AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Marketing & affiliates Email Address Topics: Marketing & affiliates Sports betting Blank generation Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 7th September 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle Regions: Europe UK & Ireland Southern Europe Italy Spain Gambling sponsorship in sport has become widespread in recent years, but this ubiquity has drawn ever-louder criticism, Daniel O’Boyle writes. With bans either in place or incoming in Europe, will betting brands disappear from strips in the UK? And if so how can the industry adapt to the loss of a major marketing channel – and sport to a significant source of funding? Gambling sponsorship in sport has become widespread in recent years, but this ubiquity has drawn ever-louder criticism, Daniel O’Boyle writes. With bans either in place or incoming in Europe, will betting brands disappear from strips in the UK? And if so how can the industry adapt to the loss of a major marketing channel – and sport to a significant source of funding? Select a football team at random from the top two tiers of the English football pyramid. Chances are, its kit will be emblazoned with a gambling operator’s branding.To some, the fact that betting sponsorships have become ubiquitous in sport represents a problem. Others would argue that it allows the industry to funnel money back into sport and helps keep sports clubs alive.Betting sponsorship has become one of the highest profile ways for an operator to promote its brand, yet in Great Britain it could become a thing of the past. A ban is already in place in Italy, and a similar move in Spain is edging closer.Britain’s influential Gambling-Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) called for a ban on all gambling advertising in the UK, regardless of medium.But a report from the House of Lords may have been more pertinent to the sponsorship question. Taking a more measured approach than the APPG to the industry in general, the Peers’ calls for a sponsorship ban gained more traction in the wider national press.“Gambling advertising and sponsorship within certain types of sport, predominantly football, has mostly replaced tobacco and alcohol advertising which was previously prolific in such arenas,” the report said.It may be too soon to be sure of the likelihood of a ban on sponsorship. But with the long-promised British Government review of the Gambling Act likely to get in motion soon, the debate is only just beginning.Neil Banbury, UK General Manager of Kindred Group, whose 32Red brand sponsors Championship clubs Derby County, Middlesbrough, Preston North End and formerly Leeds United, says he couldn’t be sure whether a ban is likely. However Kindred would play a part in arguing for their continued existence, he adds.“It’s still unclear, and the UK Government’s upcoming Gambling Act Review will undoubtedly keep many options on the table,” Banbury says. “Kindred is keen to be involved in the public conversation on the issue – as we feel there is much to be said for credible, responsible sponsorship that benefits sporting organisations and the communities they operate in.”Normalising gambling? On the other side of the debate, there are those who will push an end to gambling sponsorship.Besides the House of Lords and APPG, campaign group Gambling With Lives has pushed for a ban on all gambling marketing through its The Big Step movement.“Gambling sponsorship, advertising and marketing in football should end to stop children being exposed to gambling and to reduce gambling related harm,” The Big Step founder James Grimes says. “For those of us who have experienced gambling disorder, a common theme is of being lured in by a cascade of advertising.”To Grimes, a former problem gambler, sponsorship deals at his local club of Peterborough United and elsewhere played a part in his addiction.“Gambling sponsors and partners at my favourite football club normalised gambling, whilst the advertising, direct marketing and VIP schemes linked to football glamourised it.”While Kindred may be an operator actively working to keep betting sponsorship around, some have made strange bedfellows with Gambling With Lives, the APPG and the House of Lords in calling for an end to the deals.Ladbrokes Coral operator GVC has called for a ban on the practice in the UK in April 2019, with its Betdaq brand donating its sponsorship deals to charities.Flutter’s Paddy Power, in typical fashion, announced its stance with a little more bravado.It announced a partnership with Huddersfield that saw the Championship club take the pitch for a July 2019 friendly with a sash bearing the operator’s name. The event was then revealed to be a publicity stunt to help launch the bookmaker’s ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign.“Shirt sponsorship in football has gone too far; we accept that there is a role for sponsors around football, but the shirt should be sacred,” Paddy Power’s marketing director, Victor Corcoran, said at the time.In other markets, the stance isn’t always the same. GVC’s brands have shown more willingness to sponsor in other markets, such as in Spain, where Valencia shirts bear Bwin’s brand.Nonetheless, Grimes said he “welcomed” anyone – or business – who supported The Big Step’s cause.But outside of operators, sports and campaign groups, how much of an issue is gambling sponsorship?Looking at public opinion, the evidence may say more about the stakes of the discussion than what the public actually believes.The Football League’s 2019 Supporters Survey found that 71% showed some sort of support for the practice: 62% of Football League fans found gambling sponsorship, “acceptable with suitable safeguards to protect the young and problem gamblers”. A further 9% found gambling sponsorship deals “acceptable under all circumstances’. So far so good for those with an interest in sponsorship deals.Two months later, a survey of more than 1,200 fans carried out by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) in conjunction with GambleAware’s ‘Bet Regret’ campaign found a mere 13% of respondents say they would be, or are, happy for their club to be sponsored by a gambling company.That discrepancy, with more than half of fans apparently willing to accept gambling sponsorship but not happy about it, shows supporters and opponents are both aware of the importance of at least being perceived to have public opinion on their side.Yet it also suggests that the majority of the public are less polarised, and perhaps willing to be won over by the more persuasive