EDS announces expiration of waiting period under Hart-Scott-Rodino Act

by Editor 6/30/2008 4:38:00 PM
Electronic Data Systems Corporation has announced that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 relating to Hewlett- Packard Company's proposed acquisition of EDS has expired without a request for further information by the U.S. Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission.

As previously announced, EDS has scheduled a special meeting of its stockholders, to be held at 9:30 a.m., Central time, on Thursday, July 31, 2008, to consider and vote on the proposed merger. The transaction still requires EDS stockholder approval and regulatory clearance from the European Commission and other non-U.S. jurisdictions and is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the other closing conditions specified in the merger agreement.

About EDS

EDS is a leading global technology services company delivering business solutions to its clients. EDS founded the information technology outsourcing industry more than 46 years ago. Today, EDS delivers a broad portfolio of information technology and business process outsourcing services to clients in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, communications, energy, transportation, and consumer and retail industries and to governments around the world. Learn more at eds.com.

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Deloitte's Charles Heeter appointed chairman of BIAC

by Editor 6/30/2008 4:33:00 PM
IT consultant,IT consulting jobs,careers
Charles Heeter, Managing Principal, Global Public Policy, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, has been re-elected to a two-year term as Chairman of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) executive board by the BIAC general assembly.

BIAC advises the working committees of the 30 member governments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), aiming to bring a business perspective to their deliberations. Last year, more than 2,300 business representatives were actively involved in the work of the OECD through BIAC.

"BIAC provides a forum for Deloitte and other business leaders to positively contribute to the development of economic, financial, and business policies around the world," explains Heeter. "Deloitte’s leadership benefits our clients, our people, and our communities."

The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Regulatory and Public Policy group, in conjunction with the regulatory partners of Deloitte member firms around the world, aim to positively influence public policy programs affecting capital markets and communities everywhere. The group helps to build awareness and support policies that promote business sustainability through good governance, transparency, and accountability.

BIAC was founded in 1962 as an independent organization. Its members are the major business associations in the 30 OECD member countries, and nine additional observer countries. BIAC’s 32 standing committees and working groups mirror all the economic policy issues addressed by the OECD, including its outreach activities with non-members such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

For more information on BIAC, please visit http://www.biac.org/.

For more information on Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Regulatory and Public Policy Group, please visit: www.deloitte.com/publicgovernance

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and its member firms.

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Unprecedented demand for MBA admissions consulting services

by Editor 6/30/2008 4:30:00 PM
As Veritas Prep approaches the fifth-year anniversary of the launch of its MBA admissions consulting services, more students than ever before are partaking in such services to gain an edge in an increasingly competitive MBA admissions landscape wherein only 10 percent of applicants are accepted into the top business schools.

Students are increasingly seeking the knowledge and support offered by admissions consultants to gain acceptance into the top 30 U.S. business schools since the inception of the services in 2003. While Veritas Prep reports a dramatic spike in admissions consulting enrollment over the past year, with prospective student participation doubling from 2007 to 2008, Veritas Prep's admissions consulting business has grown ten-fold since the service was launched five years ago.

"Admissions officers face the difficult task of selecting from a vast pool of similar candidates−a talent pool that continues to grow deeper and deeper in light of the increasing demand for MBA degrees," explains Chad Troutwine, co-founder and CEO of Veritas Prep. "Today, the stage is set differently. Applicants who know how to effectively market themselves have a tremendous advantage over the competition in gaining admission into the leading business schools."

Veritas Prep's suite of admissions consulting services are designed to cater to the needs of GMAT students seeking an additional advantage in the MBA application and admissions process. A combination of admissions experience, insider advice and customized service distinguishes Veritas Prep's admissions consulting services. As opposed to general, one-size-fits-all advice, Veritas Prep tailors its services to each individual, helping students to:

  • Objectively evaluate their candidacy for particular programs and select the program that best matches their goals; * Solicit effective letters of recommendation and build a solid resume; 
  • Prepare for a successful admissions interview; and 
  • Tell their unique story and make a compelling argument for admission.

