Protect Your Retirement from the Artful Dodger: How to Avoid Financial Cons …

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Choosing afinancial advisor is one of the most important decisions an investor can make. Good judgement can make the difference between a retirement spent traveling around the world and anxious weeks between Social Security checks, so competence is a big must.

Not investing in is just one step,though. A good financial advisor also needs to be honest, because trusting your retirement plan to a crook can be nothing short of devastating.

Financial fraud is nothing new; from bogus IRS collection schemes to sweepstakes scams, financial scams costthe elderly alone nearly $36.5 billion per year. Most cons rely on a little bit of distance between predator and prey, though, generally with a volume approach to finding victims. As a result, people are inclined to trust someone they meet in person.

Loan market a mainstay amid China, Greece uncertainty

Twists and turns in the global macroeconomic landscape could turn out to have mixed results for Asian loan syndications, reckon market participants. One event that has captured the attention of bankers is how Asian bond market investors are going to react to the issue of Greece’s looming bankruptcy and its uncertain future in the eurozone.

“There is a lot of concern among my ECM and DCM colleagues but the loan market remains characteristically resilient and reliable,” said one senior loan syndicator based in Hong Kong.

“If something very big happens or the Greek situation deteriorates significantly, we could see bond and equity players look for other avenues for fundraising. There, if you have a stable and solid loan market, there could be a shift to it.”

There are no clear indications of such a shift yet but property company loans from China are trickling back into the market. For example, China and Hong Kong high-end property developer HKR International launched a HK$4.8bn loan into general on Monday. The company is paying an all-in of 146bp for commitments of HK$350m or over.

Chinese property developer Country Garden is also in the market for a $400m refinancing. A banker familiar with that situation said select companies in the Chinese property sector could take the syndicated loan route versus bonds as there would be a cost saving for them.

Better known property names also want to extend relationships with banks both onshore and offshore, which could be another motivation for going to the international syndicated loan market, he said.

Ying Li International Real Estate, for instance, tapped both the onshore and offshore syndicated loans market at one go with a $135m deal that was signed on June 17.

The transaction consisted of a Rmb460m onshore tranche and a S$80m offshore tranche, both of which were 30-month term loans.

Separately, the huge swings in China’s onshore stocks are also making some bankers nervous.

“It’s not so much that the markets are down but the huge fluctuations that are giving me a headache,” said a second loans syndication banker. He said this was because those indices that had gained 150% have now receded about 30%, meaning markets were still up by 70%-80%.

“One company we lend to, I will not name, was down 12% yesterday and up 15% today. What do you make of that? All your credit assumptions appear shaky.”

However, several bankers indicated their eagerness to see more activity out of Greater China, volatility notwithstanding. Others said the effect of these movements was likely to be minimal.

“This will have some effect on brokers’ stocks but there will be support by the government so we are not that concerned about it,” said a leveraged finance banker.

  • By Shruti Chaturvedi
  • 09 Jul 2015

Hundreds of retired DC employees face financial ruin over decades-old …

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – A retired DC firefighter and Army veteran has found himself on the brink of financial collapse for a mistake that wasnt his fault. For the past two decades the Treasury Department miscalculated his retirement and now hes the one being held accountable.

Imagine getting a letter in the mail saying you owe the feds nearly $27,000 because of an accounting error made decades ago that you knew nothing about. Thats exactly what happened to hundreds of retired DC employees. And if something isnt done soon their lives coud to drastically change.

For Charles Beale, of Fort Washington, nothing is more important than his seven children and 18 grandchildren.

“My wife and I, we are the pillars of our family, remarked Beale.

But the financial stability of that pillar is being threatened. Two months ago, this retired DC fire fighter received a letter from the US Treasury saying an administrative error had been discovered. For the past 20 years, the retirement annuity he built his familys life around was wrong.

I almost fell out of my chair,” exclaimed Beale.

The letter informed Beale his annuity would be adjusted down. And, the 68-year-old would have to pay back the overpayment of $26,558.

This is almost forcing families to fail,” Beale stated. It was not my fault. I had no knowledge of it.

The I-Team has learned this administrative error affects 570 retired DC fire fighters, police officers and teachers – some, with overpayments of $60,000. The mistake was made when the employees retired, which in Beales case was in 1995.

“For them to be held responsible for that all these years later – its absurd. Ed Smith, the president of the DC Fire Fighters Association, has stepped in, but options are limited.

7 On Your Side reached out to the US Treasury Department for an explanation. We were told retirees can appeal the overpayment, which Beale has done. Now, he waits – with his familys financial future resting in the hands of someone inside a government building.

“They have the authority to wave the back money. And they should,” added Smith.

On August 1, if nothing changes, Beale must begin repaying that money – at $670 a month for three years. Combined with his already adjusted annuity and his family is out $800 a month.

If I fail, everything below me fails,” said Beale. Its much bigger than $800 a month. And it would be devastating in the pillar crumbling.

Some states have statues of limitations for this type of government accounting error. The US Treasury does not.

Either way, Beale, who spent 27 years as a fire fighter, said he doesnt mind refunding the money, as long as he can pay it back the way he got it, at $100 a month for 20 years.