Saving Investment – Whimble Gardens Wed, 02 Jun 2021 12:11:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Saving Investment – Whimble Gardens 32 32 Ares Management Corporation Closes £ 1.875 Billion Pledge to Ardonagh Group in Largest Unitranche Financing Transaction Ever Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:17 +0000

LOS ANGELES & LONDON – () – Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”) (NYSE: ARES) today announced that it is the lead arranger of a £ 1.875 billion funding commitment to The Ardonagh Group (“Ardonagh”) , the UK’s largest independent insurance broker, through Ares’ global direct lending platform. Ardonagh is majority owned by HPS Investment Partners (“HPS”) and Madison Dearborn Partners. In addition to the direct loan funds managed by Ares, other major lenders are the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (“CDPQ”), HPS and KKR.

The financing consists of a unitranche loan of £ 1.575 billion and a committed investment facility of £ 300 million. The combined commitment of £ 1.875 billion represents the largest unitranche funding ever. The financing will be part of the company’s overall refinancing to support its business expansion plans.

Founded in 2017, The Ardonagh Group has grown significantly through a series of acquisitions in 2018 that brings together the leading UK insurance brokerage brands including Autonet, Bishopsgate, Carole Nash, Geo Underwriting, Price Forbes, Swinton, Towergate and URIS. With over 100 offices and a workforce of over 6,000, the Ardonagh Group is active in distribution, wholesale, underwriting and services, forming the largest diversified and independent brokerage and underwriting group in the Kingdom. -United.

“We believe this is the world’s largest unitranche financing transaction ever, a testament to the quality of the Ardonagh Group, our long-standing relationships with HPS Investment Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners and the benefits created. through our global and large-scale platform, ”said Blair Jacobson, Partner and Co-Head of European Credit and Mark Affolter, Partner and Co-Head of Direct Lending in the United States. “We believe there is a significant need in today’s market to serve as a partner for companies in need of large-scale financial solutions and we are delighted to support Ardonagh in achieving its growth ambitions. ”

“This is a major transaction for the lending group in Europe. It will support the growth of Ardonagh over the next few years, ”said Luis Mayans, Partner and Deputy Head, Private Debt at CDPQ. “Over the years, Ardonagh has developed an attractive business model by bringing together specialist insurance brokers and leaders in their respective niches, and we are happy to offer them a financial solution that meets their needs.

David Ross, CEO of The Ardonagh Group commented: “The substantial commitment of this Ares-led loan group is a vote of confidence in Ardonagh and our management team. The structure of the unitranche facility and the installation of additional committed investments leave us well positioned to complete the next phase of our growth strategy and beyond. ”

About Ares Management Corporation

Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES) is a leading global alternative investment manager with integrated businesses in credit, private equity and real estate. Ares Management’s investment groups work together to deliver innovative investment solutions and consistent and attractive investment returns to fund investors throughout market cycles. Ares Management’s global platform had $ 149 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2020 with more than 1,200 employees in more than 20 offices in more than 10 countries. Please visit for additional information.

About the Ardonagh group

The Ardonagh Group is the UK’s largest independent insurance broker with global reach. We are a network of over 100 offices and a workforce of over 6,000 people. Formed in 2017 and following a series of acquisitions in 2018, Ardonagh today brings together top brands including Autonet, Bishopsgate, Carole Nash, Geo Underwriting, Price Forbes, Swinton, Towergate and URIS. Our understanding of the communities we serve, along with our scale and breadth, allows us to work with our insurance partners to deliver solutions that meet the needs of our clients.

About HPS Investment Partners

HPS Investment Partners is a global investment firm with approximately $ 61 billion in assets under management as of May 1, 2020. HPS was founded in 2007 and manages various strategies that invest in capital structure, from syndicated loans to leverage and high yield bonds to private trades. senior secured debt and mezzanine investments, asset-backed leasing and private equity. The scale and breadth of the firm’s platform provides the flexibility to invest in businesses large and small, with standard or custom solutions. HPS is headquartered in New York with ten additional offices around the world and has 145 investment professionals and more than 370 employees worldwide.

About Madison Dearborn Partners

Chicago-based Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (“MDP”) is a leading private equity firm. Since the formation of MDP in 1992, the company has raised more than $ 26.0 billion in capital and made more than 145 investments. MDP invests in a wide range of industries, including business and government software and services; basic industries; financial and transactional services; health care; and telecommunications, media and technology services. MDP’s goal is to invest in companies with strong competitive characteristics that it believes have the potential for significant equity appreciation over the long term. To achieve this goal, MDP seeks to partner with exceptional management teams who have a solid understanding of their business as well as a track record of creating shareholder value. The funds managed by MDP are leading investors in insurance brokers, NFP Corp., The Amynta Group and Navacord Inc., demonstrating MDP’s experience in the sector.

