Archive for March, 2011

The Importance of Having Good Financial Records When Selling A Private Security Company

There are many attractive, small to medium sized, private security companies in the market today that would be a good acquisition for the generous buyers – and the owners would like to sell. The problem for some of these would-be sellers is that their companies do not have the financial information in place to prove the company’s real worth, so the owners can’t get the premium they’re expecting and deserve.

Buyers for private contact security companies today are still looking at the types of accounts, geographic operating territory, number of armed guards, average site size, quality of management going with the sale, etc. as a way to establish its initial interest in a selling company. The buyers are also placing a lot of importance on the seller’s reported profits at the site level. The seasoned buyer will know how much it takes to run a branch and administrative office, irrespective of what it may be costing the seller, so the profits (or losses) at these levels are not nearly as important to the valuation. But there’s not much the buyer can do to improve on the profit at the site level without jeopardizing the relationship with the account.

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Retail's Role in Job Creation

During January’s State of the Union, Obama called on the retail industry to create jobs and aid in the continuation of the nation’s economic recovery. As an industry that supports one out of every five U.S. workers, much of the retail industry met Obama with open arms. So, how does the retail industry plan on tackling this challenge? Aside from benefiting from the tax breaks the Obama administration is offering, retail recruiters will need to keep recruiting costs low and retention rates high in order to afford this major growth.

Retail's Role in Job Creation

Where to begin: Tips for Recruiting in Retail

  • Invest in screening qualified candidates now; better hiring practices will save money (by increasing retention) later. This means a standard assessment, an application, a brief interview and perhaps drug screening or criminal background checks.
  • Advertise the value. Employees that want to stay on board site career growth, learning, being a part of team, management recognition and others as contributing factors. Advertising these points to candidates will help them see the value in a retail career path.
  • Utilize HR technology to organize the high-volume of applicants. The retail industry comes with unique challenges when it comes to supporting both hourly and salaried employees, attracting candidates, and taking in applications. Tailor career portals around specific needs, segmenting corporate hiring from store hiring from internship hiring and beyond. Some HR technology providers can even set up in-store kiosks for walk-in traffic and applications.

Next Steps: Learn from other Retail Professionals
Want to learn more about recruiting in Retail? In the NYC area? Register for iCIMS’ HR Recruiter Event, March 9th in NYC! This event will provide HR professionals with the opportunity to discuss their unique ways of overcoming the many challenges that are linked with today’s talent management programs. Recruiters will have the chance to share their experiences and gain feedback from other retail industry professionals, as well as discuss best practices, network, and offer suggestions for the future. This evening event will feature a presentation from iCIMS’ client Tory Burch and is complimentary to attend. [If you’ve missed this event, please look out for a recap of talking points in an upcoming blog at www.icims.com/blog/.

Legal Challenges to Healthcare Reform

Several state based challenges of the healthcare law (involving 26 states) are making their way through federal court with the central issue being the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Already, two federal district judges appointed by Democratic presidents have upheld the constitutionality of the law while two judges appointed by Republican presidents have struck it down. While the first ruling against the law only ruled that the individual mandate was not legal (thus the employer mandate and other provisions could remain in effect), the second ruling against the law in a Florida court held that the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the law, meaning the entire law has to be tossed.

The next stop for these cases is federal appeals court and then, as everyone is predicting, the Supreme Court. It is possible for the Supreme Court to grant the cases "expedited review" allowing them to skip the appeals court level, but this seems very remote. As to when it may hit the Supreme Court, it has been predicted that the 4th Circuit (MD, VA, WV, NC, SC) will be the first Appellate Court to hear oral argument on the law. If other Circuits also act quickly it could reach the Supreme Court in early 2012. Others believe it could slip to 2013. However, unless the Supreme Court agrees with the Florida judge that the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the law, the employer mandate provisions will still go into effect in 2014 as planned. Many believe that the Supreme Court decision on the law will come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy whose previous decisions on the "commerce clause" and the related "necessary and proper clause" are not definitive.

Insurance Stocks Take a Battering

The damage has also triggered a debate about whether the earthquake will be a market-changing event for the insurance sector.

Since the start of the year natural disasters, including the Queensland floods and the quake in New Zealand, have wreaked havoc on the insurance and reinsurance industries, leaving the sector exposed to more than $50 billion in damages since January 1.

