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Archive for the ‘Personal Performance’ Category

How to choose the right hybrid fund based on your investment horizon –

Posted: November 24, 2020 at 7:56 am

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Bhavana Acharya

At a time when stock markets have charged ahead and worry about volatility is in the air, most conservative or moderate risk investors are told to turn to hybrid funds. The equity-debt blend helps keep returns afloat across equity and debt market cycles, goes the understanding.

Within hybrid funds, though, there are six categories. Each is distinct from the other in its performance potential and risk level. All hybrid funds dont automatically suit all investors or all time-frames. Heres how the hybrid fund categories compare on key performance metrics.

The hybrid categories considered here are as follows: arbitrage, equity savings, conservative hybrid, balanced advantage, and aggressive hybrid. Multi-asset allocation funds have been skipped though they are hybrid funds, there are very few funds in this category to identify category trends; these funds also need a much longer timeframe for performance assessment and as it is new category, we do not have such a long track record.

Losses and volatility

Hybrid funds can be used primarily for two reasons:

-to give better returns than debt without going after pure equity. This is mostly for the more aggressive investors who want more mileage from their investments.

-to give some exposure to equity without the attendant risk. This is more for moderate and conservative investors, who dont want to miss better returns but cant take the risk that comes from pure equity.

Either way, whats key here is the risk containment. That can be measured by the occurrences of losses, the depth of such losses, and how volatile returns can be. So, consider the past three years, since it covers different equity market cycles. The table below shows the worst return each category has delivered on an average, for different time-frames within this three-year period.

Based on rolling return for each period from Nov.2017 to Nov 2020

As you can see, arbitrage funds are the best at keeping losses in check. The category that slips the most during corrections is the aggressive hybrid category. Stretching this period farther back to five years also sees hybrid aggressive funds fare similarly; the categorys worst average one-year performance was a 22.6 percent loss.

Now, consider the frequency at which such losses occur. The table below shows the proportion of times each category slipped into losses, on an average, for different time-frames. This time, were going further back to 2015.

Based on rolling return for each period from Nov.2015 to Nov 2020

The sharp sell-off in March-April this year sent many equity savings and balanced advantage funds tumbling. For many equity savings funds, this swift correction accounted for much of the periods where shorter-term returns slipped into losses. This goes to show that even in categories where equity exposure is low, a quick and steep stock market fall can wipe out a chunk of the gains.

Volatility in returns tracks the same trend. Aggressive hybrid funds are by far the most volatile, followed by balanced advantage funds. Conservative hybrid and equity savings funds are similar in terms of volatility while conservative hybrid funds are predominantly debt, bond prices do react to interest rate changes or expectations and there will be volatility to that extent. This apart, where conservative hybrid funds adopt duration to book gains on yield rallies, volatility can see a spike.

Portfolios and risks

So what explains the differences in loss probabilities and volatility within each category? The answer lies in how much each category holds in equity, derivatives, and debt. In their derivative calls, funds primarily take the opposite position in the futures market on the stocks in their portfolio (they also take other mispricing opportunities, all collectively termed as arbitrage).

This serves to negate equity risk; the more a fund takes these derivative calls, the less equity it has thats left open to market movements. Its this open or unhedged equity that influences losses, volatility as well as returns.

Arbitrage funds hedge the entire equity exposure, which makes them the lowest risk hybrid funds. And therefore, they do not show loss instances beyond any one-month period. Aggressive hybrid funds dont hedge at all, except in rare cases. The extent to which they fall is thus the highest among hybrid funds. And given that these funds also dip into mid-cap and small-cap stocks, periods such as 2018 and 2019 saw these funds slide more than some large-cap equity funds.

The table below shows how the unhedged equity has been over the past 12 months, other than arbitrage funds. The same trend will hold for earlier periods as well.

Conservative hybrid funds are the lowest on equity exposure. Given SEBIs rules, these funds cannot go above 25 percent in open equity. On an average, in the past year, these funds have held 21 percent in equity. But on the flip side, with no restrictions on debt, some conservative hybrid funds have significant credit risk. More, their changing debt strategy also lends to uncertainty.

Balanced advantage funds are free to change allocations based on market conditions, unlike equity savings funds which need to define their exposure to equity, debt and derivatives in their mandate. The category, therefore, sports wide differences in their equity, derivative and debt holdings as well as the manner in which these change over the months.

Performance across time-frames

On the other hand, when markets rally or over the long term, funds with a bigger open equity exposure will deliver better. On a rolling three-year return in the past eight-year period, the average return for aggressive hybrid funds was 9 percent. The best return in this period was a good 20.1 percent. Thats far above balanced advantage funds, where the maximum return was 16.2 percent.

However, in categories such as arbitrage or even equity savings, returns will be similar whether long-term or short. Arbitrage funds are very similar to liquid funds in terms of return; they do not gain from equity market movement. Equity savings funds have low equity allocations, which caps how much returns can rise even in prolonged market rallies.

The table below shows the average returns for one-year, two-year and three-year periods for each category based on rolling returns since 2017.

