Monday, 31 July 2017

Charlotte Goldfried: About Counselling For Life and Career Counselling

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Career Counselling
About Counselling For Life

Charlotte Goldfried owns and operates Counselling For Life, a practice devoted to assisting clients in moving forward in their lives. 

“I initially became interested in career counseling during my work as a teacher for adults who had been injured on the job and could not return to the work that they had previously done.   During this period, I noticed that my children were considering various career pathways.  Some of their career choices were realistic; many were not. I wanted to gain a greater understanding of how youth make their decisions about careers and how I could best support my children as they worked their way  through this process. So, I returned to university and completed a Masters degree in counselling.   

Since then, I have developed programs and worked with people at all stages along the career continuum, including executives, front-line workers, and individuals in a wide variety of careers across a broad spectrum of industries. I have also created programs and worked with adolescents to help them select careers or find employment. Along the way, I developed programs and worked with professional hockey players and Canadian Olympians. 

My work as a coach involves assisting, supporting and guiding individuals as they make changes in their lives. With over fifteen years experience, I feel comfortable saying that no matter your age, or situation, I am confident that I can provide you with the help and guidance you need to achieve a positive result. Whether you are considering a career change, deciding on what career to go into, worried about your resume, thinking about retirement, or wanting to improve personal or work-related skills, you can count on me to provide you with a customized program, helpful advice, insight and support throughout the process.”

Charlotte holds an Honours B.A. in Psychology, a Bachelor of Education, a Masters in Counselling and a Law degree.  As well, she has Life Coaching and English as a Second Language Certification.

Rachael Roter is the intake co-ordinator at Coun@2selling For Life.  She works closely with Charlotte to support clients as they transition. She brings a strong sense of commitment to all that she does; she is professional, warm and approachable.
Counselling For Life

Benefits of our Career Exploration and Career Planning Program

    Teens and young adults who have already made a career decision are able to confirm or disconfirm their choice, by giving thorough consideration to all of the important variables.
    Teens and young adults who have not made a career decision, are guided and supported through a thorough program that enables them to make an informed career decision and plan.
    Parents feel confident that their children have had an opportunity to make the career choice that is most suitable for them

Career Counselling For Teens and Young Adults

Guiding and supporting young people throughout the career exploration and planning process.

The Four Steps of our Career Exploration and Career Planning Programme

1. Self Discovery

Taking stock of who they are permits young people to make informed choices.  Teens and young people are encouraged by their career counsellor to consider many factors such as: 

    What they are able to do or can learn to do (skills, strengths, weaknesses and aptitudes). Sometimes this involves various types of assessments.
    What they like to do (their interests)
    Who they are (their personalities)
    What is important to them (their values)
    Understanding their learning style (auditory, kinesthetic, visual)

2. Generating Options:

Once they have gained a good understanding of themselves, the next step involves examining career profiles so that they can generate a list of potential occupations, for consideration.

3. Researching Options

This step involves learning everything possible about the occupations on their list and may involve any or all of the following actions:

 •   volunteering in an environment where the work they are considering is performed
•    job shadowing (following someone at work for a day or more, so that they can observe the person performing the work)
•    conducting informational interviews (speaking to one or more people to gather information about different vocations)
•    exploring different educational pathways (reviewing various school calendars, speaking to program co-ordinators, visiting schools)
•    investigating labour market trends, to ensure that the type of work being considered has a future
•    reviewing career profiles in greater detail to learn as much as possible about the type of work being considered
•    researching wage guides, so that they have an understanding of the income that they can expect to earn in the future

4. Making a Decision and Creating an Action Plan

The next step involves making an informed decision and a back-up decision.  Teens and young adults decisions are based on everything they have learned as a result of self discovery and their research about various types of work. Finally, their career counsellor will help them create an action plan which maps out the steps required to help and support them on their career pathway (applying to various learning institutions*, attending school, volunteer work and summer work).

Life Coaching

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Terms of Use & Privacy Policy Jenkins: Career counselling can help, no matter your age or experience

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Career Change

Career counselling can help, no matter your age or experience

By Cara Jenkin

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Job Progression Career Change

About two in three workers (63 per cent) want to make a career change, while only 14 per cent say they are in their dream job. So guidance is important for everyone, Cara Jenkin reports.

Counselling on career choices is just as important for adults well into their working life as school students, to stop workers choosing the wrong job or helping them get a good one.
Seeking the advice of career counsellors has long been something many teenagers do at school to help nail down the start to a career path.

But the benefits provided to those with work experience are often overlooked. Career counsellor Rebecca Fraser, of Rebecca Fraser Consulting, says it is now more common for workers to find themselves in a position to need help with the next step, as change in the labour market is creating new challenges. “More people are required to transition from one career or area of qualification to something completely different . . . due to organisations outsourcing as well as restructuring or moving offshore," she says. “More individuals are required to access career coaching services to assess skills and current qualifications to compare these to target industry and then develop a career plan/gap analysis to work out what is needed. Many of the jobs that are being recruited for today did not exist 10 years ago, even five years ago." “This means that people who have been working for 15 years have new opportunities that may be more suited to their skill set."

It also means workers can transition to areas of interest that may not have been available to them when they first started in the workforce. With workers retiring at an older age and the growing trend for them to “do what they love and never work a day in their life", the pressure of being in the right job for them is increasing. It is also recognised workers have more opportunity, ability and desire to change, being career chameleons rather than having one job for life.

Workers can engage a counsellor themselves or employers connect their staff with one to help their development. Hender Careers senior business development consultant Paul Bell says everyone needs to take stock of where they are, to set goals and put steps in place to achieve them and a career counsellor, or coach, helps people to do that. “Quite often people in senior leadership roles that have mentors to bounce things off can get an independent view," he says.

Bell says some people may have a good idea of where they want to go and counselling helps them to get there. “Young people who don't really have an idea of what they want to do can speak with a career counsellor to get their experience to what direction they should head in," he says. “We tend to provide coaching and mentoring for managers, senior managers, CEOs - career coaching should be something that everyone considers at some stage early on or late career. “We're finding it's becoming something that's more popular in the marketplace. There's nothing like an independent assessment of where you're at."

Visit CDAA.ORG.AU to find a career counsellor.


Services that career counsellors can provide:

- Personality profiling

- Mentoring/coaching

- Course/qualification recommendations

- Independent skills analysis

- Resume writing/guidance

- LinkedIn optimisation support


Counsellors should be qualified and accredited under the Career Industry Council of Australia, including membership to a CICA association.
Accredited coaches need to meet professional development requirements to keep up with labour market trends.
They differ from recruiters, who generally specialise in set areas and industries. Recruiters and career coaches can work in partnership to help workers.
“It's important that there is a good personality fit between worker and counsellor. To get the best out of any program, you have to relate to the person who is giving the counselling." - Paul Bell, Hender Careers

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McKinsey & Company: Survey: IT's future value proposition

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Digital McKinsey
Survey - July 2017
IT’s future value proposition

Many executives expect IT will play a growing role in driving business results, according to a new survey. For that to happen, CIOs must broaden their profiles and prove IT’s effectiveness in areas such as digital and innovation.

IT is poised to play a new, more strategic role in companies, one that moves beyond support to create business value through technology-based business innovation and digital initiatives. But according to the newest McKinsey Global Survey on business technology,1 IT organizations continue to struggle with performance issues, both in conventional IT and in areas that are critical for the future. As a result, technology leaders aren’t often the clear owners of technology-related activities and capabilities, and many respondents—especially on the business side—see their IT organizations as replaceable by third-party providers. For IT and its leaders to become business partners, the results suggest that CIOs must raise their skills and influence within the organization, leverage technology to move the business’s innovation agenda forward, and address the strategic, operating-model, and talent problems that underlie IT’s ineffectiveness.
A shifting value proposition for IT

According to the results, many executives—both in and out of IT—expect IT’s value proposition to change meaningfully in the coming years (Exhibit 1). Currently, the largest shares of respondents say IT creates the most value through more traditional business enablement and operational support. But they predict that in the next few years, technology will drive business results. Respondents are most likely to expect that IT will contribute most through innovation and through integrating technology solutions in support of business results—a dramatic shift from IT’s current role.
Exhibit 1
Executives expect that IT’s value proposition will shift dramatically, away from enablement and operations and toward integration and innovation.

As part of that, respondents also believe that IT should be playing an important role in shaping strategy around digitization. Roughly 80 percent say that business and technology should collaborate on digital strategy, compared with only 55 percent who say they do so now.