Veritas Prep offers a variety of admissions consulting services, from comprehensive packages focusing on a single school to those addressing admissions for up to five different MBA programs. Hourly admissions packages, as well as packages specific to essay/resume writing and interview preparation, are also available.

About Veritas Prep

Veritas Prep is a leading GMAT prep provider that offers effective learning programs to help students enhance GMAT scores and gain admission into the top 30 business schools. Founded in 2002 by graduates from the Yale School of Management, Veritas Prep offers live GMAT prep instruction in more than 70 cities worldwide, as well as interactive online courses. In addition to the most comprehensive GMAT prep courses available, Veritas Prep offers industry-leading admissions consulting to applicants seeking admission to the world's most competitive business schools. To learn more, visit http://www.veritasprep.com.  

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Accenture reports strong third-quarter fiscal 2008 financial results

by Editor 6/30/2008 4:25:00 PM
Accenture reported strong financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2008, ended May 31, with net revenues of $6.10 billion, a year-overyear increase of 20 percent in U.S. dollars and 12 percent in local currency and the highest quarterly net revenues in the company’s history. Consulting and outsourcing revenues were both quarterly records, growing by double digits in U.S. dollars and local currency.

Earnings per share were $0.74, the highest for any quarter in the company’s history and an increase of 36 percent over the third quarter of fiscal 2007, driven largely by strong growth in revenue and operating income. In addition, the company has again raised its outlook for earnings per share for the full fiscal year 2008, to a range of $2.63 to $2.65 from its previously guided range of $2.55 to $2.60.

New bookings were $6.77 billion, with record quarterly consulting bookings of $3.98 billion.

The company grew operating income by 27 percent and expanded its operating margin by 70 basis points over the third quarter last year.

William D. Green, Accenture’s chairman & CEO, said, “Our excellent results in the third quarter include our highest-ever quarterly revenues and earnings per share. In addition, our disciplined approach to managing our diverse and global business enabled us to expand our operating margin, and the solid bookings we achieved demonstrate continued strong global demand for our services, even in markets experiencing difficult economic conditions.

“We continue to benefit from our long-term relationships with our clients, who seek our help in entering new markets, lowering the cost of doing business and managing increased levels of risk as they work to achieve and maintain high performance. To ensure that we continue to meet and anticipate our clients’ needs, we are investing in technological innovation and expanding our skills and capabilities through both organic growth and tactical acquisitions. We see strong momentum in our business as we look to the rest of the fiscal year, and we remain focused on delivering value for our clients, and in turn, our shareholders.”

Financial Review

Revenues before reimbursements (“net revenues”) for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 were $6.10 billion, compared with $5.08 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2007, an increase of 20 percent in U.S. dollars and 12 percent in local currency.

􀂃 Consulting net revenues were $3.70 billion, an increase of 20 percent in U.S. dollars and 12 percent in local currency over the third quarter last year.

􀂃 Outsourcing net revenues were $2.40 billion, also an increase of 20 percent in U.S. dollars and 12 percent in local currency over the same period last year.

Diluted EPS for the third quarter were $0.74, compared with $0.54 in the third quarter last year, an increase of 36 percent, driven largely by strong growth in revenue and operating income and, to a lesser extent, by favorable foreign-exchange rates, a lower share count and a lower tax rate compared with the third quarter last year.

Operating income increased 27 percent, to $862 million, or 14.1 percent of net revenues, compared with $682 million, or 13.4 percent of net revenues, in the third quarter last year. Gross margin (gross profit as a percentage of net revenues) was 31.5 percent, compared with 31.7 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2007.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $1.06 billion, or 17.3 percent of net revenues, compared with $921 million, or 18.1 percent of net revenues, in the third quarter last year. The reduction as a percentage of net revenues was primarily due to strong revenue growth and the company’s management of general and administrative costs to a growth rate lower than that of its net revenues.

The company’s effective tax rate for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 was 30.8 percent, compared with 33.3 percent in the third quarter last year. The reduction in the effective tax rate compared with the third quarter last year was due primarily to changes in the geographic distribution of income.

