Corporate Portfolio Management Association}

Corporate Portfolio Management Association

by

Jennifer Jennifer

Much has been written about how finance organizations can become strategic partners with the businesses they support. While purported experts point to a variety of frameworks, scorecards and key performance indicators, etc. as the keys to bridging the gap between finance and business, these trite ‘solutions’ have done little to make finance the strategic business partner it seeks to be. Worse yet, pursuing these ideas has put finance organizations on a treadmill where they expend energy and resources (e.g., money and time) ultimately to get nowhere while the issue persists. So if you are still looking for a silver bullet or quick fix to this seemingly incurable problem, stop reading now.

Given the time, money and effort spent, you may be a bit demoralized and even speculating that the finance-business chasm cannot be crossed. Paradoxically, the link between finance and the business has been under finance’s proverbial nose for some time – resource allocation. A serious concerted effort to optimize an organization’s resource allocation ultimately enables finance to develop the bridge between finance and strategy. This discipline known as corporate portfolio management works to actively manage the company’s resource allocation as a portfolio of discretionary investments. All companies allocate their resources – very few optimize their resource allocation. Finance is uniquely positioned to enable this because they sit at the nexus of information and data required to undertake a corporate portfolio management effort. (Note: Corporate portfolio management is often referred to by different terms so as a point of reference, terms such as IT portfolio management, enterprise portfolio management, product portfolio management, project portfolio management, resource allocation and investment optimization are similar. In fact, these all are slices or subsets of corporate portfolio management.)

From Resource Allocation to Strategy

First, it is worth understanding the tie between resource allocation and strategy – they are the same. Where you allocate your resources is your strategy. PowerPoint presentations, speeches by senior leadership, strategy bullets nicely framed on a wall, etc. are all interesting and potentially useful, but they are not your organization’s strategy. For instance, if your stated corporate strategy is to have the most engaged and loyal customers (this sounds good, right?), but you allocate all your investment dollars to acquiring new customers, your strategy is actually around customer acquisition. This is a very simple example but clearly demonstrates the dichotomy that can and often exists between a stated and real strategy.

A great article entitled “How Managers’ Everyday Decisions Create – or Destroy – Your Company’s Strategy” that recently appeared in the Harvard Business Review (February 2007) nicely articulated the connection between resource allocation and strategy and also pointed to the need for a corporate portfolio management discipline. “How business really gets done has little connection to the strategy developed at corporate headquarters. Rather, strategy is crafted, step by step, as managers at all levels of a company – be it a small firm or a large multinational – commit resources to policies, programs, people and facilities. Because this is true, senior management might consider focusing less attention on thinking through the company’s formal strategy and more attention on the processes by which the company allocates resources.”

The upshot of this is that if finance can enable the process to enable better resource allocation (which is strategy), they will have succeeded in becoming a de facto strategic partner to the business.

The Two Levers of Corporate Portfolio Management

So now the question turns to how to build a corporate portfolio management discipline and ensure its success. A successful corporate portfolio management effort is predicated on two dimensions.

1. Modern Portfolio Theory (aka the process) – This is what people generally think of when they think of corporate portfolio management. It is comprised of:

Investment valuation – This includes defining what an investment is. It is worthwhile to take an expansive definition of what comprises an investment because this is not just capital expenditures (capex), but also should include operating expenses (opex). In general, 25-40% of an organization’s expenses are discretionary and hence are investments. Investment valuation also requires consistency of valuation methodology which necessitates using driver-based models to create projections and also looking at past NPVs and ROIs to consider strategy and other qualitative aspects that drive investment ‘value’.

Portfolio allocation – This requires determining investment areas/themes and the associated allocations. Basically, what are my strategic priorities for investment and how much will go to each area? For example, 25% in customer acquisition, 20% in IT, 55% in customer retention. The allocation should also consider the risk profile of investments, e.g., 60% in low risk, 30% in medium risk and 10% in high risk.

Portfolio optimization – This requires selecting the best investments to support the portfolio allocation and periodically rebalancing the portfolio to ensure consistency with desired portfolio allocations. The aim is to maximize strategic and financial return per unit of risk.

Performance measurement – A key element of successful corporate portfolio management is capturing actual investment results to enable promise vs. performance. Doing this ultimately lets an organization improve ongoing investment valuation based on actual results and allows it to rebalance the portfolio based on performance achieved.