About the Fund

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds mainly for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As of December 31, 2019, it held CAD 340.1 billion in net assets. As one of the leading institutional fund managers in Canada, la Caisse invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. For more information visit, Follow us on twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

About KKR

KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages several alternative asset classes including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners who manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people and driving growth and value creation with the KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For more information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit the KKR website at and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

Forward-looking statements

Statements included in this document may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which relate to future events or the future performance or financial condition of the Company. These statements do not constitute guarantees of future performance, conditions or results and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including those described from time to time in documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ares Management Corporation assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this document.

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Brokers and lenders: adapt now or suffer the consequences Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:17 +0000

Cathy McPherson is Group Sales Director at On The Money

The UK property sector has been notoriously slow when it comes to embracing change. This is certainly the case with the mortgage market.

For many years, mortgage lenders and brokers have been able to meet borrower demands using outdated practices and processes. However, such complacency has now been exposed as a serious problem.

In recent years, advancements in next-generation technology have had a profound impact on how consumers can interact with businesses. Especially in the financial services industry, online applications and platforms have revolutionized the way consumers do business. At the same time, they improve transparency and allow companies to interact reactively with their customers.

Adapt to new circumstances

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this trend. Indeed, in many cases, it has transformed the way businesses operate.

When social isolation measures were first introduced in March, it was surprising how many organizations were just not ready to adapt to the changing circumstances.

This was particularly evident to some lenders and mortgage brokers whose use of archaic processes made it difficult for them to transition to remote work, where technology has become essential.

Positively, however, having turned to technology to overcome the immediate challenges posed by foreclosure, brokers are now seeing how accessible and easy to use these solutions are.

Now the government has started to slowly ease the lockdown measures; the real estate market is one of the beneficiaries of this decision. But it is wrong to assume that things will go back to where they were at the start of the year. In fact, things might never get back to what we considered “normal” before the lockdown.

I think COVID-19 is triggering a technological transformation of players in the real estate market. This makes sense given that there are now platforms designed to meet the needs of brokers and intermediaries, ensuring that they can provide a fast and efficient service.

Over the next few months, the rapid adoption of next-generation technology is likely to change the way brokers engage with lenders and clients; Here’s how.


One of the biggest challenges mortgage brokers face is managing and advancing separate conversations in order to complete an investigation. It can be a complicated process.

Today, the majority of brokers rely on emails and phone calls when dealing with lenders and their clients (or potential clients). While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach,

it can be difficult to stay on top of multiple conversations while making sure regular updates are provided to the customer.

Online platforms are changing all that by providing one place where brokers can manage all of their conversations. Brokers can send emails, record calls, and keep recorded records for each case through one platform.

At the same time, these platforms provide brokers with direct access to third parties with whom they need to communicate as part of the investigation process, including the HMRC and the Office for National Statistics. In short, these technology platforms dramatically improve transparency and communication.

Use AI to create risk profiles

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a much bigger role in many industries, but few people fully understand the benefits it provides. It is worth exploring this in the mortgage industry.

AI is naturally positioned to process reams of data in seconds. It can extract numbers, identify outliers, map common trends and produce analytical reports, helping to inform bigger decisions.

For brokers, AI can be leveraged to create detailed risk profiles of their clients in seconds by reviewing relevant documents and quickly determining which products would be best suited for each client.

Interestingly, AI’s ability to report on risk isn’t limited to analyzing quantitative data. Additionally, advances in machine learning (ML) mean that AI can help create a digital footprint of individual customers based on their online activities. While this is still under development, it will ensure that brokers have access to a complete profile of every client they engage with.

Customized services and products

Finally, and perhaps most obvious, next-generation platforms designed specifically for brokers ensure they have easy access to hundreds, if not thousands, of mortgage products and services.

This means that instead of manually contacting each lender, brokers can use the platform to quickly browse the different products available.

Plus, after establishing the needs of a particular survey, brokers can quickly filter out irrelevant products and find the ones that best meet their clients’ needs. It may not sound revolutionary.

However, the reality is that many brokers still rely on manual communication with individual lenders. This is a time consuming process and means they risk not investigating the full range of products that are relevant to their customers.

The examples above show how technology – from AI to online communication platforms – is virtually changing the way brokers and intermediaries operate. The immediate hurdles posed by COVID-19 have demonstrated the practical benefits of such technology, and over the coming months we will likely see more brokers taking advantage of these next-generation platforms.

There’s little reason not to: They improve communication, automate tedious and repetitive processes, and give brokers the tools to act faster. Additionally, brokers who remain complacent risk being overtaken by competitors who readily adopt the technology and take full advantage of the benefits it has to offer. Now is the time to adapt and transform outdated and archaic processes.

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Opinion: Without Fed Fix, coronavirus rescue could crush residential mortgage market Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:16 +0000

“It’s so surprising, I couldn’t believe it was true when I first heard it. I had to check.

