Capital Matters: A Washington D.C. Education & Workforce Chief Leads A New Charge on Behalf of Workers – and Has a Message for Canada & the World


Canada, meet the new boss in town.

In the U.S. capital of Washington D.C., a new woman now helms one of the most important agencies in the country designed to educate, train and assist workers.

Her name: Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes.

This week, Morris-Hughes began her new position as the Interim Director of The Washington D.C. Department of Employment Services, or DOES. It’s a post that calls for a hefty role: since she operates as State Labor Commissioner. It’s a post that calls for hefty financial management skills: because the agency is responsible for all things workforce-related, it, along with the U.S. government, administers an estimated $150 million budget of federal, local and specific-purpose funds. Throw in another $80 million budget for capital projects. And it’s a post that calls for a leader who drives innovation, promises disruption and demands excellence.

On all fronts, Morris-Hughes is happy to lead the charge.

In her new role, Morris-Hughes vows to give everything from workforce development to grants management an upgrade. These “upgrades” would impact workers from a wide range of ages and experiences, from every part of the city. And her goals extend beyond Washington D.C.’s borders. For any organization in Canada or elsewhere looking to invest, looking to partner, or looking for a new place to plant corporate roots, Morris-Hughes wants them to know: the District is home to a highly-accomplished base of talent due to a thriving, knowledge-based economy. Simply put, Washington D.C. has an embarrassment of professional riches that the rest of the world should continue to notice, engage and benefit from. The welcoming to the city of companies like Uber and Yelp — both of which are helping to usher in workforce-related change — underscores Morris-Hughes’ point.

For those not already apart of Washington D.C.’s talent base, Morris-Hughes is re-tooling existing programs and creating new ones designed to help level the playing field in terms of advantages, education and opportunity.  At DOES, she has led massive turnaround efforts designed to better administer programs for youth — efforts that have become examples for other U.S. states. At Washington D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education, she wore many hats: leading the agency through a federal corrective action plan and ultimately helping Washington D.C. reverse a “high risk” status for grant oversight, operation management and fiscal reporting; and leading management functions to support the agency’s mission, including a $270 million education grant portfolio and $600 million in student-per-pupil funding. She’s also expanded the talent base by taking on numerous teaching assignments, even on the college graduate level.

Helping those who need it — and those at risk — is a steady determination for Morris-Hughes. It’s borne of her theory that positive change and success come with the integration of educational training and economic responsibility. Now, with her new appointment and ambitious plans, her theory will receive a fresh test.

The Link Between Public Sector Reforms and a Thriving Private Sector

Creating and sustaining a public sector that is transparent, inclusive and accountable is the ultimate goal of government reform initiatives, both in developing nations and world powers. One area where this is particularly important, but where a fine line must be walked, is with the private sector.

There’s a push/pull force at work on this front.

Regulatory reform that touches the business sector must, on the one hand, be responsive and do the job of facilitating the interests and needs of the business community. Too much regulation – or regulations that are too onerous – will effectively make it harder to do business. That may stifle business spending, investment, employment and economic growth in total.

But those interests must be balanced against the public good. Regulations that may serve the financial interests of a particular sector but compromise the quality of life of a nation’s people – think air and water pollution, for example – will not measure up to world standards.

That balancing act has made business-oriented policies and regulations an ongoing focus of reform projects, and not just in developing countries. There are lessons to be learned on this front that are critical to any forward-thinking government. The World Bank has funded various such initiatives through the years. Three of the case studies it outlines in its Doing Business 2018 and 2017 reports provide helpful food for thought.

Information transparency at business registries

New regulations on the transparency of business information reflect growing concerns over how some take advantage of obscure company ownership structures to move money illicitly around the world. Allowing disclosure of beneficial business ownership (those who receive equity benefits even if they’re not legal owners), for example, makes it easier to identify suspected money launderers and potential sources of terrorist financing. Furthermore, greater transparency strengthens public confidence in businesses and institutions, helps to better manage financial exposure and makes for more stable markets, the report found.

Facilitating access to business credit

Modern secured transaction laws are being increasingly adopted by developing countries. It’s one way to help make the business environment more secure for smaller companies. Collateral-related reforms are key to the process. Expanding the scope of what small and mid-sized businesses can use as collateral also expands their access to finance. One reform approach is to establish a collateral registry for all sorts of movable assets – digitally-based, accessible to the public and searchable. Ghana opened the first such registry in Africa, where $1.3 billion was issued in financing for small businesses and $12 billion for businesses overall.

Reforming insolvency laws

When a viable business is in financial stress, if procedures for restructuring and reorganization aren’t efficient, the price can be steep – loss of the business itself, its contribution to the economy (like employment and taxes) and losses that creditors can’t recoup. A strengthened framework for insolvency policies, studies have shown, can result in reduced cost and level of credit and lower interest rates on large loans. One example is France, whose 2005 insolvency reforms featured a new restructuring tool – a “safeguard procedure.” This allowed struggling firms to apply for court protection while they negotiated a restructuring plan with creditors. This was refined in 2008 and again in 2011, eventually resulting in business survival in three out of four cases initiated.


RRSP.ORG Registered Retirement Savings Plan

Registered Retirement Savings Plan – RRSP.ORG the original website that best describes everything you wanted to know about Canadian registered plans and schemes has taken a turn for the best. The information and knowledge base on RRSP.ORG is more than ready for change and a complete overhaul.

MONEY.CA the leading Canadian money and personal finance website has acquired the aging website for all the right reasons. RRSP is just one of many keyword subject sites that most of Canada wants and needs. For over 20 years this small and meaningful site providing news and information in the world of Registered plans for Canadians has now been taken over by people who know and care dearly about the subject matter and the benefits and advantages it brings to Canadian’s, the government and the country as a whole.

Look forward to the changes and updates as Canadian financial consumers will learn how to make, save and preserve more of their hard earned wealth. The advisor channel is more than welcome to contribute news, information, stories and articles that make sense and pays dividends to the average Canadian.

How To Identify Counterfeit Money

Counterfeiting operations are a major source of problems for governments throughout the world. In the United States, the government is continually working to make the process of counterfeiting money more difficult by using different papers and printing techniques. Although it is impossible to make bills that are completely counterfeit-proof, it is possible to make it harder for counterfeiters to succeed.


Learning To Identify Counterfeit Money


If you primarily use cash to pay for your purchases, it is important to learn how to identify counterfeit money. If you receive counterfeit bills from a store or bank, you may have difficulty spending them at a later date or exchanging them for real bills. At the very least, you will have to take the counterfeit money to a bank and fill out a detailed report so that investigators can try to learn more about where the counterfeit money originated.


Oftentimes, cashiers at stores don’t pay enough attention to the money that they handle. As a result, counterfeit bills can easily pass through their hands and into the hands of other customers. That is why it is so important to keep your eyes open any time you get change back from a store and always examine the material of your bills.


Key Differences Between Counterfeit Money And Real Money


When trying to identify counterfeit money, there are a few key differences that you should look for that can help you spot a fake.


Check The Watermark


Today’s bills have a special watermark that shows up when you hold them up to the light. The watermark should look like a slightly smaller copy of the larger image that is printed on the bill itself.


Look For A Security Thread


Real money has a security thread that has been embedded in the paper itself. You should be able to see this thread when you hold the money up to the light. If you look closely, you can even see tiny text on the thread identifying what type of bill it is. For instance, if you are examining a $10 bill, you should see a security thread that has tiny letters on it reading “US TEN”. $100 bills are even more complex. The security thread on these bills has a special 3-D feature that causes the text to change when viewed from different angles. From one angle, it will show the number 100. From another angle, you should be able to see the Liberty Bell.


Sharp Edges


A close examination of the print quality should show that the image has crisp, sharp edges without any bleeding.


The Way The Money Feels


Although the physical feel of the money is a bit subjective, real currency feels quite a bit different than currency that has been printed on standard paper. You can’t buy the paper that is used to create real money. Additionally, the ink sits on top of the surface of the paper after the printing process is complete. This creates a very slight texture that you can feel with your fingertips, helping to prove that the bill is authentic.


The images on money are quite complex, with a lot of detail. When you look closely at the printing, every part of the image should be crisp and clear. If the image looks a little bit blurry or if it doesn’t have the sharpness that you would expect, it could be a counterfeit bill.


Check For Colored Fibers


Today’s bills include blue and red fibers that have been incorporated into the paper itself. Because this is so difficult for counterfeiters to replicate, they often don’t even bother trying to include these fibers in their bills. If they do make an effort, they may print small dots in red or blue colors to try to give the same appearance.


Ink That Changes Colors


Interestingly, the ink that is used to print today’s money changes colors slightly when you view it from different angles. Tilting the bill in your hand should cause the color of the ink to change. In the past, this color shift changed from black to green. Today’s bills, however, change from green to copper.


Comparing Bills Side-By-Side


Spotting fake bills is easier when you have a real bill to compare them to. When you get cash back at the store, compare it to a real bill that you already have in your wallet. The bills should look and feel identical without any major variations. Of course, one bill may be slightly more worn than the other. All in all, however, they should be the same.


Identifying Fake $100 Bills


Recently, the $100 bill was updated by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This bill, which is the most commonly used type of US currency in other parts of the world, was put into circulation in February 2011. This was the first time the $100 bill had been updated since the previous version was released in 1996. Other bill denominations also underwent updates at approximately the same time.


Something interesting that you may not have known is that nearly 2/3 of the $100 bills that are currently in circulation are located in other parts of the world besides the United States. Because of that, it is a popular target for international counterfeiters. Within the US, however, most counterfeiters focus on reproducing the $20 bill.


Extra Security Features In Today’s $100 Bills


Today’s $100 bills are incredibly advanced and incorporate a number of high-end security features that are designed to make them more difficult to counterfeit. Some of the features include the following:


  1. A security ribbon with a 3-D effect. Look for a blue ribbon that runs across the bill vertically. This ribbon has a 3-D image on it that shifts between the number 100 and an image of the Liberty Bell, depending on which way the bill is tilted. You should be able to see this image change when you move the bill back and forth.


Color Changing Ink. If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of the bill, there is an inkwell with a Liberty Bell embedded inside of it. When you look at the bill straight on, both the bell and the inkwell look copper. When you move the bill to the side, however, the Liberty Bell shifts to a green color while the inkwell stays copper. The overall effect makes it appear like the bell is fading away.


Other $100 Bill Security Features


* A watermark image of the portrait on the bill that can be seen when it is held up to the light.


* A security thread that runs across the bill on the left-hand side of the portrait. This extra security thread is in addition to the 3-D security thread, which can be found on the right-hand side of the portrait. The thread on the left glows with a pink color when exposed to UV light.


* Color shifting ink in the bottom corner of the bill on the right-hand side. This ink shifts from green to copper and displays the number 100. It is much the same as the ink that can be seen on the Liberty Bell that is located in the inkwell.


* A large number 100 printed on the back of the bill. This is intended to help people who have visual difficulties more easily identify the bills.


* Areas of micro-printing located throughout the bill. These tiny printed details are extremely difficult for forgers to replicate.


* The printing on the new $100 bill uses a special intaglio printing method that creates printing that is raised up off of the surface. As a result, you can feel the texture of the printed image when you touch the bill.

PPP’s role and challenges in public services reform in post-conflict economies

There’s a lot of ongoing talk in business, government and academic circles about public private partnerships (PPPs). They have a role to play in public sector reform. They’re the best way to undertake major infrastructure projects on time and on budget. And why can’t the tech innovations that are transforming businesses be brought to the public side to improve government services?

It’s the developed countries that have leveraged these deals most extensively. The World Bank, for example, notes that the U.K. has the most projects, 648, while Korea has 567 and Australia, 127. The institution further notes that the market is growing “in absolute terms…(with) the growth cycles of PPP investments…influenced by five big economies – Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Turkey – that have increased their market share over time.”

Traditionally, PPPs have tended to be projects intended to see through significant infrastructure projects. Singapore, for example, has used them successfully for desalination and water management projects. A PPP has been behind the upgrades to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Philippines, a project that has won much acclaim and is on track to finish in the middle of this year.

But many see PPPs as evolving and as even the best way we can successfully manage some of society’s most pressing issues. In one interview, former World Bank CFO Bertrand Badre said that multi-stakeholder partnerships are the only way to come to grips with the global challenges of sustainable development.

From my perspective, PPPs are just as critical to helping less developed and post-conflict countries rebuild their public sectors. But while the need is great, so are the challenges.

Post-conflict countries can become trapped in cycles of economic regression and further conflict. That results in overextended governments that have established patterns of suppressing the private sector. That’s not the stuff of successful public/private partnerships.

Overcoming those barriers takes rebuilding on a number of fronts, but starting with stronger policy making. This is essential if emerging economies are to learn to broaden their perspectives and borrow best practices from more advanced nations of the world.

My work in this area with the governments of Liberia and Sudan led to a greater understanding and appreciation for the importance of the private sector, particularly the innovators and entrepreneurs, to a struggling country’s long-term survival.

It was, we found, an education process. Government jobs alone cannot grow an economy or create wealth. It takes businesses of all sorts to create an environment that stimulates economic growth – and there should be a mutual interest in nurturing it.

Ultimately, the environment must be stable and one where long-term private sector investments will make sense. Stronger policies help, but they need to be accompanied by a concerted effort to tackle corruption and a willingness to share the risks. In fact, some governments have actually gotten political risk insurance. In the Ivory Coast, such coverage led one PPP to finance construction of an important toll bridge after a decade-long delay.

Public Private Partnerships matter. Post conflict and emerging economies will need them to support their reform agendas as this century advances. It’s time we move from talk to action.

The Mortgage Broker

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Ed Rempel Org

What is The Cash Flow Dam?

What Is The Cash Dam and How Does It Work?

 The Cash Dam (sometimes referred to as a “cash flow dam”) is a simple but powerful concept, and it’s an especially attractive option for those who are familiar with the Smith Manoeuvre or other tax minimization strategies. Cash Dam can help you with tax optimization if you have a mortgage and own either a small business or a rental property.

What is cash damming?

 The Cash Dam allows the owner of a small business or rental property to more quickly pay down their non-deductible mortgage on their home. It’s a variation on the Smith Manoeuvre, but without additional investing. The Cash Dam is essentially an expedient way to change bad debt into good debt.

For someone who’s using the Cash Dam, what it involves is using a line of credit to pay for business expenses. Then, while using the increased business cash flow, you pay down a non-deductible mortgage or loan. This, in turn, produces an increasing tax-deductible business loan, while paying down a non-deductible mortgage or loan. Be advised that the Cash Dam as described above will only work for those who own a non-incorporated personal or partnership-based small business or a rental property.


 If you own a small non-incorporated business that has $2,000 in expenses each month and you also have a readvanceable mortgage, then the $2,000 per month expense would be paid by the home equity line of credit (HELOC). You then use the additional $2,000 you have in your business expense account to make a payment on your non-deductible mortgage. Interest paid on money that’s borrowed for business expenses is tax-deductible; by using the Cash Dam, you’ll be left with a tax-deductible business loan and a non-deductible mortgage that’s been quickly paid down.

One of the keys to the Cash Dam, however, is capitalizing the interest on the business line of credit. That way, you avoid using any of your own cash flow and you keep the business line of credit tax-deductible.

How does the Cash Dam differ from the Smith Manoeuvre?

The Cash Dam relies on using a tax-deductible business loan to allow you to pay down a non-deductible debt, while the Smith Manoeuvre allows you to buy investments. Investing from your credit line is why the Smith Manoeuvre has much higher risk and return than the Cash Dam.

Potential applications

 Say that you’re a rental investor, instead of using your own cash flow to pay for rental-related expenses, you can use the Cash Dam and a line of credit. In this instance, using the Cash Dam would help you pay for your personal mortgage and help you satisfy your tax obligations as well.

And if you are a small business owner, the Cash Dam can be extremely advantageous. The strategy gives you a way to quickly pay down your non-deductible mortgage and convert that debt into a tax-deductible business loan.

Ed Rempel Org

Ed Rempel – Not Sold on ETF’s and Index Funds

Why I Won’t Own an Index Fund or ETF

 Skilled Fund Managers

Many investors are skeptical that there exist fund managers who have skill and who can beat the index over the long-term. Other investors believe that there are fund managers who have skill, but that it’s impossible to identify them ahead of time.

There are skilled fund managers that can be identified ahead of time. I know quite a few of them. You just have to look using the right criteria.

Identifying Skill

When looking at funds, many investors take an objective approach and study recent returns, look at ratings or statistics, or try to forecast which sectors will perform well.

Other kinds of skill evaluations are more subjective and rely on insider judgments, e.g., doctors assessing other doctors, or even actors judging performances of their peers.

The evaluation of a fund manager falls somewhere in between those two approaches, the objective and the subjective. I believe that, to find the best fund managers, you have to study them, not the fund.

Start by finding fund managers that have beaten their index over their career or long periods of time. This could be in more than one fund. They do not need to beat the index every year – just over time. Then study them to find out how they do it. Is it because of stock-picking skill?

Outperforming the appropriate indexes is just one factor in the criteria. Top fund managers are usually not trying to secretly follow the index–they’re more likely to have an effective style (like value investing), and have high “active share,” which means that they’re investing in a way that differs from the index; they also often have great experience and have their own money invested in the funds that they manage, i.e. “skin in the game”.

My All-Star Fund Managers

One of my special skills is identifying all-star fund managers — it’s essentially my main focus related to investments. I’ve found around 50 fund managers over the years who I would characterize as having superior skill, and all of them have beaten their index over long periods of time.

Most of those 50 managers are on my “watch list”. I own only a handful of those funds. Although I’m resistant to the idea of sharing statistics about my own personal investments, mostly because my investment style may not be suitable for every investor, I want to emphasize that it’s possible to identify skilled fund managers early and ahead of time.

Why I Will Never Own an ETF or Index Fund

I won’t ever own an ETF or an index fund because I’m not happy with below-index returns. I choose investments based on the fund managers–I want to invest with the Albert Einstein of investors, the absolute best. ETFs and index funds don’t have fund managers, so I’m not interested. The goal of investing is to obtain the highest long-term return after fees, and a skilled fund manager provides enough value to pay for those fees and more.

Above-Index Returns

There are really two options when you’re pursuing above-index returns: one, you can find yourself an all-star fund manager, or, second, you can choose a portfolio manager who’s paid by performance fee. When portfolio managers are paid by performance fee, they’re motivated to beat their index. If they don’t beat the index, the fees are similar to ETFs. If they do beat the index, the fee pays for itself.

Getting above-index returns is all about finding skill.

Analyzing The Cause Behind The Ever Climbing Stock Market

Since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the markets have continued to climb higher and higher. Initially, it was believed that a Trump presidency could potentially cause the markets to crash. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. Of course, it is also important to realize that the Trump administration is not solely responsible for the health of the markets. During the first quarter of the year, several major factors have helped to support the market’s climb. Below, you will learn more about these factors and their influence on the markets.

The French Election

It is downright imperative to realize that the upcoming French election and the events leading up to it have played heavily on American and global markets. During the leadup to the election, markets experience turmoil and volatility as Marine Le Pen led the polls. However, a shift has begun to take place and it has substantially helped global markets. The Centralist candidate Emmanuel Macron managed to secure a higher vote total than Le Pen during the first stage of the election process. This has helped to dim the fire burning for Le Pen and it has subsequently convinced analysts that a Le Pen president is unlikely.

Now that the European Union will likely remain intact, markets are rejoicing. While there is still some concern that Marine Le Pen could pull off the upset, Emmanuel Macron has proven to be a shining light for stocks.

Excellent Earning Reports

There are many political factors that can take the markets higher or lower. However, at its heart and soul, the markets are primarily driven by the economy and the performance of companies. Several companies have experienced tumultuous quarters, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the recently released earning reports. In fact, recent earnings have helped to fuel the market’s rise, while simultaneously pushing the NASDAQ over the 6,000 point threshold. The kickoff was led by McDonald’s and Caterpillar. While the 6,000-point milestone might not be significant, it will undoubtedly give consumers and investors more confidence and this could result in stocks climbing even higher.

It is also important to take a look at the latest Nasdaq penny stocks. While they’re low at this point in time, they could easily climb alongside their bigger counterparts.

Tax Reform

It has been nearly impossible for the Trump administration to make it through an entire week without some type of political setback. This has led to increased volatility here and there. Nevertheless, investors are well aware that the markets could climber higher should Trump be able to get some of his agenda passed over the next few months. After healthcare fell through the cracks, the Trump administration quickly shifted their focus to tax reform. Now, the government has put out snippets of information about the tax reform plan and corporations are hopeful.

President Trump hopes to be able to decrease the corporate tax rate to just fifteen percent. This has definitely given hope to investors. However, it is important to remain skeptical at this point. Another setback for the administration could send the markets south in a hurry.

Four Guidance Points to Building Successful Family Business Governance

A 2014 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 71 percent of family-owned businesses didn’t have procedures in place to resolve conflict issues.

Statistics such as these make it all the more imperative that family members in business together set up a clear and agreed-upon structural plan, a constitution for business governance as it were.

Items in this structural plan can include mission and vision statements, an employment policy, strategies to develop the next generation of leadership for the business, a liquidity policy, a succession plan, and information regarding any shareholder meetings.

Understandably, the details of what is relevant when it comes to successful family governance can change from business to business.  With that said, the below guidance points can prove useful for a wide range of family-run organizations. 

Independent Board of Advisors

Many family businesses have boards of directors comprised mostly or entirely of family members. Although boards of directors with this kind of composition can be successful, independent, non-family-related directors do bring value. 

Some family businesses ensure more balanced boards of directors through policies that limit the number of family directors.  Some also compliment their family board members with non-equity holding directors. If the governance structure doesn’t allow for outsiders on the board, setting up an advisory committee to the CEO that is composed of individuals recruited from outside the family may bring fresh perspective and expertise.

Avoiding Conflict During Management Changes

Policies that encourage meritocracy are certainly beneficial to any family-run company, especially when it comes to setting boundaries and avoiding conflict during times of management change.

The reality is that leadership change happens in most businesses.  Intelligently-run organizations understand this reality and plan ahead to make leadership transitions as smooth as possible.

To build on the previous point, outside directors and advisers can help make management changes smooth, after all non-family related advisors or directors can provide both the perception and the reality of objectivity during leadership selection decisions.

Regardless if a business is hiring new management from within the family or outside of it, new management should be in line with the organization’s culture and should be evaluated based on core leadership qualities like respect, integrity, quality, humility, passion, modesty, and ambition.


To prosper, businesses need to raise financing from time to time and if a company is still private, that usually means depending on a bank to provide a loan. Family-run firms that insist on maintaining a veil of secrecy over their affairs will find it difficult to raise the financing needed to grow.

The so-called “family premium” — the idea that family-owned and -led businesses are stricter when it comes to standards, capital distribution and governance — is typically only applicable to entities with high levels of transparency. Conversely, opaque firms trade at a discount because investors simply don’t know enough about that business, especially those firms with governance practices that may be questionable in other respects.

A Well-Organized CEO Succession

When examining large family-run corporations that have failed in the past, CEO successions, or rather failed CEO successions, have played an unfortunate pivotal role.  When considering the integrity of their own CEO succession process, businesses should ask three questions: one, how vigorous is their candidate selection process and does it allow for the inclusion of multiple candidates?  Two, will all family members who are significantly part of the business be involved in the selection of the new CEO?  Three, what is involved when it comes to integrating and developing the successor in his or her new role as CEO? 

The latter point should be particularly emphasized if a new CEO is being introduced into the business who is not part of the family.  After all, this will be a leader who will not only have to efficiently and successfully integrate into the company, it will also be someone who will need to integrate into the family business dynamic and navigate the occasionally choppy waters of inter-family relationships.