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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

The ACA and AHCA: Repeal, Replace, and Impact on Employer-Based Health Plans Ron E. Peck Senior Vice President and General Counsel The Phia Group, Braintree, Mass. Healthcare reform continues to be a hot topic, though what that means varies from person to person. Regardless of your view on healthcare, it cannot be denied that the majority of Americans have, and continue to receive, healthcare through their employer. How the cost of healthcare, existing and new laws, and other innovative methodologies impact employer based health plans, and the evolving nature of these plans -- today and in the future -- are topics Peck is available to discuss: "In the United States of America, our lawmakers have and continue to focus entirely on 'who' pays for healthcare. Ensuring every American has health insurance has not, and will not, solve the problem. The issue is that healthcare costs too much in this country. The only solution will come from a combination of consumerism on the part of patients -- who must care about the cost of care they receive -- creative processes implemented by payers, and more efficient, cost-effective providers. The industry must solve the problem of cost, as lawmakers seem unable or unwilling to challenge those who game the system, and dip deeply into what is perceived to be the bottomless pocket that is insurance." ProfNet Profile: http://www.profnetconnect.com/ronpeck Website: www.phiagroup.com Contact: Matthew Painten, mpainten@phiagroup.com Immigration and the Trump Administration Juan Carlos Gómez Director of Clinical Programs; Director of the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic Florida International University, Miami Gómez was recently quoted on NBC 6 in Florida regarding Trump's executive order on immigration (article: http://tinyurl.com/l4dwyrt): "I think the community, while worried, should not panic. They should go get the correct information, understanding that this is only the beginning of a new policy but due process still exists in the United States." Gómez has been defending the rights of individuals in immigration matters for the last 20 years. During this time, he has represented persons before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the United States Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in complex immigration matters. Within the field of immigration law, he has helped thousands of individuals in situations including removal and deportation proceedings, family immigration, and the transfer of professionals and executives to the United States. Gómez counsels international and national corporations on compliance with immigration laws. He also has coordinated teams of attorneys in multi-forum conflicts to effectively resolve clients' problems. As an attorney for a Central American Refugee Project, he coordinated the representation of thousands of individuals in the Southeastern United States in a national class action. He has represented refugees from every part of the world where there have been conflicts over the last two decades. As director of East Little Havana Legal Services, he led a team of attorneys to resolve the series of problems faced by clients in a holistic manner. Gómez is a highly sought-out attorney by other immigration attorneys for consultation on complex matters. In addition to having taught at a law school, he frequently lectures on immigration matters before professional organizations. He recently participated in a roundtable discussion on this topic: Part 1: http://tinyurl.com/mfeqezz, Part 2: http://tinyurl.com/lcfb53s, Part 3: http://tinyurl.com/mvv7tof Contact: Jessica Drouet, Jdrouet@fiu.edu GOP Reform/Repeal of Dodd-Frank Act Michael Imerman Assistant Professor of Finance Lehigh University Dr. Imerman is available to discuss proposals to reform or repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 to provide financial regulation: "Both Dodd-Frank and the proposed replacement, the Financial CHOICE Act, seek to end Too-Big-To-Fail, reduce systemic risk, hold Wall Street accountable, improve transparency of complex markets, and protect the American taxpayer from government bailouts. I absolutely do not think that the Dodd-Frank Act needs to be repealed and replaced, and these attempts to do so are purely a matter of partisan politics. Is the Dodd-Frank Act perfect? Certainly not. But the answer would be to refine those areas that are not holding up so well, not eliminate the whole thing. Too-Big-To-Fail still is a real problem. In a soon-to-be-released paper, I show one of the most effective ways to combat TBTF is to require the largest banks to hold more capital. If banks find this to be too expensive, they can sell off assets and scale down their size; otherwise, they should be required to hold disproportionately more capital to reduce the risk of a taxpayer-sponsored bailout." Dr. Imerman's research focuses on credit risk modeling, banking and financial institutions, risk management, and derivatives. Bio: http://cbe.lehigh.edu/faculty/finance/michael-b-imerman Contact: Amy White, abw210@lehigh.edu Following are experts from the ProfNet network who are available for interviews regarding Trump's tax reform plan: Trump's Tax Plan Rebecca Kysar Professor of Law Brooklyn Law School Kysar is available for comment on Trump's tax plan. Here is an excerpt from a January op-ed she wrote for Slate: "It is not realistic to expect the tax code to be set in stone. But the pillars of tax reform should be stable enough to form the basis of long-term investment and growth. Radical, partisan tax reform will prove short-lived and ineffective. Reform that gives the lion's share of its benefits to the wealthy and adds trillions to the debt runs the risk of exacerbating inequality within and between generations, perhaps alienating Trump voters who elevated him to the White House based on his populist rhetoric." Kysar teaches and researches in the areas of federal income tax, international tax, and the federal budget and tax legislative processes. Her recent scholarship examines tax treaties, as well as the tax legislative process. Her articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, and the Yale Journal of International Law, among others. Bio: https://www.brooklaw.edu/faculty/directory/facultymember/biography?id=rebecca.kysar Contact: John Mackin, john.mackin@brooklaw.edu President Trump's Tax Reform Proposal Robert Duquette Professor of Practice in Accounting Lehigh University Duquette is available to discuss President Trump's tax reform proposal, as well as the House proposal and the need for tax reform. He can comment on who benefits from these proposals, their projected impact on economic growth and national debt, whether they will pass, and why true tax reform is needed: "President Trump's plan consists of three individual tax brackets: 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent; and a doubling of the standard deduction. That would mean, for example, the first $24,000 of a couple's taxable income would be exempt from taxes. The House's version also provides for new, higher combined exemption deductions of $12,000 for singles ($18,000 with children), and $24,000 for couples filing jointly, and consists of three tax rates: 12 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent. Who benefits the most from these plans? The Tax Foundation projects that taxpayers would see an average increase in their after-tax income of between 1 percent and 10 percent in total over 10 years. However, the top 1 percent would benefit the most, with the wealthiest taxpayers seeing an increase in their after-tax income of 5 percent to 20 percent. What is the impact on economic growth and the national debt? A significant part of the cost would be offset by broadening the tax base through elimination of many deductions and credit, loss of business interest deductibility, loss of the domestic manufacturing deduction, and possibly a tax on some type of imports. All independent analyses of the proposals indicate there would probably be trillions of dollars added to the federal debt over the next 10 years. I'm not optimistic of passage of this tax reform in Congress. Even if it does pass, no reputable study has yet suggested it can help mitigate the growth in the national debt from the present $20 million to $30 trillion over the next 10 years." In addition to teaching taxation and accounting, Duquette is a CPA and has worked in tax and audit advising for three decades. Blog: http://cbe.lehigh.edu/blog Bio: http://cbe.lehigh.edu/faculty/accounting/robert-duquette Contact: Amy White, abw210@lehigh.edu Corporate, Trust and Estate Planning-Related Questions Michael Kosnitzky Partner Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP "The Trump tax proposal to reduce rates on business income from flow through entities like S corporations and domestic limited liability companies has the potential to cause tax inequities. However, the Treasury and the IRS have ample tools under existing law to police this unfairness. Taxpayers should look to IRS policy on 'reasonable compensation' and the existing tax regimes under the so-called passive activity rules and net investment income tax rules for guidance on how the government will deal with aggressive taxpayers in similar situations." Bio: https://www.pillsburylaw.com/en/lawyers/michael-kosnitzky.html Contact: Matt Hyams, Matt.hyams@pillsburylaw.com Tax Rates for Businesses Larry Elkin, CFP, CPA President Palisades Hudson Financial Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "President Trump thinks income generated by privately held Palisades Hudson Financial Group should be taxed at the same rate as income generated by Alphabet Inc., Google's publicly traded parent company. And he thinks the rate for both businesses should be an attractively low 15 percent. You might expect me to be delighted by this news. I am a Republican, and we Republicans generally believe tax rates should be as low as possible. I also happen to be the owner of Palisades Hudson Financial Group. And I would be delighted with Trump's proposal, except for one thing: It's a phenomenally bad idea. Trump's proposal that all business income be taxed at the same (low) rate makes rhetorical sense, but not logical sense. To see why, consider the two companies I just mentioned. Alphabet is what tax nerds call a C corporation. It pays its own income taxes and then, when it distributes remaining income to shareholders