-based company controlling 71 percent of Mexicos market compared to Pepsis 14 percent. While Pepsi still has a solid hold on the snack food market, thanks in part to the popularity of its Frito Lay division, part of the companys $5 billion investment will go toward expanding production lines and bolstering research and development that is geared to Mexican consumer. Mexico is an important market for PepsiCo and we believe there is tremendous opportunity for growth and expansion throughout the country, PepsiCo Mexico President Pedro Padierna said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg . This investment reflects our confidence in Mexicos future. Coca Cola is also investing $5 billion into its Mexican operations through 2014. Behind the United States and Russia, Mexico was Pepsis third-largest country in revenue in 2012, comprising $4 billion or six percent of the company’s $65.49 billion in global sales. The company has about 40,000 current employees working in Mexico. Along with Pepsi, Switzerland’s Nestle announced plans to invest $1 billion to build an infant nutrition factory in western Mexico and a pet food factory in central Mexico, proving that Mexico has become too lucrative for these major food corporations to ignore, even as the country launches into an era of high taxes on sodas and snack food. On Jan. 1, Mexico implemented an eight percent tax on high-calorie foods like potato chips, chocolate and ice cream and a roughly 12 percent tax on soda. Mexico has suffered recently from an obesity epidemic which now has higher rates than the United States.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/money/2014/01/28/pepsico-plans-to-invest-5-billion-in-mexico-over-next-5-years-as-part-push-into/

We believe you’ll appreciate the clean, white layout as you read our feature articles. But we don’t want to force it on you and it’s completely optional. Click “View in Clean Reading Mode” on any article if you want to try it out. Once there, you can click “Go back to regular view” at the top or bottom of the article to return to the regular layout. OTTAWA Hospital patients and visitors are getting some relief on the cost of parking, courtesy of the same federal government that unceremoniously closed a loophole last year forcing them to pay taxes on the fees. The government announced the plan to stop charging GST or HST on hospital parking on Friday, less than a year after ending a tax break on fees at public institutions where the parking lot was run by a non-profit partner. Hospitals had complained that they would have to absorb the tax, resulting in reduced parking revenues that they use to supplement their annual health care budgets. Shortly after the measure was introduced in the 2013 budget, the government said the change was intended to ensure consistent tax treatment. These are companies that are supplying parking to hospitals and they were getting a special tax reduction, then-junior finance minister Ted Menzies told the Commons last March. We do not think that is necessary. But the Finance Department is now proposing to soften part of that measure to exempt hospital parking fees from the GST or HST. The Opposition New Democrats denounced the move as hypocritical, accusing the governing Conservatives of making tax policy by the seat of their pants. A year later the Conservatives have realized that it is taxing sick Canadians which is unnecessary, and isnt going to win them any votes, the party said in a statement. It took (Finance Minister Jim Flaherty) less than a year to realize this policy was unfair. In a statement Friday, Flaherty said he expected hospitals to pass on the tax savings by reducing the cost of hospital parking. But a number of hospitals were hoping the government would reverse its decision and had not yet factored the tax into their own budgets. A charitable foundation set up by the Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa generates about $1.8 million annually that goes directly into the overall patient care budget. Adding the HST meant the foundation would have had to collect up to an additional $234,000 from hospital patients and visitors, or hold parking rates steady and absorb the loss.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/01/24/finance-to-do-away-with-gst-hst-on-hospital-parking-for-patients-visitors/

