Make Cannabis Great Again

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The cultivation of Cannabis can be traced back at least 12,000 years, which places the plant among humanity’s oldest cultivated crops. Ancient empires such as China, Egypt, Syria, and India employed every component of the plant: the root for medicine, the stem for textiles, the flowers for medicine and intoxication, and the seeds for food and oils. Older civilizations used Cannabis as a remedy for headaches, edema, inflammation, rheumatism, gout. It was even used to relieve sorrow and bad humor. Cannabis was the great plant, as it was considered a gift from God, a plant that can be used ubiquitously, in virtually every part of human life. However, as society evolved, Cannabis restrictions were introduced.

HISTORY OF CANNABIS LEGISLATION

In the past century, there have been no less than 16 pieces of legislation that criminalized Cannabis in the United States. These pieces of legislation have dictated the U.S. policy towards Marijuana and Cannabis use without regard for modern innovation, medicinal uses or public support; none were based on scientific studies or sound logic – they were the result of special interests and sloppy voting practices by politicians. While states have made tremendous progress in legalization, this historically irrational legislation of Cannabis survives on a federal level in 2018 and is the single biggest obstacle the Cannabis industry is facing today.

Cannabis prohibition began in many states in 1906, and by the 1930s Cannabis was fully regulated as an illegal drug in every state. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first federal regulation of the plant. In 1969, the Supreme Court ruled the Marihuana Tax Act to be unconstitutional, violating the Fifth Amendment regarding self-incrimination. In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Nixon administration supported Congress and passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, which stated the Cannabis has a high potential for abuse, and no medical use. CSA prohibited the use of Cannabis for any purpose (recreational and medical), and classified the plant under Schedule I, together with heroin and LSD.  President Nixon formed the Shafer Commission in 1972 to study the use of Cannabis and provide policy recommendations. The Shafer Commission reported in its findings that Cannabis did not cause any considerable dangers to society, and recommended decriminalization of the plant. President Nixon publicly rejected the findings and fully ignored the recommendations.

Since then, multiple efforts to reschedule cannabis under the CSA have failed. On the state level, governments have continued to push for policies that conflict with federal law, beginning with California’s Proposition 215 in 1996. By 2018, 30 states plus Washington D.C. have legalized medical cannabis, and 8 states have legalized recreational use.

HEALTHCARE IMPLICATIONS

Research shows that Cannabis is not a gateway drug, but on the contrary, it is an addiction exit drug. Cannabis has been proven to help opioid, heroin, and even alcohol addicts avoid the nasty withdrawals associated with opioid addiction. Millions are suffering from addiction to opiates (Heroin, Codeine, Morphine) and synthetic opioid medications (Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone etc.). Abusers of opioid drugs had a 16-percent lower likelihood of relapsing when they had the assistance of marijuana for their recovery. Furthermore, states that allow its citizens to use Cannabis to treat specific medical conditions showed a 6% lower rate of opioid prescription. With widespread over-prescription of opiates, this could provide a solution to cut down on users.

Cannabis not only helps opioid addicts with their recovery process, but it can help patients avoid opioids altogether. Cannabis has been proven to relieve patients’ pain, drastically reducing the need for use of opioid, and fatal opioid overdoses. Medical marijuana patients report fewer unpleasant side effects with marijuana than with many traditional and stronger drug treatments.  Medical marijuana patients argue they are able to function more fully in daily activities and work; unlike with many prescription opiates for symptom relief. Other than significantly reducing with use, addiction and withdrawal, medical marijuana is used in treating a myriad of medical conditions, including cancer, seizures, HIV, Parkinson’s, etc. Wide-spread legalization will only accelerate these cures and studies. Cannabis’ full impact on the healthcare industry is still to be determined, but it is well within tens of billions of dollars, and provides a much safer, healthy and less painful alternative to opioids.