side of the debate.Can clubs adapt? Among those who have Kindred’s back will be the Sky Bet-sponsored English Football League (EFL) – representing English football’s second, third and fourth tiers. It said the financial boost offered by betting operators was necessary for clubs. Especially given the drastic and unexpected loss of revenue created by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.Across the EFL, clubs receive a combined £40m from betting sponsors, while estimates of Premier League front-of-shirt deals range from £10m annually for West Ham’s deal with Betway to £3m per year.According to CMS Sports Consultancy, which helps broker many sponsorship deals, a League Two club that records £1 in annual commercial and ticket revenue would make around 12% of that total from its main shirt sponsorship deal.In a year in which one Football League club entered liquidation and a second narrowly avoided the same fate even before the effects of the pandemic, the value a sponsorship deal brings could potentially help some clubs stay alive.“The Covid-19 pandemic represents perhaps the biggest challenge to the finances of EFL clubs in their history, and with over £40m a season paid by the sector to the league and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been,” the EFL tells iGB.“It remains the EFL’s view that the gambling industry should make a financial contribution back into football, given the significant revenues it generates from our matches without bearing any of the associated costs.“This is currently being achieved through commercial partnerships with the EFL and a number of our member clubs.”Grimes, rejects this outlook, noting that football clubs have moved beyond once-widespread alcohol and tobacco sponsors of the past.“Football has a responsibility to put the long-term health & wellbeing of it’s young fans over short term profit,” he says. “We heard the same fears about removing tobacco sponsors across sport and of course those sports that had claimed a reliance on tobacco sponsorship didn’t collapse.“We don’t want to minimise a possible financial impact on smaller clubs but we would urge them to start work now to identify commercial partners whose activities don’t do damage to their fans and their communities.”The EFL also pointed to work it has done alongside Sky Bet to encourage responsible gambling, such as a safer gambling campaign with players wearing sleeve badges with responsible gambling messaging.In addition, it added that it believed such a ban would not be based on any evidence that it would actually reduce harm.“The association between football and the gambling sector is long-standing and the League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans,” it added.Naturally, however much a sponsor is willing to pay for a sponsorship deal, it expects to make back more than that in revenue from new customers and increased engagement.To Banbury, however, the benefits are more than commercial. Rather than encouraging problematic habits as Grimes argues, Banbury is confident that a responsible operator can do the opposite: use the platform to encourage responsible play.“While the specific numbers are commercially sensitive, [sponsorship is] naturally beneficial to us as a brand,” Banbury says. “However, what is more important is the ability to be able to use sponsorships to develop responsible and controlled activations that promote healthier gambling behaviour.“We’ve done a lot of work on that in the last 18 months, and plan to evolve it further in the coming year.”If sponsorship does disappear, operators will likely have to find different ways to acquire new customers and keep the customers they do have engaged.Yet Banbury was hesitant to discuss what marketing might look like if sponsorship deals are no longer an option, pointing instead to Kindred’s work to ensure it won’t have to worry about this scenario.Precedent elsewhere Where once much of the European industry followed Great Britain, bans on sponsorship have already been introduced elsewhere in Europe. In Italy, all marketing including sponsorship was banned in 2019, while in Spain a similar ban looks set to come into effect.“It is too early to say what the impact has been for the market, consumers and clubs in those countries, but our broader view is the same – to remove the industry from the public eye does not help those who have a problem with gambling,” Banbury says.Spain’s ban has faced major criticism from online operator association JDigital, which attacked it as not evidence based, designed to favour government-backed lottery operators, a potential boost to the illegal market and harmful to sport.“The proposed measures will negatively affect sports, which will lose up to €80m in advertising revenues, as experienced in countries like Italy due to the ban on the advertising of gambling,” it explained in a letter to the European Commission.An eye abroad Back in Britain, however, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has not said as much on sponsorship. In a statement to iGB, it pointed to its members’ recent record on advertising, such as the whistle-to-whistle ban.It is “developing a new code of conduct on sponsorship and advertising that will further strengthen standards”, it added.What that new code of conduct will look like, and the reaction from advocates of a ban, remains to be seen. However, a code for BGC members may not have a major impact on the most visible sponsors in football.While Kindred is among the BGC members sponsoring clubs below the top flight, only one BGC member – Betway – holds a front-of-shirt deal with a Premier League club. Instead, operators sponsoring clubs in a league with a cumulative global audience of 3.2bn viewers often look beyond Britain for customers.To the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), a non-profit body aimed at protecting sporting integrity, that’s the source of many problems in sponsorship today.In a report published in July, the GLMS mentioned the risk in terms of both integrity and player protection created by Asia-facing sponsors who use sponsorship deals to target unregulated markets such as China.Pointing to ‘warning signs’ such as use of Asian characters on a shirt, holding only a white label licence in its partner’s country or operating a ‘mirror website’ intended for customers in unregulated markets, it said these sponsors represented a major problem across Europe.