Income before minority interest for the third quarter was $608 million, compared with $473 million for the same period of fiscal 2007, an increase of 28 percent.

For the three months ended May 31, 2008, operating cash flow was $1,080 million; property and equipment additions were $66 million; and free cash flow, defined as operating cash flow net of property and equipment additions, was $1,014 million.

Accenture’s total cash balance at May 31, 2008 was $3.33 billion, compared with $3.31 billion at Aug. 31, 2007. Cash combined with $39 million of fixed-income securities classified as investments on the company’s balance sheet was $3.37 billion at May 31, 2008, compared with $3.61 billion at Aug. 31, 2007. Total debt at May 31, 2008 was $7 million.

Read the full report here.

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Ernst & Young: LGBT-inclusive work culture must include Generation Y

by Editor 6/26/2008 3:48:00 PM
As Generation Y makes its debut on the corporate stage, Canadian companies need to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-inclusive efforts evolve with changing workforce demographics to include all groups, Ernst & Young says.

"LGBT people can face real challenges that leave them feeling isolated or disconnected in the workplace," explains Bruce Goudy, Ernst & Young partner and Canadian leader of the firm's Beyond network. "We must constantly evaluate our programs to ensure they continue to meet the needs of our employees-including the newest and youngest members of the workforce, many of whom have had a more accepting campus experience than prior generations and are looking for the same from a prospective employer. A baby boomer may have very different needs compared to someone from Generation X or Generation Y. Our initiatives are intended to address those generational differences."


With that in mind, Ernst & Young is talking to Generation Y employees in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. We're using one-to-one discussion and feedback to learn more about the specific LGBT-related hurdles Generation Y faces in the workplace, and how programs can be aligned with their priorities and needs. Open and honest discussion is the first important step.

"We've worked hard to make Ernst & Young a place where everyone can feel comfortable, be themselves and achieve their goals. But the challenges this generation faces might be different from what their parents and grandparents encountered - and we want to tailor our efforts to help navigate those issues," Goudy says.

Ernst & Young is recognized as a global leader for its pioneering efforts to create inclusive workplaces. The Beyond network is one example. Beyond is a network for LGBT people, and their allies.


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10 Major Trends Strategically Impacting Corporate Recruiting

by Editor 6/26/2008 2:33:00 PM
IT consultant,technology consulting jobs,careers
With a troubling supply-demand ratio of high potential talent, recruiting and hiring managers must position themselves to achieve competitive recruiting advantages through improved planning and execution, according to a new white paper from Vangent.

"10 Megatrends Impacting Corporate Recruiting: A Strategic Perspective" summarizes the ten major trends that are reshaping the global landscape of corporate recruiting, highlights key strategies for responding to these trends, and presents three case studies focusing on talent acquisition best practices.

In this white paper, Dr. John W. Jones, a noted Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, breaks down the recruiting megatrends into two major categories. The first five trends deal with strategic positioning and the scarcity of relevant talent. Trends six through ten deal with new perspectives on the recruitment process along with new recruitment technologies. The ten megatrends as described in the white paper are:

Strategic Positioning & Talent Scarcity:

  • Megatrend 1 – Strategic Alignment of All Recruiting Efforts
  • Megatrend 2 – Conceptualizing Corporate Recruiters as Brand Managers
  • Megatrend 3 – Intensifying Generational Shifts in U.S. Workforce
  • Megatrend 4 – Embracing the "Free Agent" Talent Force
  • Megatrend 5 – Tightening of the Global Labor Market

New Perspectives & Technologies:

  • Megatrend 6 – The Retention Imperative for Internal Recruiting
  • Megatrend 7 – Aligning Recruitment with Risk Management
  • Megatrend 8 – Deploying the Next Generation of Applicant Tracking Systems
  • Megatrend 9 – Web 2.0 Collaboration Technologies Infiltrating Recruiting
  • Megatrend 10 – Managing Recruitment as a Decision Science

"Organizations are progressively transforming their human resource function into a strategically aligned Human Capital Management (HCM) environment that leverages highly talented workers as a major source of business success and competitive advantage," says Dr. John Jones, Vangent's Vice President and Chief Scientist. "Accordingly, it is important that talent acquisition leaders can identify, understand, and proactively confront the vital trends that impact their ability to attract and retain a premier workforce."