BUSINESS IMPLICATIONS

Money does not like uncertainty. With the current uncertainty in U.S. federal law regarding Cannabis, there is a lot of money that is shy to enter and help develop the U.S. Cannabis industry. Still, legal sales of Cannabis reached $6.9 billion in 2016 and are projected to rise all the way to $50 billion by 2026. Legalizing Cannabis nationwide would create at least $132 billion in tax revenue and more than a million jobs in the U.S. within the next decade.

Despite 30 states having legalized Cannabis in some capacity, including 8 states that legalized it for recreational uses, it seems that AG Jeff Sessions is offering no chance of legalization at a federal level.

Even though many States have legalized cannabis, the Federal regulations stops the entrepreneurs from operating at fully capacity. National prohibitions against interstate cannabis commerce and federal banking and drug laws are the biggest obstacle for this industry. Cannabis entrepreneurs have very limited access to funds, loans, even bank accounts, business and personal.

Some of the entrepreneurs we spoke with expressed their frustration with the current legislation. First, they cannot find banks that allow them to open business accounts for their companies. This makes it extremely difficult to conduct any kind of business; they cannot properly receive investments, process payroll, pay suppliers, use credit cards, etc. There are many cases where banks agreed to open an account for a Cannabis business, only to cancel those accounts weeks later and kick those businesses out. In some cases, not only did they cancel the business’ account, but they canceled the business’s founder’s personal accounts with the same bank, even though they have been banking with that institution for many years.

Entrepreneurs in the Cannabis industry have no tools to be transparent about their business, cannot write off any business expenses, and cannot even file their taxes properly. How do you file federal taxes for a Cannabis business when Cannabis is illegal?

Even non-Cannabis, ancillary companies are suffering under this law, simply for being attributed with possible Cannabis applications. It is time to stop being

SOLUTIONS

  1. Declassify Cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II. Decades of legal red tape, illegality and raids due to Schedule I classification have prevented the U.S. Cannabis industry from fully maturing and providing life changing cures, painless treatments, and healing solutions. Propaganda and misinformation must be eradicated so that safe innovation can be brought to an industry that has already garnered widespread public support to provide safe and efficient healthcare solutions, as well as lucrative business and tax opportunities for the U.S.
  2. Provide ways to educate: the federal government should make a concerted effort to educate consumers of the differences in the chemical makeup of the plants especially regarding non-addictive compounds like CBD. Much of the fear is spread by propaganda. Medical marijuana compounds and methods that are used strictly in the reduction of pain and do not react with mental/job performance are very prevalent in the space.
  3. Eliminate any federal red tape that would prevent the Cannabis industry from growing. The U.S. Cannabis industry is at least 50 years behind in scientific and medical studies of Cannabis, which can provide impactful cures for our citizens. Also, too many patients desperately need it as soon as possible, but Cannabis currently has very little penetration of the healthcare system. Slowing medical Cannabis adoption accomplishes little other than to hurt patients.

CONCLUSION

During his 8-year tenure, President Obama expressed his support for the Cannabis industry, but he proved to be a closet supporter. He did not legalize Cannabis on a federal level; he simply instructed U.S. attorneys not to enforce the federal Cannabis law. As soon as Jeff Sessions was appointed as Attorney General, AG Sessions instructed those same attorneys to enforce the law, leaving many Cannabis companies vulnerable to raids and delegitimization. Entrepreneurs in the space should be able to develop and innovate without fear of retribution or be directed to close their businesses. The current ambiguity in this industry is hindering the modernization that could occur.

Declassifying Cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II, is the single lowest hanging fruit for the Trump Administration to curb opioid addiction and treatment (which is a national health emergency), drastically improve the healthcare of U.S. citizens and reduce their healthcare cost burden, add more than 1 million jobs to the economy and add $132+ billion in federal tax revenue within one decade. This one piece of legislation can make one of the biggest contributions to Making America Great Again, on multiple levels. President Trump has already instituted a task force to determine what the Cannabis policy should be in the U.S. and I am optimistic that new developments will be made towards legalization.