“Asian-facing operators leverage on their association with these teams to legitimise their products and target customers in unregulated markets in Asia,” GLMS president Ludovico Calvi explains.Calvi made sure to stress, however, that this issue does not mean problems are inherent in sponsorship. Instead, he argued, sponsorship can bring great benefits for responsible gambling and integrity, provided more is done to select the right partners.“GLMS is against any ban,” Calvi says. “We need to have clear rules but we need to make sure that licensed operators can promote and support sports transparently. Sports organisations need it.”But how can this issue be tackled when it likely involves clubs passing up on the most lucrative deals? In Calvi’s view, a ‘Know Your Sponsor’ check, similar in spirit to the Football Association’s ‘Fit and Proper Person’ test or the Dutch ‘Know Your Owner’ rules, where potential owners face vetting before the purchase of a club, may be the solution.“You have the ‘Know your Owner’ protocol in some FAs,” he explains. “It is only fair that if anyone is buying equity in a football club, they need to meet certain standards. But you could also have a ‘Know Your Sponsor’ assessment.“If someone would like to sponsor a football club, background checks need to be carried out and if the potential candidates are Asian Facing betting operators targeting consumers in a jurisdiction where online betting is illegal, then they shouldn’t be allowed to sponsor a club.”Banbury does not mention a similar measure but agreed that too many major sponsors may not have eyes on the British market.“It may be the case that other brands – particularly those that have less of a commitment to the UK market – do not view sponsorship in the same way [as Kindred],” he admits.“It remains up to rights holders to determine who they want to partner with. However, I would like to see a higher bar required from gambling brands looking to get involved in sport in the UK.“It would need to be determined what this would entail but it would seem a positive step towards setting up a much more sustainable and appropriate relationship between our industry and sport.”However, Crystal Palace, sponsored by the Asia-facing W88, tells iGB it worked with the operator towards safer gambling goals.But to most opponents of sponsorship, creation and enforcement of rules to weed out those with interest only in unregulated markets would likely not be enough. Given that viewers of sport include many children, Grimes says, settling for these restrictions would not do enough to address the core of the issue.“There should be no ‘soft options’ when it comes to exposing children to gambling. Children as young as 8 can recall betting brands and are growing up thinking betting is a normal part of football,” Grimes says, citing a 2016 Australian study that showed the three quarters of children aged 8 to 16 years were able to recall the names of sports betting brands, with 26% able to name four or more.“Instead they should be warned about the risks associated with it. Only ending gambling sponsorship and advertising in football will adequately protect our children from being exposed to gambling and its associated risks.Indeed, the targeting of unregulated markets appears well down the list of priorities compared to domestic concerns, with Italy’s wide-ranging marketing ban still allowing sports clubs to sign betting partners for foreign markets: regulated or otherwise.While local operators were forced out, SS Lazio signed up HQ Bet as its Chinese betting partner, JBO became Bologna FC’s Asia betting partner and 10Bet was named as Serie A champions Juventus’ ‘international partner’, representing all markets outside of Italy.When the UK brings in its own long-awaited review of the Gambling Act, marketing restrictions may not be as severe as Italy, but sponsorship is surely at risk.There’s plenty of room for reform, but it’s hard to miss that operators working on a responsible sponsorship message may be outflanked by those who could survive a ban on one side and those less interested in reform on the other.With topics affecting a larger number of BGC members also on the table, a sponsorship ban might be a convenient compromise where those calling for restrictions can claim a victory without the British industry’s largest players feeling defeated.That, however, would leave those working on more responsible sponsorship frameworks left in the cold.
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 26: Wales pose for a team photo after winning the Plate final between Wales and Samoa on day two of the Gold Coast Sevens World Series at Skilled Park on November 26, 2011 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images) Wales Sevens SquadTom HabberfieldHarry RobinsonMathew PatchelAlex WalkerTom PrydieOwen B WilliamsIfan EvansRhys ShellardWill PriceRichie PughRichard SmithOwen P Williams Wales won the Gold Coast Plate final Wales will be looking to build on their success from last weekend’s efforts in Australia when they kick off proceedings in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens tomorrow.Paul John’s men made the quarter finals of the Cup competition before being knocked out by eventual champions Fiji in the opening event of the HSBC Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast Sevens.Wales bounced back to claim the Plate final, to secure 13 valuable points to find themselves in fifth place on the current series standings. The Wales squad know they are in for a tough time this weekend, as head coach Paul John explains.“Dubai has all been about trying to get the boys fully recovered and ready for Friday’s group games,” he explained. “We’ve had a different preparation because we are playing our first game at 9.20am (local time) therefore we have to get up really early to get a substantial breakfast so the boys can refuel. Our first games last week were 1pm! “We play Scotland first and they were really tough last week. We had to work really hard before beating them. Then we’ve got Canada second. They won the Pan Am Games last month so that will be tough as well as they are a very good team.“Our final game will be against Australia who reached the semi finals of the main draw last week so once again we find ourselves in an extremely competitive group. The boys trained really well this morning and are now looking forward to starting the competition.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