With so many catastrophes, the expectation is that prices will be pushed higher in the July 1 reinsurance renewals. If prices rise, general insurers will be forced to pass them on in higher premiums.

The insurance industry has been suffering from a so-called soft market in recent years. That happens when their prices come under pressure as insurers and reinsurers have lots of spare capital and compete more for business.

Lloyd’s of London syndicates will no doubt be doing due diligence on their exposure.

A spokeswoman said: "It is far too early for us to comment on any potential business impact but, as ever, our efforts will be focused on dealing with claims quickly and helping people and businesses recover."

QBE Insurance is one of the biggest writers of Lloyd’s insurance.

Andrew Chester, managing director at Bowring Marsh, insurance broker Marsh’s specialist international placement broker, said it was too early to determine whether it was a market-changing event. He said that because of the Chile and New Zealand earthquakes, and the Australian floods, there was an increasing focus on catastrophe risks and the prices markets were willing to charge for those events.

Jamil Samaha, a global macro portfolio manager at CQS, the $US10 billion multi- strategy asset management firm led by Michael Hintze, said there would be a hit to the economy in the short term, but more growth later.

"The commercial impacts are potentially very significant. Historically, we have seen insurance and reinsurance companies take significant one-off hits by these types of extreme natural phenomena, but they are typically able to recoup these losses through sharply higher premiums."

What Elements of Critical Incident Preparation and Response Are Organizations Most Concerned About?

Given the recent bout of large-scale critical incidents you may be getting questions internally on how your emergency response, crisis management and/or business continuity will stack up if need be. Clearly there are a lot of factors that play into responding well to an incident; what are of concern to you in your program? Please take our one question quick poll to see if your peers have similar concerns.

Click here to take a one question quick poll and see what your peers are concerned about regarding their critical incident plans.

An economical way to plan for a potential incident is by using table top exercises. The Council in partnership with MSU are putting together a "best practices" resource on things to do to make sure a table top exercise provides the most value. Rad Jones and Jerry Miller, subject matter experts on the subject, will cull their collective experience to develop this resource. We will be sending this to you in the next week. We hope that it will be useful to you given likely sensitivity and scrutiny by management.

Contact us if you need assistance with your emergency response, crisis management and/or business continuity preparation: newsletter@secleader.com

Targeted Repeal of Health Care Law Provisions

Repeal of 1099 Requirement for all Goods and Services over $600.
On February 1, by a vote of 81 to 17, the Senate passed legislation, in the form of an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill, repealing a universally maligned provision in the healthcare reform law that would require businesses, starting in 2012, to file a 1099 form with the IRS for any vendor (goods or services) to whom they pay more than $600 in a tax year. The provision was included to help offset the cost of the health care law, and was estimated to bring in $19.2B over 10 years. For almost a year, Democrats and Republicans have called for the provision to be stricken, and the President even called for its repeal in the State of the Union address. The problem has been finding agreement between the parties on a suitable way to make up for the revenue that would be lost by eliminating the provision. In the end, the Senate legislation gives OMB instructions to identify and cut up to $44B in unobligated funds in the accounts of federal agencies except the Social Security Administration. The House is expected to move quickly to pass its version of the legislation.

Committee Scrutiny of Specific Provisions of the ACA (the "Employer Mandate")
With full repeal and/or full defunding not a realistic line of attack, various Committees in the GOP House (Ways and Means, Appropriations, Judiciary and Energy & Commerce) are starting to explore through oversight hearings and other activities ways to dismantle, delay, and defund specific provisions within the bill ("rifle shot repeal"). For business groups, the number one provision being focused upon is the employer mandate. Last Congress, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced legislation that would repeal the employer mandate. However, the employer mandate is a financial pillar of the law and its repeal is very unlikely. The GOP may try to defund it by limiting funding for the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury to implement the mandate, but again this seems unlikely to succeed. Business groups seem likely to also support more feasible moves to make the provision less onerous by increasing exemptions or reducing the penalties.