That was the reaction of Wake Forest University economics professor James R. Otteson to the details of the mortgage forbearance proposal in the $ 2 trillion coronavirus bailout. Specifically, the CARES Act states that any mortgage borrower can stop making payments simply by claiming that they are suffering economic hardship as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 crisis.


Michael graham

Not only does the borrower not have to provide proof of his loss of income, the law expressly prohibits his lenders from even asking.

“The (loan) manager shall, with no additional documentation required other than the borrower’s attestation of financial difficulty caused by the COVID-19 emergency … provide forbearance for a maximum of 180 days, which may be extended for an additional period of up to 180 days at the request of the borrower, ” the act reads.

Six months mortgage leave, without any document proving that you have suffered a loss. This approach can achieve Washington’s goal of providing aid as quickly as possible, but it also creates challenges for the lending industry that Washington relies on to provide that aid.

Will there be a tsunami of skipped mortgage payments?

“Of course we want to help people who have lost their jobs, everyone wants to help,” said Scott Olson, executive director of the Community Home Lenders Association. “At the same time, we are seeing a tsunami of missed payments, payments on loans that have yet to be repaid. And unlike Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the big institutional lenders, we can’t go to the Fed counter and get more money. “

For the typical homeowner who writes a check for the monthly mortgage, the inner workings of the credit industry don’t matter. But as Josh Rosner notes in a report for Graham Fisher & Co., ordering non-bank lenders to grant automatic forbearance without access to cash to cover their costs could cause real damage to a vital part of the economy.

“Non-bank administrators (who service over 60% of FHA loans and 30% of GSE loans) are required to ensure the collection of timely payments of principal and interest and to pass these payments on to mortgage-backed investors. . ” (GSE loans are loans “to government-funded businesses,” such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.)

In other words, the local community lender who does not receive a mortgage payment must still send money to the investors who hold the note. A “tsunami” of such payments would be a disaster for the community mortgage industry.

“If the Fed doesn’t put in place a facility to keep them liquid, every independent originator and loan manager is at risk of failure,” Rosner said.

The usual economy does not apply

A Yale School of Management report on the CARES Act confirms these concerns.

“Non-bank mortgage loan managers now manage almost half of all mortgages. Moreover, as a team from the Fed and other economists pointed out in a recent paper: “Non-bank mortgage companies must also finance the costs associated with managing loans that are in arrears for long periods of time. Obtaining this financing can be difficult in times of stress. ”

When a country intentionally pushes its own economy into recession in order to combat an outbreak of the deadly virus, the usual economy does not apply. Getting money into the economy as quickly as possible may be a higher priority than protecting taxpayer dollars from borrowers playing against the system.

And then there is the larger issue of relying on the honor system to allow people to stop paying their bills.

“A lot of people will take advantage of this and stop making mortgage payments,” Otteson said. “When you subsidize something, you get more. The potential moral hazard is enormous. “

However, Kevin Erdmann, a visiting researcher at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, is not so worried that people are taking advantage of the coronavirus legislation.

“When it comes to borrowers who ask for deferrals when they don’t need them, if they really want a few months of cash payments, they should be able to get a much better interest rate just by doing normal refinancing. “. rather than defer their payments.

When a country intentionally pushes its own economy into recession in order to combat an outbreak of the deadly virus, the usual economy does not apply. Getting money into the economy as quickly as possible may be a higher priority than protecting taxpayer dollars from borrowers playing against the system.

What the industry wants is for the federal government to clarify the rules surrounding the forbearance mandate

But community lenders and independent mortgage brokers (IMBs) are a key part of this economy. When the crisis passes, they will play an important role in channeling funds to the housing sector.

“If we let this liquidity crisis created by legislation eliminate all IMBs, we will end up with a much less competitive market, higher interest rates and less choice,” says Olson. “And the little guys are going to feel it the most.”

What the industry wants is for the federal government to clarify the rules around the forbearance mandate – perhaps by asking for minimal evidence of economic distress – and for the Fed to provide the liquidity that non-bank lenders need. to ensure the service of these loans until the end of the crisis.

“The major fix that needs to be put in place now is the messaging fix,” says Rosner. “If you’ve had an economic impact, of course these programs are there to help. But if you haven’t, if you are just trying to take mortgage leave, you are committing fraud by attesting to a difficulty that you did not experience. “

“People need to realize that when they ask for help that they don’t need, it’s harder to get help for those who really need it.”

About the Author

Michael Graham is the political editor of

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How does Payroll Protection Business Loans make a difference in Camden? Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:16 +0000

CAMDEN, NJ – For John and Carol Kunkel – owners of the Haddon Heights seafood and steakhouse restaurant that bears their namesake – a plethora of reminders exist to bring them back to their COVID-19 reality.

An indoor dining area that could normally seat 140 has been replaced with a patio that seats 20. Fine menu items like Bordeaux braised beef have taken a back seat for burgers and other easy-to-prepare take-out options. And a staff of eight has been reduced to two, that’s John and his wife – with family members sometimes stepping in as well.