Most people with a finance background will recognize the above tenets of portfolio theory. The problem with most of the discussion of corporate portfolio management is that it assumes that people behave according to a theoretical/rational construct. While various experts like to offer platitudes saying things like, “Just manage your company’s investments like you manage your own investments,” they fail to realize that many individuals may not even manage their own personal portfolios as they should. They may know what they should do but emotions, intuition, and other external influences take them off this rational path. What often leads us astray in our personal portfolio is what leads us astray in an organizational setting – behavior. The challenge in an organization is magnified by the fact that it is hundreds or thousands of people whose behavior that needs to be considered. And so this is the second fundamental lever of corporate portfolio management – organizational behavior.

2. Organizational Behavior – In order to optimize one’s corporate portfolio, the behavioral elements must be understood with:

A data-driven mindset – Organizations often make decibel- or intuition-led decisions and corporate portfolio management, like 6-Sigma, requires data and analytical decision making.

Silos removed – Corporate portfolio management success requires people thinking about what is best for the organization and not just what is best for “my world” – silos and organizational dynasties need to be broken down.

Incentive alignment – People should be motivated by similar short- and long-term incentives.

Accountability & transparency – There should be a willingness to share information and effectively create a marketplace for investments.

Moving organizational behavior is the larger challenge and this takes time to change. At American Express, we have actively worked on changing organizational behavior and have made significant inroads over time, but it has not happened overnight. We have conducted cross unit investment reviews, sponsored an internal corporate portfolio management conference and even created a resource allocation simulation to visibly demonstrate the benefit of corporate portfolio management.

Bringing Corporate Portfolio Management to Your Organization

If you think corporate portfolio management can be implemented in one month or one quarter, it is not for you. Corporate portfolio management is not a sprint and requires the will and heart of a marathoner. You will see benefits along the way, but it takes time to realize the full potential of a well developed corporate portfolio. But once defined and running, an actively managed corporate portfolio management discipline will pay immeasurable dividends. For American Express, we can point to stock price out-performance over our benchmark indices as well as our competition since adopting corporate portfolio management. Our resource allocation effectiveness also helps to drive our PE multiple (price to earnings multiple), which is significantly larger than our competitive peers.

Very tactically, the corporate portfolio management discipline has helped us understand what businesses we should exit and where we might want to invest more. It has enabled us to reallocate money across business segments for the first time which can be very challenging in large organizations. Most importantly, corporate portfolio management has become part of the DNA of the organization with finance and the business talking about their investments on an ongoing basis. Finance leads the corporate portfolio management effort but with significant and very direct input and interaction with the business. The chasm between finance and the business has been bridged by utilizing corporate portfolio management, and the benefits to the organization in terms of financial and strategic performance as well as employee engagement have been significant.

If you are serious about making finance a strategic partner with the business, and if you finally want to make some forward progress after being on the treadmill for so long, corporate portfolio management offers you a solution to this intractable problem. It requires effort and patience, but, as evidenced by American Express, it can close the finance and business gulf and ultimately generate outstanding performance.

Anand Sanwal is the Vice President of Corporate Portfolio Management at American Express. He also manages the CFO’s strategic business analysis group. He is co-chair of the Corporate Portfolio Management Association and is the author of the book Optimizing Corporate Portfolio Management. He is also the author of this article on project portfolio management. Find more information about eArticlesOnline.com

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California campus pepper spray police suspended

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two police officers are now on administrative leave after an incident in which they used pepper spray on protesters at U.S. University of California, Davis. The students were protesting in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and expressing support for University of California, Berkeley protesters who police used batons against on November 9.

The violence was unprovoked, disproportional and excessive

The incident was videoed and distributed on YouTube and social networking websites including Facebook and Twitter. The footage shows a police officer spraying numerous students sat alongside each other on the ground at close range while walking past them. The video also displays officers detaining students as members of the crowd repeatedly shout the words “shame on you”.

According to CBS News, ten individuals were arrested by police at the scene. Nine students that were sprayed were given medical treatment at the location; Two were hospitalised, but later released.

Linda P.B. Katehi, university chancellor, has accepted “full responsibility for the incident” and has launched an investigation. She described the use of such methods as “chilling”; the video displays, “sad and really very inappropriate” enforcement and the incident has prompted “many questions about how best to handle situations like this”.

Meanwhile, the Davis Faculty Association, representing academic staff, condemned the actions taken by the University of California, calling the actions of the police officers “unprovoked, disproportional and excessive”. The association statement requested the chancellor of the university resign for what they called a “gross failure of leadership”. Katehi has refused to resign, believing that she had not “violated the policies of the institution”. She also stated: “I have worked personally very hard to make the campus a safe campus for all.”

