Major Companies Look to Invest in Indian Insurance Industry


Recent reports from analysts show that current life insurance companies are to be valued at 1.2 to 2.1 times their embedded value FY2017, overwriting the previous agreements that valued them at three times the EV. Many are reporting that several sovereign wealth funds and global private equity firms are interested in Indian insurance companies, with those funds coming from Bahrain, Japan and, to name a few.

According to a top expert in the insurance field, “Financial investors are aware that the Indian life insurance is a growing market and therefore valuations will rise there is a continuous interest. Five sovereign wealth funds from Bahrain, Qatar, Japan are interested in Indian insurance companies. There are also large private equity funds such as Portchester Equity, Rockefeller private equity and General Atlantic who are interested.”

Portchester Equity and General Atlantic, run by such figureheads as their Managing Directors David Harbord for PE and Chris Lanning of General Atlantic respectively, both have expressed a large interest in India. Most recently, General Atlantic have routed close to $500 million, with a planned $2 billion in future investments across various Indian sectors.

Another consultant said, “I know that Temasek, GIC or Singapore and Canada Pension Board are interested in the Indian insurance sector. We came across several serious investors in our road show in Hong Kong.” Said Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman of State Bank of India, “We have started talks with the joint venture (foreign) partners of both the insurance companies. They are keen to dial-up. There are other investors too who are also keen to buy a stake (in SBI Life Insurance.”

An expected deal to wrap up the end of March is with ICICI Bank, which owns 74 percent in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and looks to sell 5 percent to Temasek Holdings and Carmignanc Gestion for $300 million.

Ways to Develop Confidence in The Workplace


Sometimes, the difference between you and the next candidate is confidence. Many of us, especially women, sometimes undersell and underestimate ourselves, which causes us to miss out on career opportunities. You tell yourself you are being humble, when in reality, you are missing out on a chance to sell yourself and your skills. Here are some tips to get you on the right track towards confidence in the workplace.

Start slowly. You are not going to make a 180-degree turn when it comes to confidence. Set smaller goals and realistic expectations. Focus on the things you are good at. Whether that means working with people, multitasking, proofreading or a specific program, recognize it. Admit to yourself that you are pretty good at one thing and practice telling one other person. Eventually you will become more comfortable with recognizing your areas of expertise.

Ask for what you want. One of the most powerful pieces of advice is to never be afraid to ask for what you want. For more timid people, that thought can be terrifying. You see it as presumptuous or rude but I cannot stress to you how important it is. Men in general will not hesitate to ask for a raise or title change and they reap the benefits. If you ask for something you deserve, you will get it. So what’s the worse thing they can say? No? But what if they say yes…

Accept your failure and value criticism. For those of us who lack confidence, recognizing weakness is all too easy. Do not berate yourself when you mess up or don’t do a perfect job, remember it happens to everyone. The different is those confident women don’t have time to wallow in failure. They are busy fixing it and learning from the problem. Don’t be embarrassed next time you get negative feedback, admit your mistake and move forward.

Activist Investors Create Environments That Catalyze Change


The age of activist investors is here, and they are a different breed than the 1980s stereotype of Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” mentality. In addition to getting more revenue out of big companies, activist investors also help companies shift toward long term investments.

That’s not to say the interest of an activist investor doesn’t cause some company concerns! Big names like Daniel Loeb of Third Point and Jeffrey Ubben of ValueAct definitely come to the plate as investors expecting big changes in the companies they set their eyes on. But often these changes are meant to see the company through the long haul.

“Unless you have one eye on the long term—how customers and products are affected—you will not succeed,” said Loeb. His Third Point is currently set to make waves in Japan with its latest investment in Fanuc Corp., an insular industrial robotics business with untapped earning potential.

Ubben’s ValueAct has also interacted with major players in long term investments, including a campaign with Adobe, which sacrificed short-term earnings to focus on broader, long term goals.

