long term – Helviti http://helviti.com/ Fri, 25 Mar 2022 21:09:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://helviti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-1-1-120x120.png long term – Helviti http://helviti.com/ 32 32 How to Support Employees Who Find Their Motivation in Faith, Not Work https://helviti.com/how-to-support-employees-who-find-their-motivation-in-faith-not-work/ Mon, 28 Feb 2022 04:00:43 +0000 https://helviti.com/how-to-support-employees-who-find-their-motivation-in-faith-not-work/ “As a Muslim student, I can’t expect perfection at university or my future employer, but I do expect them to try,” says Zaynab Ahmed, a final year student at law at Oxford University, describing how important it is for Muslims. feel heard and valued in an organization. While most employers shout about their credentials as […]]]>

“As a Muslim student, I can’t expect perfection at university or my future employer, but I do expect them to try,” says Zaynab Ahmed, a final year student at law at Oxford University, describing how important it is for Muslims. feel heard and valued in an organization.

While most employers shout about their credentials as diverse and inclusive organisations, there is often misunderstanding as to what inclusion means for Muslim staff who may have a different sense of ‘purpose’ at work.

Many employees, especially younger ones, look to employers to give them a sense of doing good in the world and often focus on measures of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) progress. For Muslims – as for any practicing believer in any God – purpose is not necessarily sought in work: it is often spiritual. So for many, rather than finding purpose in work, they seek to express their faith in their professional lives.

For a corporate lawyer, true inclusion would mean feeling comfortable expressing her Muslim faith fully at work. This is not the case at the moment: “I felt much more ‘altered’ in the world of work than I ever did in university,” she says. “For example, at work [events]I feel more peer pressure to drink alcohol, and my glass of coke really stands out among the many glasses of wine.

“My manager is great; she is accommodating too but that [job] does not correspond to the hereafter or to our values. There’s not much that could keep me here,” she said. The concept of inheritance is central to the Islamic tradition. For Muslims, their sense of purpose centers on the pleasure of God and the legacy they will leave in this world. There is an important connection between their present life and how they will respond to God in the future.

“The two elements of leaving a spiritual legacy as Muslims and succeeding in our careers have often felt at odds with each other,” says Raihan Karim, director of The Legacy Project, a community-led initiative students which aims to help disadvantaged people. environments pursue their academic and professional goals. Although TLP’s counseling is for people of all faiths, topics such as legacy through a spiritual and professional lens are considered together.

Many professionals may struggle to explain religious observances. It’s not always easy for staff to take five minutes in the middle of the day for prayer or to say they can’t attend an evening meeting because it’s Ramadan and the timing doesn’t match. at iftar, the breaking of the fast.

One solution for employers is to make all staff aware of religion-related priorities. Last year, two global senior partners at law firm Clifford Chance sent a Ramadan Kareem (Blessed Ramadan) email to all staff outlining ways to support fellow Muslims and released a video on how workers celebrate Ramadan.

“It opened the door to conversations with genuinely interested non-Muslim colleagues. It was lovely,” says Adilah Azil, a lawyer at the firm. “I even had a non-Muslim supervisor who, just after sunset, said, ‘I think it’s time for you to pray, don’t you?'”

The next step in inclusivity is to embed faith in corporate discourse. Currently, not feeling comfortable explaining one’s point of view from a religious point of view can be a hindrance for Muslims. If employees were given the opportunity to have meaningful discussions about faith, such discussions could be valuable in themselves, but also help Muslim co-workers feel “seen”.

“I have only been successful in my career because I feel comfortable in my faith at EY,” says Mudassar Chaudhry, Co-Chair of the Muslim Community (EYMC) at the accounting firm. He describes a pivotal moment for him when, when he was a 16-year-old intern at the company, a non-Muslim colleague showed him a prayer room. His welcoming attitude towards his faith led to his career there.

Mudassar Chaudhry, co-chairman of the EY Muslim Community, at his desk in his London office
Mudassar Chaudhry feels ‘comfortable’ in his faith at accounting and advisory firm EY © Charlie Bibby/FT

Indeed, inclusion efforts are most effective when applied consistently across the company and embedded in the language and actions of all employees. Last year, EYMC launched its first global Ramadan video featuring Muslim employees discussing what the holy month means to them and some of the company’s senior non-Muslim leaders. Mudassar’s inbox was flooded with surprised colleagues and Muslims interested in EY’s work.

Others use social media to share the experiences of Muslims at work. Content and Publishing Manager Zakir Hasan founded Day of Wrk to present a day in the life of underrepresented minorities and support those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Hasan hopes the site will be a practical tool and “can change people’s luck by learning how to navigate and thrive in a place, without having people who look like them.”

Beyond these initiatives is the recognition that greater employer commitment to faith and spirituality is something important for many people of all faiths, not just Muslims, to feel comfortable in their faith and expressing their purpose at work.

There are also commercial advantages. As Peter ter Kulve, head of Unilever’s global homecare business, said: “We need to understand all of our customers and align our business with the long-term needs of our communities. We try to create a safe and respectful workplace for everyone so that we can hire all the talent possible. »

Securing career paths

Even before entering the world of work, Muslim students face challenges related to career choices. Affordability is a significant challenge. According to 2016 figures from the Muslim Council of Britain, some 50% of Muslim households in the UK face poverty. On top of that, for many Muslims, paying interest on a loan is considered inadmissible. The cost of college and the lack of interest-free or Sharia-compliant student loans create barriers to education for Muslim students. Organizations such as the Aziz Foundation support funding for masters for Muslims and offer 100 masters scholarships.

Universities may struggle to attract Muslim applicants to courses that are not vocational in nature, such as the arts. This is partly due to the reluctance to leave home: such aversion can be overcome if they study a subject like medicine.

But other factors can be problematic. Maryam Adam, a graphic design graduate and artist, struggled to find a course that complemented her faith. “Bare life drawing is a crucial part of many art classes, but for me it caused a spiritual conflict,” she says, noting that an art school refused to adjust the class for her, so she had to find an alternative program.

Some families of aspiring students have little direct experience of higher education and need reassurance. “I am the first single woman in my family to graduate from university and ‘halal’ (i.e. single, halal food) housing has really helped my family to accept me going to the university,” says Ayesha Ulhaq, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge.

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Cole Attends ASG For Student Feedback After Task Force Report Is Released – The Campus https://helviti.com/cole-attends-asg-for-student-feedback-after-task-force-report-is-released-the-campus/ Thu, 16 Dec 2021 02:51:42 +0000 https://helviti.com/cole-attends-asg-for-student-feedback-after-task-force-report-is-released-the-campus/ Provost and Dean of College Ron Cole, 1987, was the guest speaker for the last Allegheny Student Government Assembly on Tuesday, December 7, although he listened more than spoke. Cole attended the meeting to receive student body feedback on the report of the Academic Curriculum Review Task Force, a team of faculty members tasked with […]]]>


Provost and Dean of College Ron Cole, 1987, was the guest speaker for the last Allegheny Student Government Assembly on Tuesday, December 7, although he listened more than spoke. Cole attended the meeting to receive student body feedback on the report of the Academic Curriculum Review Task Force, a team of faculty members tasked with reviewing Allegheny College’s academic programs and advising the President on where the college can best allocate resources.

“I know myself and a lot of the students were nervous about the release of this task force report,” said Senator Veronica Green, ’23. “I was really shocked – in a good way – by the report, and wanted to say that I really agree with some of the sustainability initiatives and the reconfiguration of Reis Hall into an interdisciplinary center. “

Green’s comments kicked off a night of constructive commentary, far from a more controversial one. meeting with Link and his cabinet on November 16 and one student demonstration against the working group on October 21. ASG Vice President Sophie Adams, ’22, clarified that Cole was there to listen in his introduction.

“He will be able to take comments,” Adams said. “It won’t be a casual question and answer; he didn’t write the report, so don’t attack him, please.

The task force report categorized some university programs into three mutually inclusive categories. The first category includes programs that require strategic investment: programs that have been identified by the working group as needing additional faculty members and resources in order to strengthen the program. The second group is that of programs that need to be reconfigured: it is recommended to divide these programs or adjust them in some way. The third category included programs with “challenges to sustainability”; the working group “(suggests) options for these programs to adapt to the changing university landscape, but the status quo is not sustainable”. A fourth category of “maintain” programs has been created for programs not included in the first three groups for which the report does not recommend action at this time.

The third category of programs facing sustainability challenges received the most attention throughout the night. For example, in the same comment where she noted her positive response to the report, Green highlighted the programs the report identified as “unsustainable.”

“The only thing that really worried me was the Energy and Society minor because it’s a fairly new program,” Green said. “I understand the reasoning because I read it, it’s just that, especially if we are going to question the sustainability of geology in the long term, that the Energy and Society minor has a little more leeway.”

In response, Cole reread what he got from Green’s comments.

“Sustaining (energy and society) keeps some of the interest in geology going and gives this program a chance to grow,” Cole said. “I hear that, and that’s the type of feedback or input that would help me right now. “

Senator Joe Leszcynski, ’25, also expressed his support for the Energy and Society program.

“I find it disheartening that energy and society is on the chopping block even though, as you noted, it’s kind of related to geology and environmental science and sustainability,” said Leszcynski.

Cole responded by reminding the organization that programs presenting challenges to their sustainability weren’t necessarily going to be eliminated immediately.

“I would ask a favor: those programs listed under ‘challenges to sustain’ – I don’t necessarily mean to equate that to a chopping block,” Cole said.

Geology was also supported. Senator Clarissa Miller, ’24, noted that the program still has many applications in environmental science.

“I came to this school for the environmental science program and found, by taking classes here, that for me geology was a more direct route to work with oil and gas companies that are working on. general problems of environmental science, ”Miller said. . “There are more options in the workplace, it’s a more specific major, and having both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science options in this department really shows the variety. that the department can offer. ”

Another program that received support was religious studies.

“I want to admit that I am part of a fairly small category of students in terms of the program that interests me,” said June Gromis, 25. “I would just like to make an appeal on this basis for religious studies as something that should be preserved in a meaningful way. Just because of the history of the college, especially as a Methodist institution, and I think a lot of the connections that religion makes in a social context is rooted in religious life, but also in an academic context.

However, the report notes that Religious Studies has struggled to attract and retain majors, specifically citing that the program has averaged just over two majors per year since 2016.

“Allegheny’s majors are having an impact for a number of reasons – in terms of people, because of the senior project required,” Cole said. “Maybe if it weren’t for the senior project, we’d give less weight to, say, major or minor labels and look more at the entries as a whole. “

A student, Piper Martinez, ’24, suggested that a program that retains the character of religious studies could be created in a more sustainable way.

“I would like to propose the idea that – if religious studies is not a major – potentially try to replace it with a major which can be supported by several different programs already in place, which has the same feel of religious studies”, Martinez said. . “Religious studies definitely introduces you to different thought processes and honestly every religious studies course I have taken has been the most difficult for me simply because it actually makes me think and challenge my views. , which I think is a very critical point of the goal of Allegheny College.

Even if a major or minor is removed from Allegheny’s curriculum, students currently registered in that program will still graduate through what Cole called “teaching.”

“I was careful to say that the students who self-declared in a particular program that we would work with to try and help with teaching,” Cole said.

While he did not guarantee a “teaching” option for undeclared students, Cole said there may be some opportunities for currently undeclared students to complete a program that is being reduced.

