By Tom Waring
Wire Staff Writer

On Oct. 7, Democrat Kevin Strouse was at Trevose’s Linconia Tabernacle Christian Center for a candidates’ forum hosted by the Lin-Park Civic Association and the Bucks County NAACP.

Meanwhile, US Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick was in Washington, reporting on his six-day visit to the Middle East, where he surveyed US and coalition efforts to curb ISIS financing and met with Syrian opposition forces funded by the Obama administration.

Strouse promised that, if elected, he will hold town hall meetings and listen to constituents, adding that he’ll return next spring to the church center. He noted Fitzpatrick’s absence.

“This is part of a pattern,” he said, before adding, “I’m willing to put myself out there.”

Strouse described the Obamacare website rollout as “unacceptable,” but added that repeated Republican attempts to repeal the law are “utterly absurd.”

“It has improved healthcare in this country,” he said.

Strouse wants more details from President Barack Obama when it comes to goals and objectives in Syria, and believes air strikes can have only limited success in that nation and Iraq.

“We are not going to bomb our way out of this,” he said.

Strouse said he would support additional funding to lessen wait times for patients at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.

“They don’t have enough health professionals,” he said.

On other issues, Strouse said he supports background checks and an improved mental health system to control gun violence; fair pay for women in the workplace; the Violence Against Women Act; an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; universal pre-kindergarten classes; more Pell Grant funding and lower interest rates and the ability to refinance loans for college students; abortion rights; and public financing of elections.

Fitzpatrick returned from the Middle East a day before the forum.

“ISIS is getting stronger,” he said. “We see it on TV today, where ISIS flags were being raised along the Syrian-Turkish border and I heard it from those engaged in the region,” he said. “The situation in Syria is chaotic, and ISIS, unlike any other terror organization, is successfully self-financing through the control of nearly 100,000 barrels of oil a day, bringing them close to $3 million in sales. If we want to stop ISIS, we need to stop their money.”

In meetings with Qatari cabinet officials, Syrian resistance leaders, journalists and American military forces, Fitzpatrick discussed efforts to choke ISIS’ funding by halting its ability to develop or sell captured oil.

“Stopping the flow of money to ISIS limits the group’s ability to expand its would-be state, weaken its recruiting efforts and, ultimately, reduce the amount of military intervention needed to destroy it. That was the focus of my trip,” he said.

Fitzpatrick heard concerns about moderate rebels fighting ISIS in Syria.

“The funds we voted on in Congress to strengthen the Syrian rebels is making its way to the battlefield, but while they appear to be committed, they are still trying to better organize themselves,” he said. “Forces have bombs incoming from three directions: the Assad regime, US-Coalition forces and ISIS. They need better communication and coordination to push back against ISIS’ growth.”

Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the House of Representatives. The 8th Congressional District consists of all of Bucks County and a portion of Montgomery County.

  • o

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported on Oct. 6 that House Democrats are shifting millions of dollars in TV advertising away from 2014 challengers, such as Strouse, to prop up some of their most vulnerable incumbents.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is scaling back on planned commercial airtime in 11 Republican-held districts, the group said.

Democrats need 17 seats to regain the majority, but have little hope of accomplishing that. In fact, they will probably lose some seats.

The story quoted DCCC spokeswoman Emily Bittner as saying, “In the face of millions of dollars from outside Republican groups aggressively pouring into our races, House Democrats are fortifying our vulnerable incumbents and focusing in on top-tier competitive races.”

As part of the plan, Democrats will cancel planned TV advertising in a group of districts held by Republican lawmakers that the story declares are considered “essentially out of reach.”

  • o

Fitzpatrick and Strouse will meet in three upcoming debates.

The two will square off on Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 12:15 to 1 pm on WNPV (1440 AM). The debate, which can also be heard at wnpv1440.com, will be part of Darryl Berger’s weekday Comment Please show.

The next debate will be on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 12:15 pm at the Bucks County Community College campus in Bristol Township. The moderator will be BCCC professor Bill Pezza.

The third debate will be on Friday, Oct. 24, from 8 to 9:30 am at the Waterwheel restaurant in Plumstead. It’s being sponsored by the Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Bucks County.

  • o

Strouse’s campaign last week released its second ad of the general election.

The script of the ad, titled “Bothers Me,” consists of a conversation between three people.

A woman says, “Here’s what bothers me. Mike Fitzpatrick took over seventy thousand from big oil.”