This ideology of promoting growth and change exists across the board with activist investors, who have become ever more prominent in the business world since 2009. The research firm FactSet estimated that 15% of the members of the S&P index of America’s biggest firms have encountered activist inventor campaigns since then. While some campaigns are more successful than others, a 1994-2007 study by Lucian Bebchuck of Harvard Law School found that activist interventions generally lead to sustained improvement in operating performance and shareholder returns. The study looked at 2,000 interventions by activist hedge funds and found that, in addition to providing positive impact, activist investors’ actions did not support the “pump-and-dump” theory—that the stock prices of companies with this sort of interaction drop dramatically after the investors leave.

“Our findings indicate that policy makers and institutional investors should not accept assertions that activist interventions are detrimental in the long run,” wrote Bebchuck.

While individual activist investors’ tactics may not always endear them to the companies they want to work with, increasing evidence suggests that the move toward long term investment campaigns could be good for everyone involved.

The New Résumé Rules


Résumé rules are as confusing as deciding what the appropriate attire for the office should be. The right résumé is unique to the job candidate, the industry and the office environment. No two jobs are exactly alike and the way you sell yourself on paper for each job should also be unique. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few universal rules that you can apply to nearly every situation.

Here are some new résumé rules to consider following:

Print a hard copy. It’s likely that you sent an electronic copy of your résumé and all the info you have on LinkedIn to a prospective employer, but paper still matters when it comes to the in-person interview. Printing it out shows that you’ve made an effort and allows you to physically point out certain accomplishments.

Get graphic. If you are applying for a job in a creative field, a black and white résumé will not stand out. Consider incorporating charts, graphs and other visuals to highlight your best work. A chart can highlight the information far more impressively than a sentence can. Another highlight of a highly visual résumé means that you can convey information in less space than it will take to write it out.

It used to be that jobseekers were terrified to have any gaps in their employment history. However due to the economy and the rise of freelance and short-term contracts a gap of a few months won’t raise eyebrows. Don’t sweat the employment gaps you might have on your résumé, and instead, find ways to express your ongoing experience honing your hard skills.

Your Twitter handle, your LinkedIn profile information, and even your Pinterest are all fair game to put in the header section of your résumé, depending on the job you’re going for. You are likely going to be Googled by a prospective employer so it’s good to have the information you want the hiring manager to see up front. Make sure any social media pages you put on your résumé are current.

How to Invest Your Money In Your 20s


When you’re in your twenties, it can feel overwhelming as you begin to embark on the beginnings of adulthood, especially when it comes to those much less-desired obligations such as bills, paying back loans, and accepting the fact that you may not have found your dream job quite yet. As you begin to take charge of your life and your finances, you may be asking yourself if you should start investing. While certain types of investments might be obvious to you by now like investing in a 401k, others may not be so clear. Realize first that it is completely normal to not know where to start.

Now that you’re a bit older, and know about the importance of investing, you may be anxious to jump right in. But first, it’s vital to take stock of your current financial situation. If you don’t have at least three to six months in cash reserve accounts, you should not start investing. It’s worth the time to save up.

You also need to have your debt under control. Find the repayment plan that works best for you and invest when you are comfortable with your monthly loan payments. Try downloading Mint on your smartphone and taking advantage of auto-payments. The app makes it really easy to manage all of your accounts.

If your employer offers a 401(k) to start saving for retirement, that is a no-brainer; you should definitely begin investing through a 401(k) program. Most employers will take money directly from your paycheck and put it towards the 401(k) to eliminate the temptation to use that portion of your salary for other purchases. Even if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

For even more tips on how to start investing, check out this informative blog post from Mint.

How to Stop Feeling Restless at Work

Restless at work

We all know the feeling. You hit the snooze button over and over again; you spend too much time on Facebook at work and are counting the seconds until you can leave the office. You are in a work rut and it happens. The next time you’re feeling like you’ve hit a rut at your job, consider doing the following things instead of just giving up and switching careers:

If you are feeling stuck or bored, ask for more work. This may sound strange, as it seems like what you are doing is something you’ve grown tired of, but it’s just what you need. Instead of starting to look for other jobs immediately, look to advance your skills in your current role. Go to your boss and let her know you are open to more responsibility. Don’t say you are bored with your current role, but rather you are looking to expand your skills and experience.

