Friday, June 19, 2009

Chatham Financial Comments on Proposed OTC Derivatives Regulation

PHILADELPHIA, PA--Yesterday, Chatham Financial, a global hedge consulting firm based in Pennsylvania, sent a letter to U.S. policymakers regarding the proposed regulation of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market.

In the letter, Chatham’s President and CEO, Mike Bontrager, (top right photo) first expresses support for the objectives that U.S. Treasury Secretary (Timothy) Geithner (middle left photo) outlined in his May 13th letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (middle right photo) specifically noting the need for safeguards to protect against the “reckless practices of certain institutions.”

Chatham also agrees with a central theme of proposals that any new regulation should focus on the participants in the OTC derivatives market that are large enough to pose a risk to the financial system.

Mr. Bontrager raises concerns over any “indiscriminate implementation” of regulations that could adversely affect “tens of thousands of businesses throughout the U.S. and around the world.”

The letter lists concerns over regulations that might limit access to customized derivatives or impose onerous collateral requirements on the American businesses that use OTC derivatives responsibly to hedge fluctuations in interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, and commodity prices.

These concerns are directed at certain proposals mandating clearing and exchange-trading for all OTC derivatives. “Forcing all derivatives onto exchanges or into central clearing is not the answer,” says Bontrager.

The letter cautions that companies forced to use standardized derivatives could “face significantly increased earnings volatility and accounting complexity and may be unable to qualify for hedge accounting treatment” under FAS 133.

Discussing the letter, Clark Maxwell, director of Chatham’s accounting consultancy, commented that, “We’re concerned that the accounting for derivatives could become even more complicated and may discourage prudent risk management. The benefits of customizable derivative contracts that precisely hedge a company’s risks are significant for the vast majority of end users.”

Mr. Bontrager notes, “Our hope is that in addressing the systemic risks and appropriate safeguards that need to be put in place, the ultimate impact on American businesses will not be overlooked.

"We believe that affordable access to customized methods of hedging is vital to companies whose investments are often dependent on their ability to manage risks and reduce uncertainty.”

Chatham Financial is the largest independent interest rate and foreign currency hedge consulting firm. With offices in suburban Philadelphia, Denver, London, Singapore, and Krakow, Chatham serves over 1,000 leading private and public companies worldwide. Chatham is employee-owned and is not associated with any bank.

For more information, please contact:
Sam Peterson at 484-731-0276
Joy Peterson, PH 720.249.3606. F: 720.221.3519,

Canadians Are Largest Foreign Real Estate Investors in U.S., Says Arizona Fund Manager

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Quick now, which foreign country is the largest real estate investor today in the U.S.?

Japan? No. China? No. Russia? No? It’s Canada, believe it or not.

E. Patrick LaVoie, Fund Manager for the Arizona-based Westward Fund, is one who believes it. He also has numbers to back him up.

“The fact that Canadian investment in U.S. real estate more than doubled in one year, from 11% to 23.5%, makes Canada the largest foreign real estate investor in the U.S.,” says LaVoie.

What’s the strong attraction among the Canadians? For one thing, LaVoie says, the Canadian dollar is currently at par with the U.S. dollar, something that hasn’t happened since November of 1976.
“The Canadians are experiencing the best exchange rate in nearly three decades,” he says. “For another thing, property values in the U.S. have plummeted, causing it to be a perfect time to buy.

“The recession has produced a surplus of high-quality real estate assets that are now available at substantially below-normal prices, particularly here in Arizona.” LaVoie points out.

A creation of Equity Capital Group (ECG), the Westward Fund is designed to capitalize on the unprecedented real estate opportunities in today's depressed market.

LaVoie, also President of ECG, states, “Drawing from decades of relationship building in the Arizona real estate, banking and financial arenas, we are committed to preferential deal flow and early access to buying opportunities for our clients.

“The timing is paramount for private equity players to capitalize on the current market situation.”

