Bloomberg Lacks National Awareness, Finds New Poll

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Fluent’s Political Pulse Study breaks down how former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg would fare in the general election against Democratic and Republican contenders

Following reports that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is mulling an Independent presidential run, a new survey from Fluent, LLC, an IDI company, an industry leader in people-based digital marketing and customer acquisition, reveals that while Bloomberg lacks national awareness, he could be a serious contender in the general election if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not receive their respective parties’ nominations.

Fielded to over 6,500 American adults (aged 18-65+), Fluent’s survey found only 35.3% of respondents had heard of Bloomberg. However, when Fluent polled the 1,400+ American adults who had heard of Bloomberg, asking who they would support in various general election matchups that did not feature Clinton and Trump, his poll numbers were competitive.

For example, when Bloomberg was pitted against Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, Bloomberg finished as a close second to Sanders with 20.7% of the vote. Sanders led the way with 22.7% of the support while Cruz came in last with 18.5%. Bloomberg fared similarly in his matchup against Sanders and Marco Rubio, also finishing as a close second to Sanders. However, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were present in the matchups, Bloomberg did not fare as well.

When pitted against Trump and Clinton, respondents put Bloomberg in last behind both candidates by a significant margin. Hillary Clinton led the way with 35.7% of the vote. Donald Trump finished a close second with 32.9% of the vote, with Bloomberg in last at 13.7%.

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Washington First Bankshares, Inc. Reports 32% Growth and Record Earnings for 2015

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WashingtonFirst Bankshares, Inc, announced that its consolidated earnings of $3.5 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015, a 38.6 percent increase over the $2.6 million in net income for the three months ended December 31, 2014, and a 12.2 percent increase over the $3.1 million in net income for the prior quarter ended September 30, 2015. Results for the 4th quarter of 2015 included the full impact of the recently-acquired 1st Portfolio mortgage banking and wealth advisory services, as well as growth in our core commercial banking activities.

Shaza L. Andersen, President and CEO of the Company said, “2015 was an exceptional year for WashingtonFirst. Our team successfully executed on our business plan. The company grew to a record $1.7 billion in total assets with $1.3 billion in total loans held for investment and $1.3 billion in total deposits. Asset quality remains strong. In mid-2015, we acted upon our long-term vision to expand and diversify our revenue streams with the successful completion of the acquisition of 1st Portfolio Holding Corporation. We now have leading mortgage banking and wealth platforms as part of our core franchise. Under the leadership of Michael J. Rebibo, we have exceptional talent in our new subsidiary business units. Throughout all of this, we have continued to grow our presence and relationships in the community and are excited about our expansion into Old Town Alexandria, VA, and Potomac, MD, in early 2016. I believe our solid 2015 results and additional capital have set the stage for continued franchise growth and strong financial performance. We continue to share our success with the Company’s stockholders by declaring our 9th consecutive quarterly cash dividend and increasing our quarterly dividend to $0.06 per share.”

For the three months ended December 31, 2015, net income per basic and diluted common share was $0.33 and $0.32, respectively, compared to $0.31 per basic common share and $0.30 per diluted common share for the same period in 2014. Comparatively, net income per basic and diluted common share was $0.31 and $0.31, respectively, for the three months ended September 30, 2015.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2015, the Company reported unaudited consolidated net income available to common shareholders of $12.2 million compared to $9.3 million for the same period in 2014, an increase of 31.5 percent. The growth in earnings is primarily the result of continued organic growth and the impact of the acquisition of 1st Portfolio Holding Corporation on July 31, 2015. Earnings for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015 were impacted by $0.4 million in acquisition expenses net of deductible tax benefit in connection with the acquisition of 1st Portfolio.

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Smarter Use of Digital Skills and Technology Could Greatly Boost Economy

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Optimizing the use of digital skills and technologies could generate $2 trillion of additional global economic output by 2020, according to a new study by Accenture. The study also reveals the vast role digital plays in economic activity, with more than one-fifth of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) attributed to some form of digital skills, capital and goods and services.

The Accenture Strategy report, Digital Disruption: the Growth Multiplier, provides a new and comprehensive measure of the scale of the digital economy in 11 major countries. It estimates the value added to GDP by hardware, software and related technologies and by workers who need these digital assets to do their jobs. It also calculates the value of intermediate digital goods and services used in production.

A little more than one-fifth (22 percent) of world output is linked to this digital economy of skills and capital. The U.S. is the world’s most digital economy, with existing digital investments accounting for 33 percent of its output. Forty-three percent of the U.S. labor force and 26 percent of its accumulated capital are capable of supporting digital-related activity. The digital economy in other markets varies from more than 30 percent in the UK and Australia to 10 percent in China.

“Businesses and governments are turning to digital to secure faster growth amid an uncertain global economic outlook, but the size of the digital economy is no guarantee of growth,” said Mark Knickrehm, group chief executive, Accenture Strategy. “Organizations need to act aggressively in shifting the focus of their digital talent and technology from making efficiencies to creating entirely new business models. That requires not just greater digital investments, but broader organizational and cultural transformation in order to yield the greatest returns.”

The report states that in order to generate higher rates of growth, companies will need to improve their Accenture Strategy Digital Density score, which tracks the extent to which digital penetrates a country’s businesses and economy. This includes digital skills and technology, as well as broader enabling factors such as the ease of access to finance and the openness of a country’s regulatory environment.

For example, a 10 point increase in the overall digital density of the U.S. economy would result in a $368 billion uplift to 2020 GDP, 1.8 percent higher than current forecasts. But Accenture Strategy calculates that an optimal combination of improvements to digital skills, capital and other accelerators could lift U.S. GDP by an even greater $421 billion by 2020, representing a 2.1 percent boost. The countries with the greatest opportunity for improving their overall digital performance are Brazil (6.6 percent), Italy, (4.2 percent), China (3.7 percent) and Japan (3.3 percent).

The study shows how each national economy could best prioritize its extra efforts to achieve the greatest boost to revenues and economic output. For example, 70 percent of Brazil’s extra digital efforts should be focused on the improved application of technology, such as cloud and analytics, whereas greater efforts in digital skills would generate less of an economic return. In the U.S., however, just 10 percent of extra digital efforts need to be injected into technology, while a greater return will be gained from boosting digital skills and broader enabling factors.

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Industry Leading Accounting Consultancy Services

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A national consulting firm providing advice and assistance to clients through valuation, financial opinion, dispute and forensic advisory services, GBQ Consulting is made up of dedicated experts in their respective areas. We caught up with David Bookbinder and received his insights into how the firm has reached its current heights.

While the firm has changed dramatically over the years, we have retained our focus on the individual associates. Personalized career development plans mean that associates are motivated to do a great job and to take care of our clients.

“Entrepreneurial spirit, independent expertise” is more than just a marketing tagline at GBQ – it’s in our DNA. We encourage people all across the firm (not just at the highest management levels) to think and act as entrepreneurs. The firm wants people to bring forward new ideas about client service, personal development, new service offerings and other growth and improvement initiatives.

While others only think about the “project,” GBQ brings a vast network of experts in other fields and we make that available to our clients. We help client’s resolve challenges that impact their day-to-day operations by connecting them to resources that are skilled in those particular areas. Yes, we are valuation experts, but our clients and referral sources that recommend us think of us as more than that – they think of us as partners and problem solvers.

Client service is paramount. The trusted advisors that introduce us to opportunities know that we always offer our best advice to their clients whether or not we end up doing business together. It’s about doing the right things for the right reasons – all the time. By always putting the client’s needs first, great service is a natural outcome.

We serve corporations, law firms, private equity firms, CPA firms, insurance companies, Boards of Directors, ESOP fiduciaries, financial services entities, and government organizations. With offices in Ohio, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania, we work with both privately-held and publicly traded companies across all industries and geographies.

The most prevalent trends in our industry over the past 12 months include the evolution of certain valuation and accounting treatment of matters pertaining to privately held companies; the impact of the Jobs Act on liquidity; and the increased complexities around performance- based compensation metrics associated with transactions. To keep up to date on these trends the firm puts great importance on the continued training whether we are providing the speaker or in attending a training session.

From leadership roles and speaking engagements with all the national players in the industry, GBQ’s team is at the forefront of any changes or developments in the industry. We take continuing education seriously, in addition to the fact that our staff includes accredited members of the

Certified Financial Analyst Institute (CFA), the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (CVA), the Institute of Business Appraisers (CBA), and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA/ABV).

Contact Details

Company: GBQ Consulting LLC

Name: David Bookbinder

Email: [email protected]

Web Address: www.gbqconsulting.com

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Global Cloud IAM Market Set to Post a CAGR of Nearly 25% by 2020

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The global cloud identity and access management (IAM) market is set to reach over USD 3 billion by the end of 2020, growing at a tremendous CAGR of close to 25%, according to Technavio’s latest report.

In this report, Technavio covers the market outlook and growth prospects of the global cloud IAM market for 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from the sales of IAM solutions hosted on both private, public, and hybrid cloud deployed as software as a service (SaaS).