SOURCES:

Where marijuana is legal, opioid prescriptions fall, studies find

Medical Pot Is Our Best Hope to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Medical Marijuana Market Analysis By Application

History of Marijuana as Medicine – 2900 BC to Present

Marijuana Legalization and Regulation

Study: Legal marijuana could generate more than $132 billion in federal tax revenue and 1 million jobs

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Emerging Markets Infrastructure Project Investment: Issues and Opportunities

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Global investment in real estate and infrastructure projects are on the rise. Preqin’s 2018 Infrastructure Fund Manager Outlook notes that institutional investors have heavily invested in the infrastructure asset class for solid diversification and stable returns. Indeed, the report ascertains aggregate asset under management (AUM) quadrupled from US$99bn to US$418bn over the past decade. The industry is expected to increase exponentially over the next decade. Globally, North America and Europe present the most viable of real estate and infrastructure opportunities. However, a bundle of emerging markets economies follow a close third. Global emerging markets infrastructure investments are currently fueled by Asia Pacific’s growth as opposed to other developing regions. Total deal value for the Asia Pacific amounted to roughly US$50bn over the past five years, with more dry powder allocated to projects within Asia.

Feasible emerging market infrastructure projects usually have a Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure, especially for risk mitigation. As we had examined in US Infrastructure: A Case for Public Private Partnerships, PPPs are beneficial as the private entity internalizes life-cycle costs during the majority building phase of new projects, while the project is listed as public investments on the government balance sheet. Purely public sector projects tend to be inefficient, and have full political risk, while purely private projects may have higher returns, but would not have the accountability of check and balance which sovereign involvement brings. Even so, there are many challenges which investors, financiers, and infrastructure fund managers must take into consideration primarily for emerging markets.

Challenges Faced:

The Macquarie Group is one of the global leaders in asset management with US$356bn AUM, and is considered to be the top global infrastructure finance advisor as at 2017. The Group has dispensed significant pain points and mitigating factors with regards to project investment in emerging markets. Most issues stem from long standing bureaucracy, lack of transparency, corruption, geopolitical and cross border risks. Highlights are follows:

Bid and Post-Bid Processes:

In short, red tape from every conceivable side of the project is challenging at best. Emerging markets tend to have delays in bid preparation, unclear bid guidelines, erratic time to submit request for proposals, and restrictive bid processes which place heavy tariffs on the build-operators of the project. In addition, project ‘hand-holding’ requires higher cost of bid bonds and of additional advisors, planners, quantity surveyors and numerous government officers. In addition, deciding on the best commercial funding structure for the PPP would most likely not be as clear or timely as with developed country projects. For instance, financing default from the private side of the PPP may lead to immediate freezing of project assets, as opposed to debt coverage negotiation.

Terms of Concession Agreements:

Land Acquisition is one of the most troublesome components of the project process in emerging markets. The land surveying, land release, ground approvals and resource rights processes, especially in real estate type transactions, take an inordinate amount of time. The best PPP investment projects that may circumvent this onerous component would be public works and transport type projects, where the government already has clear ownership of the sites in question, with full government use of site resources. Also, there is a huge communication gap in terms of the types of environmental and regulatory requirements needed for all emerging markets projects. As the Macquarie Group states, most delays in their infrastructure portfolio stems from having to backtrack and fulfill regulations that were not mentioned from pre-bid inception onwards.

FOREX Challenges:

Forex issues come in second only to land acquisition challenges in emerging market PPP project fulfillment. This is by no means theoretical as I am currently battling this challenge. In many parts of LATAM & the Caribbean multi-million infrastructure developments are offered a mere US$200.00 a day by Central Banks due to paucity in supply and treasury mismanagement. From an investment perspective, Forex volatility for projects denominated in local currencies may create lower yields due to cross border risks, and hedging for many emerging markets currencies is not available.