“Everyone is in pain right now, everyone. We are in a better position than a lot of restaurants since we bought the building 16 years ago so the mortgage is lower than most rents … but every week it gets harder and harder to do the bills, ”John told TAPinto Camden as he walked into his empty restaurant an hour after opening.

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Kunkel was one of hundreds in Camden County – and at least 62 in Haddon Heights – who received a loan from the United States Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Data on the breakdown of 4.9 million business loans was released earlier this month.

As part of bipartisan CARES programs, the $ 521 billion program provides direct incentives for employers to keep workers on their payrolls, according to the state.

In New Jersey, 531,360 jobs were retained thanks to $ 4.5 billion in P3 loans. On average, $ 100,000 has been awarded to small business owners.

“The PPP provides much-needed help to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and more than 80% of all employees in small businesses, which are the engines of our country’s economic growth,” said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are especially pleased that 27% of the program reaches low and middle income communities, which is proportional to the percentage of the population in those areas.

The family-run restaurant has had to rely on delivery, via third-party services like Doordash and Caviar – which also take their share.

John says that in March, a month before the outbreak peaked in the Garden State and restrictions began to wreak havoc on restaurants like his, he was forced to lay off eight employees, including servers.

“The PPP money helped but it was minimal,” he explained. “It provided two and a half months of payroll, but I have other expenses besides that. If you have a restaurant you will know that the payroll is not a big part of the overhead, there is electricity, gasoline, liability insurance, all of those things.

The couple described the scrapping of Governor Phil Murphy the date of July 2 for indoor meals as “heartbreaking”. John says he had placed food orders in anticipation of the easing of the rules, while Carol pointed out about 25 face masks – with Kunkel’s name engraved on them – that were made to mark the date.

“Businesses are thriving, big names and small businesses are still hurting. I haven’t been busy since March 20, although you can see it’s possible to socialize inside the restaurant, ”John continued. “I would like to know how you pay your bills with 10% income.”

In the city of Camden, according to released data, 221 businesses received a total of $ 8.5 million in loans to support 878 jobs at an average of $ 9,681 per job.

Religious organizations received 7.7% of loans, the most of any other type of business, with law firms receiving 3.62%. Nonprofits made up 12.2% of fellows, for a total of 27.

“The impact was huge, it was extremely huge because it allowed us to keep a team all summer and to work on the review of the marketing assets of our company and to have the money to do it. and bring the tools we need to attract new clients, ”Nichelle Pace, owner of creative agency Camden Brand Enchanted, said over the phone.

Pace, who is also vice president of the Camden Business Association (CBA), said PPP loans translate to three to four months of payroll for his company.

Pace said reduced openings, particularly in states surrounding New Jersey, put additional strain on small businesses positioning themselves to start recovering in the latter half of the summer.

“We should have been on track to open everything in July like other countries, but we are not,” she said. “The long-term effects will have more of an impact on small businesses than on companies that have the funding and assets to weather the storm.”

She pointed out that there are many minority and women-owned businesses that will continue to be disproportionately affected by ongoing closures – especially on the verge of a second wave.

According to a recent study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), “loan discrimination” has played a role in the distribution of PPP funds. Diving into the program, the researchers matched pairs of black and white applicants with similar credit characteristics to apply, finding that 27 of 63 white applications received better processing and results from lenders.

Only 23% of national data available in PPP loan registers include information on gender or race, as applicants are not required to provide demographic information. NRC said attempts by the PPP to claim that it invigorated certain communities were without merit.

The NRC called the data released by the Treasury Department as “unnecessary” in how it determined how these funds boost vulnerable populations.

“The lack of data creates a gap in our understanding of PPP lending and presents a challenge in understanding the impact of this program on communities traditionally excluded from access to corporate capital,” said researchers Jason Richardson and Jad Edlebi .

“However, due to the size of the program, even it offers insight into the challenges faced by women and minorities who need to access business credit,” they added.

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‘Strong’ demand for latest round of federal PPP loans in Nevada Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:16 +0000

The latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program began accepting applications this month, and Nevada banks responsible for processing small business loans are reporting steady demand.

The federal program, which offers potentially repayable loans to small businesses that keep employees on their payroll, relaunched this month with $ 284 billion and is open to all lenders and borrowers.

“Bankers are very busy processing P3 applications for Nevada businesses,” Nevada Bankers Association president Phyllis Gurgevich said on Monday. “As expected, there are some issues in the application process, as well as changes in the application tips.”

The numbers coming in

Gurgevich said that while it is still too early to get local data on the PPP’s “second drawdown”, Nevada banks are reporting “strong demand” for loans after the US Small Business Administration – which administers the funds with the US Department of the Treasury. – started accepting applications last week.

Nevada State Bank processed more than 2,800 PPP applications with nearly 400 loans funded on Monday.

“The initial response has been strong and we expect it to continue,” Nevada State Bank spokeswoman Sandi Milton said. “Our combination of technology and helpful bankers was a very successful formula in the first round, and we expect that to continue into the second round.”

