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    EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Challenges Ahead for Sources and States
    Published on June 30, 2014
    The release of EPA’s much anticipated Clean Power Plan proposal starts the clock on what will be a multi-year process of review, analysis, planning, and implementation for states, affected sources, and other stakeholders. With an estimated effect of reducing emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, this proposal is akin in scope and potential impact to a national energy plan. However, unlike a national plan, these plan components and implementation will be determined in state capitals rather than in Washington, D.C.
    ICF International
    Economic & Real Estate Report 1ST quarter 2014
    Published on June 11, 2014
    During the first three months of 2014, the U.S. economy underperformed as the second estimate of GDP showed a 1.0% decline in growth, down from a 2.6% increase during 4Q13. Economists attributed this poor output to the bad weather that gripped much of the nation during the quarter. Looking past the GDP weakness, the Federal Reserve continued a reduction to its quantitative easing program by tapering its monthly bond purchases. Housing market weakness remained during 1Q14, largely due to lack of inventory, adverse weather, rising prices, and homebuilder concerns related to the shortage of buildable lots and skilled workers. Despite an early sell-off, mainly resulting from emerging market concerns, quantitative easing and a subpar December employment report, U.S. stock markets recovered throughout 1Q14, resulting in minor changes within the leading indices since 2013.
    FTI Consulting
    Investment Outlook 2014 Mid-Year Update
    Published on June 16, 2014
    PineBridge Investments presents a mid-year update to our annual Investment Outlook. Chief Economist, Markus Schomer, recaps the biggest trends (and surprises) from the first half of 2014 and provides insight for the remainder of the year.
    PineBridge Investments
    2014 Proxy Season Review
    Published on June 25, 2014
    During the 2014 proxy season, governance-related shareholder proposals continued to be common at U.S. public companies, including proposals calling for declassified boards, majority voting in director elections, elimination of supermajority requirements, separation of the roles of the CEO and chair, the right to call special meetings and the right to act by written consent. While the number of these proposals was down from 2012 and 2013 levels, this decline related entirely to fewer proposals being received by large-cap companies, likely due to the diminishing number of large companies that have not already adopted these practices. Smaller companies, at which these practices are less common, have not seen a similar decline and, if anything, are increasingly being targeted with these types of proposals.
    Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
    The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industries: 10 Trends to Watch
    Published on June 12, 2014
    The fuel cell industry is being cursed – or blessed, depending on one’s position – with interesting times. Over the past 18 months, there has been a real divergence in the fortunes of various fuel cell sectors. The stationary sector has seen 2 years of strong growth while some sectors, such as portable, have continued to struggle. Others have been in a holding pattern, seeing continued growth but no major breakthroughs. Meanwhile, the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) market is poised for the launch of commercial vehicles, spurring a flurry of investment in hydrogen infrastructure. Hydrogen for power-to-gas applications has also seen a surge in interest as countries look to manage and optimize renewable resources.
    Navigant Consulting
    Back to the Future
    Published on April 14, 2014
    In 2013, the external, uncontrollable factors positively impacted agency value. But as fast as the market can improve, it can reset. Economic and industry growth indicators have already slowed thru the first quarter of 2014 and history has shown that hard market conditions only last for a short period, habitually followed by a 7-10 soft market. Still, with revenues up, now is the time to make changes to increase value into the future.
    High Performers or Non-Performers: Who have you been successful at hiring?
    Published on May 30, 2014
    To hire the best employees, you must have a focused, regimented hiring process that not only increases the odds of identifying top performers but also eliminates non-performers. Most firms are more reactive than proactive in their efforts to properly identify high performers. According to MarshBerry proprietary industry data gathered from our Producer Benchmarking Report, 55% of the industry’s production staff are classified as a Non-Performing Producer; 30% would be considered average; 14% are high performers; and only 1% of producers nationwide could be considered elite.
    Bridging the Gap
    Published on June 10, 2014
    In our experience, one reason is value. Agencies that sell externally have a measured higher value compared to most independently held agencies. Over the last 27 months, there have been over 600 transactions announced.  Figure 2 illustrates that in the past two years, Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (“EBITDA”) averaged in excess of 30% for agencies that sold externally compared to approximately 23% for independently held agencies that did not sell.
    Growth Capital: How and Where to Get It
    Published on April 23, 2014
    National consolidators and private equity firms have made numerous high profile investments such as Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Hub from Apax Partners and Morgan Stanley (2013), Onex Corp.’s acquisition of USI from Goldman Sachs (2012), and Madison Dearborn’s acquisition of NFP (2013). Similarly, regionally-oriented agencies and private equity firms are actively pursuing acquisitions on a smaller scale such as Stephens Insurance’s acquisitions in Arkansas and Texas.
    Money into Property Global 2014 International investors drive liquidity
    Published on June 12, 2014
    Global invested stock set a new record level of USD12.9tn at year-end 2013, driven by improving sentiment and capital value recovery. This is up 4% from a year ago, with growth across all three regions. Globally, growth was led by 9% in Asia Pacific, followed by 3% in North America and 2% in Europe in USD terms.
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