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US Customs just seized a ship owned by JPMorgan after authorities found $1 billion worth of drugs on it

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 3:30pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have seized a container ship operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Co. and owned by JPMorgan Asset Management.
  • That came weeks after authorities found more than $1 billion worth of cocaine on the vessel in what was one of the largest drug busts in American history. 
  • At least a half a dozen crew members have been arrested, according to Homeland Security Investigations, and the investigation is ongoing.
  • Visit Markets Insider for more stories.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have seized a container ship operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Co., weeks after authorities found more than $1 billion worth of cocaine on the vessel in what was one of the largest drug busts in American history. 

US Customs and Border Protection seized the ship on July 4, a statement out Monday said. The ship is owned by client assets in a maritime strategy offered by JPMorgan Asset Management, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is operated by the Switzerland-based MSC. 

On June 18, CBP agents found 39,525 pounds of cocaine stashed in several containers on the MSC Gayane at the Philadelphia seaport. The street value of the drugs was estimated at about $1.3 billion, making it the largest cocaine seizure by the agency. 

"A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented – but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented," said US Attorney William McSwain. "We found nearly 20 tons of cocaine hidden on this ship."

At least a half a dozen crew members have been arrested, according to Homeland Security Investigations, and the investigation is ongoing. Charges included conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship.

The Gayane sailed under the flag of Liberia and had previously traveled through the Bahamas and several South American countries, according to an online ship tracker

JPMorgan declined to comment. Mediterranean Shipping Co. did not immediately respond to an email inquiry.

SEE ALSO: A toddler has died after falling 11 stories from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

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Bridgewater's Ray Dalio struggled with finding his successor. For billionaire hedge funders, it's a growing concern.

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 3:26pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Big names like David Tepper and Leon Cooperman have opted to close their hedge funds instead of transitioning their business to new management, but investors see more and more founders planning for their funds to live on without them. 
  • Fund managers have built teams that invest across asset classes, which reduces reliance on the trading acumen of a single person.
  • Succession planning can be harder than it looks. Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio told Business Insider he was stunned by the amount of work it took and shared what he learned about the process. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Hedge funds have long been nearly synonymous with their founders' strategies and personalities, but investors are now looking closely at firms' plans to carry on without their creators at the helm.

Investors say more and more funds should be able to survive a leadership transition. But Ray Dalio, founder and cochief investment officer of Bridgewater, the world's largest hedge fund, told Business Insider it was hard for him to pinpoint how long his succession planning would take. 

"When I began my succession process, I thought it was going to take me probably about two years. But when I say I thought that, I also knew not to believe that," said Dalio on a recent episode of Business Insider's "This Is Success" podcast.

As founders age and the hedge fund industry matures, succession planning is a critical question for investors and potential fund employees. Many of the biggest funds have evolved beyond simply managing one portfolio and now offer a range of services, which makes it more plausible for a successor to take charge. 

"They're companies, they're small corporations, they're not one PM with an analyst running a single portfolio," said Darren Wolf, Americas head of alternative strategies at Aberdeen Standard Investments. "They're set up to be evergreen structures way beyond a single PM."

See more: Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller says there should be only '200 or 300' hedge funds, not thousands — and he expects a culling of the herd

What remains unclear is exactly which fund managers will want their company to live on after they're done working.

Several big-name managers opted to close shop in the last 18 months instead of turning over to a longtime lieutenant. Billionaires David Tepper of Appaloosa Management and Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors are converting their funds into family offices. Jason Karp closed Tourbillion and is now helping with his wife's organic chocolate company. John Paulson closed his London office recently, and hinted last year that he was close to transitioning his hedge fund into a family office.

But there have been some succession success stories. Farallon Capital is back at the assets under management it reached before founder Tom Steyer stepped down in 2012. Dallas-based HBK Investments has been successful despite the firm's founder and namesake, Harlan B. Korenvaes, retiring in 2003. Large quant funds like Renaissance Technologies and D.E. Shaw have ceded day-to-day control to lieutenants while founders James Simons and David Shaw focus on research and other passions.

"An increasing number of hedge funds can absolutely handle a succession," said Joseph Burns, head of hedge fund due diligence for iCapital Network, because they are diversified asset managers with venture capital and private investment arms.

Still, giving up a business you started and grew isn't easy, something Dalio found out when he tried to transition out  role at Bridgewater, only to step back in when his replacement, Greg Jensen, was overloaded with top investment and management responsibilities.

Bridgewater is currently run by Co-CEOs David McCormick and Eileen Murray, while the Dalio, Jensen, and Bob Prince all share the CIO role.

'Go out and hire a replacement'

Legendary hedge fund manager Julian Robertson drew investors in because of his personality and strategy. Naming a successor for Tiger Management would have made a lot of existing investors uneasy, according to research from Sandy Gross at executive search and coaching firm Pinetum Partners, but the seeding of his proteges' funds let investors know who he backed without forcing them to make a decision about staying with Tiger under a new leader.

But more recently, Gross found in interviews with senior hedge fund personnel that mega-funds are expected to continue beyond the founder. One unnamed COO told Gross that "there is an expectation we live beyond our founders" today, and not close down just because the founder is ready to retire.

"There are plenty of geniuses on Wall Street, so it shouldn't be hard to go out and hire a replacement," an unnamed hedge fund CFO told Gross.

See more: A bunch of hedge fund managers featured in 'The Big Short' are among the casualties of Citadel's most recent cuts

Wolf said Aberdeen goes into hedge funds "wanting to be invested for a long time."

"We do a lot of due diligence before making an investment, so we want to amortize that time and cost across a long period of time," he said.

Well-known platforms like Point72, Millennium, and Citadel are inherently tied to their billionaire founders, but are made up of hundreds of investment teams and professionals who often operate autonomously. For investors, this structure is viewed as a strength.