How to know which category to use

Two factors help determine whether hybrid funds will work for you and which one to go for timeframe and risk appetite. Another factor that can play a role is your need for tax efficiency.

For a very short-term horizon of six months to one year, arbitrage funds can be used by those who seek tax efficiency, as an add-on to debt holdings. No other hybrid category fits.

For timeframes of 1-3 years, equity savings funds can similarly be used by those in the higher tax-brackets. These funds offer a better return profile than arbitrage funds. As with arbitrage, use them along with debt funds. High-risk investors can allocate more to these funds, while conservative investors need to keep exposure limited.

You can also use conservative hybrid funds for 2-year holdings and longer, but fund selection needs care. These funds can change debt strategies, take on duration risk, or credit risk. You may inadvertently have a riskier fund than the timeframe calls for. Balanced advantage funds work for a 2-3 year horizon but only by aggressive investors, when used along with pure debt funds.

For a 3-5 year timeframe, balanced advantage funds fit well as they do not fall as much as hybrid aggressive funds do, while being better on returns than equity savings or conservative hybrid funds. Exposure can be decided based on risk level.

Very long-term portfolios can use any category. But note that arbitrage and equity savings funds would be lower-returning than debt funds. Balanced advantage funds can partly replace debt funds for very aggressive investors who do not prefer debt funds. Aggressive hybrid funds can be used for equity exposure, but note that it may be easier to maintain an asset allocation using pure equity and pure debt funds.

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November 24th, 2020 at 7:56 am

Astronauts on a Mars mission will need to be ‘conscientious’ to work well together – CNN

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Conscientiousness, defined as "wishing to do what is right, especially to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly," has emerged as the key trait requirement for astronauts that will live and work on the surface of Mars millions of miles from Earth, according to a new study.

This trait was identified as more important than honesty, humility, emotionality, extroversion, openness and agreeableness.

"Conscientiousness, an individual personality trait, can be thought of as a pooled team-resource," said Julia McMenamin, the study's first author and a doctoral student in psychology at Western University in Canada, in a statement. "The more conscientiousness a team is, the better they will likely be at accomplishing tasks."

Conversely, traits like "social loafing," or the habit of a team member putting in less effort than when they work solo, are undesirable in a potential Marstronaut. Traits that seem counterproductive and negative behaviors are likely to cause more trouble and disruptions in a team environment.

The researchers consider these traits and behavior "non-negotiable" for long-duration spaceflight crews.

A careful focus on crew selection, emphasizing effective communication and very detailed work and planning processes, could help avoid any negative factors.

Some of the same things identified in the study could be used to help people coping with isolation during the pandemic as well.

Currently, NASA is targeting the 2030s for the first human mission to Mars. Depending on the alignment of Mars and Earth for launch and landing and the duration of the mission on the Martian surface, this crew could spend five years together -- not including training together beforehand.

To test what this crew dynamic might be like ahead of a real mission, researchers studied a team of five "astronauts" during an exercise analogous to a Mars mission. This event was hosted by the Austrian Space Forum in Oman in 2018. The Dhofar region of Oman is a good analog for the Martian environment in terms of isolation and extreme conditions.

McMenamin was joined by Natalie Allen, a professor of psychology at Western Univeristy, and Ottawa-based space exploration company Mission Control Space Services Chief Science Officer Melissa Battler for the study.

The AMADEE-18 analog space mission lasted for four weeks. Five astronauts, including four men and one woman between the ages of 28 to 38, lived in a simulated Mars environment.

Before, during and after the mission, the astronauts filled out surveys addressing the performance of their team and any team conflicts as well as their stress levels.

At the end of the mission, the astronauts rated themselves and each teammate. They also answered questions about their behavior in their respective roles and identified any counterproductive behaviors, including social loafing.

This particular team worked well together as a team, but the researchers were not surprised because they had prepared for their "mission." The team was also supported by field and mission control teams.

The team members were also familiar with each other before the mission began. All of these factors can be identified in examples of positive teamwork on Earth, the researchers said.

"How familiar team members are with one another has been shown to help teams work better together likely because it provides team members with knowledge about each other and helps them communicate better and more efficiently," McMenamin said.

Stress is a common negative factor that can influence team performance on Earth and in space. It's distracting, increases anxiety, causes cooperative difficulty, increases task overload and contributes to destructive emotions.

"Anyone who has worked on a team knows conflict amongst team members can harm team performance and make for a negative experience. When people argue about how to get things done, or get into personal disagreements, there is less time and energy left for completing tasks," McMenamin said.

"What's interesting is that there are different types of conflict, and so long as interpersonal issues and arguments about how to go about accomplishing tasks are avoided, differences in views and opinions might actually improve team performance likely because this allows for the team to benefit from each member's knowledge and perspective."

Given that this particular analog mission only lasted for about a month, the researchers are interested to know how things might play out over the course of a long-duration mission.

"Major issues caused by psychological distress and interpersonal problems don't tend to show up until months or even years spent in an isolated, confined, and extreme environment, which highlights the need for longer-duration simulations," McMenamin said.