in the form of dividends, that income is taxed again at the shareholders' rate. This means that by the time a single dollar of Alphabet's pretax income reaches a shareholder, federal taxes have reduced it to as little as 52 cents. But Palisades Hudson is not taxed that way. Like nearly all owner-operated businesses, it does not pay its own taxes as a separate entity. Instead, its net income is included on the owner's tax return and is only taxed once. This is what is meant by a 'pass-through' entity. Cutting my taxes on Palisades Hudson's net income to 15 percent would mean my income would be taxed at half the rate of the wages I pay many of my employees, or even less. And this would be the case for many firms nationwide under the proposed rules, including some much larger than mine." Website: www.palisadeshudson.com Contact: Henry Stimpson, henry@stimpsoncommunications.com 'Pass-Through Rate' and 'One-Time Repatriation Tax' Michael Faulkender Professor of Finance and Associate Dean of Master's Programs University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business On the pass-through rate: "President Trump's 'pass-through' proposal asks for abuse. Small-business owners could easily reclassify expenses to be net income and vice versa. If one mechanism has a lower tax rate than the other, the reclassifications will take place. Ideally, all income is subject to the same rate at the personal level, thus eliminating the incentive to reclassify the income." On the one-time repatriation tax: "A one-time tax on accumulated foreign earnings rewards corporations that have moved operations to foreign jurisdictions for gaming the tax system. Firms in position to move profits abroad (by transfer pricing of intellectual capital), and that anticipated being subject to the tax on the differential, would see that tax liability fall from as high as 35 percent to perhaps 5-8 percent." Faulkender's "Taxes and Leverage at Multinational Corporations" is published in the Journal of Financial Economics (summarized here: http://tinyurl.com/n3bgpkt). Bio: https://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/directory/michael-faulkender Contact: Greg Muraski, gmuraski@rhsmith.umd.edu Eliminating State-Local Deductions Albert "Pete" Kyle Professor of Finance University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business "Eliminating the tax deductibility of state income taxes, while preserving the tax deductibility of property taxes, would encourage states like California and New York to lower income taxes and increase property taxes. In particular, I would expect property tax caps in California to be phased out over time if these changes are made." Kyle has served as an economic advisor to NASDAQ, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Bio: https://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/directory/albert-pete-kyle Contact: Greg Muraski, gmuraski@rhsmith.umd.edu Trump's Tax Reform Proposals and the GOP Blueprint Stephen M. Breitstone Partner and Vice Chairman Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, Mineola, N.Y. A tax attorney, Breitstone can readily discuss how Trump's tax reform proposals and the GOP blueprint could affect business in general, and especially the real estate industry, from commercial, office and rental owners and investors to individuals. Among other issues, Breitstone can discuss the implications of: standard and itemized deductions; repeal of the deductions for state and local taxes and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT); tax on business; Immediate expensing of capital expenditures and elimination of interest deduction; estate and gift taxes. Says Breitstone: "It is likely that any tax reform would also include 'immediate expensing.' The GOP blueprint proposes 'immediate expensing' of capital expenditures, including machinery and buildings, but not land. This is coupled with the elimination of the deduction for interest (all interest, except interest on personal mortgages, which hardly anyone would claim due to the increased standard deduction). For businesses that make investments in buildings and machinery (and probably for the owners of pass-through entities as well), the tax rate of 15% is mostly for show. The actual tax rate, at least for the next few years, will be zero. Immediate expensing will wipe out all income tax liabilities, at least in the short run. This may result in an increased flow of liquidity to these businesses to invest and to grow. But this will be short-lived. After the deduction for immediate expensing is used up, there will be no depreciation deduction and no interest deduction on the debt incurred to fund these investments. That means the effective tax rate on these businesses will soar." Breitstone further questions immediate expensing as proposed, as it doesn't target growth in areas where we really need it, such as education, technology and infrastructure. If you throw money at dying industries, it may only accelerate the further layoff of employees by encouraging increased automation. Bio: http://www.meltzerlippe.com/attorneys/stephen-breitstone/ Website: http://www.meltzerlippe.com Contact: Peggy Kalia, pkalia@epoch5.com Impact of Trump's Plan Adnan Mahmud Founder LiveStories LiveStories is a civic data intelligence platform used by local, state, and federal governments to make massive data stores easier to understand for the general public. The company released a report called, "Five Facts: State Taxes and Spending" that includes findings on state and local expenditures based on the most recent U.S. Census. Mahmud is available to explain what this data can tell us about how Trump's tax reform plan will impact Americans. He can use these findings to illuminate opportunities and challenges that need to be considered in light of these policy changes. Contact: Rosie Gillam, rosie.gillam@walkersands.com How Reform Will Impact Citizens at Different Tax Levels Jinette Chiappetta, CPA Wealth Manager Equity Concepts Chiappetta can discuss how reform will impact citizens at different tax levels, as well as the overall economy. She is a wealth manager at Equity Concepts, a Richmond, Va.-based wealth management firm that serves more than 2,000 households and oversees approximately $875+ million in assets. Prior to joining Equity Concepts, Chiappetta spent 20 years in the tax field, with 15 years of public accounting experience and five years of corporate tax experiences. As a CPA, she places an emphasis on analyzing the impact of investment strategies on tax situations. Website: http://www.equity-concepts.com Contact: Kelly Holcombe, Kelly@flackable.com Impacts on Individuals and Business Owners Bill Smith Managing Director, National Tax Office CBIZ MHM Smith is available to address the impacts of the plan on both individuals and business owners, the feasibility of the plan, and how it may evolve over time. He has more than 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, including five years in the office of General Counsel at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he was responsible for all aspects of the firm's tax practice; five years as a tax lawyer for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.; and 12 years in private practice in San Francisco, representing businesses of all sizes and high-wealth individuals in developing and implementing tax strategies or negotiating with the IRS in Tax Court or administratively. Smith assumed his current position more than 15 years ago and is based in Bethesda, Md. In this role, he consults nationally on a broad range of tax services, including foreign and domestic transactional tax planning for corporations, partnerships, LLCs and individuals, such as mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international restructuring of businesses and investments, and negotiating partnership and other transactions. He is a frequent speaker at national conferences, and serves as a testifying expert in the area of accountants' professional duties and ethical obligations. Smith is well-versed on Trump's tax plan, having authored the following blog posts/columns: "Key takeaways of Trump's tax plan for business owners" (http://tinyurl.com/le365om), "The votes are in: Introducing the new president's tax plan" (http://tinyurl.com/nxja73y), "Comparing presidential candidates' tax reform plans" (http://tinyurl.com/k2tytgu), and "Trump's tax plan could help businesses, but questions remain (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/293576). Contact: Lauren Davis, lauren@gregoryfca.com Retirement Planning Ed Slott, CPA Founder, Ed Slott & Company Creator, IRAhelp.com Slott is a New York-based nationally recognized IRA expert, television personality, and best-selling author who has dedicated his life to educating Americans on saving for retirement and the intricacies of IRAs. He was named "The Best Source for IRA Advice" by The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today wrote, "It would be tough to find anyone who knows more about IRAs than CPA Slott." He is the author of "The Retirement Savings Time Bomb … And How to Defuse It" and "Parlay Your IRA into a Family Fortune." His most recent books include "Fund Your Future: A Tax-Smart Savings Plan in Your 20s and 30s" and "The Retirement Decisions Guide: 125 Ways to Save and Stretch Your Wealth." He is the host of the 2015 public television show "Ed Slott's Retirement Road Map," which airs in markets nationwide. He is a frequent columnist and resource for national media and has hosted many best-selling public television specials. Through his firm, Slott provides the highest level of IRA training to financial professionals, CPAs and attorneys; and through his website, he offers free resources to consumers. Website: http://irahelp.com Contact: Mindy Eras, mindy@advisorpr.com Tax Planning Greg Hammer Tax and Wealth Advisor Hammer Financial Group, Inc. Hammer specializes in coordinated, holistic financial planning for Lake County, Ind., and Chicago-area residents who are approaching retirement or currently retired. Bringing tax preparation and planning, Medicare supplements, estate planning, insurance and investments all under one roof, he aims to provide complete and convenient financial solutions for the best interest of the clients he serves. Hammer trains and coaches independent financial advisors nationwide on how to build their business to better serve the holistic financial needs of American families. In particular, he has helped develop and refine processes to integrate tax