“Let’s work on an one-to-one basis for students who might fit into this category,” Cole said. “Maybe, no, we can’t do that. Or, there might be other avenues to support this student’s interest, or maybe there is a way to continue this major as a self-declared (major). It’s hard to say without the details, but I’m trying to give you an idea of ​​the options that I hope are available.

Overall, Adams felt that the meeting went well, especially given previous assemblies in which the administration had attended.

“I’m really happy with the students – their composure was good,” Adams said. “I thought people respected each other, and we hung out really well together.”

Adams also acknowledged that the meeting was held on a relatively short notice, with ASG only announcing on that day via social media that Cole would be attending the meeting.

“(Director of Communications and Press Ryder Sullivan) just released the post late today,” Adams said. “Obviously we would like to give more notice; this is something that we have been working on with our Instagram to communicate more. It’s ours.

However, in a November 19 email to the campus community, Cole informed the campus community in advance that the task force would release the report on December 6. In that same email, he wrote that he would be attending the ASG General Meeting on December 7. Assembly.

After the meeting, during his weekly office hours at the Campus Center, Cole suggested that part of the reason the campus community struggles so hard with the program review is the psychological weight of adjusting the way. of which things are made.

“There is heartbreak with the loss,” Cole said. “If we stop doing something – anything – there’s a sense of loss around it. This is, psychologically, an important thing to recognize for me and for others.

Cole said that whenever a change happens, the people involved try to deny that the change is necessary and try to resist it, before accepting that the change is necessary and working with it.

“I believe we’ve been through denial, past some resistance, and we’re heading towards acceptance,” Cole said. “In this place, this is the space where I think Allegheny can make his best decisions which include a large contribution to move forward. We have to move forward in the best possible way. This doesn’t mean that everyone will be happy with the results, but it is the best possible way given the parameters we are currently working with.

AC Unite, the student group organized in opposition to the task force and planned program cuts, posted a petition on Change.org on the day the report was released. The petition calls, among other things, for “the preservation of all majors, minors and other degrees offered from the fall semester 2021”. No such comments were provided to the General Assembly and AC Unite did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

According to his presentation, Cole will use the comments from the General Assembly, along with the comments from the Faculty Council, to prepare an academic program and faculty staffing plan. This plan will be submitted to President Link in mid-January for review; Once Link reviews it, the plan will go to the board for review and final vote. Cole expects final plan to be presented to the college community in mid-February


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Democrats’ eligibility plans include banning Christians from babysitting https://helviti.com/democrats-eligibility-plans-include-banning-christians-from-babysitting/ Mon, 13 Dec 2021 12:30:57 +0000 https://helviti.com/democrats-eligibility-plans-include-banning-christians-from-babysitting/ The Democrats’ current proposed welfare expansion to $ 3.5 trillion would effectively bar Christian worshipers from taking advantage of federal grants to separate infants and toddlers from their families. The current text of the massive Democrats’ ‘build back better’ rights bill contains provisions that would force religious child care providers to disavow long-standing theology on […]]]>


The Democrats’ current proposed welfare expansion to $ 3.5 trillion would effectively bar Christian worshipers from taking advantage of federal grants to separate infants and toddlers from their families.

The current text of the massive Democrats’ ‘build back better’ rights bill contains provisions that would force religious child care providers to disavow long-standing theology on sex in order to receive federal funds for child care as part of a massive new early years program.

Democrats have done everything possible to ensure and ban religious caregivers from receiving any of these funds, and unanimously rejected an amendment allowing all childcare providers to ‘be eligible for grants, including religious providers,’ said Representative Jackie. Walorski, R-Indiana, the foremost member of the House subcommittee on supporting workers and families.

Democrats’ legislation would create a new federally controlled child custody right available to the majority of families across the country. The law allows up to $ 20 billion in the first year of the program, $ 30 billion in the second, $ 40 billion in the third, and an unlimited amount thereafter. the estimated cost of this program over the next ten years is $ 400 billion.

“Making faith-based daycare and kindergarten providers recipients of federal financial assistance triggers federal compliance obligations and non-discrimination provisions,” note leaders of several religious organizations in opposition letter to Senate Democrats last week.

This potentially means force religious organizations to deny any theology that recognizes fundamental truths about human biology and reproduction. Given the state of federal “non-discrimination” law, this could include forcing religious organizations to allow men in women’s bathrooms, hiring transgender babysitters, and teaching young children that men can. turning into women and that the theologically condemned sexual acts are in fact morally good.

Only a third of American children under five are in child care, according to federal statistics. Sixty-three percent of American children aged five and under are looked after by their families and 11 percent by a babysitter or nanny. Most U.S. children ages 0 to 5 who have regular child care are only part-time away from their parents.

Among the minority of American families who enroll young children in full-time daycare, 53% currently choose a religious facility, according to a January 2021 report survey parents from the Bipartisan Policy Center. Family care was the main preference of parents for their children, with religious-based care being the second preferred option in the BPC survey.

The Democrats’ bill would also likely increase child care costs significantly by increasing licensing requirements for people the government pays to care for small children. Most child care workers have a low level of education, but states generally do not increase their licensing requirements as this would reduce the availability of government-controlled child care centers.

Many studies have find that the quality of language and interaction available to a child in infancy and early childhood is extremely important for that child’s intellectual and social development. Studies have also find that frequent one-on-one interaction between a small child and his parents advantages early language development even if the child’s parents are poorly educated. This effect disappears, however, if this poorly educated mother is employed to care for several small children at once instead of one to whom she can fully devote her attention and conversation time.

The resounding research find that living with married parents offers far greater positive benefits to children throughout their lives than participating in an early childhood program.

Large early childhood programs are notoriously low quality. The main existing program of this type, Head Start, has lack improve the educational and life prospects of participants in all quality research carried out on the program which has spent some $ 250 billion of taxpayers since its inception in 1965. In fact, federal research has find that children who participated in Head Start later learned less math and behaved less well than their peers who did not.

Research that shows any long-term benefit for children from participating in early childhood programs derives from such results from small-scale programs that employed teachers and support staff such as doctors who were much better educated than the typical daycare or preschool worker.

Also research shows mass programs that separate young children from their parents to diminish children’s intellectual capacities and increase their aggressiveness, risky behavior, and later the likelihood of committing crimes. They also tend to erode parenting skills. The more time a small child spends away from its mother, the worse these negative effects tend to be.

“The number of hours spent in daycare each week in the first four years of life was the main predictor of child care behavior problems.” writing sociologist Dr. Jenet Erickson in a review of several of these studies. “In fact, the size of the statistical effect of the relationship between child care hours and caregiver reports about behavioral problems at age four and a half was so strong as it was. comparable to the effect of poverty. It is important to note that these statistical effects did not diminish as the children got older.

High-quality studies have found that children who participated in the Tennessee state-run pre-K program had worse behavior and academic performance than children who did not. Children who attended Quebec’s universal child care program were 22 percent more likely be convicted of a crime as an adult in relation to children who did not participate in the program. Children separated from their parents in their younger years by the Quebec program also demonstrated greater emotional fragility that lasted into adulthood.

“The left is at war with religion and family-centered things. They think from cradle to grave, the government knows the best, ”Walorski said.

Walorski sponsored legislation it would increase tax-free savings accounts that families can use to pay for their own costs for child care, tutoring, enrichment activities such as music lessons and a summer camp, and Moreover.


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I may be biased: I support the GSA https://helviti.com/i-may-be-biased-i-support-the-gsa/ Wed, 08 Dec 2021 23:00:02 +0000 https://helviti.com/i-may-be-biased-i-support-the-gsa/ At the Washakie County School District School Board No.1 meeting on October 25, a number of students and community members approached the board with a simple request: to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club, also known as GSA. The board of directors unanimously approved the club. Personally, I was delighted for these children and their club. […]]]>


At the Washakie County School District School Board No.1 meeting on October 25, a number of students and community members approached the board with a simple request: to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club, also known as GSA. The board of directors unanimously approved the club.

Personally, I was delighted for these children and their club. Growing up in the LGBT community, I didn’t have that kind of support. I didn’t know there was someone else going through who I was until I met my friends, and even then it was sometimes difficult.

When I walked out of the school council meeting, the first thing I did was text a few of my friends about the club and its endorsement. They were all as surprised as I was that this was presented to the board, let alone approved. They all made a similar statement saying they were proud of the kids who created the club.

Of course, we had the right to be surprised. When it comes to living in the “Equal State,” this only applies if you are seen as equal to everyone else in the State. Being part of the LGBT community seems to automatically eliminate your chances of this happening. When it comes to homophobia and transphobia, there are worse places to live. I know some countries will kill you for being gay, so we take it a step further. What I’m trying to say is Wyoming isn’t known for being open-minded.

With that in mind, the inevitable has happened. People are really upset that this club has been approved. I’m here to do my best to explain why this club is a good thing and move in the right direction for this city by dividing it into two, one to talk about GSA and one to discuss identity ideology gender.

For starters, according to an article on childtrends.org by Dominique Parris and Brandon Stratford, in a recent review of LGBT-focused school policies and practices, researchers noted that, of all the interventions reviewed, GSAs are supported by the evidence. most consistent to show that they improve the climate and educational outcomes of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer / questioning youth.

To be specific, the researchers identified several studies that documented a reduction in homophobic victimization of LGBTQ students in schools with GSA. LGBTQ youth who participate in GSAs report that clubs are a source of community, a gateway to LGBTQ-friendly resources, and a marker of safety.

According to the article, evidence also suggests that the presence of GSA is associated with benefits for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including youth who do not identify as LGBTQ. For example, one study found a reduction in substance abuse, suicide attempts, and risky sexual behavior among youth in schools with GSA – the strongest effects appear to be among LGBTQ students.

GSAs have been proven time and again to improve the academic and personal lives of LGBTQ students. It just takes knowing that students are not alone to make a huge difference in their lives.

Contemporary LGBTQ adolescents are known to be disproportionately exposed to psychosocial well-being and health issues, according to a study published on the National Institute of Health’s website at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. A growing body of evidence shows disproportionate risk among transgender youth. Specifically, previous research indicates that young people from sexual minorities are at greater risk than heterosexuals for thoughts and attempts of suicide, depression, substance abuse and low self-esteem. Recent studies using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health document that the disparate risks reported by this population of suicidality and depression are particularly increased during the developmental period of adolescence and dissipate in adulthood for men. attracted to the same sex. These findings are of particular importance because they clarify for researchers, policy makers and those working with young people that a primary opportunity to potentially reduce risk to LGBT people is during adolescence.

Much of the time of adolescents is spent in school. Therefore, schools are a potential framework for the positive development and resilience of young people. LGBT teens report high rates of verbal and physical victimization in school and report that their school environment is unsafe. These negative school experiences have been linked to long-term negative mental health and health outcomes. And, before I comment on “mental illness is in your head”, yes; it is literally.

The disparity in positive school experiences for LGBTQ youth lacks information about the positive development of LGBTQ adolescents in positive school settings, such as extracurricular activities. In fact, just like their heterosexual peers, these school-based activities can be a primary framework that promotes positive youth development.

Research suggests that the presence of a GSA may serve as a protective factor for LGBTQ teens, so LGBTQ teens who report their school has a GSA tend to report more school safety and a greater well-being.

The presence of a GSA was further found to be associated with higher levels of school safety, fewer reports of being absent from school due to fear, and greater awareness of a safe adult in the school context. Finally, a few studies have documented that the presence of GSA is associated with a reduced risk of suicide in sexual minority youth.

Now let’s talk about the fears that some people are expressing about this club.

