Bankrupt Lehman Siblings profits from F1 purchase

Creditors of Lehman Siblings take presctiption track for any turbocharged windfall following the collapsed bank announced it’s selling its stake in Nasdaq-listed F1 auto racing, passing on a payout of $1.5bn from the $300m investment.

The offering also brings the chequered flag lower on former F1 leader Bernie Ecclestone’s time like a shareholder. The millionaire business magnate is offloading his remaining stake for $20m. Ecclestone first required within the wheel of F1 4 decades ago and transformed it from becoming an amateur hobby right into a race series which in fact had revenue of $1.8bn this past year.

Together, Ecclestone and the Bambino family trust make an believed $4.9bn from dividends and also the purchase of the shares.

Within the last decade, F1 continues to be controlled through the private equity finance firm CVC however in The month of january it offered as much as Colorado-based Liberty Media Corp for $4.6bn.

Liberty compensated $3bn in cash and offered $1.2bn of shares in the Nasdaq tracking stock that has the ticker FWONK. The rest of the $351m came by means of financing that may be changed into stock. F1’s former proprietors got the shares in the pre-takeover cost of $21.26 and also have designed a turbocharged return.

The shares have risen 80% in value since Liberty handed on them and closed at $38.27 on Wednesday. The proportion purchase is anticipated to shut Friday and it is being brought by Goldman Sachs.

The greatest beneficiary is CVC that has made as many as $6.4bn from F1. It’s produced a 563% roi as CVC place in just $965.6m if this acquired F1 inside a leveraged buyout in the year 2006.

Numerous American investors later became a member of its consortium including fund manager Waddell & Reed that has made as many as $1.7bn in the $1.6bn it committed to 2012 for any 20.9% stake.

Lehman, that has been associated with F1 since 2002 if this gave a $300m loan to German media firm Kirch to invest in its acquisition of shares within the sport. The borrowed funds was guaranteed around the shares then when Kirch entered Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy within the same year it left Lehman having a 14.2% stake in F1.

4 years later, Lehman offered its stake to CVC for $209.3m that was under the borrowed funds it presented to Kirch. However, it was merely a loss in writing as Lehman made the good plan to reinvest the cash in F1 passing on a 15.1% stake. In 2008, Lehman itself entered Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy and moved its F1 stake from the bankrupt arm, Lehman Commercial Paper, into LBI Group, a recently created holding company that contains the precious assets in the portfolio.

LBI’s purpose would be to generate cash from the assets that is then accustomed to pay Lehman’s creditors. It is really an ongoing process and dissolving it entirely depends upon settling all of the claims from creditors.

F1 first led to its returns in May 2012 if this compensated out an $850m dividend with $130.1m likely to Lehman. Five several weeks later, Lehman sold again if this offered a 3% stake in F1 towards the Teachers’ Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to have an believed $200m.

Rounding off a bumper year, in December 2012, F1 compensated another dividend, which this time around found $1.2bn and it was fuelled with earnings from the recent debt refinancing. Lehman’s share of the was $147.6m also it received an additional $121.1m in dividends within the next 3 years. It introduced Lehman’s payout to $808.1m when that Liberty bought F1.

Consistent with its 12.1% F1 stake, Lehman got $363.6m from the $3bn cash provided by Liberty which is also due $42.5m in the loan, which may be changed into stock. The purchase of Lehman’s FWONK shares has netted $325m which provides it a complete return of $1.5bn.

Liberty’s management too have cheated the speeding up stock cost. Its chief financial officer, Mark Carleton, has offered all his FWONK shares and it has made $2.5m out of this because the acquisition.

However, the street ahead might not be so smooth. In This summer, the organizers of F1’s flagship race, the British Grand Prix, cancelled their contract seven years early because of soaring hosting charges.

Likewise, the organizers of next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix also have place the brakes on their own race early because this year’s is going to be their last – despite the fact that their contract runs before the finish of 2018.

Within the medium term, there’s also the specter of an analysis by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office. In May, it announced it had begun a pre-analysis into whether there’s proof of corruption in F1’s governance contract the Concorde Agreement, claims that has been denied by F1, CVC and also the sport’s governing body the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (Fia).

Further lower, the road comes the hurdle that of Liberty’s contracts with F1’s teams expire in the finish of 2020 so, as things stand, there are just 3 . 5 many years of guaranteed earnings. Possibly ominously the teams have steadfastly opposed possibilities to purchase FWONK shares which may provide them with a lengthy-term curiosity about F1.

Home loan rates resume climb after nearly two-month descent

Thievery of Equifax data can lead to many years of grief for house buyers and mortgage applicants]

Since mid-This summer, the 30-year fixed interest rate have been on the slow decline. Now it seems back around the ascent. Home loan rates suffer from several factors but sometimes stick to the road to lengthy-term bond yields, that also have been receiving an upswing. The yield around the 10-year Treasury rose to two.28 percent Wednesday, up from 2.05 percent on Sept. 7.

The Government Reserve’s announcement Wednesday that it’ll start to unwind its balance sheet will probably push rates greater. However the central bank’s news came far too late within the week to impact Freddie Mac’s survey. The federal government-backed mortgage-backer aggregates rates weekly from 125 lenders nationwide to generate national average home loan rates.

Bankrate.com, which creates an every week type of loan trend index, discovered that experts it surveyed have differing opinions on where minute rates are headed. Most stated they expect rates to stay relatively stable within the coming week. In regards to a third predict they’ll rise contributing to one fourth say they’ll fall.

Logan Mohtashami, senior loan officer at AMC Lending Group, is a who expects rates to carry steady.

“As always, the Given language is essential temporary, and balance sheet reduction is going to be in a snail’s pace,” Mohtashami stated. “Look for inflationary data within the next couple of several weeks to maneuver up because of the hurricanes if the bond market doesn’t bite with that data.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications fell off a week ago, based on the latest data in the Mortgage Bankers Association. The marketplace composite index — a stride of total application for the loan volume — decreased 9.7 %. The refinance index dropped 9 %, as the purchase index slumped 11 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity taken into account 52.1 % of applications.

“The loss of application volume a week ago was affected by a boost in rates, the continuing impact from the hurricanes on Florida and Texas, along with a potential slowdown following a Labor Day holiday week,” stated Joel Kan, an Master of business administration economist.

As flooded Houston neighborhoods dry up, residents question: Could they be worth it?

report just from Grain University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Many qualities “have been flooded 3 or more occasions since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. . . . We have to identify these areas and take away these homes from harm’s way it’s unlikely we are able to develop ways of safeguard them from severe rain fall occasions.”

The Harris County Ton Control District, including Houston, is continuing to move forward. Officials announced a week ago that they’re “actively going after the funding essential to proceed with Harvey-related home buyouts.”

This type of billion-dollar effort would most likely be far-reaching, varying from Meyerland in southwest Houston to Greens­point, a lesser-earnings neighborhood around the city’s north side, to areas around Ellington Airport terminal southeast of downtown. Individuals three Postal codes lead Harris County in repetitive national ton insurance claims. Other locales have frequently been underwater, too, as well as before Harvey, “several 1000 people” had requested their property be bought, based on the ton control district.

Buyouts wouldn’t just take homes from harm’s way but additionally provide open land that may be accustomed to absorb heavy rains or provide space for enlarging drainage channels. These would lessen ton risks throughout the town.

Drone footage shot over the Meyerland neighborhood in southwest Houston shows severe flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August. 28. (YouTube/Harold Joss)

Yet large-scale buyout programs frequently meet fierce opposition. An offer to abandon some low-laying neighborhoods of recent Orleans after Hurricane Katrina spurred racial acrimony along with other resentments. Ultimately, the concept was dropped.