Being a good team player has almost always been part of the astronaut playbook, going back to the days of the Apollo missions.

Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino spoke to CNN in September about the Netflix series "Away," which focuses on an international crew leading the first human mission to Mars. Massimino served as a consultant for the show.

The show crew was most interested in hearing about the human side of being an astronaut, Massimino said. For example, they asked him about the emotional aspects of leaving your family behind on Earth, the camaraderie between the crew and "what it's like in your heart and soul, rather than the process," he said.

Massimino, who flew on multiple missions during the Shuttle era, told them that "the Earth looks like heaven. It makes you realize we're so lucky to be here."

Regarding the teamwork aspect of spaceflight, "we really do love each other as astronauts," Massimino said. "It's like a hybrid between a family member and a friend. You really do care about each other. And there were seven of us on the Shuttle crew. We became like a family, having all of these experiences in training and spaceflight. They're extraordinary and there is not anything I wouldn't do for these people."

Massimino was selected to be an astronaut in 1996. When asked about the traits that would be important for astronauts going to Mars, he said he feels that the selection process would be similar to the way NASA chooses astronaut candidates now for long-term spaceflight on the International Space Station.

"We're looking for people who would be good candidates for long-duration spaceflight that get along, personalities that would let things roll. If things go wrong, you make mistakes because you're not perfect, you need to be able to roll with it. They should be able to contribute and be a good positive crew member, not only for their crewmates, but the people helping them back on Earth."

One of the most important aspects that helps the crew's morale and performance is a connection to Earth and the people they care about on it -- something that will be increasingly more difficult as a spacecraft leaves Earth for Mars, causing communication delays.

People tend to think of astronauts as superheroes, Massimino said.

"But we're really just regular people who care about each other and have really awesome jobs."

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Astronauts on a Mars mission will need to be 'conscientious' to work well together - CNN

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November 24th, 2020 at 7:56 am

WISeKey’s Cybersecurity AI technology creates a platform that helps connected devices to become intelligent devices, organize themselves into trusted…

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November 23, 2020 12:00 ET | Source: Wisekey International Holding SA

WISeKeys Cybersecurity AI technology creates a platform that helps connected devices to become intelligent devices, organize themselves into trusted networks to learn from attacks, defend themselves, and transfer this intelligence to other devices within the network

FacebookLinkedBig Data collected from IoT devices can help WISeKey customers detect and predict future behavior and optimize productivity across industries through predictive maintenance on equipment and machinery

Geneva, Zug, Switzerland November 23, 2020 WISeKey International Holding Ltd (SIX: WIHN) (WISeKey), a leading Swiss cybersecurity and IoT company announced today that it has fully integrated the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) chip embedded with cryptographic Root of Trust (RoT) and problem-solving Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions as part of its Vertical IoT Platform. WISeKeys IoT cybersecurity Vertical Platform allows IoT devices to organize themselves into trusted networks based on mutual authentication, identity and integrity.

The integration of arago technology is accelerating this process as arago has a large recurring customer base and licensing model which is expected to bring significant synergies to WISeKey and strengthen WISeKeys position in the fast-growing Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) market. The ability to authenticate and remotely manage millions of networked, automated devices and equipment is becoming pervasive: from the factory floor, to the hospital operating room, to the residential home, everything from refrigerators, watches and wearables, to wine bottles, is connecting and communicating via the Internet.

WISeKey owns everything necessary to authenticate users and devices. With arago, the authentication is extended to data and action. The arago platform has an oAuth-based identity that is used to control access to any data point or AI activity which can easily be integrated with the WISeKey services.

The increasing adoption of AI and IoT convergence is one of the primary factors that is driving the growth of the market. Over the past five years, a rapid surge in the adoption of AI IoT cloud services has been witnessed. It is driven by its capabilities to provide enterprise wide array of resources they can utilize to scale, orchestrate, and support their operations.Addingsecure AI cloud services from Switzerlandin cooperation witharago, using Swiss data centers and Swiss alps mountain bunkers to store the personal data generated by users and enterprises. WISeKey, is the first e-security company in the world to offer decentralized Trust Models and PKI architecture. In addition, WISeKey allows data ecosystems to be federated via a unique digital identity, enabling users to interact while maintaining control of their personal data. Users have the have the freedom to choose where their data resides and who is allowed to access it. By decoupling content from the application and digital identity itself, users will be able to use their data as currency and develop digital data dividends-based solutions as consumers have a right to know and control how their data is being used and be able to monetize their data.

The WISeKey IoT cybersecurity Vertical platform is producing an unprecedented amount of Big Data as WISeKey has an install base of over 1 billion IoT secure microchips since 2010 invirtually all IoT sectors(autonomous cars, smart cities, drones, anti-counterfeiting, smart lights, servers, mobile phones, etc.). Big Data collected from IoT devices can help WISeKeys customers detect and predict future behavior and optimize productivity across industries through predictive maintenance on equipment and machinery.