The main thing I want to discuss is that GSAs promote the ideology of gender identity. It seems people are worried that this is a bad thing, for reasons that I can’t fathom. Full Disclosure, as many readers know I am a transgender male. So I don’t see anything wrong with people exploring their gender identity. Gender is not black and white. Well, blue and pink. It’s a huge spectrum and everyone is in a different place.

With religion in mind, many people have the same argument. That you should not interfere with God’s purpose. To this I would like to call attention to Botox, diet pills, facelifts, braces, nuclear warfare, deforestation, laser hair removal, hydrogenated oils, hair dye, Viagra and literally thousands of other everyday things.

Now, on the science side, I’m going to start off by saying that in my experience no one pretends to be transgender. Anyone who decides “Hey, I want to be called insults and wear clothes that don’t fit well to make me stand out!” Is absolutely ridiculous.

Some transgender people suffer from what is called “gender dysphoria”.

According to psychiatry.org, gender dysphoria is clinically significant distress or impairment related to a strong desire to be another gender, which may include the desire to change primary and / or secondary sex characteristics. Being transgender is not something that is taught in schools, nor can it be taught, and it is not something that can be influenced on you. You cannot inflict gender dysphoria or the need to change gender on someone who is not already transgender, or question their gender.

In addition, the Worland High School GSA Club is by no means compulsory. Your children do not have to attend this club. It is not because this club takes place in your school that it changes the program. Just because this club was added doesn’t mean they’re suddenly teaching your kids to be gay. You can’t even teach people to be gay. Being gay is something you were born to, not something that develops or something that is taught.

Now I know I mentioned that I’m keeping religion to a minimum, but I think I’ve been in church enough to qualify to talk about it.

In an article written by Rev. Elder Don Eastman on Religiousinstitute.org, “Christians today do not follow the rules and rituals described in Leviticus. But some ignore his definitions of “uncleanness” while citing Leviticus to condemn “homosexuals.”

“Such an abuse of the scriptures distorts the meaning of the Old Testament and negates a message of the New Testament. ‘You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female: it is an abomination.’ These words appear only in the Leviticus Code of Holiness, a ritual manual for priests in Israel. Their significance can only be fully appreciated in the historical and cultural context of the ancient Hebrew people. Israel, in one place as a chosen people of one God, was to avoid the practices of other peoples and gods.

Reverend Eastman states that “the rituals and rules found in the Old Testament were given to preserve the distinctive features of the religion and culture of Israel. But, as stated in Galatians 3: 22-25, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. By faith they live in Jesus Christ, not in Leviticus. Of course, ethical concerns apply to all cultures and all ages. These concerns were ultimately reflected by Jesus Christ, who said nothing about homosexuality, but a lot about love, justice, mercy, and faith.

These children did nothing wrong. All they want is a safe space where they can be themselves and relate to the others around them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Despite your opinions and concerns, this club was approved unanimously.

This takes Worland away from its traditional state of being and on a path in the right direction. I don’t know about you, but I’m delighted to see what this small step can do for our city.

Stay nice.


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Should you focus on “improving the human experience”? https://helviti.com/should-you-focus-on-improving-the-human-experience/ Sun, 21 Nov 2021 11:00:40 +0000 https://helviti.com/should-you-focus-on-improving-the-human-experience/ CONTENT FRESHNESS USEFULNESS Get insights on how to bring a more human experience and benefits to your workplace. If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more. Which of the following quotes best describes your attitude towards work? “If this was supposed to be fun, they wouldn’t […]]]>


CONTENT

FRESHNESS

USEFULNESS

Get insights on how to bring a more human experience and benefits to your workplace.

If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Which of the following quotes best describes your attitude towards work?

“If this was supposed to be fun, they wouldn’t call it work.”

Or

“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his game, his work and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He barely knows who is who. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in everything he does, letting others decide whether he works or plays. For him, he always does both. ”? James A. Michener

Maybe a better question is: how do you want your team, your employees, and maybe your customers to feel about working with you?

Elevating the human experience: three paths to love and value at work”By Amelia Dunlop seeks to understand what workers expect from work. I recently received a review copy and I have to admit I had a mixed reaction and a lot of questions.

At first glance, I was dubious. Who wouldn’t after hearing things like “People are our greatest asset” or “We value emotional intelligence and servant leadership” only to go to work and experience something more like “I’m paying you.” to introduce you and make me money ”.

Then, as I started to read, I got curious. And I encourage you to do the same. What saved me from this book was that it was based on a study conducted by Dunlop of 6,000 people in the United States.

Amelia Dunlop integrates the human experience

Author Amelia Dunlop is Chief Experience Officer at Deloitte Digital and US Customer Strategy and Applied Design Leader. She helps organizations develop winning strategies that combine design, creativity and strategy.

“As marketers,” she says, “we have the opportunity to create more human experiences, gaining long-term loyalty and trust in the process. And that’s the focus of her work as she leads a team that uses human-centric design and insight strategies to focus on the human experience instead of just the customer experience.

It helps to know that Dunlop studied theology and then worked in management consulting for a company that highly valued “moral purpose”

Does raising people improve the bottom line?

Studies show that when employee needs are met, profitability can skyrocket. For example, a Gallup Survey 2020 found that companies with engaged employees can see their profitability increase by 23%.

gallup 2021 customer engagement results

In the “Foundation” section of the book, Dunlop reviews the five distortions of work. These are the behaviors that have hindered work and serve as a path to self-actualization. They understand:

  • Separate humanity from work. In our quest for employee management, we have replaced names with numbers and efficient transactions rather than relationships.
  • Head-to-heart price. We favor profitable performance over human commitment. For example, promoting people who achieve results in inhuman ways.
  • Work takes over our lives instead of being part of life. We reward and set expectations that employees and suppliers are “always on”.
  • The same work is evaluated differently depending on who does it. We still have a long way to go to compensate employees equally based on skill, contribution and task rather than gender and race.

Elevating the human experience empowers the individual

It’s no surprise that happy, engaged employees generate higher profits and productivity. And, of course, leaders are responsible for creating systems and cultures that engage employees.

But here’s where “Elevate the human experience“is a little different. It’s not necessarily written for the leader. It’s written for the individual. Instead of focusing on the people, systems and organizations you can’t change, Dunlop shows you how to lead and uplift those around you.

It does this by giving the reader three paths:

The first path is an inner path where you first learn to love yourself and recognize your own worth. This is the path of entrepreneurship.

The Second Path is to recognize the worth of another. In this journey, you are shifting the focus from yourself to another person in your life. I see this more as a work trip for another person; maybe a boss or a client.

The Third Way is to learn to recognize and love the people you work with every day. While this can easily apply to a business owner or executive, it can also apply to a small business owner or team member.

Dunlop calls these paths, but I tend to visualize them more as a ripple effect you might get when you throw rocks in a pond.

What you will appreciate “Elevate the human experience

“To elevate the human experience is to recognize intrinsic worth as a human and to nurture growth through love. “

If you are one of those people who have been frustrated by observing the futility of running businesses from a more human perspective, you will appreciate this book.

First, it is grounded in solid research which is expertly illustrated throughout the book.

percentage of people we talk about at work having raised the human experience book

As you can see from this image from the book, the illustrations appear to be hand drawn, giving them a very warm and human touch. Another advantage is that you will see how your answers might compare to the data.

Elevate the human experience ” show you how to hold yourself accountable, whatever your role in business; entrepreneur, employee or owner. You can read the book back and forth, or you can select the specific path you’re on and focus on that section.

No matter which path you choose to explore, expect to be uncomfortable. You might be uncomfortable because you are not used to seeing the word “Love” falling so freely in the workplace. Or, you might be uncomfortable because you will be dealing with how little “love” there is in your work environment.

Wherever you see yourself on the journey to a more humane workplace, you will discover ideas, strategies and ways to find your way into the world of work.

Image: amazon



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Baylor and Harvard team up to study role of faith in human flourishing – Baptist News Global https://helviti.com/baylor-and-harvard-team-up-to-study-role-of-faith-in-human-flourishing-baptist-news-global/ https://helviti.com/baylor-and-harvard-team-up-to-study-role-of-faith-in-human-flourishing-baptist-news-global/#respond Mon, 01 Nov 2021 18:52:35 +0000 https://helviti.com/baylor-and-harvard-team-up-to-study-role-of-faith-in-human-flourishing-baptist-news-global/ Scientists at Baylor and Harvard Universities research the factors that contribute to human flourishing around the world. They announced their five-year, $ 43.4 million study on October 29. The project will assess 240,000 people from 22 countries over an extended period and examine a range of well-being measures. It will draw on the data collection […]]]>


Scientists at Baylor and Harvard Universities research the factors that contribute to human flourishing around the world. They announced their five-year, $ 43.4 million study on October 29.

The project will assess 240,000 people from 22 countries over an extended period and examine a range of well-being measures. It will draw on the data collection expertise of the Gallup organization and dissemination by the Center for Open Science.

Byron johnson

Study director Byron Johnson, a social science professor and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor, said the project has been in the making for three years and is important in part because it will examine in depth the role of religion in human development.

Most previous attempts to study this connection have been in Western countries, have focused primarily on Christianity, and have not lasted for several years, he told a press conference. broadcast live announcement of the launch of the study. “We have to move the needle on these things,” he insisted.

Co-director of the project, Tyler VanderWeele, said factors that contribute to flourishing also include physical and mental health, the quality of close relationships, meaning and purpose, and material stability.

“The type of work required”

Tyler VanderWeele

“The Global Flourishing Study is exactly the kind of work needed to deeply understand the interplay of key elements of the human experience that help us live well, be happy, and feel meaning and purpose,” VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology and director of Human development program at Harvard, said in a press release from Baylor.

The size of the panel of participants will help provide levels of data that cannot be replicated by traditional polls, Johnson added in The version.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the Baylor-Harvard team to lead a panel study like this,” he said. “Because our sample size is so large, we will be able to examine all the major religions of the world and the role, if any, that they play in human flourishing. “

The project will examine what it means to live well, to be truly healthy and to thrive, the Baylor statement added. “Researchers and clinicians have generally answered these questions by focusing on the presence or absence of various conditions – disease, family dysfunction, mental illness or criminal behavior. But such an approach to “deficits” says a lot about what makes a life well lived – what it means to thrive. “

The focus will be on people from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria , Philippines, Poland, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States United Kingdom and United States.

The long-term goal should also produce data relating to the health, economic, political, psychological, political and spiritual determinants of human development.

Filling the knowledge gap

Joe daly

During the live-streamed event, Gallup lead partner Joe Daly explained that the Global Flourishing Study will benefit from nearly two decades of research his organization has conducted on the human condition around the world. But the Baylor-Harvard collaboration will also fill a knowledge gap about the role of religion in flourishing.

“We’re going to be able to see what drives what,” Daly said.

The overall approach to the study is unique, said Rajesh Srinivasan, global research director for Gallup World Poll, in the statement.

“There are several examples of nationally representative probabilistic studies that track the same respondents over time in a single country,” Srinivasan said. “But few have attempted to cover multiple countries. The scope of this project is unprecedented and likely to provide valuable information for global survey research using this type of methodology. “

The questionnaire that resulted from the development phase of the project was summarized in a Gallup report. The partnership with the Center for Open Science will present the results to educators, journalists, policy makers and researchers around the world.

“The rigor and transparency applied to its analysis will increase confidence in the research that emerges from this work and reduce barriers to global and equitable access to this information,” said Center Director David Mellor.

The broader goal of the study is to transform the study of human flourishing into a mature academic discipline, Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, said in the Baylor statement. “The flourishing global study is a methodological innovation that can really change the world – really change the way the world is run.