Macroeconomic Inefficiencies:

In addition to the Macquarie Group’s points supported above, project developers and financiers know that labor supply, labor quality, labor laws, as well as tariffs on materials, material supplies and weather factors are extremely dictating of successful project fulfillment. Most emerging markets may seem to have a dearth of labor supply. However, educated construction labor may be hard to find, and to keep. Many viable emerging market infrastructure projects that have been fully funded have stalled indefinitely due to a lack of both construction and management labor. Unfortunately with PPPs government policy would require local labor to be sourced, creating a chicken and egg situation.

Solutions Presented:

Emerging market project development, financing and investment fit in with high risk, high reward appetite. Yet as we mentioned before prudent infrastructure investments give solid returns and add practical diversification to portfolios. Therefore emerging markets project financing and investments are not to be avoided, but to be mitigated. Successful project investment takes a great deal of sovereign and macroeconomic research, whether per project or via an infrastructure fund. The Macquarie Group pinpoints several requirements needed for investor comfort when it comes to infrastructure investing, and especially for emerging market conditions.

  1. Stable Political Environment:

    Note that a stable political environment will not mitigate red tape. However, mitigated political risk allows PPP projects to be safeguarded against event risks such as coups, and freezing of foreign investments.

  2. Stable Economy with Growth Potential:

    Overall a stable economy with high credit rating gives comfort of low default risk. However, it is necessary to delve further into macroeconomic variables such as labor and capital intensive predilections. Does the country have stringent union interests? Does the country’s labor have the educative capacity to cost effectively get PPP projects done? Are there punitive tariffs on capital intensive projects? It is necessary to ensure the emerging market country accounted for PPP infrastructure projects in its annual budget, broken down by sectors such as transport, seaports, utilities etc.

  3. Open and Transparent and PPP Bid Process:

    Is the country’s public procurement and bid processes in line with international standards and policy frameworks? What is the track record of successful PPP projects in terms of pre-bid to completion timeline? It is necessary to be in close contact with the country’s department of public works, transport and infrastructure to get a detailed log of such a track record before investing in any project, or in any fund.

  4. Stable Financial Market:

    This one is tricky for actual returns, especially as most emerging market projects are structured in local currencies. If investing in an infrastructure fund, the risk is mitigated. If there is direct investment in the PPP project, the risk is heightened, no matter how stable the financial market is. And don’t be fooled by oil-based emerging market countries. One would believe that such countries would have strong cross border Forex capabilities. However, if the projects are non-energy infrastructure, FX paucity and volatility can still be an issue. It’s necessary to examine the country’s central bank and its monetary policy beforehand.

Sources:

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The Case for a Free World: Central Banks vs Cryptocurrencies

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Most anyone with some access to media of any description, has now heard of Bitcoin. Many are also excited about the possibilities and opportunity in this now booming market. And then there are those who are involved in this ‘cryptocurrency revolution’ in a more intimate manner; and we often evaluate the blockchain world of tomorrow.

How will blockchain technology be utilized in different market sectors? What are its immediate and long-term potentials? What are the legal and societal impacts? And sometimes; How can I get rich from this? This article is not going to address these somewhat weighty topics.

Instead, this post will shed light on a dark situation, that affects every single one of us, yet very few address: The Federal Reserve’s ownership of this country (and others), and how cryptocurrencies can set us free.

In this post I will argue that a move away from debt-based fiat currency, to a decentralized community owned peer to peer smart contract currency, will unhinge the central banking system that we are all forced to endure.

What is this Federal Reserve and what is this central banking system you may ask; and why do we have to endure it? It may alarm most to hear of this public record fact: the largest banks in the world – including The Federal Reserve, The Bank of England, European Central Bank, up to the International Bank of Settlements (the pinnacle of the system) – are all privately owned. That’s right. Our country’s banks are owned by private citizens.