Health Care Reform: Repeal and Defunding of the Law

In the 2010 elections, total repeal of the healthcare reform law (the "Affordable Care Act" aka "Obamacare") was a successful rallying cry with voters for the GOP. While a total repeal of the law this Congress is a non-starter given the Democratic majority in the Senate and a sure veto by the President; nonetheless, there would be no stopping the GOP from bringing up legislation to repeal the law. Accordingly, the first bill passed by the GOP-controlled House last month (with three Democrats joining all the Republicans) was a repeal bill (H.R. 2). In the Senate too, in early February a full repeal measure was brought to the floor for a vote in the form of a GOP amendment to the FAA authorization bill. The Senate measure failed on a party-line vote 51-47. Full repeal will not happen, but the GOP leadership has promised to bring it up again and again, and it will surely remain in play up until the 2012 elections. However, as the GOP pursues what will largely be symbolic healthcare repeal related activities they run the risk of Democrats being able to use these opportunities to play up the popular provision of the law, and to portray the GOP as obsessed with healthcare reform at the expense the number one issue for all Americans – creating jobs.

After full repeal, the GOP’s next line of attack on "Obamacare" is to try to defund it through specific targeting of the funding for agencies, offices and programs that would implement the law. The GOP House is expected to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY ’11 that will include a provision(s) to "preclude any funding" for the health care law. As will full repeal, eliminating funding for the healthcare law will not pass the Senate, and this effort, along with the many other unrelated deep cuts proposed in the House GOP FY ’11, is setting up a serious government shutdown showdown as the current FY ’11 CR expires on March 4.

Overcapitalization & New Insurers Keeping Business Insurance Market Soft: Report

The property/casualty insurance market is overcapitalized to the tune of $74 billion and will remain in the soft market phase of the pricing cycle until that difference between supply and demand is brought into balance, according to a new report from Advisen Ltd.

The overcapitalization largely is the result of the growth of policyholders’ surplus as stock markets rebounded from the financial crisis, along with reduced demand for insurance capacity resulting from the Great Recession as business activity decreased and property values fell.

"One unprecedented mega-catastrophe, or several very large catastrophes in close succession, could destroy the excess capacity and trigger a turn in the market," the Advisen report said. But, the consulting firm said, a more likely course is a "slow, painful hemorrhaging of capital as deeply eroded rate levels take their toll."

While property/casualty insurers’ recent results have been bolstered by the release of prior-year reserves, their ability to do so going forward has been diminished, Advisen noted. Meanwhile, the low-interest-rate environment will put additional pressure on insurers’ results, Advisen said.

How does this relate to the Security Guard, Investigation and Electronic Security Industries? Workers Compensation Rates continue to rise because of state rate increases largely associated with increases in loss costs or claim expense. Primary liability, Employment Practices, Crime, Property and Business Auto Liability are trending downward in 2011 only for firms who’s claim experience and operational profile justify a cost reduction. The crystal ball is unclear on 2012 or 2013. Bottom Line; Expect workers compensation rate increases of between 2 and 17% depending on your state while seeing up to a 5% decreases in insurance cost on other lines only if claim experience and operational platform justify the decrease.

» Click here for the full report from Advisen

In The Federal World, Valentine’s Day Was A Different Sort Of Celebration

In the federal world, Valentine’s Day was a different sort of celebration… or simply provided for some serious gnashing of the teeth. All depending upon where you stand when viewing the President’s long awaited budget proposal. While still a long ways from getting through Congress and with changes and modifications sure to come, the battle lines have been drawn. Please note that if you’re a holiday or two behind and still focused on evaluating 2010, please visit mcleanllc.com and download a free copy of our firm’s 2010 M&A review for Defense and Government Services.

A great summary of the budget is provided for free by our friends at INPUT (recently purchased by Deltek) at input. Overall, administration officials are toeing a reduction line. OMB Director Jacob Lew said yesterday at a press briefing that simply keeping DoD with “no real growth” will save roughly $78 billion annually. Helping that figure is cost savings from reducing money spent on costly major weapon systems, like the C17 Tanker Aircraft, that the department finally admits are not crucial to national security. Additionally, planned withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq should reduce government spending by at least 5% less this year versus years past.

Overall, the FY12 budget sent to Congress yesterday calls for approximately a 10-12% cut on money allocated toward contractors, which will force companies to rethink how they operate. This slowdown in organic growth necessitating inorganic growth strategies combined with the recent extension on capital gains tax rates should continue to provide fuel for a strong year for M&A activity. There are areas such as cybersecurity, health care IT, and continued IT modernization efforts at various agencies, that provide solid budgets going forward and strong growth opportunities for contractors. Companies operating in these areas should continue to see strong demand and valuation multiples going forward.

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