The cost of the study is covered by a number of sources, including the John Templeton Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the Paul Foster Family Foundation, the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation and the David & Carol Myers Foundation, Baylor announced. . .


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How does a short-term loan work? https://helviti.com/how-does-a-short-term-loan-work/ https://helviti.com/how-does-a-short-term-loan-work/#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 10:38:46 +0000 https://helviti.com/?p=412 A short-term loan from https://greendayonline.com/short-term-loans/ is a loan that’s available to meet a personal or business need. This loan is a great option if you have temporary cash flow issues and can provide quick financing if you need it immediately. Online short-term loans have become more popular due to the growing popularity of the internet. These […]]]>

A short-term loan from https://greendayonline.com/short-term-loans/ is a loan that’s available to meet a personal or business need. This loan is a great option if you have temporary cash flow issues and can provide quick financing if you need it immediately.

Online short-term loans have become more popular due to the growing popularity of the internet. These loans can be accessed via apps or finance websites, but it is important to select the right one. The nature of the credit provided determines the name of short term loans. The loan’s payment structure is shorter and requires no long-term commitments.

You can either repay the entire loan in one day, or you can pay it off over time. The due date is usually within one year. How fast the loan is paid can affect how much interest you pay.

Short term loans

It is important to gather enough information about short-term loans before you decide whether or not to apply. A short term loan may be the right option for you. Traditional lenders such as banks don’t have all of the advantages that short term financiers do. Contrary to popular belief short term loans are not always a last resort. They can be an alternative to traditional credit and may even be more beneficial overall.

The majority of short-term loans on the market operate in a similar way, with a simple and quick process. There are several stages to obtaining a short-term loan.

Initial request

The initial application is the first step to getting a short-term loan. You will need to provide information about yourself and financial details to be considered for a short term loan. This information can include your name, contact details, income, and the reason for your loan application.

After you submit the required information, the lender will use these details to determine your loan limit, which is the maximum amount you can borrow. Your expected income, credit history, and financial sense can all impact your loan limit. Different loan limits are offered to different people at the discretion of the lender.

Request for specific amount and approval

Your background check is the most important factor in determining whether you are approved for a short-term loan. Short term lenders don’t have to be as strict as traditional lenders and can use different methods of determining your eligibility for a loan. Even if your credit is not perfect, you may still be eligible for a short-term loan.

After your application is approved, you will need to request a specific amount within the given loan limit. For example, if you are given a loan limit $1000, you can borrow any amount that is within that limit. Once you have decided on the amount you want, the lender will need to approve your request.

Payment scheduling

You are guaranteed to receive the requested amount as long as you have been granted a loan limit. Last, consider the repayment structure. Most lenders will establish a due date for total loan clearance.

The lender will determine the type of payment plan that is offered. Short term loans may have a fixed due date, which means that you must pay the entire amount within a specified time. You might also be required to pay a specific amount at certain stages. Some short-term loans come with an open-ended due date, which allows you to repay the loan whenever suits you. The interest rate will increase if you delay paying the loan.

Short term loans are ideal for people who urgently need money. The money is typically received within a few hours of approval. While some lenders may offer several options for receiving the money, others may focus on one, easily accessible, public way to receive the money.

Some important things to remember

When taking out a short-term loan, the most important factor to consider is your ability and willingness to repay the amount. Although the maximum amount offered may seem attractive in some cases, it is not wise to borrow more than you can afford. It is crucial to consider how easy it will be to repay the money before deciding on the amount you should request.

You should also pay attention to the interest rate associated with each loan option. Calculating the amount that you owe the lender at due date is a good way to determine whether or not a loan is worthwhile.

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While some in the western world reject traditional religion, they reorient their faith – don’t lose it https://helviti.com/while-some-in-the-western-world-reject-traditional-religion-they-reorient-their-faith-dont-lose-it/ https://helviti.com/while-some-in-the-western-world-reject-traditional-religion-they-reorient-their-faith-dont-lose-it/#respond Sat, 23 Oct 2021 20:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/while-some-in-the-western-world-reject-traditional-religion-they-reorient-their-faith-dont-lose-it/ The language of traditional religion is as ingrained in hierarchy as it is in history. According to most doctrines, God is the Shepherd – and we are the flock. Humans are controlled from the heavens by the deity or deities we serve. But advancements in neuroscience and psychology present a very different story, one in […]]]>


The language of traditional religion is as ingrained in hierarchy as it is in history.

According to most doctrines, God is the Shepherd – and we are the flock. Humans are controlled from the heavens by the deity or deities we serve.

But advancements in neuroscience and psychology present a very different story, one in which the human brain is hardwired for spiritual thought and where religious beliefs and practices come and go over time, depending on our needs and circumstances. our fears of the real world.

This could help explain many of the fundamental changes in religious observance and belief, from the return of European paganism to a growing interest in individualistic forms of spirituality.

Pagans and Druids, celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge here, could be more and more numerous.(Getty: Chris J Ratcliffe)

Reassessing the rise of atheism

When people assess the future of religion, a first observation is that Western societies are becoming less religious, but religious scholar Linda Woodhead disputes this popular idea.

When people tick “no religion” on a census form, it doesn’t mean they have turned away from all beliefs, she told ABC RN’s Future Tense.

Instead, it often just indicates that they no longer want to be identified with an established faith.

“In many cases people are still spiritual, they still want a lot of good that religion can offer, but in a way that makes more sense to them,” she says.

And in a consumerist world where personal choice comes first, Professor Woodhead argues that more and more people are choosing to create their own form of religious belief.

“Young people are very concerned about their identity. They want to find a spiritual, moral and community life that is meaningful to them personally, and they want to have much more authority in their quest and in their spiritual development, ”she says.

Professor Woodhead points to a revival of pre-Christian traditions, including the pagan Rodnovery faith in modern Russia, and official state recognition of Germanic paganism in Norway.

She says such developments are in part an aspiration to culture, meaning and symbolism, and are more than mere appropriation.

“The religions which do not offer this, [where] people have the impression that they are not getting this kind of spiritual nourishment, it is religions that fall and die. I think that’s what happened to [traditional] churches, ”she said.

Close-up of hands clasped as if in prayer over an old book with blurred text, which could be a religious text.
Formal religion may be losing ground in the Western world, but spirituality is getting nowhere, experts say.(Unsplash: Patrick Foré)

Nothing is written in stone

Connor Wood, associate researcher at the Center for Mind and Culture in Boston, agrees that formalized religion is giving way to more individualistic, even “idiosyncratic” spiritual beliefs.

But, he says, it’s important to remember that religions have always come and gone – this faith is dynamic.

He says that even enduring religions like Christianity have reinvented themselves several times over the centuries, and argues that the belief structures that survive are those that best meet individual or societal needs, or both.

Islam, for example, quickly spread along the trade routes of the Middle East and North Africa, as it offered a system of verifying the trust of traders.

“[The traders] you might never have seen each other before, but you see this guy is doing the Salat prayer, the noon prayer to Allah, and you say, okay I know this guy … he’s in the same kind of world that me and I can trust him, ”says Dr. Wood.

Likewise, Roman Emperor Constantine’s membership in the relatively minor cult of Christianity served Rome’s rulers well, as it brought a sense of cohesion to their distant empire.

“If you have a religion that gets people to cooperate on a very large scale and in a fairly predictable way over the long term, you might have a guardian,” says Dr. Wood.

Everything in the mind

According to psychologist Justin Barrett, spiritual belief has evolved because it meets a particular human need, and people are “hypersensitive” to the idea of ​​a human agency when they search for meaning and purpose in the world. .

“It seems the conceptual path of least resistance for us is to think in terms of the thriller as opposed to the mechanisms by which it happened,” he says.

Professor Barrett, former head of the Cognition, Religion and Theology project at the University of Oxford, says concepts of God and ancestor spirits are therefore meaningful to us because they fit neatly into this “cognitive divide” .

“We quickly understood from early childhood that humans won’t do the job for a lot of these thriller issues, and so we seem to find something a little bigger and more powerful, more competent and more powerful than human beings. humans, much more satisfying, “he says.

A conspiratorial alignment

Professor Barrett argues that our instinctive desire to attribute human-like agency to external sources also helps explain why people join celebrity cults, populist political causes, and even conspiracy groups like QAnon.

He says that what we generally recognize as the tenets of religion, such as belief in a higher order and acceptance of unchallenged faith, are similar to those shared by many social and political movements.

“It’s kind of a mix and match of different types of psychological triggers, if you will,” says Professor Barrett.

“What he lays bare is that the types of psychological dynamics that underlie religious systems can show up in other types of” almost “religious behavior.”

He says it demonstrates that religious thought is not unique and that it is part of human culture and the way we try to make sense of what is going on around us.

Professor Barrett also argues that whether it is centered in the brain or in the heavens, spirituality is here to stay.

He says the demise of religion has been regularly predicted for at least 150 years, and despite their best efforts, Stalin and Mao failed to eradicate it.

“We can see religions changing in their form. We can see them serving [or] meaningful roles, but they certainly don’t seem to be going away any time soon. “

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The Dark Money Secretly Bankrolling Activist Short-Sellers — and the Insiders Trying to Expose It https://helviti.com/the-dark-money-secretly-bankrolling-activist-short-sellers-and-the-insiders-trying-to-expose-it/ https://helviti.com/the-dark-money-secretly-bankrolling-activist-short-sellers-and-the-insiders-trying-to-expose-it/#respond Fri, 22 Oct 2021 15:04:47 +0000 https://helviti.com/?p=356 John Fichthorn had been in the hedge fund business for more than 20 years when a half-hour phone call with a stranger put him on high alert. In December 2017, Fichthorn — a veteran short-seller and the founder of hedge fund Dialectic Capital Management — had joined the board of a troubled small-cap company called […]]]>

John Fichthorn had been in the hedge fund business for more than 20 years when a half-hour phone call with a stranger put him on high alert.

In December 2017, Fichthorn — a veteran short-seller and the founder of hedge fund Dialectic Capital Management — had joined the board of a troubled small-cap company called Health Insurance Innovations. But when he happened to mention its name to a prospective investor a year later, the man told him an alarming detail.

“There’s a multibillion-dollar fund out there going around with a short report trying to pay people to publish it on their behalf,” Fichthorn recalls the man saying.

“He was very nervous about telling me any of this,” says Fichthorn. Short-sellers soon began pounding the stock, so he called the man back and says he finally convinced him to provide the alleged name behind the offer. According to Fichthorn, that name was a Hong Kong-based hedge fund.

“Who the fuck is that?” thought Fichthorn.

Fichthorn may never have heard of the fund, but it has become well known in short-seller circles for being what’s called the “balance sheet” behind some of the activists who trumpet their short research on social media — a phenomenon that has turned the world of short-selling upside down over the past decade. These noisy activists, many of whom are anonymous and have little money of their own, have taken on outsize importance during a time when the bull market has ravaged short-sellers and a Twitter mention can move a stock.

Fichthorn, of course, is from the pre-social-media era. The 47-year-old launched Dialectic in 2004 after a stint at Maverick Capital, the Tiger Cub headed by Lee Ainslie III, who learned the trade under famed hedge fund pioneer Julian Robertson. Behind the scenes, Fichthorn has been involved in some of the most well-known short bets of recent years, including Wirecard, the German financial firm that collapsed in scandal in June, and MiMedx Group, the Georgia biomedical company whose former CEO was charged with fraud by the Department of Justice — years after Fichthorn contacted the DOJ with such allegations.