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images A Chrysler sales consultant, left, shows a Jeep Liberty to a customer at a dealership… Read More A Chrysler sales consultant, left, shows a Jeep Liberty to a customer at a dealership on in Hollywood, Florida. Close Close Open Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images A Chrysler sales consultant, left, shows a Jeep Liberty to a customer at a dealership on in Hollywood, Florida. Santander Consumer The IPO trend is continuing in 2014. Subprime auto lender Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (SC) rose as much as 10 percent today after raising $1.8 billion in its offering yesterday. Amid the economic recovery and normalizing credit conditions, the specialty finance industry has successfully emerged from the financial crisis, said Philip Drury, co-head of equity capital markets for the Americas at Citigroup Inc., which managed the Springleaf and Santander Consumer IPOs. We expect an abundance of IPOs in the sector in 2014. While lenders have tightened underwriting standards since the recession, the revival of securitized subprime loans could lead to trouble again, said Jeff Davis , managing director for the financial-institutions group at advisory firm Mercer Capital in Nashville, Tennessee . Credit Crisis Were starting to see slippage, Davis said. Are the seeds for the next credit crisis being sown? Only to the extent loose lending continues for years and it gets looser. Auto loans are a particular worry, said Fitch Ratings Ltd. in a December report. Looking to expand market share, lenders are expected to compete vigorously for subprime borrowers in 2014, which may lead them to make loans to people with weaker credit scores, Fitch said. Consumer lending companies now are benefiting from higher loan demand and renewed institutional confidence in purchasing asset-backed securities. Non-mortgage consumer credit reached nearly $2.75 trillion in 2013, the highest since before the crisis, according to a December report by Moodys Analytics . Auto loans increased 10 percent in 2013 from the year before, the data show. The volume of worldwide securitization grew from almost nothing in late 2008 and early 2009 to more than $600 billion in 2013, according to data compiled by industry newsletter Asset-Backed Alert.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-23/consumer-finance-finds-comeback-from-credit-crisis-with-ipo-wave.html

16, according to Abdeslam Ballaji, a lawmaker who worked on the proposed legislation and a member of the ruling party. The draft, which also regulates Islamic banks and allows for sukuk sales, is pending parliamentary approval and may be enacted within five months, he said last week. Demand for financing that complies with Islams ban on interest is accelerating worldwide, with assets expected to climb to $3.4 trillion by 2018 from about $1.7 trillion last year, according to Ernst & Young LLP. More than 95 percent of Moroccos population of 34 million back the introduction of banking that adheres to Shariah, according to Said Amaghdir, secretary general of the Moroccan Association of Participative Financiers, an Islamic finance business association. Given the choice, Muslim retail customers on the street generally prefer to bank Islamically, even if there are higher costs, Khalid Howladar , a senior-credit officer at Moodys Investors Service, said by phone from Dubai yesterday. Islamic banks historically have tended to grow at twice the rate of conventional banks in Muslim countries , and as such they tend to take a market share from the conventional system. Billions Required The Moroccan Association of Participative Financiers estimates total investment in Shariah-compliant products to reach $7 billion by 2018, provided the law comes into effect by the middle of the year, Amaghdir said by phone yesterday. Plans to expand solar and wind energy, tourism and industrial parks will require billions, and the Gulf Cooperation Council will be keener on putting money here when the law is enacted, he said. The six-nation GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates , is predominantly Muslim. Banks may also sell short-term sukuk to fund Islamic subsidiaries, Amaghdir said. Moroccos central bank allowed lenders and insurers to sell three Islamic products in 2007 to help develop the nations financial industry. The country is almost ready to sell its first sukuk, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane said in October. Regional Competition We cant afford to drag our feet any longer because regional competition for the Islamic finance pool is heating up, not just from our Muslim neighbors, Ballaji, the lawmaker, said in a phone interview Jan. 20. The U.K. plans to sell debut Islamic bonds this year as Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to revive a blueprint thats been stalled since at least 2007. The Hong Kong government this month gazetted legislation to allow the sale of Shariah-compliant notes. Moroccans may be misinformed about the benefits of Islamic banking, Ismail Douiri, co-chief executive officer of Casablanca-based Attijariwafa Bank, said in May. Islamic finance is often portrayed as low-cost type of finance, Douiri said. Islamic finance is not charity. One should not expect financing costs to decline. Shariah-compliant products are typically more expensive when theyre first introduced, Howladar of Moodys said. Islamic products tend to come at a premium, because the creation of the products requires substantive investment, he said.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-21/morocco-weighs-pursuing-1-7-trillion-industry-islamic-finance.html