Our banks are not owned by governments or the populace, nor controlled by the people or governments. This is not speculation, nor theory, it is what it is. The sovereign right of the peoples of nations to mint and control their accepted currency, has been taken away by a few families. Who now own the very right to this fiction of money – that we must work, profit, borrow, spend, cheat, lie, fight over, etc. Yet these families can make it up, literally, from thin air with but a few keyboard strokes.

Want a trillion dollars United States? Sure: at interest, at debt. If you need some more monies tapped into an account to pay back these awesome monies we just invented for you, do come back and we will make you some more. Again, at debt. So where do these monies to pay back this initial interest and debt come from? From the same entity. When all money comes from the same entity, and at interest, there is no way to ever pay it back; the only option is to accumulate debt. Thus, bankruptcy and never-ending debt is built into the system: $21 Trillion of debt and growing, that is.

How did this happen? Shouldn’t the peoples of all nations have the right to mint their own ‘coin of the realm’ and not have a few families punch numbers into a computer at interest? Quite simply, it came about via a multi-generational effort of bribes, corruption, funding both sides in wars, and instilling this central banking system by default upon humanity.

Here is an example: War Machine to the somewhat mildly discontent populace of Erghmanistan:

“Congratulations! We’re bringing you ‘democracy’ by force – oh wait, we mean the wonders of central banking – hey they’ll lend you enough, newly installed government of Erghmanistan – enough to re-start after we invaded/liberated, until you go broke to the interest on this newly invented ‘money’ we provide- then we own the whole show- and in the meantime some of you can stuff your pockets while your country goes to the banksters.”

People were writing about this 100 years ago and more – about the same family owners of the fiction of money that dominate us now. Why has this continued? Well, the Golden Rule helps (i.e he who has the gold makes the rules), combined with social engineering better discussed by Noam Chomsky than myself. But the truth is out there, always has been; it is not discussed as it should be. And if the media, many outlets owned/partiality owned by these same families, continues to chase Kim Kardashian’s new handbag and LeBron James’s sprained ankle, we are never going to hear this ‘inconvenient truth’.

Solution: cryptocurrencies and decentralized systems

We need to be clear about these inconvenient facts:

Fact 1: Fiat money is only ever created at interest/debt, by the private central banks, and by private credit institutions through the wonder of fractional reserve banking: the so-called culprit in the latest GFC.

Fact 2: Fiat money is only worth anything more than paper or binary 1’s and 0’s because we agree upon it, as a society.

Fact 3: There can never be enough fiat money to pay back this debt, as it is only ever created at interest.

Fact 4: In this equation fiat money equals debt, and debt equals slavery.

So how does decentralized cryptocurrency factor into this equation? It does not. Until the banksters wrestle control of large quantities of cryptocurrency, and manipulate the markets, the most they can do is fear-monger and regulate, using the Golden Rule. They use their puppet governments to ratify legislation designed to curb the public uptake of cryptocurrencies, and utilize the media, which they largely control, to push markets up and down, to create the perceived need of strong regulation on this decentralized agreement.

We are supposedly free individuals who are happy to give their all to succeed; yet are working within a fiscal system not of our devise nor control: a system where a large portion of our earnings goes to pay an ongoing odious debt. So what options do we have as a populace?

Cryptocurrencies are a form of rebellion. It is challenging the power of these families and the very fiction of money that they own. Cryptocurrencies are rebutting the system of centralized control of all trade, and providing a decentralized means of trade, outside these banksters’ control.

Also, I have long been a fan of time-banking: a means by which individuals, even corporations can trade goods and services, without fiat currency. They can bank the time/credits they accumulate and use them to purchase goods and services from any other provider involved in the network. Now, with the advent of cryptocurrency we will see time-banking and crypto evolve into one. We will no longer have the need to borrow money at debt, from these families who can make it up out of thin air.

My family and company (Wide Awake Media) are proud to be at the forefront of this revolution; for with media lies the power to alter the discourse of humanity. Fake News is done. It’s time for Truth Media, and it’s time for rebellion.

The world is waking up in droves, and we aren’t happy being slaves.

