Wed 4 Nov 2015
Wed 4 Nov 2015
Wed 28 Oct 2015
The Smorgon family, Australia’s richest, have a hugely diverse range of investments across up to seven wings of the family. Property, equities, pastoral holdings, technology firms, biodiesel, tuna, retail and infant milk formula are among the many industries the family has investments in via several management firms. The Smorgon wealth traces back to 1927 when brothers Norman, Moses and Abram Smorgon emigrated from Russia and opened a butchery in Carlton, Melbourne. Norman’s son Victor took over the company and diversified the business into a number of operations, including steel and paper manufacturing. The family started a divestment of Smorgon Consolidated Industries in 1995 and completed this process in 2007 with the sale of Smorgon Steel to OneSteel for $2.5 billion. The proceeds from these sales are spread among the extended family. Victor Smorgon died in 2009, aged 96.
The Wilson family controls the Reece plumbing and building supplies business. Though the company is listed on the Stock Exchange and employs more than 3500 people around the country in 450 stores, Reece and the Wilsons maintain a low profile. Peter Wilson is the company’s chief executive, succeeding Alan Wilson in 2008. Alan, John, Peter and Bruce Wilson are all members of Reece’s six-person board of directors. Individually, the family have diversified property and share investments, including pharmaceutical company Mayne Pharma, though the bulk of their wealth is tied to Reece
The Liberman family investors span far and wide under patriarch Boris Liberman. The family has several wings with a diversified range of interests, including a growing array of stakes in emerging technology firms under Justin Liberman who is involved in the SquarePeg venture capital company and heads Jegen Investments. Josh Liberman chairs the large LJCB Investment Group, which has interests in petroleum distribution and energy production, property, banking and finance, equities, funds and venture capital. Small Giants, co-founded by Berry Liberman, has investments in many environmentally sustainable businesses, including property, wind farms, a hazelnut business in Bhutan and the Dumbo Feather magazine. The Liberman family rose to prominence under former patriarch Jack, who moved to Australia with brother Chaim after World War II. Jack Liberman died in 1997.
Leadership of BCG now resides with Andrew and Sam Buckeridge, sons of the late Len Buckeridge, and his step-son Julian Ambrose. Len Buckeridge was a powerful driving force behind BCG (which stands for Buckeridge Group of Companies) before his 2014 death. The company turns over more than $3 billion annually and dominates the Perth building and construction market. It has a hand in just about every facet in the building process, owning cement, roof, tiling, quarrying, insulation and window business, a construction arm and property management service. It also has a mining and civil engineering business and a transport and haulage fleet.
Besen family patriarch Marc Besen received due recognition for his philanthropic endeavours earlier this year when he was named as a Companion of the Order of Australia. The award was bestowed for services to the visual and performing arts. Besen’s business interests are mostly in property with the third-share of Melbourne’s High, though he reportedly bought shares in the Medibank Private float last year. Son Daniel Besen back developer Fridcorp, run by Young Rich Lister Paul Fridman, while daughter Carol Schwartz also has investments in property through the Qualitas group. Marc Besen and wife Eva also own the TarraWarra winery.
The wealth of Melbourne’s Myer family traces back to the beginning of the retail department store chain that still bears their name. These days the family only has a small stake in the retailer, having diversified their investments throughout property and other ventures. The Myer Family Office is a long-established and respected investment and advisory firm that specialises in providing advice to families, individuals and institutions. It has a particular penchant for philanthropy, assisting foundations get established.
Multiplex heir Tim Roberts has had mixed results splashing out on assets. His AVWest aviation business took delivery of Australia’s first Gulfstream G650 jet, which cost about $US65 million, in April. In July he sued the designers of his $30 million luxury yacht Anya, alleging a series of faults that rendered the boat unsuitable for commercial or private use. Roberts, his brother Andrew and sister Denby are children of the late Multiplex founder John Roberts, who died in 2006w after which the trio sold their remaining 26 per cent stake for about $1.2 billion. Andrew Roberts co-owns property funds management company CorVal Partners, which owns buildings in Canberra and Sydney.
The Barro family’s wealth is derived from two big private and public assets. The Barro Group of concreting, quarrying and construction materials businesses is one of the biggest of its kind in Melbourne, while the family also has a 32 per cent stake in ASX-listed building materials firm Adelaide Brighton. Barro Group, now run by Raymond Barro, was founded by brothers David and Marcello Barro in the 1940s and members of both branches of the family remain involved in the business. Rhonda Barro, an executive director of the group, is also the president of Italian migrant welfare non-profit organisation CO.AS.IT.
The Salteri family were the beneficiaries of another big sale late last year, when they offloaded their Tenix utilities, mining and road infrastructure business for about $300 million to Downer EDI. Previously, the family had sold its defence contracting division for $775 million to BAE Systems in 2008. The late Carlo Salteri and Franco Belgiorno-Nettis founded Transfield Group in 1956. The pair spit the operations in 1997, with Carlo taking the defence contracting operations of Transfield to his new outfit Tenix. Salteri died in 2010 and his two sons, Paul and Robert, took over the business. The family may be on the verge of another sale, its majority-owned Duncan Solutions car-parking business, for a mooted $100 million
Ken Talbot’s charitable foundation is said to be receiving 30 per cent of the wealth left by Ken Talbot, who died in a plane accident in Africa in mid-2010. The remainder is being shared between his widow Amanda and his four children. His son Liam has developed a motorsport team, driving a Ferrari 458, and has his charitable foundation KM 4 Kids. Much of the Talbot family wealth stems from Macarthur Coal, founded by Ken Talbot. The family still has an extensive range of share investments in resources companies.
The Tieck family has made several moves in the property sector in the past year via their Gwynvill Group. Along with office group Investa, Gwynvill lodged a development application for a new landmark commercial tower in Sydney’s Martin Place, with an end value of more than $750 million. Gwynvill has also emerged in a joint venture that owns and operates the Ocean Club Resort, a mobile home resort in Port Macquarie, NSW. The Tieck’s family wealth was built by the late Norman Tieck, who founded the Franklins supermarket chain with business partner Harold Cornock. The duo sold Franklins to Hong Kong conglomerate Dairy Farm International in 1979.
The Millner family’s wealth is overseen by Robert Millner, who chairs Washington H Soul Pattinson, Brickworks, New Hope and BKI Investments, the latter of which his son Thomas is chief executive. Washington H Soul Pattinson started from a single Sydney pharmacy in the 1880s, though it now invests in natural resources, food and beverage business, shares, the media and funds management. Brickworks, also listed on the ASX, has a complicated cross-ownership structure with Soul Pattinson that protects the family’s interests but has also come under fire from investors. Robert Millner is the nephew of Jim Millner, whose grandfather Lewy Miall Pattinson opened the first pharmacy that launched the family fortune
The Saunders family owns the property development company Terrace Tower Group, formed with the fortune late family patriarch John Saunders made from co-founding Westfield with billionaire Frank Lowy. Saunders died in 1997, leaving behind a $500 million fortune now spread through a variety of property investments in Australia and the United States. Terrace Tower Group owns the Eastgardens shopping centre and Supa Centre Moore Park in Sydney, and office blocks in California and Oregon. Saunders’ daughters Betty Saunders Klimenko and Monica Saunders Weinberg are joint deputy chairmen. Weinberg’s husband, Richard, is the company’s managing director and Klimenko’s husband is non-executive director. Klimenko also owns the Erebus V8Supercars motor racing team.
Queensland’s Wagner family are pressing ahead with the operations of the Wellcamp airport they opened outside of Toowoomba last year. The family, led by John Wagner, made its mining in the construction materials and mining services firm Wagners, though transport has provided more headlines. The airport has already secured flights operated by Qantas Link and Rex. The Wagners business was founded in 1989 by Henry Wagner and his four sons, John, Denis, Neill and Joe. Denis Wagner is now in charge, though his brothers all hold board positions. The family built the airport, the first major privately funded airport in the country, in 18 months
The Paspaley family’s investments range from what it is known best for, pearl production, to some lesser-known ventures. In more recent years the family has got involved in agricultural properties, a chain of resorts and a vineyard. The Paspaleys have also in recent years invested in a detention centre and hold extensive property assets throughout Darwin. The pearling company that bears the family name was founded by the late Greek migrant Nicholas Paspaley snr, whose family arrive in Australia after World War I. His son Nick Paspaley is the company’s chairman. He joined with former billionaire Nathan Tinkler for a tilt at small explorer Orca Energy earlier this year.
The Darling family trace their Australian presence back to the 1840s, when they begun a wheat trading business after arriving in Scotland. A bigger success came from a move into mining, with the family being early investors in what is now BHP. A Darling family member had a BHP board seat until 1986. The family’s investments are now managed by private firm Caledonia, which manages about $2 billion worth of global equities. The firm, run by Mark Nelson, has investments in several technology ventures, including US real estate listings business Zillow.
