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.

Targeting Millennials as a Real Estate Agent – What to Know

Millennials have become one of the largest group of homebuyers. However, due in part to affordability issues and the reluctance of older generations to upsize or downsize from their current homes and free up inventory, Millennials also lag behind the benchmarks set for homeownership by older generations at the same stage in their lives.

The question facing many real estate agents now is how to successfully market to Millennials and help them achieve their goals.

Fortunately, Millennials are very much like the previous generations in their outlook about homeownership: they regard owning a home as a central part of achieving a lifelong dream and perceive it as an attainable goal. On the other hand, as I mentioned above, there are some obstacles that Millennial buyers face that previous generations have not. There are a few ways that a savvy agent can reach Millennial clients and help them make the best decision for themselves.

As alluded to above, Millennials do not have the same kind of financial wherewithal that clients in previous generations might have enjoyed: they are often burdened with debt from student loans and other financial obligations, and face the prospect of rising costs and stagnating wages. Millennials often buy their first home later in life than, say, members of the Baby Boomer generation and, as a consequence, are looking for houses that are inexpensive and simple to maintain.

In addition, and this cannot be overstated, today’s Millennial home buyer will search for homes online, via computer and smartphone. It is paramount that any real estate agent who wants to connect with the Millennial audience take this fact into consideration when building a marketing plan for his or her properties.

There are a couple important things to keep in mind in relation to this aspect of the Millennial audience:

  • Millennials expect to be able to find the information they want immediately. Info about homes should be clear and easily accessible, whether on a website or social media.
  • They also want to be able to see a lot of high-quality photos of properties online. They want to be able to obtain as much solid information about a property as they can before committing to seeing it in person.

Also, thanks to the influence of home renovation shows on TV and things like Pinterest and the proliferation of home decor magazines, many Millennials have different — some might say higher — expectations than previous generations when it comes to real estate.

  • Millennials want new fixtures and updated bathrooms and kitchens. They want things that are new and they want the appearance of luxury and modernity.

Millennials are also, on the whole, more focused on “experiences” rather than the accumulation of things. This means that they place a greater value on certain aspects of a property:

  • Millennials want open spaces within the house where they can entertain, and they want to be in urban or denser suburban areas where they can connect with others.
  • Millennials generally speaking do not want houses that sit on large lots or are difficult or expensive to maintain.
  • Millennials, in general, are not interested in houses that are in need of extensive renovations; they do not have the disposable income to complete renovations and would rather spend that money on activities and experiences.

Keeping all the above in mind can help real estate agents reach the Millennial audience and connect with them successfully.

Looking at an Oftentimes Forgotten Trading Pattern

As a technical trader, I spend a good amount of time looking for repetitive patterns that re-occur over and over and over again. With the help of data-crunching software, anyone can easily write a few scripts and perform their own analysis to find highly repetitive setups.  

When it comes to repetitive patterns, we often talk about chart patterns such as breakout confirmation, bullish and bearish reversal pivots, and continuation patterns that occur frequently with a high degree of accuracy.  However, we often overlook ONE type of highly repetitive pattern that occurs every year.

This pattern is very easy to trade.  

It is not s-e-x-y, which is why I consider it “The Forgotten Pattern”, but it works!

~Seasonality Patterns~

Seasonality is simply a period of time when an asset (i.e., stock) tends to move in the same direction every year. That’s it!  So, if XYZ stock moved up from November 2 to November 22 over 17 of the past 20 years, the assumption is that it is also likely to move up this year as well. 

Click HERE to read the full article.

Norma Walton, Not Your Parents’ Workforce

One of our businesses was growing and we were looking for someone to work 16 hours every weekend. I had been doing the work myself while growing the business, but the business had become busy enough that it could afford to pay someone to do that work.

First I chatted with my friend’s husband. He works during the week and is saving up for an apartment for his young family so was keen on weekend work to supplement what he earned from his regular job. He is 27 years old. He did an excellent job for me for a few weekends then told me that he had decided he could no longer work after 5 pm…ever.

Next, I chatted with a hard working woman with whom I work from time to time and I mentioned that we had this position available. She told me her son Mitch was desperate to make money and that she was sure he would love to do it. Mitch is a nice single 35-year old guy whom I knew and liked. I immediately offered the work to him. He thanked me for thinking of him but explained that he never worked on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The third was a 32-year old Uber driver named Nur whom I met when he drove me home. A former fighter pilot, he had emigrated from Afghanistan via America. He told me he needed to make money. He did the work one weekend, collected his money, then he just didn’t show up for work the next weekend. It was obviously beneath him. I haven’t heard from him since.

Fourth time lucky. The fellow who now works with me on the weekends is from Barbados. He emigrated to Canada a year ago because it was impossible to make a good life in Barbados unless you were a member of the police or the military and he didn’t qualify for either. He loves Canada because if you work hard, you can create a decent life for yourself. He came here a year ago. He has found opportunities through keenness. He obtained his forklift truck driver’s license. He then started working for an agency each week while working to upgrade his license. He works with me on the weekend and is saving up to secure his own studio apartment near York University and then to afford a car. He is 27 and so far very reliable.

Back when I was a teenager into my early 20s, I was always interested in making money if I could fit it into my school and sports schedule. I began working when I was 13 years old and secured my license the day I turned 16. I was not unusual among my peer group. We all wanted to make money, play sports, drive cars and get our own place. Leisure time was what you grabbed late at night or over a couple of hours on the weekend, if you were lucky and had finished all your chores at home.

In my (now dinosaur-like) experience, if you wanted to make extra money, you needed to work evenings, weekends, nights, mornings, afternoons – basically, anytime anyone would pay you. You needed to show up for work when you were required. Keenness was critical. Asking for more work was important. Basically, everything else in your life took a back seat to making that extra money you wanted so you could accomplish whatever objective you had at that time.

The type of work was not as relevant as how much you were being paid per hour and how many hours you could secure. Being fulfilled at work was not even a consideration. I remember working three summers in a row on the line at Ford putting hood covers on because 27 years ago they paid $25 an hour. I can still do that specific job in my sleep because I put 60 hood covers on every hour for 48 hours a week for three summers in a row…138,240 hood covers. The job was mind-numbing but that money helped put me through school and paid for my car expenses. Needless to say, I had very little leisure time those summers.

My values are no longer prevalent. In seeking to fill this weekend position, it became apparent to me that the workforce has changed since I was a girl. Work-life balance in your 20s and 30s is now valued far more than money. People say they want to make extra money, but they mean only if it does not inconvenience them in living their best life. Hence a lot of people in their 20s and 30s are living with their parents, with siblings or with roommates. They don’t drive. They value leisure time more than making money.

For better or worse, while trying to hire someone for weekend work, I realized that this is not my or my parents’ workforce.

The Importance of Matching Responsibilities with Skill Sets In Team Management

From my experience in managing and leading teams, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that, as a team leader, it’s imperative to provide a good match between the responsibilities assigned to a team member and their skill set. If you delegate responsibilities to a team member who lacks the required skills or, just as important, feels unprepared to take on the assigned tasks, you will end up with a dissatisfied team member who produces suboptimal work.

It’s always worth the time it takes, as a team leader, to understand the skill sets of your team members, and sometimes it takes a different mindset, as a leader, to achieve the right results.

Thinking about tasks and responsibilities in a functional way

Team managers will often assign work and responsibilities based solely on their understanding of certain pre-existing roles on the team. For example, client or customer service interactions might be delegated to someone who occupies a sales role, since that person has experience with those types of responsibilities. This type of delegation follows the pattern of assigning work according to position title or organizational culture and norms.

However, in assigning responsibilities, a team leader should also consider the scope of the work that needs to be done on a project or an initiative, and, from that understanding, find the best match of skill set and division of duties to accomplish that work.

If there is a member of your team who would provide a great fit between skill set and responsibility, you should consider assigning that team member to the task, even if that person might not have been customarily assigned to that role previously. This is a more functional way of thinking about the delegation of work and the assignment of duties.

Analyzing the skill sets on your team

There are different methods you can use to understand the skill sets of your team members. One way to do this is through formal assessment and through tests and skill analyses. Through assessment, you can inventory the skills and knowledge that your team members possess and gain valuable data regarding the areas in which your staff might need additional training. This can also help you decide how to delegate work in such a way that you align your team members’ skill sets with the responsibilities they are assigned.

Behavioral interviewing (conversations) may also be useful. This technique involves asking your team members to discuss a situation when they executed their work using certain skills. For example, you might ask a team member about how they resolve a complex problem to better understand their critical thinking skills, or how they collaborated with colleagues to achieve success under pressure. These types of questions can reveal much about a team member’s skills and capabilities.

In my experience, properly matching the skill sets of team members with their assigned responsibilities can increase productivity and lead to higher levels of team cooperation and confidence.

Failing to Personalize is Like Leaving Money on the Table. Can You Afford to Miss Out?

The concept of personalization is nothing new in the world of online marketing and customer engagement, but it is increasingly important. As big data has evolved it is possible to personalize web users experience to previously unheard-of levels, and that’s a great thing, as that is exactly what many consumers are coming to expect. At least some level of personalization is now a must, both for retailers of all sizes and for private service based companies in many niches such as Berger and Green.

According to an extensive eConsultancy report, a whopping 94% of businesses are more than aware of the fact that being able to achieve personalization is crucial to not only their future but also to their current success. However, many are not moving forward because of perceived barriers to proper implementation.   

Many in the survey cited a lack of the budget they believed necessary to do such a thing, a lack of specialized inhouse IT knowledge and the lack of the required technology to be the biggest bars to their company’s personalization success. They do not see how they can implement a more personalized journey for their customers, even though they do understand that they really should.

What many companies do not realize however is that to be effective it does not have to be as complex as they believe. According to a study conducted by Accenture consumers are likely to buy more from, or do more business with, companies that offer the following relatively simple personalizations:

  • Recognizes them by name
  • Knows their past purchase or interaction history
  • Can make recommendations based on those past interactions.

And if a company can offer all three, the study says, 75% of consumers are more likely to do business with – and continue to do business with them – versus a competitor that does not.

Implementing any – or, as we just mentioned, maybe all, of the things above – is not the hugely expensive, hard to implement big data exercise you may fear. These personalization techniques don’t call for huge budgets or complex IT structures. In most cases there are a number of good softwares and other services that can help you begin to collect the data you need without doing much more than paying them a monthly fee.

Starting small is a good idea on many levels. Small to medium sized businesses really cannot afford to waste a dime, so paying for more than they need to personalize their customer’s web journey may be wasteful overkill, as their unique audience may not even be looking for the kind of deep personalization that, for instance, the likes of Amazon have to offer.

If, as time goes own these simple personalizations seem effective you can then move on to bigger data undertakings. The most important thing however is that companies realize they need to do something, or they really do risk being left far behind.

Maybe the grass is greener

I have seen thousands of clients over the last 17 years in the Financial Services industry. Although there is no “one size fits all” or “cookie cutter” solution for every individual or couple, the problems tend to be very similar, and the cause is almost always the same. By investing some of your time reading this article and the rest of my blog series you will be able to put yourself in a better financial position tomorrow than you are today.

The majority of people that I’ve met who want to be in a better financial position have spent time feeling like the fences between the 5 stages of Financial Success are too high. They know that the grass really is greener but they lack the tools, resources or knowledge to experience life on the other side of those fences. It’s time for people to stop wondering what it’s like to be financially comfortable, and start experiencing it by making different choices.

People are creatures of habit. We wake up at the same time each day. We go to bed at the same time. We travel the same route to go to school, work and home. There are times and situations where repetitive behaviour is a good idea. If I want to be a marathon runner I am going to go running every day, and I will expect, over time, for my running ability to improve. I will be able to run faster for a longer period of time. This is true for professional athletes in all sports. They practice and train over and over and they get better. However, there are also many situations where repetitive behaviours are detrimental. When we are in the cycle of living paycheque to paycheque or carrying high levels of debt, which most people are, this is probably a time where we need to do some things differently.

The first thing that people in that type of position need to do is to make a decision that they truly want to improve their situation. This will usually involve behavioural changes. It isn’t possible to get different results by continuously doing the same thing over and over again.

The second thing that needs to be done is to identify what stage of Financial Success you are presently in, and which stage you want to achieve. This is a lot like a sport or a game in many ways; the more you practice, the more you play the better you get at it. If you want to be really good at anything you have to invest time into understanding how to do it better.

The name of the game is Financial Success which will mean different things to everyone, but the basic principles are the same for most people. The basic principles of the game are:

1) Spend less than you earn
2) Have a plan
3) Have a back-up plan
4) Monitor and track your progress
5) Update your plan at least once or twice a year
6) Make proactive positive changes as required

I once heard someone say “Money isn’t everything, but you can’t say that without it” and I feel this is a very accurate statement. When you are trying to enjoy life and raise your Standard of Living it is impossible to do this without money. That is an undeniable truth.

Imagine that your lifestyle, or standard of living, is a snowball which, throughout life, you are pushing up a hill.

During childhood we are Dependent on family to provide us with the necessities of life. As we grow up, move out on our own we perhaps rely on the charity of friends and family to a certain degree. Think about your first apartment or even your first home. In the beginning maybe you had Grandma’s 30 year old couch, it was dark green and really didn’t match other stuff in your place, but that didn’t matter because it was still comfortable, it was free, and it could pull out into a bed for when your buddy couldn’t quite make it home after that poker game. During that time perhaps you were a “starving student” and every so often a family member would come to visit with a bag of groceries or you spent your weekends at Mom and Dad’s house doing laundry and eating your only meals that came from the traditional four food groups as opposed to the post-secondary food groups: bottled, bagged, canned or frozen. This is how many of us spend those years in higher education.

Then school is over and other than student loans many people don’t have a lot of other debt so our monthly debt payments are reasonably affordable at this time and our other lifestyle expenses are also reasonably low. We have simultaneously graduated post-secondary and into the next stage of life – Independence.
Independence is the stage where we are able to float in the ocean of life on our own without the big rubber ring of external support around our financial waist to keep our head above the water. Progress is slow and may, at times, seem non-existent but the income and expenses are relatively equal. We are now able to support ourselves without assistance.

Each of these stages we all experience at different points in our lives depending on the decisions we make, how well we establish the foundation and plan for the unexpected.

We work hard building our career, enjoying our personal life, then we meet that special someone, buy a house, and start a family. Now we are starting to acquire assets, things we own that have a resale value, because Grandma’s couch isn’t going to be worth much more than memories. For as important as those memories are, it doesn’t help increase your standard of living. At this point we are starting to enjoy a Quality Lifestyle.

Over the years we finance new cars, the mortgage gets paid down further and further, and we start to enjoy some of the Comforts. Some of the Comforts may include a trip for the family occasionally, a vacation here or there, a newer vehicle even though maybe the old one is not that bad, extra gifts “just because” for those special people in our lives.

So we continue to work hard, save, pay off and eliminate debt, perhaps purchase a vacation property, and other Luxuries, things that we want but do not necessarily need. This is the final stage, Luxuries. This is the point where our debts are virtually gone (except those which are giving us tax benefits, I will discuss this more later) and each month we have the bulk of our income being available to do with as we please. Many people, for a variety of reasons never make it to the “Comforts” stage let alone the “Luxury” stage.

By virtue of the fact that you’re reading this, you already have one of the most important components in financial success.

Desire.

If you do not want it, aspire for it, and do everything in your ability to acquire it, simply put, you won’t get it. In anything you do, your level of success is in direct correlation to your level of desire and motivation to succeed.

Where many individuals find their desire and motivation can become challenged is when life throws us a curveball and we are not prepared. In order to reduce the impact of these curveballs you must have a plan. We cannot predict the future but we can prepare for it.

Now this snowball, called our Standard of Living, which we have been pushing up the Hill of Life – what holds this standard of living in place? We work 40 – 60 hours per week trying to build a standard of living that will provide our 2.5 kids and our chosen life partner with (what we hope will be) not only what they need but what they want as well. That standard of living is held in place and indeed is pushed forward by our income and assets. So what happens when this wedge of income and assets that we have lodged in place, gets hit by a curveball in the game of life (health issues, changes in the economy)? Suddenly, it’s like our snowball has hit an ice patch and it starts rolling back down the hill because we have a significantly reduced income/assets. Proper planning for these “what ifs” can help secure your snowball in its place on the hill so that it doesn’t slide very far, thus making your move up the hill easier the further up the hill you get.

Over the years I have seen many situations where people did not have a plan and when they started to slide down the hill they experienced significant financial stress and sometimes families were torn apart.

By following my advice in this blog series you have just made an excellent investment in your future.

Getting the Best Performance Out of Your Team: How to Identify and Address Skills Gaps

Skills gaps can be one of the most significant obstacles to ensuring an organization attains its goals and fulfill its mission. If staff does not have the skills they need to deliver the results, that of course makes it difficult for an organization to achieve its current goal and to grow and adapt to changing markets and environments. From my experience, however, there are ways to identify knowledge or skills gaps and implement efficient methods to address them.

The Importance of Assessment

In assessing the knowledge and abilities of your current team, it is important to consider your organization’s current and future needs. It is also important to understand that some team members may find it difficult to self-assess and, as such, feedback from other team members and third parties should be included in the assessment. Accurately assessing the team’s knowledge and abilities can, one, give you a more accurate idea of your team’s strengths and, two, show how best to address potential areas of improvement.

A Look at Training and Development

Investing in the right kinds of training and development for your team is equally important as the assessment. Even if staff appear to be heterogeneous in terms of education and experience, as a leader, considering the types of training (auditory, visual or tactile) that will work best for each team member is a valuable part of the process. Online webinars might be helpful for one group, and self-directed training may be suitable for another group, but it’s important to find the right fit so that all team members can develop.

Sometimes team leaders are reluctant to provide ongoing training and development with concerns that it’s too expensive or that there’s not enough time to devote valuable working hours to activities that are not immediately productive. Team members may also be concerned about time constraints and the relevance of the training. I would counter those objections with an observation—in my experience, training and development are essential to recruiting and retaining talent, and when you think about all the costs of replacing employees and the lost productivity when your team is down a member or two, you understand why training is so important. Training and professional development go a long way to making a good team even better.

Another good practice to keep in mind as a leader is to recognize and cultivate the skills that your team members already possess. For example, if a particular team member shows calm leadership during crisis situations, make sure you recognize their contributions to your team’s work and the organization.

However you choose to address skills gaps, it’s important to address the issue and not ignore it. Enhancing the capabilities of your team will add to overall productivity and allow your team to make significant contributions to the growth of your organization.

Fun Ways to Earn Money

If you want to earn money in Canada, there are many fun ways in which you can achieve the objective and be happy about it. We always think some of the ways and if you think it is worth giving a try, don’t hold yourself back and enjoy your time while earning money.

1. Private Island caretaker

This is a dream for many people, and it is possible that you might even want to have a place to take care of where you can soak up the sun, enjoy your time and go on Adventures while being paid for it. Being a private Island caretaker is a big responsibility, but it has its own set of benefits. So, make sure that you start looking for such opportunities and enjoy the task.

2. Designing video games

We love spending time on different video games and have many thoughts in our mind that can help us in developing and an ideal game for every gamer. If you have the skill to design a video and you, wish to make one this can be a great task for you. Designing video games can help you and keeping yourself occupied most of the time while doing something you love doing.

3. Enjoying your time in a Casino

Casinos are fun, and we all know it. There are many people who would want to spend most of the time in casinos but have their fears in mind. If you fall in this category, we suggest that you should look for online Casino Canada and restrict your time and money in this direction. This will ensure that you push yourself to the limit set by you and not by anyone else.

4. Makeup artist

If you love this task, there is no better way in which you can earn money and be happy about what you’re doing. Being a makeup artist and help you in a number of ways and can get you many opportunities. In this case, please suggest that you specialize in a particular category and keep learning to expand your knowledge base and cover different occasions to play with the combinations. Being a makeup artist can also help you in achieving your dream of traveling to different places and gaining exposure when the time is right.

5. Writer

If you have many ideas in your mind and you wish to share it with this world, you can write it down on paper and left in the world recognize your talent. Being a writer, you’ll have many opportunities to express your opinion and to make this world a better place to live in. Remember the freedom you get in this field will not be equivalent to most of the jobs you might consider.

Brookfield Renewable Partners to Hold Q3 2017 Conference Call on November 1

Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP) stock is up 0.79% to close on Wednesday but remains down 0.86% in the last month. The company recently announced quarterly dividend rates for its Series 2 Shares.

The renewable energy company will pay an annual rate of 2.62% in dividends.

Brookfield also announced yesterday that they will hold their third-quarter conference call on November 1, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. ST. The company will discuss its latest initiatives and results with investors. BEP’s Q3 2017 results will be released before the opening bell on November 1.

A pure-play renewable platform, the company’s portfolio of facilities includes hydroelectric and wind operations in Brazil, Colombia, Europe and North America. Brookfield maintains more than 11,000 megawatts of installed capacity.

The company is under the Brookfield Asset Management company, which has $250 billion in assets under their control. The management company offers global alternative asset management, with investments in renewable energy, infrastructure, and real estate.

The management company invests in alternatives, including smarter buildings and technologies.

BEP’s cash flow and distributions have grown at a steady pace, with 16% annual returns for investors. The company, known for its high dividend yields, offers low-risk opportunity investments. The company’s portfolio of hydro assets continues to grow in value as their operating capabilities focus on long-term results.

The company recently acquired $5 billion in hydro assets from Colombia. The company’s stock is up over 5% in the trailing 90-day period primarily on the takeover of TerraForm Power (TERP). TerraForm, a public company has seen its shares dip 60% since they went public.

The bankrupt company’s assets are now under control by Brookfield Asset Management. The management company is expected to provide operational and financial support to help TerraForm return to profitability.

Brookfield Renewable Partners, the management company’s renewable power vehicle, has compound annualized returns of 14% in the past five years. The company’s takeover could mean that investors of TerraForm will have value created for them rather than suffering major losses.

Brookfield acquired a 51% stake in the company and will bring the company private. Brookfield Renewable Partners will inject $500 million into the company, helping to improve its finances and reduce the cost of capital.

TerraForm will transition to a top-wind and solar energy company. The entity has operations in Western Europe and North America. The $500 million in equity will allow TerraForm to continue to expand their operations with the intent of boosting the company’s finances so that it can secure other funding sources.