Arguing on behalf of the state is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbotts office, which is expected to appeal the written decision to the state Supreme Court. Abbott, who is running for governor, is not handling the case. But the new arguments should streamline the appeals process since they will be part of the record the Supreme Court gets, rather than its justices having to remand the case back to a lower court to consider the effect of the funding increase and testing roll-back. The school districts argued that the 2011 cuts, coupled with public school enrollment growth of nearly 80,000 students per year thanks to Texas booming population, left them with inadequate resources to prepare youngsters for sky-high graduation standards. David Thompson, an attorney representing school districts that educate about 2 million students around the state, said the additional funding and less strenuous curriculum standards approved last year dont go far enough. Putting some of the money back, we appreciate that, but it didnt correct underlying problems, Thompson said. Nothing changed that changes the structural problems that the judge noted in his original decision. Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbotts office, declined to comment ahead of the trails reopening. The additional funding means school districts get about $5,810 per pupil this school year about 2 percent above 2010-2011 school year funding levels. In his verbal ruling, Dietz suggested that truly fixing the system would require an additional $2,000 per pupil or between $10 billion and $11 billion extra in every two-year state budget. Meanwhile, the Legislature made no changes to Robin Hood, which districts in rich and poor parts of the state are united in opposing. Those in economically disadvantaged areas say it still leaves them underfunded, while wealthy-area districts argue they too are starved of funding since local voters who would otherwise support property tax increases for their schools refuse to do so knowing much of the money will go elsewhere. And a strong feeling of deja vu is lost on none of the cases parties. The school finance legal battle now in its second chapter is the sixth of its kind in Texas since 1984.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/texas-school-finance-case-heads-back-to-court/2014/01/20/ad35af18-81fd-11e3-a273-6ffd9cf9f4ba_story.html

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To be sure, central bank tightening has hurt Chinese stock performance. Policy changes in China, and potential changes in the United States, have made investors nervous. However, while Chinas growth is slowing, its not stopping. In fact, China will likely continue to be the largest single contributor to world growth in the near term. From an investing perspective, and in our opinion, a vibrant Chinese consumer class is very positive for suppliers of consumer goods and services whose capital intensity is relatively low. This story previously appeared on OppenheimerFunds.com. Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. These views represent the opinions of OppenheimerFunds and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict performance of any investment. These views are as of the open of business on January 2, 2014, and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. Carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Visit oppenheimerfunds.com, call your advisor or 1.800.225.5677 (CALL-OPP) for a prospectus with this and other fund information. Read it carefully before investing. Oppenheimer funds are distributed by OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/oppenheimerfunds/2014/01/10/investing-opportunities-in-a-slower-growing-china/

PensionDanmark said it had committed 200 million Danish crowns ($37 million) to the fund, while a further 1 billion crowns will come from pension funds PKA and PBU, private investment fund Dansk Vkstkapital, the Investment Fund for Developing Countries and the Danish government. The fund is expected to receive another 200 million crowns from private investors in a second investment round, giving it a total of 1.4 billion crowns at its disposal. The Danish Climate Investment Fund will run for four years and have an annual return of 12 percent, PensionDanmark said. It will invest in projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and transport schemes in emerging economies from Africa to Asia. It will also finance projects which help communities and geographies prepare for the effects of climate change, such as disaster preparation and coastal management. The fund will only finance projects which have a Danish financial interest, meaning that a Danish partner must co-invest or participate as a supplier of equipment or technology. “We are expecting the Danish Climate Investment Fund to deliver solid returns to our members in the coming years, while serving to boost the standing of Danish companies in the new growth markets,” said PensionDanmark’s chief executive Torben Moger Pedersen. PensionDanmark has 642,000 members and had 16 billion euros of assets under management at the end of 2011. It expects those assets to exceed 24 billion euros by 2016. ($1 = 5.4656 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Mark Potter) FILED UNDER:
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/denmark-climate-fund-idUSL6N0KO0VC20140114