“I thought my role in life was to be the cop in the markets,” he says. 

That’s of course exactly what the activist short-sellers say. More than a dozen short-sellers interviewed by Institutional Investor in an effort to penetrate this murky terrain say there are numerous players and various permutations of the model that may involve the sharing of ideas and research along with either a cut of the gains on the short trade or a set fee. In fact, some short-sellers believe that almost all of the activists have such backing — even those running small hedge funds themselves. 

Wary of both reputation risk and litigation risk — and eager to avoid the drama that swirls around activist short-sellers — some hedge funds even give away their research for free to the activists. The hope is that, once publicized, a damning report will be the catalyst for a downward move in a stock they’ve shorted. 

The backdrop for all this is the stock market’s relentless rise, which in recent years has brutalized short-selling. Many short-biased hedge funds have either shut down or bled assets; industry insiders say that more could close shop in 2020. 

Into this vacuum has stepped a slew of upstarts, often touting their research on Seeking Alpha and posting links to their blogposts on Twitter. As of October 21, 38 activist short-sellers — many anonymous — had published short research on 128 companies this year, according to Activist Insight Shorts, which tracks the naysayers. The Bear Cave, a weekly online newsletter, reported that during one week in October alone, eight new short research pieces were published. 

The trend has raised alarms — and not just from the companies they target. Seasoned short-sellers say the information overload risks “commoditizing” the research and also raises red flags about its originality, accuracy, and depth. Critics also note that reports sometimes arrive just prior to the expiration of options that can send stocks into a tailspin, risking market manipulation allegations. They also fear that these problems could lead to tougher regulation of short-selling, which could make it even less profitable — and allow frauds to go unchecked in the markets. 

Short of a court order or federal investigation, however, it is impossible to know who is behind the action. 

But there are clues.


Start with Carson Block, the founder of Muddy Waters Capital, who launched the new breed of short-seller activist in 2011 with his blockbuster research on Sino-Forest Corp., a Toronto-listed Chinese company whose investors included then-hedge fund star John Paulson. Block also appears to have pioneered the balance-sheet approach. And now that he runs a hedge fund with more than $200 million under management, Block occasionally offers such financial support to other short activists whose research he deems worthwhile.

“There are some firms out there that are in the balance-sheet business,” asserts Block. “Full disclosure: We are.” 

He declined to say which activists he has funded. However, Muddy Waters has an investment in Wolfpack Research, which was launched last year by short-seller Dan David.

A decade ago, Block was living in Shanghai and running a money-losing storage business when he authored his first short report, alleging that a New York Stock Exchange-listed Chinese company called Orient Paper was a fraud. The next year, he decided to look for a balance-sheet partner, using one exclusively until 2013.

“When I started out, I had no money. I had negative net worth,” he says. “So I worked with balance-sheet partners.” 

Block declined to say who his original balance-sheet partner was. According to The Wall Street Journal, Block sold his research on Rino International Corp., another suspected Chinese fraud, to Oasis Management, as well as to other hedge funds, in 2010. That was just before Block says he turned to the balance-sheet model, offering his research reports to a single fund for a cut of its profits on the trade.

Muddy Waters’ next big short was Sino-Forest, and Oasis was short that Chinese company three weeks ahead of Block’s report, according to a lawsuit Oasis filed in London in an effort to get Morgan Stanley to pay the $9.3 million Oasis claimed it was owed by the investment bank for its Sino-Forest puts.

Oasis founder Seth Fischer and portfolio manager Alexander Shoghi did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Block defends the practice, saying it is a collaborative effort that benefits both parties.

“Activist short-selling is a hardscrabble life,” he says. “It’s actually a shitty business for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that it’s subscale. There are very few activist short-sellers who can regularly short names that have real capacity in the trade,” he explains. 

Most don’t have enough capital to start a hedge fund. “If your trade capacity is around five to ten to 25 million dollars, that doesn’t justify raising a fund. You won’t be able to generate returns on that.”

Instead, Block says, with a balance-sheet partner “the performance fee is effectively paid by a hedge fund. It has the capital and the institutional pipes.” Short-sellers borrow stock, hoping to pay it back at a lower price and profit on the differential. Hedge funds have relationships with prime brokers at investment banks that can lend them shares — relationships Block found he could not form in the early days.

“A lot of these names — U.S.-listed Chinese scams — were hard to borrow,” he recalls. “We went to the big, pretty institutional primes who had access to borrow, and they told us we were too small and controversial.” 

Big hedge funds also have analysts who can call both the companies and sell-side analysts to get information they aren’t going to reveal to a known activist short-seller. Perhaps most importantly, a balance-sheet partner can also provide legal support, which can run up to $1 million if the short-seller gets sued or investigated by a regulator, Block says. 

From their end, hedge funds prefer to work in the shadows for a number of reasons — one being that their own investors, particularly institutional investors like endowments and sovereign wealth funds, may look askance at short activism. 

One case famous in financial circles involved one of the largest and oldest hedge funds, whose investors know it as one that “never shorts,” says someone familiar with the details. 

That hedge fund was the balance sheet behind Harry Markopolos’s short report on General Electric Co., which he released last August. 

Markopolos, a former Wall Street portfolio manager whose claim to fame was warning the Securities and Exchange Commission about the Madoff Ponzi scheme years before it collapsed, has since served as a whistleblower to the government in other cases, notably the investigation of insurer AmTrust Financial, which settled with the SEC this summer over charges related to its accounting for losses from insurance claims. 

When he took on GE, Markopolos disclosed that he had given the report to a major hedge fund that had veered from its long-only stance to short GE and that he would be paid a percentage of the gains from the bet. He had no control over the trading.

Markopolos also noted that he had turned over the report to regulators. “If you do SEC fraud cases and bust fraud guys, you better be transparent,” says an individual knowledgeable about his thinking.

The stock fell 14 percent on the report, which claimed that GE was under-reserving for its long-term health insurance claims. But the focus quickly shifted to an excoriation of Markopolos’s arrangement with the hedge fund, and the stock ticked back up.

GE investors like Citron Research’s Andrew Left — who is better known as a short-seller — attacked Markopolos’s deal and said he had never been compensated by a third party to publish research. Then hedge fund billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller jumped in, saying he had added to his position in the stock. GE CEO Larry Culp denied Markopolos’s accusations.

“Unfortunately, when Markopolos disclosed that he was working with a balance-sheet firm, he was unable to keep the focus on his work, and the media seemed distracted by what is really a faux salacious detail,” says Block.

Today, the famous whistleblower appears to have been vindicated: GE reported in October that it had received a Wells notice from the SEC — a warning that the agency may take enforcement actions — over the very issues Markopolos had highlighted. 

Given the blowback, if Markopolos were to do another short report for a hedge fund, he would insist on more disclosure, says the individual familiar with his thinking. He “would only do it with a hedge fund side by side — and public,” this person says. “It’s easier if the backers are disclosed, and the reason is that the people should focus on the research and not on attacking it for being [tied to] an ‘evil’ hedge fund.” 

When it comes to short-selling, however, disclosure is not something most hedge funds want.

John Fichthorn

Short-sellers are part of a clubby, cantankerous community that has derisively been called a cabal. They often share research and reinforce each other with what are called “pile on” trades. There is nothing inherently unusual, or illegal, about that. Market participants say that short-sellers at hedge funds skilled in the strategy, like Eminence Capital, Valiant Capital Partners, Sophos Capital Management, and Kingsford Capital Management, also pass along research to activists — but they aren’t believed to have offered to finance them.

Citron’s Left is one short-seller these men have turned to to get out their message. For example, a blockbuster short report on Nu Skin Enterprises, a multilevel marketing company, that Citron published in 2012 was research undertaken by another party for Third Point, but Jim Carruthers, who ran Third Point’s equity short book, gave it to Left, according to two individuals familiar with the specifics. 

In 2014, Carruthers formed Sophos with seed money from Yale University’s endowment; by the end of last year, it had become the largest dedicated short-seller in the world, with $1.16 billion, according to its ADV filing with the SEC. The hedge fund is so secretive it doesn’t even have a website. 

(Left says he does not remember the details surrounding the Nu Skin report. Neither Carruthers nor Valiant responded to a request for comment. Third Point, Kingsford, and Eminence declined to comment.) 

“There is a lot of pressure on hedge funds to generate short alpha,” says Fahmi Quadir, the founder of Safkhet Capital, a short-only hedge fund that is not an activist. “You’re doing all this work, and you want to make the profits, so you lean on these activists to make sure it happens.”

For many hedge funds, sharing research is better than a financial arrangement with the activist. “By letting someone else put out the research, then you’re not out there at all and you have total flexibility in how you trade the thing,” says one hedge fund manager. “Once you have a fee arrangement, then it’s a bit problematic.”

Potential legal headaches aren’t the only issue. Hedge funds may have a “belief on a position but don’t want to deal with all the blowback and harassment and the doxing,” says Nathan Anderson, whose Hindenburg Research gained notice after its September short call on electric-truck maker Nikola Corp., which led the SEC and the DOJ to investigate the company and the stock to plummet.

Though Anderson is this year’s hot new short-seller — and says he still has a major short in Nikola — the troubles he has faced make him understand why hedge funds prefer to stay in the background.

“People call me and say they’re going to murder me and my entire family,” he says. Anderson, who worked for years behind the scenes as a fraud investigator and whistleblower before becoming a short-seller in 2017, says he was “naïve” about what it would entail. “Being a public activist is an inherently contentious business.”  

Hindenburg has been the most prolific short activist this year, launching 21 campaigns, according to Activist Insight Shorts. The volume of Hindenburg’s reports has raised eyebrows among short-sellers, but Anderson says he can do so many because he has five employees working on research. He also uses outside consultants. 

And now that he’s famous for the Nikola short, Anderson says he has gotten more than 50 leads a week “from all over the place.”

“Any market participant will talk to a short activist,” he says, adding that “it’s extremely important to independently vet anything.”   

As a relative newcomer, Anderson also turns to others for financing and acknowledges he had a balance-sheet partner for the Nikola short. “If there is more capacity in a trade than we can handle on our own, then we seek to augment with a balance-sheet partner,” he says. “I think that’s pretty standard in the industry.” 

He declined to name any of those partners, but he says there is no shortage of money wanting to get in on his action. “We’ve had dozens of offers,” he says.

This year, the stocks Hindenburg has shorted were down an average of 25 percent a month after the release of its reports, according to Activist Insight Shorts. That’s evidence that the stocks continue to fall, not just pop back up in a V shape, which critics have noted can happen if a short-seller covers on the day of the report. 

But the existence of the V-shaped pattern elsewhere has led to calls for more disclosure from several places — including, interestingly, from inside the world of short-selling.


In April, outspoken short-seller Marc Cohodes stunned the short-selling community when he teamed up with Joshua Mitts, associate professor at Columbia Law School, to author an op-ed in the Financial Times calling for a mandatory ten-day holding period by a firm or individual after the public dissemination of market-moving information. 

To protect themselves from market-manipulation accusations, short activists typically say upfront that they are short the stock of the subject of their report. Buried in the fine print, however, are more details — as well as caveats.

In a recent report, Muddy Waters, whose generic disclosure has been used as a template by others, states that as of the publication of the report, the firm was either long or short the name, “possibly along with or through its members, partners, affiliates, employees, and/or consultants, Muddy Waters Related Persons clients and/or investors and/or their clients and/or investors.” It states these parties may be trading the securities and adds that “neither Muddy Waters Research nor Muddy Waters Capital will update any report or information on its website to reflect changes in positions that may be held by a Muddy Waters Related Person.”  