As the rapid expansion of connected devices and VaultIC chips connected to the IoT continues, the sheer volume of data being created by them will increase to a mind-boggling level. This data will hold extremely valuable insight into whats working well or whats not by pointing out conflicts that arise and providing high-value insight into new business risks and opportunities as correlations and associations are made.

The IoT Industry is a game changer new business segment for WISeKey. An estimated 50 billion IoT devices are expected to be connected by the end of 2020, while worlds population is estimated to grow to 6.8 billion; thus, there will be more than 7 IoT devices per person connected to the internet by 2020.

As a result, it is anticipated that this year already the number of IoT devices will surpass the number of mobile devices. By 2021, this number is expected to grow to 1.8 billion PCs, 8.6 billion mobile devices, and 15.7 billion IoT devices, and by 2035, the amount of data usage is expected to grow more than 2,400 times, from 1 exabyte to 2.3 zettabytes. A huge and increasing amount of sensitive data that will need to be protected by the IoT chips (such as the ones produced by WISeKey) will be interchanged between connected devices and back-end servers, allowing companies to provide users with new type of applications. These applications will be designed to offer increased control over the use of resources, improve efficiency in power grids, optimize processing of information in industrial environments, secure autonomous vehicles, provide better and higher quality healthcare services and personalized experience for shopping or leisure, among others.

This new technology enables IoT connected devices which can provide a recognized identity and a valid integrity report to communicate with peer devices within the community. WISeKey offers a range of contact and contactless secure microcontrollers that share consistent secure 8-/16-bit RISC CPU performance, strong security mechanisms, and enhanced crypto engines to optimize performance and power consumption. The products also provide high-density, low-power EEPROM technologies. Designed to meet the most stringent security requirements, many of these products are EAL5+ Common Criteria security-certified.

This new capability will enable authenticated sensor data. Currently, most IoT devices are not built with embedded secure systems, which makes these devices vulnerable to exploits. By integrating AI into the IoT hardware and platform, objects connected to the Vertical Platform can develop their own cybersecurity behavior and make smarter and safer decisions.

Objects secured with these IoT chips produce a huge amount of Big Data that when analyzed with AI can help industrial applications to predict the failure of their equipment before it happens. The WISeKey platform allows the IoT device equipped with these chips to send authenticated data to the cloud using a dual factor authentication at the device level. Imagine a smartcard sending authenticated data of each component of the car to predict when these parts will require maintenance and to digitally sign all the logs required to prove that service was provided. This platform which can be used in different industrial applications allows optimized productivity across industries through predictive maintenance on equipment and machinery, creates truly smart homes with connected appliances and provides critical communication between devices including self-driving cars and smart homes. The possibilities that IoT brings to the table are endless.

WISeKeys technology creates a platform that helps connected devices to become intelligent devices that can learn from attacks, defend themselves, and transfer this intelligence to other devices within the network.

Additionally, WISeKeys technology provides smaller IoT manufacturers that do not have the resources or expertise to perform thorough security analysis of their products will the ability to adopt this platform, reducing the number of unprotected products that are released to consumers.

About WISeKey

WISeKey (NASDAQ: WKEY; SIX Swiss Exchange: WIHN, NASDAQ: WKEY) is a leading global cybersecurity company currently deploying large scale digital identity ecosystems for people and objects using Blockchain, AI and IoT respecting the Human as the Fulcrum of the Internet. WISeKey microprocessors secure the pervasive computing shaping todays Internet of Everything. WISeKey IoT has an install base of over 1.5 billion microchips in virtually all IoT sectors (connected cars, smart cities, drones, agricultural sensors, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, computers, mobile phones, crypto tokens etc.). WISeKey is uniquely positioned to be at the edge of IoT as our semiconductors produce a huge amount of Big Data that, when analyzed with Artificial Intelligence (AI), can help industrial applications to predict the failure of their equipment before it happens. Our technology is Trusted by the OISTE/WISeKeys Swiss based cryptographic Root of Trust (RoT) provides secure authentication and identification, in both physical and virtual environments, for the Internet of Things, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. The WISeKey RoT serves as a common trust anchor to ensure the integrity of online transactions among objects and between objects and people. For more information,

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This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning WISeKey International Holding Ltd and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of WISeKey International Holding Ltd to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. WISeKey International Holding Ltd is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities, and it does not constitute an offering prospectus within the meaning of the Swiss Financial Services Act (FinSA), the FinSAs predecessor legislation or advertising within the meaning of the FinSA, or within the meaning of any other securities regulation. Investors must rely on their own evaluation of WISeKey and its securities, including the merits and risks involved. Nothing contained herein is, or shall be relied on as, a promise or representation as to the future performance of WISeKey.

The securities offered will not be, and have not been, registered under the United States of America Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States of America, absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of said Act.