Leading disability charity inspires marathon runner to get back on the track Howard Lake | 24 January 2011 | News 26 total views, 1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Tagged with: East Anglia Events About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. A local solicitor has been inspired to overcome her fears and enter the London Marathon, thanks to disability charity Papworth Trust.Three years ago, solicitor Jodie Potts of Cambridge firm Taylor Vinters caught the running bug and signed up for the Paris Marathon. But when injuries sustained in a traumatic car crash forced her to pull out, Jodie lost confidence and felt that she had failed the challenge she had set herself. Thinking her injuries meant she would never be able to take part in another Marathon, Jodie quit running altogether.But Jodie’s outlook changed when Papworth Trust visited Taylor Vinters. Jodie said “Papworth Trust told us how donations can have an impact on the lives of disabled people. When I found out that they had just been given five places in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon, the idea of raising money for a great cause gave me the motivation I needed to try running again.”Jodie was offered one of the Trust’s Marathon places and has begun training. She said “Getting into training has been great and I’ve definitely rediscovered my love for running. Knowing that a charity is depending on me to do my best is making the cold and icy morning runs so much easier. I am thrilled that I’ll be running the Marathon in aid of Papworth Trust and I hope to complete the challenge that I set myself several years ago!”If you would like to sponsor Jodie, visit her JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Jodie-Potts.To register your interest in one of Papworth Trust’s 2012 London Marathon places, please call Mandy Barker on 01480 357200 or email [email protected] Papworth Trust:Leading disability charity Papworth trust helps over 17,000 people each year through a wide range of services covering Employment, Vocational rehabilitation, Housing, Personal Support and Learning for Life and Work. The charity has doubled in size in the last three years.The Trust also works with the Government, employers, service providers, and commissioners to promote disability equality and good practice.Notes for editors:If you would like to speak to the case study directly, please email [email protected] or call 01480 357263.For further information, please contact:Kerry Atkinson, E-Communications Executive, Papworth TrustT:01480 357263E: [email protected] AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis
Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Receive email alerts April 19, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 French premier asked to press for release of Tibetan monks who published newsletter to go further News On the eve of an official visit to China by the French prime minister, Reporters Without Borders has drawn his attention to the sentencing of five Tibetan monks, including Jampel Gyatso (photo), to “reeducation through work” for publishing a newsletter. June 2, 2021 Find out more ChinaAsia – Pacific ChinaAsia – Pacific Follow the news on China China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison On the eve of an official visit to China by French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Reporters Without Borders today reminded him of the serious press freedom violations there and urged him, in particular, to intercede for the release of five Tibetan monks recently sentenced to “reeducation through work” for publishing a newsletter.The implementation of economic and scientific partnership between France and China should not be allowed to eclipse the Beijing government’s repressive policies as regards free expression, the press freedom organization said in a letter to Raffarin.”We believe that France should, as part of its dialogue with the Chinese authorities, press for the release of prisoners of conscience or, at the very least, for an improvement in their prison conditions,” the letter said. Reporters Without Borders asked Raffarin, in particular, to press for the release of Tashi Gyaltsen, Lobsang Dhargay, Thoe Samden, Tsultrim Phelgay and Jampel Gyatso (photo) of Drakar Trezong monastery in Tibet, who were arrested on 16 January and were sentenced three weeks later to terms of two to three years of reeducation through work. They are serving their sentences in a Qinghai labour camp near Xining, in northwestern China.They were detained for publishing a newsletter containing poems and articles of a political nature. The Chinese authorities have been trying for decades to eliminate any sense of identity in the Tibetan population and have repeatedly cracked down on monasteries as cultural centres promoting ideas in favour of Tibetan autonomy. Monks have often been arrested in the past for publishing articles criticising the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Organisation Help by sharing this information April 27, 2021 Find out more RSF_en News News News China’s Cyber Censorship Figures March 12, 2021 Find out more
Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. HerbeautyInstall These Measures To Keep Your Household Safe From Covid19HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Special Beauty Tips That Make Indian Women So BeautifulHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThe Most Heartwarming Moments Between Father And DaughterHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty7 Most Startling Movie Moments We Didn’t Realize Were InsensitiveHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty6 Lies You Should Stop Telling Yourself Right NowHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty8 Easy Exotic Meals Anyone Can MakeHerbeautyHerbeauty Community News Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website Faith & Youth The Baha’is of Pasadena: Junior Youth Groups Published on Friday, May 25, 2012 | 4:28 pm Business News Top of the News One of the core activities offered by the Pasadena Bahaâ€™i community that is open to all is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program. This program aims to assist junior youth (ages 12-14) to take ownership of their spiritual and intellectual development, to help create a strong sense of purpose and volition so that these young people are enabled to make sounds decisions, and desire to engage in meaningful social action in their communities.â€œLet them come to realize the full significance of their efforts to help young people form a strong moral identity in their early adolescent years and empower them to contribute to the well-being of their communities.â€-The Universal House of Justice, 20 October 2008â€œThey assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.â€-The Universal House of Justice, RidvÃ¡n 2008â€œWhile global trends project an image of this age group as problematic, lost in the throes of tumultuous physical and emotional change, unresponsive and self-consumed, the BahÃ¡â€™Ã community â€“ in the language it employs and the approaches it adopts â€“ is moving decidedly in the opposite direction, seeing in junior youth instead altruism, an acute sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world.â€¦and the spread in influence of a programme that instils in junior youth the sense of a twofold moral purpose, to develop their inherent potentialities and to contribute to the transformation of societyâ€¦â€-The Universal House of Justice, RidvÃ¡n 2010Several junior youth groups are going strong in Pasadena area. If you are interested in learning more about such groups or in training to become a junior youth animator please contact us.Pasadena Bahai Community, 1117 Forest Avenue Pasadena, (626) 607-1844 or visit http://pasadenabahai.org/. faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Make a comment Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy More Cool Stuff Subscribe 9 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it First Heatwave Expected Next Week Community News
Local News House passes GROW Texas Fund bill Pinterest Pinterest By Odessa American – February 24, 2021 GROW Texas logo The Texas House of Representatives approved Reps. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, and Tom Craddrick, R-Midland, GROW Texas Fund bill.The bill, which would reinvest dollars for energy sector infrastructure and public safety, was approved Thursday by a vote of 121-13.GROW Texas Fund bill was part of House Joint Resolution 82. It created the Generate Recurring Oil Wealth for Texas (GROW Texas).The bill would bring state money generated by oil and gas production back to energy-producing areas throughout the state. The bill would direct state funds to improvements for roads, public safety and education.”The regions of Texas responsible for the state’s oil and gas production have experienced significant challenges that limit the growth of the energy sector and could pose a significant threat to the long-term success of the industry and the state,” Landgraf said in a statement. “It is in the best interest of Texas to protect this vital source of revenue for the state and ‘Grow Texas’ is a big step forward to address those challenges.” WhatsApp TAGS Facebook Previous articleDRILLING REPORT: May 16 through May 22Next articleTEXAS VIEW: Houston shouldn’t have so many bad air daysTHE POINT: Bad air doesn’t hover over one town; it blows across Texas. Odessa American WhatsApp Twitter Twitter Facebook
Share Save Print This Post Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Subscribe Although agency mortgage-backed securities liquidity has declined recently, it remains mostly where it was prior to the housing bubble; the current levels of agency MBS liquidity are likely to be in place for a while, since the factors driving the decline are unlikely to slow down in the foreseeable future, according to an analysis from the Urban Institute released Monday.In a white paper titled “Declining Agency MBS Liquidity Is Not All about Financial Regulation,” Karan Kaul and Laurie Goodman of the Urban Institute contend that tighter financial regulation and higher capital requirements are not the only reasons behind the recent decline in agency MBS liquidity.With approximately $5.7 trillion in securities outstanding as of the end of Q2 2015, according to data from Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, making it one of the most liquid fixed-income markets in the world (behind only the U.S. Treasury market), according to the Urban Institute. The majority of these agency mortgage-backed securities are issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, or another government agency. The market has “historically been very liquid because participants have been able to trade large volumes of securities relatively easily and quickly,” according to the authors.The average daily trading volume of agency RMBS is down substantially from the bubble period of 2008, when it was $350 million; even though it has fallen since the crisis, the average daily trading volume has still been about $190 million since the beginning of 2014. That number is close to the 2003-2004 pre-bubble average, according to the authors.Whether or not the trading volume is simply reverting to more sustainable levels or is a sign of a more serious problem has yet to be determined, according to the authors. Existing research and many reports in the press have asserted that more stringent regulation put in place post-crisis is responsible for the declining fixed-income liquidity.”The new regulatory safeguards have had their intended effect of reducing the amount of risk taken by financial firms. But to expect a reduction in risk without causing some impact on liquidity is trying to have it both ways.”Karan Kaul and Laurie Goodman”Specifically, higher capital requirements, conservative leverage ratios and curbs on proprietary trading under the Dodd-Frank Act have made it more expensive for large financial services institutions to take risks,” the authors wrote. “While that is certainly true, our view is there is more to declining agency MBS liquidity than just regulation.”Two high-level trends are in play as far as reasons for declining agency MBS liquidity beyond regulation: investor heterogeneity has been reduced by a major shift in MBS ownership from active traders to “buy and hold” investors, and with it, the “ability of markets to self-correct temporary price dislocations, resulting in more pronounced episodes of volatility”; and mortgage refinance volume has dropped steeply without an increase in purchase originations, which has resulted in a drop in agency MBS issuances, which has in turn led to a decline in trading volume, according to the authors.After-effects of the crisis are driving these trends, which leads the authors to the conclusion that the levels of agency RMBS liquidity are here to stay. First, the Fed’s ownership of outstanding agency RMBS is not likely to change until the Fed changes course, and no one knows when that will be (the Fed and commercial banks now own more than half of outstanding agency RMBS); second, it is “virtually certain that the GSEs won’t be allowed to run investment portfolios in any meaningful way, form, or scale moving forward”; and third, there is no concrete reason to believe that stringent regulations put in place after the crisis will ease up.”If excessive risk-taking led to