Wells Fargo spokesman Anthony Timmons said Monday the bank has already received more than 1,500 P3 requests from Nevada companies. So far, these PPP requests have totaled nearly $ 82 million in funding and would save nearly 10,000 local jobs.

Nationally, Wells Fargo processed 60,000 P3 requests for a total of more than $ 3.4 billion. The vast majority of the PPP pipeline, at 80 percent, was applications from small business owners filing for the second time.

Small lenders, such as Summerlin-based Lexicon Bank, have also seen plenty of PPP applications making their way into the SBA pipeline.

Leo Moschioni, executive vice president and chief credit officer of Lexicon Bank, said that since the bank started accepting PPP applications last Friday, it already has 120 loans approved by the SBA.

“It’s about $ 24 million in loans,” Moschioni said. “It’s working pretty well and we have 28 more loans, worth $ 4.5 million, waiting to be approved by the SBA.”

Gurgevich of the Nevada Bankers Association said this new round of PPP “is quite different from the first round, which seemed to be organized like a race. The approval was almost instantaneous in the previous cycle, allowing lenders to move immediately to financing the loan. “

For this new round, Gurgevich said there was a one to three day delay between submitting an application and receiving approval.

New PPP rules

But unlike last year – in which the $ 659 billion loan program created last March under the CARES Act brought in two tranches of PPP funding in 2020 after the $ 349 billion first round was exhausted. dollars in less than two weeks – some lenders say the $ 284 billion “second draw” program is in constant demand.

“We’ve seen less turnout, in part because some companies don’t qualify like they maybe last year,” Moschioni said. “It’s a little slower than originally expected.”

With the new PPP financing, there are stricter rules: companies can have a maximum of 300 employees, up from 500, and the maximum loan amount this time around is $ 2 million, a decrease of $ 10 million. of dollars. Borrowers are also required to prove that they have lost income of at least 25% in any quarter of 2020 from the previous year.

“Some companies have been very successful last year, while others have really struggled,” Moschioni said. “In the case of a restaurant, as opposed to a delivery service, you’re going to have a wide range of income gaps that prevent people from participating this time around.”

Spread the word

Lexicon Bank, which was founded in 2019, said its highly tactile experience and personalized services allowed it to “significantly expand” its customers during the first wave of PPP.

“Although we have only one location, one of the key elements of being a community bank is being able to be very agile throughout this process,” said CEO Stacy Watkins.

“Being able to pick up the phone and call someone and say, ‘Hey, this is the president of the bank’ or ‘This is your relationship manager’ is huge when there is a lot of unknowns and uncertainties in our local community, ”Watkins added. “We’re not hiding behind a 1-800 phone number or an email. We are here in the market, we are open and we are available after hours if needed. “

Watkins said the bank spoke to SBA officials on Monday, who told it there was still $ 250 billion in P3 funds.

“There’s a lot of reluctance in the market to go out, so we encourage customers to go out and they can do that with us,” Watkins said.

Banking sector executives are also educating small businesses about the PPP’s “second draw”.

“The NBA conducts outreach activities with chambers of commerce and other business groups, as well as state and federal officials and any groups who may have questions or know of businesses that do not know. not how to apply “, Gurgevichh said, adding that its members “are happy to participate in Q&A to help anyone interested in applying for a PPP loan, determining if they are qualified and ensuring they can receive assistance under the program. “

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Mass arrests in Detroit rejected as anti-racism fight continues – Liberation News Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:15 +0000

The Detroit court declares hundreds of arrests of Black Lives Matter illegal because tickets were issued by cops that had nothing to do with the arrest of the protesters. In mass arrests, the arresting officer must be paired with an accused to be a witness.

Activists in Detroit have achieved important legal victories after demonstrating for more than 150 consecutive days this spring and summer in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest against the police killings of African Americans, including Hakim Littleton in Detroit.

On January 14, Judge Larry Williams of the 36th Detroit District Court dismissed 40 charges against 30 protesters brought by the city of Detroit mainly during the first weekend of protests, May 29 and 31, 2020. Forced to dismiss the charges against 238 other people arrested on January 26.

The protests were led by Detroit Will Breathe. The bulk of the arrested protesters were represented by the Detroit Coordinated Defense Coalition, made up of the National Lawyers Guild, the Neighborhood Defender Service, the Detroit Justice Center and the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association. Lawyers for these groups have defended hundreds of DWB protesters.

The city drops the charges but continues the counter-pursuit

Liberation News spoke with Kathy Murphy, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the Wayne County Criminal Defense Law Society, and one of the attorneys involved in the legal team. Murphy explained what led to this important victory: “The town would round up the arrested people, take them to the basement of Little Caesars Arena, and have the tickets signed by seated policemen who had nothing to do with the police. demonstrations.