Get a coffee. When you are early in your career you really don’t have perspective. The good news is you can borrow some. Invite someone that is more senior than you in your field, and that you admire, for coffee. Ask these people to give their advice and keep in mind that you aren’t boring them, but likely flattering them. Professionals with seniority can give you some perspective and inspire you to embrace your job, whatever it may be. Another bonus: having these kinds of personal relationships with other people in your field helps with long-term networking.

Go on vacation. If you’re feeling in a rut at your job, it might be because you aren’t getting enough of a work-life balance. A good reminder is to not completely lose yourself in your job. Don’t let it take over your life. Take adventures outside of work; book a vacation to somewhere exotic or if you are on a budget do something totally different to mix up your routine. Spend time in a new neighborhood for the day or take a dancing class. Doing things that make you feel excited outside of work will help prepare you to focus during the workday.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Who cares that your college roommate founded an inspirational nonprofit to work for right after graduation? Good for her! Each career path is different and getting the job you really wants requires patience. Millennials want instant gratification but we need to stay present and learn along the way. Ride out the rut and embrace the journey to the career you really want—with hard work and patience, you might find it sooner than you think.

The Best Leaders are Mentors


It’s an age-old question: are good leaders born, or created? Are the skills required to become a successful leader developed over time, or are they something so inextricably tied to personality that one born a leader will excel at it, while one who is not cannot hope to succeed? While history has certainly provided us with many examples of leaders who are successful by nature, that is the anomaly and not the commonplace.

Instead, many leaders begin as inexperienced and likely unsure of themselves when they are first tasked with leading others. However, they learn to overcome these issues with the help of dedicated mentors to teach them the ropes and teach them how to become successful leaders. To create a leader, a teacher and mentor is necessary.

Keith Krach, the chairman and CEO of DocuSign, is a real-life testament to the positive impact mentoring can have on one’s career. Krach graduated from Purdue as a General Motors (GM) Scholar. GM paid for his education at Harvard, where he received an MBA. Then Krach returned to GM, rising quickly through the ranks and becoming the youngest VP in company history at the age of 26. However, his tenure at GM was cut short after 10 years when he left to co-found Ariba, a software company, in 1996.

While he did not plan on spending his entire career at GM, he does credit his mentors at GM for providing what he calls “the most important learning experience during his journey to founding Ariba.”

He learned even more from his mentor at Ariba: John Chambers, now the CEO of Cisco Systems. Krach recalled of Chambers, “he said: ‘Keith, you can ask me anything. All I ask is you do this for someone else one day.’”

Krach and Chambers are a good example of the kind of bond that can develop between mentor and student, as well as how mentorship is something that a person carries with them throughout their professional life. Mentoring is a type of professional development that generally involves one-on-one training with a less experienced employee learning from the skills and experiences of a more experience employee. Since these one-on-one interactions and learning experiences are intimate and personal, they also serve to create a strong relationship between the two people involved, which has benefits beyond professional development.

While it is possible to learn the hard skills of any profession by climbing the ladder and accumulating new skills and knowledge, many of the soft skills necessary to become a successful leader are not. These skills include the ability to work with others in a position of authority, to delegate tasks, to make decisions, and to lead and train others.

These soft skills are best learned from someone who knows what to do and is willing to help a new leader learn the ropes, in other words a willing mentor. Mentors are useful for developing professionals because they can provide a new leader with advice during their transition, as well as being someone to bounce ideas off of and confide in during trying times.

It’s important to consider that there are several different types of mentoring as well, including group mentoring (as part of a group instead of strictly one-on-one), peer mentoring (with a peer instead of with a more skilled employee), and flash mentoring, mentoring for short periods of time, generally with many different people in a style reminiscent of speed-dating.

Mentoring is a vital process for sharing and exchanging valuable skills and information from person to person, and even across generations. We can be sure that we will have quality leaders in the future, just so long as they have mentors to guide them.

Google and Uber to Become Ride-sharing Rivals?

It appears that Uber may have some stiff competition in the near future, as word has spread of a competitor app that would use self-driving cars.

You might say that Uber, an app-based transportation network based in San Francisco, has enemies on all sides. Following bad press generated by numerous articles describing shady business tactics and the mistreatment of employees, Uber has begun to face stiff competition—competition which now includes the technology giant Google, whom used to be a faithful investor in Uber.

Apparently, Google is preparing to roll out its own ride-hailing service. Given the money Google has pumped into research and development of their self-driving cars, it is easy to assume that the service offered by the app would be driven (bad pun intended) by self-driving vehicles. All of this comes from an unnamed source, which has allegedly seen screenshots of the app that is said to currently be in use by Google employees.

To make matters worse, if Uber lost Google as a business partner (and investing in competing ride-sharing apps seems to suggest this may happen), then Uber may be left in the dust when it comes to self-driving car technology. Currently, Uber has access to this technology because of their partnership with Google. However, should that tie be severed, then they would have to get their hands on that technology in some other way—likely through a partnership with another company with the same technology, or investing money in research and development to invent the technology themselves.

Regardless, things aren’t looking good for Uber. If Google isn’t the company to overtake Uber, then another company will rise to the challenge.

What do you think of a potential Google app that could offer rides from self-driving cars? Would you use this app if you could?

5 Proven Ways to Reduce Stress

Work Stress

IMG: via Shutterstock

Maybe it’s just the New Year, but man this year is off to a busy start. Whether you are stressed or overworked, it’s miserable when being too busy affects the quality of your relationships and hampers your quality of life. Here are some tips to help reduce or manage stress, regardless of who you are.

Get up earlier than everyone else. Wouldn’t an increase in productivity help your stress level? Well think about how much more you can get done at 5 am when everyone else is still in bed. Try to beat those deadlines and then use your extra evening time to get in a workout or have dinner with a friend. Early birds tend to be more productive people, which leads to professional achievement.

Exercise every day. There are beyond countless health benefits to working out. It helps detoxify your system and reduce stress and inflammation. If you hate working out, why not try to incorporate some physical activity into your day through multitasking. Do wall pushups while you wait for a conference call to start, or park further away and do a lap around your building before going in.

Check your email less. Once you are off work, try only checking your email a few more times before going to bed. Better yet, leave work at work and don’t check your email until the next day when you’re at the office. Of course, this isn’t realistic for all businesspeople, as some need to be connected to clients at all times. However, it will help to make you feel less stressed if you cut back just a bit.

Make new friends. Making new friends helps avoid loneliness and boosts confidence. In the wintertime, many people become hermits and it’s easy to fall into patterns where you aren’t spending much time with friends or loved ones. Don’t let this be the case for you this winter, as meeting new people or fostering relationships with current friends can help relieve your stress.

Get more sleep. Being under stress can often make it harder to get good sleep, but make sure you are getting enough each time. Abstain from alcohol or caffeine when it gets closer to bedtime, and don’t watch TV right before you try to get some shuteye.

How to Deal With Passive Aggression in the Workplace

passive aggression

It’s almost a guarantee that you won’t be in love with everyone you encounter in the workplace. You don’t get to be surrounded exclusively by your best friends, but you do have to figure out how to get along with everyone. Of course, this is often easier said that done as conflicts can arise and people react. Although your passive aggressive behavior may be minimal, it’s important to nip any kind of passive aggression in the bud so you can take a step toward clearer and more positive communications at work.

Perhaps you sometimes feel your demeanor shift when a particular coworker’s name comes up. Maybe you wait longer to reply to their emails or don’t respond at all. It may seem imperceptible, but these small reactions to a coworker’s presence are examples of passive aggression. Once you assess your issue with that person, you can determine whether you can handle it on your own, or address the specific person.

If you don’t make eye contact, or give one-word answers to someone who bothers you at work, that’s also indicative of passive aggressive behavior. Gesturing, like offering a shrug or nod rather than a verbal response, can also create problematic dynamics. If you try to resolve your issue with this person and just can’t, the solution may be transferring departments, teams or even companies. If you are participating in office gossip put a stop to it and change the issue so no one else will continue.

Voicing your opinion at work can sometimes be like walking a tightrope; often, you don’t feel like a team player when you do this. However, speaking up against coworkers who are gossiping will show your boss and others that you could handle being strong and having integrity in subsequent projects. Any kind of gossip—in the office or out—is a subtle form of passive aggression. Discourage this behavior among your coworkers, and don’t allow yourself to gossip. Being direct will only strengthen your work relationships and is far more professional and effective.


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