A man replies, “Yeah — and he’s just like Gov. Corbett. Letting oil companies off the hook — without an extraction fee for drilling our natural resources.”

Another woman turns the conversation to abortion.

“And get this. Fitzpatrick opposes a woman’s right to choose — even in cases of rape and incest,” she said.

The man replies, “And he tried to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.”

The first woman concludes by saying, “Mike Fitzpatrick’s just not for me.”

Strouse is a former Army Ranger and CIA counterterrorism analyst, and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives in Middletown with his wife Amy and two young children. He is program director of Teach2Serve, a nonprofit that teaches social entrepreneurship to high school students.

October 22, 2014 · Financial Partners · (No comments)

Tigress Financial Partners initiated a Buy rating on United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) in a report on Thursday.

Analyst Philip Van Deusen suggested an ongoing and accelerating demand for organic products.

Van Deusen noted that UNFI is benefiting from growth in the organic food industry and is directly linked to Whole Foods Market, Inc. expansion as it serves as their primary distributor.

The analyst also indicated the potential for United Natural Foods to become an acquisition candidate.

The report noted how United Natural Foods both benefits but is rather dependent on Whole Foods Market, with it representing 36 percent of UNFIs revenue. UNFI has been the primary distributor to WFM for more than 15 years. Their contract was recently amended to extend the term of the agreement to September 2020.

United Natural Foods, Inc. recently traded at $60.98, up 1.2 percent.

October 22, 2014 · Getting A Mortgage · (No comments)

A 16,000-square-foot mansion in the exclusive Sanctuary community in Boca Raton has hit the market with a $15.5 million price tag that promises the “essence of the luxurious South Florida lifestyle.”

The home at 700 Osprey Point Circle is on the Intracoastal Waterway and features a deep-water dock, seven-bay garage with the capacity for 14 vehicles, seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, three half bathrooms, and Mediterranean-European details.

The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser lists the home with an address of 672 Osprey Circle, likely because when William and Donna Nero bought the property in 2010 it was two lots that the couple combined for the home that stands there now.

The listing is being handled by Douglas Elliman agent Tracy Roddy. The home was built by Bomar Builders and designed by Saxon-Clark Interiors.

In addition to the main house, there is a detached guest residence. Included is a walk-in wine cellar, cantilevered balconies, loggias and outdoor living room.

The Sanctuary is “patrolled on land and on the waterways, and is considered the most secure gated community in Palm Beach County.”

If sold at the $15.5 million asking price it will be the highest sale in the Sanctuary in at least a year.

But be ready to pay big if youre getting a mortgage for the home. With 20 percent down and 30-year loan at 4 percent, monthly payments will run $64,620. Not to mention taxes, which currently stand at $134,339. Thats with a $50,000 homestead exemption.

The property appraiser has the home valued at $7.42 million.

County appraisers are restricted by state law to not appraise homes at more than 85 percent of true value, so their assessments are typically lower than what a private appraiser would report.

October 22, 2014 · Financial Partners · (No comments)

Since the 1990s, IBMs model has been premised on selling powerful, expensive computers to large businesses, then earning added profits on contracts to help firms run those machines. But the cloud lets companies rent, not buy, this computing power. You only pay for what you use, says Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Joseph Foresi. The result: IBMs hardware revenues sank 15% last quarter.

2) IBM is racing to be a leader in cloud computing, but with mixed results.

The company has identified four alternative areas of growth. One is the cloud, the very technology eating into IBMs hardware sales. Big Blue has spent more than $7 billion on cloud-related acquisitions. Its also going after mobile, IT security, and big data, the analysis of information sets that are too large for traditional computers. An example of that is Watson. IBMs artificial-intelligence project, which won Jeopardy! in 2011, is being marketed to businesses in finance and health care.

These initiatives have promise, but IBMs size is a curse. For instance, the companys cloud revenues jumped 69% to $4.4 billion last year, but with nearly $100 billion in overall sales, its hard to move the needle, says Samp;P Capital IQ analyst Scott Kessler.

3) The stock is now much cheaper than its tech peers, but it may deserve to be.

Investors willing to wait and see if these moves will transform IBM may take comfort in the fact that the stock looks cheap. Whats more, the shares yield 2.4%, vs. 2% for the broad market. This could make the company look like a good value.