“During the debates on the disclosure motions in several courtrooms before several different judges, it became clear that the city would not be able to identify the officers who made the arrest for each particular arrest. They could not match the arresting officers to the defendants, and therefore could not produce witnesses when the cases came to trial. “

Murphy pointed out, “Activists have turned down the city’s offers of deferred sentencing with an admission of probable cause and even the city’s offer of dismissal with an admission of probable cause. They stood together to achieve this victory. “

Even dismissing hundreds of cases, the city said it still intends to prosecute protesters it sees as the leaders of the protests, including DWB organizer Tristan Taylor.

Ironically, the same day the city announced it was dismissing charges against 238 Detroit activists Will Breathe, the Detroit City Council, by a five-to-four majority, voted in favor of spending $ 200,000 to engage Clark Hill business law firm to take legal action against DWB. “Civil conspiracy” to demonstrate against racism and political brutality. The city’s lawsuit takes the form of a counterclaim to a case brought by Detroit activists Will Breathe against the city for violent tactics used by police to quell peaceful protests.

The DWB lawsuit has already won an injunction against the Detroit cops, preventing them from using some of their most oppressive tactics against peaceful protests, including the use of batons and shields, chemicals like tear gas and pepper spray, and rubber bullets.

Detroit Will Breathe and SHIFT protest demanding the dismissal of racist Shelby Township, Mich. Chief of police. Photo credit Marc Klockow.

Racist backlash in Shelby Township as those arrested face serious charges

The Detroit suburb of Shelby Township has made it clear that blacks and Maroons are not welcome in this fiercely racist community. On October 24, protesters organized by Detroit Will Breathe and SHIFT, Suburban Solidarity for Social Justice, gathered for a non-violent march, calling for the resignation or impeachment of Police Chief Robert Shelide.

This was after Shelide was allowed to resume his activities as usual after a month-long suspension due to vile comments on his personal social media page in which he called the protesters “savage savages” and ” vicious subhumans ”who deserved to be disposed of in“ body bags. ”

Immediately after marching, militants were tracked down and attacked by five different police departments, members of SWAT, K-9 units and armed civilian militias. In addition to the brutality they faced that day, five protesters were charged with felonies and others were convicted of misdemeanor charges.

The Black and Brown Lives Movement has launched a fight to have these new accusations dropped. But newly elected Macomb County District Attorney Peter Lucido, along with other local officials, have chosen to endorse Jim Crow’s segregationist tactics and behavior that were used against protesters.

Six other Black Lives Matter protesters received arrest warrants on January 25 for their participation in the October 24 action. Activists view the additional accusations as retaliation after the backlash officials received following the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by fascist and reactionary forces.

The charges against anti-racist protesters in Shelby Township reflect the history of Shelby Township as a “town at sunset” that will take all measures, including state violence and intimidation, to to ensure and maintain white supremacy.

Solidarity with Detroit Will Breathe, SHIFT and Movement for Black and Brown Lives in demanding that these false accusations be immediately dropped by officials in the Township of Shelby.

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British pound hits 14-month high against euro Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:15 +0000

A the wave of optimism over an economic recovery boosted global markets on April’s first trading day, supported by further positive data and the relaunch from Joe Biden.

New figures from IHS Markit show manufacturing growth in the UK soared in March to reach 58.9, a decade high. A score above 50 is considered a growing industry. Business optimism, meanwhile, reached its highest level in seven years amid a strong vaccine rollout and the gradual reopening of the economy.

Across the pond on Wednesday night, President Biden pumped an additional $ 2 trillion (£ 1.45 trillion) into the infrastructure spending economy, sending markets green.

The reference FTSE 100 reversed Wednesday’s declines, closing 23.67 points to end the week at 6,737.3 before the Easter holiday weekend. the FTSE 250 gained 213.96 points to 21,732.67.

It came despite the pound hitting a 14-month high against the euro, while also strengthening against the dollar. The pound had its best quarter against the euro since 2015, up around 4.8%, due to the rapid rollout of vaccination in the UK and relief that a no-deal Brexit was averted at the end of the transition period on December 31. Ultimately, the pound was up 0.36pc to € 1.178 against the euro and 0.31pc to $ 1.383 against the dollar.

The retailer was among the best elevators in the FTSE 100 following, after raising its forecasts for the coming year, with total sales expected to increase by 18%. Pre-tax profits are now expected to rise to £ 700m, up from £ 670m previously. Shares hit an all-time high, before closing with gains of 248p at £ 81.14.

It came as the retailer revealed strong recent online sales, and despite a more than 50% drop in pre-tax profit for the full year through January.

Colleague retailers Frasers Group and JD Sports followed the lead, up 19.6p to 480.4p and 25.4p to 850p respectively.

The latter’s gains come after the confirmation of its $ 495million (£ 358million) deal to buy American sportswear brand DTLR as part of an expansion strategy in the United States. United.

