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Money tips from historys richest man

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have nothing on Jacob Fugger, a German financier during the Renaissance who monopolized the silver business, became the banker of kings, convinced the papacy to legalize moneylending and paved the way for today's bond market. At the height of his career in the 16th century, Fugger (rhymes with "cougar") accumulated a fortune amounting to a significant portion of Europe's economic activity. And, yet, few people have ever heard of him. A new book about Fugger, "The Richest Man Who Ever Lived," includes the money lessons for investors. Below is an edited interview with the book's author, Greg Steinmetz, who is a securities analyst and former journalist in New York. The cover of the Greg Steinmetz book "The Richest Man Who Ever Lived" is seen as provided by publishers Simon & Schuster. REUTERS/Simon & Schuster/Handout via Reuters Q. What impact did Fugger make on the long-term world of money?A. Before Fugger came along, Christians could not legally charge interest on loans. That's why the Jews were the moneylenders. It's in the Book of Luke that one should loan without expecting anything in return. The church enforced that. Christian lenders such as the Medicis got around this by calling interest a penalty or handling fee. It made lending cumbersome. Fugger said enough of that. He orchestrated a lobbying campaign with the Vatican. The pope came around and said if you are a lender taking risks, it is fair to charge interest. Q. What money lessons can we learn from Fugger?A. Fugger had nerves of steel. Although he had great instincts, those instincts were always backed by superior information. He was one of the first businessmen north of the Alps to use modern accounting – he always had a firm grasp of the numbers. He could see the big picture better than any of his competitors. Investors today don't look at the numbers, let alone the footnotes of a 10-K, an annual report of a company's revenue and profits.. In addition, Fugger did not bail out at the first sign of trouble. The most common mistake that investors make is to sell low and buy high.

Finally, he could always add value for his customers. He made himself indispensable. That kept him in the game. Q. What was his biggest money mistake?A. There are a few failures. Some shipping deals didn't work out. The King of Spain raised money from investors to send a fleet to India. Fugger invested in the venture, and the ships never came back. He got the big things right, though. The interesting thing about him is he just went from success to success. A rival of his had a bank - he was in mining like Fugger was - but he made a disastrous attempt to corner the mercury market and ended up dying in debtors' prison. 

Q. Would Fugger have been a good hedge fund manager?A. Some people just have a gift for making money. He had the gift. The first large investment he made was not only with his money and family's money, but also with money from friends. How he convinced them that an unproven entity could make a massive bet on Austrian silver is beyond me. He must have had a tremendous ability to instill confidence in people. Unfortunately, he didn't leave a diary. The evidence I relied on is fragmentary, including his accounting statements and letters to customers and creditors. Q. Did he actually enjoy his money?A. Fugger had the biggest house in Augsburg, Germany, wore furs and got driven around in coach with 12 horses. It was important to make show of wealth to demonstrate to customers and lenders that he had a lot of money.

There was a perception game in those days that symbols mattered more than they do today. You couldn't look at a proxy and see he owned 100 percent of a company. The outward trappings of wealth mattered a great deal. Q. What was Fugger's life like?A. He worked all the time, but for him, like Buffett, work was fun. Buffett says he tap dances to work every day because he loves it. I don't know for sure, but Fugger was made of the same stuff. He worked until his dying breath in 1525 at the age of 66.      

Nigerias stanbic ibtc to publish list of loan defaulters

LAGOS, June 17 Nigeria's Stanbic IBTC, the local unit of South Africa's Standard Bank, said on Wednesday it will publish the list of loan defaulters in line with a new directive by the central bank. Stanbic IBTC would be among the first banks to publish such a list after the regulator ordered lenders in April to crack down on non-performing loans to forestall a repeat of a 2009 industry bailout that cost the government $4 billion. The new plan requires banks to give bad debtors three months to square their accounts, following which they would be named in Nigerian media and barred from taking part in currency and government debt markets in Africa's biggest economy.

Stanbic said in a statement that in addition to publishing a list of defaulters by the end of August, it would also use legal and other means to recover non-performing loans.

While issuing its order, the central bank did not give an estimate of the level of non-performing loans held by banks.

In 2009, the central bank rescued several banks that had lent mainly to the oil and gas sector just before crude prices collapsed, triggering a near-collapse of eight commercial banks.

Police need powers to tackle virtual money laundering europol

THE HAGUE, March 24 The head of the European Union's policing agency warned on Monday that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin were being used for money laundering and called for police to be given more powers to identify criminal suspects operating on the Internet. Financial and law enforcement authorities have previously warned of the security risk posed by virtual currencies, which use encryption systems to reliably process transactions while being difficult for authorities to trace."We're seeing that virtual currencies are being used as an instrument to facilitate crime, particularly in regard to the laundering of illicit profits," said Europol head Rob Wainwright, speaking on the margins of a nuclear security conference in The Hague.

U.S. authorities last year moved to shut down Silk Road, an underground marketplace which allowed participants to settle their accounts anonymously using Bitcoin. Ross Ulbricht, its alleged founder, also faces money laundering charges. His trial is due to start in November.

Wainwright said police should be given new powers to allow them to identify anonymous participants online and bring them to justice.

Europol has no policing powers of its own, but acts to coordinate policing and cross-border investigations between the 28 member countries of the European Union. Wainwright said police do not have sufficient capabilities to operate online and identify anonymous groups that are using dark areas of the internet. "Criminals are abusing those freedoms and damaging society and threatening the security of millions," he said.

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Press digest australian business news march 26

Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (this site)Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies was prevented from becoming a supplier to the national broadband network after receiving endorsement from the Australian government-owned NBNCo that was followed by advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation apprehensive over cyber attacks instigated from China. Huawei currently has significant network-building contracts with Vodafone and Optus. Page 1.-- Coal seam gas producing companies operating in Queensland are likely to face additional expenses as the incoming Liberal National Party government has a policy of "full and fair" compensation relating to the effect of mining on landowners such as farmers. "This looks to us as if it will increase the amount of that compensation," said Tim Jordan, specialist in environment and governance at Deutsche Bank. Page 6.-- The A$8 billion Cross River Rail project of the outgoing government in Queensland is likely to be extensively scaled back as the incoming Liberal National Party (LNP) government leader Campbell Newman has publicly identified the project as a candidate for reduction as the party moves to a budget surplus. Tim Nicholls, LNP Treasury spokesman, said "the only way we can deliver our positive, practical plans to get Queensland back on track is by making some tough decisions." Page 6.-- Washington H Soul Pattinson and New Hope chairman Robert Millner said the result of the Queensland election demonstrated that the carbon tax and minerals resource rent tax of the federal government should be removed. "I think this is a big backlash against those federal issues," Mr Millner said yesterday. He was supported by David Farley, chief executive of the Australian Agricultural Company, who said the outcome in the state was "definitely because of issues beyond the state." Page 7.-- THE AUSTRALIAN (this site)Mike Smith, chief executive of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, yesterday announced that the lender is closely watching Australia's diplomatic relations with Burma as it views the resource-rich country as a platform for expanding its footprint in Asia. "We can't do anything until the Australian Government lifts its restrictions (on doing business in Burma) but hopefully that will be a positive," Mr Smith said. Page 19.--

Joe Barr, head of commercial builder Hansen Yuncken, yesterday said in an interview that the "cultural differences between how people deal with each other" in Dubai and Australia "really hits you in the face". Despite critics questioning the strength of the offshore construction industry, Hansen Yuncken has recorded a yearly turnover of approximately A$1.2 billion, with A$2.3 billion of contracts yet to be completed. "I think the general market is tight, the subcontractors are tight, the margins are tight," Mr Barr added. Page 19.-- John Rice, vice-chairman of global industrial conglomerate General Electric, yesterday described the Federal Government as "gutsy" for holding firm on its commitment to introduce a A$23 a tonne price on carbon. "I applaud the Australian government for having the courage to go through with it because I think over the long run, the world is going to be better served if there is a cost associated with the production of carbon," he said. Page 20.-- Mike Smith, chief executive of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, yesterday declared that the lender will increase its trading in the yuan after the Reserve Bank of Australia and the People's Bank of China unveiled a A$30 billion currency swap agreement last week. "The Government and the Reserve Bank of Australia have done a very good job ... It makes sense for Australia to play a part in this because of the natural trade flow with China and, with trade flow, comes investment flow," he added. Page 20.--

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (this site)The rollout of the national broadband network is being slowed down by the federal government requirement that NBN Co take responsibility for installing fibre in new housing estates that include the remote mining villages growing in response to the mining boom. "Taking on the wholesale universal service obligation for these development estates before we have a network built is obviously not easy is taking some time," Mike Quigley, chief executive of NBN Co, testified last month to a Senate committee. Page B1.-- The research and development tax incentives currently worth billions of dollars to some of the largest companies in Australia may be cut as a panel instigated by Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan evaluates potential changes to the business tax system intended to allow this year's budget to provide benefits for small businesses. "We will have to continue to find substantial savings in the budget," said Mr Swan yesterday in an economic note. Page B1.-- The franchising sector currently contributes A$128 billion to the Australian economy and in opposition to the hype over the problems some small-time operators experience with major franchise brands, the executive director of the Franchise Council of Australia, Steve Wright, pointed out that " genuinely is one of the few situations in business where the partners' relationship is symbiotic." The Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence at Griffith University stated that a prerequisite for taking on a franchise was extensive due diligence. Page B6.--

Alister Haigh, chief executive of Adelaide confectionary maker Haigh's Chocolates, said that in a time when Lindt, the Swiss chocolate maker, was selling its wares for a much lower price than the comparable Haigh family-business offerings, "We're finding that the customers  are spending as much as they were previously, but there's just less of them." The company's double-digit growth prior to the global financial crisis has dropped to 5 percent for 2011-12 but a new store in Sydney will open later this year. Page B6.-- THE AGE (this site)The corporate bond market in Australia could be significantly boosted if changes to give retail investors more scope to enter the market were implemented, according to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Adam Vise, head of structured products at the bank said, "We believe up to A$40 billion is readily accessible from the retail market, allowing corporates to diversify and expand their funding base." Page B3.-- MaxiTrans, which operates the Colrain truck and trailer parts business through South Australia and Victoria, is expected to acquire Queensland Diesel Spares for about A$20 million, perhaps as early as today. The acquisition will give MaxiTrans access to the expanding resources and mining sector in Queensland. Page B3.-- In the Melbourne metropolitan area, average net face rents have gone up 4.1 percent over the last six months as demand from tenants has proved stronger than an increase of 0.5 percent in vacancy rates, stated Amita Mehrotra, research manager at Colliers International. Similarly, in the south east, a new state government office building in Dandenong contributed to a 2 percent increase in the vacancy rate, but rental growth also increased by 6.7 percent. Page B8.0-- Despite the 1.2 percent drop in home loan approvals for January reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, consulting company URS reports that Australia is experiencing growth in the importation of softwoods. Figures from URS for December show a 12.8 percent fall in approvals for new dwellings and a 1.1 increase in imports of softwood timber. The strong Australian dollar was a contributing factor, said URS in its Timber Market Survey covering the last quarter of 2011. Page B8.--