But investors should tread carefully, says Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. He notes IBM has spent $90 billion on stock buybacks in the past decade, which has kept the P/E low by increasing earnings per share. Yet none of that money was invested for growth, as evidenced by IBMs sluggish annual growth rate. It is hard to imagine IBM outmuscling Amazon AMAZON.COM INC.

AMZN
2.9783%

, Cisco CISCO SYSTEMS INC.

CSCO
2.5294%

, Microsoft MICROSOFT CORP.

MSFT
1.8149%

, HP HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.

HPQ
2.7203%

, and Google GOOGLE INC.

GOOG
1.0944%

in the cloud and there are better values in tech.

October 22, 2014 · Fundings · (No comments)

Operator

Good morning and welcome to the East West Bancorp 2014 Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Irene Oh, Executive Vice President and CFO. Please go ahead.

Irene Oh

Good morning and thank you for joining us to review the financial results of East West Bancorp for the third quarter of 2014. Also participating this morning will be Dominic Ng, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Julia Gouw, our President and Chief Operating Officer.

We would like to caution you that during the course of the call, management may make projections or other forward-looking statements regarding events or future financial performance of the Company within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

These forward-looking statements may differ materially from the actual results due to a number of risks and uncertainties. For a more detailed description of factors that affect the Companys operating results, please refer to our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Todays call is also being recorded and will be available in replay format at www.eastwestbank.com.

Ill now turn the call over to Dominic.

Dominic Ng

Thank you, Irene. Good morning. And thank you all for joining us this morning for our earnings call. Yesterday afternoon, we were pleased to report our financial results for the third quarter of 2014. For the third quarter, net income was $88.8 million or $0.62 per diluted share, compared to the same quarter a year ago, net income increased $15.6 million or 21% and earnings per diluted share increased by $0.09 or 17%.

Quarter-over-quarter, we grew net income by $4.8 million or 6% and earnings per diluted share by $0.04 or 7%. In line with our strong earnings for the quarter, we achieved strong profitability ratios as well. Return on assets was 1.25% and return on equity was 12.8% for the quarter. In fact, the quarterly return on assets and return on equity ratios were an improvement from both the prior quarter and the prior year period.

Our increased earnings and profitability were largely driven by the strength of our balance sheet and our robust growth in loans and core deposits. Overall, we are pleased with the results for this quarter. Total loans and total deposits up both at the highest levels ever in the history of the bank at $21.2 billion and $23.8 billion respectively.

Total loans receivables increased $4 billion or 23% from a year ago. Our outstanding loan growth is well diversified. We have achieved strong growth throughout the bank and in all loan categories. Our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of our deposits and our deposits mix continue to progress well. As demonstrated by the solid deposit growth we continue to achieve.

Total deposits increased $3.5 billion year-over-year to a record of $23.8 billion as of September 30, 2014. Core deposits also reached record high, totaling $17.7 billion as of September 30, 2014. The third quarter of 2014 marks sixth consecutive quarter we have achieved net interest income growth despite the low interest rate environment.

Over the last few years, we have proven that despite a challenging economic and interest rate environment, we can continue to profitability and prudently grow both our balance sheet and market share. Our success in winning new customers and growing our business and market share is a direct result of our unique position as the bridge between east and the west.

We continue to build talent, expertise and infrastructure in serving our cross border customers that are doing business in the US and in Greater China. In Greater China, we have planning for the grand opening of our new branch in Shenzhen in November of this year. Given the vast size and business opportunities in the US and Greater China cross border market, as we continue to build our capabilities, improve our operational excellence and to meet and exceed the needs of our customers, I am confident that we can capitalize on new growth opportunities and continue our success.

With our acquisition of MetroCorp earlier this year in January and the full integration of people, processes and systems, we have made big progress in building the team and talent. In fact, we have already made strong progress and deposit growth in Texas. Year-to-date, deposit in Texas have grown $125 million or 14%.

East West has proven its ability to generate healthy balance sheet growth, resulting in increased revenue and net interest income, combined with high credit quality and strong expense control, we have been able to achieve strong earnings growth and return levels that are better than many peer banks. Our goal at East West is to consistently be a high performing bank and provide long-term value to our shareholders. As we demonstrated our ability to perform financially, quarter after quarter, year after year, we are confident that we are making great progress towards our goal.

So in summary, based on strong results achieved in the third quarter and year-to-date, at this point, we expect that we will end 2014 as our fifth consecutive year of record earnings for East West.