an increase in liquidity previously, then it should be no surprise that a reduction in risk will cause liquidity to decline,” the authors wrote. “Part of this reduction in risk and liquidity is no doubt driven by tighter regulation, but it is also driven by an extraordinary shift in MBS ownership pattern as well as weak mortgage originations and issuance activity. The new regulatory safeguards have had their intended effect of reducing the amount of risk taken by financial firms. But to expect a reduction in risk without causing some impact on liquidity is trying to have it both ways.”Click here to read the entire white paper. Previous: House Postpones Vote on Proposal to Cap Salaries of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac CEOs Next: DSNews Webcast: Tuesday 11/3/2015 Home / Daily Dose / Current Levels of Agency MBS Liquidity Likely to Stay Put in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. November 2, 2015 1,108 Views Sign up for DS News Daily Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago About Author: Brian Honea Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Current Levels of Agency MBS Liquidity Likely to Stay Put Agency MBS Liquidity Mortgage-Backed Securities Urban Institute 2015-11-02 Brian Honea Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Tagged with: Agency MBS Liquidity Mortgage-Backed Securities Urban Institute Related Articles
Homepage BannerNews Pinterest Twitter WhatsApp Twitter By News Highland – October 15, 2020 DL Debate – 24/05/21 Google+ Facebook 763 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours, and four people have died.There have been an average of 913 cases a day over the past week.Over a quarter of all of the North’s cases have taken place in the past seven days.Its total number of cases stands at 23,878, and there have been 606 deaths. News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Pinterest Google+ Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Previous article“We are committed to cross border transport links” – CoveneyNext articleNews, Sport, Farming News and Obituaries on Thursday October 15th News Highland RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic 763 more Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland Facebook WhatsApp Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme
domnicky/iStockBy ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News(BATON ROUGE, La.) — The East Baton Rouge Metro Council in Louisiana voted on a $4.5 million settlement Wednesday for the family of Alton Sterling, a Black man shot and killed by police in 2016.The council voted 7-4 in favor of offering the settlement to Sterling’s family after they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Baton Rouge Police Department.On Wednesday, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome tweeted, “I am pleased our metro council was able to find a consensus and approve an offer of settlement in the Alton Sterling civil case. After nearly five years, the people of Baton Rouge are finally one step closer to getting much needed closure in this traumatic episode in our history.”The news comes after the governing council rejected a proposed $5 million settlement for the family in November 2020. At the time, the 12-member East Baton Rouge Metro Council fell one vote short of the seven needed for approval.“Now we must continue the work of building a more fair and equitable community, where every citizen is treated justly, no matter their race or ethnicity,” Broome added.The trial begins March 1.Sterling, 37, was shot and killed on July 5, 2016, after being confronted by two white police officers outside Baton Rouge’s Triple S Convenience Store following a 911 call about a man selling compact discs in front of the food mart.Officer Blane Salamoni, who fatally shot Sterling at the scene, was fired from the police department two years after the incident, in 2018.Sterling’s death prompted protests across the United States over police brutality, four years before George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other people of color were also killed by police.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
HFZ Capital Group Share via Shortlink Ziel Feldman (right), Nir Meir and the XI (Illustration by Zach Meyer)“What’s the latest?” read the text that popped up on Nir Meir’s phone one Thursday afternoon in July. “Running out of time.”The message to the HFZ Capital Group managing principal was from Adam Gibbons, an executive at CIM Group. The lender was awaiting an overdue payment on $90 million of mezzanine debt it holds on four prewar Manhattan apartment buildings HFZ is converting to condominiums. “On it,” Meir wrote back. “2 min.”Four hours later, a reference number popped up on Gibbons’ phone. It seemed the $2.3 million HFZ owed had been wired.But there was one issue: The reference number, according to CIM, was fake.ADVERTISEMENTThe lender informed HFZ it was in default.“Just saw the notices … not good,” Meir replied minutes later. “Please call me. Please call me.”The texts are now evidence in a legal battle as HFZ — the prolific developer Meir launched 15 years ago with co-founder and chair Ziel Feldman — fights CIM’s efforts to foreclose on the debt. A source close to Meir, who abruptly left HFZ in December, dismissed the allegation about the reference number as “frivolous and fake.”That dispute is just part of the reckoning that HFZ is facing across its multibillion-dollar portfolio after making a series of big bets right before the market turned.Many developers saddled with unsold units in a sluggish market are in a tight spot. HFZ, however, may be the first big Manhattan developer in the Covid era at risk of losing it all. Its investors and lenders have sued to collect more than $300 million, liens from contractors and vendors are piling up, and at the firm’s flagship project — the Bjarke Ingels–designed XI condo and hotel spanning a full city block along the High Line — sales are slow and construction has stalled. Feldman and his wife, Helene, are personally on the hook for many of the loans tied to these projects. A spokesperson for HFZ acknowledged the developer was facing challenges, adding, “It is how a company reacts and rebounds from adversity that defines its reputation.” As Feldman runs the company day to day in light of Meir’s exit, HFZ has hired outside advisers to help restructure its debt, the spokesperson added.To its defenders, HFZ is simply a victim of forces outside its control. And there’s a line of reasoning that with builders everywhere in the same boat, one