Sources:

  • “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics,” Abdelnour 2012, Wiley & Sons
  • ‘The Money Masters’
  • ‘The Secret of Oz’ -William Still
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Family office growth and governance

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Family offices are powerful, a financial force to contend with. Even many in the financial world have yet to understand the family office’s sheer influence, especially when retail investing, private equity and venture capitalism have the limelight. The family office has deliberately preferred to remain relatively incognito when it comes to announcing investment and wealth management strategies.

The family office serves as wealth and trust management of high net worth families. Families can be defined as multi-generation family businesses, as well as high net worth individuals who may have come into inheritance or independent net worth. The family office can comprise an individual, department or separate firm whose sole objective is wealth management and legacy planning for the family. The single family offices (SFO) serves the investment needs of one family while the multifamily office (MFO) is structured much like an asset management firm, providing customized wealth management and planning to a larger number of families and high net worth individuals. This explanation may sound simple; rest assured, the family office structure is one of the most complex in the entire investing sphere.

Family offices are on the rise, and institutional investors are feeling the effects. U.S. Bank’s Ascent Private Capital Management has coined the term “insti-viduals” to describe the marked increase in family office dealflow usually presented to traditional institutionals such as pension funds. And why should the finance industry be surprised? We have had constant challenges with U.S. public pension funds and alternative investors such as hedge funds metting out disappointing returns. While traditional institutionals and hedge funds are very regulated, family offices do not have to register with regulators once investment advice is kept within ten generations of ancestry.

According to Campden Research’s most recent family office report, family offices hold more than US$4 trillion of assets, and the global average for assets under management (AUM) comprises US$921 million. Family offices are fast approaching the alternative investment cumulative AUM of US$5.7 trillion, albeit with much less sensastionalism. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports that since 2011 three dozen hedge funds have converted into family offices. The symbiosis between family offices and private equity is also strong and growing, where family offices are taking higher stakes in private equity deals.

Such astounding growth demands a inherent need for continuity. We are confident that the family office is stepping in to fill investment gaps left by failing institutionals and alternative investors. Upon exclusive study of the Family Office Exchange’s FOX Guide to the Family Office, The Family Office Club’s Family Office Report and Trusts & Estates’ expert panel discussion of The Famiy Advancement Sustainability Trust (FAST), we suggest beneficial processes for family offices. In this regard, measures of internal policy ensure family office longevity and legacy.

The Family Office Exchange (FOX) stipulates critical management issues faced by family offices:

  • Goals for the Family and Roles for the Family Office: Ultimately, family investment, philanthropic and legacy objectives dictate the family office’s focus. Issues are further subdivided by:
    • Ownership and Governance;
    • Scope of Services and Delivery Process;
    • Cost of Offices and Allocation of Fees;
    • Operating Structure and Management Talent;
    • Network of Internal and External Advisors;
    • Communications and Client Reporting;
    • Back Office Systems and Procedures.

FOX Family Office Benchmarking™ provided surveyed data from its family office membership concerning family office risk perception. Most families are initially worried about financial and operational challenges. Business risks such as talent acquisition, operating structure, and investment advisory comprise a hefty 37% of the families’ risk perception. Economic and financial risks comprise 26% of risk concern. However, when it came to actual family challenges such as legacy continuity, the family risk perception measured a mere 7%. Via Trusts & Estates’ Family Advancement Sustainability Trust (FAST) analysis, the risk reality shows quite the opposite.

On examining the quantitative and qualitative data of family business challenges affecting the family office, roughly 60% of disruptions and failure stemmed from family communications and generational problems, while only 3% of issues arose from financial and investment advisory challenges. Talent and advisory acquisition in the financial industry does not pose a threat to the family office in our current workforce environment. The Institutional Investor reports a marked increase in hedge fund managers either leaving lagging funds to manage family offices, or converting hedge funds into family offices for streamlined clientele. Private banking divisions at Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan have dedicated top senior bankers to be primarily responsible for multifamily office dictates. Family offices have a wealth of investment and estate talent to choose from. Given the flexible regulatory nature of a family office, top talent once constrained in the institutional arena may find room to expand expertise for the family office. In short, it is truly the “Ownership and Governance” issue that needs prioritized attention.

FAMILY OFFICE GOVERNANCE

As with any enterprise, family office governance policies need to be formulated long before execution of any financial and operational implementation. Family offices are in need of much more qualitative guidelines for business and wealth continuity. The Family Office Club based out of Key Biscayne, Florida gives specific insight into structuring family office ownership and governance guidelines via The Family Office Report. Remember, unlike standardized business or investment firms, each family office would have highly tailored objectives, so customization of certain objectives and criteria would be necessary. However, this framework helps with organizational structure across the board. Key components are as follows:

  1. Mission, Vision, & Goals:

    The mission is the starting point for what The Family Office Club coins “The Family Compass.” Family businesses may already have commercial mission and vision statements. However, the family office is responsible for management of the actual family’s qualitative mission, vision and goals. These are high level objectives for wealth creation, succession, philanthropy and legacy.

  2. Ethics & Values Policy:

    The ethics and values policy defines what is acceptable to the family’s core values when it comes to external talent, vendor transactions, business acquisitions, paths of philanthropy, and internal code of conduct. The ethics and values policy covers all issues of compliance such as money laundering, insider trading and bribery concerns. This policy should be reviewed consistently in strategy sessions with both family and external professionals within the family office.

  3. Investment Mandate:

    As expected, this mandate delineates family office investment governance. The investment mandate sets the investment criteria and asset class composition of investments for the family office. All taxation, income growth, wealth creation strategies, liquidity concerns and payout requirements must be detailed in this mandate. According to the Family Office Club, the Chief Investment Officer is responsible for the creation of this mandate, along with input from the CEO and vested family members. The mandate can be revised on a monthly basis. Quantitative social capital investments and philanthropic endowment strategies should be included in this mandate, if applicable. This mandate also aids the family office in shareholder activist campaigns when the need arises.

  4. Key Performance Indicators:

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are highly detailed and action specific dictates per each member of the family office. Measurable outcomes are expected for involved family members and external hires. We would suggest broad KPIs be set for all external vendors, businesses and asset managers who deal with the family office. The Family Office Club suggests creation of at least three KPIs per member, as well as three “smart numbers” comprised of various KPIs for the entire family office.

  5. Systems & Processes:

    Systems & Processes here covers the details needed for organizational continuity within the family office. Where the ethics and values policy or strategic plan may deal with broad succession planning, systems and processes deal with the documenting of detailed processes carried out per member, so that in the case of natural causes or termination, talent or legacy replacement can occur without severe disruption to actual procedures. According to the Family Office Club, each member may add to a mini-process book, which then should be reviewed by selected family office executives.

In addition to the governance policies stated above, the family office will greatly benefit from the creation of a Family Advancement Sustainability Trust (FAST). The FAST is a brainchild of Marvin E. Blum, JD, Thomas C. Rogerson, Gary V. Post, JD of the Blum Firm. The FAST has the structure of a directed trust, but encompasses more than the typical mandate for disbursement of funds to heirs or philanthropic beneficiaries. In the authors’ own words, the FAST is “A pool of funds to invest in the family members—in the family relations, development, and advancement—rather than just distribute to the family members.” The FAST comprises four committees: the Trust Protector Committee, the Investment Committee, the Distribution Committee and the overall Administrative Trustee. Both family members and outside professionals within the family office comprise these bodies. The FAST is primarily for continued family education, family cohesiveness and legacy in both qualitative and quantitative concerns.

The family office has existed across geographies and dynasties, quietly providing funding and making investments long before our global banking system came into play. Modern day family offices are now formalized, and are stepping in to fill investment gaps that are fast being created by lagging institutional and alternative investors. Thus, it is of utmost importance that existing and newly created family offices implement solid governance practices to ensure financial, operational and legacy continuity.

REFERENCES

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Future of the VC Industry

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dont-follow-trends

FROM DISNEYLAND TO VC MANOR

Imagine gallivanting across Disneyland on a sunny March afternoon as the delightfully consuming scent of a fresh batch of popcorn kernels pop to perfection. The popcorn maker sits adjacent to the churros chariot that you’ve been evading all afternoon. Yet, this isn’t any ordinary trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. You’ve arrived early, the crowds are minimal and all the rides are operational. As you approach the renowned and recently renovated Indiana Jones ride, you are astonished to find a zero-minute wait and no line. Believe it or not, your timing was impeccable – Gather the troops, the 2 ½ minute Harrison Ford-themed adventure awaits.

HOW DOES THIS TRIP RESEMBLE THE CURRENT STATE OF THINGS FOR VCS?

Venture capital markets survived 2016 slumps, continuing on an onward and upward trajectory through 2017. The disruptors and catalysts with the emerging technologies come out on top. Although some disparity appears among volume and funds, the game play implications are massive. While a crowd-less Disneyland is unlikely, venture capital is thanks in large part to the current landscape.

As evident of Disney purchasing rival studio 20th Century Fox (the most significant cataclysm for the film industry in the 21st Century), VCs too aren’t short on cash. Lines are blurred and technology is changing the game for the industry – GET IT EARLY.

HOW CAN QUALIFIED COMPANIES GAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE, AVOID DREADED WAIT TIMES AND TAKE A PIECE OF THE PIE? (theme park visit is optional)

Top 8 hand-picked Predictions for the Venture Capital Industry in the next decade:

  1. Technology/Big data/Automation etc. will continue driving M&A deals
  2. Full-stack professional services a trend evident by investor acclimate
  3. Venture funds will revive their passion for early-stage investments
  4. “Truly Great” companies will sidestep the venture funding circus altogether
  5. Investors receive larger stakes & are integral to the start-up team
  6. Increased liquidity, accountability and transparency is vital
  7. It’s a performance game folks. Personal + Professional Brand Synergy is instrumental
  8. Innovation, experimentation and crowdfunding lead to different types of VCs

For detailed predications and insights click here.

ON THE HORIZON

In the midst of the capital market’s landscape, regulatory overhauls, and record-breaking technology M&As with no sign of reprisal, 2020 will look very different than it does today.

Then, too, there is the surging stock market and, by extension, the rebound in technology IPOs. This has been fueled not only by a strengthening economy but by President-elect Donald Trump’s push to bolster the economy further by reducing taxes, streamlining regulations and sparking major infrastructure development.

Furthermore, the implications of evolving social organizations are worth noting. The New York based think-tank, Financial Policy Council (FPC) captures this trend in a June 2017 article titled, “Financial Power of Impact Investing.” It states:

“For many years the divide between instruments of philanthropy and investing has been clear cut. Investing strategies typically did not involve social organizations focused on non-governmental organization (NGO) concerns. However, the advent of millennial investing power, the rise of social enterprises, and the need for further asset diversification have blurred the line between both industries.”

Lastly, venture is still fairly segmented by geography. As localized hubs become more sophisticated and efficient, venture will truly be a global play.

What’s your power play?

CONNECT + CREATE:

Feature your brand and/or business:

  • Submit your thought-provoking, insightful, and note-worthy content or insights to contact@brandzainc.com or by simply including the hashtag – #VentureImpact in your comment below.
  • Diverse viewpoints and co-publications welcome. No industry, individual or inspiration is off limits.
  • Be featured in future publications.

Zana Nesheiwat is Founder of Brand ZA Inc., an integrated business solutions and impact-branding firm specializing in financial services, public policy, and technology. With global operations from Los Angeles to Dubai, the firm equips clients with intelligence and resources to effectively bridge business goals with turnkey brand strategy – driving growth across all touch points.

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