With that I would now turn the call over to Julia to discuss more detailed of our key successes in third quarter and our expectations for the remainder of 2014.

Julia Gouw

Thank you, very much, Dominic. And good morning to everyone. I would like to spend a few minutes to discuss the key drivers for our loan growth and net interest margin for the quarter. Additionally, I will review the guidance provided in the earnings release yesterday for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2014. As Dominic noted, our total loan portfolio reached a new record high of $21.2 billion as of September 30, 2014, an increase of $694.9 million or 3% from the end of the last quarter. The growth in our loan portfolio was broad based. We grew all non-covered loan categories by at least 2% during the quarter. In particular, our commercial and industrial loan growth continues to be outstanding. Non-covered commercial and industrial loans increased $610.4 million or 9% to $7.3 billion during the quarter due to strong originations and fundings in the sectors of manufacturing, entertainment trade finance, and agriculture.

On the consumer side, single family loan originations continue to be strong. We originated 667 new single family loans totaling $316.8 million and a total of 649 home equity loans totaling $217 million in commitment.

The growth of the single family loan portfolio to $3.5 billion is an increased of $156.1 million or 5% from the previous quarter. Additionally, non-covered home equity loans have increased a $130.5 million or 13% quarter-to-quarter to $1.1 billion as of September 30, 2014.

The credit quality of our non-covered consumer residential loans continued to be excellent. As of September 30, 2014, we had $8.3 million in single family and home equity loans delinquent over 90 days out of total balance of $4.6 billion or a 90 days delinquent ratio of 18 basis points. In continuation of growth trends to the first three quarter of the year and for the remainder of 2014, we expect loan growth to be largely centered in the commercial and industrial loan.

Although we expect a loan growth in the non-covered portfolio to continue to be offset by the reduction in the covered portfolio, we project that we can grow the total loan portfolio by approximately $400 million to the last quarter of 2014.

Additionally, we sold approximately $300 million of loans during the quarter, largely comprised of government guaranteed student loans at a net gain $7.7 million. As the student loan portfolio is not a core business to East West, we expect to continue to sell off this portfolio in the coming quarters.

Next, I would like to spend a few minutes discussing the net interest income and net interest margin for the third quarter of 2014, and our expectations for the rest of 2014. Net interest income adjusted for the net impact of covered loan activity and amortization of the FDIC indemnification assets totaled $225.4 million for the third quarter of 2014, this was an increase of $7 million or 3% from $218.4 million in the second quarter of 2014 and an increase of $33 million or 17% from a $192.4 million for the third quarter of 2013. These figures take in to consideration of the net impact of the reduction to the FDIC indemnification asset due to covered loan activity and amortization of the FDIC indemnification asset of $31.6 million for the third quarter of 2014. For the $8.1 million for the second quarter of 2014 and $61.9 million for the third quarter of 2013. The core net interest margin for the third quarter decreased modestly by five basis points to 3.41% compared to 3.46% for the second quarter of 2014. The five basis points decrease in the net interest margin was due to the excess liquidity from the deposit growth during the quarter being deployed in short duration assets and the decrease in the investment securities deals. The yield on the non-covered loan stabilized during the third quarter and remained unchanged from the second quarter of 2014 at 4.21%.

Lastly, I would like to provide some additional color on our updated guidance for 2014. As in the past, in our earnings release yesterday, we provided guidance for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2014. We estimate that the diluted earnings per share for the full-year of 2014 will range from $2.37 to $2.39, an increase of $0.27 to $0.29, or13% to 14% from $2.10 for the full year of 2013. And an increase of approximately 3% from our prior guidance. This EPS guidance for the remainder of 2014 is based upon adjusted net interest margin of approximately 3.4%, total loan growth of approximately $400 million, provision for loan losses for non-covered loan of approximately $8 million, non-interest expense of approximately $140 million and the effective rate of 17.5%. Management currently estimate that fully diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2014 will range from $0.63 to $0.65 based upon the assumptions previously stated.

The increase in the fourth quarter guidance from our previously disclosed guidance is due to greater than estimated loan growth in the third quarter, resulting in a stronger adjusted net interest income, combined with the impact of the tax credit investment purchased in the third quarter of 2014.

With that, I would now like to turn the call over to Irene to discuss our third quarter 2014 financial results in more depth.