Other responses reinforce the merit of IT’s contributions, both current and potential. When technology leaders are involved in shaping business strategy, IT’s ability to create value is greater. As we’ve seen in previous surveys, respondents report greater IT effectiveness when their CIOs are very involved in overall business strategy. With engaged CIOs, digital initiatives do better as well: 43 percent of respondents with very involved CIOs report significant business impact from their digital initiatives, compared with 23 percent of all others who say the same.
IT struggles to perform, and its future is uncertain

Despite this opportunity for IT, this year’s results continue a long-standing pattern of performance concerns in the IT function, even among IT respondents themselves. What’s worse, perceptions are especially negative in the areas that are most critical to IT’s future value proposition (Exhibit 2). Just 12 percent of all respondents say their IT organizations are very effective at leading digital transformations across their business, and only 8 percent say IT is very effective at the design of e-commerce and online experience. When organizations have undergone major IT transformations (the modernization of infrastructure, for example), few business leaders have even noticed. Fifty-one percent of IT respondents report having undergone major transformations in the past two years, while just 36 percent of their business peers say the same.
Exhibit 2
Few respondents characterize IT’s performance as very effective, especially in areas that are critical to IT’s future value proposition.

In some of these same capabilities that will be critical to IT’s future, respondents also report a lack of clear ownership. Executives are more likely to say there’s no clear owner for activities such as e-commerce design and technical delivery than they are to say these capabilities are the CIO’s responsibility. With regard to who should be leading these activities, in order for the organization to use technology most effectively, neither the CIO nor the CTO is cited by a majority of respondents.
Would you like to learn more about Digital McKinsey?
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Moreover, many executives can imagine replacing IT with external vendors or service providers. About one-third of all respondents, including 43 percent of business leaders, describe IT as significantly or fully replaceable by vendors and third-party providers (Exhibit 3). Since the previous survey, the gap between business and IT executives who say technology is substitutable has also grown considerably.
Exhibit 3
More than four in ten business executives believe IT is significantly or fully replaceable by third-party services.

And while nine in ten respondents agree that, over the next five years, their central IT organizations will undergo some fundamental changes (for example, a change of 30 percent or more to overall budget or resources), the jury is still out on what, exactly, those differences will be. Respondents are nearly as likely to expect that the IT function’s responsibilities will increase as technology becomes more central to the overall business as they are to predict that the business side will execute most of the work that IT does now.
An imperative to improve

For CIOs and technology leaders to strengthen IT’s value proposition and relevance in the digital era, they must make meaningful contributions to growth and innovation. The results suggest that a greater leadership role for the CIO and improved alignment and ways of working are critical to this success.

First, CIOs need to establish themselves as genuine business leaders and partners. At organizations where CIOs don’t have responsibility for key technology activities, IT and non-IT respondents alike tend to say it’s because the organizational context and culture limit the CIO’s role (Exhibit 4). They are much less likely to say the main reason is a lack of leadership skills or limited knowledge of business processes, though business respondents identify these factors almost twice as often as their IT peers do. What’s more, in several surveys now, we’ve confirmed the importance of CIO leadership. The more involved a CIO is in shaping overall business strategy, the better the IT function performs, both overall and on digital strategy (Exhibit 5). The latest results show that elevating the CIO’s role, both structurally and culturally, could be the key to achieving this. When the CIO reports directly to the CEO, rather than the CFO or other senior roles, respondents are 2.5 times likelier than others to say their CIOs are very involved in company strategy (Exhibit 6).
Exhibit 4
Business and IT respondents agree on what holds back their CIOs: organizational culture and a limited role.
Exhibit 5
More CIO involvement in the business correlates with an IT function that’s more effective, both overall and on digital strategy.
Exhibit 6
Of the CIOs who are involved in business strategy, nearly half report directly to their CEOs.

Second, the root causes of IT’s ineffectiveness must be addressed. According to IT respondents, the most significant problems are a lack of clear priorities for the IT function, weakness in IT’s operating model, and talent issues. In fact, talent has actually grown as a root cause; respondents are twice as likely to cite talent issues now as they were in 2015. With the operating model, the key challenge for CIOs to solve is inefficient governance and work-intake processes. Just after that, IT respondents most often cite weak alignment between business and IT, unclear roles and responsibilities (both of which affect the clarity of IT’s priorities), and lack of a hybrid digital-IT operating model (which is needed for digital initiatives and solutions to work). By addressing these ongoing issues, IT leaders and their organizations will resolve three-quarters of the main reasons why IT isn’t performing effectively.
MoBT_33_Big-data_1536x1536_a_Original How CIOs can lead their company’s information business
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Looking ahead

In response to the challenges that the survey results revealed, here are three steps that can help CIOs and IT organizations strengthen their value proposition and contributions to the broader business. These steps are mutually reinforcing, so taking all three together will increase the success and impact of each.

    CIOs must rewrite their job descriptions. Despite performance concerns and an uncertain future for IT, CIOs will need to increase expectations for themselves and the IT function. They must also work hard to elevate their role within the organization, developing both their leadership and business muscles while building a more direct reporting line to the CEO. To do so, they will need to write a more ambitious job description that reflects their organizations’ broader aspirations for growth and innovation. This could mean taking on newer responsibilities around customer engagement, such as omnichannel design, design and oversight of analytics, and the centralization and automation of core business functions. CIOs will also need to focus on developing both the functional skills (such as digitization and delivery) and the leadership skills necessary to gain credibility as a true business partner, and they must ensure that the IT organizations they lead are meeting—or even surpassing—expectations.
    Address nagging causes of IT ineffectiveness. The results point to three critical areas of IT ineffectiveness—a lack of priorities, operating-model weaknesses, and issues related to talent—on which organizations must make quick progress. The first requires a frank discussion with business leaders to close the gap between perceived and actual priorities. Agreeing on priorities will help IT play a clear, focused role in the organization, ensure visibility and appreciation for the technology-related transformations IT is leading, and let IT leaders shift their time and resources to the areas the business values most, such as innovation and integration. The second—strengthening IT’s operating model—has been a top-two cause of poor performance for two years in a row and is especially crucial for organizations pursuing digital transformations. These organizations will need to move to a more unified and flexible operating model to support large-scale digital efforts that will inevitably span disparate technologies (legacy and next-generation) and delivery practices (agile and traditional methodologies). Finally, the search for top IT talent must include new approaches to workforce planning, attraction, evaluation, and development, as well as the culture of the IT organization.
    Integrate technology across the enterprise. Another opportunity for CIOs is the role of integrator. Respondents report a wide variety of technology-leadership roles at their organizations, and that technology is touching upon the work of many business functions. CIOs, then, are in a unique position to observe these activities at their organizations and serve as a central architect to help manage the technology-enabled innovations and capabilities. To do so, they will need to strengthen their own transformation muscles by freeing up change-minded technology leaders from their day-to-day activities and building transformation-leadership capabilities within their teams. They will also need to connect more closely with committed business partners who understand the long-term journey of transformation via technology and are willing to help navigate the organization through potential disruptions.

About the author(s)
The contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Naufal Khan, Jason Reynolds, and Christoph Schrey, a senior partner, partner, and associate partner, respectively, in McKinsey’s Chicago office.
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The Benefits Of Banning Small-Scale Gold Mining And Halting The Export Of All Unrefined Gold From Ghana

Future generations of Ghanaians will forever be grateful to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his able minister for lands and natural resources, the dynamic Hon. John Peter Amewu.

Without a shadow of doubt both men will be lauded by countless generations of Ghanaians till the very end of time - for acting when they did in taking active steps to halt the destruction of the remainder of our nation's natural heritage.

And when the history of this generation of our people is compiled by scholars in the far distant future, the names of President Akufo-Addo and Hon. John Peter Amewu will almost certainly be written in letters of gold.

Indeed, if President Akufo-Addo's government had not acted to end the activities of illegal gold miners, illegal loggers and illegal sand-winners, eventually, over time, virtually the entirety of  Ghana's landmass would have been poisoned and destroyed by greedy and selfish  small-scale gold miners (both legally registered miners  and illegal gold miners), illegal loggers and illegal sand-winners. 

Above all, before it is halted completely, in order to effectively control the activities of small-scale gold miners in the interim, it is vital that the use of excavators and other heavy equipment/machinery by the whole of the small-scale gold mining sector, is banned totally right across the Ghanaian countryside.

Using excavators is not small-scale gold mining -  it is mining on an industrial scale. Full stop. No question.

Furthermore, for the sake of Mother Nature and to secure the well-being of our country, as well as promote the welfare of our younger generations who live in the countryside, we must all take cognisance of the fact that a better business model can be developed quickly to replace small-scale gold mining as a provider of wealth and employment in rural Ghana.