"We don't like to see too much of the talent concentrated at the founder level," Wolf said.

Bridgewater's Dalio said that anyone thinking of going down the succession path to should allocate plenty of time. He figured the process would take two years, but gave himself 10, he said on the podcast.

"If you haven't done something three times before successfully, don't bet on your ability to do it," Dalio said. 

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Intel-owned Mobileye's CEO says the company is 'all-in on the global robo-taxi opportunity' (INTC)

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:36pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua published an op-ed on Tuesday in which he laid out the Intel-owned company's strategy for self-driving vehicles.
  • Shashua thinks robo-taxis are the most likely business application for autonomy as it's currently developing.
  • He also maintains that government regulation has been overlooked as self-driving businesses have matured.


A shakeout is commencing in the youthful world of self-driving cars.

It's a brave, new world barely a decade old. Alphabet's Waymo, formerly known as the Google Car project, is widely thought to have been attacking the problem the longest, starting in 2009 and beginning commercialization in 2018.

But Israel-based Mobileye has been at it for a decade longer. Founded in 1999, the company was acquired by Intel in 2017 for just over $15 billion.

Since then, founder and CEO Amnon Shashua has been expressing a rather broad view of mobility and autonomy. In an op-ed published at Intel's corporate website Tuesday, he summarized his perspective — and provided a major look ahead to how Mobileye and Intel intend to move forward.

Read more: Intel's Mobileye and the British government have found an unexpected way for self-driving data to improve infrastructure

At the moment, as Shashua points out, self-driving is about three distinct systems: driver-assist features; autonomous robo-taxis; and self-driving technology in individual cars. For Waymo, General Motors-owned Cruise, and increasingly, Tesla, the robo-taxi approach is shaping up to be the quickest means to bring autonomy to market. To this push, Shashua has added the need for companies to assess the regulatory framework, as governments move to oversee what has been essentially a large-scale science project.

"The auto industry is gradually realizing that autonomy must wait until regulation and technology reach equilibrium, even for limited use cases such as highway driving or level 3 complex hand-over scenarios in which the driver and car exchange control," Shashua writes.

"The best place to get this done is through the robotaxi phase."

The regulatory aspect

According to Shashua, "It will be easier to develop laws and regulations governing a fleet of robo-taxis than for privately owned vehicles." The key difference would entail licensing fleet operators, of which there will be few, versus adding self-driving evaluations to the existing licensing of millions of human drivers.

As a result, while Shashua and Mobileye don't contemplate abandoning the broad view, in terms of the shakeout, the company is "all-in on the global robotaxi opportunity," he writes.

"Our hands-on approach with as much of the process as possible enables us to maximize learnings from the robotaxi phase and be ready with the right solutions for automakers when the time is right for ... production passenger cars."

The major players in autonomous mobility are all hedging their bets, to a degree. Waymo has developed what it calls a "driver" — a suite of hardware and software that can be applied to everything from electric luxury cars to heavy trucks. Cruise aims to roll out a ride-hailing service in a clearly defined urban area, such as San Francisco, to maximize fleet usage and concentrate the business where the most customers are.

Mobileye has sought ancillary applications (including detailed maps) and to codify its regulatory expertise, while not rising so far above the fray that it misses out on good commercial opportunities. This is the thinking-person's strategy, but then again Shashua has spent more time thinking about the challenge of autonomy than just about anyone else.

And what's now clear to him is that while a lot of people might have dreamed of owning a car that can drive itself, they probably won't. The near-future belongs to the autonomous fleets.

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NOW WATCH: Amazon invested $700M into an electric vehicle startup. Here's how Rivian is doing exactly what Tesla isn't.

Here are the latest executive power moves that help explain everything that's going on at Revolut, Accenture, and DISH

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:33pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Keeping an eye on major hires and promotions is one of the best ways to understand a company's strategy. 
  • The Org tracks executive changes at companies big and small. 
  • Here's a snapshot of the most important executive moves of the week across fintech and financial services.

Every week we bring you an overview of the most important executive changes from the past week.

This week, embattled fintech start-up Revolut hired Richard Davies as Chief Operating Officer to help reverse the company's recent setbacks. Read more about this and other notable executive changes.

Revolut hires Chief Operating Officer from TSB

Revolut, one of the biggest names in European fintech, has hired Richard Davies from TSB as Chief Operating Officer. Revolut has recently suffered a series of recent setbacks including questions over its money laundering controls and complaints from former employees about a toxic work culture.

Facebook's new Chief Revenue Officer named Chairman of Ad Council

David Fischer, Chief Revenue Officer of Facebook, has been named Chair of the Ad Council's Board of Directors. Ad Council is a non-profit organization that creates innovative social good campaigns to address many of the nation's most important causes. Fischer succeeds Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer of GE, and will serve in the role for one year.

Accenture names Domingo Mirón as CEO of financial services

Accenture has announced that Domingo Mirón will succeed Richard Lumb as group chief executive of financial services starting in September. Mirón currently serves as the group's chief operating officer where he is responsible for executing the business strategy and driving operational excellence. Lumb will retire from the company at the end of August.

CircleCI promotes three executives to continue global expansion

CircleCI, the leading platform for intelligent automation and delivery tools, has promoted three executives to continue product expansion globally and develop deeper data, insights and analytics capabilities. Chitra Balasubramanian has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer, Jane Kim becomes Chief Revenue Officer, and Erich Ziegler moves from VP Marketing to Chief Marketing Officer.

DISH Network has promoted Paul W. Orban to Chief Financial Officer

Paul Orban, a 23-year veteran of DISH, has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective immediately. Orban has served as served as the company's Principal Financial Officer since Steve Swain stepped down as CFO in August 2018. Orban will continue reporting to DISH President and CEO Erik Carlson.

Christian Wylonis is the co-founder and CEO of The Org, where you can meet the people behind the world's most innovative companies, explore organizational charts, stay updated on team changes, and join your own company. 

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NOW WATCH: Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has been convicted. Here's what happened inside his sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.

7-Eleven is suspending its mobile payment feature after hackers stole $500,000 from Japanese consumers (XVG, BABA, TCEHY, LN)

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:15pm  |  Clusterstock
  • This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Payments & Commerce subscribers.
  • To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here.

Hackers exploited a flaw in a mobile payment feature introduced by 7-Eleven Japan on July 1 to target 900 accounts and use them to make $500,000 in purchases, causing the retailer to shut down the program, according to The Verge.

The feature enabled in-store customers to scan a product's barcode and charge a credit or debit card they linked to their account. Hackers were able to access consumers' accounts because 7-Eleven's system allowed users to send an email to reset their password to an unlinked email address if they provided just their birthday, email, and phone number.

The retailer has responded by preventing consumers from registering for the feature or making payments through it, and it also intends to compensate affected users.

The hack has drawn the attention of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, which determined that 7-Eleven didn't follow the necessary processes to avoid unauthorized access to accounts, The Japan Times reports.

Mobile payment service operators are required to confirm the link between consumers' devices and the apps downloaded on them under guidelines set up by the Payments Japan Association, but 7-Eleven failed to do so. The ministry alerted other operators to avoid making the same mistake, which could mean it will take a greater interest in mobile payments services going forward and possibly enforce stricter standards.

If this hack leads to greater oversight from Japan's government, it could hinder the country's mobile payments market as it heats up.

  • A number of companies are working on mobile payments initiatives in Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants 40%of consumer payments to be cashless by 2025. This would be a significant increase from the 18% of transactions cashless methods accounted for in 2015, and with the country's QR code payment market alone projected to be worth 6 trillion yen ($55.2 billion) in 2023, Japan's transition to cashless is a valuable opportunity. That's why top industry players like Alibaba, Tencent, and Line have teamed up to create a unified QR code payment system in Japan, while WeChat Pay, Line, Google Pay, and Paytmhave made new payments plays in the country.
  • But the threat of heightened government involvement could slow the industry's development in Japan. If the government introduces stricter standards and takes a more hands-on role in mobile payments services, it could stifle innovation and investment in mobile payments. News of the government's concerns about mobile payments, combined with reports of the 7-Eleven hacks, might worry consumers and hurt adoption of mobile payments in Japan.

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Victoria’s Secret's parent company falls after its CEO's ties with Jeffrey Epstein resurface (LB)

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:09pm  |  Clusterstock

  • L Brands CEO Les Wexner has ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier charged with sex trafficking.
  • While Wexner cut ties with Epstein years ago and has not been accused of any wrongdoing, L Brands shares declined on news of the charge.
  • Victoria's Secret has struggled to stay relevant to consumers in the #MeToo era. 
  • Watch L Brands trade live on Markets Insider.

Shares of L Brands slid as much as 5% on Tuesday as reports of ties between its CEO and Jeffrey Epstein — the financier charged with sex trafficking — came to light. 

Epstein was the money manager for L Brands CEO Les Wexner for years, and even bought his Manhattan mansion, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Court documents unsealed the same day revealed that federal prosecutors have charged Epstein with running a sex-trafficking operation. Wexner has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Neither Wexner nor L Brands have spoken out about his prior connections with Epstein, with whom he has not been connected for more than a decade. Still, the ties between Epstein and Wexner are proving to be a drag on L Brands as it tries to reinvent its image to appeal to socially conscious consumers. 

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L Brands is the parent company of Bath & Body Works and Pink, as well as Victoria's Secret. The conglomerate has struggled to maintain the popularity of its Victoria's Secret brand, which used to be the most famous lingerie retailer in the US. Sales have plummeted as customers have grown disenchanted with the brand. Analysts have also grown skeptical of the company's future in the #MeToo era. 

It's taken its toll on the company. The lingerie company lost 9% of its market share in the US between 2015 and 2018. This year, Victoria's Secret has had said it will close 53 stores in North America, up from 30 store closings last year.

Pink, the brand focused on a younger demographic, has also struggled to keep its sales numbers afloat. Other brands such as American Eagle's Aerie have boosted their market share by being more inclusive and advocating for body-positivity. ThirdLove, another brand, has also become increasingly critical of Victoria's Secret. 

Shares of L Brands are up roughly 4% year-to-date.

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NOW WATCH: Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has been convicted. Here's what happened inside his sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.

The Knicks' free agency failures have paved a path to record revenue for the rival Nets

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 1:51pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told Bloomberg he expects the team to hit a franchise record for revenue next season thanks to the free agency additions of all-stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
  • The Nets officially announced the signings on Monday, and the combined contracts for the two players are worth $305 million.
  • The Nets signed Durant after the New York Knicks refused to offer him a max contract with $164 million, citing uncertainty around his recent Achilles injury.
  • The Knicks targeted Irving during free agency, but he opted to join the crosstown Nets.
  • Visit the Market's Insider homepage for more stories.

The Brooklyn Nets' decision to splash more than $300 million for just two players has it on course to set a new revenue record.

That's what billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov told Bloomberg on Tuesday, citing the immense windfall the team expects to enjoy after signing all-world superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

"We were already in the midst of one of the best offseasons we've had since the team arrived in Brooklyn," Prokhorov said in an email to Bloomberg's Eben Novy-Williams. "With our recent signings, our expectation is that we will surpass our highest revenue marks in franchise history." 

The reasoning is simple: The addition of high-profile players like Durant and Irving will likely lead to more ticket and merchandise sales, and corporate sponsorships.

For context, the Nets pulled in $290 million in revenue last year, up from $273 million the prior year, according to estimates from Forbes magazine.

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If the team does improve its revenue, it could entice Joe Tsai — the executive vice president of Alibaba and owner of a 49% stake in the Nets — to exercise his option to purchase a controlling stake in the team by 2021, according to Bloomberg

Record sales would come at a time of struggle and uncertainty for the Nets' crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks. The Knicks' failure to sign Irving, decision to not make a max offer to Durant, and inability to acquire any high-profile free agents shaved $200 million off of Madison Square Garden's market value in early July.

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Lyft wants to patent a 'driver jukebox' that could let you play music during your ride (LYFT, UBER)

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 1:49pm  |  Clusterstock

Three years after Uber launched the ability to play music during your ride, Lyft appears to be following suit.

The company on Tuesday filed a patent for a "driver jukebox" system that appears to lay the groundwork for playing music selected by the rider through the driver's phone and car speakers.

"For a vehicle driven by a driver, the music played in the vehicle is limited to being controlled by the driver," the filing reads. "Typically anyone else in the vehicle experiences the same music environment regardless of their own music preferences."

"The system enables a rider to select music from a music service that is associated with a driver and the driver's device prior to and during a ride using the rider's device," the filing continues.

The patent application is a continuation of a patent that the company applied for in 2015. However, it doesn't appear any music features have been integrated to the Lyft app since the original filing. The company didn't respond to a request from Business Insider for more information.

Uber, still easily Lyft's largest competitor, launched a music feature back in 2016. That feature connects with Spotify or Pandora, according to Uber's website.

And while Lyft hasn't yet launched any similar feature for drivers or riders, it has been encouraging drivers to check our rider's music preferences in the app since at least 2015 through its #betterrides campaign.

Now read: 

SEE ALSO: Female drivers for Uber and Lyft say sexual harassment is the norm — and getting help from the companies isn't easy

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Jeffrey Epstein was the sole director of private-equity guru Leon Black's family foundation for more than a decade. Epstein stayed on even after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution.

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 1:12pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Jeffrey Epstein, the financier charged with the sex trafficking of minors, was the sole director for the private-equity giant Leon Black's family foundation for more than a decade, tax filings seen by Business Insider show. Epstein stayed on even after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution.
  • Black cofounded the $247 billion Apollo Global Management. He and his wife started a foundation in 1998 that donates to groups including a charter-school network and religious organizations.
  • The longtime philanthropic adviser Doug White told Business Insider it's "shocking" that Epstein, a registered sex offender, continued as the foundation's director even while he was in jail.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Little is known about ties that Jeffrey Epstein, the financier charged Monday with sex trafficking and conspiracy, has had with the finance world since founding an investment firm in 1981 that has just one known client. But through reviewing years of tax documents, Business Insider uncovered a connection between Epstein and the private-equity billionaire Leon Black.

More business connections could soon come to light. Thousands of new documents are set to be unsealed in the case against Epstein, and a top lawyer representing two of Epstein's accusers told Business Insider that he was looking into Epstein's broader circle.

Black cofounded Apollo Global Management, the New York-based private-equity firm that manages about $250 billion on behalf of groups including public pension funds, endowments, and foundations. The CEO and his wife, Debra, a philanthropist and Broadway producer, created a family foundation in 1998. Epstein served as the director of the Debra and Leon Black Family Foundation from at least 2001 through 2012, tax documents searchable on ProPublica's database show — including for years after he pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in 2008 and registered as a sex offender.

Epstein is the only other person, besides Black and his wife, listed as an officer, director, trustee, or foundation manager during that time period. It's unclear what Epstein's role at the foundation was.

Multiple requests to reach the Blacks through Leon Black's outside advisers, as well as a call placed with the phone number listed for the family foundation, fielded no responses.

David Boies, the chairman of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner who is an attorney for two of Epstein's accusers, told Business Insider that Epstein's business connections would be subject to more scrutiny. Les Wexner, the founder of the clothing brand The Limited who is a highflier in the fashion industry, has been, to date, the only publicly identified client of Epstein's investment firm.

"Exactly who he dealt with in his business ventures and the like is not something that we have insight into, in part because when I deposed him, he took the Fifth Amendment," said Boies, who questioned Epstein for 40 minutes last year in a deposition in which Epstein declined to answer any of Boies' questions. Boies does not have any active civil cases against Epstein.

There's no evidence that either the Debra and Leon Black Family Foundation or the Blacks are linked to any wrongdoing. Under Epstein's tenure, the foundation's beneficiaries included a variety of nonprofits, including many focused on children in New York, such as the charter-school network Harlem Village Academies, the Trinity School, and Prep for Prep, a leadership program for minority students.

At least one CEO of the nonprofits that received funding from the foundation said he was unaware of Epstein's involvement.

For the longtime philanthropic adviser Doug White, Epstein's role as director at the foundation — which based on the tax documents continued while he served time in a Florida jail after pleading guilty to two charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution — raises red flags.

"A foundation, specifically a charity foundation, should not have as one of its directors someone who has pleaded guilty to a sex crime and is officially labeled a sex offender," White, who overlapped at Dartmouth College with Leon Black, told Business Insider. "Leon in particular should be sensitive to that kind of thing. But he stayed on the board for another four years, which is the most eye-raising thing."

A foundation director's role includes overseeing the direction of its charitable activities, White said. A director would also oversee staff, though the Black foundation's filings do not indicate any employees. For a small foundation like the Blacks', the president — in this case, Leon Black — may have been deciding where funding went, and Epstein could have been acting as a "rubber stamp," White said. He said the typical family foundation had three to four meetings a year, where executives read proposals and allocate funds to charities.

"From a governance perspective, it's shocking," White said. "After the guilty pleas, Leon Black had no reason to keep him on the board."

Read more: Apollo CEO sees Ares offering little incentive for stock conversion

New charges for Epstein

Epstein was arrested Saturday evening and charged with trafficking dozens of girls as young as 14 in the early 2000s, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday. He appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The news comes more than a decade after Epstein avoided federal charges in a plea deal that has long drawn scrutiny.

The new charges allege that Epstein systematically molested dozens of underage girls by paying them for "massages" that rapidly devolved into sexual abuse. The indictment says the abuse occurred in Epstein's homes in New York City's Upper East Side and in Palm Beach, Florida, between roughly 1999 and 2005.

Epstein has long faced allegations of sexual abuse, and he was investigated by the Palm Beach Police Department in 2005. But in 2007 he cut a secret nonprosecution agreement with Alex Acosta, then a US attorney but now President Donald Trump's secretary of labor.

The deal granted Epstein immunity from federal prosecution, and Epstein pleaded guilty only to two state charges: solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. Epstein ultimately served a 13-month jail sentence, but because of a work arrangement he was allowed to leave jail six days a week to work out of his Palm Beach office, according to The New York Times.

On Wednesday, a New York federal appeals court ordered that up to 2,000 documents related to a previously settled Epstein case be unsealed in coming weeks, raising questions about who in Epstein's orbit might be implicated.

"There is an enormous amount of information there," said Boies, the lawyer for Epstein's accusers. "A lot of stuff is going to come out."

With additional reporting from Michelle Mark.

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The CEO of Constellation Brands throws cold water on the idea that former Canopy Growth chief Bruce Linton was fired for financial reasons (CGC, STZ)

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 1:00pm  |  Clusterstock

To continue to dominate in cannabis, the board of Canopy Growth decided the company needed a focused leader at its helm. 

Apparently, that leader wasn't Bruce Linton. In an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer, Bill Newlands, CEO of Constellation Brands, gave more details around the abrupt departure of Linton from the top role at Canopy Growth Corp Wednesday. Shares of the cannabis company fell as much as 6% on the news last week. 

Linton's termination was not a result of spending, nor poor booking, Newlands said. It was instead because the board "needed focus" to push forward into great opportunities seen in the cannabis space, which experts say could grow to be a $200 billion business.

"Canopy is best positioned of anyone in the industry to take advantage of that," Newlands told CNBC.

But he continued to say the board wanted to be sure that the company is making the right investments in foreign factors to win the markets that matter — notably Canada and the US. 

"Our board was uniform," Newlands said. "We needed a different leader to take us to the next phase of growth." 

And Constellation Brands should know a thing or two about Canopy's financials. When it took over a majority 38% stake in Canopy, investing $4 billion, it installed company veteran Mike Lee as the CFO. 

The leadership shakeup at Canopy came after weak company earnings resulted in a loss of $39 million, or 20 cents per share, to Constellation's earnings. The loss was much more than analysts had expected — Canopy blamed increased investment in sales and marketing costs. 

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It was a smudge on an otherwise blockbuster earnings season for Constellation Brands, the company behind notable brands such as Modelo and Corona. The company's first quarter earnings crushed analyst expectations, driven by strong sales of Modelo, which gained the top market-share in US beer. 

Still, analysts say Canopy is well-positioned going forward, as co-CEO Mark Zekulin has taken the reins from Linton as the company searches for its next leader. The cannabis company is still the largest in the industry, and has products that span medical and recreational use of marijuana and CBD, a compound in cannabis that does not get you high. 

Canopy has plans to release CBD products in the US soon, and is waiting on looser laws around marijuana. A majority of consumers think that marijuana should be legal, Newlands said, and there is bipartisan support for legalization.

Shares of Canopy are up roughly 45% year-to-date.

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I paid off $40,000 of student loans in 2 years thanks to a math-based strategy I'd recommend to just about anyone

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 12:49pm  |  Clusterstock

In 2012, I followed the debt avalanche method to pay off my $40,000 in student loans from my MBA program exactly two years and six days after graduation.

I started my MBA program, with an estimated $90,000 cost of attendance, while making about $40,000 a year as a low-level financial analyst at a big company. I got a modest bonus and raise along the way, which did help me pay off my loans. But even with the raise, I made under $50,000 a year for most of my student-loan payoff and under $60,000 over the entire payoff period.

How did I pay off my loans so fast while earning a modest income and making significant retirement contributions? Even though I was technically using the debt-avalanche strategy, a big part of using it so successfully is that I lived on a tight budget. By keeping a laser focus on my monthly spending, I was able to squeeze out every penny for debt payments.

I also used automated payments and put every single lump income I earned into my loans. But at the core of the strategy was living on a college-student budget in an inexpensive apartment with low bills.

If you need cash to get started on your debt-repayment journey, consider these offers from our partners:

The debt avalanche starts with the highest-interest loans

The debt avalanche is a twist on the popular debt snowball debt-payoff plan. With a debt snowball, popularized by money guru Dave Ramsey, borrowers order their loans by balance and pay them off from smallest to largest. The debt avalanche uses a more mathematically beneficial approach, ordering loans from highest to lowest by interest rate.

Once your loans are organized on a spreadsheet or other tracker, which can be as simple as a sheet of paper, you can put the plan into action. You pay the minimum payment to every loan and then as much as possible to the one with the highest interest rate. When that one is paid off, you concentrate your money to the next on the list and so on until your debt is paid off.

Read more: The 'debt snowball' and 'debt avalanche' might sound gimmicky, but they're both highly effective strategies to get out of credit-card debt

You can use this method on your student loans as I did or with credit cards or any other type of debt. In fact, you can use it to build a complete debt-payoff plan across multiple types of loans in one debt snowball or debt avalanche.

$40,000 later, my best advice applies to any debt-repayment strategy

A successful debt payoff of any type requires engagement and work. No one ever ignored debts and had them magically pay off themselves. But when your loans are paid off, you have all of that extra cash each month to use any way you choose and don't have that big payoff looming over your head.

Using a favorite budgeting or personal-finance app, you should check in with your accounts at least weekly. During my debt payoff, and most of my time since graduating from college, I typically look at my finances daily to make sure things are running as expected.

When paying off debt, keeping a close eye on your budget and debt balances keeps you focused and motivated. Using a goal-tracking tool, you can track the payoff and get inspired with each dollar your balance falls.

Read more: I stopped using credit cards in an attempt to get out of debt

If you are able, increase your payments as much as you can during your debt payoff. I started with just the minimum payments split into two monthly payments on payday. Every few months, I would increase the payment amount. By the end, I was paying the minimum payment amount twice a month, effectively doubling the minimum.

When you add that to things like bonuses, tax refunds, and other lump income, it becomes easier to put a realistic payoff debt on your calendar. From there, it's up to you to stick to the plan.

How much could the money you save grow? Find out with this calculator from our partners:

SEE ALSO: A woman who paid off $70,000 of debt in 3 years used a simple question to stay on track

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NOW WATCH: The easy steps everyone should take to get out of debt, according to a certified financial planner

How the Caribbean Got on the Road to Central Bank Digital Currencies a conversation with @laurashin

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 12:04pm  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
From the Unchained Podcast:

Gabriel Abed, founder of Bitt.com and Vice President of the board of directors, describes how he went from mining Bitcoin to persuading governors of central banks to not quash Bitt's goal to create central bank digital currencies in the Caribbean and getting the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to pilot one starting next year...[more]

Sesi Technologies founded by Isaac Sesi develops affordable technologies to help African farmers increase productivity and minimize losses.

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 8:32am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
From Tech Review:
Isaac Sesi built a gadget he believes can tackle one of the biggest risks faced by farmers across Africa: the contamination of grains following harvest.

Sesi’s product, GrainMate, allows famers and grain purchasers to affordably measure moisture levels of maize, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, and other staples...[more]

Amani Vineyards #SouthAfrica founded Carmen Stevens - @foodformzansi

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 7:51am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
Food for Mzansi reports
She may have been inspired to become a winemaker by reading her mother’s romance novels, but it was her steely determination to succeed that drove her to become Mzansi’s first winemaker of colour.

Today Carmen Stevens (Founder of Amani Vineyards ) is an award-winning winemaker selling her own wines internationally. But she is still giving back to kids who are growing up in disadvantaged communities similar to where she came from...[more]

Markets Live: Tuesday, 9th July 2019

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 6:05am  |  FT Alphaville

Live markets commentary from FT.com

Continue reading: Markets Live: Tuesday, 9th July 2019

Prepaid card transactions will hit $396 billion by 2022 — and new players like Apple, Amazon, and Venmo are trying to gain share

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:00am  |  Clusterstock

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The US prepaid card ecosystem is huge, with 10.7 billion prepaid card transactions made in 2016 reaching $290 billion. And it’s shifting focus from low-income, un- and underbanked consumers toward millennials and higher-income adults.

But as the market evolves, legacy prepaid issuers, like Green Dot, are under threat. The market is becoming more competitive as tech companies like Apple, Square, and Venmo develop their own prepaid offerings, likely as part of a push to drive customers to engage with their core peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer or digital wallet apps. These players’ robust digital offerings and ability to offer prepaid services for lower, or no fees are undercutting legacy businesses. And on top of crowding, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is implementing regulations next year that could impact some issuers’ monetization strategies.

As a result, the US prepaid card market is becoming an increasingly complicated space for issuers to navigate, so prepaid issuers need to rethink their strategies to best attract consumers. Companies can attract a bigger user base if they target younger users from both low-income and high-income segments. They should also provide convenient offerings, that integrate digital features to make account information accessible, to cater to young consumers’ preferences.

Business Insider Intelligence has put together a detailed report that explores the evolving prepaid card industry, identifies how issuers can maintain profitability in a market that’s being challenged by new players and impending government regulations, and evaluates various paths to success.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • There were 10.7 billion prepaid card transactions worth $290 billion in 2016, according to The Federal Reserve. Business Insider Intelligence expects that to grow to $396 billion by 2022. 
  • The prepaid space has historically been filled with incumbents like Green Dot. But new players, like Apple, Amazon, and Venmo, are trying to gain share, which is pushing large prepaid firms to merge or acquire one another to grow.
  • Issuers can adapt to the change in the space, and grow their share of the market, by providing convenient, multichannel access, and doing so in a way that facilitates profitability. Targeting younger consumers, both from the underbanked and high-income segments, as well as accessing users from physical as well as digital channels, can help facilitate this growth.

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the US prepaid card market and estimates its future trajectory.
  • Identifies industry leaders and the newcomers to prepaid that are threatening their market share.
  • Evaluates growth factors and inhibitors that are increasing competition in the space.
  • Issues recommendations and strategies that issuers can implement to stay ahead in such a rapidly shifting space.
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

Purchase & download the full report from our research store

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We stood outside Deutsche Bank's New York office as staff who'd just been laid off walked out. Here's what we saw.

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 6:14pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Sunday's announcement that Deutsche would be laying off 18,000 employees was swiftly followed by actual layoffs in New York City this post-holiday Monday.
  • Even though it was mid-morning after a holiday weekend and prime time to get into the office a little late, the door was almost exclusively letting people out. At one point, roughly five people were leaving a minute, while maybe one came back inside a few minutes later. 
  • Multiple people who left the building indicated that they were worried that more layoffs were coming.
  • Read more about Deutsche Bank here. 

As a steady, soft drizzle blanketed Wall Street on a sleepy Monday morning, some Deutsche Bank employees left the office earlier than expected.

Sunday's announcement that Deutsche would be laying off 18,000 employees was swiftly followed by actual layoffs in New York City this post-holiday Monday. The gloomy weather matched a low mood that has been hanging around the office for over a week.

Reports of Deutsche's imminent restructuring were floating around for weeks, after an ambitious merger with Commerzbank collapsed and the bank became the focus of an FBI money-laundering investigation that was connected to Jared Kushner's real-estate company

Deutsche's share prices fell Monday after the layoffs, continuing a long-term downward trend. Here's a short dispatch from outside Deutsche Bank's Wall Street offices.

The revolving door at the front of 60 Wall Street was letting many more people out than it was letting in.

Even though it was mid-morning after a holiday weekend and prime time to get into the office a little late, the door was almost exclusively letting people out. At one point, roughly five people were leaving a minute, while maybe one came back inside a few minutes later. 

Many of those who left the office and did not return were presumably let go from Deutsche, but almost none of them carried their desk belongings down with them. Instead, most were empty-handed and on their phones. There were a few who left holding folders, and two who carried down some belongings in blue, bank-branded tote bags. 

 



No one was interested in saying much to the press. Most avoided conversation, but a few decided to turn the tables back onto the media.

A small group of roughly ten reporters stood in front of the main entrance to Deutsche's 60 Wall Street location, taking notes, photos and videos. Instead of walking by the press, they walked along the side of the building against the guardrails to avoid conversation. Business Insider was unable to get anyone to answer direct questions, but did observe some telling tidbits.

One man, who it seems was not laid off, walked out and began taking a video of the press. He circled around the front of the building, and then walked back in.

Another man took his phone out to take a picture of the press. As he held his phone up, some of the photographers were able to snap a photo of him. He yelled out, "Enjoy that!" and smiled. He seemed to break the heavy tone of the day for a second. 



The entrance to 60 Wall Street was the scene of a range of emotion on Monday.

One man, dressed in business casual garb, walked by and asked for me to take his picture on his phone. He kneeled in front of the building, and requested that I get the company logo in the picture.  As he left, I asked him if he had just been laid off. He told me that he was given an offer to work at Deutsche and had declined.

"If I had taken this offer, I would have been laid off today," he yelled with a smile as he walked away. 

Later, a man, wearing a suit and talking on the phone, said, "Two of my friends left, they were fired on the trading floor." We were not able to speak with the man to learn the details of his story. 

Another man gave the doorman a loud high-five that echoed through the street, sounding as if they had practiced for years. 

"Goodbye," he said to the doorman as he walked away.



We overheard chatter that indicated that the layoffs may not be over.

Multiple people who left the building indicated that they were worried that more layoffs were coming. Some of them were speaking over the phone, others in large groups, but the sentiment seemed the same. They all sensed that more cuts loomed. 

 "I don't feel so safe," said one man as he walked to lunch with a group of co-workers.



ALSO READ:

Deutsche Bank cut 18,000 staff. Rivals and Wall Street insiders say it's still not enough.



Take a look at the exclusive private jet the US Women's National Team flew home from the World Cup

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 4:51pm  |  Clusterstock

  • The US Women's National Team won its second straight World Cup on Sunday, beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.
  • On Monday, they headed from the tournament in France to New York, where they'll appear in a ticker-tape parade on Wednesday.
  • They flew in an exclusive chartered 757-200 jet, traveling back to the US in comfort and luxury. Read on to take a look at what the plane is like.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US Women's National soccer team made it home following its dominating performance in the Women's World Cup in France — and they flew back to the US in style.

WE’RE COMING HOME.

See you soon,

Deutsche Bank cut 18,000 staff. Rivals and Wall Street insiders say it's still not enough.

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 4:50pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Rivals, Wall Street insiders, and investors were unimpressed by the Deutsche Bank restructuring plan announced on Sunday, despite the bank's decision to fire 18,000 people in what it characterized as a "radical transformation."
  • As people streamed out of the bank's 60 Wall St. headquarters in NYC, one person stopped to give the doorman a high five before saying "goodbye."
  • More than one person exiting the building could be overheard saying that while they still had their jobs, they felt that future job cuts may be coming. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

A steady drizzle dampened the clothes of the people streaming out of Deutsche Bank's 60 Wall St. headquarters on Monday, a day after the bank announced it would fire 18,000 people. One older man turned to the doorman and gave him a high five. "Goodbye," he said.

Others left with blue folders tucked under their arms, just a couple with bank-branded tote bags.

The dismissed were coming from town-hall style gatherings, convened to inform fired staff en masse about their benefits and next steps. Access cards were cut off. At one point Monday morning, an onlooker estimated that roughly five people were leaving through the revolving doors every minute, many more exiting than entering. 

For the some 70,000 employees who were spared, the day wasn't much better, according to three employees. More than one person exiting the building could be overheard saying that while they still had their jobs, they didn't feel safe. More cuts might be coming, they said. 

That was the prevailing wisdom across Wall Street as rivals, former employees, and others struggled to understand how Deutsche Bank's proposed changes would put the beleaguered German bank back on firm footing. The firm said it would exit equity sales and trading but chose to preserve most of its US and European equity-research teams and the equity-capital-markets operation. While rates trading will be scaled back, fixed income research was untouched, according to the lender's statement. The bank told investors to look for the changes to take hold by 2022. 

"Whatever the remaining businesses are, they don't make enough money to compete on the global landscape," according to David Hendler, an analyst at Viola Risk Advisors. "So what is the strategic worth of Deutsche Bank? It's not much, in and of itself."

Across investment banking and trading, where the lender has held a global presence, just two businesses ranked in the top three last year, according to the industry data provider Coalition.

The businesses were credit trading, where the bank tied for first with JPMorgan, and securitized trading, where it tied for third with Citigroup, according to the data. Foreign-exchange trading for the Group of 10 nations ranked as high as fourth, the data showed. Equities ranked as high as 10th, and as low as 12th. 

"The true test of Deutsche Bank's future is what will happen to its credit trading and foreign-exchange businesses," according to a consultant who has worked with the bank in the past and asked for anonymity to preserve industry relationships. "Those businesses are still strong. How much they are cut will dictate if Deutsche Bank remains a global bank or becomes a regional player."

For now, the bank has said nothing about cutting those units. But it may have to if other parts of the enterprise aren't able to pick up some slack, people said. Overall, Coalition assigned Deutsche Bank a ranking of sixth last year among the world's largest investment banks. 

One of the outstanding questions is how the bank will stay competitive in equity underwriting without a dedicated sales and trading operation to distribute the deals. One banker at a rival firm said the ECM business would be irreparably harmed without a trading arm. 

"Irrespective of what they said they want to do, it's unlikely they will do well in" mergers-and-acquisitions banking, ECM, or even other parts of fixed-income trading where they don't have a top franchise or scale to generate positive earnings, the consultant said.

Hendler said the lender's strategic plan didn't ease his concerns because it showed Deutsche Bank was returning to its roots as a corporate bank just as the rest of the industry has been moving toward consumer banking and the higher and more sustainable margins it offers. 

"Why are we going to believe that they are so smart in going the other way?" Hendler said. "They don't have the believability and they don't have the natural environmental ingredients to succeed that way," he said, adding that the bank is at a strategic disadvantage because German consumers don't borrow as much as those in other countries.

Questions like those and others left many people across Wall Street scratching their heads on Monday. Deutsche Bank's shares slid as much as 7% on Monday before closing down 6%

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A longtime healthcare VC just posted her 13 rules for entrepreneurs and investors, and they’re required reading for any startup that wants to get into the industry

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 4:47pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Healthcare investor and author Lisa Suennen released a list of "13 rules for healthcare entrepreneurs and investors." 
  • The list was created in response to Mark Cuban's list of "12 rules for startups."
  • The rules include business models to avoid, how tech entrepreneurs breaking into healthcare must adopt a different attitude and a call for gender parity in the field. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Healthcare investor and author Lisa Suennen just tweeted her 13 rules for healthcare entrepreneurs and investors. Suennen says the list took only her a couple minutes to write, as the rules come from her own expertise of what she expects as an investor. 

The list was born from a call to respond to billionaire Mark Cuban's list of "12 rules for startups." Healthcare innovation reporter Jessica DaMassa asked on Twitter for Suennen to create a healthcare list equivalent.  

"The irony of this is I dashed it out in a minute," Suennen told Business Insider.

When reading her biography, it's clear why you should pay attention to her list. Having spent more than 30 years in the healthcare, tech, and business sectors, Suennen has plenty of experience to draw from. She also runs the Venture Valkyrie blog, hosts a podcast about healthcare innovation, and wrote a book on the topic. 

Never miss out on healthcare news. Subscribe to Dispensed, our weekly newsletter on pharma, biotech, and healthcare.

Suennen has spent 20 years in venture capital, most recently leading the healthcare fund at GE Ventures and previously as a partner at Psilos Group.  Prior to that, she was part of the leadership team that built an $800 million behavioral healthcare company called Merit Behavioral Care.

Suennen is now the leader of Manatt Phelps & Phillips digital and technology businesses and venture capital fund. 

Her list of "13 rules for healthcare entrepreneurs and investors" follows, along with additional insights from an interview Suennen did with Business Insider: 

The 13 rules for healthcare entrepreneurs and investors
  1. If the problem you're solving isn't keeping customers up at night, keep working.
  2. If you aren't sure who will pay, you are doomed. Suennen said that understanding how money flows and who pays for what within the industry is essential for making it in healthcare. "If you don't understand how money flows through the system, you won't be successful," she said. 
  3. Patients are the point, don't forget to include them in the design and testing.
  4. Remember, value-based is still a long way off — the business model must account for this.
  5. If your product helps payers but hurts providers and you need both to play, try again.
  6. Consumers won't pay for things they think insurance should cover.
  7. Proof of concept is nice, proof of efficacy and value is essential.
  8. There is no Minimum Viable Product when humans are involved - get it right. Suennen discussed the problem of using a tech startup model in the healthcare industry. "In tech you move fast and break things. That does not happen in healthcare," Suennen said. "You cannot move fast and break people."

    While she believes tech investment in healthcare is a healthy area of growth, she said that tech can't come in and magically solve the problems within the healthcare industry. "You need traditional healthcare and non-traditional healthcare people to make the best healthcare outcome," she said.
  9. Be clear on how money flows through the system you touch, and who touches the money.
  10. Wellness and prevention are essential but no one wants to pay for them.
  11. If what it causes is worse that what it cures, you aren't done yet.
  12. Women make 85% of healthcare decisions - make them a key part of the team. Suennen's citing from a report by Oliver Wyman, that found that women make 80% of healthcare buying decisions but that only around 13% of healthcare CEOs are women. The report also notes that 65% of the healthcare workforce is female. "You need diversity on the team," Suennen said. "It can't all be middle aged white men."
  13. Investing in healthcare is not for the faint of heart — get a coffee because it's gonna take a while.

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