Irene Oh

Thank you, very much, Julia. And good morning to everyone. I would like to discuss our financial result for the third quarter of 2014 in more detail, specifically on credit quality, the accounting for the covered loan, non-interest income and non-interest expense.

Starting with credit quality, the total non-performing assets, excluding covered-assets-to-total-assets ratio continues to be under 1% as it has been for over four consecutive years with non-performing assets at $159.1 million or 56 basis points of total assets as of September 30, 2014. For the third quarter of 2014, the Company reported a provision for loan losses for non-covered loan of $7.6 million compared to $8.9 million for the second quarter of 2014 and $4.5 million for the third quarter of 2013. Net charge-offs on non-covered loans totaled $5.4 million for the third quarter compared to $7.3 million in the second quarter of this year and $334,000 in the prior year quarter. The Company also recorded a provision of $7.7 million for covered loan during the quarter due to charge off incurred on covered loan for which we expect reimbursement of 80% from the FDIC and accordingly have reported a receivable in the third quarter of 2014.

East West continues to maintain a strong allowance for non-covered loan losses of $249.3 million or 1.29% of non-covered loans receivable as of September 30, 2014. As of September 30, 2014, East West also has recorded an allowance for covered loan of $3.9 million. Further, net of other FDIC related items including the indemnification asset expected to be amortized and the future product liability, the future net pretax income estimated today to be accretive over the life of the loan is approximately $60 million as of September 30, 2014. During the quarter, we recorded an expense of $6.3 million of additional clawback liability. Under the share loss agreement with the FDIC, if losses in the covered portfolio do not meet specific thresholds, the bank is required to pay the FDIC a calculated amount. As of September 30, 2014, our total recorded liability to the FDIC for this clawback liability for both the UCB and WFIB acquisition was $96 million.

Moving on to non-interest income, East West reported a non-interest income for the third quarter of 2014 of $10.3 million compared to non-interest losses of $14.9 million last quarter and $41.4 million for the third quarter of 2014.

Branch fees, letter of credit fees and foreign exchange income, loan fees and other operating income totaled $35.6 million in the third quarter of 2014, a $1.3 million increase from the previous quarter and a $7.7 million increase in the prior year period. This $1.3 million increase from the second quarter of 2014 was largely due to increases in fee income from letters of credit, customer and foreign exchange, and interest rate swap transactions.

Moving on to non-interest expense, non-interest expense for the third quarter of 2014 totaled $177 million, an increase of $49.1 million or 38% from the previous quarter, and an increase of $76.6 million or 76% from the third quarter of 2013. The increase in non-interest expense in the quarter of 2014 compared to last quarter was largely due to an increase in amortization expense from new affordable housing partnership and other tax credit investments entered into during the quarter and also an increase in legal expenses.

During the quarter, we purchased additional tax credit investments comprised primarily of historic and renewable energy tax credits which resulted in a higher amortization expense during the quarter and a reduction in the effective tax rate to 17.5% for the full-year of 2014, down from our previously estimated 29%. The impact of additional tax credits purchased to third quarter earnings was approximately $0.11 per diluted share. The non-interest expense guidance for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $140 million also includes approximately $23 million of estimated amortization expense, affordable housing partnership and other tax credit investments. The increase in legal expense during the third quarter of 2014 was largely due to a litigation accrual of $28.8 million or $0.12 per diluted share from unfavorable jury verdict previously disclosed in 8-K filing. The verdict is not final and if the final judgment is not favorably decided, the Company will appeal.

Finally, as stated in the earnings announcement released yesterday, East Wests Board of Directors has declared fourth quarter dividend on the common stock. The common stock cash dividend of $0.18 is payable on or about November 17, 2014 to shareholders of record on November 3, 2014.

I will now turn the call back to Dominic.

Dominic Ng

Thank you, Irene. I would now open the call to questions.

October 21, 2014 · Financial Partners · (No comments)

MONACO–(Marketwired – Oct 20, 2014) – Scorpio Bulkers, Inc. (NYSE: SALT) (the Company) announced today that it has received commitments from a group of financial institutions for a loan facility of up to $411.264 million (the Facility).

The Facility was arranged by DNB Markets, Inc and contains commitments from financial institutions including DNB Capital, LLC, the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (KSURE) as well as Korean and international pension funds and financial institutions.

