Investing

How U.S. Crude-Oil Inventories Rose to Their Highest Level Ever

Crude Oil MarketWatch Report

U.S. crude-oil inventories have climbed to their highest weekly level on record at the Energy Information Administration, and not just because of rising domestic production.

A number of factors, including strong oil imports, higher exploration and production company spending, and a slowdown in demand have combined to lift total commercial crude stockpiles to 518.1 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 10, according to EIA data dating back to August 1982.

That figure tops the former record of 512.095 million barrels for the week ended April 29, 2016.

“The continued growth in the stocks of crude is due to higher production in U.S. shale plays and imports that exceed the volume needed by refiners,” said James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics.

“We have enough petroleum inventory to cover close to 70 days of consumption, when the historical norm is well below 60 [days],” he said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is “trying to reduce it, but the effect of [its] efforts are not showing up in the U.S.”

MarketWatch asked several analysts how stockpiles managed to reach an all-time high, even as domestic crude production currently stands at 8.977 million barrels a day—below the record peak output of 9.61 million last seen during the week ended June 5, 2015.

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Property Investors

Real Estate Investing

According to Entrepreneur contributor Mark J. Kohler, real estate offers several benefits that can help investors earn sizable returns while keeping their taxes down. Property investors often find that they can gain more leverage, real estate offers tax-free cash flow, and you may be able to write off some expenses against other forms of income to keep tax burdens low.

This shows that investors should take a serious look at residential and commercial real estate opportunities. But to make the most out of these opportunities, property investors should learn details about the industry.

Finding Investors for Residential and Commercial Property

Purchasing a large area of land can cost a lot of money. High prices can make it difficult for investors to commit to opportunities that will likely yield significant returns.

Instead of letting an investment opportunity slip by, it’s possible to recruit other investors to bring the price per person more affordable. There are several effective strategies that could help you find land investors for residential and commercial projects.

Real Estate Investor Clubs

Many investors start by contacting real estate investors clubs. Most major cities have investment clubs that can help people connect with each other. You can also visit club websites to meet other people interested in real estate investments. The San Francisco Gate mentions REI Club, National REIA, and Bigger Pockets are good resources. The more involved you get with the forums on each website, the more connections you can make with local and national investors.

Real estate investment clubs also host meetings in real life. It’s pertinent to attend these meetings. Stay late so you can rub shoulders with some of your area’s most influential property investors. Even if they don’t want to contribute money, they might be able to point you towards someone who is interested.

Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents in your area are probably familiar with property investors. Some of the investors, in fact, work as real estate agents so they can get the best deals on properties that have just gone on the market.

If you know someone who works as a real estate agent, pick his or her brain for contacts who might want to invest property that interests you. An experienced real estate agent will know what types of properties investors focus on. They may also know what kind of experiences people have working with these investors. If an investor sounds hard to work with, you may want to pursue other options.

Lead Generation

If you’re serious about property investment, you’ll eventually want to learn about lead generation. This includes a variety of strategies that will give you the contact information of people interested in real estate investments.

You can generate leads by posting an ad in your local newspaper, Craigslist, and other popular forums. You may also want to build a website that offers an overview of your investment options and encourages qualified investors to introduce themselves. If you’re ready to commit a little more time, set up conferences and meetings with investment groups in your region. You can then collect the contact information of people who show some interest in your ideas.

Effective lead generation sources need time to develop and start producing results. If you don’t have the time to invest into a lead generation strategy, purchasing a list of investors can save a lot of time and effort. A smart move would be to create a few lead generation tools and then purchase a list of real estate investor leads to use while your tools start gaining traction.

Investing in Developed and Undeveloped Land

Investing in undeveloped land often leads to higher returns. However, land investors should realize that undeveloped or “raw” land presents more risks. Those who purchase undeveloped land rarely see quick returns on their investments. It may take years for development plans to earn municipal approval. Construction costs can also make developing the land very expensive.