Such language allows the activist — and any balance-sheet partner — to trade in and out at will. But Cohodes argues that it’s not good policy.   

“Whether you own shares or are betting against a company, I believe it is misleading to tell investors that you have a specific view on a company and then profit from a trade in the opposite direction,” he wrote.

Cohodes alleged that “many bloggers and social media personalities who promote or attack stocks do not conduct a deep investigation of the companies involved. Instead, they republish theses acquired elsewhere and buy and sell quickly to make a fast buck.” 

In a rulemaking proposal to the SEC in February, Mitts, Columbia securities law professor John Coffee, and ten other law professors asked the SEC to force short-sellers who publicize their position to “promptly” say when their disclosure of being short “no longer reflects current holdings or trading intention.” They want short-sellers to make that disclosure within 24 hours of a change in trading or by the beginning of the next day’s trading. 

“Rapidly closing a short position after publishing (or commissioning) a report, without having specifically disclosed an intent to do so, can constitute fraudulent scalping in violation of Rule 10b-5,” they argued, referring to the SEC’s anti-fraud rule.

Short-sellers like Block rail against Mitts, dismissing him as a “shill” for corporate clients. (Mitts has worked for corporate plaintiffs in lawsuits filed by at least two known targets of short-sellers, Farmland Partners and Burford Capital; Muddy Waters is short Burford.)

Moreover, activists say the work is so hard that it’s almost imperative to take the money — or at least some of it — and run. It’s simply risk management.

“The vast majority of short activists would not even be viable if their balance sheet wasn’t getting really concentrated in each name . . . then closing out a decent portion of that position,” says one short-seller. 

“If you don’t take advantage of the elevated volume, in subsequent days you could start bleeding some money and giving back,” he explains. “You know that on day two, the company comes back with everything they’ve got. And you don’t know how long it’s going to take for the market to become skeptical of management,” he adds. “In the meantime, you could get hit with a lawsuit.”

Short-sellers in the U.S. are protected by the First Amendment, which gives them broad discretion to offer their view on a company as long as it is stated as an opinion they believe to be true. While making false statements is not protected, and companies frequently claim “market manipulation,” cases against short-sellers have been few and far between — as proving illegality hinges on intent.

Mitts says short-selling is good for the markets but nonetheless argues that if the intent of the report is to “crash the price so that you induce a panic and a bunch of selling that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise, that strategy is going to be illegal.”

He is critical of the role of balance-sheet providers and thinks more transparency regarding their involvement would be “better for our markets.”

“If all I’m doing is just putting out my opinion about the company, and I have my short position, why do I need a massive hedge fund?” he asks.  “But if the purpose of a balance-sheet partner is to inject so much selling into the stock that it mechanically drives the price down because there’s not enough demand anymore, and that in turn triggers stop losses and triggers other people to sell . . . that may be evidence of manipulative intent.”

“Is the market really reacting to the information, or is the balance-sheet partner crashing the price?” he wonders. “That’s a big question that needs to be asked.”

Mitts also mentions the short-sellers’ use of the word “catalyst” — a term commonly used by traders that refers to what will make the stock move. 

“By ‘catalyst’ do you mean you need something to start the snowball so that it starts to pick up momentum on its own and makes a lot of money? And if that’s what we’re talking about, then it’s not clear to me that is legal,” he says.

Mitts raised some of these issues in a declaration filed in support of a defamation lawsuit brought in Colorado federal court in 2018 by Farmland Partners against short activist Rota Fortunae, a front for Quinton Mathews, the managing member of QKM, a Dallas-based registered investment adviser with no assets under management, according to its most recent ADV filing with the SEC. This year, Mathews was forced by the judge to reveal his identity. The short-seller later disclosed the name of the Dallas hedge fund, Sabrepoint Capital Management, that was paying him for his short research on a monthly retainer basis. Sabrepoint is now also a defendant in the case, which is pending. Both Mathews and Sabrepoint have denied the accusations.

Before the Farmland report was issued, put positions were opened in thousands of contracts, according to the Mitts declaration. The trading activity showed that traders had bet the stock would drop precipitously on, or soon after, July 11, 2018 — the day of the report — and had taken an extraordinary derivatives position that would have the effect of inducing a massive sell-off in Farmland stock, Mitts wrote in the court filing.

Here’s how it works in theory: As the stock starts to fall, the puts become more valuable, and market makers who have sold them have to short more shares to hedge against those puts, known as delta hedging. Such selling is likely compounded by algorithmic or high-frequency trading, putting more pressure on the stock and forcing the market makers to continue shorting.

Farmland’s stock has never recovered from the pounding it took, which to Mathews’ mind means he was correct in his assessment of the company. “Nearly two years ago, I published my research on [Farmland Partners]. Six days later, the company issued a public rebuttal that failed to address any of the questions raised in my report or deny any of my findings. Shortly after, the company sued my pseudonym,” he wrote on Seeking Alpha in June.

But companies say it can be hard to recover from an assault that makes creditors and customers wary.


At least that’s how Fichthorn sees it. 

Fichthorn declined to give the name of the short-seller who alleged a hedge fund was offering to pay activists to publish its short thesis on Health Insurance Innovations.

But for the next year and a half, short-sellers battered the company on Twitter and elsewhere. One anonymous short activist, Marcus Aurelius Value, wrote five reports on Health Insurance Innovations, starting in November 2018 and ending in June of this year.

Aurelius Value did not respond to a Twitter message asking if he had worked with a balance-sheet partner on the short and, if so, whether the partner provided him with research. 

The Capitol Forum, a subscription-based news service that often covers short targets, also wrote articles that hammered the stock. Its stories sometimes came out on the Friday of options expiration, says Fichthorn. “At 11:00 a.m, the stock would start going down, and at 12:00 the company would learn of the article,” he says. “We had an hour to respond.”

At one point, the options action made Health Insurance Innovations the biggest short in the market, with more than 100 percent of the shares shorted, says Fichthorn. “It was kind of ironic that I, as a professional short-seller, was on the board of the company that was the most shorted stock in the market.”

When II approached Capitol Forum reporter Vikas Kumar about the stories, he demanded proof from II’s editor-in-chief that this writer was working for II. Eventually, Jake Williams, Capitol Forum’s COO, told II that it was not approached by a hedge fund to run negative research about Health Insurance Innovations. “We’re an objective investigative news organization and would not accept such an offer from any company or on any topic,” he said in an email. 

For their part, short-sellers say they based their case on the company’s use of boiler-room tactics to sell worthless insurance products. At least one lawsuit by individuals claiming to have been victimized by the company is still pending.   

But Fichthorn says Health Insurance Innovations only offered a platform for brokers to sell products and that state insurance regulators had found no wrongdoing. Moreover, he says he joined the board because new management was trying to “clean up” the company and any legacy problems associated with prior CEOs had been dealt with.

“The reality is if enough of them pile on and write enough bad stuff, they can destroy companies. I watched it from the inside. They called our customers and they were making shit up,” bemoans Fichthorn, pointing specifically to a short-seller rumor that the FBI was at the company’s headquarters. It wasn’t. 

In July, the company — which renamed itself Benefytt Technologies earlier this year — was sold to private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners for $31 per share — a 40 percent premium to where it was trading at the time.

Before the short-selling drama began, Fichthorn had effectively sold his hedge fund to B. Riley Financial. He recently left that firm and is relaunching Dialectic, but says he is out of the short-selling business for now. 

“Someday,” he says wistfully, “it will be worth shorting stocks again.”

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Podcast 244: Scott Stewart of the ILPA https://helviti.com/podcast-244-scott-stewart-of-the-ilpa/ https://helviti.com/podcast-244-scott-stewart-of-the-ilpa/#respond Fri, 22 Oct 2021 15:01:15 +0000 https://helviti.com/?p=293 Small business lenders have been in the spotlight this month as hundreds of billions of dollars in loans are distributed to needy American businesses. While fintech should have been front and center in this initiative it has found itself sitting on the sidelines. But with round two just signed into law today fintech has an […]]]>

Small business lenders have been in the spotlight this month as hundreds of billions of dollars in loans are distributed to needy American businesses. While fintech should have been front and center in this initiative it has found itself sitting on the sidelines. But with round two just signed into law today fintech has an opportunity to help now.

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Scott Stewart, the CEO of the Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA). Many of the larger online small business lenders in the country are members and Scott has been extremely busy in recent weeks helping them navigate the many challenges of today. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been occupying most of his time lately. (Editor’s note: this episode was recorded on April 14, so does not include commentary on recent developments).

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How he first became aware of the ILPA and why he took the job.
  • The mission of the association.
  • Why the SMART Box has been a successful initiative for their members.
  • How California and New York are taking up transparency in small business lending.
  • How ILPA members are approaching the PPP.
  • Scott’s view of the application process for fintech lenders to apply as a PPP lender.
  • The constraints that fintech lenders have to deal with in originating PPP loans.
  • How much Scott is talking with leaders of other trade associations.
  • The initiatives that Scott is focused on right now.
  • How the financial crisis is impacting the financial health of ILPA members.
  • Why it is important for the government to get the origination fees to the lenders quickly.
  • Some of the long run impacts of this financial crisis on fintech.
  • What more the government should be doing right now to support small business.

This episode of the Lend Academy Podcast is sponsored by LendIt Fintech USA 2020, the world’s largest fintech event dedicated to lending and digital banking.

Download a PDF of the transcription of Podcast 244 – Scott Stewart.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION SESSION NO. 244–SCOTT STEWART

Welcome to the Lend Academy Podcast, Episode No. 244, this is your host, Peter Renton, Founder of Lend Academy and Co-Founder of the LendIt Fintech Conference.

(music)

Today’s episode is sponsored by LendIt Fintech USA, the world’s largest fintech event dedicated to lending and digital banking. It’s happening on our new dates of September 30 and October 1, at the Javits Center in New York. This year, with everything that’s been going on, there will be so much to talk about. It will likely be our most important show ever, so come and join us in New York to meet the people who matter, to learn from the experts, and get business done. LendIt Fintech, lending and banking connected. Sign up at today at lendit.com/usa

Peter Renton: Today on the show, I am delighted to welcome Scott Stewart, he is the CEO of the Innovative Lending Platform Association, also known as the ILPA. Now, they’re a trade organization that is focused on small business lending, they have some of the leading online small business lenders and the largest players in the country as members. I wanted to get Scott on the show because, obviously, small business lending is front and center of the entire economy right now.

We need to be getting the money out to the small businesses for the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program, we talk about that in some depth. Scott talks about what his members are doing there, we don’t just talk about the PPP, we also talk about other initiatives they’ve been working on such as the SMART Box initiative, we talk about how they’re interacting with some of the other associations, what’s Scott’s view of how the PPP has been handled and what more the government can be doing and much more. It was a fascinating interview, I hope you enjoy the show.

Welcome to the podcast, Scott!

Scott Stewart: Thank you very much, Peter, great to be here.

Peter: Okay, my pleasure. So, I want to get this thing started, you know, to give the listeners a bit of background about yourself. You’ve had an interesting career, looks like in and around Washington, why don’t you tell us the highlights of your career to date.

Scott: Sure. I, actually, consider myself a recovering politician (Peter laughs) and somebody who worked for a long time in both politics and then in the energy sector, in oil and gas, and I think that, you know, I took a detour along the way, after the financial crisis, and actually joined the family business which was an insurance business. It turns out, I was really terrible at slinging property and casualty insurance policies, I was really, really bad at that so, my friends said to me, come back to Washington.

I had a good friend, Eric Hoplin of the Financial Services Roundtable and he said, it’s time for you to come back, I have a job for you, it’s not the right job, but it’s a place for you to get back here and start up again. And so, I became Director of Membership at the Financial Services Roundtable which was a trade association which represented all the CEOs of the largest financial services firms in the country, meaning the banks, the insurance companies and the asset managers, the card companies.

I did all sorts of things for them, including managing the completion of their massive new office build out, I did all the technology build for that and helped with the design of those things. I upgraded all of the stuff from gigantic desktop computers to Microsoft Surface Pro tablets so we could get everybody to be more secure, more efficient and more mobile, and along the way, I met some really interesting leaders.

I met a guy by the name of Steven (inaudible) who’s an international leader on Artificial Intelligence and emerging technologies and he introduced me to Klaus Schwab’s Fourth Industrial Revolution which completely opened up my whole view of the world. Alison Hawkins and I, she was the Director of Communications at the Financial Services Roundtable, she’s now with Wells Fargo, we cooked up a new fintech program for the Roundtable to explore a long term future at the confluence of finance innovation and technology.

I think we’re looking at ten plus years into the future, what is our world going to look like in terms of Artificial Intelligence, block chain technologies, big data and so on and we began to think about that in a way that culminated into the Fintech Ideas Festival which we hosted in San Francisco in 2017. It was a small, small event, 110 CEOs out of 200 participants that included Satya Nadella from Microsoft, Ginni Rometty from IBM, Brian Moynihan from Bank of America, Ajaypal Banga from Mastercard, Dan Schulman from PayPal, Michael Tipsord from State Farm. Along with a whole bunch of what are now my members which is…..Carl Fairbank from Breakout, Rob Frohwein from Kabbage, Jim Salters from The Business Backer and we had a global array of experts on financial technology.

We had them sit into curated small group conversation to talk through what our long term future is going to look like when we start taking this magic elixir of Artificial Intelligence and block chain and big data and many other things and putting it all together in terms of financial services and I think I got noticed along the way. Rob Frohwein from Kabbage actually said it was the greatest event of its kind that he had ever attended. Now, I personally think that LendIt, on the larger side of things, is the greatest event of its kind, but for the small scale and CEO-exclusive focus, it was an amazing experience and I was really lucky to be a part of it, and I got noticed at ILPA.

Peter: Right, right, okay. Thank you for that plug there. So, why did you decide to take the job there. You know, the ILPA sort of was a pretty fledgling organization when you joined, so what was the impetus to take the role on of CEO?

Scott: You know, I was really ready for a new challenge. I had built something pretty important that I thought Financial Services Roundtable and Kabbage and OnDeck had….I knew a bunch of the leaders there pretty well and they approached me and said, look, we’re ready to formalize this organization, the Innovative Lending Platform Association, into a real trade association. We need someone to build it and to harness the power of the members together and I think that I’ve been pretty successful in that. I started with seven members, we now have twelve and we represent, I think, some of the bigger brands in the online small business lending space.

Peter: So then, what’s the mission of the association exactly?

Scott: You know, our members are completely united to a commitment to the health and success of America’s small businesses and we are dedicated to advancing the best practices and standards that support responsible innovation and access to capital for small businesses. So, what does that mean in reality?

It means that we are committed to disclosing the terms of all of our lending agreements to the small business borrowers so they fully understand what they’re taking out, in terms of their access to capital and credit, and we’re interested in serving them. If you take a look at what happened after the financial crisis, banks and financial institutions of all kinds really fled this marketplace for small business lending and we’ve been there, we’ve been there to help them from the very beginning.

Peter: Okay. So maybe, one of the initiatives that the ILPA put out fairly early on, I think it was probably after you got there, I’m guessing, was the SMART Box initiative which I know you just sort of referenced there like the importance of transparency and some of those concepts are being taken up by the states, so maybe just give a little background about that, that specific initiative and how it was successful.

Scott: Sure, sure. It, actually, started before I came on board, it started in 2016. A couple of the original members of ILPA got together, I think it was Kabbage and OnDeck and a couple of others came together, and decided that it was the right time to have some self-regulation in the industry and they came up with this concept called the SMART Box which is straightforward metrics around rate and total cost and it’s a single-page form that comes as part of all the loan documents for our members that shows total cost of capital, APR, monthly cost and cents on a dollar along with any potential pre-payment penalties.

It has been remarkably successful and a lot of folks that have been looking at it, I think, are….they’re concerned about certain aspects of it, but I think it’s become a real selling point for our members to say, look, we’re showing you absolutely every detail in a single, easy to get at TILA-like format and you can see what’s happened recently in the states. You’ve got…. California passed 1235 a couple of years ago and then the California DBO came out and looked at…if imitation is a serious form of flattery, we ought to be very flattered because the form that they came up with to capture all of their disclosures is a box, looks pretty much exactly like the SMART Box. (laughs)

Peter: Right.

Scott: So, we ought to be pretty flattered about that. We’ve been carrying that message to New York as well, we have model disclosure legislation that’s going to be introduced in both the Assembly and the Senate there that will really codify these disclosures to really give small business borrowers confidence in understanding what they’re taking out, in terms of their access to capital and credit.

Peter: Right, that makes sense. So, given your situation, given the position of the ILPA mission to help small business and…. obviously today, probably as never before, at least in our lifetime, have small businesses been suffering like they are right now…..no, I should preface this by saying we’re recording this on April 14th, it’s going to be published on April 24th and ten days right now feels like an eternity, so we need to keep that in mind when they listen to this that this is April 14th, but I wanted to maybe get your perspective on the PPP.

Some of your members have been very active, I know, OnDeck just came out yesterday, they’re starting to offer PPP loans, Kabbage, Lendio. Brock Blake has been one of the real champions from the get go of the whole program, he has been very active. Maybe of you can just describe how ILPA and your members are approaching the PPP.

Scott:  Sure, sure, and I appreciate you mentioning a couple of our members there, Brock Blake of Lendio, fantastic CEO of an amazing company and certainly, Kabbage, OnDeck, Fundbox, BlueVine, BFS are critical brands that can be moving capital very, very quickly along with the Innova small business brands, and The Business Backer and Headway Capital, BreakOut, Mulligan Funding and 6th Avenue, they can all be moving capital very, very quickly. We were involved in the development of the CARES Act, we are paying attention to it and working on it, we’ve been working with the Charter Department on the SBA on the program.

From my perspective, I can’t say the design is exactly what we would have wanted, however….I mean, think about the challenge that the Congress dumped at the doorstep of the SBA. Last year, SBA did a quiet $20 Billion in loans over the course of the year. Then Congress said, well deliver $349 Billion in loans in just a couple of months, there are no additional resources and do your best. That’s a really, really, really tall order and it’s difficult to imagine what they could have done perhaps differently. I think all of our members are very likely, if they haven’t already, they are very likely to be applying to become direct lenders through the PPP program.

I think it is important for SBA to entertain those applications very, very quickly and to authorize those small business lenders to move into the system. It’s a difficult process, though, if you look at the way that they have initially designed it. You go through the 7 (a) standard process which includes a trip through E-Tran, I don’t know if you know how that process works, but you have an application that comes from a borrower into your system, you create an alternative application called the Lender Application that you send to the SBA through this E-Tran system, you get into the queue.

At the end of that queue, at the end of that glorious rainbow there is a human which is…..you know, unfortunately, these people have to be working like mad trying to turn around these government guarantee numbers and then send them back to the lender and then the lender disburses the funds to the borrower at a manual and very slow process that is very, very difficult to manage. There are a series of things that I think they could probably have done differently. If you want me to go into that, I certainly can.

Peter: Yeah, let’s just hold that for a second.

Scott: Sure.

Peter: I think you mentioned that most of your members are going to be applying. So, the application process itself…..I guess let’s just start there because….this only came out, I think it was Wednesday night, I believe, of last week, so it’s been out like five and a half days, the actual way to apply. I know that some of your members have been applying, others have already set up bank partnerships to actually originate loans right now. Hopefully, by the time our listeners listen to this in ten days time, there will be dozens of fintech lenders that will have been approved. That remains to be seen, but I guess….what’s your view on the application process itself, how should that have been handled differently?

Scott: You know, we don’t know how they’re looking at each application and I think that part of the concern….I, actually, was detailed to FIMA during the Katrina and Rita disasters years ago, the hurricanes, and this is, I think, an interesting analogy, but I was detailed to the team that was trying to get debit cards into the hands of those victims that were affected in the Gulf Coast.

Lots of people in the team were consumed with the concern that there was going to be waste, fraud and abuse in the system. I think the same thing is really going on here with potential for additional lenders such as online and alternative lenders to enter the PPP system. There is a concern that there is going to be this kind of bad actor that is able to get through. I think that’s possible, but at this point, who cares.

Peter: Right.

Scott: I mean, like the house is on fire, the world is on fire, we have got to get these dollars into the hands of the small businesses. Here’s what I would recommend and this is just not my members, this just got off at the top of my head, just approve everybody to become an additional lender as, you know, they come in the door with a very short and very sweet contract that says, if you lied to us in your application, or if you abuse this system then your entire c-suite goes to prison (Peter laughs).

That should pretty quickly weed out the really bad actors, right, so you’re going to have a lot less waste, fraud and abuse and get these actual good actors, like our members from the Innovative Lending Platform Association, into the mix to be able to lend at speed to really small businesses that the banks are not equipped to lend to.

Because of what happened after the financial crisis, they really left this entire marketplace behind, either due to regulation, or to their risk committees, they’re not in a place where they’re lending $10,000 to local businesses any longer. They’re just…it’s not their bailiwick and so, we’re there and we’re absolutely ready to get going, they just have to let us in the door.

Peter: Yeah, and I feel like that’s what…..I mean, it’s a shame really that this wasn’t really done ahead of time. As soon as the CARES Act passed, I would have liked to have seen the SBA and Treasury get together and say, right, who is best equipped to move this quickly? Well, you’ve got a whole bunch of really established online lenders that do things in an automated way, many of them do things in a 100% automated way so, let’s just get them involved right off the bat. So, when it kicked off on Friday, April 3rd, we could have had all of these online lenders be approved because I think there’s been so much panic and distress go on Twitter and look at the hashtag #ppploans, particularly on April 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th, that opening few days.

I mean, people were just beside themselves because, you know, Bank of America was saying, you have to have a loan with them to be able to apply….I mean, the other big banks just said, no, we’re not ready and you see that there’s already billions and billions being processed, oh, my god, we’re going to miss out. The small business owners are freaking out and I think the online lenders could have really done a service for the whole country, if they were up and running by then, but…..

Scott: They certainly could have, but, you’re right, you’re absolutely right, they certainly could have, but let’s give SBA two seconds of coverage here. I mean, considering the magnitude of the challenge, they did what they knew which is, okay, let’s ramp up what we know how to do and we’ll get to the fintechs eventually. It’s unfortunate they didn’t do it right upfront, but, you know, they kind of have like three people running around over there, they’re trying to figure out how to make this happen. To move $349 Billion out the door really, really quickly, it’s tough, and the SBA should have used us by…..do I really lay huge blame at their feet, I don’t think I can.

Peter: Right. I understand, I mean, they’ve got a tiny budget, they’re one of the smallest budgets of any of the government department so they had a monumental task to do. To be honest, they’re not doing a terrible job, money is flowing. I’ve been paying attention the last few days and there is money flowing and there’s a website that I saw on Twitter yesterday about status, you could put in the status of your PPP and it seems like the average time to get funds is 6.8 days, I believe, from actual sending of the application, so, money is flowing which is good.