The Facility shall mature six years from the delivery of the final vessel securing the Facility, however not later than June 2022, and in certain circumstances the Facility shall mature 12 years after the delivery of each financed vessel. The Facility is available to finance up to 60% of the contract price of the Companys 12 Capesize bulk carriers under construction at Sungdong Shipbuilding #38; Marine Engineering Co., Ltd, South Korea. The terms and conditions of the Facility, including covenants, are similar to those in the Companys existing credit facilities and customary for financings of this type, and the commitments from KEXIM and KSURE are in accordance with OECD Guidelines. The Facility is subject to customary conditions precedent and the execution of definitive documentation.

Emanuele Lauro, Chairman and CEO, commented, We are delighted by the support we have received from our financial partners, particularly from leading financial institutions and pension funds in South Korea. We now have five closed or committed loan facilities amounting to up to $1.388 billion, financing 64 vessels in our 80 vessel fleet. We have also received proposals for loan facilities for our remaining 16 unfinanced vessels and expect that we will announce commitments in respect of these vessels within the fourth quarter of 2014.

Forward-Looking Statements
Matters discussed in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides safe harbor protections for forward-looking statements in order to encourage companies to provide prospective information about their business. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts. The Company desires to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation. The words believe, anticipate, intends, estimate, forecast, project, plan, potential, may, should, expect, pending and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, our managements examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although we believe that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections.

In addition to these important factors, other important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the failure of counterparties to fully perform their contracts with us, the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions, including fluctuations in charter rates and vessel values, changes in demand for dry bulk vessel capacity, changes in our operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking and insurance costs, the market for our vessels, availability of financing and refinancing, charter counterparty performance, ability to obtain financing and comply with covenants in such financing arrangements, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events, vessels breakdowns and instances of off-hires and other factors. Please see our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a more complete discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties.

October 21, 2014 · Financial Partners · Comments Off

The Catawba Valley Guardian Ad Litem Association, Inc. has partnered with Thrivent Financial to raise money for foster children in Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties. Thrivent Financial has agreed to match the Guardian Ad Litem Association’s fundraising efforts. For every $3 raised, Thrivent Financial will match $1, up to $1,000.

All monies raised will be used to grant wishes for children in foster care through the Childrens Assistance Fund. All donations are tax deductible.

The Catawba Valley Guardian Ad Litem Association’s mission is to educate the public about the need for volunteers to advocate for abused amp; neglected children in foster care and to raise funds to help those children achieve their dreams and succeed as normal children.

To make a donation, click here.

October 21, 2014 · Financial Partners · Comments Off

OceanPoint Insurance Agency Inc. in Middletown, Rhode Island, has hired Christine Porter as director of sales.

Porter will oversee the sales management of all OceanPoint products, including personal insurance, commercial insurance and financial services. Additionally, she will direct the recruitment and training of the sales team.

Porter began her career in the insurance sales industry in 1994. She previously served as senior sales executive at Travelers Insurance. In that position she was responsible for developing growth plans for each agency in a designated territory, as well as training staff on best practices for selling and servicing accounts. She also worked as territory sales manager for Progressive Insurance where she was responsible for managing a territory of 250 agents across two states.

Tracing its roots back to 1863, OceanPoint Insurance Agency provides a broad range of property/casualty insurance products and financial services. Along with BankNewport, OceanPoint Insurance Agency is a subsidiary of the Mutual Holding Company, OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC.

October 21, 2014 · Financial Partners · Comments Off

Brookwood Financial Partners, a real estate investment and asset management company, announced that it has closed on two office assets in the Urban Center of the Las Colinas submarket in Dallas: 125 E. John Carpenter Freeway and 5100 N. Oâ??Connor Blvd.

The properties are located next to State Highway 114, which provides access to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and downtown Dallas. At the time of the acquisition, the assets, which total 451,195 square feet, had an occupancy rate of 61.1 percent. The top six floors of 125 E. John Carpenter Freeway are leasable and represent one of the few large blocks of contiguous space in Las Colinas.

â??We will be able to offer large prospective tenants an opportunity that cannot be found elsewhere in the market. The top six floors of the building provide terrific views from one of the most attractive Class A office buildings in the area,â? stated Thomas Brown, Brookwoodâ??s director of acquisitions. â??The buildings are located very close to Gables Water Street and The Music Factory, two planned retail developments that are primed to break ground.â?

The company is also planning a $3.7 million investment in targeted capital improvements, which will add to the recent amenities made by the seller â?? a major lobby renovation, a new conference room, a fitness center and a cafÃ.