The largest lift, however, was the owner of British Airways AGI, which rose 11.25p to 209.55p, supported by hopes of a recovery amid lingering uncertainty over the resumption of travel. In the same vein, aerospace engineer Rolls Royce wasn’t far behind, adding 3.62p to 108.92p.

Elsewhere in Deliveroo “Stabilized after a nightmare on the first day of trading yesterday, amid speculation that stocks fell victim to short selling, concerns about future earnings and a stock structure that focuses voting power towards the CEO Will Shu, ”said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

But the app failed to bounce back, slipping another 1.9pc – or 5.45p to 282p. It lost almost 30% of its issue price of 390 pence in just two days.

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Dunkirk foundry agreement opens window on GFG’s complex financing network Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:15 +0000

LONDON (Reuters) – Sanjeev Gupta’s $ 500 million purchase of Europe’s largest aluminum smelter from Rio Tinto in 2018 was the steel mogul’s first major industrial deal funded by bank debt traditional.

FILE PHOTO: The GFG Alliance flag flies following a £ 330million deal to buy Britain’s last aluminum smelter at Fort William Lochaber in Scotland, Britain December 19, 2016 REUTERS / Russell Cheyne

Gupta’s GFG Alliance, a sprawling network of hundreds of private companies with interests spanning steel, aluminum, mining, financial services and real estate, publicly announced the five-year term loan with a syndicate of banks.

Behind the scenes, however, GFG had tapped UK finance firm Greensill and US asset manager BlackRock for additional funding via a complex chain of holding companies, according to two sources with first-hand knowledge and documents viewed by Reuters.

The additional loan allowed Gupta to minimize the amount of money it had tied up in buying the Dunkirk aluminum smelter in France, the two sources said. They said the original syndicate of banks and commodity trader Trafigura was unaware of the additional financing, which Gupta used to cash in some of the equity he had pledged for the foundry purchase.

A spokesperson for GFG Alliance declined to comment on its financial arrangements. The directors of Trafigura and Greensill declined to comment.

GFG Alliance’s complex corporate structures and funding arrangements are proving problematic as Gupta seeks new sources of funding following Greensill’s insolvency last month.

Gupta is in talks with the UK government, where he employs around 3,000 people, about state financial support for his businesses there, but some officials say they are suspicious.

“We are the custodians of taxpayers’ money and the very opaque structure of the GFG group was of concern,” UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Tuesday.

“We can’t give taxpayers’ money, basically putting it in a black box where we don’t know what that money will be used for.”

The GFG Alliance spokesperson declined to comment on Kwarteng’s remarks or discussions with the government.

GFG has previously said it is trying to negotiate a standstill deal with Greensill directors, which would mean it could suspend its debt payments to Greensill and refinance its business.

The supply chain finance company has been a major source of funding for Gupta, as it bought ailing metal fabrication facilities, creating a conglomerate of more than 35,000 employees in 30 countries. Greensill repackaged loans to GFG Alliance into bonds that could be sold to investors.

The funding that GFG Alliance secured from Greensill for the French foundry was in the form of a $ 77.5 million promissory note while BlackRock lent $ 115 million, according to both sources and GFG presentations seen. by Reuters.

A presentation of the foundry’s funding structure lists 9 corporate entities in several jurisdictions, including Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands, with a straight line to Sanjeev Gupta.

In January 2019, when the BlackRock loan was made available, Gupta used the new financing to replace some of the equity it had pledged for the Dunkirk smelter, giving it access to at least $ 50 million. in cash, said two sources with direct knowledge.

This stake was part of the banking syndicate’s initial loan agreement. GFG Alliance was to pay a third of the purchase price of the smelter and the banks, along with Trafigura, have lent $ 350 million, according to a presentation seen by Reuters and the two sources.

Lenders which included Natixis and BNP Paribas were not notified of the additional loans from Greensill and BlackRock, the sources said.

Reuters could not determine whether the syndicated loan deal required GFG Alliance to seek permission from the banks and Trafigura before raising additional funds for the smelter.

Natixis and BNP Paribas declined to comment on their loan agreement with GFG Alliance.

BlackRock’s $ 115 million loan was not repaid when it matured in January this year and was extended for two years according to a third source.

The interest-plus loan stands at $ 131 million, according to a March 2021 document showing GFG’s debts and valuation of its business.