Undeveloped land is only a good option for property investors who can afford to keep their money tied up for several years. Since it’s also possible that land use will change during this time, investors may find that their property becomes less desirable by the time they can build on it and sell it to homebuyers or businesses.

Most developed land requires a larger up-front investment, but investors can start collecting returns almost immediately, especially if they choose property in booming areas. Those with significant capital who want a quick return on their investments should consider developed land.

Interest in Farmland Investment is Up

Farmland investors have had a good decade. According to data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries, farmland investments have consistently offered higher returns than stock market investments. During 2005 Q4, investors saw a 22.78% return. That’s an exceptional rate that even some of the world’s top hedge funds cannot match.

Residential and Commercial Property Investments

Several factors can affect whether property investors want to devote money to residential or commercial property investments. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. But one option will likely meet the needs of certain investors while the other appeals to a different kind of investor.

According to David V. Tran, a CEO at eFunding, most people get started in residential property investments. Residential property usually costs less than commercial property. This makes it easier for people to invest in property even if they don’t have a lot of money set aside. As their money grows, though, they’re likely to shift towards commercial properties.

Commercial real estate usually requires a bigger investment, but the payoffs are often larger.

Commercial real estate really comes out ahead when investors choose to rent property instead of selling it. Tenants who rent commercial properties are less likely to move after a year or two. They’re often willing to sign multi-year leases that offer a steady return on investment. It’s also easier to manage several business tenants operating in the same building than it is to manage several residential tenants living in different buildings.

If investors have enough capital, commercial property usually offers a better return with less work.

Property investors have several unique options when choosing opportunities that could help them earn large returns. If you want to investment in a certain type of property, focus on recruiting investors who are most likely to find the opportunity interesting and affordable. Otherwise, it’s possible to waste a lot of time talking to the wrong people.

How to Find Accredited Investors Online

Finding Accredited Investors Interested in Your Investment Opportunity

If you are raising money, it is important to find accredited investors that are interested in your opportunity. There are several ways to make your opportunity more appealing, and it is important to start with a well-crafted private placement and executive summary. Without these documents in hand, you will not be ready to pitch your deal. You can create it yourself or work with a lawyer or private placement company to have one created. The latter is less expensive than an attorney and will still help to craft your message. With a killer PPM in hand, you can start to reach out to investors.

There are several traditional ways of finding SEC Accredited Investors. This has typically been done by speaking at angel investment forums and networking within the local community. These are still viable options that should be explored, however, this is a modern era. Almost everything that was once done in person can now be started online. Companies like www.AccreditedInvestorLeads.com and www.SalesLeads.com now have an online site you can visit to secure an accredited investor lead list.

Here are some other sites that can help you on how to find accredited investors online:

LinkedIn. This is a social networking site that is geared towards professionals. You can build a network of people throughout the world and use them as online referral sources. Instead of strictly relying on local attorneys, bankers, and CPAs to refer investors to you, these online connections can become remote referral sources. While it takes time to sift through your connections, it is still a faster way to connect with more referral sources.

GoBigNetwork. This is a place for investors and entrepreneurs to connect. It is primarily geared towards the tech industry, but anyone can participate. Simply create a profile and post your opportunity to be viewed by investors at their convenience. You never know who you will meet through a platform like this.

Gust.com. This is another online platform that allows start-ups to post about their company and investment opportunity to be reviewed by the investment community. Consider it as your online pitch, instead of the in person one. When people become interested, they will reach out for more information.

Angel.co. Companies and entrepreneurs can connect through this platform so that businesses can raise money, and investors have access to additional deals. The investments start at $1,000 which enables a larger group of investors to participate.

These sites represent an excellent opportunity to expose your private offering to a wider audience. The challenge is that you are not in control. If you need to find accredited investors, these sites turn the table so that they can find you. By posting your opportunity, investors can view your information and the details but you are typically unable to reach out to them directly. It is a good strategy to implement in combination with traditional methods like calling leads from an accredited investor list. This way you can be proactive with your activities while marketing your offering to a larger audience.