Now, on that point, I’m just….I mean, if you talk to your members because a lot of these…I mean, your members don’t have access to unlimited capital and they’re not a Bank of America, or a Chase, so is that something that you’re hearing as a constraint there where these members can’t…..like if Kabbage and OnDeck both wanted to put through $25 Billion in PPP loans, they wouldn’t be able to, right. What are you hearing on the constraint on that side?

Scott: The liquidity problem is significant, and on the 6.8 days to get the funding, that is light years slower than what our members could be doing. Our members could certainly be underwriting and moving loans within, you know, hours, 24 hours, but there is a constraint that is very, very serious which is this liquidity question because our members don’t have unlimited access to billions and billions of dollars to lend to this program and hold these loans for the eight weeks that the SBA says we need to hang on to them for.

The Treasury and the Federal Reserve have announced a system, at least we have a term sheet on what it’s going to look like as an offtake as a secondary market that they’re going to create, a special purpose vehicle. Take these off the hands of the banks and of the fintechs and I think that’s critically important. We’ve been hearing rumors that this is going to be a 5-day offtake period which may end up being too slow, you know, okay, our members will make whatever they can make in terms of loans within a few hours and then wait for five days, offload them all and do it again. That seems to be too slow.

You would think that there is going to have to probably be some sort of interim step where they can offload this into a facility either run by……we’ve been hearing rumors that Goldman, Bank of America and a few others are giving the other to try to create an immediate term secondary market where we can drop them into that sort of a process, they can hold them for the five days and then move them into the Treasury facility, the Fed facility. I think that, one way or another, in real-time, the Federal government is going to have to take these loans off of our hands, there’s no other choice.

It’s not just us, you look at what all of the banks have been saying, they don’t have unlimited liquidity to be pouring out these loans on behalf of the government. They want to do it, they want to help, they can help as much as possible, but they’ve got to find a way to put this on to the Federal government’s books sooner than later.

Peter: Yes, it would great if that happens within 24 hours and who knows, by the time we publish it may have happened. Another question I’ve got is there are other, obviously, organizations out there, there’s the Marketplace Lending Association, there’s the Small Business Finance Association and others, how much are you interfacing with the leaderships of those organizations and providing a united front in Washington right now?

Scott: You know, I know the majority of these fintech trade leaders pretty well and we really do our best to find areas of common ground because we have such this great membership in different focuses, but we found a great way to collaborate on things like the Madden versus Midland fix and the valid when made problem. The entire working group worked pretty well together on legislation, and then on the FixIt, the OCC and the FDIC from a regulatory perspective.

But, if you look at how diverse the membership is….you have Stephen Denis with the Small Business Finance Association primarily focused on merchant cash advance providers, you’ve got Nat Hoopes with the Marketplace Lenders Association focused on consumer lenders, Brian Peters with Financial Innovation Now on the larger tech players, Scott Talbott over at the Electronic Transactions Association with their diverse membership, including banks and card companies.

Then you’ve got the US Chamber of Commerce, Tom Sullivan and (inaudible), now it’s Julie Stitzel and I communicate with these folks as often as I can and we work together. We try to drive at least a united front on things like we’ve mentioned already which is liquidity challenges and the access to the PPP program, I think we’re all on the same page there. They should let us in the door as soon as they possibly can to offer these PPP loans and they should fix the liquidity question in the background using a Special Purpose Vehicle through the Federal Reserve.

Peter: How much of your time, right now, is spent really on the PPP-type initiatives, is this like 100% of your focus, 50%, what are you focused on right now?

Scott: I would say working on this specific program really consumes an awful lot of my time, but there are quite a few things that are coming soon that we ought to be thinking about, the main street Special Purpose Vehicle which may be a way for my members and small businesses, potentially, to get access to some capital to prop them up and keep them lending. I think that’s certainly a process that I’ll be focusing on and thinking about, the Phase 4 when Congress comes together and thinks about either Phase 3.5, or Phase 4, what is that going to look like.

We think that sometime in the next week or so, Congress is going to add a whole bunch more in terms of dollars into the PPP program. They’re talking about somewhere around $250 Billion more to the program now, unclear whether that’s going to be enough by the time they get around to it, but I think those are some of the areas…..for the moment, I think it’s important for all of us to be focused on this catastrophe and preparing for, you know, what our world is going to look like afterwards.

Peter: Right, right, for sure. You just mentioned something there I want to touch on and that is the health of small business lenders in general. I mean, many of the fintech companies have stopped lending, there’s been some layoffs that we’ve read about, how are you positioned as an organization to help your members, you know, through this because let’s face it, there’s not many small business loans happening right now beyond the PPP. So, how is that going to affect your members, you know, the health, the financial health of your members?

Scott: I think this is truly a black swan event, unlike anything that we’ve ever seen in our lifetime, so I think all of our members, along with smart companies everywhere were really prepared for a major national terrorist attack, a natural disaster, a major swift downturn in the economy, but I don’t think anyone prepared for a global shutdown of the entire global economy in real-time immediately and revenues go to zero. I think that was a very…. certainly for my members, a major shock to the system.

I think they’re muddling through, it’s difficult, I think that my members, some of the largest players in the space, and so I think they have some of the resources to be able to withstand a shock like this, but I think that they need to get access to capital and maybe that’ll be through the main street facility that’ll be coming maybe in the next few weeks. I think a lifeline for them would be if they’re able to lend through the PPP and give them that small sliver to keep on going and I think it’s in the Federal government’s interest to want that to be the case because you want innovation to be progressing when this is all said and done. You want the innovative companies to be still there, still working and still lending.

Peter: Right, right. Have you heard how quickly….like the origination fee now is 5% for sub-350 and 3% and 1% up to $10 Million, but have you heard how quickly this money, the origination fees are going to flow in to the lenders?

Scott: I have not and I certainly wish I had a good answer to that (Peter laughs). If I had a good answer to that, that would be stupendous. I think the government’s going to have to figure a way to get those fees to my members and to the banks relatively quickly in order to keep them alive and afloat……..

Peter: Right, right, for sure.

Scott:….so they can keep lending.

Peter: Okay. So then, we’re almost out of time, but a couple more questions before you go. I’d like you to sort of step back for a second and think about the impact this crisis is going to have, particularly, I’m interested in the impact on the small business lending landscape over the medium to long term. What do you think is going to change?

Scott: I think, to begin with, small businesses around the country are completely devastated and it’s going to take some time to unwind these extraordinary actions taken by the Federal government. You know, if you look at the CARES Act, the PPP program, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Special Purpose Vehicle, we are really…..hopefully, short term, quasi nationalizing America’s small business economy and we hope that is a short term effort which is critically required.

I think on the small business lending side of things from a fintech perspective, I think that in the long run this is going to completely expose manual paper-based underwriting as completely antiquated. The fact that at the end of the E-Tran rainbow, the SBA is a human is unfair to the small business borrower. These things should be done in an automated way and much more rapidly. If you look at the systems that financial institutions are using currently, if you have ever taken out a mortgage…I actually applied for a mortgage with the bank I had been with for 20 years and they asked me to print out my last several months of bank statements and send it to them. I mean, this is completely bananas and I think those kinds of things are going to go by the wayside and that’s going to change pretty dramatically on the small business lending side as well.

That’s not to say that fintechs are going to be replacing, or supplanting the banks, banks are critical to this ecosystem and I think that you’re going to need….you’re always going to need a safe place to put your money. Over the next several years, you’re going to see this, I think, great resurgence and an acceleration of innovation between banks and fintechs and there’s going to be a cooperation and a collaboration that we really never dreamed of before. The real winners are going to be the small business borrower and innovation is absolutely going to be accelerating.

Peter: I really hope that’s the case. I completely agree that this needs to happen and I hope this crisis provides an impetus for that. Last question, I’m just curious if there’s anything else that you think the government should be doing to help small business beyond what they’re doing right now with the PPP?

Scott: Sure. I think that they have got to, in a word, pull down the barriers to capital access and innovation. Take down barriers that are up currently and let innovation flourish. For example, we saw the real-time effects of the Madden decision increase bankruptcies and decrease access to capital and the effects it has made, we call it the development of capital desert in certain places.

We should have fintech charters as Congressman Patrick McHenry recommends, we should have innovation offices in every financial agency and then we should see the proliferation of fintech sandboxes around the country, both the state and federal level, with the government figuring out how to shoulder the short term liability cost associated with limited testing of new products.

Look, I think it’s time to let the industry alongside traditional financial institutions price risk and move capital in real-time. I think it’s time to harness the forces that are re-shaping our civilization today, and that’s the Internet of Things, big data and machine learning on the way toward Artificial Intelligence, all enabled by block chain technologies. When you take that magic elixir of forces and you put them together, harnessing them with financial institutions and small business lenders such as our members, you’re going to see an unimaginable change in the way that people access financial services.

If you look at some of the leaders in the space, somebody by the name of …….one of our great members Bill Phelan of PayNet, one of the leading figure in the space, describe us as on the road to one click credit. When you start thinking about your accounting system offering you an alert that says, look, in about three months, we’re going to have a cash concern and so here are three, or four different ways that you can find access to capital and credit.

Beyond that, one step beyond that, you look at what Peter Domingos from the University of Washington thinks is going to happen, one of the globe-leading thinkers on Artificial Intelligence, through his book “The Master Algorithm.” He actually thinks that at some point your algorithm is going to know you so well that those decisions of small business borrowers will not even be offered to you, they will simply appear. It will price and select the access to capital and credit and it will appear in your box. I think that’s our longer term hopeful future beyond what this crisis is and hopefully, that’s something that financial institutions and fintechs can work on together.

Peter: Well, that would be fantastic, a fantastic future, I hope we get there soon. Anyway, Scott, I really appreciate you taking the time today, you’ve got very important work to do right now and I appreciate taking time out of your day to talk to us.

Scott: Thank you, Peter, really enjoyed it.

Peter: Okay, see you.

We can trace the rise of fintech certainly in the small business lending space to the financial crisis of 2008/2009 when banks pulled back from small business lending they let a lot of their long term customers down and people were ripe for alternatives and we had entrepreneurs, at that time, creating new companies, new ways of doing things. So, I often wonder, this is a more significant crisis, I would argue, than the Great Recession and we are going to have enterprising entrepreneurs all over the this country that are going to create new businesses born out of this crisis.

And, you know, we also have the entrepreneurial spirit of those companies that are already in existence and there’s going to be a lot of new developments like Scott just talked about there from some of the incumbents. Once we get through this and it’s going to be tough to get through this, but once we do, we are going to see, I believe, a rise of fintech 3.0 where we’re going to have many new companies, many new ideas and I think the small business lending landscape, in fact I would argue, the entire financial landscape will look remarkably different then.

Anyway on that note, I will sign off. I very much appreciate you listening and I’ll catch you next time. Bye.

Today’s episode was sponsored by LendIt Fintech USA, the world’s largest fintech event dedicated to lending and digital banking. It’s happening on our new dates of September 30 and October 1st at the Javits Center in New York. This year, with everything that’s been going on, there will be so much to talk about. It will likely be our most important show ever. Come and join us in New York to meet the people who matter, to learn from the experts and get business done. LendIt Fintech, lending and banking connected. Sign up today at lendit.com/usa.[/expand]

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Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech.

LendIt Fintech conducts three conferences a year for the leading fintech markets of the USA, Europe, and Latin America. LendIt also provides cutting-edge content all year long via audio, video, and written channels.

Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series.

Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.

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