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November 24th, 2020 at 7:56 am

4 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Invest Like the Wealthy – Mooresville Tribune

Posted: September 21, 2020 at 11:54 pm

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2. The wealthy can take on more risk

People who have millions upon millions of dollars to their name are apt to have an easier time dealing with significant losses than the average investor. As such, they can take on more risk in their portfolios -- risk you may not be in a strong enough position to bear. Imagine you were to lose $10,000 on a bum stock. For you, that might be catastrophic. For someone with millions of dollars, it's probably a non-event. As such, if you're an average investor, you're better off buying stocks with a proven performance history, strong earnings, and a clear competitive advantage. Let the wealthy invest in speculative stocks that could deliver strong returns, but could also crash and burn.

Investing in real estate or art can be a great way to grow wealth. And the ultra-rich may have the means to tie up $1 million in an income property or $500,000 in a painting, both of which aren't as easy to sell as a stock or index fund. You, on the other hand, like the typical average investor, may not have the ability to tie up even a much smaller amount of money in an investment you can't unload quickly, which is why you probably can't afford to broaden your horizons the way the wealthy do.

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September 21st, 2020 at 11:54 pm

University Theatre to open season with virtual performance of Glass Menagerie – Mahoning Matters

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"In these days of COVID, the creative team and I are breaking new ground to deliver a high-quality theater experience using streaming technology, director Matthew Mazuroski said.

YOUNGSTOWN University Theatre at Youngstown State University will open its fall season with an online performance of The Glass Menagerie at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25.

Additional performances of the Tennessee Williams play, directed by Matthew Mazuroski, are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26, Sept. 27, Oct. 3 and Oct. 4; and at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2.

The production will be available here, where tickets also can be purchased. Ticket prices are $10 for general admission single viewer; $25 for general admission group viewing/watch party; and free for YSU students and YSU faculty and staff with inclusion of Banner ID.

The Glass Menagerie is the story of a family desperate to break free of the burdens of their past and their present. The semi-autobiographical account of Williams early days in 1930s St. Louis is a heartbreaking yet often funny "memory play" told from the perspective of Tom Wingfield. Tom's mother, Amanda has been abandoned by her husband and now lives only for her children; his unmarried sister, Laura, who is a fragile and painfully shy, retreats into a world of glass animals; and Tom is torn between his poetic inclinations and the responsibility of supporting his mother and sister. Each escapes into their own personal "glass menagerie" as a means of eluding the pain of their own and each other's existence.

"In these days of COVID, the creative team and I are breaking new ground to deliver a high-quality theater experience using streaming technology, Mazuroski said in a news release. By adapting this traditional theater experience into a more filmic experience, we are recording the work of the actors, designers and crew that allows us to continue our educational mission in a robust and rewarding way one I strongly believe that our audiences will thoroughly enjoy."

The cast includes Nate Montgomery, Elise Vargo and Mitchell Sharp. Guest artist Molly Galano, a veteran regional community theater actor, will perform the role of Amanda Wingfield.

For more information, call the Office of Community Engagement and Events at 330-727-7514.

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September 21st, 2020 at 11:54 pm

Here’s Why Municipal Bonds Belong in Every Investor’s Portfolio – Mooresville Tribune

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Image source: Getty Images.

Municipal bonds have historically low default rates, which means that if you choose to invest in them, you're likely to get all of your interest payments on schedule, especially if you choose bonds with a high credit rating. But here's where municipal bonds have a major advantage over corporate bonds: You'll get a huge tax break for putting them in your portfolio.

The interest you earn from corporate bonds is subject to taxes -- there's no getting around it. On the other hand, municipal bond interest is always exempt from taxes at the federal level. Furthermore, if you buy municipal bonds that are issued by the state you reside in, you'll avoid state and local taxes on that interest as well. That's a good thing if taxes are a concern for you, whether because you're already in a high bracket or you're worried about paying them during retirement.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that while municipal bond interest may be tax-free, capital gains on the sale of those bonds -- which will apply if you buy municipal bonds and then sell them at a price that's higher than what you paid for them -- will still be subject to taxes, the same way you'd pay taxes for selling a stock at a price that's higher than what it cost you to buy. But that interest income won't generate a federal tax bill, which makes it a nice source of incoming cash for you. You'll have the option to reinvest that interest as you see fit, or collect it and use it to supplement your income (retirement or otherwise).

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Here's Why Municipal Bonds Belong in Every Investor's Portfolio - Mooresville Tribune

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September 21st, 2020 at 11:54 pm

Graduates of Elite Universities Get Paid More. Do They Perform Better? – Harvard Business Review

Posted: September 8, 2020 at 8:00 am

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A busy HR manager is reviewing stacks of applications for a position that just opened in the company. The HR manager knows that a host of factors determine employee performance: prior experience, training, interpersonal skills, personality, IQ, emotional intelligence, and work ethic. But after reviewing hundreds of resumes, as many HR managers do, the details on each applicant blur together. And so the HR manager does what many employers do: defaults to selecting hires based on the prestige and rank of the university from which graduates hail.

Presumably, better universities attract better students and provide better training, so it makes sense to use the university rank as a predictor of employee performance. This, after all, is why employers offer higher starting salaries to hires selected from prestigious schools. But is it a good hiring strategy? Do university rankings predict job performance? Our research suggests yes but only to a degree.