Many Latino families have been able to gain employment and a steady cash flow, but they have not been able to build wealth due to a lack of knowledge on how to manage debt and use money once it is earned. Financial education involves learning all aspects of planning one’s financial future, including, but not limited to: Setting financial goals Creating budgets Planning for retirement With an estimated household median income of $38,039, according to U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics represent a growing and thriving segment of the American population. As more US Hispanics gain access to credit and credit cards that access needs to be coupled with the ability to use credit wisely so that it contributes to an improved standard of living and a sense of confidence about the future. Below are a few ways that US Hispanics can improve their personal finances, according to Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of Consolidated Credit : – Financial education should not be geared towards quick fix solutions. To get personal finances under control, it’s important to realize that most sustainable financial solutions are long term. Stay away from get rich fast schemes and quick fixes. Learn how to manage debt and use credit to your advantage. – Credit should be used only in certain situations; however, it definitely has a purpose in a financial education. There are many ways to use credit properly to increase wealth and no financial education is complete without it. Credit is used to rent cars, buy homes and conduct business. – Learning how to buy the right types of assets is essential. Cash is not the only way to build wealth; as a matter of fact, learning how to purchase assets that will hold value over inflation is an essential skill. The right kind of financial education will give you the ability to learn about the assets you can purchase in order to increase your wealth as well as use in a practical ways day to day. Financial literacy provides people with the knowledge required for managing personal finances responsibly so that it minimizes financial risk and maximizes savings and financial wellbeing. See Tools and Other Financial Resources * [ ver en espanol ] About Consolidated Credit: Consolidated Credit ( http://www.consolidatedcredit.org ) is one of the nation’s largest credit counseling and has helped over 5 million people over more than 20 years with financial issues. Their mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling. Personal Investing Ideas & Strategies
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://finance.yahoo.com/news/latinos-investing-financial-education-become-120400569.html

The Invest in America 2014 (Shanghai) Summit & Exhibition – Immigration and Investment Opportunities is the 4th annual USA-themed investment conference and exhibition in China. With instant access to major Chinese media and nationwide business network, the event will attract large crowds of interested investors and business executives who are eager to learn more about your investment and business opportunities. Some of the best EB-5 industry experts will be speaking at the two day conference and exhibition in Shanghai (including the Chinese Emigration Industry Roundtable). The Invest in America Summit organizing committee is excited to present the industry expert speakers for the Summit including EB-5 industry experts Ronald Klasko, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Nicolai Hinrichsen, David Hirson, Bernard Wolfsdorf, Ronald Fieldstone, Joseph McCarthy, Dr. Scott Barnhart, Kevin Wright, Michael Homeier, Jor Law, David Appel, Brent Raymond and others. “I attended the 2012 and 2013 EB-5 Shanghai Summit events and they were by far the most valuable experience I have had. They gave me an opportunity to meet with all the players, Regional Center operators, Chinese Immigration Agents, and most importantly, Chinese Investors. If you are active in the program, this is a must attend event. Of course being in the dynamic city of Shanghai, was merely icing on the cake!” Bernard Wolfsdorf says. The Summit with 80 exhibition booths and 20 breakout sessions welcomes U.S. EB-5 regional centers, investment project developers, real estate brokerage firms, franchises, PE and VC companies, financial services, attorneys, CPAs, international trade agencies, government officials, and colleges to participate in exhibitions and presentations. With Shanghai’s economic strength, key strategic position, instant access to major Chinese media and a nationwide business network by the organizer, the Summit will attract large crowds of interested investors and business executives who are eager to learn more about investment and business opportunities in the United States. Event sponsorship packages are available for US businesses who would like to maximize their exposure during the event.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/14/01/p4216609/the-invest-in-america-2014-shanghai-summit-and-exhibition-announced