Charles J. Kelly, who used to work as a lieutenant for Baltimore Police Department, defended the actions of the police officers as-seen in the video, calling it to be “fairly standard police procedure”. Kelly explained that the use of pepper spray is preferable to physical force in such situations, as opposed to attempting to lift up protesters. “When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them,” explained Kelly. “Bodies don’t have handles on them.”

University of California, Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza also defended the officers’ actions, claiming “[t]he students had encircled the officers”. They “needed to exit” and “were looking to leave but were unable to get out”.

Executives from global Internet industry meet at 2008 APRICOT

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The twelfth-annual Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (a.k.a APRICOT) returned to Taiwan this year at the Taipei Howard Plaza Hotel. This is the first appearance since the 2003 conference held by the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) at the Taipei International Convention Center and Grand Hyatt Taipei.

There’s a transformation occurring in Taiwan’s Internet industry due to the maturing of the Internet users’ population. With the conference being held in Taiwan this year, I hope representatives from government, academia, and industries world-wide, including Taiwan, can gain valuable experience from this annual conference.
Even though this conference is held annually in Asia-Pacific countries, I think many executives world-wide including Europe & America can gain significant experiences from the Asia-Pacific host countries.
Due to several transformations within the networking industry, the government (Executive Yuan) promoted several policies from M-Taiwan to u-Taiwan. With hot topics in the high-definition era, such as HDTV, the IPv6 will be a must-have trend after several consumer electronics will exploit network technology.

When Wikinews journalist Rico Shen reported on the recent “Edison Chen photo scandal” incident, Philip Smith of Cisco Systems commented:

The [photo] scandal is really a hot topic in Asia-Pacific countries, especially in the Chinese-language world, but we [the officials] had provided several lectures related to information security earlier in our workshops for industrial solutions. Generally in fact, some Internet users’ habits when connecting to Internet should be appropriately corrected.

Workshops with varied topics and different technology levels took place from February 20 to 24, while several main seminars and speeches for industry, governmental, and academic executives ran from February 25 to 29. Several industry experts such as Wilfred Kwan (Chief Technology Officer of AsiaNetCom), Chung-laung Liu (Taiwan Chapter Chair of ISOC), and Maemura Akinori (EC Chair of APNIC) will give several speeches related to the Internet industry at the conference.

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
    • 1.1 RNC
    • 1.2 DNC
  • 2 Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees
  • 3 Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources

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Fernando Alonso takes pole at 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, Felipe Massa badly injured

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Renault driver Fernando Alonso takes pole in a qualification session on Saturday for tomorrow’s 2009 ING Magyar Nagydij at Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary.

Two Red Bull cars also with Renault engines are right on the back of the Spaniard.

McLaren-Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen are split by Nico Rosberg‘s Williams 5th on the starting grid.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified 7th for Ferrari.

His teammate Felipe Massa was taken out of the track by a medical helicopter after a violent crash straight into the wall of tyres. A Ferrari spokesman says Brazilian driver “will remain in intensive care, although the team does not know how long he will stay under observation. He was conscious and in stable condition when he arrived at AEK hospital by helicopter with a concussion.” Later Massa underwent a successful surgery on fractured skull. It was said Massa was knocked unconscious after debris striked his helmet.

On Sunday July 19, Formula Two driver Henry Surtees, 18 year old son of 1964 Formula One champion John Surtees, died in hospital after suffering severe head injuries. During the race at Brands Hatch Jack Clarke crashed his car into the wall and sent one of its wheels across the circuit. The wheel impacted precisely with the head of Surtees.

The F1 rookie driver Jaime Alguersuari, who was a team-mate of Surtees at the British F3 season finale at Donington Park last year, and now will drive a Toro Rosso in a race for the first time, wrote the words of tribute to his friend saying “Ciao Henry” on his helmet.

Championship leader Jenson Button will start from 8th place for Brawn; his worst qualifying of the 2009 season.

Last British volume car manufacturer closes down

Friday, April 15, 2005

The last British-owned volume car manufacturer, MG Rover, has closed down, with the loss of 5,000 jobs.

International accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCooper was brought in last week to put the company into administration. Today PwC announced that MG Rover’s only hope, the Chinese car company SAIC, had no interest in buying the ailing firm. With no further source of revenue, PwC has closed the company’s factory in Longbridge, Birmingham and has laid off 5,000 workers.

Some 1,000 workers will continue for a while to complete the remaining cars left on the production line.

The BBC reported PwC joint administrator Tony Lomas as saying “We’ll explore what we would describe as the break-up of the business, we will carry on with the interested parties who want to talk about pieces of the business.”. PwC said around 70 offers for various parts of the company had been made but no serious offers of money made.

Recent efforts to save the company had been centered on convincing SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.) to buy the company as a going concern, but the Chinese company stated it would only buy the company if it’s financial position could be guaranteed to be secure for at least two years. The British government could not make such a commitment due to European Union trade and competition rules.

The SAIC company did buy the designs for the 75 and 25 models and for the K-Series engines for £67m.

The Rover car company has a long but troubled history. It was formed in 1968 after a series of mergers of existing car manufacturers, and was nationalized in 1975 after it ran into financial difficulties. In 1979 a long-running deal to collaborate on developing new vehicles was established with the Japanese company Honda. In 1988 the company was privatized and was bought by British Aerospace. In 1994 British Aerospace sold the business to BMW, who then sold the Land Rover brand to Ford and finally sold the company in 2000 for just £10, retaining the well-known Mini brand for themselves. The MG Rover company was run by a private group until its collapse.

MG Rover has not launched a new model since the 75 was introduced in 1998 during the period of ownership by BMW. Their next newest model was the 25, originally launched as the 200 series some ten years ago. Rover also produced the 45, which dates from 1990, and the ZF sports car first launched in 1995. Sales of Rover cars accounted for just 3% of the UK car market in 2004.

Tony Blair announced a £150 million support package for the recently unemployed workers of the MG Rover plants, though it has been claimed that his generous offer may be more as a result of the nearby marginal seats in the upcoming elections than compassion on his part.

Prominent Texas attorney dead, just days following daughter’s suicide

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Media reports indicate Brian Loncar, a prominent attorney based in Dallas, Texas was found unresponsive in a car outside his office Sunday morning.

Loncar was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. He was found in the front seat of his Rolls Royce Wraith. Loncar’s death occurred just two days following his teenage daughter’s memorial service. His daughter took her own life in late November.

Police are still investigating Loncar’s cause of death. Medical personnel surmised heart attack was the likely cause, according to Loncar’s son. In 2008 Loncar’s car was struck by a fire-rescue truck, seriously injuring him.

Loncar maintained eleven law offices stretching across Texas and his TV commercials featured an illustrated ‘strong arm’ pounding against steel, promising potential clients he’d help them gain compensation if they’d been injured in an accident. The law firm’s web site indicates they specialize in all types of vehicle accidents and various types of wrongful death cases.

Florida Beach Vacation Rentals: A Memory Filled Experience At St. George Island}

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Florida Beach Vacation Rentals: A Memory-Filled Experience at St. George Island

by

Nayan Choure

St. George is a 22-mile barrier island of Florida’s Great Northwest Gulf Coast. The Island is known as the forgotten coast. The surrounding habitat is rich in naturally preserved public lands and breathtaking sunsets. The place is like a lost paradise filled with a rich and interesting history of the past.

Europeans invaded the island in 1528. Spanish invaders took over the gulf portion during the 17th century. This is why many home rentals were influenced by Spanish style architecture. Shipwrecks remains are also found on the islands coast line. Guests can explore the island along with the tracing mystery of philandering pirates and Spanish traders.

Families who want a peaceful vacation could try fishing, boating, trail hiking and beachcombing as well as other thrilling water sports in the region. You can also do simple pleasures like world-class fishing at the Apalachicola Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Nearby areas to visit are the historic Apalachiola with turn-of-the-century buildings, galleries and antique shops.

Some of the popular beachfront vacation house rentals to stay in St. George Island are:

Kyma House

Kyma house is one of the finest houses for the entire family. It was completed in May 2007. It includes a master retreat area at the fourth floor. The entire house can accommodate twenty persons with 4 king sized beds, 2 twin beds with trundles and 2 sleeper sofas.

The house has a well equipped kitchen, three separate eating areas with plenty of living space. Guests can enjoy watching movies at the media room that has complete theater equipments as well as a relaxing place beside the fireplace.

Outside amenities include a private pool fronting the beach, a hot tub for eight persons and an outdoor bathroom/shower. Fish cleaning and grilling can be done in a separate area.

Kyma House offers a low season rate of $3,800. For mid season, its $5,995 and for the high season, its $10,595 for a week. A 4-night stay is only $4,115 during the mid season and $2,610 during the low season.

Indulgence

Indulgence home is a warm and elegant house that can accommodate 14 people. Its five bedrooms has 2 king size beds, 3 queen beds and 2 sleeper sofas. It is equipped with modern amenities such as free high speed internet, VCRs and DVD players along with multiple televisions. The house also includes three wet bars, a fireplace, two family areas and granite countertops.

Indulgence is just a step away from the beach. You can do boardwalks along the beach as well as biking and sun bathing. The house offers monthly rates at $5745, weekly ($3475.00 – $7315.00) and a 3 nights rate ($1890 – $2660) from low to high season.

Aisle of Palms

Aisle of Palms is a beachfront rental home with a large and open living area. The house is decorated with granite countertops and travertine tiles. This home features 5 bedrooms and 5 baths. It can house 14 persons with their 2 king sized beds, 3 queens and two sleeper sofas. It includes a private pool, outside grill, elevator and a fully equipped kitchen.

Aisle of Palms offers a low season rate of $ 3,115, mid season is $4,425. High season is $6,815 for a week. A 4 nights stay is only $3,035 (mid season) and $2,140 for the low season.

Great Escape

Great Escape house rental can accommodate 16 to18 guests. The newly remodeled house has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. There are 3 king sized beds, 2 twins, 2 sleeper sofas and 2 double bunk beds sets. Lavish at the comforts of furnished decks with a stereo and DVD player. The house features a community pool and a tennis court.

Great Escape offers a low season rate of $2,395, mid season ($3,565) and high season ($4,725) rates for a week. A 3-nighs stay is only $1,940 for the mid season and $1,305 for low season. Additional nights range from $510 to $345.

St. George Island vacation home rentals have many options to choose from. Families and groups love to return here year after year for a peaceful vacation away from the city.

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The White Stripes to tour ‘Great White North’

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Grammy Award-winning rock band The White Stripes announced on Wednesday the Canadian leg of a tour in support of their soon-to-be-released album, Icky Thump. The tour, which would be the first cross-Canada excursion for The White Stripes, will see the band play dates in all provinces and territories.

The latest tour for The White Stripes will kick off June 1 in Nürburgring, Germany and will play several dates in Europe before starting off in Canada on June 24, in Burnaby, British Columbia. Canadian dates will include stops in northern locales such as Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit, on Baffin Island.

The White Stripes, made up of guitarist/singer Jack White and drummer Meg White, have developed a significant worldwide following with their blend of punk and blues, guitar-oriented rock. The band had expressed interest in playing cities they had not yet visited. “Having never done a full tour of Canada, Meg and I thought it was high time to go whole hog,” said Jack White on The White Stripes website. “We want to take this tour to the far reaches of the Canadian landscape. From the ocean to the permafrost.” The band’s website referred to Canada by its nickname, the ‘Great White North’.

The White Stripes have played to thousands in large outdoor festival settings, but will have to deal with different logistics while setting up in a northern location, such as Iqaluit.

Some 500 tickets for the Iqaluit show are to be sold, with an admission fee of approximately CA$40. Mike Bozzer, the city of Iqaluit’s economic development officer, told CBC News that talks have taken place with The White Stripes’ publicist regarding equipment, technicians, security and other such details. “It’s definitely going to have some economic impact, and they’ll come back home with positive stories of the city,” said Bozzer.

The band’s ten-year anniversary will be reached at a point during the Canadian leg of the tour, which will be commemorated. “Another special moment of this tour is the show which will occur in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia on July 14th, The White Stripes’ Tenth Anniversary,” said Jack White.

Following the Canadian dates, The White Stripes will embark on a tour in the United States, which will reach some 16 states they have not yet visited during their career, among other repeat locations.

2007 Canadian Tour Dates   Venue City Province/Territory
June 24   Deer Lake Park Burnaby British Columbia
June 25   Yukon Arts Centre Whitehorse Yukon
June 26   Shorty Brown Multiplex Arena Yellowknife Northwest Territories
June 27   Arctic Winter Games Arena Iqaluit Nunavut
June 29   Pengrowth Saddledome Calgary Alberta
June 30   Shaw Convention Centre Edmonton Alberta
July 1   TCU Place Saskatoon Saskatchewan
July 2   MTS Centre Winnipeg Manitoba
July 3   Community Auditorium Thunder Bay Ontario
July 5   Molson Amphitheatre Toronto Ontario
July 6   Bell Centre Montreal Quebec
July 7   John Labatt Centre London Ontario
July 8   Bluesfest Ottawa Ontario
July 10   Moncton Coliseum Moncton New Brunswick
July 11   Charlottetown Civic Centre Charlottetown PEI
July 13   Cunard Centre Halifax Nova Scotia
July 14   Savoy Theatre Glace Bay Nova Scotia
July 16   Mile One Centre St. John’s Newfoundland