According to Brookwood’s official statement, the rental rates in the submarket have increased by 7.6 percent over the previous six quarters, but they are still 5.4 percent below their pre-recession peak. Taking into account these changes and the addition of developments such as Gables Water Street and The Music Factory, investors remain optimistic about the submarket.

Image Courtesy of Peloton

Tags: Acquisitions/Dispositions, Brookwood Financial Partners, Dallas Lead Story, Finance/Investment, Las Colinas Urban Center, Office

October 21, 2014 · Financial Partners · Comments Off

The road to investing is lined with many potholes. After a long, relatively smooth ride, some clients may be startled by the bumps. How do experienced financial planners guide their clients on handling market volatility? We asked a half-dozen top advisors to share their wisdom.

EDUCATE AND PREPARE

Setting the table is paramount, says John Wolff, chief executive and managing director of Capital Fiduciary Advisors in Leesburg, Va. Clients must have appropriate expectations. We try to make it clear if you cant stand the volatility of equities, then you shouldnt own equities.

Stressing the importance of realistic risk tolerance to clients and the inevitability of encountering volatile markets are also critical, advisors say.

We try to instill the idea over time that anybody in risk markets will encounter these periods of volatility, says Mark Hamby, chief executive officer of KMS Financial Services in Seattle, now a part of Ladenburg Thalmanns independent broker-dealer network. When assessing the risk tolerance of clients, it is absolutely essential to keep these periods of volatility in mind, but its never easy to do. We tell clients that if you have to have a certain result by a certain date, thats more akin to speculation than investing.

Lenox Wealth Management in Cincinnati takes a straightforward approach with its clients, says chief executive John Lame, telling them that corrections occur every five years. Expect them.

INVESTMENT POLICY STATEMENT

Dont relegate the investment policy statement to a hum-drum formality; make it a centerpiece of your relationship with your client, say veteran wealth managers.

Such statements are the cornerstone of every client relationship at Miami-based Lubitz Financial Group, says President Linda Lubitz Boone.

In fact, Lubitz Boone quotes Warren Buffett when regularly reminding clients of the importance of the statement: To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights or inside information, Buffett has said. What?s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions under control from corroding that framework.?  

Your intellectual framework, she tells clients, is the work we do with you to determine the appropriate investment policy statement and further investment asset allocation to give you the best opportunity to meet both your short-term and long-term life financial goals.

COMMUNICATE REGULARLY      

The three most important words in real estate? Location, location, location. Its a truism that never gets old. Same with advisors? need to communicate with clients ? continually.

Constant communication was a big reason Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco didnt get any panicked calls from clients last week, says Norman Boone, the firms founder and principal.

At the end of September, for example, Mosaic sent out a calming email to clients with the subject line Optimism, Pessimism or Euphoria that emphasized the firm?s long-term and broadly diversified approach to investing.

The fact that there hasnt been much volatility over the past few years allowed many clients to get lulled into a false sense of security, says former NAPFA Chairman Tom Orecchio, principal at Modera Wealth Management in Westwood, NJ 

We use emails, meetings, newsletters and white papers to remind clients that the reason they can earn 7% or 8% on their investments is that they have to accept volatility ? otherwise, their money would be in savings accounts earning 1% or 2%, Orecchio says.

When volatility does hit, advisors should contact those clients they know will need hand-holding, says John Anderson, managing director and head of practice management for SEI.

You want to be the voice of reason, Anderson says. You dont want to sound panicked, but you do want to acknowledge whats going on and what clients are hearing in the media. Most importantly, ask them how theyre feeling and listen to them. Then you can remind them that no one can predict the future and review their written plan and the need to stick with it.

VOLATILITY MEANS OPPORTUNITY

Turbulent markets and selloffs can also be a clients best friend.

Market corrections are opportunities, not threats, Lame says. The goal is to buy $1 of earnings for as little as we can pay.

For clients who can tolerate the risk, some advisors recommend buying managed futures, which use future contracts that typically have exposure to alternative assets such as commodities, energy, agriculture and currency. Managed futures are a good example of a way to capture trends and provide a counter-balance to stocks, Orecchio notes.

Using the VIX during a see-sawing market is another strategy for more aggressive clients. The client has to have an appetite for risk, Wolff says, but we like it as a hedge against the broader markets.

Read More:

Retirement Planning in a Volatile Market

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