Learn What Makes a Qualified Investor

Whether raising money for a private placement or building your portfolio of investment clients, working with a qualified investor will help to improve your success. By working with a premier group of investors, you will be able to accomplish more in less time. The key is understanding what makes a qualified investor and how to find them.

The definition of a qualified investor is determined by the type of investment vehicle they are investing in. For example, anyone can invest in the stock market where accredited investors can invest in private offerings. If you are targeting investors to expand your client portfolio, the key is to look at how much they have to invest and what their future earning potential looks like. As a general rule of thumb, most investment brokers prefer to work with people that have at least $50,000 available to invest.

The best qualified investor is one that is an accredited investor with cash to invest. An accredited investor is someone that makes $200,000 a year as an individual or $300,000 with their spouse. They are required to have made this amount in the previous two years and be likely to continue earning at that level. Investors can also qualify using their total net worth, which must be greater than $1 million, excluding their primary residence. These are excellent investors to work with because they are able to participate in private offerings by investing in private placement memorandums. Since they make a higher than average amount, they are likely to have capital they can invest on an annual basis. Once you have a pool of investors to work with, you will be able to present them with opportunities that are tailored to their investment appetite.

The SEC has another classification of investors, “sophisticated investors”. Qualified investors with this designation may participate in Regulation D Rule 506b offerings. This has been the most common type of private placement. In order to be considered sophisticated an investor must have outside knowledge of financial matters that make them qualified to evaluate investment opportunities and to make informed decisions about them. A good example would be a business banker, investment broker, CPA, attorney, or someone with a degree in finance. Their education and on the job experience gives them valuable information and resources without necessarily paying them the amount required to be considered accredited. This rule is slightly ambiguous so before working with sophisticated investors you should create a checklist or policy document that clarifies your internal standards. This way, when you say someone is a qualified investor because they are sophisticated, you can prove how you arrived at that conclusion.

When raising capital for a Reg D private offering make sure to work with qualified investors and to document what makes them qualified. For Regulation D Rule 504, 505, and 506b, investors can self-certify. This means that if you give them a document, they can check the applicable boxes, write in their income and net worth, and sign the form stating they are accredited. If you are raising money for a Reg D Rule 506c offering, you must have outside verification of their accreditation status. Keep track of how you arrived at your conclusions for compliance purposes.

To start raising money today purchase your own list of qualified investors from www.accreditedinvestorleads.com or www.salesleads.com.

Help to Reach More Investors

Now is an excellent time to raise capital using a Reg D private offering.

The SEC has created Regulation D Rule 506c which lifts the ban on general solicitation and enables companies to reach more investors. This creates an opportunity to reach an additional group of investors, yet they still need to be accredited. Private placement leads are accredited investors, the exact group of people that can participate in your private offering.

It can be challenging to locate private placement leads unless you purchase a leads list.

You can buy one from www.salesleads.tv or www.accreditedinvestorleadscom. These lists will include people that have made either $200,000 individually or $300,000 jointly with their spouse over the past two years and are likely to do so again in the current year. Those that don’t meet the income requirements may be included if their net worth, excluding their primary residence, is over $1 million. Companies armed with a private placement lead list can confidently reach out to investors without worrying about violating general solicitation rules.

Regulation D Rule 506c lifted the ban on general solicitation, but it may not be the best offering type for every company.

It enables advertising of an offering to the general public, so long as only accredited investors actually participate in the offering. Companies that have local, non-accredited investors that want to participate cannot use this offering type. For example, if your business banker, lawyer, or CPA want to participate but do not meet the income requirements, they can under Rule 506b. This enables companies to raise capital from people in their sphere of influence then target accredited investors for the remaining capital raise.

Taking Private Placement Leads into Consideration

When using Regulation D Rule 504 or Rule 505, it is also important to obtain private placement leads to call on. These rules do not allow for advertising or general solicitation so companies that call on non-accredited investors can be in violation and lose their exemption if they start calling or marketing to them. A scrubbed list is extremely important for avoiding these types of incidents.

