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Kurt Rupert

Blogs and Reviews

Bell Moore Group Inc. Review: Importance of Creating Worthwhile Value

How do we create value? Or how do we define it?


In business, creating value simply means providing your client with a benefit that outweighs the payment you receive in exchange for your service. Such benefit involves good service and support as well as providing real business outcomes that will maximize their potential income generation.


Bell Moore Group Inc. believes that creating value means involving the client fully in the process. It is our mission to consider their best interest while addressing their problems and generating real business solutions that will move them into their future plans. Bell Moore’s ability to create value as well as other financial and technical component has what maintained their reputation in the real estate industry. The firm believes that to gain the complete trust of each client, you need to understand their specific requirements and what they aspire to achieve in business.


Bell Moore was established on 1991, the firm’s principals, Rianne Bell and Lynn Moore, have delivered excellent professional service to many clients, including Sentinel Pension in New York, MAB American Property REIT in Australia, Paul Mitchell Trust in Hawaii and Summit REIT in Canada. Furthermore, they are also responsible for assisting former U.S Ambassador Mark Erwin in their family-owned investment company in Charlotte and other institutional clients locally and nationally.


In one of Bellmoore Group Inc review, paying attention to the client is important. Incorporating them into the process all throughout is critical for the success of the operation in the field of providing third-party management, leasing, brokerage and consulting services. Over the years, the firm has harnessed and developed what it requires to create value that will benefit the client over time giving the same value the company has consistently provided to all clients.

Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants Review: A passion for design

Devin is often described to as a professional equipped with so much passion in doing a brilliant art related work. She is assiduous in designing spaces for art and including art into existing spaces. If you need an expert to curate and place artwork for your home or commercial space, Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants can be of huge help since Devin is capable of doing any art related capacity and work within any budget. Her service ranges from commissioning unique works of art, buying from local galleries to purchasing from retail websites.


Devin has a genuine and trained understanding of the value of art with her degree in Art History and a certificate in Decorative and Fine Art Appraisal Studies from New York University. Her talent and passion for art are so remarkable that her master’s thesis entitled “The Interrelationship of Art and Space: An Investigation Of Late 19th And Early Twentieth Century European Painting” received the Joel Polsky Achievement Award from the ASID Educational Foundation and is featured in IIDA’s Knowledge Center.  She studied the significance of color, texture, placement, scale, and context of art in space in her said thesis. This is also made because of her huge interest in the relationship between art and space. And because of her true passion for art, the National Gallery of Art in the Design and Installation Department appointed her a Graduate Internship and served on Washington State University's Art Selection Committee as well.


Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants takes into account the budget, goals, and style of every client in creating a careful and curated interior design and art consulting. Devin meticulously plans everything to create timeless and inspired interiors that are custom made to each client. She always does a beautiful job through finding inspiration in the rich details of the past and modern simplicity.


You can also depend on Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants’ recommendation on new paint colors, suggestions on new furniture, and description of a complete interior. Devin is really reliable with any residential and commercials projects whether they are large or small. If it is your first time to acquire the service of such professional, don’t hesitate to give Devin a call. She’s very enthusiastic in working with clients especially to first timers. She enjoys the company of a team and dealing with the concerns of the clients individually. Devin is very much known because of her kind and gentle approach, and her overall passion for art and design.

Philosophy of TCG Tokyo Consulting Group Japan

Management philosophy


The reason we work for


Why do we work?


The person who works with the motive to get something often thinks that he or she isn't getting anything in return, in spite of working so hard. However, the reason behind this is, just because one thinks that he or she is giving something to the customer or society does not necessarily mean that the customer / society think that they are being given something.


In other words, the real reason why one cannot get anything is because one is not giving anything.


We are, by instinct, self-centered. We tend to put the blame for our failure to get anything on others - for instance, our senior's evaluations, our manager's carelessness, and so on. We should realize early that we cannot take more than what we give. If we realize this, then we will be able to understand the importance of giving again and again, relentlessly, to the society. If we keep giving, money, knowledge, experience, and everything we dream of will come abundantly later on.


On the basis of this principle, we at Tokyo Consulting Group are committed to contribute to the society through our customers.


What is Success?


The general image we tend to have of a successful individual is that of a very wealthy person, with a highly prestigious social status.


Then, we might also think that it is not necessary to succeed by working so hard, and that if there exists an easy path to success, it is better to follow that. We can see only what the successful person possesses. However, it is important to be aware of why this person has so much. A successful person is one who keeps giving something valuable to the society.


To whom should we give value? (Who is the client?)


What are the values that we should give? (What are the products and services?)


How should we give? (The specific strategy)


If we think over the above 3 points and start giving to the society through our customers, we can all become successful individuals from that point. However, if one strongly wants to succeed, then one soon becomes self-centered and starts to think only about the products and services that must be sold. By doing so, one fails to understand the real needs of customers. As a result, such individual eventually becomes a failure who merely thinks of acquiring material possessions for him or herself only. Hence, such an individual may never become a successful person in the society.




If we are aware that we are successful, then we feel very happy. Happiness means a "sustained peace of mind". No matter how much wealth we get, if we are influenced by personal interest, then we cannot maintain our peace of mind, and so we will not be able to sustain our happiness for long.


If we can sustain our happiness, the feeling of gratitude will naturally come about. We will naturally be able to thank the fact that we are living and are being let to live. It is but natural to firstly thank our parents who gave birth to us. We are devoted to our parents from our heart. Only then, we are able to feel thankful for living in this society. This kind of gratitude makes us clearly aware of our "mission".


By becoming aware of the social mission given to us and the reason we live and work for, we will further be able to keep contributing to the society. On the base of such values, we at Tokyo Consulting Group, all sharing the same vision, continue to contribute to the society.

Source: http://issuu.com/pertkurt/docs/philosophy_of_tcg_tokyo_consulting_

Tokyo MK Taxi: Ansette en Limo for ditt neste arrangement

Limousiner leve til navnet som et symbol på stil, klasse og eleganse. Det har vært lenge regnet som den luksuriøse kjøretøyet rike og berømte mennesker og vanligvis drevet av sjåfører. Noen er eid av rike mennesker, mens mange er eid av regjeringen å transport utenlandske gjest politiker og store selskaper transport CEO og ledere. En limousin har vanligvis en partisjon mellom den kupeen og driveren i sitt eget rom slik at samtaler mellom passasjerer i rommet vil bli holdt privat fra sjåføren.


Men er borte dagene at bare kraftig og velstående har privilegiet av og glede av riding denne førsteklasses kjøretøy. I dag, spredning av limo tjeneste har gjort bilene rimelig og dermed ble det tilgjengelig for et bredere spekter av folk som begynner å oppdage spenningen av utgiftene var overdådige ved å ansette en limousin for en stasjon på byen. Som ikke ville elske ideen om sitter komfortabelt i en limo med privatsjåfør service, rett?


I dag, leide limousiner er multipurpose og kan brukes av vanlige folk til spesielle anledninger som bryllup, reunion, prom, bursdagsselskap, jubileum og bedriftsreiser eller for en tur på natten i byen. Hvis du er i ferd med planlegger en spesiell hendelse og finne deg selv sittende fast på transport aspekt av det, hvorfor ikke leie en limo? Limousiner forbindes med luksus, klasse og stil. Ridning i en limo er en unik opplevelse av luksus og komfort i livet som du ikke bør frata deg av. Det kan være en perfekt formelle kjøretøy for bryllupet så velge en suveren limousin for den beste dagen i ditt liv! Noen limousiner er utformet til å bære store antall mennesker, som er perfekte for skytling din brudepiker og gjester å komme til spillested med stil og stress-fri måte.


Det er mange anerkjente limo service tilbydere tilgjengelig for å imøtekomme alle krav, smak og preferanser. Tokyo MK Taxi har lenge vært servering folk i Japan, Korea og USA tilbyr ikke bare en tur i stil, men en enkel og stress-fri måte å reise og komme frem til bestemmelsesstedet valgt. Videre er det mange ulike fabrikater og modeller av limousiner som kan bli valgt av de leter ritt som ingen andre, eller ultimate taxi rides i luksus, stil og komfort. Med over 212 typer taxi og 58 forskjellige modeller av limousiner, kan vi gi høyre limo service alles behov. Tokyo MK Taxi har Lexus gruppe entusiaster og biler i sine kjøretøy flåte er Lexus 600 hl, Lexus 460, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota Hiace og Nissan Fuga Hybrid og mange flere.

Grab Your Camera. Spring Migration is Happening Now!

Spring is in the air! That means hundreds of migrating birds are heading north across the Gulf from Central and South America and Galveston is one of their first stops.


If you're a bird-watcher or nature photographer, you may already know that the Galveston FeatherFest Birding and Nature Photo Festival is coming up April 6-9. Leading up to the festival, photographers are invited to submit images of wild birds taken in Galveston and surrounding counties. Contest details are here.


The winners each week will be announced on Wednesdays and posted here.


For a little inspiration, the nice folks at Galveston Nature Tourism Council allowed us to assemble this slide show of winners from the 2016 contest.


Be sure to mark your calendar for April 6-9 for the Galveston Birding and Nature Photo Festival and head down to the island.  You are sure to learn something and see some really cool birds!


If you want to participate in any of the trips or workshops, be sure to register early. Many of the events sell out well in advance.

Galveston Financial Capital: Starting Your Business



  1. What basic skills do I need to run a business?
  2. What business should I choose?
  3. What do I need to start my business?
  4. How long will it take to start a small business?
  5. How can I get my business certified as minority or women owned?
  6. What insurance should I have?
  7. Do I need to obtain a Federal Identification Number?


What basic skills do I need to run a business?


Starting a business can be challenging and previous business experience can be an important success factor. First hand knowledge of business and its four functional areas – management, operations, marketing, finance – and an understanding of the role of technology, contribute to a solid foundation and provide a basis for making informed business decisions.


What business should I choose?


Business experience is a plus, and the right kind of experience gives you an edge. Having worked in the industry you choose for your new business gives you insight and know-how that can be invaluable. Combine your background in the industry with strong management skills and you are on your way to success.


What do I need to start my business?


The Texas Road Map to Starting a Business contains directions to get your business off the ground and help strengthen our state economy along the way. This booklet covers eight essential steps to starting a new business.


How can I get my business certified as minority or women owned?


Federal, state and local government agencies as well as large private sector corporations have different eligibility requirements and application processes for certifying your business. The common denominator is that the business MUST be at lease 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are eligible for certification. Consult your target customer to determine which certification(s) they accept. Then, learn the requirements and rules to determine if you are eligible to apply.


What insurance should I have?


An important aspect of your business is a well-planned insurance program. Types of insurance you should consider are:


  • Property Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance
  • Automobile Insurance
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Disability Insurance
  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance


Do I need to obtain a Federal Identification Number?


Sole proprietorships without employees can use the proprietor's social security number as a business identification number, providing the proprietor uses his or her own name for the business. Using a different name and/or hiring employees requires obtaining a federal identification number from the Internal Revenue Service (Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number).

Security and Risk Complaints Online on Home instead launches cybersecurity campaign


By Mat Batts the Dispatch


Home Instead Senior Care launched a nationwide campaign Friday aimed at better preparing seniors for internet scams and financial fraud attempts.


The effort, a partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance, includes online resources as well as in-person seminars that provide detailed explanations of what online scams are and how senior citizens can stay protected.


The new program comes at a particularly relevant time locally, Home Instead Community Engagement Coordinator Shannon Holland said, as Davidson County residents continue to question how the sensitive information of more than 3,200 Davidson County Schools employees was breached through a phishing scam last month.


Holland said Lexington’s Home Instead office is offering the cybersecurity seminar to any community groups interested in learning more about the threats senior citizens could face.


According to a press release accompanying the fraud prevention rollout, Home Instead said senior citizens are often targeted by scammers because of a perceived accumulated wealth, and the idea that seniors might be less likely to report the crime.


“For seniors, this is a time in their lives when they should be able to trust that their life’s earning are protected,” Shanna Howard, owner of the local Home Instead office serving Davidson and Davie counties, said in the release. “Unfortunately, we know there are people who violate this trust.


“That’s why we are committed to helping seniors understand the ways they are at risk online and how to protect their information to reduce their chances of being scammed.”


Home Instead reported that nearly 97 percent of seniors age 70 and older are using the internet at least once a week to check email, manage money and keep in touch via social media. Of those who use the internet, according to a Home Instead survey, 67 percent have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. More than 38 percent, the survey said, report that someone has tried to scam them online, and 28 percent of surveyed seniors have mistakenly downloaded a computer virus.


According to a survey conducted by Home Instead on the cybersecurity risks senior citizens face, approximately one in five seniors operates a computer without any anti-virus software. Sixty-eight percent of the seniors surveyed report using a single password to protect their accounts across multiple websites.


Tax season also presents additional challenges for seniors who risk inadvertently revealing personal tax information or falling victim to a scam by someone posing as the IRS. While most seniors reported doing their taxes offline in the Home Instead survey, more 20 percent of seniors did report filing their taxes online and said they felt safe doing so.


Included in both the online and hard-copy information provided through the Home Instead program are tips on how to spot scams related to the IRS and who to contact in the event of an attempted scam.


“Cybersecurity is about risk reduction,” Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, said in the release. “It’s difficult to achieve perfect security. But you can help older adults work to make themselves a more difficult target.”


Home Instead recommends that seniors create strong passwords and vary them from website to website, to avoid the risk of a large-scale breach in the event that a password is recovered by a scammer.


Additional tips also include monitoring a senior’s privacy settings on social media to ensure that information is shared only with close friends and family. Seniors who receive an inquiry online about taxes or a bank account should contact the company directly by phone to determine if the inquiry is legitimate.


An online quiz provided through protectseniorsonline.com walks seniors through 10 specific scenarios related to internet use, asking if they detect any red flags. Based on their answers, the quiz breaks down each risk with suggested courses of actions should a senior citizen come across a similar situation in real life.


Anyone interested in hosting a Home Instead internet security education seminar can contact Lexington’s Home Instead office at (336) 249-1011.


Mat Batts can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 227, or at mat.batts@the-dispatch.com. Follow Mat on Twitter: @LexDispatchMB

Get Prepared: How to Safeguard your Small Business against Cyberattacks

Every business that uses a computer, email, software and the internet on a daily basis should establish computer security to protect their business on threats from cybercriminals. In most cases, small business are an appealing target for cybercriminals due to their lack of resources in establishing a strong security for their website, accounts and networks systems, thus, making cyberattacks a relatively easy job. Remember, a single successful cyberattack can seriously damage your business. Here are some and simple practices you should implement to strengthen the internet security of your small business:


  • Create and implement basic security practices and policies for all your employees to abide and educate them on cyberattacks and the impact it may bring to the business. This will ensure that your staff has appropriate awareness training, so that everyone understands their role in keeping the business secure.
  • Frequently back up important data. For added security, encrypt it. Store your backup copies either offsite or in the cloud. Computers and electronic devices must be physically locked and secured to prevent unauthorized access.
  • You must require a strong unique password on all your computers to make sure that only authorized individuals have access to the data. Consider creating a password expiration policy or implement a multi-factor authentication that requires additional details aside from a password to gain entry from the system.
  • Make yourself updated on latest schemes that cybercriminals do to victimize a business. Learning the newest threats on your business will help you in establishing a plan to protect your business even more.
  • Make it a habit of shredding documents and receipts that contain sensitive information such as personal and financial details if it is no longer needed.
  • One of the basic precautions to protect your company’s data is to make sure that all computers have antivirus and antispyware software installed and up-to-date. Make use of firewalls and spam filters too for added security.
  • Consider the services of a trustworthy company that works with small business to do difficult or time-consuming task. Such as utilizing the payroll service of Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP).
Source: http://www.bagtheweb.com/b/W2aUGe

A shoe e-retailer takes steps to improve its fraud detection by Online Security

Fast-growing Schutz Shoes upgrades its fraud detection software to slash manual reviews and improve order processing.


Online orders were flowing into shoe e-retailer Schutz Shoes, the U.S. division of Brazilian-based shoe retailer Arezzo & Co., but the small team spent an increasing amount of time checking whether an order was fraudulent. When one employee on a staff of seven has to manually review the legitimacy of an online order, that’s time away from customers and other business, says Kimberly Gort, e-commerce manager for Schutz.


Schutz Shoes started selling online in 2014 operating its e-commerce site in the basement of its New York City store. That first year, Schutz had about $350,000 in online sales. In 2015, about half of its product catalog was available online and sales grew to $1.5 million. Now, with all of its products available online, Schutz Shoes projects about $3 million in online sales for 2016, Gort says. The retailer also opened a store in Los Angeles.


With triple-digit percentage growth comes growing pains. When the e-retailer received a modest five online orders a day, using the free tool from its e-commerce platform provider (Shopify Inc.) worked fine, Gort says. The plugin would flag orders that might be fraudulent, and the retailer decided to approve or decline such orders.  For example, the tool flagged an order if the credit card and shipping addresses didn’t match, so a Schutz employee had to call the customer and determine if it was a legitimate order. Deciding what was and wasn’t fraudulent often was difficult, Gort says.


“There’s always a risk,” she says. “It was like we were playing roulette.”


The situation frustrated the retailer and the shopper, as some shoppers were blocked from placing an order or their order was delayed or they had to deal with a phone call from the retailer. Schutz was missing out on orders, devoting almost a full employee to manually check the orders and seek out consumers to verify information. As order volume and sales grew, the manual-review model no longer worked, Gort says.


In July, Schutz Shoes decided to integrate fraud detection software provider ClearSale onto its platform, choosing the vendor because it was used by parent company Arezzo. It took about two weeks to integrate the technology onto Schutz’s site, Gort says.


ClearSale factors in about 100 variables to approve or deny orders, and then has its 500-person team to dig deeper on flagged orders, says Rafael Lourenco, vice president of operations at ClearSale. Orders can be approved within three seconds, while an order that requires manual review will take 24-48 hours, he says.


The impact of adding ClearSale was almost immediate, Gort says, as Schutz Shoes was no longer on the hook to manually check flagged orders. The e-retailer now approves 94-96% of its orders, which is about a 5% increase from when it relied on its free plugin, Gort says.


ClearSale charges per transaction and takes a 0.4-1.5% cut of the sale. The commission is worth it, Gort says, as more sales are approved. In August, Schutz Shoes paid ClearSale $1,500. The retailer processed 1,200 online orders that month, 1,002 of which ClearSale reviewed in some capacity; of those 1,002 orders, 973 (97.1%) were approved.


ClearSale has about 2,000 clients, and more than 90% are retailers, Lourenco says. Across all of its clients, 93.5% of orders are automatically approved, Lourenco says.


Recently, ClearSale updated its formula with another variable to approve or deny orders. The feature factors in how long a consumer is on the website before she purchases. The shorter it is, the more suspect. However, this is only one variable and a short time between landing on the site and purchasing will not automatically flag an order, Lourenco says. The new feature increased ClearSale’s average approval rate by 1%, he says.

Online Security: Cyber crime How companies are hit by email scams

Fraudsters are using clever impersonation techniques to siphon millions from unprotected businesses


When Keith McMurtry, corporate controller of Scoular, a 124-year-old US grain-trading and storage company, was asked by his chief executive to wire $17.2m to an offshore bank account, he did not question it.


Chuck Elsea told Mr McMurtry in a top-secret email that Scoular was in talks to acquire a Chinese company. The chief executive instructed him to liaise with a lawyer at KPMG who would provide the wiring instructions to an account in China.


“We need the company to be funded properly and to show sufficient strength toward the Chinese. Keith, I will not forget your professionalism in this deal, and I will show you my appreciation very shortly,” Mr Elsea wrote in an email in June 2014. Over three transactions, Mr McMurtry transferred the $17.2m to an account in the name of Dadi Co at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, according to an affidavit signed by an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and filed in a Nebraska court.


The email was a fraud. Criminals impersonated Mr Elsea by creating a phoney email account in his name. They also set up fake email and phone numbers in the name of a real KPMG partner, who later said he had never heard of Scoular. US authorities have traced the emails and phone number to Germany, France, Israel and Russia.


Scoular, which is ranked 66th on Forbes’ list of the US’s largest private companies with revenues of $5.9bn, is one of several thousand companies that have fallen victim to a new type of fraud known as business email compromise schemes which have netted $800m in the past six months.


In January 2015, Xoom, an international money transfer company bought for $890m last July by PayPal, a pioneer in digital payments, said an employee in its finance department was duped into transferring $30.8m in corporate cash to an overseas account.


Ubiquiti Networks, a US manufacturer of wireless networking products, disclosed that its finance department was targeted last June by an imposter and transferred $46.7m to overseas accounts. After discovering the fraud the company began legal proceedings and has recovered $8.1m.


In the boss’s name


More than 12,000 businesses worldwide have been targeted by the scams, also known as CEO email schemes, between October 2013 and this month. The transactions have netted criminals $2bn, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, an intelligence and investigative group within the FBI that tracks computer crimes. Companies large and small, across 108 countries, have been hit and the threat is growing, law enforcement officials say.


“It has gotten quite out of hand,” says Mitchell Thompson, a supervisory special agent and head of the financial cyber crimes task force in the FBI’s New York office.


The criminals are “becoming more brash”, he says, by introducing third parties, such as law firms and consultants, to carry out the fraud. They have also become more sophisticated about how they troll potential victims.


“They’re using social media a lot against us. They might send a spam email intentionally to see that the executive is out of the office, [making] it prime time to target. They might look on Facebook and see that [the chief executive is] travelling to Europe or Australia so they know you’re in the air for a certain amount of time” and have a window to strike, Mr Thompson says.


Tricking people using the internet to steal money is hardly new. There have been criminal groups taking advantage of users of dating websites and fundraisers for disasters or terrorist attacks. A decade ago authorities were flooded with complaints of bogus Nigerian email scams and false lottery winners.


Criminals use a variety of tactics. Sometimes they gain access to executives’ emails by hacking into the accounts using phishing emails. The accounts of chief executives can also be spoofed by changing a letter or replacing a company’s official email service with a Gmail account. The phoney account created to mimic the KPMG lawyer used the suffix @kpmg-office.com, a fake address convincing enough to trick someone who is not checking carefully.


The criminals usually impersonate the executive and order the transfer, often through a second account they secretly control, such as the one said to belong to the KPMG lawyer. The money is sent to accounts in Asia or Africa, where it is harder for authorities to recover. By the time the company realises it has been duped, authorities say, the money has long gone.


Mr McMurtry told the FBI that he was not suspicious of the transfers since Scoular was discussing an expansion in China and he had been working on an annual audit with KPMG, according to the FBI affidavit. Mr McMurtry, who is no longer with Scoular, did not respond to requests for comment. Scoular also declined to speak.


Inauspicious origins


The scam began simply enough. Mr McMurtry received an email purporting to be from Mr Elsea. “I have assigned you to manage file FT-809,” the bogus email said. “This is a strictly confidential operation, which takes priority over other tasks. Have you already been contacted by Rodney Lawrence [the KPMG lawyer]?” It went on: “This is very sensitive, so please only communicate with me through this email, in order for us not to infringe SEC regulations.”


The following day “Mr Elsea” sent another email stating that the transfer was urgent and he should “proceed asap with the wire to the same beneficiary and bank account as yesterday”.


FBI agents traced the phoney email account in Mr Elsea’s name to Germany. The KPMG email name was linked to a server in Moscow. The phone number provided was traced to a Skype account registered in Israel.


Scoular’s lawyers told the FBI that Wells Fargo said Dadi — the name on the account in Shanghai where Mr McMurtry sent the money — manufactured army boots. Dadi claimed to the bank that the wire transfers were part of a sales contract for the manufacture of boots, according to the FBI affidavit. Scoular said it did not purchase boots.


Mr Lawrence, the KPMG lawyer whose identity was used in the email scheme, is the global leader of KPMG’s international tax services. When interviewed by the FBI he told them he was not familiar with Scoular and had not spoken with anyone at the company, according to the affidavit.


The FBI obtained a court order to seize the funds held at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank but was told that the account had been closed and the funds transferred.


Business email compromise crimes are “a huge” problem, says Austin Berglas, head of cyber investigations at K2 Intelligence and a former chief of the FBI’s cyber branch in New York. Executives are so reliant on email they do not pick up the phone to confirm the transaction and “there is no second check,” he adds.


Some of the email scams are similar, suggesting they come from the same criminal organisation.


The FBI and US Justice Department have several investigations under way. Over the past 12 months the FBI has put more intelligence analysts on the case and have liaised with law enforcement agencies worldwide. “We will open cases this year and we will make arrests this year,” says James Barnacle, chief of the FBI’s money laundering unit.


‘Strictly confidential’


Glen Wurm, director of accounting at AFGlobal Corp, which makes products for the aerospace, oil and gas industries, received an email in May 2014 similar to that sent to Scoular.


Purportedly from Gean Stalcup, the company’s chief executive, it said: “Glen, I have assigned you to manage file T521. This is a strictly confidential financial operation which takes priority over other tasks. Have you already been contacted by Steven Shapiro [attorney KPMG]?”


Mr Wurm was told not to speak to anyone and was directed to wire $480,000 to an account at the “Agriculture Bank of China”, according to legal documents. The hacker mimicked the tone Mr Stalcup used with Mr Wurm, according to a lawsuit that AFGlobal filed against its insurer Federal Insurance.


Six days later, Mr Shapiro contacted Mr Wurm confirming he had received the transfer, adding that he needed another $18m, according to a lawsuit. At this point Mr Wurm became suspicious and said he could not send so much money without alerting senior executives.


It was too late: the bank account had been emptied. AFGlobal is suing Federal Insurance and Chubb, its parent company, seeking more than $1m for allegedly breaching its contract by not covering the claim. Chubb has declined to comment.


Mr Thompson has declined to discuss either scheme but says criminal groups copy successful tactics. While some schemes have been as large as $90m, the average loss is $120,000.


“The ones you don’t hear about are the smaller corporations that send $50,000. They’re saying, ‘I’m not going to make payroll, we’re going to close our doors’ as a result of the fraud,” Mr Thompson says.


There is little that companies can do to recover the funds. Banks are not required by law to reimburse a company that makes a transfer. Cyber insurance policies might not cover a fraud against a company if its network has not been hacked.


“The bank will look at the totality of what the company has done to protect itself and whether or not they’re adhering to the agreement that the company has signed associated with the initiation of any of these wires,” says Doug Johnson, senior vice-president of overseas payments and cyber security at the American Bankers Association. One good practice is requiring the approval of two people, he says.


That practice is not fail-safe, however.


Like AFGlobal, Medidata Solutions, a clinical technology company, fell victim to email fraud in September 2014.


An employee in accounts received an email from an executive requesting a money transfer, according to a lawsuit filed in a federal New York court against Federal Insurance. The email included an image of the executive’s face and his signature.


Like the other alleged scams, the email included the name of a lawyer, who would act as a liaison for the employee. The employee told the lawyer that he needed the approval of two others before a $4.7m transfer could be made.


The fraudsters had a solution, though. Later that day, two employees with authority to sign off on the transfer were emailed instructions, purporting to be from the chief executive of Medidata, telling them to approve the wire to a bank account in China.


The transfer went through. Two days later, an email from the lawyer told the same employees to initiate a second transfer of $4.8m. One of the employees had grown nervous and called the executive direct — stopping the fraud and saving millions for the company.


Yet law enforcement officials say companies need to be more vigilant to guard against a crime that has become simpler to commit. “It’s easy,” says Mr Barnacle. “All you need is a computer.”

Mercury Capital Advisors: Digital Wealth Management - Robo Advise is not just for Millennials any more


Lured by the presence of lower commissions and the absence of sometimes awkward sales pressure, investors of all stripes appear eager to embark on relationships with robo-advisors.


But fear not. That doesn’t mean investors will “unfriend” their professional financial advisors. Most still want the option of talking to a trusted financial confidante. For investment firms, the challenge is how best to combine digital, low-cost investment advisory services with the traditional approach.


It’s becoming clear that no single formula exists for how—and at what cost—traditional wealth managers should mix a digital experience into their designed client journey. Several brokerages have developed proprietary robo-advisory platforms in-house. Others have been acquiring existing robo-technology to build out their service, offering it as a white-label solution. Indeed, the sector has not lacked for deal-making activity as industry players hunt for the kind of technology they need to bag premium-paying procurers.


In February, for instance, Mercury Capital launched a pilot program in collaboration with Emotomy, leveraging the latter’s digital advice platform. That engagement is the latest of many industry marriages, which have also included RBC Wealth Management’s alliance with FutureAdvisor and Pershing’s partnership with Marstone, both of which are aimed at producing technology platforms for advisors. The commotion is not likely to stop there, as more and more incumbents sense the potential for automated advice-givers. The market can expect to see other asset management firms, as well as wealth advisors, find ways to get in on the robo-activity. Over the long term, such partnerships may expand to combine personal relationships and digital experiences customized for each client segment. While digital platforms will need time to scale, :


Robo-advisors have broad appeal. Such partnerships indicate that the emerging hybrid model is aimed squarely at addressing a demographic beyond millennials. Even high net-worth clients, whose complex needs typically require human intervention, will want the option of


interacting with a digital wealth experience that guides them on their route from prospect to client. The dreaded baby boomer cohort isn’t retreating at the sight of the millennials. In fact, as members of the older generation succumb to retirement, their needs will grow more complex.


Millennials will serve as early adopters.The next generation of investors has been quick to embrace new technologies and experiences, and this should apply to robo-advisors. Furthermore, millennials have a general mistrust of large financial institutions, particularly in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. Unlike their parents, who forged close relationships with advisors—even using their phones to have conversations with them, as primitive as that sounds—millennials are equally comfortable with making digital connections. They’ve been conditioned to accept that technology can match the performance of its human predecessors, while offering reduced fees and providing greater convenience.


Robo-advisors will gain popularity across all client segments. As machine-learning algorithms continue to develop and produce an investment record, consumers are likely to use these services more and more to complement their existing investment methods. As millennials mature—and their assets increase—they could very well tilt the balance toward more automation, which would be augmented at higher asset levels with a personal relationship.


Typical to any disruptive innovation in financial services, the first to market addresses the underserved. Robo-advisors like Betterment, Wealthfront, and Personal Capital did just that. But automated digital advice has clearly attracted the attention of incumbents. Established players are deploying a quick follow strategy through acquisitions and creating “me too” experiences that emulate disruptors. Scale and distribution matter, and the quick followers don’t need to get it perfect. What’s next? Differentiation. The leaders will need to design a unique digital experience integrated into the fabric of how they serve their clients that combines personal relationships with a digital experience.

Source: http://mercurycapitaladvisors.com/digital-wealth-management-robo-advise-is-not-just-for-millennials-any-more

Bricon Associates Pte Ltd - Health Insurance


Health Coverage from:


AXA Health Insurance


Raffles Health Insurance




Health insurance is a true necessity in today’s modern world. If you’re worried about the cost of health insurance then there are a number of schemes designed to help you pay. It’s a lot cheaper than the costs you can accrue when you don’t have health insurance. Our health insurers are Raffles Health Insurance and AXA. With these we offer a broad range of healthcare policies.


Health insurance covers medical costs, dental bills, and covers you in case of accidents and things of that nature. How much your health insurance costs depends on things like pre-existing conditions but, if you have pre-existing conditions, it becomes all the more important for you to pick up health insurance today.


New Mothers Support Group Singapore on Blue House Playtime at the weekend

Enjoy our new weekend event at Blue House UE square. Check out the new location at UE Square for an afternoon of soft play in a beautiful sunlight filled Reggio Emilia inspired space.


You can take advantage of a discounted rate of 15$ (instead of 25$) for 1 hour of free play and exploration.  As a NMSG member, you get complimentary membership (U.P. $50) to Blue House.


New Mothers Support Group Singapore look forward to seeing you there and enjoying this regular event.


Please register your attendance with us via Meetup​


Blue House, 83 Clemanceau, 01/35 UE Square, Office Tower


Time 3.00pm to 4.30pm


Dates 2016

Saturday 12 November

Saturday 10 December



Louise Montefiore

Harmony Chinese Takeaway Review: A captivating local takeaway

As one of the people living locally in Bournemouth, I see Harmony Chinese Takeaway as the best local takeaway. Its Chinese cuisine is incomparable to others. Its friendly service also makes us enjoy their food. They are the best providers of delicious Chinese foods in our area. You can be certain that each dish is served with delicious flavors. In particular, their beef and chicken were always cooked in good quality with good sized portions. People should try their chicken balls because they were so tasty and were viewed as the biggest ones.


Preparing their food is based on high standards, so it's no doubt that customers will be astonished by their service and food, especially with their quick delivery and honest serving. Tourists also consider Harmony Chinese Takeaway as a place that only offers awesome and outstanding Chinese food in Bournemouth.


Harmony is one of those rare takeaways that everyone liked, their food made every person who's not fond of Chinese cuisine love them. We tried a lot of different Chinese restaurants but this particular takeaway got our attention. Since all of their food was delicious, you can't choose which one is your favorite since every dish offers a different taste and has a wonderful flavor.


With its good reviews, it seems that most of their customers can't help but to come back again to the place to experience its good food. Even when you accidentally made a mistake when you ordered online, they could handle such situation properly. A customer can truly depend on Harmony Chinese Takeaway in providing superb food and service.


Personally, this place has been close to my heart ever since the day I began ordering their food. Though the time is short, I often chat with its people and have a good time. Waiting for my food to finish has never been this rewarding. With them, I now found the place where I'll always buy worthwhile food. Anyone living in Bournemouth, as well as its surrounding areas, should try the food at Harmony Chinese Takeaway.


Pro Axia Consultants Business Consulting Group in Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya, Japan: The Role of Management Accounting in Decision-making

The role of management accounting in decision-making is crucial. As a business owner, you are expected to face a lot of decisions every day, thus you need to improve your decision-making. You can do this by understanding the great importance of managerial accounting information, which provides data-driven input to those decisions. Businesses could be more successful if small business managers use this powerful tool and learn how management accounting can benefit common business decision contexts.


Management accounting can pave the way to relevant cost analysis. It entails the managerial accounting information used by the company management to determine what should be sold and how to sell them. One example is when an owner is uncertain on where to put his/her marketing efforts. Relevant cost analysis is a process that involves evaluating this decision through the accounting manager's assessment of the costs which differ between advertising alternatives for each product. This technique is taught in basic managerial accounting courses.

Through the same process, adding product lines or discontinuing operations can also be determined.


Management accounting can also conclude activity-based costing techniques. The next step after finding what products to sell is deciding to whom to sell the products by determining which customer are more or less profitable. Such techniques can also help small business management to assess the required activities in producing and servicing a product line.


Make or buy analysis is achievable with management accounting. It allows you as the owner to decide whether to make or buy a component needed to manufacture your products. This analysis should only be considered as a factor in making your decision because there are possible non-financial metrics that were not part of the analysis that could be considered significant.


Management accounting can also bring forth data utilization. Managerial accounting information can help you acquire a data-driven look at how to develop a small business. Information on budgeting, financial statement projections and balance scorecards can help management guide the future of the business. Depending on the smart analysis of the company data, managers can aim for constant improvement.

Top 5 bizarre interview questions and how to answer them

There’s an apocryphal story that has been bandied about for years, about an interview where the interviewer asked a candidate: “Do something to surprise me”. The interviewee got out his lighter and set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper. It’s not an action we would advise emulating, but very definitely comes under the heading of utterly incomprehensible interview questions.


Why do these questions get asked?


"Why do these questions get asked" is a tricky question to answer, but as it appears to have started in Silicon Valley during the tech boom its roots are likely to be found in the free-thinking, mould-breaking philosophy that many of the tech pioneers applied to their businesses. Ultimately for some interviewer it’s about unearthing someone who offers more than just “can you do the job”. Wall Street soon followed suit and the practice has become more commonplace. The question for most of us is not why are they asked but how do I answer them?


First and foremost you should remember there isn’t a right answer, depending on the nature of the question, which these questions are about your thought processes, your coolness under pressure, your personality and your approach to problem solving. What you don’t do is say, “I don’t know”, or “that’s a good question” and stare off into space. Let’s take the question: “How many cricket bats are there in the world?” You could either pluck an answer out of thin air: “Three million?”, or go about figuring out how to work it out. “Well, if the population of the sporting public in the UK is X, and a tenth of them play cricket, then that’s XX for the UK, plus another X for the cricketing population in India…” etc. This is the sort of approach the employer would be looking for.


Five types of questions you might encounter


  1. Lots of these questions fall along the lines of if you were a colour/an animal/a garden gnome/a car/a food/a computer application (yes, really) what one would you be and why? Try to think of the qualities of the object and how they might relate to your skills or character.


  1. What are all the different uses you can think of for a lemon? Apparently asked during an interview for an airline pilot, this type of question is designed to find out how much of a creative thinker you are.


  1. Who would you invite to a dinner party/what superhero/movie character would you be/who is your role model? In other words, what character traits do you most admire in other people and why? Think about what specific things they have achieved and what it is about those achievements that you admire so much.


  1. How many people will be on Facebook in New York on a Friday afternoon? There are a raft of questions that are much more technical in nature and much more aligned to the role you are seeking. This question was aimed at a marketing executive, and was probing how well they understand the use of social media around the world.


  1. Tell me a story. This is a firm favourite, and represents a golden opportunity for you to tell a work-related anecdote that is also relevant to the role in question and also illustrates how you see other people and the world around you.


Preparation, preparation, preparation


This is the key to a good interview. However, these questions are not something that you can easily prepare for. If your job is a technical one, brush up on your technical knowledge. If it’s a creative role, keep a clear head and try to analyse how you would approach some of these types of questions. Above all, expect the unexpected!