The husband and wife behind Zaggora used social media to build a hot activewear brand

May 21, 2013 7:08 pm

A start-up that is fit for purpose

By James Pickford

©Charlie Bibby

Image matters: when deciding who should be the public face of the company, Malcolm and Dessislava Bell calculated that a female entrepreneur would generate more publicity

It was while road-testing the 21st prototype of her brainchild in the gym that Dessislava Bell realised she had made a breakthrough. “I lost a couple of inches off my waist in two weeks,” she says. Mrs Bell had alighted on an idea that, at first glance, holds little consumer appeal: skin-tight women’s exercise shorts designed to retain so much body heat that the wearer breaks into profuse, free-flowing sweat. Prompted by the effect of heat on physical performance and the fashion for high-sweat Bikram yoga, she spent months researching heat-inducing fabrics and design on the internet. The buying public appears to have reacted with anything but distaste to the calorie-burning “HotPants” produced by Zaggora, the London-based company founded by Mrs Bell, a 28-year-old former investment banker at JPMorganChase, and her husband Malcolm, an ex-investment manager. Read more of this post

Accounting graduates face job market squeeze. And the notion of an accounting degree as a safe bet is under threat.

Accounting graduates face job market squeeze



‘The supply of accounting education providers has increased – the market will become saturated and it will become difficult to get jobs,’ says Professor Raymond da Silva Rosa Photo: Bohdan Warchomij


The trend towards offshoring low-level finance jobs and the fragmentation of financial services are affecting the job outcomes of accounting graduates. Confidential data being circulated among academics shows 25 per cent to 40 per cent of accounting graduates from the nation’s top universities haven’t secured work in the sector within a year of graduating. The market for accounting roles is becoming saturated. And the notion of an accounting degree as a safe bet is under threat. Read more of this post

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Bill Dudley Says He Can’t Be Sure If Next QE Move Is ‘Up or Down’

Dudley Says He Can’t Be Sure If Next QE Move Is ‘Up or Down’

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley said he has not decided whether the Fed’s next move should be to enlarge or shrink its bond buying program as he called for a fresh look at its eventual retreat from record asset purchases.

“Because the outlook is uncertain, I cannot be sure which way — up or down — the next change will be,” Dudley said in a speech today in New York.

Dudley adds his voice to a debate on the Federal Open Market Committee about what to do with its program of bond purchases, designed to lower the 7.5 percent unemployment rate. While many Fed officials have voiced support for shrinking purchases as the next step, Dudley, who is also vice chairman of the FOMC, signaled willingness to increase purchases. Read more of this post

Gold ETF Sellers Facing Tax Surprises at 28% Gains Rate

Gold ETF Sellers Facing Tax Surprises at 28% Gains Rate

Investors who dumped shares in gold exchange-traded funds amid the biggest selloff in the metal in four years may be in for a shock: capital-gains taxes are higher than for stocks and bonds.

Profits from investments in ETFs that back their shares with physical holdings of precious metals face taxes as high as 28 percent for investments held at least a year. That’s the rate the U.S. Internal Revenue Service applies to items it considers “collectibles,” such as coins, art, silver and gold. Long-term gains from stocks and bonds, including equity and fixed-income ETFs, are taxed at a maximum 20 percent.

“There are some tax surprises out there lurking for them when they go to sell,” Tim Steffen, director of financial planning at wealth-management firm Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee, said of gold exchange-traded product investors. Read more of this post

Gold’s Fall Stings University Endowment, saddling the second-largest U.S. college endowment with more than $300 million in paper losse

May 21, 2013, 5:22 p.m. ET

Gold U. Takes It on the Chin

Hit Is $300 Million at Endowment for Texas Schools, Which Invests in the Metal



Gold’s slump has saddled the second-largest U.S. college endowment with more than $300 million in paper losses. But the swoon hasn’t shaken the faith of Bruce Zimmerman, who since 2007 has been chief executive of University of Texas Investment Management Co.

“We always prefer that our assets go up, rather than down, but we’re not day traders,” said Mr. Zimmerman, whose company invests $29.5 billion for the benefit of the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems. “Gold is a hedge, and it still fills that role.” Lately, investors have been dumping gold anew, citing limp inflation, a raging stock market and a reduced need for a safe-harbor investment. Gold prices fell Tuesday, their eighth decline in the past nine sessions. Few investors have suffered from the recent tumble like Utimco, which ranks behind only Harvard Management Co. in terms of assets in the university-endowment world. The organization holds about $1.1 billion of gold-related investments, down from about $1.4 billion before gold began heading south last October. Read more of this post

Hai Di Lao, a successful Chinese hot pot restaurant chain featuring waiters who swing 10-foot-long noodles around tables, tries to make the jump to the U.S.

May 21, 2013, 6:49 p.m. ET

Chinese Hot Pot Chain Hai Di Lao Makes Move to U.S.



A Hai Di Lao employee, near right, performs a ‘noodle dance’ at a table of diners at a Beijing branch of the restaurant.

If P.T. Barnum had ever opened a restaurant, it might look a lot like Hai Di Lao, the popular chain of 75 Chinese eateries planning its first foray into the U.S. market this fall. Talk about a three-ring circus: Diners pass the time in the waiting area with Internet terminals, board games and kids’ toys. They can nibble on unlimited free snacks. Or kick back for a shoeshine, manicure or hand massage. In the dining room, patrons wearing full-size aprons provided by the restaurant lean together over the boiling caldrons embedded in each table, dropping morsels of uncooked meat, fish, vegetables or tofu in a spicy steaming broth, then dipping them in flavorful sauces. On special holidays, magicians in colorful, traditional masks perform tricks. Patrons order using iPads. Periodically, a server breaks into the restaurant’s signature Olympic-style “noodle dance.”

Such showmanship, along with service, has set Hai Di Lao apart in China’s burgeoning restaurant landscape and has distinguished it from competitors that also sell hot pot, the traditional communal cuisine that originated in Mongolia centuries ago. Spicy versions emerged from the southwestern city of Chongqing and expanded in neighboring Sichuan province and then across China. Hot pot is particularly popular with groups of young people and families. The act of pulling food from the caldron lends to the chain’s name, which in Mandarin means “fishing in the bottom of the sea.” Read more of this post

Hidden Bad Loans in Chinese Banks Raising Ponzi Risk

Hidden Bad Loans Raising Ponzi Risk

05-21 17:19 Caijing

Interest arbitrage practices, which constitute a self-loop within the financial sector, are likely to weaken the links between finance and the real economy and negatively impact the real economy.

By staff reporters Wang Peicheng, Dong Yuxiao, and You Xi

Official statistics show that the banking industry in China had 526.5 billion yuan worth of non-performing loans and a bad loan ratio of 0.96 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2013, which represents a 0.01 percent increase in the bad loan ratio since the end of 2012. However, the ratio is still below general expectations, given the slow and zigzagging growth in the real economy.

The real condition is far more serious than that reflected on financial reports, as are the potential risks in certain areas. “There is no point trying to gauge the actual risks facing the domestic banking industry with the bad loan ratio,” said an official at the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC). Read more of this post

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