As per Technavio’s market analysis, North America is the most prominent revenue-contributing region in the cloud IAM market. In 2015, the region accounted for a market share of close to 45%, followed by Europe, APAC, Latin America, and MEA.

The availability of adequate IT and business infrastructure and the presence of many global financial institutions and large companies are some of the major factors contributing to the growth of the market in North America.

“However, the market share of North America is likely to decline by the end of 2020 due to market saturation. End-users adopted cloud IAM solutions quickly in the early stages of its introduction in the region, which will lead to its decline over the next few years,” says Amrita Choudhury, senior industry analyst from Technavio’s IT security research team.

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Record-Breaking Year for M&A in 2015

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Year-end results from Willis Towers Watson’s Quarterly Deal Performance Monitor show that acquirers closing deals in 2015 outperformed their index by 10.1 percentage points (pp) over the year.

In addition, completed M&A deals that meet the study criteria reached an all-time high of 1,041, as a record number (304) were posted in the fourth quarter, more than in any single quarter since the research began in 2008.

The research — run in partnership with Cass Business School — shows the number of completed megadeals over $10 billion reached 22 for the year (with five completing in the fourth quarter), the highest annual total since the research began.

“2015 was a standout year,” said Mary Cianni, M&A global lead, Willis Towers Watson. “We have not only seen an outstanding number of the very largest deals completing, but the M&A market has also shown strength in depth with the numbers passing the 1,000-deals-in-a-year mark for the first time.”

The research also highlights that acquirers in all sectors outperformed their indices in 2015, with materials (25 pp), industrials (18 pp), high technology (14 pp) and health care (9 pp) well above their respective 2014 performances of 6 pp, 8 pp, 9 pp and 7 pp. From a regional perspective, North America continues to lead the table on volume of deals completed with 133, followed by Asia Pacific with 114 and Europe with 53.

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Apartment Industry Emphasizes the Vital Importance of Balanced Housing Policy

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Prior to President Obama’s State of the Union address, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) released a statement emphasizing the importance of a balanced housing policy.

“We appreciate President Obama’s commitment to growing the economy by addressing many of the vital issues that directly impact our $1.3 trillion industry and the 38 million Americans who call an apartment home. A strong housing sector requires balanced rental and homeownership housing policy. Currently, rental demand nationwide exceeds supply and key research has found that this demand is fueled by powerful demographic and household formation trends.

“There are a number of reforms that can be undertaken at the federal level to respond to this historic rental housing demand. They include streamlining federal housing programs, addressing tax and housing finance reform in a way that recognizes the unique characteristics of apartment homes and removing costly burdens imposed by several federal regulations. All of these steps would make it easier for our members to increase supply and operate rental housing.

“In addition, working to support housing affordability through increased federal and state collaborations can go a long way in growing the apartment supply and strengthening local communities. Finally, getting immigration reform right and ensuring a strong labor supply is fundamental to the development and rehabilitation of apartment homes.

“Ultimately, our industry must build at least 300,000 to 400,000 new apartment homes each year just to keep up with demand. Accomplishing this will require removing barriers to development and redevelopment at the federal, state and local levels.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administration, HUD and Congress on these and other critical issues.”

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Microsoft Sued in Class Action Alleging Discrimination

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Attorneys Adam T Klein of Outten & Golden LLP and Kelly M Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announce that a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Washington alleges that Microsoft has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against its female professional employees.

Tandel Systems, founded in 2001, is headquartered in Oldsmar, Florida, with more than 215 employees operating in offices in the United States. The company provides technical services and support to customers in the aerospace and defense sectors. Belcan is owned by AE Industrial Partners, LLC (“AE Industrial”), a private equity investor in aerospace, power generation and specialty industrial companies.

“Tandel Systems brings class-leading products and services to Belcan, through its automated test equipment design, development and support for Fortune ‘500’ clients,” said Lance Kwasniewski, Chief Executive Officer of Belcan. “Tandel’s advanced avionics and software development processes extends our end-to-end ability to support our clients from concept to aftermarket test and support. In addition, the company has a demonstrated ability to deliver firm, fixed-price contracts at high quality, integrating hardware and software.”

“Belcan has long been known to us as a leader in the aerospace and defense industries,” said Mike Varga, Chief Executive Officer, Tandel Systems. “We are enthusiastic about the new horizons open to us and our customers, now that we are part of Belcan’s extensive global network.”

“The Tandel engineering solutions, technical services and test systems complement Belcan’s array of consultancy and staffing solutions,” said David H. Rowe, Managing Partner of AE Industrial. “Together, both companies have a number of new and exciting growth and expansion opportunities.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP served as financial advisor to Belcan and AE Industrial Partners.

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Belcan to Acquire Tandel Systems

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Belcan, LLC (“Belcan”), a global supplier of engineering consultancy services and technical staffing solutions, announced that it has acquired Tandel Systems, Inc. (“Tandel”). Terms of the transaction – which closed – were not disclosed.

Tandel Systems, founded in 2001, is headquartered in Oldsmar, Florida, with more than 215 employees operating in offices in the United States. The company provides technical services and support to customers in the aerospace and defense sectors. Belcan is owned by AE Industrial Partners, LLC (“AE Industrial”), a private equity investor in aerospace, power generation and specialty industrial companies.

“Tandel Systems brings class-leading products and services to Belcan, through its automated test equipment design, development and support for Fortune ‘500’ clients,” said Lance Kwasniewski, Chief Executive Officer of Belcan. “Tandel’s advanced avionics and software development processes extends our end-to-end ability to support our clients from concept to aftermarket test and support. In addition, the company has a demonstrated ability to deliver firm, fixed-price contracts at high quality, integrating hardware and software.”

“Belcan has long been known to us as a leader in the aerospace and defense industries,” said Mike Varga, Chief Executive Officer, Tandel Systems. “We are enthusiastic about the new horizons open to us and our customers, now that we are part of Belcan’s extensive global network.”

“The Tandel engineering solutions, technical services and test systems complement Belcan’s array of consultancy and staffing solutions,” said David H. Rowe, Managing Partner of AE Industrial. “Together, both companies have a number of new and exciting growth and expansion opportunities.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP served as financial advisor to Belcan and AE Industrial Partners.

 

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US GTUB Strong Advisory Won’t Offset Weak Debt Trading

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US global trading and universal banks’ (GTUBs) advisory fees will reach record numbers for 2015, but the contribution will not be enough to overcome declines in fixed income, currencies and commodities trading (FICC) and debt/equity underwriting, says Fitch Ratings.

Overall, across the five US GTUBs, Fitch sees full-year 2015 capital markets revenue holding roughly steady, at best, barely beating 2014’s full-year mark of $102.0 billion.

Advisory fees, mostly generated by merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, collectively represent less than one-tenth of the overall capital markets revenue pie across the aggregate businesses of Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Trading and investment banking underwriting revenues represent the remaining 90% of these firms’ capital markets businesses. The pressures on some of these other segments, particularly FICC, still outweigh the fees generated from the recent spate of M&A.

M&A grew for the fourth straight year in 2015, eclipsing the prior peak year of 2007. More than $4.7 trillion in deals were announced in 2015, with $1.5 trillion of M&A deals announced in the fourth quarter alone, according to Dealogic. The strength of M&A had already lifted advisory revenues by 31% through the first nine months of 2015 to about $7.4 billion across the five US GTUBs.

Advisory services’ contribution to overall investment banking (debt/equity underwriting and advisory) represented about 38% of investment banking revenues among the five US GTUBs in third-quarter 2015, up from 29% in third-quarter 2014.

Looking ahead, Fitch believes that M&A activity is unlikely to meaningfully alter the overall capital markets revenues, even as the FICC remains challenged. M&A is episodic, volatile and subject to market valuation cycles. If banks hope to further boost advisory business, they are limited by dependencies on CEO/board confidence in deal execution and valuations, as well as the availability of financing.

Declines in FICC, as well as the downturn in debt/equity underwriting over the last months of 2015, will offset M&A fees, generally resulting in flat capital markets business revenues for full-year 2015. FICC revenues already declined 10% to $35.7 billion through the first nine months of 2015 among the five US GTUBs. The seasonal drop off in fourth-quarter FICC revenue may not be as severe as the 35% sequential drop in the fourth quarter of 2014. Bank of America and Citi indicated in December that their expectations were for single-digit improvements in FICC in fourth quarter on a year-over-year basis.

Debt and equity underwriting fees were also down 8.9% through the first nine months of 2015, with equity underwriting especially weaker (down 15.3%) due to higher equity market volatility, which caused several deals to be delayed.

Equity trading should be a positive in year-end reporting. Through the first nine months of 2015, equity trading revenue was up 18.9% to nearly $23.0 billion. Fourth quarter’s results should also be good. Equity trading comprised 28% of overall capital markets revenue through the first nine months of 2015, versus just 9% ($7.4 billion) for advisory.

The above article originally appeared as a post on the Fitch Wire credit market commentary page. The original article can be accessed at www.fitchratings.com. All opinions expressed are those of Fitch Ratings.

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