The Lewis family now own 100 per cent of Lewis Land Group after buying out minority shareholders, including former chief executive Robert Cleland. The group was founded in 1957 by Bernard Lewis, who died in 2004. Under new CEO Chris Calvert, Lewis Land is seeking new opportunities and developing the land around its Harbourtown shopping centre on the Gold Coast. The group’s $700 million master planned Sovereign Hills development in Port Macquarie, NSW, is booming and Lewis Land has substantial land banks around the country. It has also developed Sovereign Islands, Harbour Keys and Ephraim Island on the Gold Coast and owns the Drinx Group of pubs and bottle shops.
Though most of its investments are now held in property, the Fairfax family is best known for their past involvement with the media industry. John Fairfax bought the Sydney Herald in 1841 and founded the predecessor to what is now Fairfax Media (publisher of BRW). The family have severed virtually all ties to the company, when John B Fairfax’s investment vehicle Marinya Media sold its almost 10 per cent stake in the group. Tim Fairfax supports rural and regional communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory through his foundation. John B Fairfax has been waiting for approval for a possible sub-division of the sprawling family estate Elaine in Sydney’s Point Piper, which has been on the market since 2013.
The Spooner family has every intention of holding onto its main asset, a huge 120-hectare property bought by Archie Spooner in the outer Melbourne suburb of Scoresby during World War II. The area already houses many commercial offices and industries facilities, with the family planning over 200,000 square metres of building space at its Caribbean Park development. The project comprises 40 buildings and a 80 acre lake, fresh produce market and cafes. Archie also established boat-builder International Marina, now managed by grandson Richard Spooner. Archie’s son Rod Spooner is chief executive of the Caribbean Business Park.
A bastion of the Melbourne business establishment, the Baillieu family provides services to other wealthy individuals and families via its family office, Mutual Trust. The firm was formed in the 1930s to manage the Baillieu fortune, originally derived from the Melbourne land boom of the late 1800s. The family has had a diverse range of interests since that time, including extensive rural property holdings. Mutual Trust appears among the top 20 shareholders of several listed companies, including Seek, REA Group and Village Roadshow.
While the Belgiorno-Nettis family keep a relatively low profile, the company from which they derive most of their wealth has been unable to stay out of the spotlight this year. Transfield Services has been a target of a negative investor and activist campaign because of its contract to manage the federal government’s refugee detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Transfield Services was founded by the late Franco Belgiorno-Nettis and Carlo Salteri in 1956 and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2001. The Belgiorno-Nettis family maintains a stake of about 12 per cent in the company and has a large property portfolio throughout NSW.
More than 90 per cent of shareholders in Coopers Brewery, the largest Australian-owned beer brewery, are direct descendents of Thomas Cooper. He started the company in 1862, manufacturing an all-natural beer in South Australia. Today, Coopers has about five per cent of the Australian beer market and remains the largest and last of its type after Foster’s Group was taken over by SABMiller in 2011. Chief brewer and managing director Dr Tim Cooper practiced medicine before joining the family business in 1990. Coopers made a $28 million profit last year, slightly down from the year before. Its distribution arm Premium Beverages signed a deal to brew and distribute one of the leading United States craft Beers, Brooklyn Lager, this year.
The Burger family’s City Freeholds property management, investment and development business doubled its net profit in the 2014 financial year to about $22 million. In the same period net assets for the business, which owns properties in and around the Sydney CBD, jumped about $20 million to $224 million. The family’s late patriarch David Burger made his first fortune in the clothing manufacturing sector before venturing into the property game with his sister Rose and her husband Morris Rose. Burger died in 2007, leaving City Freeholds to his widow Diane, who is a company director, and their four children.
Brothers John, Russell and Graham Knowles established their ARCare residential aged care business in 1997, close to 30 years after building their first retirement village with Ian Ball in Frankston near Melbourne. In 2007, their initial company Australian Retirement Communities (ARC) was sold to Stockland for $329 million, leaving them with ARCare. It continues to expand, now holding aged care facilities in Queensland and Victoria.
The Baiada family’s huge poultry farming operation suffered a bout of negative publicity in May when the ABC’s Four Corners program alleged it was exploiting migrant workers at some of its processing sites. The allegations included underpayment and slave-like conditions. Baida Poultry turns over more than $1.3 billion annually and incorporates brands such as Steggles and Lilydale. The company was founded by the late Celestino Baiada in the 1950s after he immigrated to Australia from Malta. The Baiada family also owns the Celestino property group, which earlier this year launched The Gables, a $4 billion master-planned housing estate in Sydney’s north-west. Celestino also has other property developments in the west of Sydney and holds more than 8000 land lots in growth areas such as Ipswich and Logan in Queensland’s south-east.
The children of the late cattle king Peter Menegazzo have been embroiled in legal action regarding the family fortune. Peter Menegazzo’s son Mark took Supreme Court action in Queensland against his three siblings claiming they ‘deceived’ him 8 years ago regarding their late father’s assets. Mark Menegazzo got $64.7 million after tax as a quarter share, but claims he should have received another $40 million when he sold his share of the Stanbroke Group pastoral empire. The group, owned by the remaining siblings, is one of the world’s largest private integrated cattle breeding, processing and distribution concerns and owns six Queensland properties spread across 1.6 million hectares.
The later Bill ‘Tiger’ Wyllie formed the family boutique investment Company The Wyllie Group in 1992 after spending decades making his fortune in Hong Kong as a company turn around expert. The Wyllie Group remains family owned with Bill’s widow Rhonda and several of their children on the board. The group has a diverse range of investments, including commercial property, farming land, a horse racing bloodstock business, a sizeable small and mid cap share portfolio and several private equity holdings. Rhonda Wyllie is engaged to former Nine Entertainment Co executive Jeff Browne, who helped negotiate the network’s record $925 million NRL broadcast rights deal this year.
The Kornhauser’s family property assets are mainly found in Queensland and Victoria. The northern state is where the late Eddie Kornhauser made most of his fortune after migrating to Australia from Germany in the 1930s. He operated a fur trading business before moving into property. For decades, Kornhauser surfed the Gold Coast property boom, building apartment towers and other property projects.
The Farrell family has been caught in a verbal stoush with independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie regarding the family’s offer to spend $100 million in the island state if it receives an extension to its poker machine monopoly that expires in 2023. Federal said its wants licence certainly and if granted it would improve its Wrest Point and Country Club casinos and build a new boutique hotel at Port Arthur. The family fortune was built by the late Greg Farrell senior, who opened Wrest Point as Australia’s first legal casino in 1973. His five children now run Federal Group, which owns and manages a range of tourism and hotel assets around Tasmania, including The Henry Jones Art Hotel and Saffire.
The Ring family’s slice of the $1.67 billion payday when the majority of the Swisse Wellness vitamins company was sold to Hong Kong listed Biostime in September has its origin in a trip to Switzerland by Kevin Ring in the 1960s. Ring studied natural medicine techniques and came back to Australia to establish an organic bakery. The business eventually became Swisse. The company’s big breakthrough came in 1991 with the release of its flagship Swisse Women’s Ultivite. A period of rapid expansion followed before a real boom in the past 12 months thanks to exporting to China. Ring has stepped away from the Swisse board after the sale, though his sons Edward and Charles remain in executive roles.
It has been a case of history repeating itself for the Scott family’s K&S Corporation. The ASX-listed transport company, controlled by the Scott family, took a hit in February after the uncovering of a $7.1 million fraud against it. It came a decade after the company hit the headlines for a similar reason but to the tune of $22 million. Allan Scott built the family business from his base of Mount Gambier in regional South Australia before dying in 2008. The family is the largest shareholder in K&S and also has had extensive retail and property investments.
S. Kidman & Co is for sale. The Kidman family’s rural empire is one of Australia’s largest landholders and beef producers, spanning 100,000 square kilometres, and is expected to fetch more than $325 million. Several Chinese buyers have been revealed to be keen on the company, which made a $50 million profit in the 2015 financial year. The sale process is being run by Ernst & Young and the Department of Defence has said any buyer would be subject to a security assessment because S. Kidman & Co owns property in the top-secret Woomera rocket range. The Kidman family are the descendents of the Adelaide born ‘Cattle King’, Sir Sidney Kidman
The Hannan family own IPMG, the largest privately owned marketing communications group in Australia with annual revenue of more than $400 million and more than 1400 employees. IPMG includes printing, graphic and digital creative agencies, as well as packaging, digital media, catalogue and public relations companies. The Hannan fortune has its roots in the Randwick District News, founded by Frank Hannan in 1934. The family also had extensive property holdings, though sold Sydney Corporate Park to the Goodman family for $343 million in 2013
McDonald Holdings (MDH) is one of Australia’s largest beef companies, owning a herd of 175,000 head of cattle spread across 11 stations over 2.26 million hectares in northern Australia. The family has an association with the land stretching back to 1827 and the first shipment of cattle to Tasmania. The current business stems from the late Jim McDonald aggregating several properties around Cloncurry, Queensland in the 1940s. The family is also the largest shareholder in the Super Butcher retail business, which sells meat across six outlets in south-east Queensland.