of the market’s biggest players going under would be to no one’s benefit. “I’m not sure it’s great for anybody to have a big flameout like that, including the lenders,” said Thomas Kearns, a lawyer with Olshan Frome Wolosky. “I think there’s a lot of other distress going on that people are working on quietly, behind the scenes.”The eleventh hourConstruction should be buzzing at the XI, the pair of dancing towers in West Chelsea where HFZ hopes to sell more than $2 billion worth of condos.But by early December, work at the development site was suspended. The fate of one of the city’s most anticipated and scrutinized projects now hangs in the balance.HFZ paid Edison Properties about $870 million for the West Chelsea parcel at 518 West 18th Street in 2014. Back then, the luxury condo market was on fire, with projects like Macklowe Properties and CIM Group’s 432 Park Avenue and Rudin Management’s Greenwich Lane scoring big-ticket deals with foreign and domestic buyers. Still, HFZ’s acquisition, for an astonishing $1,100 per square foot, immediately drew skeptics.Feldman dismissed them. “What we believe we got is something that’s extraordinarily well priced for the total package,” he said in an interview with The Real Deal in 2015. Two years later, HFZ scored a $1.25 billion condo construction loan from the Children’s Investment Fund, a U.K.–based hedge fund with a reputation for high-interest financing. It was the one of the largest debt packages of the cycle.But now, with the principal on the loan coming due in a year and signs pointing to HFZ not being able to pay it, Children’s is looking for a developer to replace HFZ on the project, according to two people familiar with the matter. The lender has already held talks with at least one prominent New York developer about getting the project over the line, the people added. (The lender would need to file a foreclosure action or get HFZ to agree to work with another developer, according to a lawyer with experience in this area.) Children’s declined to comment. “The project currently has a number of challenges and needs to be recapitalized and restructured,” an HFZ spokesperson said. “Those efforts are ongoing.”Children’s could have plenty of reasons for wanting another developer. Filings with the state attorney general’s office show that as of April, just 38 units, or about 16 percent of the 236 condos, were in contract. Douglas Elliman, which handles sales at the project, has tried, unsuccessfully, to sell units in bulk at a discount. (Elliman is a subsidiary of Howard Lorber’s Vector Group, which through its investment arm New Valley has a stake in the XI.) The project was recently embroiled in a mob scandal in which members of the Gambino crime family allegedly bought off an HFZ executive so they could skim hundreds of thousands of dollars from it and other Manhattan projects. (Neither Feldman nor Meir was implicated; the executive pleaded not guilty, and the case is ongoing.) HFZ has also been accused of intermingling funds at the XI.In October, USIS, a technology systems installer, sued HFZ and the project’s general contractor, Omnibuild, claiming that it was owed $1.7 million on an $8 million bill for electrical work at the XI.According to USIS, Feldman and Meir intermingled the XI’s funds with their own in order to “hide behind [the] owner and manipulate its assets and liabilities to avoid responsibility” for paying the subcontractor. The project’s status as a limited liability company, USIS alleged, is a “fiction.” (The company dropped the suit two days later.)HFZ’s spokesperson said the firm would “address legal challenges in court filings through its able legal counsel, not in the press.”With Meir out, it will likely be Feldman leading the discussions with contractors and lenders. HFZ and Meir appear to have differing accounts of the breakup. A spokesperson for Meir put the exit down to “differences of opinion about the future direction of the business,” adding that Meir “remains committed to helping the company resolve outstanding issues surrounding its current projects.”A spokesperson for HFZ, meanwhile, said only that Meir “is no longer with HFZ nor authorized to act on its behalf in any capacity.”Yin and yangBefore HFZ — an acronym for Helene, Feldman and Ziel — there was PMG. Three of the most prolific condo developers in New York got their start together at Property Markets Group, which Feldman, a Queens-born former real estate lawyer, co-founded with banker Kevin Maloney in 1991. (Gary Barnett, an ex-diamond trader, joined a few years later.)From left: Craig Cogut, Helene Feldman, Zeil Feldman, Alicia Goldstein, Es Devlin, Nir Meir and Bjarke Ingels attend the opening of the XI Gallery in April 2018.“We had a little tiny office with no heat and Home Depot card tables for desks,” Maloney has said of that period. “We were just guys cobbling deals together, begging and borrowing to try to get deals closed.” The partners started with a pair of rental buildings on 64th Street near Central Park and spent the next decade-plus buying multifamily buildings.Meir, a former intern at now-defunct residential brokerage Prudential/MLBKaye, worked with them at PMG. After Barnett split from the group to focus on his own firm, Extell Development, and Maloney started to shift his attention to South Florida, Feldman and Meir broke off to launch HFZ in 2005. When HFZ bought the Belnord from Barnett in 2015 for $575 million, it was Feldman’s second bite into the fabled Upper West Side luxury rental building. He had been part of an investment group that had paid just $15 million for the property in 1994.This time around, Feldman hoped to convert the units into condos designed by Robert A.M. Stern and to sell them for $1.35 billion. HFZ scored a redevelopment loan from Westbrook Partners. In 2018, Westbrook converted that debt position into equity. By then, 95 of the 215 units were being converted to condos. Soon after, the partners landed a $300 million refinancing from Wells Fargo. At HFZ, Feldman and Meir had a good cop/bad cop dynamic, according to multiple people who know them. Feldman is soft-spoken and measured, and practices transcendental meditation. Meir has been described as aggressive — even by New York developer standards. Their roles played to those traits. Feldman spent more of his time on high-level talks and deals and was removed from the nitty-gritty aspects of development. According to an affidavit from HFZ’s lawsuit against CIM, Feldman said it was Meir who kept him informed about loan modification talks with CIM. He added that he “instructed Meir” to try to achieve a reasonable result.Sharks circlingIn November, HFZ sued CIM in a bid to stop foreclosure proceedings on the portfolio where CIM had provided about $90 million in mezzanine debt. HFZ had purchased the four-building parcel, totaling nearly 750 rental units, from Westbrook Partners in 2013 for $610 million. The plan was to convert the buildings — 88-90 Lexington, the Astor at 235 West 75th Street and 301 West 53rd Street — to condos. In December, a judge halted the foreclosure sale. CIM, which did not respond to a request for comment, can still go forward with another foreclosure sale if it meets certain conditions. HFZ is also sparring with Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group, which in October claimed in a lawsuit that the firm owes $157 million on loan payments tied to its Chatsworth project. HFZ is converting the century-old rental building at 344 West 72nd Street into family-sized luxury co-op units.Just as CIM alleged that Meir lied about sending payments, Starwood alleges the HFZ principal claimed to have sent two separate wire transfers to fund overdue payments that never materialized. HFZ declined to comment on those allegations. Starwood also declined to comment. Even in a hot sector, HFZ’s luck has gone cold. This month, HFZ lost a portfolio of 12 last-mile warehouse properties in a UCC foreclosure auction. HFZ’s lender, Chicago-based Monroe Capital, took control of HFZ’s stake in the portfolio, which spans more than 10 million square feet nationwide. Paradoxically, distress in the condo market could work in HFZ’s favor.Andy Gerringer, who runs new business development at the Marketing Directors, said lenders are not enthusiastic about having hulking, empty condos on their books, and many are actively working with distressed developers to find solutions. The pandemic has become a convenient excuse, he added, which is “keeping everybody in a standoff right now.”Road to redemption All New York developers worth their salt have at least one comeback in them. Depending on how you count, Harry Macklowe and Ian Bruce Eichner are on their third or fourth. And then there’s Donald Trump. Last downturn, it was HFZ that was swooping in to rescue troubled projects.In 2012, the company teamed with Related Companies and CIM to take control of One Madison Park, a 600-foot-tall, 53-unit condo project in the Flatiron District. The original developers, Marc Jacobs and Ira Shapiro, were buried by debt and lawsuits, and HFZ and its partners inherited a nearly complete but stalled tower. The deal paid off handsomely: In 2014, News Corporation chair Rupert Murdoch paid a whopping $57 million for a triplex penthouse. Feldman once bragged to TRD that he had the fortitude to move forward at a time of immense uncertainty.“I was one of the only ones buying in 2009 … when nobody else was buying and they were hunkering under their pillows wondering when the world was going to end,” he said, referring to an acquisition spree in the thick of the Great Recession. Now, it is HFZ in the crosshairs. The company has limited options for restructuring. A corporate bankruptcy would force it to open its books and disclose all of its business dealings and creditors. “You are subjecting your financial life to the scrutiny of all sorts of different things,” said Andrew Ittleman, an attorney at the Miami-based law firm Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph who focuses on white-collar crime and money laundering, commenting generally and not about HFZ. With allegations of intermingling of funds, HFZ might be reluctant to declare bankruptcy. Moreover, the Brazilian mining giant Vale alleges that Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz illegally stashed money in 13 HFZ projects. (HFZ has maintained it has “no involvement” with Steinmetz or his companies.)Bankruptcy could also force Feldman to relinquish control of the company. “If your principal lenders have lost confidence or trust in current management, it is not a place where current management wants to take the company and still try to retain control,” said Tom Lehman, an attorney with Miami-based LKLSG, speaking broadly about bankruptcy proceedings. HFZ has tried to keep a lid on certain information getting out. In two court cases, the company persuaded judges to seal documents, claiming they contained sensitive business information. At the XI, HFZ was mostly silent on sales activity, a common tactic among developers as they are not legally required to publish contract information. Still, word spread that deals were slow. And with construction stalled, it’s unclear when buyers will be able to move in. Ian Schrager, who partnered with HFZ on his Public Hotel and condo project on the Lower East Side at 215 Chrystie Street, said Feldman and Meir are just victims of the market and the pandemic.“Anybody who’s in the middle of developing something — particularly condominiums, which is a timing business in the best of circumstances — is just caught in that,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate that [Feldman] got caught in this perfect storm of the pandemic and being very long on condominium development.”“I wouldn’t bet against Ziel,” Schrager added. “He’s a smart guy.”Some still think the XI could come out the other side with no serious wounds. “I think people have short memories on this stuff,” said Kearns. “Particularly if it’s a spectacular location.”There appear to be two possible outcomes for Feldman: Suffer huge losses and take the reputational hit for biting off more than he could chew, or turn things around and emerge as one of real estate’s great survival stories.As it scrambles to stabilize its business, HFZ is desperately trying to stem expenses and cut deals with lenders. Last month, the company did a round of layoffs, with many of the cuts happening on the construction team and in the corporate office. And HFZ’s proverbial chickens may be coming home to roost.In October, Feldman sold his 22-room, chateau-style mansion in Englewood, New Jersey, after nine years on the market. The $7 million sale price was a far cry from the $20 million the 18,500-square-foot mansion was asking at one point, and didn’t even cover the $13 million Feldman reportedly spent to buy and overhaul the property. Last month, Feldman listed his personal triplex penthouse at the Marquand, an HFZ project on the Upper East Side, for $39 million. He also owns a palatial waterfront home in the Hamptons on Dune Road. Meir’s own Hamptons mansion is just five miles down the beach. Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags