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Afreximbank introduces new factoring law

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[ 2016-10-31 ]

Afreximbank introduces new factoring law
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has
introduced a model law on factoring to provide a
benchmark for African national legislatures
enacting arrangements aimed at fostering the
growth of factoring activities across the
continent.

The Afreximbank Model Law on Factoring, which was
unveiled in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday
during the seventh Annual Meeting of the Africa
Chapter of Factors Chain International (FCI), on
the sidelines of FCIs annual meeting, is based on
recommendations received from consultative
meetings with factors, government and regulatory
bodies, enterprises, legal experts and banks
across Africa and the world.

Launching the model law, Kanayo Awani, Chairman of
the Africa Chapter of FCI and Managing Director of
Afreximbanks Intra-African Trade Initiative,
predicted that the document would have profound
impact on the way small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) were financed in Africa.

Its development impact will be phenomenal,
facilitating access to finance for excluded small
and medium-sized business, said Ms. Awani, who
spoke on behalf of the President of Afreximbank,
Dr. Benedict Oramah. We have placed the promotion
of intra-African trade on the front burner of our
current strategy and recognise the support which
SMEs need as indirect exporters in regional value
chains.

Calling on regulators and lawmakers to treat the
adoption of the model law with urgency, Ms. Awani
pointed out that strengthening legislation was
critical to easing the way collaterals were
created, perfected and enforced as part of the
financing provided to enterprises through
factoring. Such strengthening, she added, provided
credibility and business assurance to investors.

The model law defines and protects the rights of
parties to factoring transactions, including those
relating to following assignments, nullification
of bans on assignment, exclusion of certain
receivables, rights between factors and clients,
debtor protection, competing rights to receivables
and international factoring.

To advance factoring in Africa, Afreximbank has
been providing lines of credit to factors,
creating awareness and building capacity among key
players and assisting in the creation of
facilitative infrastructure.

In 2015 Africa accounted for only 0.7 per cent of
the 2.373 trillion factoring transactions
recorded across the world, with South Africa,
Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Mauritius accounting
for almost all the African transactions.

Participating in the Sundays launch ceremony were
factoring regulators from across Africa,
representatives of international law firms,
members of the Africa Chapter and high level
representatives of the FCI. The launch had been
preceded by two seminars, organized by Afreximbank
in Abuja and Abidjan earlier in the year, which
came up with road maps for implementing local
legal frameworks inspired by the model law.
Another seminar will take place in Nairobi in
November.

In factoring, an exporter or supplier sells his
accounts receivable or invoices at a discount to a
third party, called a factor, in exchange for
immediate cash with which to finance continued
business.

Source – Classfmonline


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Envoy: British Firms, Banks Eager to Cooperate with Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Britain’s new Ambassador to Tehran Nicholas Hopton underlined that many British companies and banks are willing to expand their cooperation with Iran following the last year nuclear deal.

“Today, we are witnessing real progress in bilateral relations and the British firms and banks are highly willing to cooperate with Iranian companies,” Hopton said in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Sunday, and added, “Necessary negotiations will be held between the two countries’ Central Banks in the near future.”

He also underscored the importance of cooperation with Tehran to resolve the regional crises, and said, “We hope to have more cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran on regional issues.”

President Rouhani, for his part, stressed Iran’s full compliance with the last year nuclear deal, and said Tehran expects the world powers to reciprocate Iran’s compliance with their full implementation of the agreement.

During the meeting, Hopton also submitted his credentials to President Rouhani.

Hamid Baeedinejad and Nicholas Hopton submitted their credentials to senior officials in London and Tehran early August to launch their careers as Iran and Britain’s ambassadors after a several-year hiatus.

“It is over one year that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Britain’s embassies have resumed operation and all the current affairs were carried out by the two countries’ charge d’affairs. Now after the rise of (appropriate) conditions to enhance the two countries’ relations, the two (states) have decided to station their envoys in Tehran and London,” a source at the Iranian foreign ministry said at the time.

The source, meantime, underlined that enhancement of relations doesn’t mean a settlement of all the problems between the two sides and the Islamic Republic of Iran will announce its views clearly in bilateral talks and by other means.

Relations between Iran and Britain hit an all-time low in November 2011, when the two countries shut down their diplomatic missions around Britain’s key role in the imposition of a new set of western sanctions against Iran and its repeated meddling with Iran’s domestic affairs.

Iran recalled all its staff and closed its embassy in London in November after Britain recalled its diplomatic mission in Tehran due to massive protests in front of the British embassy complex by thousands of Iranian students who demanded a cut of ties with London.

The Iranian students’ November protests at the British mission came after the Iranian legislators in an open session of the parliament in November approved the bill of a law on downgrading relations with Britain. After the parliament approval, Iran expelled the British ambassador from Tehran.

The parliament approval came a week after the US and Britain targeted Iranian financial sectors with new punitive measures, including sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and petrochemical industry.

The sanction against CBI and Iran’s petrochemical industry was adopted in a unilateral move by the US, Canada and Britain outside the UN Security Council as other council members, specially Russia and China, had earlier warned against any fresh punitive measure, including sanctions, against Iran.

The British government has also embarked on delisting the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.

The Iranian lawmakers initially started drafting a bill to downgrade ties with London after Britain’s direct involvement in stirring post-election unrests in Iran in 2009, but they intensified and accelerated the move after former British Envoy to Tehran Simon Gass criticized the human rights situation in Iran.

“Today, International Human Rights Day is highlighting the cases of those people around the world who stand up for the rights of others – the lawyers, journalists and NGO workers who place themselves at risk to defend their countrymen,” Gass said in a memo published by the British Embassy in Tehran on December 9, 2010.

“Nowhere are they under greater threat than in Iran. Since last year human rights defenders have been harassed and imprisoned,” Gass added.

Following Britain’s support for a group of wild demonstrators who disrespected Islamic sanctities and damaged private and public amenities and properties in Tehran on

On December 27, 2009, members of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission drafted bill of a law requiring the country’s Foreign Ministry to cut relations with Britain completely.

The British government’s blatant stance and repeated remarks in support of the last year unrests inside Iran and London’s espionage operations and financial and media support for the opposition groups are among the reasons mentioned in the bill for cutting ties with Britain.

Iran has repeatedly accused the West of stoking post-election unrests, singling out Britain and the US for meddling. Tehran expelled two British diplomats and arrested a number of local staffs of the British embassy in Tehran after documents and evidence substantiated London’s interfering role in stirring post-election riots in Iran.

But after President Rouhani rose to power, he and his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, pursued the policy of detente and started talks with London on the resumption of diplomatic ties and reopening embassies.

In a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, 2013, Zarif and his British counterpart William Hague discussed improvement of Tehran-London relations, Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments.

In October 2013, Iran and Britain agreed to announce the names of their non-resident charges d’affaires.

Last December, Head of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group Abbasali Mansouri Arani underlined that the British member of the House of Commons, Jack Straw, was due to visit Iran to pave the way for the normalization of ties between the two states.

Straw visited Iran the same month.

 

 

 

 

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DEADLINE LOOMING: Small firms prep for overtime rules

NEW YORK — Small business owners are rushing to get their companies — in particular their employees — ready for an upcoming change in overtime rules.

With federal regulations that are expected to affect the paychecks of 4.2 million workers going into effect Dec. 1, human resources consultants say they’re seeing a surge in calls from owners seeking help in complying. Many business owners have procrastinated, hoping Congress might put the regulations on hold or a federal court would take a similar step in response to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of 21 states. But with five weeks to go, there’s no indication owners will get a reprieve.

“We’re telling clients, ‘You need to get your act together. This is happening,’” says Rob Wilson, president of Employco, an HR provider based in Westmont, Ill.

Chris Williams, a Travelers executive whose job includes educating business owners about labor law compliance, recently encountered proprietors at a human resources meeting who didn’t know the law was changing.

“The question was raised of the audience, ‘How many of you are ready for this rule?’ Only about 50 percent raised their hands,” Williams says.

The regulations about double to $913 a week from $455, the threshold under which salaried workers must be paid overtime. The higher level is intended to offset inflation, which has eroded the old limits. In annual pay terms, it rises to $47,476 from $23,660. But there won’t be a blanket increase for all workers whose pay falls below the new threshold — federal regulations specifically exempt some employees like computer programmers and office workers from having to be paid overtime. Many employees who will become eligible for overtime work in restaurants or retail as managers or supervisors.

Owners are looking for ways to comply with the law without seeing their labor costs soar. Some with employees whose salaries are close to the $47,476 threshold may give them small raises to keep them exempt. Others may switch salaried staffers to hourly pay and keep a close eye on their schedules to avoid running up big overtime bills. In many workplaces, owners may redistribute some tasks so no one has to stay past the end of a shift.

The regulations will affect the pay of 17 employees at Wilkinson Supply, a Raleigh, N.C.-based company that sells plumbing, kitchen and bathroom fixtures and decorative items. Five employees whose salaries are close to the new threshold have gotten raises, president Ken Wertz says. Twelve are being switched to hourly pay, with their schedules staggered so the company showroom will be staffed throughout the day.

Wertz realizes there will be times when he won’t be able to avoid paying overtime.

“If you’re working with a customer and you go over (the end of your shift), obviously you can’t stop working with a customer,” he says.

But because Wilkinson has competition, the company can’t pass those overtime costs on to customers.

The regulations are creating a juggling act for some owners who need to contain costs and also maintain morale. Some employees, particularly those on a management track, may feel like they’re getting a demotion if they are paid by the hour.

Owners need to speak openly with employees about the regulations and the impact they’ll have on everyone — the workers and the company, Employco’s Wilson says. They need to let staffers know they have to comply with the law and also keep companies healthy.

“Employees are going to be mad at the owner or supervisor, not the government,” Wilson says. “There needs to be education about what the law is.”

Owners can get a grounding in the law from the Labor Department’s website, Williams says.

Franchise companies are trying to help their franchisees with the transition.

The Fazoli’s restaurant chain has been sharing information with owners of its 91 franchise locations about how it will change staffing at its 123 corporate stores, CEO Carl Howard says. The Lexington, Ky.-based company plans to keep the general managers who oversee a restaurant’s operations exempt by giving them raises. But other managers will have to go on hourly pay.

The restaurants are likely to run up some overtime when there are vacations, illnesses and bad weather, Howard says.

“It’s the cost of doing business,” he says.

In about 20 states, owners are also facing likely increases in the minimum wage at the start of 2017.

Stephen Fofanoff, who co-owns the Jig and Lure Fish Co. restaurant in Port Angeles, Wash., has to factor that into his employees’ compensation when the overtime rules take effect. The state’s minimum wage is $9.47 an hour, but voters will consider a ballot measure next month that could raise it to $13.50 by 2020. Even without the vote, the minimum wage may rise along with inflation under a 1998 ballot measure.

“We’re definitely having to rethink compensation from the ground up to meet the new legal requirements,” Fofanoff says.

The restaurant’s staff of 18 has two managers who will receive raises to keep them exempt. Other staffers often work more than 40 hours a week, and they’re likely to see their duties change to keep a lid on overtime, Fofanoff says. He and co-owner Christopher Warnock are considering profit-sharing as a way to motivate and reward his staff.

“Our thinking is to reward our employees as much as we can when the business is profitable, provide a safety net for them that stays within our payroll budget when sales are lower, and meet the requirements of the law,” Fofanoff says.

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UK's first transgender army captain tells of tears over US bathroom law

AS A SCOTTISH Parachute Regiment officer, Abigail Austen saw the horror of war unravel before her own eyes.

There were bombs and bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan and, while embedded with the US Army in Kandahar, the threat that at any moment the Taliban could strike. Yet it would be a visit to the US state of North Carolina and a bitter row over toilets, that would leave her crumpled on the ground, sobbing.

The UK’s first transgender army officer travelled there with a film crew to document the impact of a controversial law that forces transgender men and women to use toilets in schools and government buildings on the basis of their gender at birth.

Read more: Sir Tom Devine – Brexit will never happen

The legislation was signed by the state’s Republican governor Pat McCrory and supported by prominent religious leaders and businessmen who claim it protects women and girls from the risk of sexual assault.

However, since it became law in March major firms have pulled millions of dollars of business out of the state and high-profile sports and music artists, including Bruce Springsteen and the National Basketball League, have cancelled appearances.

The angry debate and claims the law discriminates against a vulnerable section of society has now placed it at the heart of the US presidential campaign – North Carolina is a “must win” state for Donald Trump in his bid to become US president.

Ms Austen, who served as Captain Ian Hamilton in the Parachute Regiment before gender reassignment surgery 10 years ago, spent 10 months investigating the impact on North Carolina’s transgender community and met key supporters of the bathroom law.

The results, including distressing scenes in which she breaks down in tears after having her status as a woman questioned and graphically criticised, will be screened on Channel 4 on Wednesday in an hour-long documentary, My Trans American Road Trip.

Read more: Sir Tom Devine – Brexit will never happen

Despite her battlefield experiences, Ms Austen, 51, admitted hearing extreme views of transgender and gay issues, and stories of discrimination among the transgender community had left her scared, distressed and worried for her personal safety.

At one point during a visit to the State Legislative building she was escorted by a police officer to a men’s public toilet as using the women’s could have led to her arrest.

Another time she defied an outspoken bathroom law supporter by nipping past the men’s toilets at his church to use the ladies’, and heard the fears of transgender men and women that vigilante patrols are operating around public toilets.

“I had forgotten what it was like to have so much hatred levelled against you,” said Ms Austen, whose family disowned her after her transition as a woman.

“I’ve rebuilt my life, no-one looks twice at me. To hear a bishop of the church say that all homosexuals are perverts, that a man in a dress is against human nature, was distressing.

“If you go down this road, then it’s basically what Germany was like in 1930.”

After a conversation in which a psychotherapist claimed gender dysphoria is the result of childhood trauma and can be reversed using therapy, Ms Austen was left sobbing.

She said: “I’m extremely contented soul, but to be told I’m a homosexual sodomite pervert for becoming happy, it was off the wall stressful and took me a couple of weeks to get over it.

Read more: Sir Tom Devine – Brexit will never happen

“My head was spinning, I broke down three times during filming.”

Ms Austen served with the British Army in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder following a roadside bomb that it emerged she had gender dysphoria.

She sued the Ministry of Defence for sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal after they refused to accept her back as head of communications in Gibraltar.

She was hired by Nato and embedded in Kandahar as head of strategic communications.

The bathroom issue has been placed at the core of the US elections. Donald Trump has confirmed his support for each State’s right to establish its own “bathroom laws”, while Hillary Clinton used a visit to North Carolina last week with First Lady Michelle Obama to stress that LGBT rights were at stake.

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Major firms sign up to Brexit vote legal service

ROYAL London, the UK’s largest life mutual, is among major businesses which have signed up to a crowd-funded Brexit advisory service.

Law firm Pinsent Masons, which entered the Scottish market when it acquired McGrigors in 2013, said it has developed the service following the deluge of legal queries sparked by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).

Subscribers to the paid-for services gain access to an online portal where they can ask Brexit-related questions and expect an answer within 48 hours.

Alastair Morrison, head of client strategy at Pinsent Masons, said: “The next few months – and years – will be challenging for executive teams.

“They have to balance the need for a strategic response to Brexit against all the other pressures and priorities that existed before the UK voted to leave the EU. BASe (Brexit Advisory Service) is a recognition of and response to that pressure.”

Lendlease, the Australian-listed property firm, has also signed up to the service.

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China's Crown Probe Seen as Warning Shot to Foreign Firms

By Mike Cherney in Sydney, Wayne Ma in Beijing and Alexandra Berzon in Los Angeles 

China’s surprise detention of 18 employees from Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd. is reverberating from Macau to Las Vegas and beyond, with gambling concerns–and some business consultants in general–advising foreign executives to steer clear of mainland China for now.

The Crown employees were detained two weeks ago as part of an investigation into possible gambling-related crimes. Chinese authorities have declined to give details, and no charges have been made public. Jason O’Connor, the executive who oversees Crown’s international VIP business, is among three Australians being held in Shanghai.

Gambling-industry insiders think the government is signaling its intention to strictly enforce rules that bar the marketing and promotion of gambling in China. But the episode also serves as a broader warning to other foreign companies doing business in China, legal experts say.

Dan Harris, a partner at law firm Harris & Moure in Seattle, said Chinese authorities are stepping up enforcement against businesses that don’t comply with Chinese laws. He is cautioning some clients against setting up offices in China and to avoid executive travel there.

“Fifteen years ago, not many companies got caught. China didn’t have the forces in place to catch these people, and they probably didn’t have the desire,” he said. Now, China has begun to “step up its game.”

The gambling industry, which in many ways has pinned its growth to China’s ability to mint tycoons, has taken notice.

“The lawyers are all over watching this,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst, head of government relations for Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. “Everyone is backing way off until we totally understand what were the concerns of the government.”

Chinese nationals contribute less than 10% of gambling revenues to casinos in Las Vegas and 15% in Australia, according to estimates from analysts at brokerage group CLSA.

Their impact is much greater in Asia, where casinos are being built especially to cater to their tastes. CLSA says Chinese account for 25% of gambling revenue in the Philippines, 30% in Singapore, 60% in South Korea and more than 80% in Saipan and Macau.

But VIP gambling tables have been hard hit by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign to crack down on corruption by party officials–and to limit the amount of capital leaving the country.

VIPs account for about half of all gambling revenue in Asia casinos, down from about 69% in 2010, CLSA estimates show. Macau, a special administrative region overseen by China, has been especially hard hit, but casinos in nearly every other country are down as well.

Australia, less subject to the glare of the Chinese government than Macau, has been a rare exception. VIP gambling revenue there is up about 35% for the past two years, according to data from CLSA.

Crown declined to discuss what its employees were doing in China. But it is hardly the only casino operator who has sent employees to the country. U.S. casino interests are among those with marketing people who discreetly travel to mainland China to court high-end customers through small gatherings over dinner and drinks, people involved say.

The detention of Crown’s employees will have a “very big impact” on the industry, said consultant Tony Tong, vice chairman of the Macau Gaming Information Association.

“A lot of foreign casinos have been active in marketing their services to China,” he said. “This time, the government is sending a clean and clear message.”

Other foreign business interests–including those in mining, pharmaceuticals and financial-information services–have previously drawn the ire of Chinese authorities.

In 2010, U.S. citizen Xue Feng was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping to purchase data on China’s onshore oil wells on behalf of his then-employer, the information provider now known as IHS Markit Ltd. The government classified the data as a state secret two years after the sale.

Mr. Xue argued that he wasn’t aware of the sensitivity of the data, which isn’t considered a state secret in other parts of the world.

British national Peter Humphrey and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng , were convicted in 2014 of buying personal information on Chinese citizens, a practice that until then was mostly ignored by Chinese authorities. The couple had been investigating a case for GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s local office in China, which was later found guilty of bribery.

China experts say the recent cases show that foreign companies need to be more cognizant of Chinese laws and the nuances of the country’s political system.

“You’ve got to know what you’re doing, because the costs of failure are now high,” said Ryan Manuel, a research fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World at Australian National University.

Write to Mike Cherney at mike.cherney@wsj.com, Wayne Ma at wayne.ma@wsj.com and Alexandra Berzon at alexandra.berzon@wsj.com


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Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investment in LifeVantage Corporation of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline – LFVN

NEW YORK, Oct. 30, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against LifeVantage Corporation (“LifeVantage” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:LFVN) and certain of its officers.  The class action, filed in United States District Court, District of Utah, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired LifeVantage securities between November 4, 2015 and September 13, 2016 both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”).  This class action seeks to recover damages against Defendants for alleged violations of the federal securities laws under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). 

If you are a shareholder who purchased LifeVantage securities during the Class Period, you have until November 14, 2016 to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com. To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll free, ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and number of shares purchased. 

[Click here to join this class action]

LifeVantage identifies, researches, develops, and distributes nutraceutical dietary supplements and skin care products.  LifeVantage Corporation sells its products through a network of independent distributors and preferred customers in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, and Thailand.  The Company also sells its products online. 

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects.  Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) LifeVantage lacked effective internal financial controls; (ii) as a result, the Company had improperly accounted for sales in certain international markets, along with associated revenue and income tax accruals; and (iii) as a result of the foregoing, LifeVantage’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. 

On September 13, 2016, post-market, LifeVantage issued a press release and filed a Current Report on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission, announcing a delay in the release of the Company’s fourth quarter and fiscal year 2016 financial results, citing an internal review “relate[d] to sales of the Company’s products in certain international markets and the determination of revenue and the deductibility of commission and incentive expenses associated with such sales, as well as the policies and procedures related to sales in those specific markets.”

On this news, LifeVantage stock fell $1.32, or 12.69%, to close at $9.08 on September 14, 2016.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com

CONTACT:
Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP
rswilloughby@pomlaw.com


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