The Richards family have proven there is money in muck. Their JJ Richards & Sons is Australia’s largest privately owned waste company, employing more than 2000 people around the country. It makes more than 2 million rubbish bin collections for 42 councils and local authorities each week and has a joint venture oil refinery business in Gladstone, Queensland. The late Joseph John Richards the waste management company in 1932.
The Laidlaw family made its fortune with the Hard Yakka brand of clothing and workwear. The business was founded by David Laidlaw in 1922 in the backyard of his parent’s home in then working-class Collingwood in inner-city Melbourne. The family sold the business to the listed Pacific Brands in 2007 for $270 and have since made several safe invests in commercial property. Pacific Brands last year divested its workwear business, which included Hard Yakka, to Wesfarmers as part of a $180 million deal.
The Maloney family has a long track record in the pub game, stemming back to the late Cyril Maloney who passed away aged 93 in August 2013. A third-generation hotelier, Maloney’s first job was at the Railway Hotel in Orange, NSW. His estate sold the Bondi Hotel to his son Kim Maloney for more than $43 million in October last year, keeping the family name synonymous with the hotel since Cyril Maloney bought it in the 1980s. The Maloney family assets are tied mainly to the Maloney Hotel Group, which owns seven venues in and around the Sydney CBD.
The Anderson family’s wealth falls this year due to a drop in the share price of GWA Group, which supplies residential and commercial bathrooms, kitchen fixtures and fittings and doors and door systems. The company’s brands include Caroma, Dorf, Gainsborough and API Locksmiths. GWA shares have fallen in the past 12 months and the company suffered a $27.6 million impairment charge after the sale of its struggling Glideral Garage Door business. GWA’s managing director Peter Crowley delived his last results in the role, a post-tax loss of $16.2 million for 2015. Richard Thornton and Robert Anderson are the family members who remain on the GWA board.
The lower Australian dollar has been welcomed by the Casella family. Its Casella Family Brands winery business, established by Filippo and Maria Casella in rural NSW in 1965, exports about two-thirds of its product to the United States. From there Casella brands such as Yellow Tail are distributed to countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. The business is now run by Filippo and Maria’s sons John, Joe and Marcello. The group is focusing more on exporting to Asia and late last year acquired full ownership of Peter Lehmann Wines.
Much of the Roth family fortune is tied to the commercial property sector, though the family has made a canny investment in the gelato franchise Gelatissimo. It opened its first store in 2002 and franchising begun two years later. It now has more than 32 franchise stores in Australia, half of which are in NSW, and others in the Philippines and Kuwait, Singapore, Italy and Malaysia. Holocaust survivor Henry Roth arrived in Australia in 1947 and made a foray into the fashion industry establishing the London Fashion outlet. He sold the chain after 20 years and invested in commercial properties, which were inherited by his sons John and Stanley when Roth died in 2000
The Chan family’s Banna Property Group manages more than 50,000 acres of retail property space, ranging from small strip retail shops to large neighbourhood shopping centres. Most of its investments are based in Sydney, including Cabramatta Plaza and property in the heart of Chinatown adjacent to the CBD. The family fortune was build by Bernard Chan, who started with a general store in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. He migrated to Australia in 1967 and his wealth was inherited by his four sons. Banna is controlled by his grandson Brad Chan.
The Valmorbida family run a collection of businesses stemming from Valcorp Fine Foods, headed by second-generation family member John Valmorbida. Valcorp is the Australian distributor for brands such as Lavazza coffee, La Zuppa soup, Sirena tuna and Evian water. The family first arrived in Australia in 1949, soon after which patriarch Carlo Valmorbida and his three younger brothers started importing Italian foods. The business was a tremendous success, selling a range of Mediterranean foods to post-war European migrants. The Valmorbida family also own a range of retail and property investments
The Handbury family’s wealth goes back to a 1994 deal during which Rupert Murdoch secured control of the then News Corporation by paying $600 million for the stakes held by his sisters, including the late Helen Handbury. The Handbury family now holds investments in a range of industries, including the ACE Radio network through Geoff Handbury and various property holdings held by his son Paddy. He sold the Moonah Links golf and residential estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula to Chinese-backed buyers earlier this year for about $18 million.
The Scheinberg family has been gradually selling down its property assets, including a leased landholding in the Sydney suburb of Chullora late last year that was offloaded for $15.75 million. The late Albert Scheinberg operated a leathergoods business with brother John Hammond after their migration from Hungary in 1937. A diversified range of investments followed, including clothing company Best and Lest, sold in 1998 for $100 million. Albert Scheinberg died in 2008 aged 96. The family owns private property investment company McDonald Industries and the Brahman cattle breeding operation Mogul Stud in Maclean, NSW.
Brian White is the third generation leader of the Ray White real estate business, founded in 1902 by the late Ray White. Brian White is joint chairman of the business alongside Paul White. They are part of the third generation of the business, with four of Ray White’s great-grandsons also directors on the company’s board. The Ray White business is one of Australia’s largest real estate groups, working across all facets of the property sector including residential, commercial, rural and livestock, hotels and even marinas.
Melbourne’s Rabinowicz family has kept a low profile since the 2011 sale of the Rabinov Property Trust to Growthpoint in 2011. The family fortune was built in the textile and hosiery industries by the late Ezriel ‘Ziggy’ Rabinowicz, who also went by the surname Rabinov. He sold out of the clothing sector in order to make a foray in the property sector. His daughter Roseanna Amarant controlled the property trust at the time of its sale.
Melbourne’s Pellicano Group has been concentrating on the Queensland property sector in recent times, selling more than $33 million of industrial assets in the sunshine state in the first quarter of the year to reinvest in residential construction. The private company, owned and run by Nando, Michael, Antonio and Renato Pellicano, have 360 apartments across three projects under construction. The family traces its business success back to 1951, when Rocco Pellicano arrived in Australia from Italy to join his brother Nick to start the family business. Pellicano Group builds property across several assets around the country, including residential, business parks and aged care.
The Caratti family owns extensive rural landholdings across rural Western Australia and industry property in Perth. The family business has embarked on several residential property projects in recent years, some of which has sparked legal action involving family members and some business associaties. Allan Caratti and his brother John inherited the family earthmoving and property empire from their late father Mick Caratti, who died in 1992.
The Hutchison family own the long-established Queensland construction company Hutchinson Builders. Jack Hutchison, a British immigrant, established the business in 1912 and it has since passed through another three generations of owners. Today the company turns over more than $1.2 billion annually and made $25 million net profit in the 2015 financial year, up from $17 million the year before. Greg Hutchinson, a former executive director of the Queensland and NSW Master Builders Associations, is now in charge of a business that works across commercial, high-rise residential mining and industrial property and has established a presence in New Zealand.
The Cardaci family lost its patriach Frank Cardaci in 2014, close to six decades after his family left Sicily and settled in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Frank Cardaci became a chef at his uncle’s restaurant before moving to Perth in 1959. He and his brother bought a bought a repossessed truck and then another, eventually establishing a trucking business. The family’s CFC group now has interests in distribution, logistics, mining services, property and infrastructure. The group, run by Marc and Phillip Cardaci, is WA’s largest privately-owned logistics provider.
Thu 15 Oct 2015
For billionaire Manoj Bhargava (like many other people), the world is a place full of problems. Between poverty, pollution, food growth, and access to water, the list seems to be ever growing. That’s why he’s recently pledged to spearhead a group aimed at giving away all their billions to turning things around for mankind.
Here’s how he plans to do it…
Regardless of whether he’s naive or not, there’s no question his motives are pure. It’s certainly something society — and the world — needs. Stereotypes and politics aside, there are many wealthy people that truly help the needy…and we hope the number of those people increases.
Sat 10 Oct 2015
Investing has the potential to leading towards incredible wealth. While it helps to have a large sum of money to begin with, it is not always necessary. Through the right investment practices it is possible to continually build up wealth. However, there are some people who are just better at it than others. Usually through the combination of knowledge, skill and luck, these top 10 investors of all time have made their fortune through appropriate options trading, future trading and a variety of other methods.