By comparison, almost all homeowners in Staten Island’s devastated Oakwood Beach opted to market when New You are able to condition came calling after Hurricane Sandy. Within the wake of Hurricane Irma, similar questions will probably arise within the Florida Keys, where federal officials stated Tuesday that lots of homes were destroyed or badly broken.

In Houston, the nation’s 4th-largest city, buyouts might be contentious. While City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen, who represents Meyerland, states they must be considered only as “a last measure,Inches residents weary from repeated losses and residing in dread from the next major rain fall may go through differently. Individuals like Suzanne Cruz say they’d leap in an offer for his or her homes if government government bodies were to produce a large enough program.

Cruz, 53, increased up and elevated her children in Meyerland, but she’s focused on departing. “I can’t remain in this house where each time I go to sleep I worry it’ll ton and I’ll need to be saved with a National Guard helicopter,” she stated a week ago.

Her home on Heatherglen Drive is simply two blocks south from the miles-lengthy Brays Bayou, which bisects the area. She was flooded by Allison in 2001, on the other hand during what’s now referred to as Memorial Day Ton of 2015 and also the Tax Day Ton of 2016. During Harvey, water arrived at nearly to the eaves of her home. She lost artwork and $90,000 of inventory on her online menswear business.

“I can’t do that again,” Cruz stated.

Before the hurricane struck around the weekend of August. 26, many in Houston were starting to fathom the deep area’s ton dangers. Consequently, the hurricane didn’t uncover a brand new peril it added several exclamation suggests formerly issued warnings.

This past year, following the extensive April flooding, a Harris County Ton Control District publication requested an easy question: “Will we have ever solve our flooding problems in Harris County?”

The solution, essentially, wasn’t any.

What did that publication advise Houstonians to complete? Buy ton insurance. “Everyone is in danger of flooding and really should do something to safeguard their and themselves families,” it declared.

Advocates more-aggressive steps hope the prevalent inundation from Harvey — which apparently arrived at greater than 100,000 homes — will ultimately spur action.

Previously, some ton control officials have minimized the requirement for more-extensive remedies. They stated that the 2015 and 2016 floods were rare occasions, with under single percent possibility of happening in almost any given year.

However the risk seems to possess been profoundly undervalued.

Decades ago, many older neighborhoods like Meyerland were considered to become outdoors the “flood plain” — that’s, unlikely to be underwater. Many years of unchecked development upstream have altered the equation, however.

New subdivisions, strip malls and office parks have meant more pavement and fewer land to soak up rain. So more water rushes in to the region’s drainage system and, downstream, into other Houston communities. The curious outcome is that some older Houston neighborhoods have grown to be more ton-prone as time passes.

Samuel Brody, director from the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores at Texas A&M College, has some slides showing Meyerland’s evolving susceptibility. In 1979, merely a sliver was regarded as a ton plain towards the south and north of Brays Bayou. That started altering considerably within the mid-1980s, now, many of the community is considered to lie within the ton plain.

“Over time, though Meyerland hasn’t altered much, Katy along with other western suburbs go gangbusters,” Brody stated.

More Meyerlands are most likely as development upstream continues, he yet others warn.

As drastic as home buyouts seem, they wouldn’t be unparalleled in Harris County. Since 1985, greater than 3,000 qualities in a variety of areas happen to be purchased with a mix of $300 million in federal and native funding, based on the ton control district. There remain greater than 107,000 qualities in federally designated ton plains through the county, officials stated.

Why is the Meyerland area so likely a buyout target is its good reputation for storm-drenched disasters. Federal statistics examined by Syndeste, a danger analysis firm, show the city created greater than 3,000 claims totaling $102 million in damages from the federal ton insurance program in the 1970s through mid-August.

Probably the most-affected qualities take presctiption the roads nearest towards the bayou. Purchasing an adequate amount of them might let the concrete-reinforced funnel to become widened, increasing the odds that the remainder of Meyerland would stay dry during heavy rains. A guy talks on his phone because he wades along a flooded Meyerland street on August. 27. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

This could dovetail having a massive county and authorities project going ahead to enlarge and update the bayou. The $500 million project is anticipated to improve flooding in several communities but wouldn’t avoid it within the Meyerland area, based on a Grain College analysis printed this past year.

Some residents oppose talk of buyouts, for now at least. They reason that the alterations visiting Brays Bayou, coupled with a course to merely elevate homes in the region, can save probably the most-

vulnerable ones.

Cohen, who also can serve as Houston’s mayor pro tem, stated she’d “hate to see” vacant lots begin to us dot the city. “It just leaves open prairie. A location like Meyerland is really a beautiful neighborhood. We actually hate to stop with that.Inches

Others think the magnitude from the ton risks will pressure the problem. Jim Blackburn, an ecological law professor in Rice’s Civil and Ecological Engineering Department, stated he understands how people feel “losing community” and also the strong cultural ties they’ve already there. “But this can be a triage situation because of the errors and omissions of history,Inches he stated.

He estimates that about 10,000 homes ought to be purchased countywide, an attempt that may cost $2 billion to $3 billion.

“We’re searching at lots of money,Inches Blackburn stated. “But there is a realization, with Harvey, that we have to get people from harm’s way.”

Harris County Judge Erectile dysfunction Emmett, basically the county’s leader, was reported Monday to become thinking about all options, including faster buyouts. Harvey, he stated, would be a “game-changer.”

Surviving Harvey: A lengthy and fraught recovery

Fixed home loan rates halt their downward march

Thievery of Equifax data can lead to many years of grief for house buyers and mortgage applicants]

The possible lack of movement by fixed home loan rates could be the pause prior to beginning to ascend once more. Lengthy-term bond yields rose dramatically now, after slumping for their cheapest levels because the presidential election. Since falling to two.05 percent on Sept. 7, the yield around the 10-year Treasury surged to two.20 % Wednesday.

The yield around the 10-year Treasury is commonly among the best indicators of where rates on mortgages rising are headed. When yields increase, home loan rates have a tendency to follow.

Bankrate.com, which creates an every week type of loan trend index, found which more than two-thirds from the experts it surveyed say rates will climb within the coming week. Shashank Shekhar, leader of Arcus Lending, is a who believes rates will move greater.

“After touching the cheapest quantity of a year a week ago, home loan rates have since trended up,” Shekhar stated. “North Korea fears happen to be abated and damages by Irma and Harvey happen to be digested. Unless of course we obtain a black swan moment, something which shocks the stock exchange, I’m not too bullish on mortgage-backed securities. This implies a rather greater type of loan within the coming week for that borrowers.”

Meanwhile, despite two disasters that struck major population centers, mortgage applications selected up a week ago, based on the latest data in the Mortgage Bankers Association. The marketplace composite index — a stride of total application for the loan volume — elevated 9.9 %. The refinance index leaped 9 %, as the purchase index increased 11 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity taken into account 51 percent of applications.

“To illustrate the outcome of these two major hurricanes, in the last two days, mortgage applications for that condition of Texas ran about 25 % less than the state’s weekly average for that year up to now, reflecting the outcome of Hurricane Harvey,” stated Joel Kan, an Master of business administration economist. “Additionally, in the newest week we had mortgage applications in Florida fall 48 percent less than its 2017 weekly average, as numerous residents evacuated awaiting Hurricane Irma. Compared, the amount of applications for that nation a week ago was just 12 % less than its 2017 average.”

The Master of business administration also released its mortgage credit availability index (MCAI) now that demonstrated credit was a little more obtainable in August. The MCAI rose .7 % to 180.2 recently. A loss of the MCAI signifies that lending standards are tightening, while a rise signals they’re loosening.

“Mortgage credit availability elevated slightly in August, driven through the growth of credit among conforming and agency jumbo programs,” Lynn Fisher, MBA’s v . p . of research and financial aspects, stated inside a statement. “Following exactly the same pattern as recently, agency qualified arm home loan programs ongoing to become updated in August to match greater loan-to-value ratios, effectively growing the supply of credit.”

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Yes, you may be fired for missing work while fleeing Hurricane Irma

the Naples Daily News ran a tale in regards to a city manager who intends to fire an worker who declined to exercise the rain and wind.

“When we hire you, you sign an announcement saying you may be needed to exercise hurricane occasions,” Naples City Manager Bill Moss told the Publish on Friday. 

Moss stated the town is offering both housing and day care to employees throughout the hurricane.

“Generally speaking, we’re feeling if we’re not here, there’s nobody else to help individuals or obtain a city restored,” he stated. “There’s really no rut at this time.Inch

Terminating a town worker who shirked hurricane responsibilities is legal in Florida, as it might be in other states. Same with dismissing many workers who fail to appear for work on a personal business, even if they’d hit the direction to avoid floods.

Within the U . s . States, there’s no such factor as disaster leave. Union contracts safeguard some workers, and mandatory evacuation orders allow it to be illegal that people stay directly inside a hurricane’s path, once that warning continues to be given.

The Government Work-related Safe practices Administration’s laws and regulations, meanwhile, offer some protection. Employment lawyers assert most workers have a powerful situation for declining to operate within an unsafe atmosphere. 

But “at-will employment” may be the norm nationwide, meaning: Workers could be proven the doorway for essentially anything, as lengthy as this is because legal. (Firing someone due to their race, gender or religion is against the law.)

Some states have exceptions. A“good faith” rule that turns up in 11 states, including California, Nevada and Massachusetts, gives workers option if their employer fires these to avoid having to pay them retirement benefits or something like that equally egregious.

Florida, though, lacks extra protections.

“You could be fired for several reasons we’d find morally reprehensible,” stated Mary Ziegler, a work law professor in the Florida Condition College College of Law.

Even individuals who maintain their jobs with the disaster but hunker lower elsewhere face economic challenges: 36 percent of workers can’t have a sick day without losing wages, based on the Bls, and many of them are towards the bottom 1 / 2 of earners.

“People at the end from the earnings ladder have been in a fairly tough place,” Ziegler stated.

Low-earnings workers frequently generate losses once they miss try to sleep from the flu or have a tendency to an ill kid or escape a existence-threatening storm.

Hurricane-related firings, though, are much less common. In occasions of crisis, people watch what’s unfolding in devastated communities — and dismissing a staff who made a decision to evacuate instead of clock in could tarnish a company’s status.

“It’d be considered a chancy business to have an employer to release somebody at this time,Inches stated Julius Getman, a professor and labor historian in the College of Texas School of Law. “This is a period when public opinion could be strongly against it.”

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Can a Giant Science Fair Transform Kazakhstan’s Economy?

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — By day, the huge and gleaming sphere looks like the spaceship of aliens who may not have come in peace. At night, it blinks out a playful pattern of colors and boosterish slogans on its high-tech outer skin — a few parts light show, a few parts bumper sticker.

Known officially as the Nur Alem, the imposing silver globe is the symbol and centerpiece of Kazakhstan’s latest attempt at an “Open For Business” sign. Five years ago, the country won the rights to stage what is essentially the world’s largest science fair. More than 100 nations built pavilions on a once-empty corner of this capital city. The Kazakh government chipped in a reported $3 billion, and, after an 11th-hour, all-hands push, met a June 10 deadline to open Expo 2017.

The theme of the fair, which closes on Sunday, is “Future Energy.” That may sound like a stab at humor given that oil, gas and metals are the lifeblood of the country. But guided by the hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first and, so far, only president of this former Soviet Republic, Kazakhstan is trying for a dramatic economic makeover.

The country does not want to merely sell off state-owned assets. The goal is to wean the nation from a dependence on natural resources and to transform it into a financial hub, the Dubai of Central Asia. There are plans for a new stock exchange overseen by an independent judicial system. Tech start-ups will get the come-hither, too, with the hope of giving rise to Kazakhstan’s own version of Silicon Valley.

All of this will take foreign investors, and not enough of them have reached for their checkbooks yet. As a share of the country’s gross domestic product, net foreign investment has dropped to 3.5 percent, from a high of 13 percent in 2004, the World Bank reports.

Experts say that, despite talk of reform and transparency, Kazakhstan is still quietly controlled by shifting alliances among elites, all of them angling for prestige and riches in a soap opera scripted by the president. “You have to carefully assess who your Kazakh partners are and where they fit into the elite structure,” said Livia Paggi, a director at GPW, a political risk firm. “They can be bright and well connected, but if they fall out of political favor and lose their status, your business is at serious risk. In the worst case scenario, your asset could be seized.”

When Mr. Nazarbayev, 77, isn’t refereeing the never-ending tournament of clans, he is the nation’s stern and loving grandfather, a ruler whose style might be described as autocrat lite. He has many of the trappings of an old-school authoritarian, including a self-mythologizing museum, a spotty record on human rights and a glaring absence of genuine political opposition. The last time he ran for re-election, in 2015, he won 98 percent of the vote — a figure so high that he apologized the next day.

“But I could do nothing,” he said, during an Orwellian press conference at the time. “If I had intervened, I would have looked undemocratic, right?”

Nonetheless, Mr. Nazarbayev has devoted much of his political life to expanding Kazakhstan’s middle class, which has grown from just 9 percent of the population in the mid-2000s to 33 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank. To his people and to investors, he offers both opportunity and stability — at least for now. He has never articulated a plan of succession, a pressing matter given what the actuarial tables would say about a man who toiled for years as a steelworker in Ukraine, breathing dust and gas near a blast furnace.

Then there is Kazakhstan’s branding problem. Although it is wedged between China and Russia and has a land mass roughly four times the state of Texas, few outside the commodities business could pin it on a map. It is forever lumped with the other “stans” in the neighborhood, which are repressive by comparison. Kazakhstan’s big international breakout moment came as the butt of jokes by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who played Borat, a bigoted and clueless Kazakh, in a 2006 mockumentary.

Expo 2017 is a splashy attempt to change that image. Kazakhstan beat out Belgium for the rights to host the “specialized expo,” essentially a slightly scaled-down world’s fair. Most of the visitors are tourists, but the key audience here are business executives, government leaders and anyone else who could sink real money into a country that is eager to diversify.

Much is riding on the event. Too much, perhaps, given that it is in a city as remote and singular as Astana and devoted to a subject as bland as “future energy.” How many Westerners packed up their families and said, “Let’s fly to Kazakhstan and learn about biomass fuel”?

Very few, judging from three days spent walking the grounds not long ago.

Multimedia Infomercials

Most people enter Expo through the Mega Silk Way, a 1.5 million-square-foot mall. It is filled with Kazakhstan’s answers to Western staples: a restaurant that looks like Applebee’s, a computer retailer that resembles an Apple store. Anyone yearning for local flavor can dine at Rumi, with traditional decorations on the walls and horse meat on the menu.

The fairgrounds look pristine, and touring the premises is like strolling through an updated United Nations as reimagined by a big box retailer. Many countries used their pavilions for elaborate, multimedia infomercials. Vietnam promoted its economy, Georgia extolled its wine and Belarus went for a hard-core real estate spiel, pitching a huge industrial park it is building with the Chinese.

In an effort to appear environmentally minded, Saudi Arabia showed a film on an IMAX-size screen with a montage that included men drinking bottled water and the words, “We sustain.” Thailand highlighted the energy uses of animal waste, with the life-size rear end of an animatronic elephant, complete with a waggling tail, hovering over a convincing reproduction of a large dung patty.

“No step,” an unnecessary sign nearby said.

For sheer production values, Russia’s pavilion was hard to beat, although it was essentially a long claim to the rights to mine natural resources in the Arctic — something that seemed wildly tin-eared in this setting. The country even displayed a block of “old arctic ice,” which, after watching films of melting floes all over Expo, made you want to yell, “Put it back!”

The true ambitions behind Expo will only become apparent after it ends. The plan is to transform several of the buildings into Kazakhstan’s Wall Street. The main attraction of the Astana International Financial Centre will be a stock exchange, created in partnership with Nasdaq, and a legal center for addressing financial disputes, to be governed by British common law.

The financial center goes beyond what has been tried here before. But Kazakhstan already has a stock exchange, and it has talked about selling off a greater share of state-owned assets in the past. To foreign investors, this new plan sounds very familiar. What has changed, government officials say, is the context.

“When the price of oil was $100 a barrel, it was difficult to convince anyone to think another way,” said Kairat Kelimbetov, governor of the financial center. “The price of oil is $50 a barrel, and we don’t think it is ever coming back. Now is the time to wake up.”

For years, Kazakhstan had a terrible case of the resource curse, Mr. Kelimbetov said, referring to the paradoxical plague of the easy money that can come to any country with fortunes that are simply buried in the ground. But the curse is over here, and so far, that has brought only new curses.

After growing for years, Kazakhstan’s middle class is shrinking, and the poverty rate has inched close to 20 percent, up from 16 percent in 2014, a World Bank report says. Average monthly wages, which now equal about $421, have fallen slightly for two years straight.

A series of sudden drops in the value of the Kazakh currency, the tenge, helped drive the inflation rate to 14 percent last year and added to the pain. The worst of the drops occurred in 2015, after the country’s central bank introduced a free floating exchange rate. The tenge fell 25 percent against the dollar in a single day.

For an economy that soared by 13 percent soon after the turn of the century, the 1 percent rise in G.D.P. last year was a dismal comedown. The problem is that Kazakhstan remains addicted to oil and gas, which now account for nearly 60 percent of all exported goods and services. Sanctions against Russia, which has long been Kazakhstan’s main trading partner, have hurt too.

The country has hired advisers, including Tony Blair Associates, the consulting firm led by the former British prime minister, to reform its economy and make it more welcoming to Western investors. On paper, the efforts have paid off: The country rose 16 spots, to 35th in world, in one year on the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business rankings.

Other lists are less flattering to Kazakhstan: It tied with Russia for 131st on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The problem goes well beyond perceptions, as Expo 2017 itself demonstrated. The man initially in charge of the project, Talgat Ermegiyayev, was arrested in 2015, and then tried and convicted of embezzlement. The case startled the public, in part because Mr. Ermegiyayev’s family had a long personal relationship and business ties to the president and his children.

The case looked, to all the world, like a crackdown, and proof that Mr. Nazarbayev would no longer tolerate impropriety, even by insiders. But little about Kazakhstan’s gilded clans is straightforward.

Vera Kobalia, Expo’s former deputy chairwoman, said in an interview that the public account of Mr. Ermegiyayev’s fall was a charade. Reached by phone at her new job in Indonesia, she said that Mr. Ermegiyayev’s troubles began when an executive from a music channel in Russia asked Expo to advertise and sponsor an awards show.

Nyet, said Expo staff members. The marketing budget had already been entirely allocated.

So the Russian executive called a member of the president’s inner circle, who then called Expo employees, Ms. Kobalia said. Mr. Ermegiyayev had no choice. The twist is that the deal with the music channel was used against Mr. Ermegiyayev at his embezzlement trial.

“Ermegiyayev was really a scapegoat to write off the funds that disappeared during the first phase of construction of Expo,” said Ms. Kobalia, a former minister of the economy in Georgia, who quit her job at Expo after little more than a month. “I personally told him to speak openly in the court or to journalists about everything he knew, but he believed until the last minute that the president would save him.”

Novelty and Scale

The bold, attention-seeking gesture that is Expo is actually dwarfed by the bold, attention-seeking city where Expo is being held. Astana is Mr. Nazarbayev’s most improbable creation. In 1994, he announced that the nation’s capital would move 755 miles north from its original seat, Almaty, a city dense with history, culture and people.

The decision seemed ludicrous at first. Before bureaucrats started to relocate in droves, Astana was a crumbling outpost in the middle of the windswept steppe, swarming with mosquitoes in the summer and a tormenting 20 degrees below zero for much of the winter. There was one hotel and one restaurant.

Construction has yet to end, and clearly, the subtle charm of a walkable metropolis is not to Mr. Nazarbayev’s taste. He likes his streets wide and his buildings striking, ornate and spread around like they fell off a Monopoly board. Some look like they have been collected, souvenir-style, from all over the world. You drive down a street and think: That looks just like the home of the Bolshoi Ballet.

“That’s exactly what it is,” a guide explains.

More specifically, it is a rendering of the original in Moscow, repurposed for the nearly 700,000-square-foot Astana Opera House. Moscow also inspired the neo-Stalinist Triumph Astana, home to offices, shops and apartments and a dead ringer for the Triumph Palace in Moscow.

Elsewhere, there are structures fashioned after Chinese pagodas, Indian mausoleums, Ottoman mosques and the pyramids of Egypt. The white marble presidential palace looks like the White House, if the White House had a blue dome and were set in an industrial park.

For sheer quirkiness, nothing touches the 350-foot Bayterek Tower, which local residents have nicknamed Chupa Chups because of its resemblance to a lollipop. It offers a panoramic view of Astana and a podium where visitors can place a hand over a golden mold of Mr. Nazarbayev’s meaty palm. For a time, upon contact, Kazakhstan’s national anthem would suddenly blast from loudspeakers, at a volume loud enough to make people wonder if they had been punked.

Astana is what you get when a city builder with money to spare tries desperately to wow through novelty and scale. Or maybe it is an effort to compensate for Kazakhstan’s years of obscurity, when the czars of Imperial Russia, and then the premiers of the Soviet Union, all but sealed this place off from the world.

A few of the empire’s most famous undesirables spent part of their exile here: Fyodor Dostoyevsky after he ticked offNicholas I, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn after he ticked off Stalin. When it wasn’t used for state-mandated timeouts, Kazakhstan was the Soviet Union’s location of choice for outsize Cold War projects. Most lethally, it was where nuclear weapons were tested by the dozens, with shockingly little regard for basic safeguards, like evacuating residents.

When Kazakhstan achieved independence, in 1991, it aspired to create a presidential democracy based on the French model. But Mr. Nazarbayev, who rose to power through the Soviet ranks, has always seemed to have one foot in the system that created him and another in a system he hopes to create.

On the positive side, the Nazarbayev era has been relatively free of ethnic or religious strife. About 70 percent of Kazakhs are Muslims, and there are gorgeous mosques all over Astana. But the country is officially secular. A high premium is placed here on tolerance.

The influence of the Soviet system shines through in discussions about who will govern next, understandably a topic of constant speculation. Occasionally, names of potential successors are floated in the newspaper: A daughter! A nephew! A mayor! Whether these are legitimate candidates or people being backstabbed by rivals is unclear. It is no secret that Mr. Nazarbayev punishes anyone he believes is vying for his chair.

He has also nurtured the sort of cult of personality that crops up only around despots. If that cult has a headquarters it is the Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a building stuffed with more than 40,000 objects from Mr. Nazarbayev’s life. One room is devoted to his nomadic, horseback riding ancestors. Less is said about his father, a shepherd.

Plenty of Kazakhs roll their eyes at all of this. But the question here is always, “Compared to what?” Compared to Turkmenistan, this country is free and prosperous. Compared to France, it is not.

To Westerners, the economy has long seemed like a casino where the games are mostly rigged. Ten to 20 alliances control every financial venture worth backing. The trick is getting their attention.

“This is a country where everything is possible,” veterans of business here like to say, “and everything is impossible.”

Promises for Capitalism

While tourists traipsed through pavilions, a parallel Expo was unfolding above their heads. The second floor of many of the buildings were hosting panel discussions that doubled as schmoozing opportunities. An event titled “Transforming the Financial Services of Kazakhstan” was held one afternoon in a conference room above Britain’s pavilion. An audience of about 20 men and women in suits listened to upbeat projections about how Kazakhstan could become the financial technology center of a new Silk Road.

The only skeptical note came from an earnest young man named Bekarys Nurumbetov, who is leads the marketing department of Kazakhtelecom, the nation’s phone and broadband goliath. After the session, he explained why he was not buying all the happy talk.

“There are no financial tech companies entering Kazakhstan,” he said, sipping bottled water over a plate of canapés. “They’re not interested in a business with low margins and high cost and competing with banks that are supported by the government.”

The problem is not corruption. “The government is O.K. with the way things are now,” Mr. Nurumbetov explained. “And the banks don’t want change because they don’t want to lose market share.”

Banks don’t trust consumers, he continued, and consumers don’t trust credit cards. So e-commerce companies, for example, face high and baffling hurdles.

Consider the case of Lamoda, a website that sells high-end fashion. When Alexios Shaw helped start it in 2011, he did not need just good-quality clothing and an efficient warehouse. He needed 100 couriers across the country to deliver products — and to make change.

“It was a cash on delivery business,” Mr. Shaw said. “Instead of paying in advance with a credit card, everyone paid with cash. You can’t use FedEx or the post office and leave a box at the door.”

Delivering pants the same way that Domino’s delivers pizza is a challenge. Couriers end up with thousands of dollars worth of bills at day’s end, a logistical hassle beyond the issue of trust. Just as bad, customers try on clothing while couriers wait and hand back what they don’t want. That is not simply time consuming.

“The biggest problem was having a ton of goods out of stock,” Mr. Shaw said. “A lot of inventory was just sort of flying around Siberia.”

Several conversations like this reveal the vast gap between the country as it is now marketed and the country as it actually functions. Which is why Expo brings to mind another of the Soviet Union’s grandiose schemes for Kazakhstan: the Virgin Lands Campaign.

It began in the mid-1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev decided the steppe here could produce enough corn and wheat to match the production of the United States. Millions of acres were sown by hundreds of thousands of workers who poured in from Russia and Ukraine.

Kazakhs could have told their maximum leader that his dreams were doomed. This northern region of Kazakhstan has long been called Akmola, which translates to “white grave,” a reference to the hard and chalky ground beneath the earth’s crust.

The Virgin Lands Campaign found Kazakhstan’s agrarian limits. Expo and its aftermath promise to do the same for capitalism. It will be a challenge, say foreigners here, as tough as the soil.

Warren Buffett’s $100 billion problem

Warren Buffett celebrated his 87th birthday a couple of days ago, however the bigger number in the existence may be the $100 billion mound of money that his Berkshire Hathaway has stockpiled.

Buffett produced his cash-gushing conglomerate from an unwell textile firm he required over greater than half a century ago. Berkshire Hathaway presently has a large number of subsidiaries, from railroads to utilities to chocolate companies. It’s 367,000 employees, $24 billion in annual profit and market capital approaching $500 billion.

To put it simply, it’s probably the most lucrative enterprises ever produced.

Insurance is a big a part of Berkshire Hathaway’s runaway success, with Buffett smartly while using premiums people pay — referred to as “float” — to purchase independently and openly owned companies. They can place the cash to operate since most insurance claims are compensated out years later.

The conundrum Buffett faces is definitely an alluring one: How to handle the money? Within this situation, $100 billion. The Sage of Omaha acknowledged the down sides of deploying his cash during Berkshire’s annual meeting in May.

“The real question is, ‘Are we going so that you can deploy it?’ ” he told the a large number of faithful who made the pilgrimage to Omaha.

By necessity, the investor must search for giant game it requires a large acquisition to meaningfully move the conclusion of the company how big Berkshire Hathaway.

Recently, he attempted and unsuccessful to purchase Oncor, a Texas power-transmission firm, for $9 billion in cash. Sempra Energy outbid Buffett by $450 million.

The investor, who’s particularly averse to technology, takes ever bigger stakes in companies for example Apple. Also, he this summer time committed to Home Capital Group, a troubled Canadian mortgage loan provider.

Jonathan Brandt, an analyst and work with an investment firm of Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb, is experienced on Berkshire Hathaway. He needs to be. Berkshire Hathaway may be the investment firm’s largest holding. Brandt attends the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, where he sits on the panel of journalists and financial analysts who pepper Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger with questions.

I spent a few hrs interviewing Brandt along with other principals at Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb, including leader David Poppe and analyst John B. Harris.

Among the ongoing questions surrounding Berkshire Hathaway is it doesn’t pay a dividend and doesn’t buy back its stock, a couple of things that could do in order to absorb a number of that $100 billion.

Buffett has opposed having to pay a dividend, believing that he is able to place the cash to more lucrative use through acquisitions. That’s among the places where we diverted the discussion.

“There’s lots of concentrate on whether Berkshire will pay a dividend,” Brandt stated. “I could be mildly surprised whether it did start having to pay a dividend over the following 3 years. Maybe the most crucial facet of that’s it could indicate that [Buffett] doesn’t think he is able to deploy the main city in a more appealing rate compared to shareholders could using the distributed cash.”

“But either share repurchases or dividends could keep [Berkshire’s cash pile] from growing bigger and bigger and bigger,” Brandt stated. “One from the reasons Berkshire rises on the market cap rankings each year is it doesn’t pay a dividend. It doesn’t repurchase shares. That does not relate to why the returns are great. However it just piles up increasingly more money.”

Poppe implied that Buffett continues to have his investor mojo.

“He remains quite confident that he’ll find items to buy with time, despite the constraints of size,” he stated. “He is extremely patient. Markets every so often can give possibilities, and that he would like to hold back for your chance.”

But because the money builds up and how big Berkshire Hathaway expands, the swimming pool of firms that can also add significant value dwindles.

“I imagine it’s harder to locate investments,” Brandt stated. “If he’s buying stocks, he is able to only take a look at market caps. Your house he wanted or assumes he can move up to 10 % of the company without encountering possible [regulatory] issues.”

“If he really wants to put $5 billion into something, it needs to be a $50 billion market cap. I do not know the number of companies you will find at $50 billion or over or $100 billion or over, but he’s a restricted group of possibilities for stocks and for companies he is able to buy,” Brandt stated.

“He does buy firms that count under a billion, however it doesn’t really slowly move the needle. To behave like Precision Castparts or Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, that’s a $35 billion to $40 billion acquisition. And it is just challenging an excellent, cheap multiple on something which big.”

Harris stated that as Berkshire is continuing to grow, it’s started out a good investment firm right into a conglomerate trying to buy entire companies — not only areas of them. Buffett recently bought all Precision Castparts for $32 billion, Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad for $26.3 billion and Duracell batteries for $4.7 billion.

“Warren has tilted the need for the enterprise a lot more toward owned companies where one can look pretty far to return and also have a sense for which that business and it is earnings are likely to seem like,Inches Harris stated.

Harris stated Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisitions of whole companies includes high-quality earnings which come from elevated sales, lower costs and conservative accounting.

“His skill like a capital allocator continues to be valuable and a fundamental part of an investment situation,” Harris stated.

Buffett in the past made his greatest killings by purchasing private companies from proprietors, frequently families, who have been prepared to pay a discounted cost to acquire seeing their creation stored intact included in Berkshire Hathaway. Individuals include Helzberg Diamonds, the Pampered Chef and Nebraska Furniture Mart.

The task now, highlighted through the Oncor misfire, is the fact that Berkshire Hathaway is competing for giant, public firms that are broadly adopted.

“It’s just difficult to find inefficiencies within the prices of huge companies,” Brandt stated. “It’s nothing like other investors are likely to vastly underprice a openly traded company. And when it’s an open company, the board of company directors won’t market it for you in a discounted cost. And when it’s a large, family-owned holding, they’re not likely to market it for you in a cost that disadvantages them greatly. He can’t dart interior and exterior stuff.”

The float that Buffett consummately exploits nowadays comes thanks to his many insurance and finance firms for example Geico, General Re and Central States Indemnity.

“Berkshire Hathaway, like several companies, still gushes cash every 3 months, each year from the earnings,” Brandt stated. “But once the insurance float grows — also it usually does — the money flow grows much more. Being an extreme example, within the first quarter of 2017, Berkshire had operating earnings of $3.6 billion, nevertheless its float increased by $14 billion, four occasions its earnings.”

A large slice of float should be stored liquid to cover claims on its insurance business. The remainder could be offer longer-term use.

Brandt explains it by doing this: “There’s a debate available about what amount of the float will go into buying companies and stocks, and just how much must be in lower-return bonds and Treasury bills. Buffett indicated in the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting that basically $20 to $25 billion may be put into companies and stocks. However in an average year, according to current earnings power, Berkshire will earn $20 billion. If 85 % of this is free of charge income, and float grows, say $5 billion annually, the float growth would add almost 30 % towards the annual free income. And don’t forget, that’s on the top from the $100 billion that’s already there.”

Like I stated, If only I’d Warren Buffett’s problems.

Hurricane Irma might cost insurers £150bn, analyst warns 

CITY insurers are braced a few days ago for any £150bn bill from Hurricane Irma because the catastrophic storm tears with the Caribbean and slams into Florida.

The sphere continues to be counting the price of losses in the devastating Texas flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey, but analysts cautioned Irma could deal a significantly heavier blow.

The course 5 hurricane is among the most effective storms ever ­recorded, using the Un estimating a week ago that as much as 37m people might be affected and emergency leaders warning its impact could be “devastating” for that US.

Barrie Cornes, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, believes the sphere might be expected to get a tab which is between £100bn and £150bn if Irma remains a category four to five storm and envelops the Florida panhandle.

Lloyd’s based in london insurers already face millions of pounds in losses on Hurricane Harvey. Their contact with Irma will probably be greater but tend to be capped, Mr Cornes stated.

“Assuming the damage is windstorm i then would expect the internet ­retentions for that listed insurers to become around £200m or below, but there remains much uncertainty,” he stated. 

An automobile stands outdoors a condo complex in floodwaters because of Hurricane Harvey in Spring, Texas, U.S., on Monday, August. 28, 2017.

His conjecture echoes estimates from analysts at Morgan Stanley, which a week ago cautioned that fears over Irma were weighing on insurance stocks.

“Investors fear that the major hurricane striking the Miami area can lead to $100bn-plus industry losses,” Kai Pan, an equity analyst, stated.

Hurricane Irma Key articles

Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency’

As thousands of Egyptians took to the streets during the Arab Spring protests of 2011, Ray Dalio, a hedge fund billionaire, decided to sail the Nile River with some friends, including some other financiers.

It was a risky place to be, with the Middle East convulsed, and Mr. Dalio’s trip raised concerns at the Connecticut headquarters of his company, Bridgewater Associates. But his security team couldn’t get him to change his plans, so they set up a special team to track him and his group by GPS, hoping to keep him out of trouble.

You could say that Mr. Dalio was applying one of his very own rules, known internally as Principle 188: “If you make a plan, follow through!”

Over four decades, Mr. Dalio, 68, has built Bridgewater, which has $160 billion in assets, into the largest hedge fund firm in the world — bigger than the next two largest hedge funds combined. He manages money for some of the largest companies, big public pensions, sovereign wealth funds and even some central banks. He has become a financier-statesman, of sorts, consulting with political leaders in China, the Middle East and elsewhere.

He has also built an unusual and confrontational workplace at Bridgewater, where employees hold each other to account by following a strict set of rules that he created, “Principles.” He began developing the rules, which number more than 200, two decades ago based on his life experiences.

Some, like advising employees not to “tolerate badness,” are self-evident. Others — “look for people who sparkle”; “be willing to ‘shoot the people you love’” — are more unconventional.

All of the rules celebrate what Mr. Dalio calls “radical transparency” in the workplace, and the search for the ideal employee. Those ideals stand in stark contrast to Bridgewater’s reputation as particularly secretive when it come to its trading, even for an industry where secrecy about investing is the norm.

Now, Mr. Dalio hopes that others will embrace his ideas about the future of work as he embarks on a big public push to promote his Principles. But is corporate America ready for his sometimes contradictory vision of radical transparency?

On Sept. 19, Simon & Schuster will publish “Principles: Life & Work,” a 567-page book written with editing help from a former GQ magazine writer that combines Mr. Dalio’s rules with a memoir. He is also working on a smartphone app — once called the Book of the Future — to help other business leaders apply the Principles.

The effort to establish Mr. Dalio as a business icon in the vein of Steve Jobs or Warren E. Buffett comes even as questions persist about Bridgewater’s unusual culture. The firm videotapes nearly everything that goes on there for future case studies, and employees are given homework and graded on their understanding of Principles.

In interviews with nearly 50 current and former Bridgewater employees, including several chosen by Mr. Dalio, The New York Times found that he is driven to enforce his rules to ensure that they survive at the firm. Some senior executives have been taken to task in “public hangings” — one of the Principles meant to “deter bad behavior” — when they break the rules. Other employees have been pushed to tears.

The Times also found that Bridgewater’s investment process is largely a secret not only to investors but to most of the firm’s 1,500 employees. No more than a dozen people have a full sense of how the firm trades.

Even employees who left with a positive experience describe a workplace that is rigid and sometimes oppressive.

“Is it a hedge fund, or a social experiment?” said Tim Bradley, a technology consultant who worked at Bridgewater for a year in 2010.

At a time when workplace culture — whether at Silicon Valley start-ups, Wall Street banks or factories — can attract intense public scrutiny, Mr. Dalio’s pitch to other businesses that they can adopt the Bridgewater model could be a tough sell.

Mr. Dalio declined to comment for this article. In the past, he has dismissed criticism of the firm as exaggerations by disgruntled workers and “distorted news.”

Bridgewater, in a statement, said that people either thrived in the firm’s “unique culture” or “they dislike it and decide to move on.”

The Principles at Work

Nestled amid pine trees and hidden from the main road, the serene setting of Bridgewater’s headquarters in Westport, Conn., is beloved by employees. Many also find the work intellectually stimulating.

Plucked from top schools, most of those hired by the firm arrive with little or no expertise in the world of finance. They work hard, and party equally hard at off-site retreats sometimes held at the Lookout, a firm-owned guesthouse where meals are cooked by Bridgewater chefs, or at Mr. Dalio’s house in Vermont.

“Bridgewater definitely changed me and I would say for the better,” says Owen B. Jennings, who was hired as an investment associate in 2011 after graduating from Dartmouth College.

Others describe a darker side of the firm’s culture. Turnover is high — a third of employees are said to leave within the first two years, a figure the firm does not dispute. Some who have left said they became disenchanted with the constant blunt feedback, questioning of their actions, lack of privacy and need to adhere to Mr. Dalio’s rules.

Nearly all of the current and former employees interviewed declined to speak on the record for fear of retribution because of the firm’s strict nondisclosure agreements. The Times reviewed documents from a dozen lawsuits and complaints filed against the firm by former employees, and documents obtained from public agencies through Freedom of Information Act requests.

The picture that emerges is that life at Bridgewater is demanding, with a heavy focus on maintaining Mr. Dalio’s rules.

Interactive Feature | Read a Selection of Principles

Each day, employees are tested and graded on their knowledge of the Principles. They walk around with iPads loaded with the rules and an interactive rating system called “dots” to evaluate peers and supervisors. The ratings feed into each employee’s permanent record, called the “baseball card.”

Two dozen Principles “captains” are responsible for enforcing the rules. Another group, “overseers,” some of whom report to Mr. Dalio, monitor department heads.

The video cameras that record daily interactions for future case studies are so ubiquitous that employees joke about “the men in the walls.”

Meetings occasionally last for hours, sometimes simply because of a debate over why certain subjects are on the agenda or the quality of an employee’s presentation. Workers described being publicly berated for not completing homework assignments related to the firm’s culture or, sometimes, for “below-the-bar thinking.”

In one of the firm’s more memorable case studies — videotaped episodes of events at Bridgewater that employees review and analyze — a female employee burst into tears during a group interrogation. “I have never seen so many smart people in a room who never get anything done,” Mr. Bradley said.

Bridgewater said “it would be misleading to characterize” the firm as a place where employees are publicly berated.

The app that Mr. Dalio is developing will include some videotaped Bridgewater case studies but only ones that employees have agreed can be shared with the outside world.

Mr. Dalio, a devotee of Transcendental Meditation, considers confrontation part of a quest for getting to the truth and determining an employee’s “believability.” Because, as Mr. Dalio once explained in a Principle known in-house as No. 194, only “believable” people “have the right to have opinions.”

James Cordes, who was hired several years ago as an internal adviser to the Bridgewater management committee, said Mr. Dalio, “was a purist; you had to go all in.”

Mr. Dalio has talked about the firm as a place devoid of office politics, where employees don’t talk behind each other’s backs. But some former employees contend Mr. Dalio has simply created a different kind of office politics, one that rewards those who play by his rules.

The firm’s top executives, like Mr. Dalio, see things differently. “This is a deeply analytical place,” said Brian Kreiter, a member of Bridgewater’s management committee. “When something goes wrong in any part of our business it gets debated vigorously with reference to our shared understanding, systems, and principles.”

“We want this place to be an idea meritocracy,” he said.

But in Mr. Dalio’s quest to create an environment that values data, emotional intelligence can be stripped out of business decisions, said Robin Levine, a former employee who now runs a job-matching platform she and another Bridgewater alumna founded. “If you read through the Principles, there is more emphasis on the individual.” Ms. Levine added that working at Bridgewater did foster good interpersonal relationships.

Yet some incidents of raucous behavior at off-site retreats have led employees to complain.

In one 2012 episode, at Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York, several dozen junior associates watched a fireside chat that started in humor, and then took a turn when Greg Jensen, one of Mr. Dalio’s lieutenants and a co-chief investment officer, was asked by another employee to describe the time that he and Mr. Dalio sat naked together in a sauna during a trip to Japan.

After the retreat, several employees said they were made uncomfortable by some of what had gone on that weekend, including skinny dipping and heavy drinking by some who were there.

Three years ago, another top executive took a group of young interns to a strip club. Again, some employees complained about the outing later and the episode became a case study to be discussed internally.

These incidents have spilled into public view over the past year, leading to concern about the firm’s image. The impact on recruiting has become a topic of discussion within the firm, according to an internal document reviewed by The Times. One manager wrote in the document that Bridgewater had become “a place that is difficult to hire for and lukewarm to join.”

Last year, the firm resolved a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board over its restrictive employment contracts.

Mark Carey, an employment lawyer who has represented five Bridgewater employees in disputes over the past two years, said that Mr. Dalio had created an environment that could deter employees from speaking up about workplace problems.

“This whole transparency and truth-seeking thing is juxtaposed with the fact that they intentionally secretize all interactions with employees from public view,” Mr. Carey said.

Mr. Dalio has acknowledged that the firm’s culture is not for everyone. Of his rules, he writes in his book, “I don’t expect you to follow them blindly.” The firm said, “While there could be some concern that media distortions might impact recruiting, the firm just had one of its best recruiting classes ever.”

Bridgewater also notes that business leaders like Bill Gates and Jamie Dimon have praised Mr. Dalio’s book.

Robert Kegan, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education who spent a week at Bridgewater doing research, likened Mr. Dalio to a great inventor. “Every critical thing you’ve heard about Bridgewater could be true and it still doesn’t take away from the basic project itself,” Professor Kegan said,

Mr. Dalio was contributing to “ as dramatic a transformation as the industrial revolution,” he added, referring to the Bridgewater founder’s vision of the future of work.

Investment Machine

Some hedge fund managers get museum wings named after them for making large donations. Others have hospital wards dedicated in their honor. Mr. Dalio had a species of coral — Eknomisis dalioi — named for him in 2011 because of his involvement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

His beginnings were more humble.

He grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, the son of a jazz musician. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Long Island University before heading off to Harvard Business School. After graduating, he landed at a small brokerage firm that was led at the time by Sanford I. Weill, who would later forge Citigroup.

Mr. Dalio didn’t last long. He punched his boss in the face and brought a stripper to a corporate event. He was fired and then formed Bridgewater in 1975, working out of his two-bedroom Manhattan apartment.

He married Barbara Gabaldoni, a descendant of the Whitneys and the Vanderbilts, and the couple moved to Wilton, Conn. For a time, Bridgewater was so small that it was run out of their home.

Early clients included the pension funds for the World Bank and Eastman Kodak. The firm gained a dedicated following on Wall Street because of its deeply researched daily economic note, Daily Observations.

After profiting on the stock market crash of 1987, Mr. Dalio started to become known beyond Wall Street. The next year, he appeared in an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” called “Do foreigners own America?”

In 1991, Bridgewater started one of its flagship funds, Pure Alpha, which makes bets based on the direction of global economic trends. Five years later, it started All Weather, a fund that pioneered a steady, low-risk strategy called risk parity.

As for Principles, the concept flowed from Mr. Dalio’s early practice of jotting down his observations about how markets worked. He moved on to writing down his thoughts on how employees should interact in the workplace.

In the mid-2000s, he had just a few dozen Principles, but the number quickly grew along with Bridgewater’s head count. Ultimately, Mr. Dalio compiled his rules into a little white book. All employees carried hard copies before Principles became available on the firm’s iPads.

It wasn’t until the financial crisis of a decade ago that Bridgewater made the big leagues. The firm saw before most in the industry that trouble was brewing in the mortgage market and at investment firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. So when the stock market tumbled in 2008 and most hedge funds recorded big losses, Bridgewater’s Pure Alpha fund made for its investors. Its success led more money to pour in.

Since it began, Pure Alpha has made investors an annual average return after fees of 11.9 percent, slightly better than the 9.5 percent average yearly return for the Standard & Poor’s 500. The All Weather fund has given investors an annual return of 7.9 percent return since it began.

In an industry known for producing flameouts, the consistent returns have drawn investors to Bridgewater despite Mr. Dalio’s idiosyncratic leadership style, which has included frequent management shake-ups. Most recently, Mr. Dalio ousted Jon Rubinstein, a former top Apple executive, in March after hiring him just 10 months earlier as the firm’s co-chief executive officer, because he was not a “culture fit.”

“It is a culture that is not for everyone but not one that would dissuade me from investing,” said John Longo, a finance professor at Rutgers University School of Business.

Yet much of the firm’s vaunted investing machine remains shrouded in mystery, even to those working at Bridgewater. On Wall Street, how the firm makes its money long has been a source of envy and debate because it goes to great lengths to conceal its trades from competitors.

As one of the first hedge funds to embrace quantitative analysis, Bridgewater bases almost all of its trades on algorithms derived from decades of market observations. The firm trades in many diverse markets, including the Japanese yen, Treasury securities and gold.

There is little room at Bridgewater for intuition and fast-paced trading. Unlike their counterparts at other big hedge funds who are responsible for trade ideas, many Bridgewater traders simply press buttons that execute trades. Many of those positions are held for several months at a time.

Only a small number of top executives who occupy Mr. Dalio’s “circle of trust” have a complete picture of the firm’s trading strategy from start to finish. Another half-dozen employees on what is called Signals team, which decides how the firm should adjust its trading, sign long-term noncompete agreements.

To avoid any inadvertent leaking of trading information, Bridgewater has a general policy that discourages the 450 employees who work on the investment side of the firm from socializing with those employed at Wall Street firms it trades with.

“Not only is the information kept confidential with respect to the public at large, it is not even openly disseminated within Bridgewater,” Nella Domenici, the firm’s chief financial officer, wrote in an effort to get the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, a Bridgewater investor, to deny a public records request by The Times.

World Traveler

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Mr. Dalio appeared on a panel with two senior Russian officials: Kirill Dmitriev, the executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister of Russia. The panel came as a political firestorm was spreading in the United States over intelligence reports that Russia had meddled in the presidential elections.

“It would be better if the sanctions were lifted,” for Russia’s economic and financial development, Mr. Dalio told the audience, while adding that Russia had already made adjustments to be less dependent on foreign investment.

The message appeared to please his panelists. Mr. Dmitriev said he hoped to organize a delegation to Russia later in the year, “containing the largest funds and companies from the U.S.,” adding, “we would love to have Ray and other people there as dialogue partners.”

In his book, Mr. Dalio writes a good deal about his world travels, particularly his meetings with foreign leaders and economic thinkers. The meetings have not only informed Bridgewater’s trading style, but also have shaped Mr. Dalio’s views about how to manage his people and the firm.

But no foreign country and its leadership is as important to Mr. Dalio than China, which he first visited in 1984 and where his son Matthew lived for several years. Mr. Dalio has often met with the country’s senior leaders during his frequent visits there. In 2015, he was one of a few business leaders to attend a state dinner at the White House in honor of president Xi Jinping.

Over the years, Mr. Dalio has geared up for the day when China opens itself up more fully to foreign investment firms, securing hard-to-get licenses in order to expand its investment business.

Last year, Bridgewater became the third global investment firm to receive a license for a wholly owned foreign owned enterprise, allowing it to set up an entity to manage money for Chinese institutional investors and, potentially, to engage in foreign currency trading. The firm received the approval just weeks before China stopped issuing licenses to foreign investors.

Months later, Mr. Dalio met with Pan Gongsheng, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China who is also an administrator of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, which is responsible for managing China’s foreign exchange currency reserves.

In 2014, the Dalio Foundation, an $750 million enterprise, established a separate charity in China, Beijing Dalio Public Welfare Foundation, to support child welfare, education and “social organization innovation.” As recently as 2015, the charity’s chairman was Wang Jianxi, who, according to Bloomberg data, is a vice chairman of SAFE Investments.

Bridgewater has a relationship with SAFE and the China Investment Corporation, China’s sovereign wealth fund, and has advised both government entities.

Mr. Dalio’s travels to China have continued even as he promotes himself as a management guru. A recent trip became fodder for a June meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he told a small audience of prominent money managers — including William A. Ackman and Jim Chanos, a China bear — that the country’s economy was in safe hands with its policy makers.

And, Mr. Dalio writes in his book, one of his close counselors, not only on China, but on big ideas about the wider world, is Wang Qishan, one of the most powerful men in China and the nation’s anti-corruption czar.

Every time Mr. Dalio goes to China, he meets with Mr. Wang. The two men, Mr. Dalio writes, discuss subjects as varied as artificial intelligence and the implications of Julius Caesar’s rise to power. Mr. Dalio, who refers to Mr. Wang as one of his heroes, said that his advice had helped in the planning for Bridgewater’s future.

“Every time I speak with Mr. Wang, I feel I get closer to cracking the unifying code that unlocks the laws of the universe,” Mr. Dalio writes. Such interactions, were “thrilling to me.”

Over fifty percent of rural counties posess zero hospital where women can provide birth

11,000 people. Rather, Kent states the uptick is really a characteristic of a phenomenon that’s happening in rural areas nationwide: the hospitals around Meadows Regional have either winked from existence or canceled their obstetrics services through the years. The clinic now looks after a strategy map of their primary service area, which extends in every direction about thirty to forty miles, Kent stated.

“The majority of the rural hospitals around us, at some point delivered babies during the last eight to nine years. Two hospitals have closed. The 3 remaining hospitals which had maternity wards stopped their women’s services and stopped delivering babies,” Kent stated. “We are seeing a rise in ladies who deliver without any prenatal care.”

New research within the journal Health Matters quantifies the popularity. In 2004, 45 percent of rural counties lacked a medical facility with obstetrics services. About one out of 10 rural counties lost individuals services within the next decade, by 2014, 54 percent of communities lacked individuals services. That leaves 2.4 million women of kid-bearing age residing in counties without hospitals that deliver babies.

We already have a slew of well-known health disparities between rural ladies and individuals who reside in urban settings. Women from rural areas are more inclined to report getting fair or illness, be obese, light up, commit suicide and also have cervical cancer than their urban counterparts. But the recent trend could exacerbate disparities in reproductive health, too. One recent study discovered that rural areas had made far less gains in improving infant mortality in contrast to all of those other country.

“Lots of discussion continues to be concentrating on the closures of rural hospitals entirely,” stated Peiyin Hung, a postdoctoral affiliate at Yale School of Public Health, who brought the research. “We discovered that even among surviving hospitals in rural communities, lots of obstetric services during these ares are disappearing.”

That which was concerning to Hung could be that the most geographically isolated communities were much more likely to not have experienced obstetrics services to start with — and were more prone to lose on them the last decade they studied. There have been also patterns of inequality: rural counties which had lower median incomes and greater percentages of Black women of reproductive age were also much more likely to not have hospitals with maternity wards.

The decrease in obstetrics services comes from many factors. When hospitals are battling financially, as numerous rural hospitals are, obstetrics services are frequently first around the chopping board, simply because they generally don’t generate lots of money, Kent stated. In certain communities, there might be this type of low amount of births that there’s not enough choose to support an obstetrician. The life-style of the obstetrician inside a remote area could also be a tough one, when the physician is permanently available because the only physician who delivers babies.

Megan Evans, an obstetrician and doctor at Tufts Clinic in Boston has worked using the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to push forward a strategy to a few of the workforce issues. Through a federal program known as the Nhs Corps, medical students might have their school compensated as lengthy because they invest in practicing within an underserved community for any given time period.

But how a communities are defined is not specific to the kind of care in shortage, and she or he yet others want to see communities based on groups, such as maternity care shortage.

At this time, an underserved community may have no pediatricians but several obstetricians. More narrowly defining groups of need may help youthful physicians possess the greatest impact. An invoice to recognize regions of maternity care need passed the home and it has been introduced within the Senate.

But she acknowledged that other barriers exist: many youthful physicians might not wish to relocate to remote rural places that they might feel isolated, not have access to many mentors or may be the only obstetrician in the hospital.

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