Companies can also locate accredited investors by establishing a referral base with local professionals. People like lawyers, CPA’s, bankers, and investment reps are excellent sources of leads. They work with people that have a higher net worth on a daily basis and may be aware of who is looking to invest. The trick is that these relationships take time to build as you need to establish a level of trust. For example, a lawyer is not going to refer one of their clients to someone they just met. The relationship needs to be established first. If you plan on issuing a private offering in the future, start building the relationships now. If you are ready to launch, this is a long term strategy that likely won’t produce results within a short time frame.

You can also attend investment group meetings and ask to present your deal. These groups have local accredited investors in them, many of which actively invest. Make sure to follow up with everyone you meet to take the deal all the way through closing.

If you want to hit the ground running and raise capital quickly, the best way to do so is to purchase a list of private placement leads from www.salesleads.tv or www.accreditedinvestorleads.com.

How to Work Precious Metal Leads

In a booming industry, precious metal leads are a key way to attract investors. Creating an investor profile is an important step in the process. First, consider the type of investor you are trying to target and what you think they may be interested in. For example, many people that invest in hard assets like precious metals do so as a way to protect themselves against inflation or the dollar losing value. By understanding their key motivations, you will be better equipped to close the sale.

Solidify your investment opportunity by writing a memo executive summary and private placement memorandum, if necessary. Creating your investment documents and materials prior to calling will help you to stay organized and on point when speaking with prospective investors. It is also wise to write down some key talking points and statistics prior to calling your precious metal leads. These investors are likely to be already familiar with the industry, so it is important for you to deliver key information that is backed up by data and research. Be prepared to site your sources and explain where your data has come from in case they have read something that contradicts it. Becoming an expert in the industry is important when calling educated investors.

Precious metal leads are typically comprised of investors that have researched the industry enough to know that investing in precious metals and other hard assets can be a way to protect their financial future from market volatility. When speaking with them, you can reference this common understanding and use it as a discussion tool for establishing common ground. Many investors prefer to work with companies and brokers that they can connect with. Creating that personal relationship can help you to establish an opportunity to direct their investments in the long-term.

Plan out the steps you will take to close the sale. This should start with how you will get precious metal leads to what you will do once you contact them and the steps to close. Consider what information you will provide, when and how you will deliver it, and what questions investors may ask. You need to be able to answer them, overcome objections, and create enough interest that an investor wants to move to the next step. Create a combination of marketing and educational material that works for a variety of investors.

Once prepared, you can purchase precious metal leads from SalesLeads.tv. As a leads broker, we are able to secure targeted leads for you to contact. Instead, of calling a wide variety of people that may or may not be interested in the industry, we can provide a list of people that have expressed interested and would be best suited to your opportunity. The ability to narrow down your lead list will save you time and money while increasing your closing ratio. Our team of experts can help to identify exactly what you need, so call 1-800-590-5323 to get started.

Oil and Gas Sales Leads & A Booming Industry

The oil and gas industry has continued to grow in spite of the recession.

This is an excellent industry to be in, and investors are making money on a product whose demand is not waning. As an entrepreneur or company, participating in this industry can yield amazing results. If you want to get in on the action, find the right opportunity and create a private placement memorandum to raise capital. Once you do, oil and gas sales leads can point you towards investors that are interested in this specific industry type.

A private placement is an excellent way to raise capital. When you use Regulation D or Regulation A, you can be exempt from officially registering with the SEC, which decreases the amount of paperwork you have to file. It can also limit the amount of time it takes to draft the offering and start presenting your deal. If you want to avoid additional compliance issues caused by Blue Sky Laws, use Rule 506 of Regulation D to issue your offering.

If you elect to use Regulation D, you need to work with accredited investors.

These are investors that make enough money or have enough assets that the SEC deems them to be more knowledgeable and able to handle the risk associated with investing. Accredited investors are defined as people that have made over $200,000 a year for the past two years as an individual, or $300,000 a year for the past two years with their spouse. The investor can also use their net worth to qualify, as long as it is over $1 million without including their primary residence.