Like many of the other investors on this list, he started up before online investing. He is best known for basically breaking the Bank of England. He did this by basically betting $10 billion on a single trade. This shorted the British Pound due to the size of the trade, but with this trade he net $2 billion in a single day. He is a macro economic investor, but it is important to understand he doesn’t have a clear strategy. he more or less just understands the situation and moves on from there.
Bill Gross shows it is possible to make money without stock investing or dealing with other common investing types. In act, he built up his fortune through simple bond investing. His company currently has around $600 billion in bond based investments. Of course, like any quality investor, he does understand the importance of having a diverse portfolio, so he personally invests in other stocks. When he makes an investment, he takes a “big picture” approach as he wants to invest with a stock for 3-5 years. He says he does this so there is no “emotional whiplash” should the stock fail to perform on a given day.
John, more commonly referred to as “Jack” learned about how to properly invest through mistakes. Mistakes happen in the business and trading world, which makes learning from these mistakes imperative. After graduating from Princeton University he eventually went on to work at Wellington Management Company where he become Chairman. However, he was eventually fired due to a bad merger. He took this knowledge to go and found The Vanguard Group, which is best known for being a low cost mutual funds company. He even gives out rules for investors to look at in order to make sure they are as successful as him. He says to start out with a low cost fund, look at any added costs associated with it and to not overrate previous performance on the fund. Instead, the past performance should only be used to determine if it is a consistently performing stock
Of all the investors on this list, Warren Buffett is probably best known. Before becoming the investment professional he is today, he held different investment jobs, with his most recent earning him $12,000 a year. He used this money an money from individual investments to accumulate his wealth to just under $200,000 before starting an investment partnership. His current net value now though is in the ballpark of $50 billion, so he really has taken a small amount and built it on his own. He made his money by buying struggling companies for a low price, then pumping money into the companies in order to improve it, which in turn helps increase the value of the stock price. He only focuses in on industries that he understands and feels comfortable with, which is a very important bit of information for investors. It can become easy to try to invest in a company that is hot at the time, but knowing a bit about the investment and what the company does can make it easier to make do the right decisions later on with the company.
Philip basically invented the idea of investing on growth stocks. In 1931, he opened his own investment company called Fisher & Company and actually managed it up until 1999, when he decided to retire at 91. All of his investments where based on long term growth. He would analyze a company and determine it’s staying power. He used a 15 point list in order to determine whether or not a stock was worth investing in. The two main points included the management characteristics and characteristics of the business. Beyond this, some of the points included conservative accounting, accessibility, long-term outlook and an openness to change. All of these points ultimately pointed Philip to what stocks to select. He went on to write a book about his investment philosophies titled “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits.”
Benjamin is the guy who taught Warren Buffett most of what he knows (although naturally Warren learned as he went along as any great investor does). Benjamin did not make any sort of investments without first financially analyzing the stock. He eventually went on to help create a very important act in the United States called the Securities Act of 1933. This act requires public companies to divulge all financial information so investors can have a better idea of what they are investing in. Benjamin is another individual who has penned a book to help current investors. Due to the fact that he helped shape Buffett, it has turned into a best seller.
For anyone who has investing in a mutual fund, this is basically the guy that created it. He founded a mutual fund in 1939. At this time, he purchased 100 shares of every company on the New York Stock Exchange trading under $1 a share. In total, he purchased stocks for 104 companies for a total of $10,400. Now over the following four years, 30 percent of these companies did go bankrupt, which is more common than people might think. Despite this, the remaining 70 companies he purchased stock in allowed him to sell the original $10,400 investment for $40,000. By multiplying his investment by four, he discovered that by purchasing a wide range of stocks, the successful companies will always cover any loss from failing companies. This is why having a diverse portfolio is important and why having stocks in a wide selection of different companies is important as well. Of course, John also made all of these investments from the Bahamas, which started another trend of “off shore trading.” However, he did this primarily to stay out of the light of Wall Street so others wouldn’t catch on.
Carl is one of the most famous investors in the entire world, but he can also be feared as well. This is because he locates a company that he believes can be successful but is poorly managed. He then goes and purchases enough shares to be able to vote himself into the Board of Directors and is able to gut the company of the people making the poor decisions. He then is able to sell his shares of the now much more successful company at a higher profit. Naturally, this is something that requires some money to begin with, but for someone who understand the market and business, it is a valuable operation.
While he didn’t start the company, Peter completely revolutionized Fidelity and it’s Magellan Fund. While managing the brand for 13 years, he took the assets of $20 million and grew it to $14 billion. He also surpassed the average return on similar funds by 29% annually. He has some very specific guidelines for investing. He starts out with a common idea of “know what you know”, or, in other words, only invest in what a person understands and already knows about as it makes it easier to know when to buy more or sell. He goes on to state it is impossible to predict the economy, so don’t try to and to avoid long shot investments. Investing only in companies with strong management is important and, before ever buying into a company, the investor should always be able to explain why they are making the investment.
To round out the list, Michael isn’t a flashy name, but he has maintained a 24% compound average annual return over the last 28 years. Each and every year he has seen at least a double in return on investment than the S&P500 average. He also did not do this investment with just individual stocks or mutual funds. He did it with stocks, bonds, currencies and other investments. His strategy focused on the long term by investing in the short term. He did this by holding onto his investments for anywhere from 30 minutes up to 30 days.
Tue 22 Sep 2015
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Sir Richard Branson is one of England’s most famous entrepreneurs; a successful businessman and renowned inventor, he is the founder of the innovative Virgin Group, which comprises more than 400 companies.
Branson is an inspiration for entrepreneurs and businesspeople all over the world, epitomizing the modern work ethic and the entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of just 16, Richard undertook his first business venture (a magazine called Studen, and since then he has grown into one of the world’s most respected businessmen.
In 2014, he was listed as the seventh richest citizen of the United Kingdom on the Forbes List of Billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion.
In addition to his business prowess, Branson has always demonstrated an incredible desire to innovate and push boundaries. He has made numerous world record attempts, including the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle, the fastest around-the-world balloon flight, the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing and the fastest Pacific crossing.
Branson also regularly undertakes humanitarian initiatives, using his considerable wealth and influence to help people and organisations all over the world. He is a founding sponsor of the ICMEC (International Centre of Missing & Exploited Children), he founded the Branson School of Entrepreneurship, has hosted an environmental gathering at his private island, is a signatory of the Global Zero campaign, is a Comissioner on the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development initiative and has partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation for it’s ‘Say No’ campaign.
Incorporated in 1989, the Virgin Group was founded by Richard Branson and Nik Powell and consists of more than 400 companies worldwide. According to Branson, the brand name ‘Virgin’ arose when the business partners were setting up their first business, a record shop. Branson and Powell considered themselves ‘virgins’ in business, and thus the name was born.
Currently, the Virgin Group operates from its headquarters at The Battleship building in the City of Westminster. It was previously located in The School House in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
The core areas of the Virgin Group can be considered to be travel, entertainment and lifestyle, although it also manages ventures in financial services, transport, banking, health care, food and drink, media and telecommunications. Although Branson retains complete ownership and control of the Virgin brand, each of the companies operating under its banner is a separate entity, with Branson owning some and holding either majority or minority stakes in others. In some cases, he simply licenses the brand to an external company, such as Virgin Records (owned by Universal Music Group) and Virgin Media (owned by Liberty Global).
Got to run? Here’s a snapshop of Branson’s top ten tips for success:
#1 Follow your dreams
#2 Make a positive difference in the world
#3 Believe in your ideas
#4 Have fun and take care of your team
#5 Don’t give up
#6 Make lots of lists
#7 Get out there and do things
#8 Learn to delegate
#9 Prove your naysayers wrong
#10 Do what you love, and have a sofa in the kitchen
You should always pursue your passions in life, and it’s no different in business. You will find your work life far more rewarding – and successful – if you’re doing something you love, rather than just doing something for the sake of making money.
“Very few people take the risk to go and follow their dream, and those who do are usually those who end up with a much happier, more rewarding and exciting life.”
This is undoubtedly good advice for those starting their own business, but there’s also a valuable lesson here for managers too. Engaging employees can be a tough prospect for any manager, but by getting to know your employees and gauging what elements of their job they truly enjoy doing, we can better delegate responsibilities and get the best from team members. Of course it’s not always possible to give someone a job they truly love, but by understanding what drives our workers, we can give them responsibilities, rewards or perks that we know they will enjoy, creating a better work environment and engaging team members to do the best job they can do.
This also highlights the importance of allowing employees to voice their opinions and make suggestions for improving elements of the business or implementing new and innovative work practices. If team members have a good idea that they’re truly passionate about, listening to them and allowing them to pursue their passion can have a strong beneficial impact on their motivation, engagement and results, as well as having potentially significant implications for the business as a whole.
Companies of all kinds have a social responsibility to make a difference to the world in some way, and being out there and doing good can have a dramatic impact on how your staff feel about the company they work for. Whether it’s the whole world, the country in which you’re based, the local community or even just your staff and customers, you should be aiming to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
“Not only will it alter the way people feel about your business, it will give everyone involved the motivation to work harder, as they understand that their work benefits everybody. “
There’s an important lesson here for managers too, and that ‘s the importance of understanding how little things can make a big difference when it comes to engagement and motivation. These little things, whether it ‘s recognition, rewards, bonuses, understanding of personal situations or even just listening to team members, can make workers feel appreciated, acknowledged and part of an organisation that values more than just profits.
Making a positive difference – both in and outside of the company – can ensure your team members feel like valued and important elements of a greater whole and can create a positive and effective work environment.
You should believe in your idea and feel proud about what you’re doing. You have to have a passion for it and have the ability to inspire other people to feel passionate about it too.
“There’s little point doing something in life unless you feel really good about it and proud of what you’ve achieved and what you’re trying to do. “
It’s also important to try and be the best – to produce the best possible version of your vision. Every aspect of what you do should aim to be better than the competition, and this should be a driving force behind your efforts.
Managers can learn from this element of Branson’s work ethic, but it ‘s important to be able to effectively evaluate the quality of your ideas and critique the work you’re doing to make it a reality.
If an idea is a good one, then you should be able to pitch it to other people in two or three sentences. Bear this in mind when you’re evaluating the quality of your – or a team member’s – ideas. When it comes to being the best, this is easier said than done, and it’s easy to become complacent in your efforts – particularly if your goal takes a long time to achieve.
As a result it ‘s important to be able to regularly critique the efforts of you and your team, to ensure you’re keeping the principles of your original idea in mind and that you’re always striving to be the best.
Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture.
“It’s really important to have fun at work. If you’re not having fun anymore, it may be time to move on.“
Make sure you’ve got the kind of people in your company who genuinely care about others and look for the best in people. If your team are having fun and genuinely care about their colleagues and their customers, they will do a better job and staff morale will be consistently high.
There’s an important tip here for managers, and that ‘s that in order to get the best out of your team, you should encourage a fun, interactive and collaborative environment, both in and out of the office. Keeping your team happy and engaged will result in a more motivated and effective workforce and will also have a beneficial impact on staff retention and satisfaction.
When it comes to creating this kind of environment, you should never overlook the power of effective team-building exercises. We’ve all experienced the awkwardness and relative ineffectiveness of stuffy ‘trust-fall ‘ type activities, but that doesn’t mean that team building doesn’t work – you just need to think a little outside of the box.
When you’re considering which team-building activities to undertake, you need to ensure you keep some key elements in mind. Any exercise aimed at improving overall morale and teamwork should always have a shared objective and defined goals. The activities should match these goals, and employees should be provided with meaningful takeaways and key lessons. There’s nothing wrong with fostering competition within the team as long as it’s healthy, fun and always good-natured.
It’s incredibly important not to give up when you’re working towards trying to achieve your dreams. There will always be situations where the easiest thing to do is to simply quit, but you’ve just got to work day and night to overcome those difficulties.
If you do fail, just brush yourself off and move on to something else. Dealing with failure is much easier if you have put everything you can into avoiding it.
“Always do your utmost to rise to the challenge, and if you do fail there’s nothing wrong with simply trying again – you’ ll be amazed at what you can achieve.”
It’s easy to see the value of being determined and not giving up on your dreams, but this is easier said than done, particularly in the face of a tough setback or disappointment. So how can we become more determined?
One very effective way is to steer clear of the concept of ‘destiny’.
Thinking that things just ‘aren’t meant to be’ or that your future is pre-determined can be comforting in some circumstances, but at the same time, it’s often the easy way out when the alternative requires grit and courage. Instead, understand that you create your destiny, and nothing is pre-determined. If you want to be the leader of a successful team, business or any other venture, don’t be lulled into thinking whatever happens is destined to be. You can make it happen yourself, with hard work and a never-say-die attitude. One of the most powerful ways of increasing your motivation and determination is to validate yourself and acknowledge your own past achievements. The dopamine reward system in the brain goes into overdrive when we achieve positive feedback, even if this feedback comes from ourselves.
Self-belief is also hugely important when it comes to being more determined, and a positive self-image can be a really powerful motivator. Think of yourself as someone who relishes new challenges
and is more than capable of succeeding at whatever you put your mind to.
This kind of positive reinforcement will also activate the dopamine reward system of the brain, which is strongly associated with motivation and determination.
If all else fails, drink coffee! Studies have shown that coffee can release dopamine into the brain and has the ability to sharpen and increase mental focus.
Scientists have also found that caffeine can enhance certain cognitive tasks and spark the motivation and reward circuit in the brain. Just make sure you don’t overdose on caffeine, as it lead to energy slump later in the day.
If you don’t write down your ideas, they could be forgotten by the next day. Write lots of lists to keep track of your goals and mark them off as you achieve them. You’ll be amazed by what challenges you can overcome.
“You should keep setting yourself new targets and challenges – unless you actually organize yourself and write the kinds of things you want to achieve, there’s a danger that as time slips by, you won’t achieve a lot.”
Staying organized is an important part of any business, and you can use lists to keep you – and your team – on track. You don’t need to use paper lists either, if that’s not your thing. There are many excellent online tools for organisation and lists, with Evernote and Podio being excellent examples.
You can make more than simple ‘to do’ lists too. Split your lists up into month, week and days, with overall goals and challenges in the longer time-span lists and detailed tasks in the day-to-day lists. Start your list with the thing you want to do the least, and keep it in that order. That way you can check off the most annoying tasks early in the day when you feel most motivated, keeping that motivation (and accompanying feeling of achievement) going throughout the day.
If you’re finding a certain task particularly difficult, split it up into smaller tasks and list them in order – tick off each task as you complete it and soon you’ll be halfway through the job. Encourage your team members to do the same thing, you’ll be amazed at the impact it can have on motivation and productivity.
The art of delegation is one of the most important skills for an entrepreneur to master.
“If you can find people who can take on tasks you aren’t particularly good at, it can free you up to plan for the future and, more importantly, give you time to spend with your family.”
If you’re an entrepreneur or a team manager, then mastering the art of delegation should be considered a hugely important task. We’re not all good delegators, particularly those of us who are perfectionists or precious about our ideas, but we need to be able to assign team members to suitable tasks, particularly if they’re better at those tasks than we are.
Delegation is especially key if you’re trying to grow a business, as you simply can’t take on every job yourself.
So how can we learn to get better at delegating? The first thing to do is to pick tasks to delegate ‘up’ and ‘down’. The former corresponds to tasks that require specific knowledge and/or skills, particularly those that don’t relate
to the core services of your business. For example, things like accounts, billing, legal issues and the like should all be delegated to skilled employees, companies or freelancers. Delegating ‘down’ refers to those tasks which don’t require any particular skills or knowledge, such as postage, sending out virtual mailers, booking appointments, etc. Delegate these tasks to a subordinate, freeing up your valuable time to concentrate on more important tasks.
You need to learn to let go of the ‘if I want something done right, I have to do it myself’ mentality and understand that your team is there to support you and the business.
If you’re struggling with delegating, start with smaller tasks and ensure you give your team members clear instructions and be absolutely clear about what you expect the outcome to be. Giving clear instructions and expectations allows you to judge the end results more effectively and gives your team members a much better chance of doing the job the way you want it done.
It’s key to understand that delegation, apart from freeing up your own time, will empower your staff and contractors, making the feel trusted, valued and appreciated, and will give them the opportunity to develop their own skills, knowledge and abilities.
Instead of sitting in front of a screen all your life, try turning off the TV or the computer and go out into the world.
“With so many fascinating people to meet, adventures to embark on and challenges to overcome, sitting in front of the TV is simply a waste of time.”
It’s important to be able to switch off now and again, but there’s so much waiting for you out in the real world, and those experiences can be incredibly valuable for an entrepreneur.
So what is out there for an entrepreneur? Instead of spending your free time in front of a screen, an entrepreneur can find greater value attending conventions and lectures or meeting new people at networking events and social gatherings. The old adage goes ‘it ‘s not what you know, it ‘s who you know’, and the only way to make these important contacts is out in the real world. So follow Branson’s advice: get out there and do things.
There will always be people who try to hang on the coattails of successful people.
“The best thing you can do is not only ignore them, but prove them wrong in every single way.”
Ignoring criticism is a great skill if you can do it, but it ‘s not always that straightforward, particularly if you’re a sensitive person or eager to be accepted within a certain community. So how can you deal with criticism more effectively?