preparation and Medicare supplement services into a financial advisory practice -- a unique addition within the financial industry designed for the ultimate convenience and benefit of clients at and near retirement. He earned a B.A. in Applied Mathematics with a focus in economics from Yale University and has more than 23 years of experience in the financial services industry. In addition to his series 6, 63, 65 and 26 and life and health licenses, Hammer maintains Master Elite Membership with Ed Slott's Elite IRA Advisor Group for continued study and mastery of IRAs and applicable tax laws. Contact: Mindy Eras, mindy@advisorpr.com Retirement Planning Jeff Warnkin, CPA and CFP The JL Smith Group Warnkin specializes in holistic financial planning for the pre-retired and retired residents of Ohio. As a holistic planner, he incorporates investments, insurance, taxes and estate planning when building financial plans in order create an optimal solution for the retirement years. Warnkin has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Series 7 and 24 securities licensed, has a Master of Taxation (MT) degree, and is life and health insurance licensed. He has also been personally trained by nationally acclaimed IRA expert Ed Slott, CPA, as a member of the exclusive Ed Slott's Elite IRA Advisor Group. Website: www.JLSmithGroup.com Contact: Mindy Eras, mindy@advisorpr.com Impact on Families and Investors Bijan Golkar CEO, Senior Advisor FPC Investment Advisory Golkar is a Northern California investment advisor that has been a licensed tax preparer since 2007 and earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification in 2013. He is frequently quoted in national media as an expert on investing and financial planning topics. In addition to his duties as the firm's CEO, Golkar provides comprehensive advice to high-net-worth individuals and families. He often creates and leads teams of legal, accounting and insurance experts to help these clients meet their goals. He also consults with small businesses on buyouts, employee benefits and other matters. ProfNet Profile: http://www.profnetconnect.com/bijan_golkar LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bgolkar/ Expert Contact: bijan@fpcwealth.com Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board: https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/community/jobs/ Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line. PROFNET is an exclusive service of PR Newswire. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/profnet-experts-available-on-tax-reform-dodd-frank-ahca-more-300455385.html


NEW YORK, May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a leading national securities law firm, reminds investors in ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. (“ImmunoCellular” or the “Company”) (NYSEMKT:IMUC) of the June 30, 2017 deadline to seek the role of lead plaintiff in a federal securities class action that has been filed against the Company. If you invested in ImmunoCellular stock or options between May 1, 2012 and December 11, 2013 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/IMUC.  There is no cost or obligation to you. You can also contact us by calling Richard Gonnello toll free at 877-247-4292 or at 212-983-9330 or by sending an e-mail to rgonnello@faruqilaw.com. The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of all those who purchased ImmunoCellular common stock between May 1, 2012 and December 11, 2013 (the “Class Period”).  The case, Arthur Kaye IRA FCC as Custodian DTD 6-8-00 v. ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. et al, No. 2:17-cv-03250 was filed on May 1, 2017. The lawsuit focuses on whether the Company and its executives violated federal securities laws by making false and/or misleading statements and/or failing to disclose that ImmunoCellular retained Lidingo Holdings, LLC to publish promotional articles designed to unlawfully promote the Company and inflate the price of ImmunoCellular stock.  According to the lawsuit, as a result of this scheme, investors were led to believe that the Company’s clinical studies for its lead product candidate, ICT-107 were going well in order to inflate ImmunoCellular’s share price. Specifically, after market close on December 11, 2013, the Company revealed that the primary endpoint for its ICT-107 Phase II study “did not reach statistical significance” because it failed to increase overall survival in patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme.  On this news, ImmunoCellular’s share price fell from $2.72 per share on December 11, 2013 to a closing price of $1.10 on December 12, 2013—a $1.62 or a 59.56% drop. Then, on April 10, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced “enforcement actions against 27 individuals and entities behind various alleged stock promotion schemes” that involved public companies including ImmunoCellular.  Additionally, as part of an SEC proceeding, the Company’s former Chief Executive Officer, Manish Singh acknowledged, among other things, that he participated “in a paid stock-touting scheme”. The court-appointed lead plaintiff is the investor with the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class who is adequate and typical of class members who directs and oversees the litigation on behalf of the putative class. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision to serve as a lead plaintiff or not. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP also encourages anyone with information regarding ImmunoCellular conduct to contact the firm, including whistleblowers, former employees, shareholders and others. Attorney Advertising. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP (www.faruqilaw.com). Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your particular case. All communications will be treated in a confidential manner.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

Bitcoin IRA superior fund returns along with 100% customer satisfaction in their self-directed cryptocurrency-based retirement accounts BitcoinIRA.com, the only company offering cryptocurrency-based retirement investment portfolios, has announced its one-year anniversary today. In the first year since launch, the company’s innovative retirement platform has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Investopedia for making Bitcoin an easy option for retirement investing. It has also expanded its cryptocurrency offering by adding a secure way to invest in Ethereum as well as Bitcoin. Bitcoin IRA is the first and only company to offer cryptocurrency-based IRAs for investors, allowing them to hold actual cryptocurrencies in a retirement account. Unlike traditional ETFs and investment plans, investors in  Bitcoin IRA and Ethereum IRA continue to own their cryptocurrency even after the end of the IRA tenure, allowing them to freely distribute it. Combining its innovative product with a strong bitcoin price trend and excellent customer support, Bitcoin IRA has achieved an extremely high client satisfaction rating, receiving an average of 5 out of 5 stars on review platform Birdeye. “We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished with Bitcoin IRA,” says Chris Kline, COO. “Our commitment to listening to our clients has helped us grow month after month, and continually offer new, innovative ways for investors to save for retirement.” Recently, the team behind Bitcoin IRA also launched Ethereum IRA, a similar investment product for Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency. The company has been evaluating releasing new cryptocurrencies on its proprietary SDIRA platform, along with new features being driven by demand from existing stakeholders and clients. “We’ve only scratched the surface of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the retirement space. Projects currently under development are driven by our clients and designed to drive mainstream crypto adoption ahead.” Bitcoin IRA is the only Bitcoin-based retirement investment portfolio that allows people to invest with actual bitcoins for their IRA or 401(k). The platform works with leading fintech professionals to provide secure, high-quality Bitcoin investments. Bitcoin IRA offers both traditional and Roth IRA options, which offer the same tax incentives as regular IRAs and 401(k)s. The company differentiates itself from other bitcoin investment products in multiple ways. Unlike bitcoin ETFs and investment funds, Bitcoin IRA offers an opportunity for individuals to invest in real bitcoin at a much lower fee. In addition, investors keep total control over their Bitcoin deposits, with no holding fees and the ability to withdraw once the term is over. Learn more about Bitcoin IRA and Ethereum IRA at https://bitcoinira.com/ Bitcoin IRA is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to FDIC and other consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMRK), a full-service precious metals trading company and an official distributor for all the major sovereign mints, reported results for the fiscal third quarter and nine months ended March 31, 2017. Fiscal Q3 2017 Financial Results Revenues increased 14% to $1.73 billion from $1.51 billion in the same year-ago quarter. The increase in revenues was mainly due to an increase in precious metal prices and higher forward sales, which was partially offset by a decrease in gold ounces and silver ounces sold. Gross profit increased 7% to $7.3 million (0.42% of revenue) from $6.9 million (0.45% of revenue) in the same year-ago quarter. The increase in gross margin was primarily due to improved performance of the company’s finance portfolio, improved trading profits and cost efficiencies, offset by lower demand for the company’s physical products. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 12% to $6.0 million from $5.4 million in the same year-ago quarter. The increase was due to costs related to SilverTowne’s minting operations (which were acquired in the first quarter of fiscal 2017), increased headcount, and other expenses. Interest income increased 46% to $3.3 million from $2.3 million in same year-ago quarter, driven primarily by an increase in the size of the company’s loan portfolio as well as increased utilization of the company’s inventory finance products by its customers. Interest expense increased 63% to $2.7 million from $1.7 million in same year-ago quarter. The increase was primarily the result of greater usage of the company’s lines of credit and other product financing arrangements, arising from continued growth in the business. The increase was also partially due to higher LIBOR interest rates that went into effect subsequent to the Federal Reserve rate increases. Net income was generally flat at $1.2 million or $0.16 per diluted share as compared to $1.2 million or $0.17 per diluted share in the same year-ago quarter. Fiscal Nine Months 2017 Financial Results Revenues increased 12% to $5.66 billion from $5.05 billion in the same period last year. The increase in revenues was primarily due to an increase in precious metal prices and higher forward sales, which was partially offset by a decrease in the total amount of gold ounces and silver ounces sold. Gross profit decreased 6% to $25.3 million (0.45% of revenue) from $27.0 million (0.53% of revenue) in the same year-ago period. The decrease in gross margin was primarily due to lower demand for the company's physical products resulting in lower premiums, offset by improved performance of the company's finance product portfolio, trading activities and cost improvement efficiencies. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 9% to $17.8 million from $16.3 million in the same year-ago period. The increase was due to higher consulting expenses related to the development and implementation of a new enterprise resource system, costs related to SilverTowne’s minting operations (acquired in the first quarter of fiscal 2017), and other non-recurring expenses. The increase was partially offset by lower compensation costs, primarily due to lower performance-based compensation accruals. Interest income increased 43% to $9.1 million from $6.4 million in the same year-ago period. The improvement was primarily due to an increase in the size of the company’s loan portfolio as well as growth in finance products. Interest expense increased 75% to $7.4 million from $4.2 million in the same year-ago quarter. The increase was primarily due to a greater usage of the company’s lines of credit and other product financing arrangements, arising from continued growth in the business. The increase was also due, in part, to higher LIBOR interest rates that went in to effect subsequent to the Federal Reserve rate increases. Net income decreased 29% to $5.9 million or $0.82 per diluted share from $8.2 million or $1.15 per diluted share in the same period last year. The decrease was primarily due to lower gross profit, higher interest expense and higher selling, general and administrative expenses, offset by higher interest income. Management Commentary “Our results for the third quarter were in line with our expectations, given the relatively slow market activity that persisted throughout the period, both in terms of demand and volatility,” said company CEO Greg Roberts. “In fact, sales of both gold and silver bullion by the U.S. Mint were down significantly compared to the same year-ago period. Although these market conditions worsened from the prior quarter, primarily due to the continued strength of the U.S. dollar and equities, we were still able to generate solid growth in several metrics, especially gross profit and net interest income. These results helped drive our 13th consecutive quarter of profitability since we became public in March 2014, a track record we believe reflects our operating discipline and supports our increasingly diversified business model. In particular, our continued focus on building our finance portfolio, which grew 26% from the prior quarter, has added yet another meaningful source of income and predictability to our business model, both of which have helped mitigate the effects of the recent subdued market conditions. “Our business and financial results also benefited from the addition of our majority investment in SilverTowne Mint, a leading producer of fabricated silver products, which we completed in fiscal Q1. SilverTowne has not only increased our capacity to meet unforeseen surges in silver demand during volatile markets, but it has also bolstered our capability to develop truly unique silver offerings, like the innovative ‘Stackable’ coins that we released in Q2. Along that line, we are continuing to expand our broader portfolio of custom coins. This area of our business continues to experience moderate demand, albeit at lower unit volumes, but at relatively higher gross margins. We remain focused on leveraging the mint’s capabilities to drive additional growth and profitability. “Another key objective in fiscal 2017 is to further expand our suite of ancillary services at our logistics facility in Las Vegas. During the third quarter, A-Mark continued to benefit from the operational and cost efficiencies provided by the facility. We are also seeing demand for our turnkey logistics and storage services. In addition to securing new logistics customers, our marketing and sales efforts remain focused on attracting additional customers for our new storage program for precious metal investment options for self-directed IRA accounts. “Looking ahead, we continue to experience slower market activity in our current quarter. We expect the current market trends to continue for the near-term, although we remain of the view that certain geopolitical issues have the potential to quickly alter the precious metals environment. We intend to pursue strategic investments with the goal of positioning ourselves to take advantage of dynamic opportunities created by market volatility and changes in customer demand.  Furthermore, we remain focused on expanding our platform of high-margin and turnkey solutions. In the more immediate future, we will rely on our diversified business model and seek to generate predictable streams of revenue and profits, which ideally will enable us to capitalize on favorable trading opportunities and market conditions as they arise.” Conference Call A-Mark will hold a conference call today (May 9, 2017) to discuss these financial results. The company's CEO Greg Roberts, President Thor Gjerdrum and CFO Cary Dickson will host the call at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time (1:30 p.m. Pacific time). A question and answer session will follow management's presentation. To participate, please dial the appropriate number at least five minutes prior to the start time, and ask for the A-Mark Precious Metals conference call. The conference call will be broadcast simultaneously and available for replay via the Investor Relations section of A-Mark’s website at www.amark.com. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call or webcast, please contact Liolios Group at 949-574-3860. A replay of the call will be available after 7:30 p.m. Eastern time through May 23, 2017. About A-Mark Precious Metals A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc. is a full-service precious metals trading company and an official distributor for many government mints throughout the world. The company offers gold, silver, platinum and palladium in the form of bars, plates, powder, wafers, grain, ingots and coins. Its Industrial unit services manufacturers and fabricators of products utilizing or incorporating precious metals, while its Coin & Bar unit deals in over 200 coin and bar products in a variety of weights, shapes and sizes for distribution to dealers and other qualified purchasers. The company operates trading centers in El Segundo, California, and Vienna, Austria, for buying and selling precious metals. In addition to wholesale and trading activity, A-Mark offers customers a variety of services, including financing, consignment and various customized financial programs. As a U.S. Mint-authorized purchaser of gold, silver and platinum coins, A-Mark purchases bullion products directly from the U.S. Mint for sale to customers. A-Mark also has distributorships with other sovereign mints, including in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Mexico and South Africa. Customers of A Mark include mints, manufacturers and fabricators, refiners, coin and metal dealers, banks and other financial institutions, jewelers, investors and collectors. For more information about A-Mark Precious Metals, visit www.amark.com. Through its subsidiary Collateral Finance Corporation, a licensed California Finance Lender, the company offers loans collateralized by numismatic and semi-numismatic coins and bullion to coin and metal dealers, investors and collectors. Through its Transcontinental Depository Services subsidiary, it offers a variety of managed storage options for precious metals products to financial institutions, dealers, investors and collectors around the world. Through its A-M Global Logistics subsidiary, the company provides its customers an array of complementary services, including storage, shipping, handling, receiving, processing, and inventorying of precious metals and custom coins on a secure basis. A-Mark also holds a majority stake in a joint venture that owns the minting operations known as SilverTowne Mint. SilverTowne Mint is a leading producer of fabricated silver bullion and specialty products. For more information about SilverTowne Mint, please visit www.silvertownemint.com. Important Cautions Regarding Forward-Looking Statements Statements in this press release that relate to future plans, objectives, expectations, performance, events and the like are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Future events, risks and uncertainties, individually or in the aggregate, could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include the following: the failure to execute our growth strategy as planned; greater than anticipated costs incurred to execute this strategy; changes in the current international political climate which has favorably contributed to demand and volatility in the precious metals markets; increased competition for our higher margin services, which could depress pricing; the failure of our business model to respond to changes in the market environment as anticipated; general risks of doing business in the commodity markets; and other business, economic, financial and governmental risks as described in in the Company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The words "should," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "foresee," "plan" and similar expressions and variations thereof identify certain of such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates on which they were made. Additionally, any statements related to future improved performance and estimates of revenues and earnings per share are forward-looking statements. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.


BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fidelity Investments® today released its quarterly analysis of its 401(k) and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). The analysis1 reveals: “ It’s encouraging to see the increasing number of people who contributed to their retirement savings this quarter,” said Kevin Barry, president, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments. “ While retirement account balances were aided by positive stock market performance in the first quarter, consistent saving in a retirement savings account – any account, whether that’s a 401(k), IRA or both – can have a significant, positive impact on your long-term retirement success.” More workers are contributing to both a 401(k) and a Health Savings Account An important component of a retirement savings strategy includes considering the cost of health care. The rise of consumer-driven health plans paired with a health savings account (HSA) has created more opportunity for employees to save for health care expenses now and in the future. As more employers offer overall financial wellness programs in the workplace, including Fidelity's Financial Wellness content, employees have gained a better understanding of the tight relationship between saving for retirement and managing health care expenses. The number of employees who contribute to both a 401(k) and HSA from Fidelity increased 21 percent3 between 2014 and 2016. Employees saving in an HSA aren’t cutting back on contributions to their 401(k), just the opposite: savings rates for employees with both a 401(k) and HSA are often higher (10.6 percent in 2016) than those saving in their 401(k) (8.2 percent in 2016). In addition, 88 percent of HSA participants who started contributing to their HSA accounts maintained or increased their 401(k) savings after their HSA enrollment. “ Health savings accounts and 401(k)s contribute to an employee’s financial well-being, so it’s encouraging to see more employers and employees understand and embrace the complementary nature of these accounts,” continued Barry. To learn more about health savings accounts, the Fidelity Viewpoints article, “Three Health Habits for Health Savings Accounts,” outlines simple strategies to help employees better understand HSAs, and a Fidelity podcast has information to help eligible employees determine if a health savings account is right for them. In addition, Fidelity’s “Retirement Roadmap” Viewpoints article outlines the various factors of a successful retirement savings strategy, including how much to save, where to save, and important considerations such as taxes and health care costs. About Fidelity Investments Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.0 trillion, including managed assets of $2.2 trillion as of March 31, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs 45,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. 1 Analysis based on 22,100 corporate defined contribution plans and 14.8 million participants, as of March 31, 2017. These figures include the advisor-sold market, but exclude the tax-exempt market. Excluded from the behavioral statistics are non-qualified defined contribution plans and plans for Fidelity’s own employees. Fidelity’s IRA analysis based on 8.66 million IRA accounts. 2 Millennial generation includes individuals born between 1981 and 1997, as defined by Pew Research. 3 Based on Fidelity internal information. The growth of dual savers from 2014 to 2016 is based on those eligible employees during the entire two years.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Testosterone is the enemy of smart investing decisions, study finds A landmark 2001 study showed that women outclassed men as investors by nearly 1% a year. Now we are coming closer to understanding why: Testosterone interferes with the male investor's brain. A new study from Caltech, Wharton, Western University and ZRT Laboratory found that men are quicker to make judgments and less likely to examine facts that might prove them wrong. Researchers gave two groups of men either a testosterone gel or a placebo. Then they asked questions designed to test their ability to reflect on facts. For instance, if a ball and a bat cost $1.10 and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost? Most people quickly say "10 cents," but that's wrong. The answer is 5 cents for the ball and $1.05 for the bat. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says Caltech Professor Colin Camerer. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" The interesting part is that, much like with investing, there was money on the line during the experiment. The test subjects were given $1 for every correct answer and additional $2 if they answered all of the questions right. It's not a startling amount, but behavioral finance researchers know that it doesn't take much cash to motivate a test taker. Nevertheless, cash wasn't enough enticement to overcome the “hurry-up” drug that is testosterone. Men in the study who got the dosed gel scored 20% fewer questions right than the men who used the placebo. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. Scientists hesitate to draw connections between unrelated studies, yet the result suggests that there's an actual reason why the 2001 study found women to be better at investing than men. Women do less trading. We know what. Lower testosterone might be the reason why. Brad Barber and Terrance Odean at the University of California Berkeley, writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that while women traded, men traded more. That extra trading costs plenty. In their words, "We believe that there is a simple and powerful explanation for high levels of trading on financial markets: overconfidence." In even earlier research, Odean showed that overconfidence, the belief that one understands with great precision the value of a security, led to more trading and, consequently, greater losses. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. If you trade more, however, the averages tend to catch up with you. That has a real cost in terms of performance. Now, 1% a year (the study found the gap between the sexes to be 94 basis points) might not sound like much, but it's huge. In a market where you might expect a portfolio to earn 8%, a steady difference of 0.94% is close to a 12.5% returns gap each year. Remember, too, that investments compound. Losses today, however small, mean you are missing money that no longer grows for you. A portfolio investment of $10,000 that generates 8% annual returns would become $100,627 over three decades. No additional saving, just compounding returns. That same portfolio earning 7.06% turns into $77,414. The performance gap here is 23%. You end up with 23% less money just by trading more. One might conclude that the answer is to hire female financial advisers. At Rebalance IRA, my firm, we absolutely support that notion and have many women advisers on our team. Yet it's just as logical to act like a woman investor and choose to tamp down the nasty effects of testosterone on your retirement investments. By relying on highly diversified, low-cost index funds you kill two birds with one stone: You jettison the extra cost trading built into most stock mutual funds and you eliminate the urge to buy and sell on your own. By all means, hire a female adviser if you can, but your first step toward retiring with more should be avoiding the testosterone trap by indexing instead. If your kids excel at these sports they’re more likely to get a scholarship Why you should learn a musical instrument as an adult


NEW YORK, May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a leading national securities law firm, reminds investors in ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. (“ImmunoCellular” or the “Company”) (NYSEMKT:IMUC) of the June 30, 2017 deadline to seek the role of lead plaintiff in a federal securities class action that has been filed against the Company. If you invested in ImmunoCellular stock or options between May 1, 2012 and December 11, 2013 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/IMUC.  There is no cost or obligation to you. You can also contact us by calling Richard Gonnello toll free at 877-247-4292 or at 212-983-9330 or by sending an e-mail to rgonnello@faruqilaw.com. The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of all those who purchased ImmunoCellular common stock between May 1, 2012 and December 11, 2013 (the “Class Period”).  The case, Arthur Kaye IRA FCC as Custodian DTD 6-8-00 v. ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. et al, No. 2:17-cv-03250 was filed on May 1, 2017. The lawsuit focuses on whether the Company and its executives violated federal securities laws by making false and/or misleading statements and/or failing to disclose that ImmunoCellular retained Lidingo Holdings, LLC to publish promotional articles designed to unlawfully promote the Company and inflate the price of ImmunoCellular stock.  According to the lawsuit, as a result of this scheme, investors were led to believe that the Company’s clinical studies for its lead product candidate, ICT-107 were going well in order to inflate ImmunoCellular’s share price. Specifically, after market close on December 11, 2013, the Company revealed that the primary endpoint for its ICT-107 Phase II study “did not reach statistical significance” because it failed to increase overall survival in patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme.  On this news, ImmunoCellular’s share price fell from $2.72 per share on December 11, 2013 to a closing price of $1.10 on December 12, 2013—a $1.62 or a 59.56% drop. Then, on April 10, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced “enforcement actions against 27 individuals and entities behind various alleged stock promotion schemes” that involved public companies including ImmunoCellular.  Additionally, as part of an SEC proceeding, the Company’s former Chief Executive Officer, Manish Singh acknowledged, among other things, that he participated “in a paid stock-touting scheme”. The court-appointed lead plaintiff is the investor with the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class who is adequate and typical of class members who directs and oversees the litigation on behalf of the putative class. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision to serve as a lead plaintiff or not. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP also encourages anyone with information regarding ImmunoCellular conduct to contact the firm, including whistleblowers, former employees, shareholders and others. Attorney Advertising. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP (www.faruqilaw.com). Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your particular case. All communications will be treated in a confidential manner.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMRK), a full-service precious metals trading company and an official distributor for all the major sovereign mints, reported results for the fiscal third quarter and nine months ended March 31, 2017. Fiscal Q3 2017 Financial Results Revenues increased 14% to $1.73 billion from $1.51 billion in the same year-ago quarter. The increase in revenues was mainly due to an increase in precious metal prices and higher forward sales, which was partially offset by a decrease in gold ounces and silver ounces sold. Gross profit increased 7% to $7.3 million (0.42% of revenue) from $6.9 million (0.45% of revenue) in the same year-ago quarter. The increase in gross margin was primarily due to improved performance of the company’s finance portfolio, improved trading profits and cost efficiencies, offset by lower demand for the company’s physical products. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 12% to $6.0 million from $5.4 million in the same year-ago quarter. The increase was due to costs related to SilverTowne’s minting operations (which were acquired in the first quarter of fiscal 2017), increased headcount, and other expenses. Interest income increased 46% to $3.3 million from $2.3 million in same year-ago quarter, driven primarily by an increase in the size of the company’s loan portfolio as well as increased utilization of the company’s inventory finance products by its customers. Interest expense increased 63% to $2.7 million from $1.7 million in same year-ago quarter. The increase was primarily the result of greater usage of the company’s lines of credit and other product financing arrangements, arising from continued growth in the business. The increase was also partially due to higher LIBOR interest rates that went into effect subsequent to the Federal Reserve rate increases. Net income was generally flat at $1.2 million or $0.16 per diluted share as compared to $1.2 million or $0.17 per diluted share in the same year-ago quarter. Fiscal Nine Months 2017 Financial Results Revenues increased 12% to $5.66 billion from $5.05 billion in the same period last year. The increase in revenues was primarily due to an increase in precious metal prices and higher forward sales, which was partially offset by a decrease in the total amount of gold ounces and silver ounces sold. Gross profit decreased 6% to $25.3 million (0.45% of revenue) from $27.0 million (0.53% of revenue) in the same year-ago period. The decrease in gross margin was primarily due to lower demand for the company's physical products resulting in lower premiums, offset by improved performance of the company's finance product portfolio, trading activities and cost improvement efficiencies. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 9% to $17.8 million from $16.3 million in the same year-ago period. The increase was due to higher consulting expenses related to the development and implementation of a new enterprise resource system, costs related to SilverTowne’s minting operations (acquired in the first quarter of fiscal 2017), and other non-recurring expenses. The increase was partially offset by lower compensation costs, primarily due to lower performance-based compensation accruals. Interest income increased 43% to $9.1 million from $6.4 million in the same year-ago period. The improvement was primarily due to an increase in the size of the company’s loan portfolio as well as growth in finance products. Interest expense increased 75% to $7.4 million from $4.2 million in the same year-ago quarter. The increase was primarily due to a greater usage of the company’s lines of credit and other product financing arrangements, arising from continued growth in the business. The increase was also due, in part, to higher LIBOR interest rates that went in to effect subsequent to the Federal Reserve rate increases. Net income decreased 29% to $5.9 million or $0.82 per diluted share from $8.2 million or $1.15 per diluted share in the same period last year. The decrease was primarily due to lower gross profit, higher interest expense and higher selling, general and administrative expenses, offset by higher interest income. Management Commentary “Our results for the third quarter were in line with our expectations, given the relatively slow market activity that persisted throughout the period, both in terms of demand and volatility,” said company CEO Greg Roberts. “In fact, sales of both gold and silver bullion by the U.S. Mint were down significantly compared to the same year-ago period. Although these market conditions worsened from the prior quarter, primarily due to the continued strength of the U.S. dollar and equities, we were still able to generate solid growth in several metrics, especially gross profit and net interest income. These results helped drive our 13th consecutive quarter of profitability since we became public in March 2014, a track record we believe reflects our operating discipline and supports our increasingly diversified business model. In particular, our continued focus on building our finance portfolio, which grew 26% from the prior quarter, has added yet another meaningful source of income and predictability to our business model, both of which have helped mitigate the effects of the recent subdued market conditions. “Our business and financial results also benefited from the addition of our majority investment in SilverTowne Mint, a leading producer of fabricated silver products, which we completed in fiscal Q1. SilverTowne has not only increased our capacity to meet unforeseen surges in silver demand during volatile markets, but it has also bolstered our capability to develop truly unique silver offerings, like the innovative ‘Stackable’ coins that we released in Q2. Along that line, we are continuing to expand our broader portfolio of custom coins. This area of our business continues to experience moderate demand, albeit at lower unit volumes, but at relatively higher gross margins. We remain focused on leveraging the mint’s capabilities to drive additional growth and profitability. “Another key objective in fiscal 2017 is to further expand our suite of ancillary services at our logistics facility in Las Vegas. During the third quarter, A-Mark continued to benefit from the operational and cost efficiencies provided by the facility. We are also seeing demand for our turnkey logistics and storage services. In addition to securing new logistics customers, our marketing and sales efforts remain focused on attracting additional customers for our new storage program for precious metal investment options for self-directed IRA accounts. “Looking ahead, we continue to experience slower market activity in our current quarter. We expect the current market trends to continue for the near-term, although we remain of the view that certain geopolitical issues have the potential to quickly alter the precious metals environment. We intend to pursue strategic investments with the goal of positioning ourselves to take advantage of dynamic opportunities created by market volatility and changes in customer demand.  Furthermore, we remain focused on expanding our platform of high-margin and turnkey solutions. In the more immediate future, we will rely on our diversified business model and seek to generate predictable streams of revenue and profits, which ideally will enable us to capitalize on favorable trading opportunities and market conditions as they arise.” Conference Call A-Mark will hold a conference call today (May 9, 2017) to discuss these financial results. The company's CEO Greg Roberts, President Thor Gjerdrum and CFO Cary Dickson will host the call at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time (1:30 p.m. Pacific time). A question and answer session will follow management's presentation. To participate, please dial the appropriate number at least five minutes prior to the start time, and ask for the A-Mark Precious Metals conference call. The conference call will be broadcast simultaneously and available for replay via the Investor Relations section of A-Mark’s website at www.amark.com. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call or webcast, please contact Liolios Group at 949-574-3860. A replay of the call will be available after 7:30 p.m. Eastern time through May 23, 2017. About A-Mark Precious Metals A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc. is a full-service precious metals trading company and an official distributor for many government mints throughout the world. The company offers gold, silver, platinum and palladium in the form of bars, plates, powder, wafers, grain, ingots and coins. Its Industrial unit services manufacturers and fabricators of products utilizing or incorporating precious metals, while its Coin & Bar unit deals in over 200 coin and bar products in a variety of weights, shapes and sizes for distribution to dealers and other qualified purchasers. The company operates trading centers in El Segundo, California, and Vienna, Austria, for buying and selling precious metals. In addition to wholesale and trading activity, A-Mark offers customers a variety of services, including financing, consignment and various customized financial programs. As a U.S. Mint-authorized purchaser of gold, silver and platinum coins, A-Mark purchases bullion products directly from the U.S. Mint for sale to customers. A-Mark also has distributorships with other sovereign mints, including in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Mexico and South Africa. Customers of A Mark include mints, manufacturers and fabricators, refiners, coin and metal dealers, banks and other financial institutions, jewelers, investors and collectors. For more information about A-Mark Precious Metals, visit www.amark.com. Through its subsidiary Collateral Finance Corporation, a licensed California Finance Lender, the company offers loans collateralized by numismatic and semi-numismatic coins and bullion to coin and metal dealers, investors and collectors. Through its Transcontinental Depository Services subsidiary, it offers a variety of managed storage options for precious metals products to financial institutions, dealers, investors and collectors around the world. Through its A-M Global Logistics subsidiary, the company provides its customers an array of complementary services, including storage, shipping, handling, receiving, processing, and inventorying of precious metals and custom coins on a secure basis. A-Mark also holds a majority stake in a joint venture that owns the minting operations known as SilverTowne Mint. SilverTowne Mint is a leading producer of fabricated silver bullion and specialty products. For more information about SilverTowne Mint, please visit www.silvertownemint.com. Important Cautions Regarding Forward-Looking Statements Statements in this press release that relate to future plans, objectives, expectations, performance, events and the like are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Future events, risks and uncertainties, individually or in the aggregate, could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include the following: the failure to execute our growth strategy as planned; greater than anticipated costs incurred to execute this strategy; changes in the current international political climate which has favorably contributed to demand and volatility in the precious metals markets; increased competition for our higher margin services, which could depress pricing; the failure of our business model to respond to changes in the market environment as anticipated; general risks of doing business in the commodity markets; and other business, economic, financial and governmental risks as described in in the Company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The words "should," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "foresee," "plan" and similar expressions and variations thereof identify certain of such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates on which they were made. Additionally, any statements related to future improved performance and estimates of revenues and earnings per share are forward-looking statements. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