Working with Accredited Investors

When working with accredited investors, the challenge becomes locating them. It is impossible to know how much money someone makes without asking, and this is not normally accepted dinner conversation. Instead, it is much easier to purchase oil and gas sales leads that are comprised of accredited investors that have expressed interest in this type of offering or the industry as a whole. This is a very narrowly focused list and gives you the best opportunity for securing investors. Since you already know that they are accredited and that they like oil and gas, you only need to sell them on why your opportunity is a wise investment.

Before you call from your oil and gas sales leads list, make sure that you have your facts in order and a compelling reason for why they should invest with you. Keep in mind that these investors are probably well versed in the industry, have read up on current trends, and will ask you more difficult questions. This is a good thing because it means they have enough knowledge to know that they like the business. It can also catch you flat-footed if you don’t have your facts in order. Do your homework and write down key pieces of information before you pick up the phone.

To order your oil and gas sales leads, visit www.salesleads.tv today.

Son Reveals Father’s Ponzi Scheme

Now Investors to Be Paid Back

Investors are unknowingly taken advantage of all the time.  While there are thousands of good companies raising capital for legitimate needs, there are also thousands of scammers willing to take your money and spend it on themselves.

For investors that were victims of the Lupas Ponzie Scheme, justice was served when a chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided they will share in a $3.25 million fund.  The court created this fund by collecting annual attorney registration fees.  It has now reached millions of dollars and will be put to good use by giving some victims their money back.

Judge stumbled across the information while cleaning out his father’s law office after he was injured.

The case gets even more interesting when you learn who brought the ponzi scheme to light in the first place.  Judge David Lupas, son of Anthony Lupas, is who turned authorities onto his father’s scam.  Judge Lupas wrote a statement that said…

“he came to learn of circumstances involving him which I believed warranted an investigation. Accordingly, I reported this matter to the proper authorities and requested an investigation.”

Apparently the judge stumbled across the information while cleaning out his fathers law office after he was injured.  It is believed that at least 80 people have been victimized by the scheme.

Anthony Lupas was a Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania lawyer and a school district solicitor. According to the charges he ran a Ponzi scheme where he continued to take investment money from new investors and used it to give returns to older investors.  He continued to promise high returns but there were really no returns at all.  What he didn’t pay out he kept for himself. He is also charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.

He took millions from investors without anyone knowing their was a ponzi scheme in play.

If it wasn’t for him becoming injured, and his son cleaning out his office as a result, the scam may not have been uncovered for years.  The case is still ongoing so more details are likely to surface regarding the exact amount that investors were cheated out of.

He has not stood trial yet because his family says he has Alzheimer’s. The prosecutor in the case says he is fully aware of the charges and is asking a judge to have him tried anyway.   In the meantime 47 people that invested with Lupas have hope as they will get some of their money back through this state fund.  This is no doubt in part at the urging of Judge David Lupas who must feel some level of responsibility for not catching the scheme sooner.  His prompt reporting of it shows his clear disapproval while it may make for an interesting family dynamic around the Thanksgiving table….

 

 

 

SEC’s Top Violator List

“All types of organizations can be in violation and investors are the ones that typically pay.”


As an investors, it is important to do your due diligence before investing into any deal.  Many investors think they are safe if they work with a reputable company, broker, investment group, or invest in municipal bonds.  If that’s you – think again.  According to the SEC all types of organizations can be in violation and investors are the ones that typically pay.

Here is the top violator list for the SEC (this is only a sampling of the people and companies that have recently been in violation for defrauding or misleading investors).

Citigroup (aka your bank)

That’s right; even banks can be in violation of the SEC.  In this particular case, it was a subsidiary of Citigroup that was charged with misleading investors.  This broker dealer division (known for issuing private offerings) was charged with misleading investors over a CDO that was tied to the housing market.  There is a proposed settlement that would require Citigroup to pay $285 million to investors.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. and RBC Capital Markets

These two companies were involved in a scheme where five Wisconsin school districts purchased unsuitable CDO investments.  As a result, RBC Capital Markets had to pay $30.4 million to the school districts through a Fair Fund.

