Monday, March 01, 2010

Some bad news is not new; it's made worse by the fact that it's caught in a long-term trend that shows no sign of reversal ... Dragon’s writing on the wall tend to attract trouble...

Our Bronte neighbour wrote in mid September a letter to Australian regulators which detailed his concerns about a fund manager in Australia known as the Astarra Strategic Fund – formerly known as Absolute Alpha.
This letter resulted in regulatory action against a cluster of related funds (almost twenty), however my letter was almost entirely about only one fund in the group. I did not make any major suggestions in the letter about other funds in the Astarra complex. My involvement was detailed today in the Sydney Morning Herald (see stories here, here and here, with the first story on the front page below the fold). There was no genius in my letter – everything could be found (fairly easily) on the internet – and the original tip-off came from a reader of my blog – who noticed links with a story I wrote up in March 2009

Fear 'We did it ourselves!
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honour and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate ... When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!

An obsessive routine in carrying out the details begets conformity and complacency, which in turn dulls everyone's mind. That is why even as they pay attention to details, they continually encourage people to challenge the process. They implicitly understand the sentiment of CEO-leaders like Quad/Graphic's Harry Quadracchi, Oticon's Lars Kolind and the late Bill McGowan of MCI, who all independently asserted that the job of a leader is not to be the chief organizer, but the chief dis-organizer.

chief dis-organizer Leaders of capital and social funds [THE corporate regulator has expressed no concerns about two men owning Australian financial services companies, despite questions about the men's role in a British broker involved in a penny stock scandal.
BusinessDay revealed last week that Jeffrey Revell-Reade, based in Austria, and James Sutherland, based in Hong Kong, owned Australian companies that received three financial services licences from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. ;
The Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners (AIOFP) has received unconfirmed reports that $85 million of the missing $118 million of assets within the Astarra Strategic Fund (ASF) are safe AIOFP finds $85m of Astarra Strategic assets ; Google i ; Google ii ]
• · The ever expanding volume of information we face on a daily basis - and the wide range of issues in relation to the concept of information overload, ranging from concerns about information fatigue, information interruption, information access and information transparency that require attention to the costs and benefits of faster and more voluminous flows of data, knowledge and decision management Overloaded ; The establishment of the Senior Executive Service (SES) in 1984 sought to create a Service-wide strategic leadership in ideas, management, and ethics in accordance with the Westminster principles and conventions of public administration as they operate in the Australian model of government. The 25th anniversary of the creation of the SES provides an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements made during this time, and to focus on the challenges ahead The Senior Executive Service 25th Anniversary,
• · · Data losses to incur fines of up to £500,000, BBC, 12 January 2010. The UK Information Commissioner's Office will be able to issue fines of up to £500,000 for serious data security breaches. The new rule is expected to come into force in the UK on 6 April 2010. The size of the fine will be determined after an investigation to assess the gravity of the breach. Other factors will include the size and finances of the organisation at fault. Individual cases will also be assessed on whether the breach was accidental or deliberate and how much distress the leak of information caused ; Reinventing management
• · · · The art of management ; The heroic leader, media dragon, the charismatic, goal-scoring superstar who doesn't mind carrying the team on his back, is out. Enter the post-heroic leader, the quieter, engaging team player who brings every player into the decision-making process. In fact, today's complex business environment requires a leader who combines the best of both styles Is heroic leadership all bad?,
• · · · · Australia's first taxes were levied to meet the challenges of those early days. They may also have been relatively efficient, equitable and simple, particularly since most of the revenue for the gaol came from import duties on alcohol – 'the more the citizens drank, the more money there was to control them' If we were able to ask Governor Hunter of the new colony of New South Wales why he introduced the very first taxes in Australia – taxes applying to imports – I suspect his answer would be, simply, that the colony had to finance the building of a new gaol because the old one had 'inexplicably' burnt down, private subscriptions had proved insufficient and Britain had refused further subsidies. Ken Henry the VIII ; Individual income tax returns [electronic resource] : necessary or not? : Toni Balik Australia : CPA Australia, 1998 TAX OFFICE IS NOW ON MEDIA DRAGON, FACEBOOK, TWITTER The Tax Office has advised that it is now on social networking site Twitter providing "tweets" (much in the style of an SMS message - 140 characters or less) on the latest updates on new measures, changes to legislation and reminders of upcoming due dates. The ATO says those keen to take a look without signing up to Twitter can go to [
• · · · · · Nicknamed the “Pirate of Prague” for his bargain-basement purchase of post-Soviet privatization vouchers in his native Czechoslovakia, Kozeny, 46, got in trouble with U.S. authorities when he tried to pull off a similar maneuver in the Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan in the late 1990s. Bohemian Pirate; As researcher Alan Block described the metastatic growth of the tax-haven phenomenon in his groundbreaking work, Masters of Paradise: Organized Crime and the Internal Revenue Service in the Bahamas, "professional criminals were those who took it upon themselves to organize crime. Their true work was the process of organizing crime itself."GAO reports that CSC has 21 subsidiaries "in jurisdictions listed as tax havens" by the federal government. Some of the firm's global operations are located in tech manufacturing powerhouses such as Bermuda (1); British Virgin Islands (4); Costa Rica (1); Hong Kong (5); Ireland (2); Luxembourg (2); Macao (1); Singapore (4); Switzerland (1). Masters of Paradise; Alexander Zvygintsev, Russia's Deputy Prosecutor-General, said Britain and Israel harboured more Russian criminals than any other countries. He told the newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta: "It is no coincidence the capital of [Britain] is often called 'Londongrad'. It seems that London, as a major financial centre, is turning into a giant laundrette for laundering criminally sourced funds. Britain called crooks' haven
Scots like Jock agree