The question is: Why does Ghanaian society not encourage those now engaged in small-scale gold mining to come together to partner the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited (PMMC), in an innovative private public partnership (PPP) funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to set up a large, bleeding-edge  gold refinery to produce credit-card-sized gold bars and gold coins - and turn Ghana into a global centre for the sale and purchase of same?

That new business model will also help to replace jobs lost in halting small-scale mining completely - as it will enable us to make Ghana an ecotourism destination anchored on the remainder of our country's natural heritage:  thus enabling us to create a lucrative outbound  tourism market in Ghana for Chinese citizens and the citizens of other Asian nations to travel here to  purchase gold bars, gold coins and traditional-style Ghanaian jewelry.

In other words, instead of allowing a few thousand Ghanaian, Chinese and citizens of other nations engaged in small-scale gold mining to destroy large swathes of land across Ghana in their quest for gold, it would be far more beneficial for us to stop them from destroying the remainder of our nation's  natural heritage - and, instead, take steps to create a tourism business sector which attracts millions of Chinese citizens (and those of other nations) to regularly travel to Ghana to purchase credit-card-sized gold bars with Adinkra symbols etched on them.

Ditto get people from all over the world to come to Ghana to purchase gold coins with Adinkra signs etched on them, as well as buy traditional-style Ghanaian gold jewelry whiles here. That is a far more sensible and sustainable way to proceed.

After all, if Thailand could earn U.S.$71 billion from the 31 million visitors it hosted in 2016, surely, nothing stops  Ghana  from also earning billions of dollars too, by attracting tens of millions of Chinese citizens  - and the nationals of other nations - to come here to purchase gold bars, gold coins and gold jewelry?

What does Thailand have that Ghana doesn't have or lacks? Zilch.

Finally, to show that we could actually turn the passion that most Chinese citizens have for investing in bullion to our advantage, we have culled a NewsMax Finance story that we hope will show the association of small-scale gold miners that it makes sense for them to leave gold mining and  go into partnership instead with the PMMC  to refine gold to produce gold bars, gold coins and traditional-style gold jewelry and help turn our homeland  Ghana into a global centre for the purchase of same.

Please read on:

"Chinese Demand for Gold Bars Climbs by 50 Percent on Hunt for Havens

Friday, 28 Jul 2017 01:02 PM

Demand for gold bars in China, the world’s biggest bullion market, soared by more than half in the first six months of the year as investors sought a haven from financial and geopolitical risks.

Sales climbed 51 percent to 158.40 metric tons from a year earlier, the China Gold Association said in a press statement sent via Wechat on Friday. Overall gold consumption climbed almost 10 percent to 545.2 tons, including 330.8 tons for jewelry sales, while industrial demand and other uses increased 9 percent.

Investor concerns earlier this year over the depreciation of Chinese currency and instability in the stock market, as well as worries about the slowdown in property prices, spurred demand for gold. Imports from Hong Kong climbed last month as gold retreated on the global market, according to data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department compiled by Bloomberg.

“Physical gold is playing an increasingly important role in Chinese residents’ investment portfolio,” the association said. “Gold is broadly favored by investors as a store of wealth as global markets become more fragile, with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and increasing geopolitical uncertainty.”
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Demand for all of 2017 may exceed 1,000 tons, the highest level in four years, as bar sales surge, Zhang Yongtao, the association’s secretary-general, said in an interview in May. Domestic output, including production from imported feedstock, fell 6 percent to 241.5 tons in the first half, amid more stringent environment rules and depletion of mine resources, the group said Friday.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.
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End of culled NewsMaxFinance story.

Entrepreneur Magazine/Matt Cimaglia: Why I Turned Down Millions and Dismantled My Company

Project Grow

Why I Turned Down Millions and Dismantled My Company


Matt Cimaglia
Magazine Contributor

July 31, 2017
This story appears in the July 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When I graduated college in 2002, I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else. So I founded a video production company called Cimaglia Productions. Did I go to business school? No. But I loved making videos, so I went on a campaign to impress every client I could -- and, I suspect, won my first contracts by underbidding bigger agencies. Hey, I was just a kid with a camera.

Related: 4 Entrepreneurial Lessons Every Graduate Should Know

The next 10 years were about growth. I worked with major clients like Mercedes-Benz and Lavazza Coffee, and I created the first-ever high-definition segments for NBC’s Dateline. I said yes to basically every job and hired dozens of full-time cinematographers, editors and producers. I doubled my company’s size every year for five consecutive years, and I leased an office in Chicago’s bustling downtown.

In 2012, an investment firm asked whether I was interested in a multimillion-­dollar seed fund. I could merge with several competitors, dominate the local market, reduce our collective overhead -- and be CEO. It seemed like the culmination of my labor. But instead, it made me come to terms with what I had built. Because frankly, I wasn’t happy.

I turned down the money. And then, methodically, I dismantled my company.

I don’t know exactly when I stopped loving work, but I know when I realized it. A few months earlier, I’d taken a trek to Everest Base Camp, in Nepal. It was my first real vacation, but I couldn’t unplug; I called my assistant daily from a satellite phone and brainstormed with clients as my fellow trekkers marveled at the mountain. Then the trip fell apart, with me contracting Everest’s notorious high-altitude “Khumbu cough” and a series of botched helicopter evacuations. When I got home, I miserably regressed into the daily grind.

Related: 20 Secrets to Avoiding Burnout

For all its success, my company had lost its mission. By saying yes to everything, and frantically hiring and stockpiling equipment, I’d created something incoherent -- a company that acted too quickly, with clients constantly coming and going and with no sense of where I belonged. I was always reacting, never acting.

Change was necessary. Smartphones, social media and high-speed internet were disrupting video, so why was I investing in camera gear that would be outdated in two years? Cloud storage and YouTube crept up during my biggest decade, so why was I spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on in-house servers? Over the next two years, I quietly researched and prepared my company’s reset, and I realized I needed to focus more on cross-platform communication and brand strategy. Senior management knew, but my staff and contractors didn’t. Then in 2014, I summoned everyone one by one to announce that I’d be letting them go.

It was one of the hardest times of my professional life, but those two years of strategy girded me for it: I knew I was doing the right thing. As my employees wrapped up their final projects, I talked to each of them personally and carefully. I used my connections to help them find more work down the road.

Related: 5 Things Small Businesses Should Outsource

In spring 2015, I traded in my physical office for a virtual one. I kept only my most valued clients and did most of the work myself. Then, this year, I found someone in Los Angeles to handle client management, which allows me to focus entirely on what I know best: the creative side. And unlike the first time I built this company, we’re doing it strategically and in an agile way. Rather than investing in the latest equipment, for example, I hire specialist contractors, who use their own gear better than anyone else. I take on clients that’ll help us grow, and who want us to push into new and innovative types of communication, beyond just video. Today, we’re still a far smaller company than we once were -- but this time, I’m sure, we’re a company built to last. And that matters more than size.
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Bloomberg Businessweek/Stone, Kim and King: Summer of Samsung: A Corruption Scandal, a Political Firestorm—and a Record Profit

Bloomberg Businessweek

Summer of Samsung: A Corruption Scandal, a Political Firestorm—and a Record Profit

A year after the exploding phones, Samsung is embroiled in the mess that brought down South Korea’s president. How is it still thriving?

By Brad Stone, Sam Kim, and Ian King
Thu Jul 27 00:09:20 2017

“How long does a horse live?”

On a Friday in June, Jay Y. Lee, the de facto head of the Samsung conglomerate, is enduring another afternoon at the Central District Court in Seoul, listening to the prosecution quiz a witness about the finer points of equine health. Lee is on trial for bribery and embezzlement, part of a series of scandals that led in March to the ouster of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president.

“It depends whether you’re talking about a competition horse, or …”
Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, July 31, 2017. Subscribe now.
Photo Illustration: Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek; Prop Stylist: Elizabeth Press

The windowless fifth-floor courtroom is packed with lawyers, journalists, and citizens who, like the rest of the country, are captivated by the proceedings. Some people are sitting on the floor; everyone is sweating. Clerks shake their heads in disbelief at the suffocating heat, waving their hands in frustration in front of the stagnant air-conditioning vents. Lee, his four co-defendants from Samsung’s executive team, and their phalanx of counsel sip water and mop their faces with handkerchiefs.

“It’s 20, no? It lives about 20 years and reaches its peak between 8 and 10?”

“Yes. I believe that’s the peak.”

Lee and his colleagues stand accused of bribing Park and one of her friends to facilitate a merger between two publicly traded Samsung companies—a combination, prosecutors contend, that was intended to strengthen Lee’s control over the Samsung empire. The form of the alleged bribe was Vitana V, an $800,000 thoroughbred show horse, plus $17 million in donations to foundations affiliated with the friend, whose daughter was hoping to qualify for the 2020 Olympics as an equestrienne. The Samsung executives describe the gifts as standard support for the country’s Olympic ambitions and deny allegations of bribery in this matter and others the prosecution has raised.

“Can the price of a horse drop if an incompetent athlete rides and fails to perform well?”

“I believe so.”

Lee, dressed in a dark blue suit and open-neck shirt, is a former equestrian himself; in his 20s, he won a medal at the Asian championships. Today, on what happens to be his 49th birthday, he listens intently to the proceedings, occasionally smiling, passing notes to his attorneys, and otherwise breaking his stoic pose only to apply lip balm. Late in the afternoon the judge asks whether the participants need a break, and Lee replies that he will “follow what everyone else wants.” No one else expresses a preference, so the judge snaps that they’ll just have to get on with it.

Hours of testimony later, the court adjourns. As Lee departs, no one wishes him a happy birthday—another small sign of the seemingly diminished fortunes of South Korea’s mightiest company.
Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of a friend of Park Geun-hye, in 2014.
Photographer: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Founded in 1938 by Jay Y.’s grandfather, Lee Byung-chull, the Samsung group is a collection of about 60 interlinked companies, the kind of corporate family known in South Korea as a chaebol. There’s a shipbuilding division, a construction company, life insurance and advertising arms, soccer and baseball teams, and even a theme park 30 miles south of Seoul, called Everland.

Samsung Electronics Co. accounts for more than two-thirds of the conglomerate’s market value. Despite the accusations of corruption—and despite recalls in 2016 of some of its top-loading washing machines and, more famously, its Note 7 smartphone, which had a battery flaw that could cause it to burst into flames—Samsung Electronics remains associated, in the global public consciousness, with cutting-edge gadgetry. It’s also still making an extraordinary amount of money. In its most recent earnings report, released on July 27, the company said sales were up 20 percent from the previous year and operating profit had climbed 73 percent. The growth was fueled primarily by the memory-­chip division, but Samsung Electronics is now also the world’s top smartphone maker, thanks in part to the new Galaxy S8. And the company is close to surpassing Apple Inc. as the most profitable business in the world, and Intel Corp. as the largest maker of semiconductors.
Effigies of Park and others associated with the scandal.
Photographer: Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo

But while investors are applauding the company, South Koreans are protesting it. When the accusations against Lee and Park surfaced, weekly demonstrations in downtown Seoul against the government’s cozy relations with the chaebol swelled into the largest rallies since a 1980s democratic reform campaign. Protesters wielded papier-mâché puppets of Park and Lee; one sign read, “Send Jay Y. Lee to prison for being the real culprit in the scandal!”

“What’s good for Samsung is good for South Korea” was once an overriding national sentiment. Following the Korean War, chaebol drove the country’s development into a global economic power. Now, polls show that domestic support for them has collapsed, amid fresh accusations that they’ve been illegally buying influence. The government formed by Moon Jae-in after Park’s removal includes prominent chaebol critics who are agitating for greater shareholder rights and less family control.

Inside Samsung Electronics, the anger looks like just another obstacle in a series of them. The company remains confident of its engineering prowess, but it has been working to transform a hierarchical culture that has long prized loyalty, tireless work, and deference. Although this culture has been well-suited to a hardware company, executives know it will have to change if Samsung Electronics is to compete with Silicon Valley in technologies such as cloud services and artificial intelligence.

The shift may take place, depending on the outcome of Lee’s trial, without the guiding hand of Samsung’s longtime stewards. For years the Lee family and its top strategists have coordinated interactions among subsidiaries, dealt with the government, and approved large expenditures out of a department alternatively called the corporate strategy office, the restructuring office, and the control tower. But with the conglomerate under scrutiny, that office has been shuttered, and strategic planning among subsidiaries “no longer exists,” according to DJ Koh, president of mobile communications and one of several senior executives Samsung made available for this story. For the moment, the chaebol is like a headless octopus, its tentacles thrashing about without coordination.

“This is a new experience,” Koh says. “We must make our own decisions.”

The figure most closely associated with Samsung’s global rise is Lee Kun-hee, the son of founder Byung-chull and Jay Y.’s father. Kun-hee, who became chairman in 1987, was known as reclusive but charismatic. Under his guidance, Samsung invested in massive semiconductor and display-panel factories, prodding engineers to overcome the company’s early reputation for creating subpar knockoffs. In 1993, with sales of consumer appliances flat, he admonished executives to “change everything but your wife and children.” A few years later he commanded underlings to collect 150,000 defective cell phones into a pile and set them ablaze. Although not great for the environment, it sent a clear message about quality control.
Lee Kun-hee (middle) in early 2014.
Photographer: Yonhap News Agency

Despite his eccentricities, Kun-hee is widely lionized. In 1997, after the value of Samsung Electronics fell to $1.7 billion amid a wider Asian financial meltdown, he jettisoned peripheral businesses and doubled down on chips, screens, and phones. Within a decade, Samsung Electronics’ market value had grown sixtyfold. Song Jae-yong, a professor of strategy and international management at Seoul National University Business School, calls Kun-hee “one of the great business leaders of the 20th century.”

In 2014, at the age of 72, Kun-hee had a heart attack at his home overlooking the Han River. Samsung reported afterward that he was “recuperating in a stable condition,” but he hasn’t been heard from since, and the company won’t comment further. Multiple people familiar with the situation, who don’t want to be quoted discussing a private matter, say the chairman also had a stroke and remains in a vegetative state at the Samsung Medical Center on the outskirts of Seoul. When a Bloomberg reporter recently entered the VIP wing on the center’s top floor, he was immediately sent back to the lobby by a frantic security officer wearing a blue surgical mask.

Kun-hee’s health emergency set off a further crisis inside the family. The Lees’ control over Samsung has always been somewhat fragile, at least by the standards of Western corporations, which allow founders to protect their stature with special classes of stock that grant extra voting rights. By contrast, the Lees own relatively small stakes in individual Samsung entities, maintaining voting control through a tangle of cross-holdings. For example, according to Bloomberg data, Kun-hee owns only 3.8 percent of Samsung Electronics, but he’s the largest shareholder in Samsung Life Insurance Co., with 20 percent of the stock. Samsung Life in turn owns 8 percent of Samsung Electronics; that share, combined with those of other subsidiaries, adds up to a useful stake of more than 20 percent.

This convoluted structure limits the rights of other investors and frustrates activist shareholders. It’s also vulnerable to turns of fate like major illnesses. In the event of Kun-hee’s death, his son and presumed successor, Jay Y., would have to pay a steep tax bill to inherit his father’s stock and maintain control of Samsung—as much as $6 billion, according to Chung Sun-sup, chairman of, which tracks executive wealth. This might require Jay Y. to sell some of the Lee family’s holdings, further diluting their tentative sway.

That’s where the horse comes in. Prosecutors say that in 2015, Jay Y. orchestrated the merger of two divisions: Samsung C&T Corp., which is dedicated to construction and trading, and Cheil Industries Inc., which owned several entertainment properties, including the theme park. The combination would have given the Lee family more power over the combined company and was allegedly intended to bolster its control over Samsung Electronics. The company says the move was designed to make the units more competitive.

To complete the merger over the objections of some activist investors, Samsung needed the approval of another major shareholder, the country’s National Pension Service. The prosecution theorizes that Samsung’s senior managers were unsure enough of the fund’s support—it had recently cast an anti-chaebol vote in an unrelated matter—that they sought for the president’s office to intervene on their behalf. Prosecutors have produced financial documents linking the horse to Samsung and Park’s friend, as well as records of text messages and phone calls between executives and Park’s office that they say demonstrate collusion.

However the judge decides—he will likely render a verdict by the end of the summer—the case has struck an exposed nerve in South Korea. The formerly supportive local media has abandoned the presumption that what’s good for Samsung is good for the country (not to mention for their own bottom lines; Samsung is a major advertiser). The company’s influence was once such that, in 2008, on a day when Kun-hee appeared for questioning by a special prosecutor, only one of the country’s three biggest newspapers covered the story on the front page; the others buried their articles deep inside. (Kun-hee was convicted of tax evasion the following year but was pardoned months later.)

Now Jay Y. is frequently photographed walking into court with a vacant expression on his face, shackled at the wrists and upper arms, and surrounded by as many as a half-dozen police officers. This daily, ritualized humiliation reflects a popular desire to bring down a chaebol businessman once known for hobnobbing with the global elite. And it’s only the latest embarrassment for the company.

A year ago, Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications division was jubilant. The company had enjoyed a stellar year, surpassing Apple in the U.S. smartphone market, and was preparing to cement this dominance with the August release of the Galaxy Note 7, which sported a stylus pen, an elegantly curved display, and fingerprint and iris scanners. A few days after the phone went on sale, the Summer Olympics kicked off with Samsung as a principal sponsor. Executives flew to Rio de Janeiro to bask in the attention. “It was a great moment,” recalls Lee Young-hee, Samsung Electronics’ executive vice president for global marketing.

A few weeks later, Lee, one of the few female senior executives at Samsung (and no relation to the Lees who control the company), was in Berlin for a conference when ominous reports started circulating on social media. Phones were bursting into flames and in some cases burning their owners. Lee says she didn’t believe the stories at first. Then more phones self-immolated. And still more. Airlines around the world banned the Note 7 from their flights. “It was a devastating experience,” she says. “The Note 7 was our pride.”

To contain the damage, executives at Samsung Electronics’ headquarters in Suwon, a suburb of Seoul, formed a task force under Koh, the mobile communications chief. For four months they met every day at 7 a.m., coordinating a response. Most important, they ordered the recall of the Note 7, which involved collecting millions of phones globally, and corralled hundreds of engineers into testing centers to figure out the cause.

Koh pegs the cost of the effort at more than $5 billion, but he doesn’t recall the Lee family blinking at the expense. When he met with Jay Y. during the saga, Lee just listened and pledged support. “I think he must have known how much it cost, but he never mentioned anything about money,” Koh says. “He just said, ‘Mr. Koh, please manage it properly.’ ”

In January, Samsung held a press conference to announce the results of its investigation. The cause of the exploding Notes, Koh said, was improperly designed batteries supplied by a Samsung subsidiary and then a backup vendor that had rushed into production. Samsung pledged to test its phones and their component parts more rigorously. The press conference ended with Koh bowing deeply in apology.

The explanation left some Samsung watchers unconvinced. The company denied reports that it had cut corners to beat the iPhone 7 to market, and it hadn’t acknowledged that its hierarchical culture might have discouraged junior employees from raising red flags. Employees at Samsung feel “pressurized to make decisions that please the powerful boss,” says Paul Swiercz, a management professor at George Washington University. “There is no one pushing back.”

For years, Samsung has quietly sought to reform its demanding culture. In 2009 an internal program called Work Smart urged employees to spend their office time more efficiently and take weekends off. In 2012 the company introduced its “119” program, which dictates that employees at formal outings—at which they often felt compelled to appear and keep up with the boss—be limited to one drink, at one bar, ending at 9 p.m. More recently it trotted out an initiative called Startup Samsung to streamline reporting structures and eliminate bureaucratic layers.

But deference remains ingrained, right down to the corporate vernacular. For example, workers at Samsung, as at other South Korean companies, typically address one another by title or position rather than by name, unless they’re speaking with a close friend. Such traditions make it difficult for employees to speak frankly or to warn of major mistakes on the horizon. “I hate it,” Koh says. “Juniors will freeze. They will not make any comment.” The company has been trying to get employees to call each other by their first names, adding the professional honorific “nim” as a suffix, and Koh has asked employees to call him “DJ” instead of “president.” But, he says, snapping his fingers, “For them it’s not easy to change in just a day.”
The new semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek.
Source: Samsung

Regaining its technological footing has come easier to Samsung. The Galaxy S8 has been combustion-free, and in a remarkable sign of tenacity, the company just issued a refurbished Note 7 Fan Edition in South Korea. Where many companies would have abandoned a besmirched brand, Samsung charges ahead.

To appreciate how deeply such relentlessness is embedded in the company’s makeup, you must drive 45 miles south of Seoul, to flat pastures that were once populated by pigs and cows. After navigating a well-manicured path up a small hill in a newly fashionable neighborhood, you arrive at an outcropping with an expansive view of a stupendously large construction site. Towering cranes dot the skyline above a 3 million-square-meter campus. Scattered buildings with unironic signs such as “disaster prevention center” and “fire station” ring two enormous structures decorated with colored squares in the style of the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.

This is Pyeongtaek, site of Samsung Electronics’ newest semiconductor plant. The facility is designed to extend the company’s dominance in memory chips and perhaps to expand its share of the more profitable logic processor business—competing with the likes of Intel to make the brains of smartphones and PCs. The plant, which broke ground in 2015, was one of the last projects Jay Y. approved before his legal troubles began. Already it’s producing its first chips, far faster than the industry norm of three to five years to get new plants up and running. Samsung Electronics can do this because it has mastered automation and precision manufacturing, and can draw on its corporate brethren to deploy hordes of construction workers with militaristic efficiency. It can also easily summon capital. Samsung says Pyeongtaek will cost $27 billion to build—a huge amount, but less than half the company’s $63 billion in reserves.
Galaxy S8+ smartphones on display at a launch event in New York on March 29, 2017.
Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

Over the years, deep pockets have allowed the Lee family to make investments during the memory-chip industry’s periodic, brutal downturns. When the inevitable rebounds occurred, Samsung Electronics would be ready to start selling the next generation of chips, leaving its competitors in the dust. “Even for us to build one factory we have to hedge risk,” says Mark Durcan, who stepped down as chief executive officer of Samsung rival Micron Technology Inc. earlier this year. “The numbers are so big. They don’t have those issues.”

Samsung isn’t shy about celebrating its dominance. On a trip to the Hwaseong chip plant, about 15 miles from Pyeongtaek, a digital clock in the visitors museum reports that it’s been “25 years, 17 days, 11 hours, 24 minutes, and 54 seconds” since the company became the world’s largest memory-chip maker. Nearby, a window opens onto one of the campus’s chip fabrication plants. Robots zip along ceiling tracks, zigzagging around a room that extends as far as the eye can see. Each metallic arm totes several silicon wafers encased in a clear brown cartridge, which it periodically lowers and inserts into refrigerator-size machines that burn layers of microscopic circuitry onto the surface of the disks. The only two humans in sight look on in their yellow cleansuits, supervising the production.

In May, Samsung created an independent foundry business that makes processors for competitors, such as Qualcomm Inc. and Apple, that can’t or don’t want to build chip plants themselves. This profitable sector is dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Now Samsung is coming for it, confident it can walk the tricky line of making processors for both its rivals and itself. “Once we start something, a new business,” says Yoon Jong-shik, the executive vice president in charge of the effort, “we always make it a good success in 10 years.”

For all Samsung’s triumphs over Japanese and American manufacturers, one dominion remains elusive: software. The company pines to compete with Inc. and Google Inc. by developing popular cloud services and intelligent personal assistants—and especially applications capable of linking its smartphones with its flatscreen TVs, washing machines, and refrigerators.

A few years ago, Samsung tried introducing a smartphone operating system, called Tizen, which didn’t catch on and is now used mostly in smartwatches and some appliances. Other apps, including Samsung Health, Samsung Cloud, and Milk Music, lag behind rival products. Only its Samsung Pay digital wallet has shown much promise, adopted in almost 20 countries thus far. The company is hoping its new virtual assistant, Bixby, will be its first big hit.

Koh, who has been at Samsung for 33 years and has the top-floor office to prove it, says he knows that becoming a leading software developer will require Samsung to attract creative, entrepreneurial employees. His pitch for Bixby, though, demonstrates some of the company’s familiar culture issues.

Koh asks a reporter, “Do you touch your assistant? Your secretary?”

Reporter: “I don’t have an assistant. Also, it would be a personnel violation.”

“Exactly! Touch is not allowed. Just say something. So if we change our interaction of touching [the phone] and [use our] voice, that would be perfect.”

When a reporter points out that Google has its own voice assistant, creating a potential point of friction with the company that makes the Android software powering most Samsung smartphones and tablets, Koh rolls out an old Woody Allen routine.

Koh: “I want to ask you: Are you married?”

Reporter: “I’m engaged.”

“Engaged! How many rings do you need?”

“Uh. … Two?”

“I would say three. An engagement ring, a wedding ring, and another ring is always necessary: suffering.”
Koh at a Galaxy S8 launch event.
Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The joke draws hearty chuckles from Koh’s staff.

“In many areas, we’re working with Google very closely,” he explains. “But you know, even though you’re engaged, you never fight with your wife or your girlfriend?

“Anyway, our competitor is not in Mountain View,” Koh hastens to add, leaving unmentioned the company down the road in Cupertino.

A month after Jay Y.’s birthday court appearance, he’s due back on another sweltering summer day in Seoul. Today, the topic of testimony will be whether a Samsung pharmaceutical division illegally lobbied the government to get a listing on the national stock exchange. (Samsung’s response: no.)