FENTON, Mich., May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fentura Financial, Inc. reported the most profitable quarter since the economic downturn, showing net income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 of $1.4 million compared to earnings of $920,000 reported for the first quarter of 2016. On a pre-tax, pre-provision basis net income was $2.0 million in the current quarter compared to $1.4 million in the prior year. Ronald L. Justice, President and CEO said, “I am pleased to report another quarter of solid results. These results are very encouraging particularly since we are deep in the process of integrating the former Community State Bank customers into The State Bank’s system and environment. In that regard we have achieved the majority of the cost savings that we had projected and continue to progress well towards full integration. We continue to be very excited about the future growth prospects in our new and legacy markets.” Total assets increased $27.2 million or 3.9% from December 31, 2016, ending the quarter at $730.7 million.  Cash and due from banks totals, including Federal Funds sold, decreased 14.1%, to $67.3 million at March 31, 2017 compared to the $78.3 million reported at December 31, 2016.  This decrease was primarily attributable to the redeployment of cash into higher earning assets, including the purchase of a pool of diversified installment loans at the end of the quarter. Loan balances increased $33.9 million or 6.5%, to $554.9 million at March 31, 2017 compared to December 31, 2016.  Absent the aforementioned pool, the portfolio continued its recent trajectory showing an annualized growth rate of 18.3%.  All three portfolios showed growth during the quarter, though absent the pool purchase, consumer loans would have been flat. Year over year, loans increased $168.3 million or 43.5% when compared to March 31, 2016.  When the impact of acquiring Community State Bank’s portfolio and the aforementioned pool purchase are excluded, the portfolio still grew a robust $73.7 million, or 19.1%. The organic growth in the portfolio was primarily the result of continuing to utilize innovative products and expand customer outreach efforts in current market areas.  The growth in mortgage loans continues to be fueled by strong demand within the bank’s primary markets for existing homes and the expansion of single-note close construction loans to homeowners. The composition of the loan portfolio is shown below (dollars in thousands): Deposit totals of $630.1 million grew 4.4%, or $26.7 million from the $603.4 million reported at December 31, 2016.  Both interest bearing and non-interest bearing non-maturity deposit accounts showed growth, while time deposits shrank during the quarter.  Obviously, the acquisition added significantly to the deposit portfolio, though even excluding that impact, total deposits grew approximately 22.0% over the prior year. We continue to have success in acquiring new municipal cash relationships. While a portion of these accounts can tend to be relatively volatile, no indications have been made that the balances will see material decreases in the near term. We are very comfortable with the Bank’s liquidity position both on and off-balance sheet. Additionally, commercial deposit account growth continues to be strong. Fentura Financial, Inc. and The State Bank continue to maintain solid capital ratios in excess of levels considered adequately capitalized by regulatory agencies. The Bank’s regulatory capital ratios are detailed in the table that follows, and indicate the Bank’s strong Tier 1 Leverage Capital Ratio at March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016.   The decline in the ratios quarter over quarter is primarily due to the inclusion of the acquired assets in the denominator of the calculation, stronger than anticipated asset growth, and an upstream dividend to the Holding Company, the majority of which is still held there in reserve. As seen in recent periods, the Company continued to show solid credit quality during the 1st quarter of 2017.   The delinquency numbers when compared to 2016 rose due to the acquired portfolio, though the legacy portfolio once again had zero delinquencies as shown last quarter. At March 31, 2017 loan delinquencies to total loans were 0.57% compared to 0.14% at March 31, 2016. Total delinquencies at December 31, 2016 were 0.75% inclusive of the acquired portfolio.   Substandard assets totaled $2.0 million at March 31, 2017, compared to $2.3 million at December 31, 2016. The decline in both of these metrics reflects the implementation of collection processes and procedures for Community State Bank that are consistent with The State Bank.  The overall Allowance for Loan Losses of $2.9 million or .52% of Gross Loans is reflective of the historical performance of The State Bank’s loan portfolio and does not reflect the performance of the acquired portfolio. Pursuant to purchase accounting standards the Community State Bank loans were marked to market at the acquisition date of December 31, 2016.  The allowance for loan losses is calculated on a quarterly basis and at the end of the current quarter the Company believes that the allowance for loan loss is adequate to absorb losses inherent in the portfolio.  Continued improvement in credit quality metrics outpacing loan growth could result in further releases of previously provided reserves for loan losses, as seen in the fourth quarter of 2016. Net interest income of $5.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 increased significantly when compared to the $4.3 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2016 and improved by $1.8 million, or 45.0% relative to the $3.4 million reported in the first quarter of 2016.  Virtually all of the increase is due to the increased volume of earning assets as rates have only seen slight increases very recently and haven’t been fully absorbed in the portfolio.  Also contributing to the increase in income was the accretion of the loan mark taken on the loans acquired from Community State Bank, which totaled approximately $250,000 for the quarter. While the portfolios showed increases as noted above over the prior quarter, the net interest margin declined 8 basis points, largely due to the mix of assets and funding sources carried on the balance sheet. Additionally, the rate environment in the marketplace for loans has remained very competitive and thus constrains our ability to charge higher rates. Noninterest income was $1.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 compared to $1.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 and $1.5 million for the first quarter of 2016.  The primary source of the decline is due to decreased income from mortgage banking activities. A conscious decision was made during the quarter to hold some of these loans rather than sell them in order to maximize the efficiency of interest income and utilize a portion of the liquidity derived from the Community State Bank acquisition This decrease was offset in the year to date period by increases in service charges on deposit accounts and other non-interest income.  Other non-interest income, however, contributed to the decline in the comparison to the prior quarter. The Company recorded $5.1 million of noninterest expense in the quarter ended March 31, 2017, a decrease of $100,000, or 1.9% over the level reported in the fourth quarter of 2016 and increased $1.0 million or 25.0% over the $4.1 million reported in the first quarter of 2016.  On a year over year basis, all categories with the exception of loan and collection expenses showed increases, primarily due to additional costs of acquiring Community State Bank. Quarter over quarter, the large decrease in merger related expenses was offset by increases in occupancy and equipment and other operating expenses. The increase in other operating expenses included approximately $150,000 of amortization of the core deposit intangible asset created upon acquisition of Community State Bank’s deposit portfolio. Salary and benefits expense increased year over year based on general annual salary increases, the rising costs of providing medical benefits, the return to historical levels of the Company’s 401K match, as well as the addition of the Community State Bank team. Fentura Financial is the holding company for The State Bank. It was formed in 1987 and is traded on the OTCQX exchange under the symbol FETM, and was recognized as one of the Top 50 performing stocks for 2015 on that exchange. The State Bank is a full-service, 5-Star Bauer Financial rated commercial, retail and trust bank headquartered in Fenton, Michigan. It has assets of approximately $730 million. It currently operates fifteen full-service branches located in Genesee, Livingston, Oakland, Saginaw and Shiawassee Counties and loan production offices in Washtenaw and Saginaw Counties. The State Bank’s commercial department provides a complete array of products including lines of credit, term loans, commercial mortgages, SBA loans and a full-suite of cash management products. The retail department offers personal checking, savings, time and IRA deposit accounts and all types of loan products including home equity, auto and personal loans. The residential loan department offers construction, purchase and refinance residential mortgage loans. The wealth management department offers a full-service suite of trust and portfolio management services. The aim of The State Bank is to become and remain “Your Financial Partner for Life.” More information can be found at www.thestatebank.com. CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties.  Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning future growth in earning assets and net income.  Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors affecting the Company's operations, markets, products, services, interest rates and fees for services. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

