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Apollo Hit Again as Aksia Tells Clients to Delay Investment – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Apollo Global Management Inc. is coming under increasing pressure as more institutional investors hold off committing fresh capital to the Wall Street giant.

Aksia, which advises on more than $160 billion of investor commitments, urged clients not to give money to Apollo amid lingering questions over co-founder Leon Black’s relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to people familiar with the matter. On Friday, Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden said the state won’t commit new capital to the firm.

An adviser to pensions, endowments and other large institutions, Aksia has begun communicating the move to its clients, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Apollo said this week it was hiring law firm Dechert LLP to investigate the relationship.

“Aksia believes it is prudent to delay any new commitments or investments with Apollo funds until the results of Dechert’s study are disclosed,” Aksia said in a client communication, noting that its recommendation was effective as of Thursday. “Should Dechert’s review uncover that Mr. Black had knowledge of or participated in any illegal activity, investors that recently committed new capital to an Apollo fund could be subject to intense scrutiny.”

A spokeswoman for Aksia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We are firmly committed to transparency,” Apollo said Friday in a statement, noting that Black has been communicating regularly with investors. “Although Apollo never did business with Jeffrey Epstein, Leon has requested an independent, outside review regarding his previous professional relationship with Mr. Epstein.”

Aksia’s decision comes after the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System said it would hold off giving any new money to Apollo for the time being. Another investment adviser, Cambridge Associates, is considering not recommending Apollo funds, Bloomberg reported earlier this week.

Investors are stepping back from one of Wall Street’s most successful firms after fresh reports about Black and Epstein brought the issue back into focus. The New York Times said earlier this month that the Apollo chief wired more than $50 million to Epstein in the years following his 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl. The article didn’t accuse Black of breaking the law.

Existing Commitments

Gabrielle Farrell, a spokeswoman for Connecticut’s treasurer, said in an email that the state’s existing commitments to Apollo were “made under the previous administration and we have no plans to commit further capital to their funds at this time.”

Apollo said earlier this week that Dechert will conduct a review to independently evaluate Black’s past descriptions of a professional relationship with Epstein. Black, 69, has said he turned to Epstein for financial matters, such as taxes, estate planning and philanthropy.

The two men had been acquaintances since at least the early 1990s. From time to time, Epstein met with Black at Apollo’s New York offices, and he pitched personal tax strategies to the firm’s executives, Bloomberg has reported.

Apollo conducted an internal review into its involvement with Epstein to ensure that any ties went no further than the firm’s co-founder, people with knowledge of the matter said last year. That included examining emails and records to determine there was no connection between the company and Epstein, one of the people said.

(Updates with Apollo comment in sixth paragraph.)

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Foreign Investment in UK Finance Set to Drop on Covid, Brexit – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Big financial services firms are set to avoid investing in British businesses next year, discouraged by the uncertainties of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only 10% of of global financial services firms are planning to establish or expand operations in the U.K. in the coming year, down from 45% in April, according to a report by consultancy EY published Monday.

“U.K. financial services entered the pandemic in a very strong position, having led the rest of Europe in attracting overseas investment over the past 20 years,” said Omar Ali, U.K. financial services managing partner at EY.

The decline in appetite suggests the sector’s absence from the European Union trade talks “may have started to affect investor sentiment,” Ali said, while Covid-19 has made government support and infrastructure more important for those looking to invest.

The poll of 220 decision-makers painted a rosier picture in the medium term, with 53% expecting the U.K. to be more attractive for foreign direct investment in three years’ time.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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COVID-19 Investment Warning: The CRA Can Tax Your TFSA! – The Motley Fool Canada

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A lot of Canadians weren’t actually that great at saving before the pandemic. Many lived during the last decade in relative ease, knowing that we had a strong economy that was only getting stronger. However, what we probably weren’t aware of was the increasing debt that both our country and others racked up.

Then the pandemic hit, bringing the Canadian government’s debt up another $15 trillion between January and September for a grand total of $272 trillion as of writing. We’re actually leading the charge in debt, ahead of countries like Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

So, Canadians started to get their affairs in order, and that included their cash. In many cases, it meant opening up or taking advantage of a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). With another TFSA contribution limit on the way in January, many are looking for another opportunity during perhaps another market crash. But before you do, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a word of warning.

The TFSA can be taxable

The TFSA can be taxed, but only under certain conditions. The TFSA is meant to get Canadians investing in Canadian business. So, the first problem is if Canadians are investing in companies outside Canada. If so, you’re subject to taxation on those returns. This can be a serious problem, as with a market crash, there were tons of great companies that saw the share price plummet. Just make sure those shares are Canadian. This also means making sure you’re investing in a company on the Canadian market, as many companies are listed on both the TSX and NYSE, for example.

Second, you can be subject to tax if you go beyond the TFSA contribution limit. If the TFSA was limitless, you could invest any time you wanted, as much as you wanted, and potentially make a killing! The CRA doesn’t want to miss out on those taxes. So, it creates a limit year by year. That way, if there’s a huge initial public offering (IPO), you only have a couple thousand to invest, rather than a hundred thousand.

You also can’t use your TFSA like a business. This happens if you’re making huge trades, trading too often, or making too much money basically. This is a bit of a grey area, so you must be careful. It seems the number right now the CRA is going off of is $250,000. If you make that much in returns, the CRA will want to take a closer look at how you’re making that money.

Finally, beware the TFSA contribution limit! Yes, I already mentioned this, but there’s another problem. You have $69,500 worth of contribution room this year. But let’s say during the pandemic ,you took out $20,000 to help with bills. Now, you’ve made that money back and want to put it back in your TFSA. Not so fast!

If you’ve already reached the TFSA contribution limit for the year, you cannot put money in your TFSA again, or it will be subject to taxes. You have to wait until next year, and then check out MyAccount on CRA or call CRA to see how much room you have available. Don’t mess it up!

Bottom line

The TFSA is an excellent tool to use during the pandemic, but be careful. You don’t want to take full advantage and then fall under these categories. If you do, it’ll make that TFSA contribution limit basically worthless.

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Ontario government increasing investment in video surveillance systems – The Review Newspaper

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The Ontario government is investing $1.6 million in Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) systems to help 18 police services across the province better detect, investigate and prevent criminal activity. Funding through the new Ontario CCTV Grant will help police services and their municipal partners install new or additional surveillance cameras in areas where gun and gang violence and other criminal activity are most prevalent.

“By strengthening CCTV surveillance systems across the province, Ontario’s police services will be better equipped to prevent criminal activity, identify and apprehend offenders,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “This expansion will support the local fight against guns and gangs while deterring other crimes such as drug and human trafficking, street racing and stunt driving. The use of CCTV cameras will also help hold criminals accountable by providing important visual evidence to support investigations and the prosecution process.”

The Ontario CCTV Grant, which was announced in August 2020, is providing police services with a total of $6 million over three years to expand CCTV systems in their communities and improve public safety.

The CCTV grant builds on the province’s approximate $106 million investment to combat gun and gang violence, with the support of the federal government, through Ontario’s Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy.

“Improving the technology and information available to Ontario’s frontline police is critical to deterring unlawful activity and holding offenders accountable in our communities,” said Minister Jones. “Ontarians need to feel safe in their homes and their businesses without fear of crime as communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”

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