Outside, beyond a heavily guarded gate, another battle is brewing. A small group of activists, led by a woman in a wheelchair, is waiting to confront Lee. The woman identifies herself as Han Hye-kyung and says she’s a former Samsung worker in her 30s with a brain tumor. She holds a sign saying “Punish Jay Y. Lee,” and her T-shirt reads, “No more death in Samsung”—a reference to former Samsung workers who contend that exposure to toxic materials caused disease, especially cancer. After years of fighting the workers and their families, Samsung created a roughly $90 million compensation pool, but many have refused to settle on its terms. The company says it’s keeping the application channel open and working to resolve the remaining cases.

As Lee’s lawyers and co-defendants enter the courthouse, the activists hurl invective at them. But Lee has supporters of his own—dozens of mostly older people, representative of a large group of South Koreans who have started to push back against the political changes wrought by the corruption scandal. The confrontation quickly gets heated.

“What did Jay Y. Lee do wrong? He was only trying to make our nation greater by making Samsung greater!”

“If you don’t like Samsung, just go to North Korea!”

“Samsung has fed us generation after generation. They made our nation famous! You’re shameless!”

Security guards step in, and things momentarily quiet down. A reporter asks Han why she blames Jay Y. rather than his father, Kun-hee. She replies that if the son has inherited his wealth, he must also embrace the responsibility. Nearby, Samsung’s supporters start to chant “Free Jay Y. Lee!”

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Half year: Dangote Cement records 12.6% Sales volume increase across Africa

LAGOS, Nigeria, July 31, 2017/ -- Dangote Cement (, Africa’s largest cement producer, has announced its unaudited results for the six months ended 30th June 2017, posting a 12.6 percent increase in sales volume across Africa. 

In the financials released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange indicated that the increase in sales volume showed a growing capture of Pan-African market as Dangote Cement continues to gain grounds.

Revenues from operations in Nigeria increased by 34.5 percent  to ₦291.4 billion while Pan-Africa revenue increased by 63.7 percent to ₦124.4B from ₦76.0B mainly as a result of increased volumes and foreign exchange gains when converting the sales from country local currency into Naira.

Analysis of the half year result revealed that sales volumes of African operations increased by 12.6 percent to 4.7 million metric tons with Sierra Leone making a   53 kt maiden contribution.

Record of sales from its operations scattered around the African continent revealed that a total of 1.1million ‘metric tons of cement was sold in Ethiopia, almost 0.7 million metric tons sold in Senegal, 0.6 million metric tons sold in Cameroon, and 0.5 million tons in Ghana.

Also, 0.4 million metric tons of cement was sold in Tanzania and 0.3 million tons in Zambia. Sales volumes from Nigerian operations fell from 8.8Mt to 6.9Mt, occasioned by the onset of rains which stalled many construction projects.

Reflecting on the half year results, Dangote Cement’s Chief Executive Officer, Onne van der Weijde expressed satisfaction that the company’s revenues have continued to grow despite low sales from the Nigerian operations noting that the revenues grew on the strength of sales from other African operations

Said he: “Our revenues have continued to grow despite the lower volumes seen in Nigeria, especially because of the recent heavy rains. Our margins have improved significantly, helped by improved efficiencies and a much better fuel mix in Nigeria.

“We are using much more gas and increasing our use of coal mined in Nigeria, thus reducing our need for foreign currency and supporting Nigerian jobs.

”Our Pan-African operations are growing well and increasing market share. We saw our the first sales from Sierra Leone in the first quarter and our new plant in the Republic of Congo will be in production at the end of July, further increasing our footprint across Africa and strengthening our position as its leading manufacturer of cement.”

The Company reports that it estimated that Nigeria’s total market for cement was 10.2 million tonnes (Mt), 23.2% lower than the estimated 13.3Mt sold in Nigeria in the first half of 2016. Of total market sales in the first half of 2017, just 0.1Mt was imported. 

“As a result of the slower market, our Nigeria operation sold nearly 6.9Mt of cement, down 21.8% on the 8.8Mt sold in the first half of 2016. We estimate our market share to have been about 64.5% during the first six months of 2017.     

Dangote Cement is a high-growth, low-debt, internationally diversified company that has just paid a dividend amounting to nearly 75% of 2016 net profits to shareholders. “The recent publication of our credit ratings highlights the financial strength we have achieved through our unwavering focus on the profitable expansion of the business, underpinned by our belief that we must remain prudent in our financial management.”, Mr. Weijde stated.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Dangote Group.

Media contact:
Francis Awowole

Dangote Group

Investopedia: What is the 'Efficient Market Hypothesis - EMH'?

Efficient Market Hypothesis - EMH

What is the 'Efficient Market Hypothesis - EMH'

The efficient market hypothesis (EMH) is an investment theory that states it is impossible to "beat the market" because stock market efficiency causes existing share prices to always incorporate and reflect all relevant information. According to the EMH, stocks always trade at their fair value on stock exchanges, making it impossible for investors to either purchase undervalued stocks or sell stocks for inflated prices. As such, it should be impossible to outperform the overall market through expert stock selection or market timing, and the only way an investor can possibly obtain higher returns is by purchasing riskier investments.
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BREAKING DOWN 'Efficient Market Hypothesis - EMH'

Although it is a cornerstone of modern financial theory, the EMH is highly controversial and often disputed. Believers argue it is pointless to search for undervalued stocks or to try to predict trends in the market through either fundamental or technical analysis.

While academics point to a large body of evidence in support of EMH, an equal amount of dissension also exists. For example, investors such as Warren Buffett have consistently beaten the market over long periods of time, which by definition is impossible according to the EMH. Detractors of the EMH also point to events such as the 1987 stock market crash, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell by over 20% in a single day, as evidence that stock prices can seriously deviate from their fair values.
What EMH Means for Investors

Proponents of the EMH conclude that, because of the randomness of the market, investors could do better by investing in a low-cost, passive portfolio. Data compiled by Morningstar Inc. through its June 2015 Active/Passive Barometer study supports the conclusion. Morningstar compared active managers’ returns in all categories against a composite made of related index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The study found that year-over-year, only two groups of active managers successfully outperformed passive funds more than 50% of the time. These were U.S. small growth funds and diversified emerging markets funds.

In all of the other categories, including U.S. large blend, U.S. large value and U.S. large growth, among others, investors would have fared better by investing in low-cost index funds or ETFs. While a percentage of active managers do outperform passive funds at some point, the challenge for investors is being able to identify which ones will do so. Less than 25% of the top-performing active managers are able to consistently outperform their passive manager counterparts.
Next Up Market Efficiency

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    Market Efficiency
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    Semi-Strong Form Efficiency
    Management Fee
    Discounting Mechanism
    Fractal Markets Hypothesis (FMH)
    Market Timing
    Passive Investing

Market Efficiency
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Market efficiency refers to the degree to which stock prices and other securities prices reflect all available, relevant information. Market efficiency was developed in 1970 by economist Eugene Fama, whose theory of efficient market hypothesis (EMH) stated it is not possible for an investor to outperform the market because all available information is already built into all stock prices. Investors who agree with this statement tend to buy index funds that track overall market performance and are proponents of passive portfolio management.
BREAKING DOWN 'Market Efficiency'
At its core, market efficiency measures the availability of market information that provides the maximum amount of opportunities to purchasers and sellers of securities to effect transactions without increasing transaction costs.

Differing Beliefs of an Efficient Market

Investors and academics have a wide range of viewpoints on the actual efficiency of the market, as reflected in the strong, semi-strong and weak versions of the EMH. Believers that the market is strong are those who agree with Fama, that is, passive investors. Practitioners of the weak version of the EMH believe active trading can generate abnormal profits, while semi-strong believers fall somewhere in the middle.
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Marriott International Announces Dynamic New Sales and Marketing Leadership Team to Supporft its Rapidly Growing Middle East and Africa Portfolio

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2017/ -- Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) ( today announced the expansion and strengthening of its Sales and Marketing Leadership Team for Middle East and Africa. This bold new initiative comes on the heels of the successful mega merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts and the fast progressing integration of the two companies. The revamped Brand, Marketing, Sales and Consumer Services (BMSC) Leadership Team comprises of highly experienced professionals from Marriott International and legacy Starwood Hotels and Resorts, bringing together exceptional talent and expertise from both companies and speaks to the company’s commitment to support its enhanced footprint and aggressive growth plans in the region.

Led by seasoned Marriott International veteran, Neal Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, the team will provide dedicated support to the company’s thriving regional portfolio and will be responsible for driving top line revenue for Marriott International brands, ensuring the regional Sales and Marketing strategy is aligned with the company’s vision and priorities.

With a current portfolio of over 240 hotels with 54,000 rooms in 30 countries, Marriott International is working towards targeting a projected growth of 150,000 rooms operational and pipeline in 38 countries by 2022 across Middle East and Africa.

Commenting on the announcement, Neal Jones said, “The leadership changes we are announcing today are important to foster greater synergies, teamwork, accountability and nimble decision-making critical to lay a strong foundation that will support our ambitious growth plans in the region. I am extremely excited to work together with such a talented and diverse group of leaders who bring with them exceptional domain expertise as well as regional insights that will enable us to create a more vibrant organization that delivers value for all stakeholders.”

“I am confident that with this, we have the right structure and talent in place to accelerate our lead in the market, drive further innovation and strengthen the positioning of our brands while keeping our loyal and new guests at the centre of everything we do, steering us into the next phase of our growth and success,” he added.

Marriott’s BMSC leadership team for Middle East and Africa has been formed with the following seasoned hospitality professionals currently on board and a Vice President Luxury Brands soon to be announced.

Paul Dalgleish, Vice President of Sales & Distribution will be responsible for Property, Market and Area Sales Organisations as well as the Global Sales Organisation, whilst leading the Middle East and Africa Distribution Strategy. Previously Vice President of Sales for Marriott International, Paul has played a key role in the rapid expansion of the Middle East and Africa Region, deploying new and innovative sales strategies, whilst ensuring talent development lives as a discipline priority.

Sarah Allen, Vice President of Revenue Strategy & Analysis will be responsible for Property, Market and Area Revenue Management, Remote Revenue Management Solutions and Revenue Management Analysis. Formerly Vice President of Revenue Management, Marriott International Middle East and Africa, Sarah is a Marriott International veteran and has played a key role in moving hotels onto Marriott’s Revenue Management platforms implementing processes as well as setting up shared services across the markets to drive synergies. She was also the business leader for the integration of Protea Hotels which was acquired by Marriott International in 2014.

Jitendra Jain, Vice President of Digital, Loyalty and Portfolio Marketing will be responsible for the company’s award-winning Loyalty Programs, Partnerships, cross-brand marketing of Marriott International’s regional portfolio and will lead all Digital Marketing, Platforms and Products. A Starwood veteran, Jitendra previously led the Marketing function for the former Starwood portfolio in the Middle East, where he spearheaded the transformation of marketing processes, talent and culture, cultivating a data-driven and forward-looking mindset leveraging digital, brands and loyalty.

Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Vice President of Premium and Select Brands will be responsible for Brand Marketing and Management for Marriott International’s compelling portfolio of Premium and Select Brands and will oversee Restaurants & Bars Marketing as well as Area Field Marketing. Sandra was previously Senior Director, Brand Marketing & eCommerce for Marriott International Middle East and Africa managing Field Marketing, Brand Marketing, Public Relations, Partnerships, Social Media, Digital as well as Loyalty. She was instrumental in positioning Marriott International’s lead in Brand Marketing in the region.

Sarah Walker Kerr, Vice President of Communications Middle East and Africa will be responsible for devising and implementing the overall Communications Strategy for Marriott International in the region, driving visibility, enhancing the perception of the company and its brands and increasing its share of voice in the media. She will provide strategic counsel to the senior executive leadership team, managing Internal and External Communications, Crisis Communications and Reputation Management as well as Brand Communications. A seasoned communications specialist, Sarah was previously Regional Director of Public Relations Middle East, Africa, India & Japan for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Raheel Baggia, Senior Director, BMSC Planning and Services will be responsible for Integration and Change Management, Program Execution and Training. Prior to this Raheel served as Director, BMSC Consulting-Middle East and Africa. Since joining Marriott in 2013, Raheel has been working on strategic continent projects both in his previous role supporting BMSC-Middle East and Africa as well as in Europe where he was part of the Global Operations team.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Marriott International, Inc..

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Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) ( is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,100 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 124 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit In addition, connect with us on Facebook ( and @MarriottIntl on Twitter ( and Instagram (

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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Should Nduom And The PPP Start Bridge-Building To Form A Credible One-Nation Third Force To Replace The Divisive NPP/NDC Duopoly?

It is now obvious that despite the fact that the vast majority of Ghanaians (including yours truly) are praying hard for President Akufo-Addo to succeed, there are dark forces in his party that are also working assiduously from the shadows to thwart him.

The insertion of the pernicious  Clause 3, Sub-Clause 4, in the Office of the Special Public Prosecutor Bill, 2017, and its subsequent withdrawal for relaying yet again before Parliament, shows what the president is up against in his fight against  high-level corruption.

And, worst of all, listening to the rabid and nauseating partisanship of the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) cheeky John Boadus, verbally-aggressive and uncouth  Kennedy Adjapongs and the loud and ever-boastful  Bernard Antwi Boasiakos - as opposed to the one-nation, visionary and disciplined leadership of President Akufo-Addo - it is hard not to weep for Mother Ghana.

Having now succeeded in coming into government and consolidating their hold on power, the small but powerful group of mean-spirited hardliners and extremists in the NPP,  no longer bother to hide their Machiavellian  divide-and-rule strategy to enable them dominate our homeland Ghana, for what some of them doubtless hope will be many years to come. Some dream. Some hope.

Thus, as we speak, they are busy laying the foundation to enable them manipulate our byzantine system and control sundry public institutions one step removed by stealth for the benefit of the NPP and its most favoured members. And it is being done through the  distribution of patronage  using pork-barrel politricks to create wealth for a select and lucky few who they hope will fund the party going forward - and ensure that their party stays in power for many years  to come.

That  is what the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) substandard fuel scandal and the cancellation of sundry road contracts were about.

A key building block to that future domination of Ghana's political landscape is the removal from office of strong-willed and independent-minded public-sector officeholders such  Mrs. Charlotte Osei - whose crime is that she was appointed as the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) by the regime of the NPP's bitterest political rivals, the National National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of former President John Dramani Mahama.

One hopes that those fair-minded Ghanaians who understand that their  nation can never really move forward and rid itself of high-level corruption - if the cynicism and extreme partisanship of the shameless John Boadus  and Freddie Blays (who prior to the December 2016 polls were  adamant that no NPP member would publicly publish his or her assets) will be the guiding ethos underpinning the ruling party's years in power - will now see clearly  the need for them to mobilise and form a coalition of one-nation Ghanaians for whom the cohesion of our country and the creation of a land of opportunity for all who are willing and able to work hard to transform Ghanaian society actually matters.

One-nation Ghanaians must take back their country from the NPP/NDC duopoly. That is what the Progressive People's Party (PPP) should work hard at to bring about before 2020 - not waste its energies dreaming of forming a government on its own some day through ballot box victories  of its candidates in presidential and parliamentary elections: a ridiculous and impossible dream.

Ghana needs a credible third force led by honest, disciplined and world-class  one-nation Ghanaians for whom promoting and protecting the national interest at all material times (whiles working hard to ensure national unity instead of  scheming for personal rent-seeking opportunities and party advantage) are important factors in the successful transformation of Ghana into an egaliterian society that is an African equivalent of the just and fair societies of Scandinavia.

Having learnt their lesson now because their hoped-for-victory alluded them (because they failed to heed the advice of some of us to focus on building a one-nation  coalition as a third force during the election campaign for the 2016 polls), one hopes that in light of the cynicism and mean-spiritedness now being displayed so openly and brashly by the John Boadus, for the sake of our benighted  country the PPP's Nduom & Co will get a move on and work towards achieving that noble end of building a new one-nation coalition,  as a new and focused  third-force in our nation's politics. Now. Not tomorrow.

They must begin building that coalition of one-nation Ghanaians by  reaching out to activist groups such  OccupyGhana, and world-class individuals such as Dr. Doug Heward-Mills and Dr. Patrick Awuah (to name a few), whose impressive individual  track records mark them out as capable nation builders who can help unite and transform our nation into a truly prosperous society for the benefit of all Ghanaians - not just a powerful few with greedy ambitions (to paraphrase ex-President Nkrumah).

For the sake of our younger generations, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and the PPP must start bridge-building to form a one-nation third-force coalition to rid Mother Ghana of the divisive NPP/NDC duopoly in 2020. Now. Today. Not tomorrow. Haaba.

Forbes/Ryan Lackey: Why Have The Islamic Countries Failed To Develop Even With Resources Like Oil, While Countries With No Resources Like Switzerland Have Flourished?

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Jan 8, 2013 @ 01:35 PM
Why Have The Islamic Countries Failed To Develop Even With Resources Like Oil, While Countries With No Resources Like Switzerland Have Flourished?
Quora , Contributor
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Answer by Ryan Lackey, Technology Entrepreneur,

It's true. Outside of oil and gas projects and a few specific infrastructure projects (ports like Jebel Ali and airports like Dubai), far less real economic development has happened in the oil-rich parts of the Arab world than would be expected based on their great endowment of human and natural resources. The Islamic world isn't monolithic, and it's probably worthwhile to address relatively stable oil-rich states separately from Iraq, Iran, and Libya, again separately from other Islamic states without much oil separately from Asian Islamic countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Let's look specifically at the stable oil rich Arab Islamic states for now. I'm not an academic economist, political scientist, or cultural expert, but I lived in the region from 2004-2010, ran several businesses there, and have experience as a tech entrepreneur in the US and Europe, so I can comment directly on some of the challenges.

(There are some really interesting aspects of Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, and Indonesia which would be interesting to address separately -- they demonstrate what happens when some of these trends are reversed and taken too far the other way. Those countries deserve another question.)

Overall, the local standard of living has improved dramatically -- walking around Dubai or even a moderately sized city anywhere in the region shows a reasonable standard of living, especially compared to a few decades ago. All those shiny new condo buildings, huge hypermarkets, highways, etc.

However, it's all consumption of energy wealth, not evidence of other productive economic activity. While the economic theory of comparative advantage says you maximize efficiency by going all-in on areas where you have the greatest comparative advantage, economic efficiency isn't the ultimate goal of life, and there are serious consequences to blindly maximizing current economic efficiency to the exclusion of all else. There is a huge qualitative difference between an economy built on natural resource extraction, where the populace is a cost center, and an economy built on productive labor by the population, where increasing capabilities of the society leads to more wealth. If you look at western countries, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and increasingly, China, they largely developed through manufacturing, initially low cost, low value add manufacturing, moving up the chain, and ended up with vibrant, well-educated, and diverse economies (even though Japan has demographic challenges, it will still be the #3 economy in the world in 2030). The alternative is an extractive economy like Argentina, which went from 10th in the world in 1930 to a basketcase for the past 80 years. That's not to say that natural resource endowment hasn't helped some countries (like the US), but natural resource economies in the absence of local value creation don't tend to lead to well developed societies.

Wealth in a resource-based economy is distributed much more unequally and more inefficiently. It goes to a small number of people at the top, and they're at the top due to tribal, family, or political connections, not due to skill or productivity. In a vibrant, competitive manufacturing economy, wealth tends to accrue to innovators and efficient operators, and someone with a new idea or better way of doing things has a chance to get to the top.  Admittedly, this is imperfect even in the US, but it's a better system than political patronage.
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And, someday, the oil will run out (or won't be burned because of global warming).

Outside simple products and services for local consumption (consumers spending income directly from energy related jobs, or from government redistribution of energy wealth), and development, funded by energy wealth, of local transportation, power, and water infrastructure (starting from a very low base), what local development there has happened has been economically inefficient -- building empty skyscrapers in the desert. This has been largely directed by government, or influential families affiliated with government, and financed by huge capital flows from oil/gas and foreign investment from Russia, South Asia, and other parts of the Arab or Muslim world, and not the product of real free enterprise. Essentially, these investments don't produce wealth; they're just a way to store wealth generated elsewhere, as a form of regulatory arbitrage. Even crazier, most of the labor, including skilled labor, to build buildings and operate companies is imported, too -- labor from China and Pakistan, accountants from the Philippines, advertising executives from the Levant, and engineers and architects from the UK and US.

Placing oil and gas revenue into sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) which invest in businesses in the west has generally been the other form of investment, and in spite of the western financial collapse of 2008-2009, major Islamic SWFs still make most of their investments outside the region.

There are a few likely reasons energy wealth hasn't been sufficient to push these countries toward greater and more robust development:

    Fundamentally, this is a push against the economic efficiency gradient. It will not happen without serious effort and luck, at least until energy income declines.
    A historical legacy of a Soviet alliance and socialism in the Arab world (due to their opposition to the west during the early cold war, opposition to Israel, and some ties between Pan-Arab nationalism and socialism just due to both being revolutionary anti-colonial movements, and due to the beliefs of specific leaders like Nasser).
    Resource curse ("Dutch Disease"). Essentially anyone smart goes into oil/gas, or if smart/lazy, into oil/gas ministry jobs, and anyone seeking safe investment returns tends to invest in oil/gas, where a great return is likely. Having some resources is better than no resources, but having resource based industries dominate your economy crowds out all other investment.
    Anti-intellectualism and anti-science bias of modern fundamentalist Islam. Clearly it's not the case that Islam itself is hostile to science; after all, for hundreds of years, the Islamic world was the standard-bearer for world scientific knowledge and progress. Yet, education in many Muslim countries consists primarily of religious rather than scientific programs, and those who do get quality educations in the west tend to remain overseas.
    Women as second-class citizens. It's not just that women can't contribute directly to the workforce (although that's a big factor), but that women aren't educated to the same standard, and thus aren't able to raise children to be scientists and engineers as effectively. This is one area where great progress has been made, but there's a generational lag.
    Geopolitical instability. In general, lack of stability doesn't lead people to make long-term investments in the future. If you're worried the world is going to end, you're going to enjoy life now (to the extent possible), not sacrifice a lot to potentially have a better future. A high level of fatalism and lack of feeling of agency has never helped entrepreneurship.
    Antiquated legal environment (largely based on old UK law without update, merged with Sharia), and not really compatible with modern business. Setting up a business takes a long time, requires local partners, etc. - not a free market. There are efforts to have different law for some countries (the Dubai free trade zones are great examples -- Jebel Ali in the 70s was probably the first major development of its kind), but the law outside business still needs revision.
    Corruption. It's a combination of an inefficient official process and a small number of wealthy and powerful families, able to either change the law as needed, or ignore it. If you ever get into a dispute with a local national, you're going to lose. If local nationals of different levels of power ("wasta") get into a dispute, it's usually decided on the basis of connections, vs. the merits of the case.
    High cost of failure. If someone launches a new business and it fails, there's a high degree of shame and loss of social standing, but even worse, potential prison time for any debts personally guaranteed. Compare this to Silicon Valley where an entrepreneur with a few failed businesses is generally viewed as experienced.

(I'd also argue that their hostility to Israel - and thus Jews - actually hurts them a lot, as some of the most dynamic tech and business people in the US are Jewish -- they and their firms are unlikely to do business where they're not welcome.)

It's especially interesting what is NOT on this list.  Islam is certainly not inherently opposed to development and progress -- there's the shining example of the classical period of Islamic civilization, and the huge number of successful Muslim scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and business people in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.  Democracy also isn't on the list -- we have great examples of non-democratic economic successes (China, and if you extend to one-party democracy, Singapore), and of democratic non-successes (India pre-1990s).

Essentially, no great companies have been built in the region (yet), except to serve local consumption of wealth derived from energy.

There are a few potential exceptions -- the media company Al Jazeera in Qatar is probably the best example. It's unclear how profitable Al Jazeera is, but it's undeniably consequential globally -- one of the most important media companies in the world. Emirates Airlines has been very successful, in the model of Singapore Airlines, and there are several other airlines which have been successful to different degrees. Both of these were state sponsored at the beginning. For really private businesses, PwC/Agility logistics (which, admittedly, was largely built on the back of the US occupation of Iraq and artificially inflated prices and demand for shipping), and a little farther afield, Jordan's Aramax courier company is interesting (although not an oil state).

There are of course construction (Orascom) and communications (Wataniya) companies which are regionally important, making investments in Asia and Africa. There are some agricultural, retail, and distribution brands which serve the local economy, but aren't really great engines of wealth.

The irony is that while real growth should originate from and be sustained by the private sector, it's undeniable that some of the enlightened governments of the Gulf (particularly Qatar, Dubai, Jordan, Oman and to some extent, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and other UAE emirates) are more progressive and pro-growth than their populace. So, there's probably a necessary government role in starting the process, but the state needs to get out of the way after giving an initial push.

I think the most promising efforts are bringing top universities from around the world to the region, and establishing new schools like KAUST, which will be both centers of research and product lots of well educated people. Yet, from looking at the students enrolled today, many are from outside the region (mainly, SE Europe) -- local nationals are more likely to go overseas for an education, or to take a ministry, banking, or other safe, well-paid job fed by energy wealth vs. starting a high risk new business.

Ultimately, investment by government can only provide a foundation for private development.  Building infrastructure (physical, legal, and educational/human capital) with oil wealth, until the oil wealth runs dry (solving the resource curse) so the best and brightest then go start productive businesses, is probably the solution, but could take decades. On the other hand, if you look at where the Arab world was fifty years ago, and where it is today, there's good reason to be optimistic about the future.

This question originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Economic Development:

    What's likely to happen to Detroit over the next 50 years?
    What did Singapore do to become so successful?
    What are some things that are happening in China right now that an American would find unbelievable?

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