Reporting by Pratima Desai; edited by Veronica Brown and Carmel Crimmins

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ON THE APPOINTMENT OF A BOARD MEMBER Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:14 +0000


No.1 engine’s Exxon Win gives ESG advocates a boost

(Bloomberg) – The rejection of the Exxon Mobil Corp. management team marks one of the most significant victories for shareholders to push for drastic action on climate change. The transformation movement of Exxon’s board of directors has been led by a – a well-known hedge fund called Engine No. 1, who only owns a 0.02% stake in Exxon and has no history of oil and gas activism. The company won at least two board seats at Exxon’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday and vowed to push the crude driller to diversify beyond oil. The # 1 engine was backed by two of the largest US pension funds and some of the largest asset management companies in the world, including BlackRock Inc. Exxon’s vote sends an important message not just to Exxon and others large oil companies, but “also to ESG investors at large,” said Rob Du Boff, analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The fact that asset managers such as BlackRock have been influenced by the cause of engine # 1 is another sign that ESG issues, and climate change in particular, are now common.” The $ 255 billion New York State and $ 300 billion California State Pool Teachers’ Retirement System has been promoting climate-friendly corporate policies and investment principles for years environmental, social and governance issues, and both supported Exxon’s push from Engine No. 1. So have the Church Commissioners for England and BlackRock, who have been criticized for their uneven support for shareholder resolutions related to the environment. “Just a few years ago we were ignored, but now companies know they need to pick up the phone and talk to ESG investors,” said Kristin Hull, founder of Nia Impact Capital in San Francisco. now at the heart of investment processes and decisions, ”said Kalina Lazarova, London-based director in the responsible investment team at BMO Global Asset Management. “Environmental and social issues can now make or break directors in ways that were not possible before.” The No.1 engine, although tiny, succeeded because “it tapped into widespread investor dissatisfaction who are increasingly sensitive to climate and broader ESG topics,” Lazarova said. Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction, a nonprofit focused on responsible investing, agrees. “Engine # 1 forced all these big investors to take sides,” she said. “For years, big institutional investors told us that behind closed doors they were getting there with companies in the oil and gas industry, but they held on. so little, ”Howarth said. In the meantime, the No.1 engine is “really shaking things up,” she said. BlackRock, the second largest owner of Exxon, with a 6.6% stake, voted for three of the new directors nominated by Engine No.1, according to a ballot released Wednesday. But the investment giant also backed CEO Darren Woods, who opposed investor demands for a change in the company’s approach to climate change – a move that prompted environmental groups who have called on the company to vote against them. he was “concerned about the strategic direction of Exxon” and that the company could benefit from the addition of new directors who “would bring new perspectives” to Exxon’s board of directors. the loss of the business, said New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “The fact that Exxon has not been responsive so far, in a way that they have set the stage for their own defeat,” he said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg TV. CalSTRS called Exxon’s vote “historic.” This represents a tipping point for companies unprepared for the global energy transition, the pension fund said. While the Exxon board election is the first by a large U.S. company to focus on the global energy transition, it will not be the last, the statement said. annual meeting Wednesday where investors voted for a proposal to force the company to reduce pollution from its customers. In addition, a Dutch court on Wednesday issued a ruling ordering Royal Dutch Shell Plc to reduce its net carbon emissions. These decisions send “a strong signal that ESG is common,” said Timothy Smith, director of ESG shareholder engagement at Boston Trust Walden. “Companies are realizing that these problems are no longer marginal.” The climate-focused investors “built the intellectual scaffolding that allowed No.1 Engine to get two of its board candidates,” said Jonas Kron, director of advocacy at Trillium Asset Management. “ESG investors have been asking companies for years to think honestly and transparently about managing climate change risks. The market has now caught up. (Add ESG investor comments in fifth and 16th paragraphs.) More articles like this are available at Subscribe now to stay ahead of the most common source of business information. reliable. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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‘I don’t cook for her [again]’ Wed, 07 Apr 2021 01:03:13 +0000

A man’s girlfriend had weird answers to her kitchen – so Reddit helped them both realize that this pointed to something quite different.

The man went to Reddit’s “Am I the A ******»Confused forum about his girlfriend’s recent behavior. Whenever he cooked meals for them (her household responsibility), she complained that it smelled and tasted awful. It hadn’t been a problem before, so he couldn’t understand why they were still arguing about it now.

“We both work a lot, so we have both been very cranky and in a bad mood,” he said. mentionned. “Especially my girlfriend who made fun of me several times and was in a very bad mood. The last few days, what really got her off the hook is my cooking. Usually I am the one who prepares breakfast, prepares our lunches and dinners. Literally every time I’m on the stove she complains about the bad smell and gives me bullshit about using things that she says have obviously gone wrong. Or won’t even finish eating.

Then the problem turned into a full-fledged fight, and the girlfriend went to live with her sister.

“I broke down a bit this morning when she complained again about the omelet I was making for us,” he Explain. “So I threw the eggs in the trash, told her that she could make her own breakfast for herself at that time and that I wouldn’t cook for her anymore if she kept spoiling herself in it.” what I do. We ended up having an argument about it and we left for the crazy job. My girlfriend didn’t come home anyway and her sister called me.

“It’s a little out there and I don’t think it’s normally that extreme, but is there a possibility that she’s pregnant?” an user request.

“Are you sure she’s not pregnant?” another wrote.

After weighing in on Reddit users, the poster added a very special update.

“I can’t believe you were right” boyfriend wrote. “Yeah, we’re pregnant and freaked out / super excited. My daughter certainly cried and okay me too a bit.

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