Why top-tiered college graduates perform (nominally) better than their peers

In a recent study, we tested the relationship between the university rank and performance of graduates. We tracked the performance of 28,339 students from 294 universities in 79 countries. The students came from 294 universities that ranked from Top 10 to about top 20,000 in the Webometrics global university rankings that rank over 30,000 universities worldwide. We observed the students performance for two months as they were working in global virtual teams on real-life business consulting projects for a number of corporate clients. Importantly, we captured not only the quality of the output, but a wide range of hard and soft competencies including cooperation with team members, leadership, language proficiency, technical skills, emotional intelligence, creativity, and more.

Our results offer some solace to the traditional recruiters. After controlling for age, gender, and the year of study, we found that graduates from higher-ranked universities performed better, but only nominally and only on some dimensions of performance. Specifically, the overall performance improved by only 1.9% for every 1,000 positions in the Webometrics global university rankings. When comparing the performance of candidates whose universities rank further apart a graduate from a top university versus a global average university the performance differential jumps to 19%.

The 19% difference in performance between the top and the average seems significant, but keep in mind that this is for graduates from universities that are 10,000 university ranking positions apart. At a given organization, candidates are likely to be selected from within a much narrower pool, perhaps from universities whose rankings differ by a couple of hundred positions. In this more realistic case, the predicted difference in performance would be closer to 1%.

We found several reasons why the graduates from the top universities performed somewhat better than those from the lower-ranked schools. The first was selection: higher-ranked universities usually can choose from a larger pool of applicants, which leads to steeper competition and a higher quality of the incoming class. Corroborating the selectivity hypothesis, our data demonstrated that students at higher-ranked universities indeed score higher on general cognitive ability tests, have more international experience, better English proficiency, and higher cultural intelligence. However, competitive selection suggests that these competencies may have been attained earlier in their education and, thus, is not a result of their university studies.

Second, higher-ranked universities should provide better training. Top universities employ better instructors, offer access to better-equipped facilities, attract better speakers and guests to campus, which in turn, should lead to better training and subsequent performance. Indeed, our data suggest that students at higher-ranked universities score higher on competencies that could be attributed to better training, such as superior technical and business writing skills, are more knowledgeable in subjects related to the business project, and score higher on team leadership and coordination.

Finally, while it might be expected that higher-ranked institutions might provide a more stimulating academic environment, we did not document that this had an effect on graduates work performance. Indeed, education is not only lectures and seminars. Having notable, hardworking, celebrity-status professors, along with being around intelligent, highly-motivated, achievement-oriented peers, positively affects self-efficacy, motivation, effort, and work ethic. However, our study revealed no difference in these performance-related attributes. Based on our data, the institutional environment did not seem to play a role in enhancing performance. Graduates from lower-ranked universities showed an equal level of motivation and work ethics, so this could be more affected by personality and other individual factors.

The downsides of superior academic pedigree

Despite their slightly better overall performance, hiring graduates from higher-ranked institutions could have a downside. Our data suggest that students from higher-ranked universities might damage team dynamics, sometimes inadvertently. We found that graduates from higher-ranked universities tend to excessively focus on the instrumental tasks, often at the expense of paying insufficient attention to interpersonal relationships. In some instances, graduates from top universities tend to be less friendly, are more prone to conflict, and are less likely to identify with their team.

Numerous studies have shown that interpersonal relationships at work play a critical role in employee motivation, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, performance and career success. As good interpersonal relationships are critical for organizational success, lacking collegiality and a propensity towards conflict could present adverse effects not only on personal performance, but also team and workgroup efficacy, possibly leading to an overall net loss.

Notably, graduates from high-ranking universities tend to share a common identity and could see themselves as different from their team members from a lower-ranking university, and this social categorization can lead to us-vs.-them dynamics. As a result, graduates from top universities could be perceived by their co-workers with less impressive academic pedigrees as arrogant and snobby, and because of that not liked by their peers. Our data did not confirm that this was the case. In fact, students from more prestigious universities tended to be more modest in their self-evaluations than some of their peers from lower-ranked institutions. However, we found that while students from higher-ranked universities generated more conflict, engaged in fewer non-instrumental conversations, and displayed less team commitment and identification with their teams.

So, whom should you hire?

While job candidates from more prestigious universities may slightly outperform their peers, data from Payscale and the U.S Department of Education show that these graduates are also more expensive to hire. For example, the average early career salaries of graduates from the top 10 colleges ($72,160) in the United States are 47% higher than those with degrees from the ten colleges within the City University New York (CUNY) school system ($48,960), many of which are ranked within the top 100. At the 6-year mark, that gap jumps to 108 percent.

Is the extra cost worth the investment? To answer this question, employers need to carefully consider the worth of the increase in performance for the firm. For some companies, the difference between a hypothetical graduate from an average vs. top university may be well worth the extra pay. Yet, for others, the added cost may not result in a positive return on investment and, thus, may not be justified. All in all, our results suggest that hiring graduates from higher-ranked universities would lead to a nominal improvement in performance. However, the university rank alone is a poor predictor of individual job performance. Employers can get a much better deal by hiring the right students from lower-ranked institutions, than anyone from better-ranked institutions. It would also be wise to use additional tests designed to evaluate the technical and interpersonal competencies needed for the job.

Considering the growing gap between skills acquired in college versus on-the-job readiness, any modest performance advantage stemming from the university rank might also be mitigated by on-the-job training. Since employers already invest significant resources into training new hires, such training may be a much better determinant of performance than the rank of the university from which the hire hails.

To a large extent, the answer would also depend on specific job demands. Does the job require a top performer from a higher-ranked university where even a 2% improvement in performance is critically important and offsets any pay differential? Or can the performance criteria be met by graduates from lesser-ranked universities? To make the most strategic decision, an HR manager should know the answer to this question before they look at an applicants college pedigree.

Contributors to this article include:Alexander Assouad, assistant professor of IB and Strategy at Belmont University; Alfredo Jimenez, associate professor at KEDGE Business School; Justin Kraemer, lecturer at Mae Fah Luang University; Anna Svirina, Dean of Engineering Economics and Entrepreneurship School at the Kazan National Research Technical University; Weng Si (Clara) Lei, program coordinator of Tourism Event Management and Assistant Professor at the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies.

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Graduates of Elite Universities Get Paid More. Do They Perform Better? - Harvard Business Review

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September 8th, 2020 at 8:00 am

Johnson back to No. 1 with performance that looked the part – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Posted: August 25, 2020 at 5:57 am

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Dustin Johnson holds the trophy after winning the Northern Trust golf tournament at TPC Boston, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in Norton, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NORTON, Mass. (AP) Dustin Johnson is back to No. 1 in the world and wants to stay there as long as he can.

The manner in which he obliterated one of the strongest fields of the year at The Northern Trust is to wonder how he ever left in the first place.

At his best, no one makes golf look easier.

"He can absolutely dismantle a golf course," said Kevin Kisner, who used to ride to junior golf tournaments with Johnson when they were kids in South Carolina. "I've been watching it for 25 years. I'm pretty accustomed to it. When he's on, I just step to the side and try to add on to my bank account."

The numbers that defined Johnson's dominance go well beyond the $1.71 million he earned for his 22nd career victory on the PGA Tour, his second this summer since golf returned from the pandemic or his fifth title in the FedEx Cup playoffs, tying him with Rory McIlroy for most in the postseason.

He started with a five-shot lead Sunday and matched the low score of the final round with an 8-under 63. Former Baylor School star Harris English, playing with Johnson in the last group, shot 32 on the front nine and lost ground.

"Kind of had my own tournament that I was playing," English said.

His 11-shot victory was the widest margin on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson won by 13 at the TPC Sugarloaf outside Atlanta in 2006, a week before the Masters.

When he tapped in for birdie on the final hole at TPC Boston, he was at 30-under 254, both personal bests.

Johnson became only the third player to finish at 30-under par or better on the PGA Tour. He was one shot from the record Ernie Els set in 2003 at Kapalua. Jordan Spieth was 30 under at Kapalua in 2016. He also was one shot from the 72-hole record Justin Thomas set 253 when he won the Sony Open in 2017.

Johnson wasn't aware of either record. "What is it?" he said when it was over, and then added, "That's all right. Next time."

What led to those numbers was missing only three greens over his last 54 holes none on Sunday while posting rounds of 60-64-63 the final three rounds, the lowest closing 54-hole total in tour history.

The 60 in the second round was noteworthy for Johnson being 11 under through 11 holes. It might have been the first time golf was buzzing about the prospect of a 57. Not many could have guessed he would finish with seven pars.

But then, Johnson is a mystery even at his best.

He shot 61 on his way to winning the Travelers Championship, but when he returned after a two-week break, he had a pair of 80s to miss the cut at Memorial, and a 78 before he withdrew from the 3M Open in Minnesota.

Since then, he has an average score of 66.25 in 12 rounds.

He came off the disappointment of another major that was in his grasp the PGA Championship was his fifth runner-up finish in the majors, including the career Grand Slam of silver medals by steamrolling the top 125 players outside Boston.

Claude Harmon III, his swing coach, recalls Johnson showing up for The Northern Trust, going to the range and then saying, "Bro, what am I supposed to be working on again? I was hitting it good in San Francisco."

And he was. Johnson had a one-shot lead going into the final round at Harding Park and shot 68, only to lose to a 65 by Collin Morikawa. There was disappointment in not adding to his lone major (2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont) but not in the way he played that week.

"I didn't feel like I really did anything wrong at he PGA," Johnson said. "Generally, you shoot 68 on Sunday in a major with the lead on a tough golf course, you're going to win most of the time. So obviously, Collin jut played very, very well. Went home and took a few days off, and then got back to work. The game started feeling really good."

He moved to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, the fifth time in the postseason he has been at the top. The trick is being No. 1 when it ends at East Lake in two weeks, and that has proven difficult.