Markets like Arizona have seen major price reductions from what they were just a few years ago.
For example, La Voie says, “If you had bought a condo in Phoenix for $200,000 in 2005, it would have cost approximately $250,000 CAD (using a Canadian dollar worth $0.80 U.S.). Today, that same condo is on the market in Phoenix for $180,000, which in Canadian currency costs only $180,000.”

Economist Noah Blackstein, (top left photo) one of Canada’s premier U.S. Growth Fund Managers says, “Canadians might be wise to move quickly, now that the Canadian dollar is at par. While U.S. real estate prices may have more downside, I would seize the opportunity of parity and buy now, and enjoy it for the rest of your life.”

LaVoie of Westward Fund, adds, “Foreign investment has an undeniable presence in the U.S. real estate market, especially here in Arizona. Opportunities are abundant.

“Now is the time to buy and our Canadian friends clearly recognize this. For them, this is the most opportune time to invest.”

Entrust Administrative Services’ Capital Ideas Premiers on 660 WORL-AM Radio, Orlando

LAKE MARY, FL - Entrust Administrative Services, which administers more than 2,000 self-directed retirement accounts with assets of more than $200 million, launched the premier edition of its Capital Ideas radio program on radio station WORL-AM 660 recently with guest Doug Gale, president of REO America.

Capital Ideas airs from 9 to 10 a.m. Sundays in the Orlando area. The program looks at investment opportunities and pitfalls for owners of self-directed retirement funds, with expert guests from the financial community, said Glen Mather, (top left photo) president of Entrust Administrative Services.

“Capital Ideas is a forum for discussions about how small investors can invest outside the stock market – including real estate, mortgages, private placements and much more,” Mather explained. “These investments can be held both inside and outside IRA plans.”

“We’re presenting a wide range of facts and ideas that will help educate and inform without pitching specific programs or even recommending investment strategies,” Mather said. “We want to educate our listeners, not sell them.”

Mather said most people are unaware that their IRAs, Roth accounts and similar retirement funds can be converted into self-directed accounts where they have control over their investments.

Gale, whose company provides assistance to investment funds which target real estate REOs---bank owned properties resulting from foreclosures---told listeners there are many risks involved but the payoffs can be considerable

“The economic downturn has resulted in thousands of foreclosures, and late-night TV is filled with infomercials about buying up those foreclosed properties,” said Mather.

“Doug Gale told our listeners how to invest in tax liens through individual counties. He said they may be much safer than buying properties, with lower capital requirements, and strong returns, but as always, the investor needs to properly assess the risk,” Mather said.

For more information, contact:
Glen Mather, President Entrust Administrative Services, Inc. 407-367-3472;

Larry Vershel, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142

Creative Kingdom Unveils Mixed-Use Film Production, Residential, Entertainment Development in Thailand

Integrated Development Aims to Become Hub of the Asian Film Industry, Complete with Unique Residential Housing, Tourist Facilities and Diverse Entertainment

LOS ANGELES & BANGKOK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Creative Kingdom, the world’s leading creator of themed design architecture and destinations, including Dubai’s Palm Island (top right photo) and World Island,(bottom right photo) today unveiled plans for Chiang Mai Wood (CNX-Wood), a 175-acre mixed-use movie studio and residential development in Chiang Mai, (middle left photo) Thailand.

Once completed, the sprawling complex will house the state-of-the-art CNX Movie World Studios, as well as an integrated network of self-sufficient residential neighborhoods, a wide variety of entertainment offerings, cultural venues, museums and world-class restaurants.

“CNX-Wood is sure to become one of the most advanced mixed-use destinations in the world, and we are extremely excited by its potential,” said Eduardo Robles, chief executive officer, Creative Kingdom, Inc.

“The new CNX Movie World Studios will serve as the hub for Asia’s booming film industry and become one of the premier destinations for the world’s movie makers.

In addition, the integrated nature of the facilities will be unrivaled in providing its residents, from those looking for a vacation or second home to those seeking an unmatched luxury lifestyle, with the perfect mix of entertainment, culture and life balance.”

The CNX Movie World Studios will feature a series of state-of-the-art film production studios, animation facilities and special effects laboratories. The facilities will provide film makers with the most advanced tools and technologies for developing and producing top quality domestic and international movies.

The development includes multiple residential neighborhoods, including villa and luxury housing, that will be connected to the film facilities via an integrated network of bike and walking paths.
Each neighborhood will be fully independent, with its own infrastructure, stores, libraries, schools, medical facilities, water/electrical services, shopping, parks, entertainment and cultural venues.

Creative Kingdom, Inc. (CKI) is the world’s leading creator of themed design architecture and destinations. In addition to its architecture and master planning expertise, the multi-faceted company conducts cutting edge work with CGI 3-D architectural video animation, 2-D/3-D cartoon animation, and video, film and music production.

Creative Kingdom’s global headquarters are based in Los Angeles, with offices on Dubai, UAE; Beijing, China; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Pasig City, Philippines.

Wonacott Communications, Palmira Farrow, 310-477-2871, Ext. 660,

Jessica Busch, 310-477-2871, Ext. 666,

California Regulators Approve Southern California Edison Proposal to Create Nation’s Largest Solar Panel Installation Program

ROSEMEAD, CA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A plan proposed by Southern California Edison (SCE) for the largest U.S. installation of advanced solar panels on otherwise unused large commercial rooftops across Southern California was approved today by the California Public Utilities Commission.

During the next five years SCE will install, own and operate 250 megawatts of solar generating capacity.

The utility also will conduct competitive solicitations offering long-term power contracts to independent solar power providers who will install an additional 250 megawatts, bringing to 500 megawatts the total generating capacity of the project — the largest photovoltaic program ever undertaken.

“This innovative solar rooftop project is part of Edison International’s 25-year commitment to developing cleaner renewable and alternative energy sources for our customers,”said Theodore F. Craver, Jr., (top right photo) Edison International chairman and CEO.

“The program will create hundreds of neighborhood solar power plants, strengthen local grid reliability and produce hundreds of new green jobs to bolster Southern California’s economic recovery.”

During the fall of 2008, SCE completed the first of what eventually will be about 150 sites making up this program, a 600,000-square-foot Fontana, Calif. distribution warehouse roof. The rooftop now holds 33,700 advanced thin-film solar panels with a generating capacity of 2.4 megawatts of direct current power, known as DC power — the largest single rooftop solar photovoltaic array in the nation.

SCE already has begun construction of its second installation atop a 458,000-square-foot industrial building in Chino, Calif. First Solar of Tempe, Ariz. was the winning bidder to supply panels for these first two installations.

Based on today’s regulatory approval, competitive solicitations will take place for the remaining roof leases and equipment needed for the 250 megawatts of facilities SCE will install and operate.

A limited number of ground mounted installations also will be considered as part of SCE’s solar program.

Competitive solicitations also will take place for 250 megawatts of long-term power contracts SCE will offer independent power providers who construct similar solar installations.
SCE sees numerous benefits to customers, the region and the state from its massive solar project.
The program will provide a new generation source to areas where customer demand is rising.

The solar modules can be connected directly and quickly to the nearest neighborhood circuit while major new renewable energy transmission lines are being built. Additionally, the output of solar panels generally matches peak customer demand — lower in the morning and evening, higher in the afternoon.

Also, the project will allow SCE grid engineers to study the electrical effects of a high penetration of photovoltaic on distribution circuits. The information gained will be shared with the industry.
SCE anticipates its solar power project will create as many as 800 new green jobs in Southern California in the solar industry.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of SCE’s project partners, is supporting the project through the expansion of its solar installation apprentice training program.

An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

Southern California Edison, Media, Gil Alexander, 626-302-2255,

Investor Relations, Scott Cunningham, 626-302-2540,