FENTON, Mich., May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fentura Financial, Inc. reported the most profitable quarter since the economic downturn, showing net income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 of $1.4 million compared to earnings of $920,000 reported for the first quarter of 2016. On a pre-tax, pre-provision basis net income was $2.0 million in the current quarter compared to $1.4 million in the prior year. Ronald L. Justice, President and CEO said, “I am pleased to report another quarter of solid results. These results are very encouraging particularly since we are deep in the process of integrating the former Community State Bank customers into The State Bank’s system and environment. In that regard we have achieved the majority of the cost savings that we had projected and continue to progress well towards full integration. We continue to be very excited about the future growth prospects in our new and legacy markets.” Total assets increased $27.2 million or 3.9% from December 31, 2016, ending the quarter at $730.7 million.  Cash and due from banks totals, including Federal Funds sold, decreased 14.1%, to $67.3 million at March 31, 2017 compared to the $78.3 million reported at December 31, 2016.  This decrease was primarily attributable to the redeployment of cash into higher earning assets, including the purchase of a pool of diversified installment loans at the end of the quarter. Loan balances increased $33.9 million or 6.5%, to $554.9 million at March 31, 2017 compared to December 31, 2016.  Absent the aforementioned pool, the portfolio continued its recent trajectory showing an annualized growth rate of 18.3%.  All three portfolios showed growth during the quarter, though absent the pool purchase, consumer loans would have been flat. Year over year, loans increased $168.3 million or 43.5% when compared to March 31, 2016.  When the impact of acquiring Community State Bank’s portfolio and the aforementioned pool purchase are excluded, the portfolio still grew a robust $73.7 million, or 19.1%. The organic growth in the portfolio was primarily the result of continuing to utilize innovative products and expand customer outreach efforts in current market areas.  The growth in mortgage loans continues to be fueled by strong demand within the bank’s primary markets for existing homes and the expansion of single-note close construction loans to homeowners. The composition of the loan portfolio is shown below (dollars in thousands): Deposit totals of $630.1 million grew 4.4%, or $26.7 million from the $603.4 million reported at December 31, 2016.  Both interest bearing and non-interest bearing non-maturity deposit accounts showed growth, while time deposits shrank during the quarter.  Obviously, the acquisition added significantly to the deposit portfolio, though even excluding that impact, total deposits grew approximately 22.0% over the prior year. We continue to have success in acquiring new municipal cash relationships. While a portion of these accounts can tend to be relatively volatile, no indications have been made that the balances will see material decreases in the near term. We are very comfortable with the Bank’s liquidity position both on and off-balance sheet. Additionally, commercial deposit account growth continues to be strong. Fentura Financial, Inc. and The State Bank continue to maintain solid capital ratios in excess of levels considered adequately capitalized by regulatory agencies. The Bank’s regulatory capital ratios are detailed in the table that follows, and indicate the Bank’s strong Tier 1 Leverage Capital Ratio at March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016.   The decline in the ratios quarter over quarter is primarily due to the inclusion of the acquired assets in the denominator of the calculation, stronger than anticipated asset growth, and an upstream dividend to the Holding Company, the majority of which is still held there in reserve. As seen in recent periods, the Company continued to show solid credit quality during the 1st quarter of 2017.   The delinquency numbers when compared to 2016 rose due to the acquired portfolio, though the legacy portfolio once again had zero delinquencies as shown last quarter. At March 31, 2017 loan delinquencies to total loans were 0.57% compared to 0.14% at March 31, 2016. Total delinquencies at December 31, 2016 were 0.75% inclusive of the acquired portfolio.   Substandard assets totaled $2.0 million at March 31, 2017, compared to $2.3 million at December 31, 2016. The decline in both of these metrics reflects the implementation of collection processes and procedures for Community State Bank that are consistent with The State Bank.  The overall Allowance for Loan Losses of $2.9 million or .52% of Gross Loans is reflective of the historical performance of The State Bank’s loan portfolio and does not reflect the performance of the acquired portfolio. Pursuant to purchase accounting standards the Community State Bank loans were marked to market at the acquisition date of December 31, 2016.  The allowance for loan losses is calculated on a quarterly basis and at the end of the current quarter the Company believes that the allowance for loan loss is adequate to absorb losses inherent in the portfolio.  Continued improvement in credit quality metrics outpacing loan growth could result in further releases of previously provided reserves for loan losses, as seen in the fourth quarter of 2016. Net interest income of $5.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 increased significantly when compared to the $4.3 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2016 and improved by $1.8 million, or 45.0% relative to the $3.4 million reported in the first quarter of 2016.  Virtually all of the increase is due to the increased volume of earning assets as rates have only seen slight increases very recently and haven’t been fully absorbed in the portfolio.  Also contributing to the increase in income was the accretion of the loan mark taken on the loans acquired from Community State Bank, which totaled approximately $250,000 for the quarter. While the portfolios showed increases as noted above over the prior quarter, the net interest margin declined 8 basis points, largely due to the mix of assets and funding sources carried on the balance sheet. Additionally, the rate environment in the marketplace for loans has remained very competitive and thus constrains our ability to charge higher rates. Noninterest income was $1.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 compared to $1.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 and $1.5 million for the first quarter of 2016.  The primary source of the decline is due to decreased income from mortgage banking activities. A conscious decision was made during the quarter to hold some of these loans rather than sell them in order to maximize the efficiency of interest income and utilize a portion of the liquidity derived from the Community State Bank acquisition This decrease was offset in the year to date period by increases in service charges on deposit accounts and other non-interest income.  Other non-interest income, however, contributed to the decline in the comparison to the prior quarter. The Company recorded $5.1 million of noninterest expense in the quarter ended March 31, 2017, a decrease of $100,000, or 1.9% over the level reported in the fourth quarter of 2016 and increased $1.0 million or 25.0% over the $4.1 million reported in the first quarter of 2016.  On a year over year basis, all categories with the exception of loan and collection expenses showed increases, primarily due to additional costs of acquiring Community State Bank. Quarter over quarter, the large decrease in merger related expenses was offset by increases in occupancy and equipment and other operating expenses. The increase in other operating expenses included approximately $150,000 of amortization of the core deposit intangible asset created upon acquisition of Community State Bank’s deposit portfolio. Salary and benefits expense increased year over year based on general annual salary increases, the rising costs of providing medical benefits, the return to historical levels of the Company’s 401K match, as well as the addition of the Community State Bank team. Fentura Financial is the holding company for The State Bank. It was formed in 1987 and is traded on the OTCQX exchange under the symbol FETM, and was recognized as one of the Top 50 performing stocks for 2015 on that exchange. The State Bank is a full-service, 5-Star Bauer Financial rated commercial, retail and trust bank headquartered in Fenton, Michigan. It has assets of approximately $730 million. It currently operates fifteen full-service branches located in Genesee, Livingston, Oakland, Saginaw and Shiawassee Counties and loan production offices in Washtenaw and Saginaw Counties. The State Bank’s commercial department provides a complete array of products including lines of credit, term loans, commercial mortgages, SBA loans and a full-suite of cash management products. The retail department offers personal checking, savings, time and IRA deposit accounts and all types of loan products including home equity, auto and personal loans. The residential loan department offers construction, purchase and refinance residential mortgage loans. The wealth management department offers a full-service suite of trust and portfolio management services. The aim of The State Bank is to become and remain “Your Financial Partner for Life.” More information can be found at www.thestatebank.com. CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties.  Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning future growth in earning assets and net income.  Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors affecting the Company's operations, markets, products, services, interest rates and fees for services. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.

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