JP Morgan Securities

According to the SEC, this reputable investment advisory firm mislead investors as part of a complicated mortgage securities transaction.  J.P. Morgan has agreed to pay investors their money back to the tune of $153 million.

Mizuho Securities USA

This U.S. subsidiary of Japan based Mizuho Financial Group was charged with misleading investors by inflating a deals credit rating by using dummy assets.  Several employees were also charged, and Mizuho settled by paying a $127.5 million fine.

Wells Fargo

Their brokerage firm and a Vice President was charged with selling mortgage-backed securities without fully disclosing information to investors.  They settled by paying over $6.5 million.

UBS Securities

The SEC charged them with violating securities laws by failing to disclose that it retained upfront cash. This cash should have gone to the CDO and since it did not they settled by paying $50 million.

Sometimes the most “reputable” companies are the riskiest.

These are only some of the companies that have violated securities laws in the past couple of years.  The SEC fields violation complaints on a daily basis and routinely investigates people. A lesson can be learned from this list.  Sometimes the most trusted companies will place investors in harms way by using their reputation to their advantage.  Investors should take the time to research deals, read the disclosure statements, and conduct market research.  Investigate things for yourself to make sure that what is being presented looks and feels right.  There is no way to protect yourself 100%.  The best thing you can do is to take the time to research so that you can be confident in your investment decisions.  Don’t assume that your bank or investment advisor has it right.  Ask questions, and if it’s a good deal, they will be happy to answer them.

 

Assets Frozen on $150 Mill Investment Scheme

SEC Freezes Assets on a $150 Million Dollar Real Estate Investment Scheme

The SEC filed fraud charges against a group of companies in California that raised over $150 million in a real estate investment scheme.  According to the SEC, Yin Nan (Michael) Wang and Wendy Ko raised money from more than 2,000 investors.  They sold promissory notes issued by Velocity Investment Group.  Velocity was the owner of Bio Fund which was supposed to make real estate loans in California.  They have been raising money through this fund since 2005.  Recent investor funds went to pay interest payments to previous investors instead.

Michele Wein Layne, director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office, “The SEC sought emergency action to prevent the further dissipation of investor assets through an expected set of upcoming Ponzi-like payments.  Wang falsified financial records and used another company to create the illusion of legitimate economic activity.”

The SEC is accusing Wang of doing the following:

  • Using investor funds to pay other investors in a Ponzi scheme like fashion.
  • Falsifying financial information.
  • Fraudulent money transfers to hide information.

Wang admitted that recent investor money went to pay prior investors their quarterly interest payments.

The SEC also claims that Wang had one of the Bio Profit Series funds (owned by Velocity) give falsified financial information to an outside accountant.  This information overstated the companies mortgage loan receivables and mortgage income. These numbers included accrued interest that Wang knew would not be paid.  According to the SEC Wang told the internal accountant that the falsified information was necessary to keep investors from fleeing.

They did more to hide the financial problems with the fund.  They created another company, Rockwell Realty Management, to facilitate fraudulent transfers to continue the cover up.

A search online shows that Velocity does not provide very much information on who they are, including the simplest of things like a company website.  They show up on manta and yellow pages but that’s basically it.  If a company is truly issuing a lot of mortgage loans they would be advertising it because they need to attract borrowers.  When looking at companies for a potential investment opportunity ask yourself if what they are saying makes sense.  Evaluate their business model and see if it is something you would understand as a consumer.  If not, they may be too good to be true.

Judge John A. Kronstadt of the U.S. District Court for Central District of California agreed to the asset freeze against Velocity, Bio Profit Series I, Bio Profit Series II, Bio Profit Series III, Bio Profit Series V, and Rockwell Realty Management.  On December 9th there will be a hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction.