Sunday, September 30, 2012

QE3: Get ready for influx of cash!

QE3 set to boost confidence but experts warn against simply loading up on equities.

A RIVER of cash is likely to wash over the global financial system soon, thanks to decisions by major central banks to unleash their monetary “bazookas” on the faltering global economy.

The money-printing ball started rolling last month when the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would make “unlimited” purchases of bonds from countries such as Italy and Spain.

The US Federal Reserve was next, announcing that a third round of asset purchases, known as quantitative easing (QE3), would start at the rate of US$40bil (RM122.5bil) a month until the job market recovers “significantly”.

It was soon followed by the Bank of Japan, which said it would extend its asset-purchasing scheme by 10 trillion yen.

A big chunk of that excess liquidity will likely flow into Asian financial markets as investors search for better returns, given the low interest rates in most countries.

It is tempting to think investors can simply load up on equities and ride a rally like previous rounds of quantitative easing but this is not so, say experts.

They believe that while QE3 will boost confidence and support markets, the euphoria will be checked by the reality that the real economy is in the doldrums.

The list of worries is long: China is decelerating fast, Europe remains mired in recession, and many US consumers are still looking for jobs.

With countervailing forces at work, wealth managers and analysts have plenty of ideas on what to buy and what to avoid.

Buy
> US, Asian equities 

Analysts believe the flood of money will do much to support markets, but not all will do equally well.

UBS Wealth Management regional chief investment officer Kelvin Tay believes defensive bourses such as Singapore and Malaysia will do less well than markets such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

He added that what is also likely to boost shares in Asia, outside of Japan, is simply that some stock markets look cheap, based on a metric known as price-to-earnings ratio. Shares could rise 12% from current levels, he said.

DBS regional equity strategist Joanne Goh said the bank recently recommended an “overweight” for Chinese and Hong Kong stock markets, indicating that investors should buy into these markets. These markets are likely to do well because they are large, open and undervalued, she added.

Analysts’ views were slightly more mixed about US equities, with some believing they will get a boost from QE3, while others warned that the impact would be limited.

Matthew Rubin, Neuberger Berman’s director of investment strategy, said American shares do look relatively cheap compared with investment-grade bonds.

“The additional liquidity should further support a rise in prices,” said Rubin, who helps set strategy at the fund, which manages assets of US$194bil (RM593.9bil).

But Sean Quek, Bank of Singapore’s head of equity research, said past experience shows that US equities benefit less from quantitative easing.

“Also, current valuations are less attractive versus previous QE periods as well as global peers,” he said, adding that he has a neutral rating on American shares.

> Gold

Most analysts believe stocking up on gold and gold-related assets is a good move.

First, with the amount of cash expanding in the system, there could be the risk of higher inflation. And with the value of the currency likely to fall due to the huge amounts of cash flowing about, investors will want “real assets” to protect themselves.

Rubin noted: “Real assets such as precious metals will act as inflation hedges and are per­ceived as diversifiers to holding fiat currency.”

Chew Soon Gek, head of strategy and economic research for the Asia-Pacific at Credit Suisse Private Banking, believes precious metals will outperform other commodities.

“They are the most sensitive to monetary easing, inflation expectations and real interest rates,” she said.

She tips gold to hit US$1,850 (RM5,663.80) per ounce in a year, from the US$1,760 (RM5,388.40) now.

> High-yield securities

With interest rates likely to stay near zero for the next two years, analysts believe that the demand for high-yielding securities will remain strong.

In particular, companies that pay a good dividend and have strong balance sheets are likely to attract investors, say analysts.

“With the QE expected to suppress yields and the Fed’s commitment to keep interest rates low until mid-2015, dividends will remain an important driver of total returns,” said Quek.

He noted that firms giving investors good payouts have generally performed better in the past two years when rates have fallen.

Rubin also believes that high-yield corporate bonds as well as real estate investment trusts are good places to park money.

“The search for yield in a low interest rate environment will continue,” he said.

Avoid
> US dollar 

If there is one asset class that most analysts believe is to be avoided, it is the greenback.

The flood of US dollars into the system through QE3 will lead to what analysts term a “debasement” of the currency – essentially a depreciation. In fact, Rubin believes that cash, and not just the greenback, should be avoided.

“QE3 increases potential for inflation and depreciation of the dollar,” he said.

This may also affect Singapore investors who have taken positions in US equities, as the currency may erode gains or increase losses due to the exchange rate. Likewise, investors might want to avoid the euro.

The poor economic outlook and flood of cash into the market will likely send it down against Asian currencies such as the Singdollar.

Uncertain
> European equities

For investors who take a riskier approach to investing, European stock markets do offer an option. After all, some of the best bargains are made when everyone else is deserting them, said Henderson Global Investors.

The asset management firm said that even though the outlook is gloomy, many firms remain healthy, with global operations.

But Quek is cautious on the region, simply because many question marks over the overall health of the economy remain.

A recent run-up in share prices there, as a result of the ECB’s unlimited bond purchase decision, has also made European stocks more expensive and less attractive, he noted. “As such, we are maintaining a negative stance on Europe.”

> Property 

While previous rounds of quantitative easing may have been one of the causes of property price inflation, this may not be repeated with this latest round.

Singapore has introduced the additional buyer’s stamp duty of 10% that foreigners incur when buying homes. Tay thinks that while QE3 may keep property resilient, price rises will be capped.

But QE3 could still end up boosting the appeal of US property, says Dr Lee Boon Keng, head of the investment solutions group for Singapore at Bank Julius Baer, noting that the housing conditions were improving and rebounding from historical lows.

“The US economy continues a moderate recovery, aided by rising property prices which should have a multiplier effect on consumption and investment,” he said. — The Sunday Times/Asia News Network

By AARON LOW

 Related posts/articles

QE3 triggers fear of new currency wars! What it means?
New global currency wars warning!  QE3 triggers fear of new currency wars! What it means?

Malaysia's Tax Budget 2013: politically savvy for general election? Housebuyers may struggle to pay!

Beyond the statistics of Budget 2013, it is clear that the government is well aware that the middle income group has found itself in a sandwich position.

FOR some in the Malaysian middle class, especially those in the upper income bracket, there is not much to cheer about Budget 2013.

But this is a group that is not easy to please. If they have their way, they would want to have personal taxes reduced. I would want to pay less to the taxman too, but it is also about time that we wake up to the reality of having the consumption-based goods and services taxes (GST) implemented.

It may not be politically savvy to introduce the GST prior to the general election but the fact is the current tax base is simply too narrow. Just over a million people are now paying personal income tax in a country of over 27 million people.

Through the GST, the tax net would be wider and those who spend on more pricey items would just have to pay for them. An ordinary wage-earner buying economy rice or roti canai won’t have to pay GST, for sure.

But if you buy a Louis Vuitton bag in KL, then it’s only right that you pay a hefty GST bill, and help the government raise its tax revenue. If we want to encourage tourism, we just have to follow what other countries are doing – limiting GST only to our citizens. Tourists, even if they are rich sheikhs, can apply for tax refunds at the airport.

That’s how GST works, but there is a general election ahead. The government does not want to be in a defensive mode, where it has to explain how GST works.

We are always looking to pay less while we expect the government to spend more to boost the economy, or even give away monetary goodies to spur spending.

When the government spends, it has to look for money. Currency speculator George Soros is surely not a good option.

Reducing by one percentage point for those with chargeable income between RM2,500 and RM50,000, as proposed in the Budget, plus the other tax reliefs, also mean that only 1.7 million people will now pay taxes compared with the workforce of 12 million.

Beyond the statistics, it is clear that the government is well aware that the middle income group has found itself in a sandwich position. They are the ones who feel the rising cost of living the most, and any effort to reduce their tax burden should be lauded.

It is this group that the Budget wants to target. The rich can take care of themselves and the poor has been taken care of.

The higher income group would still benefit, in some way, as regardless of how much one earns, the existing tax relief for their children’s education has been increased to RM6,000 from RM4,000 per child.

But it is the financially distressed wage earners, especially those in the lower earning bracket, who are doing their best to stretch the ringgit. After paying for their home rentals, car or motorbike loans and food expenses, there is nothing left, really. Saving itself is difficult, let alone finding the downpayment for the first home.

The affordable houses scheme would be essential to allow this group of urbanites to believe that they can own houses. The government must make it work.

Another measure that is targeted at this group is the 50% discount on KTM fares for Malaysians earning RM3,000 and below monthly. I would have preferred the government to just provide a blanket free KTM ride during peak hours in the mornings and evenings.

I am curious to see how KTM plans to carry out the registration of commuters who qualify and give them the special discount cards. If it is not effectively carried out, due to practical logistic issues, this scheme is definitely open to abuse. So the government might as well just provide free rides.

The whining upper middle class won’t be joining the queues at the crowded KTM stations, that’s for sure. It will still be the same KTM passengers who want to cut down on their financial expenses because they live in the outer city zones or even in Negri Sembilan but travel daily to Kuala Lumpur to work or to study.

The 70 new 1Malaysia Clinics will surely be welcomed as they would be a great help to the urban poor. Furthermore, 350 clinics would be upgraded and an additional 150 dialysis machines will be made available in government haemodialysis centres nationwide. All measures to improve healthcare facilities for the masses are surely welcomed.

But there is one area where the whining from the Malaysian middle class is legitimate – the crime problem.

We have repealed laws such as the Emer­gency Ordinance because the intelligentsia in urban areas demanded it. But the reality is that many of the Simpang Renggam graduates are now on the streets and the police cannot find these crooks because their hands are tied.

Budget 2013 has allocated for 496 CCTV cameras to be installed in 25 local authorities nationwide to prevent street crime in urban areas. This is like a drop in the ocean and surely insufficient.

We should have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of these cameras put up, as in London, to keep an eye on potential criminals.

As I write this, I have just been informed that my colleague had his new car hijacked by two men while he was on his way home with his wife and son in Subang Jaya. Incidents like this point to the necessity of having more of our policemen out on patrol.

The proposal to increase the number of police personnel for patrolling and combating crime is in the right direction. The police also have to review how police reports are made so that a person making a simple report about a car accident, or a lost handbag, does not have to compete with people making reports for serious offences. We need to put our policemen on the streets, not behind desks.

Let us consider making Rela, the civil service group, and volunteer policemen take over simple tasks like crowd and traffic control. The Budget has proposed an additional 10,000 officers for the Police Volunteer Reserve force. This is not something new but it will definitely reduce the unnecessary burden on the police.

On the Beat By Wong Chun Wai

 

HBA: Housebuyers may struggle to pay

Among the goodies were the building of 123,000 affordable homes at a cost RM1.9bil in key locations such as Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Johor Baru, Seremban and Kuantan. The houses will cost between RM100,000 and RM400,000 each.


THE National Housebuyers Asso­ciation (HBA) has warned that house-buyers may struggle to service monthly loan payments if they buy homes under the My First Home scheme.

An applicant with a household income of RM5,000 a month, or a couple with a combined income of RM10,000, will not be able to afford the monthly repayments of a RM400,000 housing loan based on a 30-year repayment period after taking into account other household expenses and mandatory tax payments, said its secretary-general Chang Kim Loong.

Chang said applicants who commit to housing loans of RM400,000 with an average interest rate of 4.75% would end up having to pay RM2,086 each month.

“Based on Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) guidelines, a single loan repayment cannot exceed one third of the applicant, or joint applicant’s gross income.

“It would also be a potential disaster for a household which cannot afford to fork out the 10% down payment from their savings to commit to a RM400,000 loan,” he said.

He said house buyers should always match the repayment period with the number of remaining years they expect to work.

Otherwise, he said, the applicants would not be able to retire, or end up committing their children to continue paying the loan.

On PR1MA, he said, the price cap of RM400,000 for homes was too high.

“PR1MA should be pricing their properties below RM300K, preferably in the range of RM150K to RM300K to cater to a wider base of the middle-income and lower-income groups,” he said.

Related post:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Japan stole Diaoyu Islands

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has accused Tokyo of stealing disputed islands. Source: AAP

United Nations:  CHINESE Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has sparked angry exchanges at the UN by accusing Japan of stealing disputed islands. 

Chinese and Japanese envoys had the exchanges on Thursday after Yang heightened tensions over the East China Sea islands, and reopened old diplomatic wounds over World War II.

The Japanese government's purchase of the uninhabited islands from a private owner this month has infuriated Beijing and set off violent protests in China.

"China strongly urges Japan to immediately stop all activities that violate China's territorial sovereignty, take concrete actions to correct its mistakes and return to the track of resolving the dispute through negotiation," Yang told the UN assembly.

He reaffirmed his country's claim that Japan tricked China into signing a treaty ceding the islands in 1895.

Japan says the islands were legally incorporated into its territory.

"The moves taken by Japan are totally illegal and invalid," the Chinese minister said.

"They can in no way change the historical fact that Japan stole Diaoyu and its affiliated islands from China and the fact that China has territorial sovereignty over them."

Japan's move was in "outright denial" of its defeat in World War II, he added, reaffirming China's repeated references to the 1939-45 war.

Yang's speech sparked sharp exchanges between Japanese and Chinese diplomats as each sought a right of reply.

Japan's deputy UN ambassador, Kazuo Kodama, said that "an assertion that Japan took the islands from China cannot logically stand".

Kodama added the references to World War II were "unconvincing and unproductive".

China's UN envoy Li Baodong responded: "The Japanese delegate once again brazenly distorted history, resorting to spurious fallacious arguments that defy all reason and logic to justify their aggression of Chinese territory.

"The Japanese government still clings to its obsolete colonial mindset.

"China is capable of safeguarding the integrity of its territory."

When Kodama responded that the islands "are clearly an inherent territory of Japan", Li returned to the attack.

He  said his Japanese counterpart "feels no guilt for Japan's history of aggression and colonialism".

The Japanese government's purchase of the islands was based purely on "the logic of robbers", he stormed.

China has demanded the return of the uninhabited islands, known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japanese, for decades. Taiwan also claims the islands. -  AFP/Agencies

A man reads the white paper on the Diaoyu Islands at a bookstore in downtown Beijing on Friday. The white paper, entitled Diaoyu Islands, an Inherent Territory of China, published in Chinese, English and Japanese, hit the market on Friday. It has been issued both at home and abroad to assert China's sovereignty over the island and its affiliated islets. Photo: Guo Yingguang/GT
A man reads the white paper on the Diaoyu Islands at a bookstore in downtown Beijing on Friday. The white paper, entitled Diaoyu Islands, an Inherent Territory of China, published in Chinese, English and Japanese, hit the market on Friday. It has been issued both at home and abroad to assert China's sovereignty over the island and its affiliated islets. Photo: Guo Yingguang/GT

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi accused Japan of stealing the Diaoyu Islands in an address to the UN General Assembly in New York Thursday, urging it to immediately stop infringing on China's territorial sovereignty, correct its mistakes through concrete actions and return to the track of resolving the disputes through negotiation.

Yang used the general debate of the ongoing session of the UN General Assembly to state China's stance over recent rows stirred up by Japan's "nationalization" of the islets.

His remarks came after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's insistence that no territorial issue exists over the islets during a speech on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

"The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets have been an integral part of China's territory since ancient times," Yang said. "China has indisputable historical and legal evidence in this regard."

Yang said Japan stole the islands in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese War and forced the Chinese government to sign an unequal treaty to cede these islands and other Chinese territories.

After World War II, the Diaoyu Islands and other Chinese territories occupied by Japan were returned to China in accordance with the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and other international documents, he said.

The Chinese Foreign Minister stated that, by taking such unilateral actions as the "island purchase," the Japanese government had grossly violated China's sovereignty.

"This is an outright denial of the outcome of the victory in the global anti-fascist war and poses a grave challenge to the post-war international order and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter," he said.

Yang emphasized that the moves taken by Japan are totally "illegal" and "invalid," which can in no way change the "historical fact" that Japan stole the Diaoyu Islands from China and the fact that China has territorial sovereignty over them.

 "The Chinese government is firm in upholding China's territorial sovereignty," he added.
>In a rebuttal session following Yang's speech, Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, said that "the Japanese government still clings to its old-time colonial mindset," the Xinhua News Agency reported.

According to Xinhua, Li said Japan's "purchase" of the islands is based purely on "the logic of robbers."

"Its purpose is to legalize the stealing and occupation of the Chinese territory through this illegal means and to confuse international public opinion and deceive the people of the world," Li was quoted by Xinhua.

Zhou Hongjun, a professor with the International Law Faculty at the East China University of Politics and Law, told the Global Times that Japan's denial of any territorial issue is void.

The countermeasures taken by China have put the waters off the Diaoyu Islands under the substantial control of both China and Japan, reversing Japan's "illegal" control of the area in recent years, said Zhou.

"We ought to consolidate and extend our progress," Zhou said.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Yang met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday.

Reuters quoted a senior US State Department official as saying that during the talks, Clinton said it was important to ratchet down the quarrel over the islands that has soured ties between Asia's two largest economies.

"We believe that Japan and China have the resources, have the restraint, and have the ability to work on this directly and take tensions down," the official said.

Separately, the Chinese embassy in Tokyo said in a statement on its website that it received a suspicious envelope on Thursday, and that after an inspection by Japanese police, a rifle bullet was found in the envelope on Friday.

The embassy said that the Japanese police are investigating the incident, and the embassy has demanded Japanese police take concrete measures to protect the safety of Chinese organizations, enterprises and citizens in Japan.

Kyodo reported that the envelope bore the name of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

A spokeswoman at the prime minister's office only said that Noda had not sent the bullet, without elaborating on any action it might take, reported AFP. - Agencies

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Who owns Diaoyu Islands?
China announces geographic codes for Diaoyu Islands baseline to UN
Japan's buying Diaoyu Islands provokes China to strike ...
China's vessels patrol Diaoyu Islands after Japan illegally purchases and nationalizes them 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fearful of China's rise?

PETALING JAYA: China may overtake the United States as the biggest economic power in the next four to six years but this does not mean that it will instantly become the world's superpower, says a leading expert on China.

Dr Martin Jacques, 67, author of the global bestseller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, said it would take several decades, from between 2030 and 2040, before it could even achieve developed state status.

“It'd be a long way to go as a superpower,” he said at a talk on “China As Global Superpower: What It Means For Asia and The World”, hosted by the Asian Centre for Media Studies, based in Menara Star.

The second edition of his book was released recently and 40% of its content was new.

“This includes an extensive chapter analysing events after the 2008 financial crisis,” he said.

Expert on China: Dr Jacques presenting a talk hosted by the Asian Centre for Media Studies at Menara Star.
 
His first was shortlisted for two major literary awards.

Dr Jacques said Westerners were fearful of China's rise due to scant knowledge and understanding of China and that it was a communist country.

They fear the country might throw its weight and its military power around.

However, Dr Jacques pointed out that China had no major interest in developing military power after Deng Xiaoping took over the country from the late 1970s to 1990s.

On fears that a communist country was not democratic, he argued that being democratic had not stopped Europeans from conquering others.

“Although China has a lot of problems now, it doesn't mean that it can't be humane and more democratic,” said Dr Jacques.

“Maybe, it will develop universal suffrage without following the Western way.”

Dr Jacques pointed out that the China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank gave loans of more than US$110bil (RM338.415bil) to other developing countries in 2009 and 2010 while the World Bank only made loan commitments of US$100.3bil (RM307.65bil).

Dr Jacques, a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (University of London), visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy, Washington DC, was the former editor of Marxism Today, deputy editor of The Independent and a co-founder of the think tank Demos.



Fresh insight on China


PETALING JAYA: China continues to grab world headlines and dominate international news for many reasons. The world's second largest economy is now expected to be the biggest in only a few years, with many far-reaching implications to follow.

World-renowned author and academic Dr Martin Jacques (pic) will be presenting a fresh look at the new China in a talk at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya at 2pm on Thursday.

His talk titled “China As Global Superpower: What It Means For Asia and The World” is hosted by the Asian Center for Media Studies, based at Star Publications (M) Bhd.

Dr Jacques is the author of the global bestseller When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, which has been translated into 11 languages, shortlisted for two major literary awards and described as the best book on China in many years.

To keep track of the rapid changes in China, Dr Jacques has just released the second edition of his book, incorporating the latest data and an extended analysis which includes a new section.

The discussant for the talk will be Dr Lee Poh Ping, a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of China Studies at Universiti Malaya.

Dr Lee has written and published extensively on East Asian affairs and presented university seminars on Dr Jacques' work.

The talk will be moderated by The Star's associate editor Bunn Nagara.

The event at the Cybertorium in Menara Star is open to the public free of charge, with no registration required

 The Star/Asia News Network

Malaysia's minimum wage saga continues

AFTER all the debate between proponents and opposers and the accompanying fanfare which dragged on for years, the Human Resources Minister finally issued an order in July 2012, declaring that Minimum Wages need to be paid from January 2013.

While the intention was to ensure that all employees will be paid a certain minimum salary, RM900 in peninsular Malaysia, the way in which the order was worded has created problems and headaches for employers, not so much for those who are not paying the minimum wage of RM900 currently, but for employers whose current remuneration package for employees is far above that of RM900.

The blame for this rests squarely on the formulators of the law and the order.

This is further compounded by the recent issuance of so called “Guidelines – method of implementation of the Minimum Wages Order 2012”.

The National Wages Consultative Council Act, (the Act) under which the Minimum Wage Order has been promulgated, states that “wages” has the same meaning as that found in the Employment Act 1955.

“Wages” as defined in the Employment Act 1955 means basic wages and all other payments in cash payable to an employee for work done in respect of his contract of service but does not include the listed exclusions.

However, the Act has also provided a definition for “minimum wages”, to mean, the basic wages to be or as determined under the order made by the Minister under Section 23.

Section 24(2) of the Act goes further to state that where the basic wages in an employment contract is lower than the minimum wage rate as specified in the Minimum Wages Order the minimum wage rate (RM900) shall be substituted for the ‘basic wage’ in the employment contract.

There are many employers, who for a variety of reasons, provide a low basic wage but top up the remuneration package with a variety of other payments such as commissions, allowances, service charge, shift allowance and other payment in cash.

In many instances, the calculation of the additional payments are based on the current “basic wage”.

At the end of each month, these employees earn much more than the minimum RM900.

Often employers fix a low basic wage but pay high rates for other payments, the calculation of which, as mentioned earlier, is sometimes linked to the basic wage. They do so to encourage productivity.

They are not short paying their employees but that is how the wage payments are structured in the country with each industry having its own peculiar structure.

Many instances can be cited where employees paid as much as RM1,500 or even more per month.

The Minimum Wages Order requires that the “basic wage” be now moved up to RM900.

The introduction of minimum wages was never intended to affect these good employers but to compel the ones who pay below RM900 to raise the wages of their employees to a minimum level of RM900 per month.

The Minimum Wages Order in Para 6, however, goes on to suggest that employers and employees and where trade unions exist, could go about and re-negotiate a restructuring of wages before the coming into force of the order.

How on earth are employers, who do not have a union, going to go about this renegotiating with their employees? What if they disagree?

Would any employee or trade union in the right frame of mind agree to raise his current basic (which is lower than RM900) to the new figure of RM900 (thereby helping the employer to conform with the requirement of the Minimum Wages Order) and permit all the other benefits that he is receiving (which is related to the basic) to be lowered so that the end result is that he is placed at a position, (in terms of total remuneration received at the end of the month ) no different than the original amount that he is currently receiving?

The Minimum Wages Order has indeed created confusion in the labour market and that is putting it very mildly. Fortunately, the order comes into force only in January 2013, giving time for corrective measures.

In an attempt to provide some clarity and explanation to this confused state of affairs, the National Wages Consultative Council exercising the powers provided under Section 4(2) of the Act has decided that apart from the matters contained in the Minimum Wages Order 1212 it shall issue some guideline relating to the method of implementation of the order.

Nowhere in Section 4(1) (which refers to the functions of the council) are powers given to it to elaborate, explain, modify or issue guidelines relating to the method of implementing the Minimum Wages Order issued by the Minister under Section 23(1).

If at all the council wants to make any recommendations it could exercise the provision under Section 22(1)(e).

In such an instance it has to make its recommendations to the Government through the Minister.

The Minister, if he agrees with the recommendation, can then issue an order as provided for under Section 22(1). .

Clearly, the drafting of the Minimum Wages Order could have been done much more professionally bearing in mind the objective of the introduction of the minimum wage law.

It is still not too late to remedy the situation and help relieve the unnecessary turmoil the vast majority of employers are now facing.

Up till now so much management time has been lost trying to find answers to the hundreds of questions raised by law abiding employers in the different industries for which no one in the ministry has been able to provide clear-cut answers.

Needless to say, any law enacted must be simple, well drafted, easy to understand and achieve what it is set out to do.

If it creates problems, especially for those who ought not to be affected by it, then something is fundamentally wrong with it.

PETER RAIAPPAN Kuala Lumpur

Related posts:
 Malaysia's minimum wage, and its implications
Malaysia's Minimum wage's benefits and effects
Are Malaysian Employment Laws Challenging?
What's minimum wage in Malaysia?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

QE3 triggers fear of new currency wars! What it means?

A man watches the foreign currencies exchange rate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fear has crept into the foreign exchange markets: fear of central banks. Currency traders are rapidly shifting assets to countries seen as less likely to try to weaken their currencies, amid concern that the fresh round of US monetary easing could trigger another clash in the “currency wars”.

Fund managers are rethinking their portfolios in the belief that “QE3” – the Federal Reserve’s third round of quantitative easing – will weaken the dollar and trigger sharp gains in emerging market currencies. Such moves would cause a headache for central banks worried about the domestic impact of a strengthening local currency, leading to possible intervention.

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Some investors are allocating money towards countries with beaten-up currencies, such as India or Russia, or those with more benign central banks, such as Mexico, that do not have a history of frequent forex intervention.

Currencies whose central banks have either intervened or threatened to intervene since QE3 have been underperforming the US dollar as investors have steered clear.

The Czech koruna is the worst-performing major currency against the dollar since QE3 was launched this month, according to a Bloomberg list of expanded major currencies. The governor of the Czech central bank last week raised the prospect of forex intervention as a tool to stimulate the economy.

The Brazilian real is also weaker in the past two weeks after Guido Mantega, finance minister, made it clear that the government would defend the real from any fresh round of currency wars sparked by the Fed’s move.

Even the Japanese yen is weaker against the dollar overall since the Fed’s move, despite having clawed back all its losses after the Bank of Japan’s move to add to its bond-buying programme last week.

Currency desks at Baring Asset Management and Amundi are avoiding the Brazilian real, which the country’s central bank keeps managed at around R$2 against the US currency, and are instead buying the Mexican peso, where the central bank has signalled it is happy for the currency to appreciate further.

James Kwok, head of currency management at Amundi, said: “Mexico is an emerging market currency many managers like as they believe the central bank won’t intervene. The Singapore dollar and the Russian rouble are managed by a range, instead of one-way direction, and so are also good candidates for QE play.”

He is concerned that another “big scale” intervention from Tokyo is on the cards after the BoJ failed to weaken the yen substantially this month, and is avoiding the currency as a result.

“We definitely take the intervention risk into account when investing in a currency,” says Dagmar Dvorak, director of fixed income and currency at Barings. “In Asia, intervention risk is fairly high. We have still got positions in the Singapore dollar but remain cautious on the rest of the region.”

Other investors are opting for currencies that have weakened substantially this year. Clive Dennis, head of currencies at Schroders, says: “Russia and India have currencies with strong rate support and levels which remain well below their best levels of the last year, hence pose less intervention risk. I like owning those currencies in a US QE3 environment.”

Some currencies are strengthening on a combination of Fed easing and domestic factors. While the Indian central bank is not seen as likely to intervene to stem any appreciation in the rupee, the currency has also been popular this month due to a reform package from the Indian government aimed at stimulating the economy.

Commodity currencies including the Russian rouble are responsive to expectations of a rise in commodity prices fuelled by Fed easing, while investors view the Mexican peso, along with the Canadian dollar, as a play on any economic recovery in the US because of their strong trade links.

However, some investors believe the QE3 effect could be lower this time. They argue that central banks in emerging markets face a tough decision over whether to weaken their currencies to help struggling exporters and stimulate growth, or allow them to strengthen to offset the impact of rising food prices.

In fact, the US dollar has shown signs of resilience since QE3 as fears over the health of the eurozone continue.

While flows into EM debt and equity funds rose substantially last week, according to data from EPFR Global, Cameron Brandt, research director, says this week’s flows looked more muted: “There’s a certain amount of reaction fatigue setting in.

By Alice Ross, FT.com

What QE3 means for China and rest of Asia?


 China recently announced plans to boost spending on subways and other transportation infrastructure to boost its economy. But China may not be as aggressive with stimulus as the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Peter Pham, a capital market specialist and entrepreneur with expertise in institutional sales and trading, is the author of AlphaVN.com, an investing blog focusing on Vietnam and other markets in Southeast Asia
 
Now that most of the developed world's major central banks have all committed to some form of open-ended quantitative easing, we can start to make some concrete predictions about the effects this will have in Asia.

In general, QE is being undertaken in the West to stabilize debt markets that are deflating. So this may do little to actually stimulate sustainable economic growth. But, the uncertainty as to whether the central banks would act aggressively kept a lid on many emerging growth markets for months. Here's what may happen next.

China has been lowering interest rates but it cannot afford to do print money to buy bonds like other central banks have done. China's central bank can still announce more fiscal stimulus due to its strong trade surplus. The recent plan to spend $156 billion on domestic infrastructure is significant, but compared to the amount of money the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank may wind up spending, it might was well be $156.

The political situation in China is proving to be more volatile than we may have originally thought as the response to Japan's buying the Senkaku islands seems completely out of proportion with the level of threat or even insult this is represents. It speaks to a party that needs to redirect anger at its own mishandling of the economy.

That this is coming just a few months after Japan and China signed the most sweeping currency and trade agreement of any that China has signed with another country seems very odd.

Japan's response to the QE announcement by the Fed was to extend their existing QE program another 10 trillion Yen (~$128 billion US). That may sound like a lot but it's even less than China's most recent stimulus program.

This suggests that the Bank of Japan is uninterested in printing to oblivion at the same rate as the Fed and ECB, and that Japan will manage the yen's rise while shifting its focus towards more regional trade. Japan and China are each other's largest trading partners, which makes this row over the Senkaku Islands seem manufactured to force the Japanese to choose a side in the growing cold war between the U.S. and China.

So far, Japan has been trying to work with both sides. It is helping to internationalize China's yuan currency and is giving China a clear alternative to U.S. Treasuries with its own bonds. At the same time, Japan has stepped up its purchase of Treasuries, buying more than $200 billion's worth in the past 12 months.

I expect the Bank of Japan to continue to try and position the yen as an alternative regional reserve currency as other Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia try to lessen their reliance on the U.S. economy.

By keeping the yen strong versus the euro and the dollar, Japan can attract capital from overseas and use it to deploy it around Asia. There should be enough money sloshing around the region so that Asian nations can continue their trade with the West at current levels while also focusing more on regional growth.

The economies of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are already growing above expectations this year despite volatility in their currencies because of the fear over Europe. With worries about Europe starting to wane, these countries, as well as the best companies in them, should have little trouble raising capital through bond sales.

The wildcards for Asia are Hong Kong and Singapore. We're already seeing signs of a property bubble in Hong Kong thanks to the Fed's four-year old policy of interest rates near zero. That's because Hong Kong's dollar is nominally pegged to the U.S. dollar.

Now that the Fed has implemented a program that will further debase the dollar -- and expand its already bloated balance sheet -- Hong Kong is being forced to reassess its currency peg. If they do not make changes, this could result in an even bigger property bubble. That would lead to loan problems for Hong Kong banks similar to those plaguing those in the U.S., Europe, China and, to a lesser extent, Singapore.

Since the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) pegs its interest rates to that of the Fed, its economy is vulnerable to a property bubble like the one in Hong Kong. Inflation is currently above 4% and has recently been above 5%. While Singapore's banks are all very well capitalized and their foreign exchange reserves are higher than their annual GDP, the Fed's QE3 policy will put pressure on an economy already dealing with sluggish growth.

But all in all, the latest round of QE is mostly bullish for Asia as it creates some certainty after the past 12 months of extreme uncertainty. Even though the actions by central banks in the West appear to indicate that their economies are worse than the headlines make it seem, the mere fact that the Fed and ECB have acted should reassure investors throughout Asia.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pussy Riot and Malaysian foreign-funded NGOs

Bizarre as it seems, two prominent Malaysian NGOs have something in common with Pussy Riot – the support of the US National Endowment for Democracy.

WHO loves Pussy Riot? Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sting are in the long list of celebrities supporting the so-called Russian feminist punk rock outfit.



But Madonna appears to have made the biggest impact with her brazen display of endorsement.

Midway through her 1984 hit Like a Virgin during a concert in Moscow last month, she stripped to exhibit the words “Pussy Riot” written across her back.

Her show did little to prevent three members of the group – Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich – from being jailed for two years.

They were found guilty of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred in an orthodox Moscow cathedral.

There has been much global media frenzy over their perceived persecution.The international condemnation has come from Amnesty International, the White House, the European Union, the British and German governments and an assortment of human rights groups.

Among the latest to join the chorus are Yoko Ono, wife of ex-Beatle John Lennon, and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The story as being spun by the mainstream global media is that of three young innocent women who were merely expressing their freedom being jailed by the dissent-silencing president Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB, remember?) and as such, need the support from all the outraged freedom-loving, justice-seeking and human rights-embracing people of the world.

After presenting the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace award to Tolokonnikova’s husband, Ono said: “I thank Pussy Riot in standing firmly in their belief for freedom of expression and making all women of the world proud to be women.”

Oh yeah? Let’s look at what they did to earn such an honour. On Feb 21, they stormed the altar of Cathedral of Christ the Saviour wearing balaclavas and bright outfits to “perform” what has been reported as a “punk prayer to the Virgin Mary”.

In reality, it was a grossly blasphemous parody of a Latin hymn, the English lyrics of which read: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts 


Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest

What they yelled during their “performance” was this:

Holy s***, s***, Lord’s s***! Holy s***, s***, Lord’s s***! St Maria, Virgin, become a feminist ...*Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin *(The Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, whose secular name is Vladimir Gundyaev)
 B****, you better believe in God!

The group is an offshoot of another known as “Voina”, or “War” in Russian, which has since 2008 staged several offensively shocking events in the name of “performance art”, including painting a mural of a penis on a bridge, having group sex in a museum, throwing live cats at workers of a McDonald’s outlet, overturning of police cars and firebombing buildings. They also stole a chicken from a supermarket and performed a lewd act with it.

It’s highly doubtful that the information would be revealed by the Western media when the case comes up for appeal on Oct 1.

Imagine the repercussions if such a group entered a mosque, church, or a Hindu or Buddhist temple in Malaysia to similarly “express their freedom”.

People who commit such acts in the US or in most European countries would also be arrested, charged and jailed, so what’s the big deal about these women?

For one thing, they seem to have powerful backers, in the form of the US National Endowment for Democracy.

Yes, the same entity supporting Bersih and Suaram, which is now being probed over its sources of foreign funding.

According to conspirazzi.com, Pussy Riot and Voina have open links to the NED through Oksana Chelysheva, who is deputy executive director of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society funded by the NED and George Soros-funded outfits.

The NED was created in 1983, seemingly as a non-profit-making organisation to promote human rights and democracy but as its first president Allen Weinstein admitted to The Washington Post in 1991, a lot of what it does overtly used to be done covertly by the CIA.

In the words of ex-CIA officer Ralph McGeehee, it subsidises and influences elections, political parties, think tanks, academia, publishers, media and labour, religious, women’s and youth groups.

Russia has since introduced a new Bill to label NGOs that get foreign funds and are involved in politics as “foreign agents”, with their accounts subject to public scrutiny.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, says the US, too, has laws which require foreign interests to register as foreign agents but this does not always apply to all Israeli lobby groups.

“There are no political parties in the US that are funded by foreign interests. No such thing would be permitted. It would be regarded as high treason,” he was quoted as saying by Pravda.

So, if outsiders are not allowed to fund and interfere in US politics, why should we allow its agencies to meddle in ours?

ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
By M. VEERA PANDIYAN

> Associate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan sees the wisdom in this quote from Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Related post
Sep 22, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A promising Malaysian tax budget for 2013 this Friday?

Broadening income tax bracket will benefit the rakyat as a whole

IN the next few days, the Finance Minister will share with the rakyat the financial health of the country and the Government’s proposed budget for the next 12 months.

With the mission of “Driving Transformation Towards a Developed Nation”, the Government would have the unenviable position of balancing the economy of the country amidst the uncertainties in the external market, as well as ensuring that the plight and wishes of its rakyat are not forgotten, especially in these challenging times.

As tax consultants, we have the opportunity to hear from our clients their expectations and hopes for the upcoming budget. This article aims to analyse some of these expectations as well as the writers’ views as fellow taxpayers and as a rakyat.

Lower taxes

Looking back at the past four budgets, the Government has introduced various ways of lowering the taxes for resident individuals. (See graphics)

While a reduction in tax rate is always a welcome relief to any taxpayer, it would still depend on which level the rates are reduced as it may only benefit certain taxpayers as can be seen in 2010 whereby only those in the highest tax bracket benefited from the 1% tax rate reduction.


What the Government has not introduced is the broadening of the income tax bracket, especially at the lower rates, which will not only benefit those from the lower and middle-income group but the rakyat as a whole, with a higher disposable income. (See tables)

The tax relief available in respect of premiums for education or medical insurance has not been reviewed since 2000. Further, the RM3,000 tax relief limit covers both education and medical insurance.

As education and healthcare are essential for every rakyat and his family, the Government should consider granting tax relief for each category of the insurance premium separately – one for education and another relief for medical insurance.

The Government has also not reviewed the child relief, which has remained at RM1,000 per child below 18 years of age since 2004. Any parent will vouch that providing for a child’s wellbeing is neither easy nor cheap. Any increase in child relief for tax purposes would be welcomed.

Affordable homes

Over the last few months, the news of spiralling property prices has been hitting the media.

Currently, the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) regime for residents and non-residents are the same, i.e. tax is charged on the gain from sale of real property depending on the duration of ownership of the real property regardless of the residence status of the seller.

Genuine resident home buyers, particularly young families who do not yet have high disposable income, are usually at the losing end compared to non-resident buyers, who are usually buyers with higher purchasing power and who perhaps have more speculative intentions.


In the past, the Government has introduced incentives such as stamp duty exemptions. However, the threshold to qualify for the exemption is limited to those properties which have value not exceeding RM350,000, thus leaving young city folks hard-pressed to find homes within this range given the spiralling property prices.

An effective measure previously introduced by the Government was the deduction in respect of interest expended by individuals to finance the purchase of residential property.

Unfortunately, this incentive was only valid for purchases whereby the sale and purchase agreement was executed within a specific period of time, which has since lapsed. The Government could re-introduce this incentive.

The Government could also consider imposing different RPGT rates for residents and non-residents. If there is a concern that foreign investors will shy away as a result, conditions could be put in place for non-residents to be eligible for the resident rates, for example:

 
  • having stayed in Malaysia for a number of years or
  • set up business operations in Malaysia for a number of years, etc.
Alternatively, to quell speculative transactions, the Government could consider increasing the RPGT rates for disposals made within five years from the date of acquisition of the property, which is currently at 10% and 5%, to perhaps the present corporate tax rate of 25%. Disposal after five years will be exempted from RPGT. Genuine home buyers should not be adversely affected by this measure.

A similar measure, although from a stamp duty perspective, was adopted by a neighbouring country whereby affected buyers are required to pay an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty on top of the existing Buyer’s Stamp Duty. The affected buyers are mainly foreigners and non-individuals, or individuals who owned more than one or two residential properties. This is also an avenue for our Government to consider.

By NEOH BENG GUAN and NG SUE LYNN
·Neoh Beng Guan is executive director of KPMG Tax Services Sdn Bhd while Ng Sue Lynn is director.

Team building is a balancing act in an organization

It is important to remember that there are no bad competencies or bad profiles
 
BUILDING teams in an organisation is becoming an increasingly complex and challenging task.

Many organisations are employing the use of assessment tools to give another perspective of the individuals being considered for the purpose of recruitment or even succession planning, which is often an integral part of building a cohesive team. As an executive search consultant and coach, I have found such tools to be very insightful in many instances. One of the biggest lessons for me as a result of using such assessment tools is that bringing together diverse groups of competencies often result in stronger teams.

Most people would choose to work with people who are like themselves. It is a common perception that people with similar personality types will likely be on the same wavelength and get along well together. However, I had the opportunity to work closely with a colleague who is very frank and direct in her communication and work style. My personal style of communication is almost a direct opposite of hers whereby I gravitate to being a lot more diplomatic. Both of us work well together because we can bridge the gaps in each other's work style and cover a lot more ground when collaborating on projects. In most cases when dealing with savvy clients, they want to know the truth but the tactful delivery of facts are also equally important.

As a leader, I am not keen on finding someone exactly like me, as I know I am not perfect and having clones of myself would only magnify my faults. By understanding my own personality profile better, I am able to surround myself with people who are able to bring other competencies to the table and by working together, we would be able to support each other to produce better results and more holistic solutions and better results.

I have noticed that more and more leaders are becoming aware of the need for diversity in their workspace. A decade or two ago my clients often wanted me to look for people who were almost identical to themselves or someone within their organisation. “Just find me someone like John,” or “Don't you have any candidates like my deputy?”

However, employers and leaders are now becoming savvier when it comes to building teams. They are realising that by building diverse teams they are able to address more of their customers' needs and reduce their blind spots. Even clients who have not been exposed to any psychometric assessment tools are able to splice together a profile by using terminology that they are familiar with. For example, I spoke with a client who wanted me to find him a chief operating officer who could think strategically like his head of corporate strategy but the individual also needed to be literate with numbers like his finance director and able to deep-dive to fix problems. Whilst this may seem like a tall order, this description was able to provide another perspective and added another dimension to the job description, which in most cases is only a two-dimensional document. Hence, it became a lot easier to understand the client's requirements from that point onwards.

The results of an assessment project can sometimes be an eye-opener and a driver for change. One such organisation, a multinational company in the manufacturing sector, discovered through an assessment project that the majority of their managers were classified as innovators. Being innovative is a highly desired skill in many organizations, especially in leadership roles. On the other hand, innovators are generally out-of-the-box thinkers and are not very likely to analyse pitfalls well or they may be less detail oriented when it comes to implementation. Faced with the study results, their top management embarked on a development program to build up the other competencies their managers were lacking in. At the same time, they also made a conscious effort to hire more detail-oriented managers who could be more effective on areas of the business that called for more precision. They also created a role for a risk manager to mitigate potential risks that the innovative managers may have missed in their eagerness to try new and different approaches.

I have also come across leaders who have the misconception that their subordinates cannot be better qualified than the leaders themselves. These were usually leaders who enjoyed having their own “kingdoms” and didn't want to “rock the boat.” They tend to hire “yes” men who would carry out instructions without questioning or offer any kind of resistance. As a result, the organisation is likely to stagnate at some point, as there will usually be a bottleneck when it comes to making decisions. The calibre of the managers hired would be of a lower level, as the leader would not want to have subordinates that may outshine them as leaders. As such most decision-making will have to be directed to the top management, as these managers would not be empowered to make decisions.

Although it is not ideal, the leader preferred this approach and this might even work well until the business grows beyond the tipping point whereby the leader will eventually need to empower some capable managers to take on more of the decision-making tasks. As an employee and team member, it is useful to know what our competencies are as this will pave the way for us to develop ourselves in areas that we may not be as proficient in. We can align ourselves to mentors who may have a profile that complements ours or who can help us develop these competencies. It is also handy to know your colleagues' profiles where possible so that we can use the right communication style to get our message across.

For instance, some people prefer receiving emails as this gives them time to craft an appropriate response whilst others may want to have a face-to-face discussion so that they can obtain immediate feedback. At times, this information also tells us why we are unable to get along with certain people in our organisations.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that there are no bad competencies or bad profiles. Nobody is perfect. We all possess competencies; some are similar and some different from the people we work with. It is more important to know what our competencies are and to what degree they influence our communication with others. It is not just the truth but knowing the truth that makes the difference, as this is the starting point for building effective teams.

by Talking Hr with Pauline Ng

Pauline Ng is the consulting director and head of BTI Consultants. She believes that we need to understand what makes a person tick so that we can build more effective teams 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Avoid these 6 ways to hurt your reputation in a new job

There are many ways you can inadvertently damage your reputation in a new job. As my former client found out, showing up late on your first day of work is one of those ways. Here are six ways you can sabotage your reputation that you should avoid at all costs:

#1 – Show up late on your first day of work: This is my number one “no-no” when it comes to starting a new job. Showing up late may damage your reputation because it can make you look unreliable and unable to plan for potential obstacles. If you can’t even make it to work on time, do you think your manager will trust you to finish a project on time? Always give yourself plenty of extra time to get to work for the first few weeks so you can get a feel for traffic patterns and how much time you’ll need. Bring a book or magazine to read in case you get there early.

#2 – Wear inappropriate attire, based on the company culture: Wearing a dark suit is not a good idea if you’ve been hired by a start-up company where everyone wears jeans and shorts to work. Similarly, wearing too casual attire to a company where most employees wear suits five days a week won’t work either. Take the time (before your first day on the job) to understand the company’s culture and find out from your new manager or HR representative as to what attire is appropriate. Never wear perfume or cologne to work – leave these for evenings and weekends. There’s almost nothing more annoying as a manager than having to hold a discussion with a new employee because their over-powering

#3 – Refer constantly to how your previous company did things: When you keep referring to things saying, “That’s not how we did it at ABC company,” or “Where I came from, this is how we did it and it worked much better,” you will severely damage your reputation. Why? Because nobody likes an arrogant know-it-all who thinks they are better than other employees or who believes their previous company did things better. I once led a department after the parent company had purchased and merged five companies into one. Ego-bragging about former companies was so prevalent I implemented a fun way of calling attention to this negative practice. Whenever anyone used the name of his or her former company and someone pointed this out, the person had to add $1 to an empty shoebox in my office. When the shoebox was filled with money I used it for a pizza lunch for the team and to talk about the ego-bragging and why it was so detrimental to our newly combined company. After that, the negative practice almost immediately ceased.

#4 – Question the way (and why) things are done: Like I mentioned in item #3, no one likes an arrogant know-it-all. Before espousing your opinions in your new job, take the time to identify all angles of a situation. This means understanding the stakeholders, inputs, resources, processes, and outcomes/results. Once you have this information, you can dig deeper into certain circumstances using terminology such as, “Help me understand how…” and “How does department ABC then use this information to…?” How you word things is just as important as the questions you ask, so think before you speak.

#5 – Ask for time off: You’d think this would be a no-brainer “no-no”, but you’d be surprised at how often hiring managers express their frustration to me about new employees blindsiding them with time off requests. If you receive a job offer in June and your family already has vacation plans scheduled for mid-July, let the hiring manager know immediately (before you begin your new job) and proactively work with them to ensure your vacation will not disrupt the productivity of the department. Surprising your new manager with a personal time off request can damage your reputation because it can make you seem like a deceitful and immature person.

#6 – Spend time “water cooler gossiping” to get the “dirt” on people in the department: Everyone wants to get to know the people in their new company as quickly as possible – but don’t spend time finding out through the gossip “grape vine” around the water cooler or break room. Take the time to get to know colleagues first hand and form your own opinions. Don’t let other’s nasty gossip cloud your thinking when it comes to co-workers.

As my former career-coaching client found out, it can be fairly easy to damage your reputation in a new job. Once damaged, it can take time and effort to repair your work reputation. To avoid having to go through this situation yourself, be aware of the six key ways you can harm your reputation when starting a new job – and wisely avoid them!

Lisa Quast
Lisa Quast, Contributor

 
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