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SummaryBy linking monetary policy to CPI inflation, we are starting on a shaky note as interest rates have little bearing on most components. It could just mean that we are chasing a crooked, never-ending shadow

In a unanimous opinion issued on August 22nd, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC Circuit) vacated an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) upholding the assessment of a monetary penalty against the Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA), a federal Power Marketing Administration (PMA) under the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy (DOE). In reviewing Section 215 which instituted the current electric reliability paradigm, the DC Circuit found that in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 Congress had not unequivocally waived the Federal Governments sovereign immunity to allow for the assessment of monetary penalties.

The case arose out of a penalty assessed by NERC for violations of reliability provisions by SWPA. With the acceptance of the Notice of Penalty by FERC, SWPA along with the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior objected to assessment of the monetary penalty asserting that although the Federal Agencies were subject to the reliability standards, Congress did not intend for the Federal Agencies to be liable for monetary penalties. Several groups of PMA customers also contested the penalty expressing concerns with the potential pass through of the costs associated with the penalties. In upholding the assessment of the penalty, FERC disagreed with the Federal Agencies, asserting that Section 215 is imbued with the sufficient authority to assess a monetary penalty against the Federal Agencies.

Before the DC Circuit, FERC asserted that Section 215(e)(1) should be read in concert with Section 215(b)(1) to illustrate a waiver of the Federal Governments sovereign immunity. Citing precedent setting forth the canons of construction to determine whether the Federal Governments sovereign immunity had been waived, the DC Circuit explained that the expression of a waiver must be unequivocal. Further, as explained in the opinion, if there is a plausible explanation that illustrates why sovereign immunity was not waived, a reviewing Court must presume that Congress did not intend to waive an agencys sovereign immunity. With ambiguity in Section 215 on the question of whether Congress intended for the Federal Government to pay monetary fines, the DC Circuit concluded that Section 215 does not authorize the assessment of monetary penalties against SWPA.

While this ruling applied to the assessment of a monetary penalty against SWPA, it may be read as to prohibit the assessment of monetary penalties against the other PMAs or the Federal agencies with responsibilities under NERC reliability standards. It remains clear, however, that the Federal agencies will still remain subject to the reliability standards as the opinion only addressed the question of whether monetary penalties could be assessed.

Click to access opinion.

Why No Credit Trumps Bad Credit When Opening a Checking Account

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  • By Christina Lavingia
  • August 22, 2014

A checking account is one of the first tools of finance most individuals start managing in order to build some credit and qualify for low loan rates. However, unlike obtaining a credit card or a loan, a checking account allows you to directly manage your money, as youre responsible for depositing, withdrawing and maintaining your finances through it.

Instead of using borrowed money with a credit card or loan, checking account funds are accessed with a debit card that spends money you already have on deposit. A checking account gives you easy access to your cash, along with checks and usually online banking access to track your balance.

So, since youre dealing with money youve already earned and not a loan, why does your credit score come into play?

No Credit, No Problem. Bad Credit, Big Problem.

Checking accounts are generally one of the first accounts individuals use for financial management and credit building because, technically, you dont need a credit history to open one. However, if you want to open a checking account and you do have credit, it better be good credit.

Depending on the financial establishment and your previous relationship with it, some banks wont let you open a checking account if you have bad credit.

There are certain stipulations to checking accounts that banks hold their customers responsible for. Some banks require consumers to maintain a minimum balance in their checking accounts and all require the ability to budget and monitor their balances to prevent overdrafts.

Banks need to know that youre reliable before they will trust you with a checking account. Luckily for those with no credit history, managing a checking account requires minimal financial savvy and can help you develop necessary habits to be financially responsible when you obtain a loan or use a credit card.

Maintaining a minimum balance, depositing and tracking your expenses through a checking account can get you into the process of keeping track of your finances, and even help you adhere to a budget. Maintaining a checking account cant really improve your credit score, however poor management of a checking account can affect it negatively.

However, when youre checking your credit, you want to be aware of the difference between a hard and soft credit check, as too many hard credit checks can result in a further reduction to your credit score.

Credit Score Flagged Through ChexSystems

If you have poor credit, your past activity will be reported to something called ChexSystems. The report is able to flag down your financial institution and warn it about your problems maintaining checking accounts or credit cards in the past.

If you are listed in this database, you will remain there for up to five years, during which time you might have difficulties opening a checking account. To prevent this from happening, remember to always keep your balance positive and keep an eye on your credit score.

There are a number of different resources online that advertise the availability of checking accounts without a credit check. These claims might be legitimate, but they all seek to accomplish this by avoiding the ChexSystems report.

If your credit score is flagged and you need a way to improve your credit score, applying for a secured credit card could do the trick. Although you might have been denied for a credit card in the past, secured credit cards are designed to help users establish and boost their credit scores. These cards normally come with a lower limit thats based on a security deposit you invest into an account.

Similar to credit cards, banks reduce your credit score when theyre not paid back on time. This includes overdrawing your account and not replenishing the funds before the bank shuts down your card or account, writing bad checks or instances of fraud.

To parents with a freshman entering college this fall: Youre probably expecting to shell out major bucks for tuition, room and board and a million other necessities over the next few years. But before you send your kid off, make sure you share one gift likely to steer him or her along the road to financial security a sound understanding of how credit works.

You probably learned the hard way yourself that young adults encounter many unfamiliar expenses and temptations upon entering college or the workforce. So its important to help your kids avoid early financial missteps that could damage their credit for years to come.

The first step in managing personal finances is mastering the basic checking account and debit card. A few tips you can pass along:

Look for a bank or credit union that charges no monthly usage fee, requires no minimum balance and has conveniently located ATMs so you dont rack up foreign ATM charges.

Enter all transactions in a check register or in a budgeting tool like Mint.com and review your account online at least weekly to verify when deposits, checks, purchases and automatic payments have cleared.

Avoid writing checks or making debit card transactions unless your current balance will cover them such transactions often clear instantly.

A good way to build sound credit is to demonstrate responsible credit card use. But people under age 21 must have a parent or other responsible adult cosign credit card accounts unless they can prove sufficient income to repay the debt. So how can parents help their kids begin building a credit history if they cant open their own account? A couple of alternatives:

Make them an authorized user on one of your accounts. Theyll get their own card and you can usually restrict the amount theyre able to charge. Authorized users are not legally responsible to pay balances owed thats your responsibility, so tread carefully.

You can add them as a joint account holder to a new or existing account preferably, one with a small credit limit. Joint account holders are equally liable to pay off the account.

Just remember, any account activity, good or bad, goes on both your credit reports, so careful account monitoring is critical.

If your kids havent yet demonstrated financial maturity they may not be ready for an unsecured credit card or loan. Other alternatives include:

A secured credit card, where users can charge up to the amount deposited to open the account. Purchases are charged against the accounts revolving credit limit. As they pay off the balance the available credit rises, just like a regular credit card. After a period of on-time payments, ask the lender to convert it to an unsecured card, or to at least add an unsecured amount to the account.

The multi-millionaire, born and raised in Perth, was able to retire at 27 off the back of his investments and now runs his own property investment company, Infinite Wealth.

But the purchase that started it all was a simple established home in Balga, which he bought at 22 for $140,000 and rented out for $120 a week.

Over the next five years, the young investor purchased another 12 properties across Perth by leveraging the equity in one home to buy the next.

The properties bought ranged from Balga to East Canngington, to Secret Harbour and East Perth.

Fifteen years later, he has now expanded his investments into multiple businesses, shares, managed investments and superannuation, in Australia and internationally.

His portfolio is currently worth tens of millions of dollars.

Looking back, Mr Guest said there were a few things he would have done differently with the first few investments, but felt his best move was getting into the market.

Lots of people get caught up in the details; it needs to be the right price, right location, Mr Guest said.

They fail to see the risk of not doing anything.

Last year, for example, the Perth market had growth of 9.7 per cent.

If you had waited on a property, that same property would be $50,000 more. Thats 1000 bucks a week.

Mr Guest said his strategy had changed slightly he used to buy mostly older homes on big blocks, but now mostly buys house-and-land packages but the basics remained true.

He has never lived in a house that hes owned.

I always rent, Mr Guest said. Its far more financially beneficial to rent than buy.

Rent is usually less than what you would be putting away on a mortgage.

A $1000 a month difference could allow you to put money to one or two more properties.

His first property was bought with a deposit of $7000, accumulated over a year of saving.

The saving strategy he used putting money aside for himself first, before bills were paid or anything was bought is another one of the key points he now passes onto others.

Unlike those fortunate few who are seemingly born knowing about finance and investment, Mr Guest said he was probably worse than average before seeking advice.

I like to think I was average but I was probably worse than average, he said.

I had a fair bit of personal debt about $40,000 before investing in property. It didnt come naturally.

My dad gave me the best advice Ive ever had.

He said, only listen to the people who are where you want to be.

TIM GUESTS INVESTMENT TIPS

1. Know where you want to get to.

Plan out what your life is going to look like and work out how much you will need each year as a passive income to have that lifestyle.

2. Know what you need

Based on your financial goals, you need to determine what you will need to accumulate as a net investment asset base to produce the passive income that is required to reach your financial goals.

I like to work conservatively on 5 per cent per annum. As an example, for every $50,000 you need as a passive income in retirement, you will need to accumulate $1 million in net investment assets to produce this.

3. Know where you are starting from

Know your weekly budget (cashflow), know what appreciating assets you have, know what your liabilities are and how much tax you are paying each year.

4. Pay yourself first

Now that you know where you are starting from, you need to start allocating some portion of your take-home pay to building your wealth.

This will be the fuel to drive your investment engine. This should come out first before any of your expenses.

5. Know what to do with your money

Know where the best place is to put your money so that you can follow your plan.

High-interest savings accounts and mortgage-offset accounts are often the best, as these allow you to redraw the money you have saved and invest while receiving the safest and best performance.

6. Reduce your personal debt

This is selfexplanatory when it comes to car loans, personal loans and credit cards.

The point that most people miss is that it also applies to your mortgage.

Most people dont realise that unless you have a significant deposit or have paid down a large amount of your mortgage, renting and turning your house into an investment property is far more financially beneficial.

7. Plan ahead to reduce your tax

Most people do their tax after its all happened. Have a good accountant who is familiar with your plan and plan ahead to take advantage of the best tax minimisation strategies.

8. Its not what you invest in, its how

Every truly wealthy person invests in multiple asset classes and multiple strategies.

Diversification is the key to smart investing.

9. Its just as important to protect your wealth as it is to build it

In all investing there is risk. The key to successful investing is increasing your asset base while reducing the risk.

Make sure you have all the right protection in place, from finance firewalls to life and disability insurance, income protection, and building and landlords insurance.

Earlier this week, the newly appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank, John Mangudya, quietly released his first monetary policy statement.

The lengthy document touched on many issues including the functions of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) under the multi-currency system, an unorthodox monetary regime under which specified foreign currencies are officially accepted as legal tender.

RBZs role was spelt out as being the banker to the government, regulator of financial institutions, manager of exchange control and lender of last resort.

What was conspicuously vague in the statement is how exactly the central bank will directly influence the price and quantity of money in the economy.

Since the classic definition of monetary policy refers to the actions of a central bank to influence interest rates and money supply, effectively the RBZ said little about monetary policy. One cannot fault the central bank for this anomaly.

It is an expected consequence of using other countries currencies. In a normal setup, the central banks ability to implement monetary policy rests on the fact that it is the issuer of the money in the first place.

Since for now the RBZ has given up this role by adopting a multi-currency regime which relies on other countries currencies, it is hamstrung from acting in the usual way.

Normally, a central bank would buy or sell short-term government bonds, thus increasing, or decreasing, money available to the banking system and the wider economy.

Birmingham, West Midlands — (TechSonian) — 08/28/2014 –National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) together with its subsidiaries, offers diversified financial services primarily in Greece. The company is involved in retail and commercial banking, investment management, investment banking, insurance, investment activities, and securities trading activities. It offers demand deposits, savings deposits, and time deposits, and current accounts; investment products; consumer loans, personal loans, mortgage loans, automobile loans, overdraft facilities, and foreign currency loans, as well as letters of credit and guarantees; credit cards; currency swaps and options; and ATMs.

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) declined -1.68% and closed at $ 3.52 in the last trading session with the total traded volume of 550.00 shares. That’s more than the average volume of 3.62 million. It has outstanding shares of 2.40 billion with the total market cap of $ 12.72 billion and its year-to-date (YTD) performance remained in bullish zone as reported the decline of -38.35%.

Has NBG Found The Bottom and Ready To Move Up? Find Out Here

Penn West Petroleum Ltd (USA) (NYSE:PWE) an exploration and production company, acquires, explores, develops, exploits, and holds interests in petroleum and natural gas properties and related assets in western Canada. Its properties are located in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories, Canada; and Wyoming, the United States. The company was formerly known as Penn West Energy Trust and changed its name to Penn West Petroleum Ltd. in January 2011. Penn West Petroleum Ltd. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

Penn West Petroleum Ltd (USA) (NYSE:PWE) gained 4.48% to close at $ 7.70 and its overall volume in the last trading session was 4.13 million shares, beating the average volume of 2.50 million. The share price scored the day-high of $ 7.86 and day low of $ 7.53. The stock is trading with downward year-to-date (YTD) performance of -8%. The company has total market cap of $ 3.64 billion.

For How Long PWE Gloss will Attract Investors? Find out via this report

Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) declared that it will present at the Goldman Sachs 21st Annual Global Retailing Conference in New York City on Wednesday, September 3, 2014, at around 8:05 am Eastern Daylight Time.

Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) went up 1.80% and closed at $ 5.10 with the total traded volume of 4.07 million shares. Its opening price was $ 7.00 and its shares traded within the range of $ 5.00-$ 5.10. The company now has market cap of about $ 2.69 billion. The stock has year-to-date (YTD) performance of -2.49%.

Why Should Investors Buy ODP After the Recent Fall? Just Go Here and Find Out

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE:KMP) operates as a pipeline transportation and energy storage company in North America. Its Products Pipelines segment delivers gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and natural gas liquids to various markets through approximately 8,600 miles of refined petroleum products pipelines; and operates 62 associated product terminals and petroleum pipeline transmix processing facilities.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE:KMP) plunged -0.38% with the closing price of $ 95.41. The overall volume in the last trading session was 4.010 million shares. Its fifty two week range was $ 71.32-$ 99.42. The total market capitalization remained $ 44.22 billion. Its last 5 day performance was -3.53%. In its share capital, the company has 325.11 million outstanding shares.

Why Should Investors Buy KMP After the Recent Fall? Just Go Here and Find Out

* Months of calm in markets may be about to end

* Expected monetary policy shifts to create volatility

* Investors bet on further weakness in the euro

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Months of dead calm in financial
markets that have crushed trading volumes and hit bank profits
may be drawing to a close as currency investors gear up for
volatility triggered by monetary policy shifts in major
economies.

Occasional convulsions due to war and other political risks
notwithstanding, the volatility on which traders thrive and make
money has all but evaporated this year.

Bond yields have fallen steadily, stocks have traded near
multi-year highs all year and, in the $5-trillion-a-day foreign
exchange market, the most active currencies have been stuck in
tight ranges.

But that may be about to change.

The dollars rise to a 13-month high against a basket of
currencies has driven the euro to a near one-year low, prompting
some investors to seek protection against future swings in the
currency pair. Investors who have long predicted a strengthening
dollar wonder whether it may finally be happening.

The new trend reflects the fact that the US Federal
Reserve is edging towards higher interest rates while the
European Central Bank (ECB) is set to loosen policy.

ECB chief Mario Draghi last week flagged the chances of more
action, triggering speculation that the bank is veering towards
asset purchases, or quantitative easing, to ward off the threat
of deflation. In these circumstances, analysts say, the euro and
the dollar could see sharp moves.

The abnormal low volatility regime that we saw this summer
is coming to an end. The divergence of monetary policy between
the Fed and the ECB is behind this, but for a move higher, the
catalyst we probably need is a sharp rise in short-term US
rates, said Peter Kinsella, currency strategist at Commerzbank.

The dollar index hit a high this week, gaining
momentum after Fed minutes showed policymakers debating whether
rates should be raised earlier or not.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged those concerns last week,
while stressing the need to move cautiously on raising rates. As
a result, yields on two-year Treasuries rose more
than 8 basis points, their biggest weekly gain since June last
year.

Reflecting some of that anxiety, one-month implied future
volatility for euro/dollar hit 5.8 percent on
Wednesday, its highest since early June and up from near record
lows of around 4.2 percent struck early in August.

One-month implied volatility for dollar/yen
has also risen to around 6 percent, from around 4.4 percent,
also a record low, struck in late July.

Most participants have become overly comfortable with the
low interest rate environment and (they) should now revisit
their risk management strategies, said Illimar Mattus, CFO at
Armada Markets, a currency and precious metals trading firm.

Changes in the interest rate outlook, and ultimately the
rise of interest rates, should bring an end to the
low-volatility environment and introduce higher risk to the
market.

BEARISH EURO BETS

With short-term interest rate differentials
moving in the dollars favour, the euro hit a near
one-year low of $1.31525 on Wednesday while the yen
languished near seven-month lows.

But the euros losses, of 1.5 percent this month, have
garnered more attention. Investors are looking to bet on further
weakness by buying put options to sell the euro at lower levels.

Traders said there had been steady demand for euro puts, or
options betting on more weakness in the single currency against
the dollar. Options betting the euro will drop to $1.31 on Sept.
5 – the day after the ECBs next policy decision and on which
US jobs data is released – have been put in place, they said.

Investors are awaiting euro zone inflation data on Friday.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect annual price increases to have
slowed to 0.3 percent in August from 0.4 percent in July. That
would be well below the ECBs declared danger zone of 1 percent
and its target of just under 2 percent.

Kinsella said euro/dollar risk reversals, a
gauge of demand for options betting on a currency rising or
falling, are likely to show more bias for dollar strength in
coming weeks as the euros weakness gathers pace.

The market certainly feels nervous of further volatility in
the euro from here, and it feels like some demand may be
switching back for euro puts again, said an options trader at a
North American bank.

(Editing by Susan Fenton)

Before there was uberX and Lyft, there were hackers.

These men, usually elderly and African-American, provided a similar service to carless customers leaving urban core stores.

They would charge customers who were carrying loads of groceries a small fee for a ride home.

Like Lyft and uberX, they capitalized on a need for transportation cheaper than a cab but more efficient than the bus.

That’s why it’s been worrisome to see the recent attempts by Jacksonville City Council members Stephen Joost and Robin Lumb to toughen regulations against the driver services.

POWERED BY DIGITAL AGE

Lyft and uberX allow people to download an app to their smartphones and click on it.

A driver using his personal vehicle will arrive to pick them up and take them directly to their destination.

The fee is paid through the app via credit card.

According to the Times-Union, city parking division chief Jack Shad recently told council members that the companies were operating illegally because they weren’t following city regulations, such as requiring their drivers to have a valid for-hire permit issued by the city and allowing city inspections.

They’ve been ordered to cease-and-desist even as the companies have asked to work with the city to craft regulations that account for new technology.

Joost and Lumb said they want penalties harsher than $500 per violation.

I get that Joost and Lumb want to make sure that people are safe when they choose a mode of transportation.

That’s a valid concern.

But Jacksonville has too big of a transportation problem for anyone to make it even harder for riders to have more efficient choices.

And for some people in Northwest Jacksonville who need to reach better-paying jobs south of the St. Johns River, uberX and Lyft could be a viable option.

While one-way bus fare is $1.50, buses can be delayed by stops and people can miss them, so many employers don’t count the bus as being reliable.

And that’s why many people forced to depend on buses don’t get hired.

MORE CONVENIENCE

An uberX fare, however, can be split among passengers, and can make the ride more affordable.

While many working poor can’t afford computers or cars, many own mobile phones as a 2012 Pew Center study found.

Many are also able to find secured credit cards and other cards.

So for some, uberX or Lyft may be a better option.

The websites of both companies, by the way, show that they operate throughout the city.

The cab and limousine owners are right to be concerned about losing business.

And Joost and Lumb are right to be concerned about safety and whether Uber and Lyft are playing by the rules.

But we now live in an age of innovation, one in which technology and new ideas will continue to make life cheaper and more convenient for people.

Lyft and uberX, like the food trucks, are part of this innovative age.

Like the hackers, these companies — which operate in cities throughout the nation — have tapped into an unmet need.

City Council should find a solution that recognizes that need.

It should not do something that could hurt the very constituents it’s trying to protect.

Website for the Pew report: tinyurl.com/mt7e2ww.

? Email: tonyaaweathersbee@yahoo.com

? Twitter:@tonyaajw

? Like her at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee

? Visit her at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com

Two members of the Bank of Englands Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to raise interest rates in August, the first time in three years that policymakers have done so.

The minutes of the meeting on 6-7 August show Ian McCafferty and Martin Weale voted for a 0.25% rise to 0.75%.

It means the nine-member MPC voted 7-2 to hold interest rates at their historic low of 0.5%.

The pound jumped in expectation that rates may rise sooner than expected.

Sterling rose 0.20% against the US dollar to $1.66.

If follows official data on Tuesday which showed inflation fell to 1.6% in July.

It is the first time there has been a split on the MPC since July 2011. Interest rates have been unchanged since March 2009.

The minutes came a week after the Bank of England published its quarterly inflation report in which it halved its forecast for average wage growth, saying it now expects average salaries to rise by 1.25% this year.

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