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Johnson back to No. 1 with performance that looked the part - Chattanooga Times Free Press

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August 25th, 2020 at 5:57 am

Mill Creek mayor resigns mid-term, citing personal reasons – The Daily Herald

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Mill Creek Mayor Pam Pruitt at a city council meeting in 2018. She resigned Monday after more than six years in the job. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Pam Pruitt, a figure in city politics since the 80s, stepped down Monday with little formal notice.

MILL CREEK Mayor Pam Pruitt abruptly resigned Monday after more than six years at the helm of a city that has long shown signs of underlying turmoil.

Pruitt told her fellow City Council members in a letter that she is retiring effective immediately to focus on friends, family and helping those in need.

Ive missed spending time with my friends and family, Pruitt wrote in the letter, dated Monday, which she provided to The Daily Herald. Ive had all the right excuses: Im busy, I have a conflict, etc. Thats over.

The move comes just days after City Finance Director Jeff Balentine ended his tenure at Mill Creek less than five months into the job, citing philosophical differences with city leadership.

Mayor Pro Tem Brian Holtzclaw will assume the role as mayor as the council begins the process of appointing a new council member to the vacant seat, the city said in a news release.

We offer Mayor Pruitt our profound gratitude and respect for her steadfast service to our community, and express our sadness about the news of her resignation, says the news release.

Pruitt is leaving as the city faces a pandemic-induced budget crisis that could deal a $2 million blow to its roughly $30 million general fund in 2020 alone.

The council is also in the middle of City Manager Michael Ciaravinos first annual performance review.

Ciaravino, whom the council hired in the spring of 2019, has come under fire recently for laying off longtime staffers; at the same time, hes drawn criticism for retaining two temporary staffers he worked with at past jobs.

Two of the employees who were let go told The Herald that the environment at City Hall was barely functional, with little or no communication between the administration and the slashed workforce.

The councils evaluation is taking place over the course of two closed-door meetings this month. The first of those executive sessions happened last week. The second is slated for Tuesday, according to a notice on the citys website.

Pruitt, whose term would have concluded at the end of 2021, has a long history as a city leader. She served as a councilwoman during the late 1980s and early 90s and was mayor in 1992 and 1993.

It has been a privilege and honor to serve the residents and businesses of Mill Creek since the mid-1980s both as an activist and later as an elected official, Pruitt said in her resignation letter. When I first ran for office in 1987, it was because I wanted to make life better for everyone in Mill Creek. That has never changed.

The council then again chose her as mayor after her 2013 election, and she has held the seat since.

Pruitt also previously worked as a legislative aide for Snohomish County Councilman Terry Ryan, who stepped down early this year to join the county executives staff.

When I left my employment in Snohomish County last December, it was to volunteer to help people who cannot help themselves, Pruitt said in the letter. With the pandemic, there are even more people who need help. Its in my DNA. Its what I need to do.

She cited some of her accomplishments: lobbying federal officials to get the local post office built, fighting for more than $6 million for improvements to 35th Avenue, and working on a proposal to save law enforcement and fire agencies money on radio communications.

Over the years, the council has cut ties with city manager after city manager as the governing body has struggled to find an adequate chief executive officer for Mill Creek.

A pending lawsuit against the city alleges that Pruitt sought to oust four top city officials after they filed formal complaints in 2018 about the behavior of ex-city manager Rebecca Polizzotto, whom the council later fired amid allegations that she bullied staff and misused her city credit card.

An attorney for former city spokeswoman Joni Kirk, one of the whistleblowers, wrote in the lawsuit that Pruitt penned negative articles regarding the four of them that were published in local newspapers and addressed them in an antagonistic manner during meetings.

Another one of the whistleblowers, then Police Chief Greg Elwin, parted ways with Mill Creek earlier this year after an investigation found that he failed to arrest a fugitive relative living in his home and didnt report a threatening employee comment.

Pruitt declined to comment further on the timing of her departure, aside from what was said in the letter.

The news came as a surprise to Mill Creek Councilman John Steckler.

Shes truly a public servant, Steckler said. She did work very hard for the city. I do wish her the very, very best.

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

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Mill Creek mayor resigns mid-term, citing personal reasons - The Daily Herald

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August 25th, 2020 at 5:57 am

Global Silicone For Personal Care Market 2020 Industry Outlook Dow Corning Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials, BASF SE – Scientect

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A comprehensive research study titled Global Silicone For Personal Care Market 2020 by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025 comprises the current market scenario that demonstrates value chain structure, market size, regional analysis, application, and forecast. The report includes an important study on the global Silicone For Personal Care market along with a realistic overview of the industry. The report includes data about opportunities that will completely change the business environment in the coming years to 2025. The research covers the summary, market dynamics, competitive analysis, and leading players. This report analyzes the historical and forecasted number of companies, locations in the industry, and breaks them down by company size.

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Global Silicone For Personal Care Market 2020 Industry Outlook Dow Corning Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials, BASF SE - Scientect

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August 25th, 2020 at 5:57 am

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