Click here to download a complimentary copy of this white paper.

About Vangent, Inc.

With over 5,500 employees worldwide, Vangent, Inc. is a leading global provider of Consulting, Systems Integration, Human Capital Management, and Business Process Outsourcing services to the U.S. federal and international governments, higher education institutions, and corporations. Through Vangent's Human Capital products and services, thousands of clients have successfully improved their workforce acquisition, development, and advancement. From industry-leading selection and hiring solutions, to best of breed learning, organizational development, and talent management solutions, Vangent helps clients achieve the greatest return from their human capital. For more information, please visit www.vangent-hcm.com.


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Dell launches new infrastructure consulting services

by Editor 6/26/2008 1:47:00 PM
IT consulting jobs,technology consulting careers
Dell today introduced new infrastructure consulting services to help organizations of all sizes improve their storage management and data protection, enable effective disaster recovery procedures and implement backup recovery processes. These services will help companies better manage traditional data and the new and rapidly growing digital file content created by the increasing adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in business. Enterprise and medium-size organizations can expect to experience 55 percent compound annual growth rates in the volume of their file-based storage capacity over the next several years.

Connected Era Creating Unprecedented Storage Demand

The amount of information created this year will surpass available storage capacity as more and more consumers and businesses go online2. Companies must manage the complexities of growing storage infrastructures and protect, back up and retain data to comply with industry regulations, while protecting themselves from increasingly sophisticated external threats. Companies also want to fully utilize storage so that they don’t pay for storage that is not used.

“For many customers, managing their data access, protection and recovery environment has become unnecessarily difficult and the risk to the business through data loss in the event of human error or disaster is both real and material,” said Paul Kaeley, Storage Consulting Practice Director, Dell. “Dell's new consulting services provide a path to simplifying customers’ storage and backup environments.”

“Dell examined not only our immediate needs but also our goals for the future in terms of replication, disaster recovery and data back up,” said Barry Schwartz, IT/Network Manager of Metrologic Instruments.

Dell improved the efficiency of Metrologic’s data back up from 80 to 14 hours by consolidating servers, resulting in a goal of 200 percent return on investment, and helping ensure business continuity and protection of 40 years worth of the company’s intellectual property.

Services Designed Around Storage Management and Data Protection Pain Points

Dell will work with customers to:

• Implement a tiered-storage infrastructure where less critical data can be moved to the appropriate tier helping to drive down costs for the business;

• Rapidly identify improvements within backup and recovery infrastructure and help customers to stabilize and optimize operations; and,

• Plan, design and implement data disaster recovery to help protect and recover data in event of crisis.

Additionally, in partnership with GlassHouse Technologies Inc., Dell will plan, design and implement IT disaster recovery plans to ensure companies have the people, process and tools to restore IT operations in the event of a crisis. Dell can also simplify the management of heterogeneous backup environments by providing managed backup, remote backup monitoring and remote backup reporting.

“There’s an appetite for storage services, but companies are weary of long engagements that last for six months and the end result is a PowerPoint with a bunch of meaningless platitudes,” said Stephanie Balaouras, Forrester senior analyst. “What I like about [Dell’s services] is that there is an emphasis on consulting engagements that are short in duration and the recommendations are useful and actionable.”

Tiered Storage, Data Disaster Recovery and Backup Restore Optimization and Stabilization services are now available worldwide, except in Latin America. IT Disaster Recovery, Enterprise Backup and Restore Assessments and Managed Backup, Remote Backup Monitoring and Remote Backup Reporting services are available to customers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada and will be available to customers in the rest of Europe and Asia later this year.