Firstly, you should try and learn something from any criticism you receive. It’s important to understand that most criticism is probably based – at least in part – on some truths. It may appear negative, but criticism presents us with an opportunity to learn and improve. In order to try and learn from criticism, train yourself to ignore the tone in which it ‘s delivered and focus solely on the suggestions.
Once you focus on learning from criticism, you can begin to value it. This is particularly important if you’re a manager, director or team leader, as you may only hear praise on a day-to-day basis (even if it ‘s insincere). When you do receive criticism, learn to value it as something constructive and as an opportunity to learn what you could be doing better.
If you are struggling to deal with criticism, you should try and wait before responding. Responding immediately – with anger or injured pride – will likely result in confrontation and will do nothing to help your ability to deal with criticism. Wait and reflect on the criticism you’ve received, and work out the best way to respond. This also gives you the opportunity to recognise false criticism and value real criticism that offers an opportunity to learn.
You only live one life, so it ‘s important to do things that you enjoy. The truth is, so long as you’ve got a kitchen that has space for a sofa, a bedroom and a partner that you love, you don’t need much else.
“If you’re doing something that you really love, it will result in a much more enjoyable life rather than doing something purely for the sake of making money.”
Of course we all have to pay the bills and we can’t all spend our days doing something we truly love. It is, however, possible to learn to love your career, even if you’re not working in your dream job.
First and foremost, you need to realise that your job doesn’t define you, but how you do that job does. Your attitude at work and the way you treat people doesn’t go unnoticed, and it can have a profound influence on the people around you. There are many times in life when you can’t control your situation, but you can always choose how you react to it.
Although it ‘s easier said than done, you should try and learn to stop focusing on the money. You will never have enough money – no matter how much you make, there are always going to be things you could do if you had more – so stop using it as an excuse. You should understand that work should be about more than just the paycheck for it to be truly fulfilling.
You should also try and find the significance in your work – it may require some creative thinking, but it ‘s absolutely possible. No matter what you do, you can find significance in it if you think long and hard about your role. Perspective plays a crucial role in your level of satisfaction in your career and your overall sense of well-being, and being able to shift your perspective can go a long way in learning to love your career.
Wed 15 Jul 2015
James Packer is gathering his Las Vegas lieutenants: Andrew Pascal, left, and Todd Nisbet.
It’s the battle of the casino billionaires: ageing Las Vegas kingpin Steve Wynn versus Australian gaming tycoon James Packer.
Wynn is perhaps best known for developing the vast Bellagio resort in Vegas in the late 1990s, which at the time was the most expensive hotel in the world.
He’s since built Wynn Resorts into an $US11 billion ($15 billion) giant, with casinos spread from Vegas through to Macau.
Packer, the chairman and half-owner of the $10 billion Crown Resorts, has an empire spanning from Australia to Macau and London.
The one piece missing? A presence in Sin City.
After announcing plans last year to build a Vegas casino by 2018, Packer has steadily been raiding Wynn’s top executives as he looks to challenge the US businessman with an 1100-room integrated resort dubbed Alon that could cost the gaming magnate more than $US4 billion.
After snaring the executive who used to run Wynn’s Vegas operations, Andrew Pascal, Packer has now reportedly lured the most successful US nightclub operator as part of his team.
Jesse Waits, the man behind Wynn’s XS and Tryst nightclubs, quit the casino operator over the weekend. Packer is understood to have secured him in a role as part of the Alon venture during a visit to Vegas in early July.
Waits opened XS in 2009, turning it into the top grossing club in the country, booking about $US105 million annually in revenue.
Waits, whose twin brother Cy once dated Paris Hilton, claimed to be generating profit margins of 70 per cent compared with the 30 per cent industry average.
After starting his career as a bartender, Waits built the XS and Tryst club scene into one of the strip’s most popular and profitable venues by securing exclusive residencies with DJs including Avicii, David Guetta, Diplo and Skrillex.
In a recent interview, Waits admitted Mr Wynn’s level of attention to detail kept him on his toes.
“When I see him, I have everything, all my numbers, my profit and loss, and my margins. Whereas before, it wasn’t really part of my program. He wants to know the bottom line and what the margin is, how many pixels are in the LEDs, who’s the DJ. He has so many questions and if you slip, you feel like a fool.”
The bulk of Mr Packer’s Vegas team hold links to the Wynn empire.
Mr Pascal, the nephew of Mr Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, spent several years working with Crown’s strategy and development boss, Todd Nisbet. Recent Alon recruits Rob Oseland and Jennifer Dunne also worked for Mr Wynn.
Mr Packer is developing the lavish complex after buying land on the strip at a cut-price $US280 million price tag nearly a year ago in a deal with hedge fund giant Oaktree Capital Management.
Las Vegas remains a risky bet for Mr Packer, who was burnt badly by a previous US foray, where Crown was forced to write down more than $2 billion after a series of ill-fated deals.
Crown is slated to spend $US10 billion on a string of casino resorts by the end of this decade, including Studio City, due to open in Macau by October, and the $1.5 billion Crown Sydney resort in 2019.
Crown is also vying with Echo Entertainment for the rights to build the Queen’s Wharf development in Brisbane with a winner to be named in coming weeks.
Tue 30 Jun 2015
Reinventure has taken a stake in Bitcoin company Coinbase, which has 2.3 million users and 3 million digital “wallets”. Photo: Bloomberg
In a deal that will put Westpac Banking Corp in the box seat as cryptocurrencies develop, the bank’s venture capital fund, Reinventure Group, has invested in Coinbase, one of the world’s pre-eminent Bitcoin companies.
In the first deal involving an Australian bank and a Bitcoin company, it is understood that Reinventure joined a $US75 million raising Coinbase conducted earlier this year, which also won support by some of the world’s largest venture capital firms, the New York Stock Exchange and former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit.
Backers of Coinbase are making bets that blockchain technology will radically transform the movement of money around the globe’s financial system. The investment by Reinventure will allow Westpac to monitor a future world where money morphs beyond central bank-regulated currencies into a myriad of forms.
“We plan to work closely with Reinventure and share insights into the use of digital currencies globally,” the San Francisco-based Coinbase said in an announcement on its blog on Tuesday morning. A spokesman for Westpac confirmed the investment. Coinbase’s “mission is to be the most trusted bitcoin company in the world and it is investing heavily in next generation security. Reinventure’s investment will provide key insights into the use of digital currencies and associated technologies,” the Westpac spokesman said
Coinbase provides a range of services to the Bitcoin economy. These include allowing customers to exchange domestic currencies into Bitcoin and transfer payments in Bitcoin, storing Bitcoin in a digital wallet and providing merchant services to process transactions for companies dealing in Bitcoin. It also operates an exchange where speculators can bet on direction of price of bitcoin, and various anti-money laundering and security services.
The company has been seeking to legitimise Bitcoin which has been plagued by volatile moves in its price, the high-profile theft of some Bitcoin from an exchange in Japan, and its use in the blackmarket economy. Coinbase has been working with regulators in the US and the UK to create legal frameworks under which it can operate.
Earlier this month, US regulator Benjamin Lawsky released a final version of Bitcoin regulations known as a BitLicense which will require digital currencies businesses in New York state to operate with a license and report to government. The Reserve Bank of Australia has conducted detailed analysis of Bitcoin and its implications. A Senate Committee is also preparing a report on digital currencies due for release this year.
Reinventure joined in the recent “Series C” fundraising round venture capital powerhouses Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Andreessen Horowitz, Robbot Capital and Union Square Ventures, all of which had participated in previous Coinbase raisings. As well as the NYSE, the raising was Japan’s largest mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo, USAA Bank, the venture arm of Spain’s BBVA, Mr Pandit and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer.
It is believed the participation of USAA, BBVA and now Westpac represents the first time any global financial institutions or their VC funds have invested in Bitcoin. No amounts were disclosed, however, it is understood that each party put in between $US1 million and $US10 million into the raising, which was completed in January.
Coinbase allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin in 25 countries and is focused on expanding to 30 by the end of the year. “We look forward to working with Reinventure and bringing bitcoin to new markets around the world,” the company said.
Reinventure Group co-founder Simon Cant said: “We’re very excited to be working with such a great management team and look forward to helping them grow their business.”
According to Coinbase’s website, it has 2.3 million users, serves 3 million digital “wallets”, is used by 40,000 merchants and has 7,000 developer applications. Wallet growth grew by 10 times in 2014, the company has said.
The deal comes after Westpac, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia begin testing out payment technology from US-based company Ripple Labs, an exchange for messages that is being targeted towards banks. The Ripple network uses similar blockchain-style technology to Bitcoin, which it calls a ledger, but is a distributed network rather than a decentralised one.
Westpac seeded Reinventure – which is managed independently – with $50 million in February last year. It has made four previous investments: marketplace payments provider, PromisePay; big data analytics firm Zetaris Corporation; Australian local community social network Nabo; and the peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne, which is also backed by media moguls James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Ryan Stokes.
Thu 11 Jun 2015
Juneyao Air’s market capitalisation is now greater than that of Air Canada and Air France-KLM. Photo: Bloomberg
One of the world’s youngest billionaires has emerged in China after his budget airline tripled in value in less than three weeks.
Wang Han has a net worth of $US1.2 billion ($1.5 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The 27-year-old inherited 27 per cent of Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines Co from his father, who died in 2004.
The airline sold shares in an initial public offering on May 27 and has risen by the exchange-imposed limit of 10 per cent each day since. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has advanced 58 per cent this year, helping to create more than 75 billionaires.
Wang’s uncle, Wang Junjin, chairman of Juneyao, owns 26 per cent of the carrier. He also controls 14 per cent of department store operator Wuxi Commercial Mansion Grand Orient Co, giving him a $US1.1 billion fortune. Juneyao’s rise is set to produce a third billionaire, Wang Junhao, another uncle, as the airline added 10 per cent as of 10.09am in Shanghai trading.
Aviation billionaires are rare in China because the low returns make it difficult to make money in the industry, according to Li Xiaolu, an industrial analyst at Capital Securities Corp in Shanghai.
“Juneyao is a new stock which investors favor,” Li said. “It may still jump further.”
The company’s IPO came after low-cost carrier Spring Airlines Co surged more than sevenfold since its January listing. Spring’s Chairman Wang Zhenghua became a billionaire about two weeks after its trading debut.
Juneyao Air jumped by the 10 per cent cap to a record 41.76 yuan at the Shanghai close on Wednesday. That gave the carrier a market capitalisation of 23.7 billion yuan ($4.9 billion), making it more valuable than Air Canada and Air France-KLM.
Wang Xi, a Juneyao Air investor relations official, declined to comment.
Tue 19 May 2015
Cults, or “New Religious Groups” as Sociologists prefer to call them now, have been around since the dawn of time. They start as splinter groups or small ideal-based sects that often have radical beliefs and practices. Some of these religions grow so large that they eventually become recognized as mainstream religion. What makes the modern iterations of these cults so terrifying is their ability to suck in the most reasonable and intelligent of people, and their reach often extends to your friends and family.
Many celebrities were or are currently in cults: Michelle Pfeiffer was a member of an obscure breatharian cult that believed you didn’t need to eat or drink to live and that you could get your sustenance from the sun. It wasn’t until her actor boyfriend at the time Peter Horton got a role acting in a movie about the followers of Reverend Moon of the Unification church that she realized she herself was in such an organization.
Indoctrination and brainwashing are part of what makes cults so influential on educated and rational people, but it’s what these cults do in their rituals and customs that makes them a threat worthy of a good scary movie. Let’s take a look at some of the craziest cults in America.
David Koresh was an outspoken member of the Seventh Day Adventists until he was expelled for his radical views. He thought that he was the messiah and all women were his spiritual wives. Following his split with the Seventh Day Adventists Koresh fled, to the now infamous Waco Texas, to establish their center of worship.
They lived on a large compound and stockpiled weapons and armor for the eventual end of the world, which they believed was drawing near based on Koresh’s visions. Their leader was speaking the word of god according to them, and they surrendered themselves wholly to him. Koresh ended up marrying many of the church members wives and children; many of them were very young.
Reports of the Branch Davidian’s hoarding of weaponry and child abuse finally spurred the newly appointed Attorney General Janet Reno to take action. In 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms attempted to raid the compound. The raid ended in a disastrous withdrawal and 4 dead ATF agents along with 7 dead Branch Davidians. The ATF then engaged in a 51 day siege of the compound that culminated in tanks injecting tear gas into the buildings of the compound and a massive fire that killed 77 Branch Davidians including Koresh.
Charles Manson founded a bizarre cult around concepts he stole from Scientology, Satanism, and any other fringe religion that suited his motives. Though they practiced rituals in some form or other, they were largely focused on a prophesy Manson envisioned while listening to the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”
Manson believed there was an impending race war between African-Americans and all other races. He believed African-Americans would win this war but following this be unable to govern their new society. The Manson “Family,” as they referred to themselves, planned to hide out during the war and emerge afterward to become the leaders of the victorious African-American race.
The Manson Family compound was, appropriately, in Death Valley. Manson ordered his followers to go to Los Angeles and murder nine influential people to frame African-Americans and ignite his prophesied race war. Coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of Hollywood director Roman Polanski, were gruesomely murdered with Tate’s unborn child being cut out of her.
The murders enraged and horrified the entire country and Manson and his followers were quickly arrested. Manson was sentenced to life in prison, and most recently was engaged to be married. However, his bride to be apparently confessed to only marrying him to gain possession of his corpse following his death to use as a tourist attraction. Manson believes this a foolish idea, because he believes himself to be immortal.
The book of revelations details the end of the world, it speaks of the signs and harbingers that lead to our fiery end. In chapter 11 verse 3, it specifies that there will be two witnesses to God’s eventual damnation. Marshall Applewhite, the eventual leader of Heaven’s Gate, had a heart attack in the early 1970’s and had a vision that he and his nurse, Bonnie Nettles, were these two witnesses.
Applewhite believed he was a direct descendent of Jesus, he merged Christian beliefs about salvation and the end of the world with more modern theories of evolution and even time travel. The end result of this quasi-Christian doctrine was the belief that the world was ending sometime near the second millennium.
Applewhite and Nettles referred to themselves as Bo and Peep, and cultivated a following of members to believe in their version of the end of days. In 1997, Applegate used the appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet to spread the idea that a space ship was following behind the comet to take all of their faithful members to heaven.
To achieve the ultimate ascension the group donned matching outfits with matching white Nike’s, and all 39 members drank poison while covered in ceremonial purple shrouds awaiting their heavenly transport.
As with many of the cults on this list, Jim Jones started with beliefs bastardized from a more mainstream religion, in this case Pentecostal dogma. Jim Jones’ preaching style appealed to the masses and he became an instant hit from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, particularly among the African- American community, due to his progressive stance on racial equality. By the mid 70’s Jones’ evangelical preaching had gained a following all along the west coast, which had granted him a certain level of political clout.
In 1977, Jones relocated his congregation to “The Commune” in Guyana. The cult rose the hackles of the political elite by moving to a communist nation. Congressman Leo Ryan flew to Guyana to meet with Jones in person, and just before the congressman boarded the plane to return to the US Jones’s followers shot and killed him. Knowing retribution would follow, Jones decided to go out in spectacular fashion and convinced over 900 of his closest followers (some at gunpoint) to commit suicide by poison.
Think the people that make the pilgrimage to Comic-Con in San Diego every year and dress up in costume are a little obsessed? Well, Scientology was founded by one of the early writers of the Science Fiction Genre: L Ron Hubbard and his followers are among the most mysterious and obsessed fanatics in the world.
Supposedly, the founder of the religion was drinking in a bar with fellow author Robert A. Heinlein and the latter bet Hubbard that he couldn’t start his own religion. Well, Hubbard won the bet and is quoted as saying “if a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.” Despite all this, Scientology remains one of the largest cults in existence and its members are unerring in their devotion.
Scientology bases its primary tenants on a “science” called Dianetics that Hubbard developed as an alternative to modern psychology. Its members are encouraged to sign over most of their earnings to the church where they progress up many levels, only learning certain truths about the universe as they level up. The basic story, according to its ostracised former members, is that the universe was created by a race called Thetans and the life force of the universe can be manipulated by church elders to make them all think more clearly. The highest echelon members learn of Xenu, a maniacal tyrant who rules the Galactic Confederacy and will reign terror on all of creation. Tom Cruise maintains, along with several nations, that Scientology is a legitimate religion.
An offshoot of Presbyterian Christianity, Sun Myung Moon founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. The North Korean national fled to the United States following an imprisonment in a North Korean prison camp, and started his cult believing that Christ had not completed his mission on earth of having “perfect children.”
Moon told his followers that only he could choose their mates, becoming infamous for his mass wedding ceremonies. Eventually renaming his cult the Unification Church, Moon moved to New York and became a very successful businessman, but parents of his new recruits became suspicious and began filing lawsuits claiming he was brainwashing their children.
Finally in 1982, Moon was convicted of tax evasion and went to prison for a short time. The Unification Church continues today, Moon was even crowned the Messiah at a Senate office building in Washington D.C. in 2003. Moon died in 2010, but his Unification Church continues to be run by his children.
A non-traditional Hindu mystic and guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh became as famous for his indulgences as he was for his fanatical cult. At one time, Rajneesh owned 93 Rolls Royces, the largest collection in the world, and he advocated for a lavish lifestyle of sex and debauchery. The rise of AIDS in the 80s put a stop to those practices, but the cult continued after establishing a community called Rajneeshpuram in Oregon.
A controversy started when the community attempted to add votes to their population by busing in homeless people to “share houses” in order to influence the local elections. When this resulted in dissent among its members they turned to more radical methods. They launched the first ever bioterrorism attack in the U.S. poisoning the members of the town of Dalles, Oregon with Salmonella to limit the number of voters going to the polls. Rajneesh was deported from the US and exiled until his death in 1990, however, his teachings still continue to inspire followers across the globe.
Founded by David “Moses” Berg in the late 1960’s, this cult gained followers after Berg moved into seclusion in Texas where he wrote prolifically about his beliefs. Espousing himself as a devout Christian, Berg advocated for the damnation of what he called “moral decay,” which for him included belief in evolution, mainstream religion, western capitalism, the Jewish people, and the criminalization of sex with children.
Berg even encouraged his followers to recruit new members by using flirtatious sex acts and called it “Flirty Fishing.” Joaquin Phoenix and Rose McGowan were raised in the cult and both have spoken out about the atrocities that occurred in the cult including beatings, isolation, and exorcisms. Berg died in 1994, but his teachings continue on with his wife and her concubine that Berg hand picked for her now leading the church.
A splinter group from another arguably cultish religion, The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was led by infamous criminal and current federal inmate Warren Jeffs. FLDS separated from the Church of Latter Day Saints in the early 20th century due to a conflict over the practice of polygamy. FLDS members practice multi-partner marriages wholeheartedly and the LDS Church denounces the practice formally.
Warren Jeffs came under scrutiny by the FBI when he evaded charges in Utah by fleeing. He was accused of arranging marriages between his male followers and underage girls as well as participating in rape. He made the FBI Ten Most Wanted List in 2006 and has been in and out of prison since then.
Founded in 1974, by Claude Vorilhon this cult could be featured on the History Channel show “Ancient Aliens.” The followers of Claude Vorilhon formed a worldwide cult, now named Raȅl, and believe that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of Aliens named the Elohim.
Raȅlians believe that when these extraterrestrial forefathers visited us in early times they disguised themselves deliberately to resemble humans claiming to be angels who led us through each age. According to Raȅl, Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, and Joseph Smith and others throughout history have been messengers of the Elohim.
Their doctrine describes the Garden of Eden as a large laboratory on an artificial island, Noah’s Ark as a spaceship with genetic information to clone animals, the Tower of Babel was a rocket, and the Great Flood as a byproduct of a nuclear bomb. Raȅlians currently number over 70 thousand and are apparently halfway to their 20 million dollar fundraising goal to build a landing site and embassy for extraterrestrials. Oh and they also claim to have cloned a woman.
A new age all white religion, the Creativity Movement was founded by Ben Klassen in 1973 to promote above all else: that what is good for the white race is the highest virtue, what is bad for the white race is ultimate sin.
The church’s main enemy is the Jewish race and they actively plot ways to further their goal of populating the earth solely with white people. They have been accused and convicted of several terrible acts including the shooting spree in 1999 undertaken by church member Benjamin Nathaniel Smith who killed 2 people and injured 9 others all of ethnic backgrounds. Smith then killed himself and today is celebrated by the Creativity Movement as a soldier of god.
This cult famously predicted that at 12:01 am on March 31st, 1998 God would be seen all across North America (their version of a holy land) on every TV on channel 18. They moved all their 160 plus members to Garland, Texas in preparation for the event, reportedly because the name of the town sounded kind of like God-Land.
The community became restless when 20 homes suddenly were snapped up by a group of people all wearing the same clothes and claiming to have two children who were the reincarnated souls of Jesus and Buddha. When the fateful moment came and nothing happened their leader, Hon-Ming Chen, a former university professor volunteered to be stoned to death or crucified. The members of the cult rather sheepishly shrugged off the event and left their leader alive while simultaneously returning to their old lives.
The Ku Klux Klan was started in the 1860’s by a group of ex-Confederate soldiers and was originally a social club that focused on campaigning against carpetbaggers; entrepreneurs from the North that these southern men saw as a threat. However, due to their frightening costumes and military bearings they caused quite the commotion in town when congregating and they soon took advantage of this to terrorize the African-American community.
They preyed upon the collective southern fear that the freed slaves would eventually revolt and kill their former white masters. The original iteration of the cult lost power soon and was largely gone by the late 1800’s. The Klan was revitalized in the 1920’s and began a reign of terrorism that continues to this day, resulting in racial tension and thousands of deaths.
At their core, they espouse Christian ideals but their undeniable brutality mocks the typical religious devotion. It is estimated that at one time the KKK had nearly 4 million members and today it has more groups in existence than at any other time in its history. The KKK is believed to be responsible for between 8 thousand and 10 thousand deaths.
This cult, originally called the Summit Lighthouse was founded by Mark Prophet and his wife Elizabeth Prophet. The group believes that the leaders communicate with “Ascended Masters,” or spirits of saints, and wise men from other religions and the past.
The group hit some hiccups in the 80’s and 90’s during the cold war, because they began hoarding weapons and building fallout shelters. Families of the members kidnaped them back from the clutches of the cult and reconditioned them to normal life, resulting in stories of severe punishment and isolation. Summit Lighthouse lost much of its following in the wake of the death of its founders, but it continues to this day to evangelize traditions from almost every major religion.
This “Church” located in California wine country is home to a large winery and art museum. Its central tenets include an extremely strict set of rules that its followers must abide by. The list of rules includes what to eat and wear and how much to sleep. No swimming, no joking, and definitely no smoking.
They live in fear of an armageddon that has been predicted by their founder Robert Earl Burton who claims to be an angel and has been accused multiple times of child sexual abuse of little boys. Members are expected to either work for pennies in the church’s businesses or sign over the majority of their salaries to the church itself.
There’s no doubt this cult is very strange. Its founder Gwen Shamblin is a dietitian and promoter of certain weight loss self-help methods. When she noticed that many of her clients were gaining back weight they had lost, she searched for another answer because she couldn’t accept that it was her teaching that had been at fault.
She turned to the bible, specifically the Book of Ezra chapter 9, versus 8 and 9, that describe a “faithful remnant” that believe in the literal truths of scripture. She saw the people gaining weight as a sign that they believed, and because they had been saved they had a license to sin(eat). The bizarre twisting of weight loss and theology has led this church to grow from its founding in 1999 to having over a hundred “centers” throughout the world now.
This cult was founded by a prostitute named Credonia Mwerinde after she had several religious visions involving the Virgin Mary. The group followed the 10 commandments so strictly that they refused to talk to avoid bearing false witness.
Mwerinde prophesied that the world would end on January 1st, 2000 and when the day passed uneventfully its members’ faith was shaken. To avoid a mass exodus from the church, the leaders predicted another doomsday on March 17th that year. To celebrate the reckoning, they threw a party for all their members. Then they blew them all up. It was found that many of the victims had been poisoned, shot, or strangled before the explosion. A church that brought about its own end.
Whether you know it or not cults hide in plain site. The combined members of the cults mentioned in this article number above 5 million members, so chances are you know someone connected at least remotely to one of these insidious and manipulative organizations.
*BEWARE THE PITFALLS OF CULTS , SECTS & SOME RELIGIONS
Thu 14 May 2015
Woodman, whose net worth will fall to $US2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was awarded $US285.3 million in 2014 compensation, making him the highest-paid US executive. Photo: Getty Images
Billionaire Nick Woodman’s fortune dropped $US229 million ($282 million) this week after he fulfilled a promise made to his college roommate more than a decade ago.
The GoPro founder returned 4.7 million shares to the San Mateo-based camera maker on May 11, according to a regulatory filing.
He agreed in 2011 to repay the company for stock options it granted to Neil Dana, who attended the University of California at San Diego with Woodman and was GoPro employee No. 1.
Woodman, 39, vowed in the development phase of the 10-year-old company to give Dana 10 per cent of any proceeds he received from the sale of the company’s shares, according to the company’s 2014 prospectus.
To cancel this agreement, GoPro issued Dana more than 6 million fully vested options in June 2011 and 270,000 restricted stock units six months later. Woodman agreed to reimburse the company when the options were exercised.
Dana, who is GoPro’s director of music and specialty sales, spent $US3.6 million to exercise his options, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They were valued at $US229 million at the close of trading on Monday.
Woodman, whose net worth will fall to $US2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was awarded $US285.3 million in 2014 compensation, making him the highest-paid US executive, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Jeff Brown, a spokesman for GoPro, declined to comment.