Practical Solutions, Not Armies of Consultants

Dell has a modular approach to infrastructure consulting. The company uses tools, automation and repeatable methodologies and best practices to identify pragmatic solutions to IT infrastructure management challenges in days and weeks rather than months. Dell services also include on-going support and managed services.

Storage Consulting services are available directly from Dell and through Dell’s Partner Direct program. Channel partners should contact their account representative for further information.

About Dell

Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell is a leading global systems and services company and No. 34 on the Fortune 500. For more information, visit www.dell.com, or to communicate directly with Dell via a variety of online channels, go to www.dell.com/conversations. To get Dell news direct, visit www.dell.com/RSS

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Convergys appoints Willard W. Brittain to its board of directors

by Editor 6/26/2008 1:44:00 PM
Convergys Corporation, a relationship management solutions provider, reported this week that Willard W. Brittain has been elected to the company's board of directors, with effect from yesterday, as announced by Philip A. Odeen, non-executive chairman of the board of Convergys.

A director at Perini Corporation, Analysts International Corporation and DaVita Inc, as well as two non-profit boards, Brittain recently served as chairman and CEO of Professional Resources on Demand, an executive search, interim placement and business advisory firm, since March 2003.

Earlier, he was the chief operating officer of PwC Consulting, the information technology, process and strategy consulting business of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Brittain worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for 28 years before his retirement, even serving as its chief operating officer.

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Capgemini and Merrill Lynch release 12th annual World Wealth Report

by Editor 6/25/2008 3:03:00 PM
Driven by market capitalization growth in emerging economies, the wealth of the world’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs[1]) increased 9.4 percent to US$40.7 trillion in 2007, according to the 12th annual World Wealth Report, released today by Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) and Capgemini. The number of HNWIs in the world increased 6 percent in 2007 to 10.1 million, the number of ultra high net worth individuals (Ultra-HNWIs[2]) increased by 8.8 percent, and for the first time in the history of the Report, the average assets held by HNWIs exceeded US$4 million.

The global economy had a transitional year in 2007, characterized by sharply opposing macroeconomic environments. While momentum carried over from 2006 helped to sustain unabated growth in the first few months of 2007, the economy faced heightened uncertainty by year-end. Global growth remained solid in 2007, in terms of both real GDP and market capitalization– the two primary drivers of wealth generation. Strong worldwide gains in the first half of 2007 boosted HNWI growth across the globe; while in the second half of the year, resilient emerging economies offset slowdowns in mature ones. The global economy grew by 5.1 percent, down slightly from the 5.3 percent global growth in 2006.

Emerging Economies and BRIC Nations Lead the Pack

Impressive growth of emerging economies was boosted largely by thriving export sectors and heightened domestic demand. The largest regional growth of the HNWI population occurred in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, with increases of 15.6 percent, 14.3 percent, and 12.2 percent, respectively. Gains in commodity exports, paired with growing international acceptance of emerging financial centers as significant global players, contributed to the growth rates of emerging economies.

The BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) continued to play pivotal roles in the global economy in 2007, driven by impressive economic gains and robust market capitalization growth.

“This year’s Report found that the number of high net worth individuals, and the amount of wealth they control, continued to increase in 2007, with the greatest wealth being created in the emerging markets of India, China, and Brazil,” said Robert J. McCann, president of Global Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch. “While trends indicate opportunities exist for wealth management firms to tap into new growth markets, success will go to those that recognize their existing service, delivery and technology strategies must be adapted and tailored to meet the unique needs of these target growth markets.”

India led the world in HNWI population growth at 22.7 percent, driven by market capitalization growth of 118 percent and real GDP growth of 7.9 percent. Although India’s real GDP growth decelerated from 9.4 percent in 2006, current levels are considered more stable and sustainable. India’s two largest exchanges – the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange – ranked among the world’s top 12 exchanges by end of 2007, boosted by initial public offering markets and heightened international interest.

China experienced the second largest expansion of their HNWI population, advancing 20.3 percent – an increase fueled by market capitalization growth of 291 percent and real GDP growth of 11.4 percent. Significant price increases and strong IPO activity propelled the Shanghai Exchange to become the sixth largest exchange in the world in terms of market capitalization.

But while market capitalization and real GDP growth rates were higher in China than India, the HNWI population of India grew faster in 2007. The Report suggests that as market capitalization and real GDP in China were spread over a larger population, there were smaller per capita gains in China. In 2006, India had a larger market capitalization growth than gross national income, significantly impacting HNWI population growth in India. In addition, China is currently experiencing explosive growth in its “mass affluent” population, which has yet to break the HNWI threshold of US$1million.

Brazil enjoyed the third-highest HNWI growth rate in 2007, with a 19.1 percent increase, spurred by a wave of robust market capitalization growth of 93 percent and real GDP growth of 5.1 percent. Net private capital flows to Latin America doubled in 2007, contributing to the Bovespa Stock Exchange’s fourth place ranking among the world’s largest IPO markets and 7.2 market share gain. This, according to the Report, lent support to the establishment and global integration of the Brazilian financial system.

Russia was home to one of the world’s 10 fastest-growing HNWI populations, despite growth deceleration from 15.5 percent in 2006 to 14.4 percent in 2007. Solid gains of 37.6 percent in market capitalization and 7.4 percent in real GDP represented the growing international interest in the country as a global player, suggesting that the ongoing development of Russia’s external relationships will likely improve the economy’s fundamentals.

Market Capitalization Growth Explodes in Emerging Markets

With a significant portion of HNWI wealth invested in stock markets, market capitalization performance is an important determinant of HNWI wealth generation. While traditional United States, European, and Asian stock market indexes experienced moderate growth, many emerging markets extended winning streaks of robust gains. Various Dow Jones Market Indexes, for example, had moderate returns in 2007, averaging 6.8 percent, far below the 17.3 percent average in 2006, and compared to 2006, market gains in 2007 failed to have as positive an impact on HNWI wealth generation.

Most major European and Asian indexes were contained to low single-digit growth; the world’s worst performer, the Nikkei 225, contracted 11.1 percent, while Europe’s best performer, the German DAX, was the only major traditional index to outpace its 2006 performance and sustain double-digit growth.

Fueled mostly by organic price increases, the Shanghai and the Shenzhen Stock Exchanges grew at 303 percent and 244 percent, respectively. India’s Bombay Exchange and National Stock Exchange had respective growth rates of 122 percent and 115 percent.

“The divide between market capitalization growth in mature and emerging economies was significantly more pronounced in 2007 than in previous years,” said Bertrand Lavayssière, Managing Director, Capgemini Global Financial Services. “Despite slowdowns in the growth of traditional stock exchanges and significant market volatility, several emerging market exchanges experienced robust gains in 2007, further accelerating global wealth.”

Record Wave of IPOs, Other Investments Draw HNWIs to Emerging Markets

Emerging markets made significant contributions to record-level worldwide IPO activity in 2007. More than 1,300 IPOs raised about US$300 billion during the year—and emerging markets captured 7 of the top 10 issues. The BRIC nations exhibited particular strength in the area, accounting for 39 percent of global IPO volume in 2007, up from 32 percent in 2006.

Net private capital flows to emerging markets also increased in 2007. China attracted the largest absolute amount of private capital in 2007 at a country level, drawing in about US$55 billion. Emerging Europe was the most popular regional destination, attracting US$276 billion. Emerging Asia experienced a 20 percent drop in private capital flows, reflecting, in part, that equity flows helped policymakers accumulate foreign exchange reserves, which reached roughly US$1 trillion in China alone. Private capital flows to Latin America, however, more than doubled to US$106 billion in 2007.

Overall, hedge funds performed well in 2007 with average gains reaching 12.6 percent, down only slightly from 2006. Hedge fund returns outperformed traditional stock indexes in 2007, boosted by 20.3 percent average gains in emerging markets. In recent years, an increasing proportion of hedge fund assets have come from institutional investors, versus wealthy clients, shifting the main driver of the industry’s growth.

Fueled largely by the growth of capital-intensive sectors, venture capitalist fundraising and investing in 2007 reached their highest levels since 2001. New opportunities in life sciences and clean technologies expanded market opportunities and the renewable energy sector hosted a record IPO issuance last year led by the US$6.5 billion IPO of a Spanish utilities group and the US $1.2 billion IPO of a Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer. Total investment in clean technology increased 35 percent, boosted by numerous clean technology benchmark indexes gaining more than 50 percent for the year.

Slowdown in Mature Economies

Effects from the downturn in the United States economy weighed on other mature economies – as evident by slowed GDP growth and weak equity market performances in parts of Europe and Asia – and were fueled by three main factors: a cooling housing market, tightened credit availability, and greater volatility and price declines in equity markets. This chain of events impacted both consumers and institutions, impeding their ability to maintain liquidity and operate businesses.

In line with housing market downturns, REIT indexes incurred significant losses globally – in marked contrast to robust gains in 2006. Worldwide equity market performances proved the divergence between mature and emerging markets – the MSCI Global Indexes recorded 0.1 percent and 3.2 percent contractions in Europe and the United States, respectively, in the second half of the year, versus gains of 10.4 percent and 6.3 percent in the first half. The Emerging Market MSCI Global Indexes excelled – led by Latin America in the beginning of the year and the BRIC nations in the second half. Equity market losses in mature economies reverberated throughout international credit markets in the second half of 2007. The economic slowdown in the United States drove a severe depreciation of the U.S. dollar against most major currencies worldwide – the dollar fell 10.5 percent, 15.8 percent, and 17 percent, respectively, relative to the euro, the Canadian dollar, and the Brazilian real.

Since the close of 2007, economic indicators in the United States have deteriorated further; notably: slowing consumer spending, cooling housing markets and softening labor market conditions. A flurry of developments in international credit and equity markets, all stemming from the United States’ economic slowdown, shaped the opening months of 2008. Early on, greater downside risks to growth in the United States, along with the far-reaching implications of tightening international credit markets, weighed heavily on equity markets around the globe. By mid-January, losses incurred in virtually all geographic markets exceeded 10 percent.[3] However, mature markets have stabilized somewhat, bringing average 2008 losses down to roughly 4 percent, and emerging markets have actually reclaimed and exceeded incurred losses, generating an average net gain by mid-April. [4]

Shift to Safer, More Familiar Investments

The diverging macroeconomic environments at either end of 2007 helped define HNWIs’ asset allocation strategies. Building on the optimism of 2006, the early months of 2007 showed HNWIs betting heavily on riskier asset classes. But as the year wore on, and financial market turmoil and economic uncertainty intensified, HNWIs began to retrench, shifting their investments to safer, less volatile asset classes.

The Report found that cash/deposits and fixed income securities accounted for 44 percent of HNWI financial assets, up 9 percentage points from 2006. Fixed income securities saw a 6 percentage point increase in asset allocation, accounting for 27 percent of holdings, up from 21 percent in 2006.

Globally, HNWIs continued to decrease their holdings in North America and showed greater interest in domestic market investments, preferring more familiar ground amid heightened levels of economic uncertainty.

Green Investing Gains Traction

Due to overall heightened interest in the environment, green investing has become widely popular across the globe in recent years, offering investors lucrative returns and an opportunity to become actively involved in social responsibility. An array of vehicles through which to back green initiatives drove robust growth in green sectors in 2007, such as mutual funds, ETFs and other pooled products, or alternative investments. The total investment in clean technology, for example, increased to US$117 billion in 2007, up 41 percent from 2005, with notable strength in wind and solar segments.

The Middle East and Europe were the most environmentally attuned HNWI and Ultra-HNWI populations, with participation ranging from around 17 percent to 21 percent in 2007. In comparison, only 5 percent of HNWIs and 7 percent of Ultra-HNWIs in North America allocated part of their portfolio holdings to green investing. North America was also the only region in which social responsibility was the primary driver of HNWIs’ green investing. Among HNWIs worldwide, approximately half pointed to financial returns as the primary reason for their allocation to green investing.

With future sustainability at stake, the Report projects continued growth in green investments.

Looking Ahead

Despite heightened uncertainty regarding the near-term global outlook, still-strong fundamentals in emerging markets are likely to sustain high levels of growth. The balance between emerging market strength and mature market recovery will likely persist through 2008, with the short-term outlook subject to variability given that aspects of potential risk may still be unknown.

By and large, the global economy has two distinctive obstacles to overcome: inhibitors to growth in mature markets and high risks of inflation in emerging markets. How well these challenges are met will shape global HNWI growth prospects going forward. Given 2007 performances and taking into consideration recent developments in world markets, the Report suggests that global HNWI wealth will grow to US$59.1 trillion by 2012, advancing at a rate of 7.7 percent per year.

Gain even greater insight into the complexity and competitiveness of the global wealth management market with the recently released book “WEALTH: How the World’s High-Net-Worth Grow, Sustain, and Manage Their Fortunes” by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini at www.wealththebook.com.

[1] Individuals with net assets of at least US$1 million, excluding their primary residence and consumables.

[2] Individuals with net assets of at least US$30 million, excluding their primary residence and consumables.

[3] Dow Jones World Indices, SunGard PowerData, accessed April 18, 2008

[4] Ibid.

About Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies, with offices in 40 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes and serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Merrill Lynch owns approximately half of BlackRock, one of the world's largest publicly traded investment management companies, with more than $1 trillion in assets under management. For more information on Merrill Lynch, please visit www.ml.com.

About Capgemini

Capgemini, one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies. Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working - the Collaborative Business Experience – and through a global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to offer the right resources in the right location at competitive cost. Present in 36 countries, Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR 8.7 billion (approximately US$12 billion) and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.

Capgemini provides deep industry experience, enhanced service offerings and next generation global delivery to serve the financial services industry. With a network of 15,000 professionals serving over 900 clients worldwide, we move businesses forward with leading services and best practices in Banking, Insurance, Capital Markets and Investments. For more information, please visit www.us.capgemini.com/financialservices.

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BearingPoint Awarded IBM’s Asia Pacific SI Business Excellence Award

by Editor 6/25/2008 2:58:00 PM
BearingPoint, Inc., one of the world’s largest management and technology consulting firms, has been awarded Asia Pacific Systems Integrator Business Excellence Award of the Year 2007 for its solid commitment to IBM and delivering industry leading and cost-effective solutions to clients.

BearingPoint’s achievement in 2007 recognizes the success with the Information Management solutions and growth achieved through the expansion into Asia, including wins in Singapore and China. The development of new solutions into the financial sector also contributed to their award nomination.

IBM’s business alliance with BearingPoint began in Australia in 2001 and allows BearingPoint to combine its management and technology consulting expertise with IBM’s product portfolio of hardware and software to deliver quality solutions to the market.

“As an IBM Excellence Award winner, BearingPoint has been recognized for its partnership with IBM and expertise in our Information Management suite of products,” said Andrew Baker, Director, IBM Australia/New Zealand Global Business Partners.

“BearingPoint has established thought leadership in the Information Management space by implementing optimized IT solutions across a wide range of clients."

The IBM awards are held annually and this is the second time that BearingPoint has been awarded the SI Business Partner Excellence Award. The awards recognize business success, mutual teaming and successful client engagement.

“This award is testimony to a 14-year Strategic Alliance that BearingPoint and IBM have created across the world to deliver innovative value to customers. By merging BearingPoint’s capabilities with IBM’s technology, we are able to deliver more complete and compelling business solutions to bring competitive advantage to our clients,” said Charles Cochran, South Asia regional leader, BearingPoint.

The award was presented at the recent IBM Business Partner Summit event, held at the Westin Hotel, Sydney, on 7 May 2008. The awards recognize excellence for each segment of the channel, one winner for each segment: Systems Integration, Distribution, Solution Provider and Independent Software Vendor.

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