E 21st Century Customer Service

The start of a new month brings new horrors to the victims of 21st century customer service. Here are some examples from less than 4 hours after the start of the first workday of the month:

  1. 8 am phone call to my emergency number from Dun & Bradstreet in the Philippines to go over the changes they are (at last) making to my mis-stated corporate listing;

  2. bill from a radiology clinic for the last mammogram I had which said my insurer denied coverage and demanded over $500 for the procedure. It had been scheduled after the radiology clinic told me it was time for the an exam, and after my doctor sent them the forms to proceed with a test that is supposed to be free from women my age;

  3. calling the toll-free number from the radiology clinic's billing service offered linguistic options but no way to contest the bill;

  4. two of those mystery meat messages from e-trade to tell me shares I own are “in play” with no way to get further information either via the message or by logging into my account;

  5. calling the broker's toll-free number, after the smarmy welcoming message, I heard news that their (haha) “Platinum Service” was down. Trying to send an email message to the brokerage produced a blockage for “invalid characters” of which there were none.

A 2nd Spanish company has signed up to escape the clutches of GazpromIberdrola SA will buy $5.6 bn of natural gas from Cheniere Energy of the US. The operator of Israel's Tamar offshore gasfield, Noble Energy, will sell natural gas to Union Fenosa, a Spanish company seeking safer and cheaper gas supplies.

More follows about the in-play stock and other matters follows from The Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Pakistan, Australia, Switzerland, Britain, Colombia, South Korea, Israel, Hong Kong, and Canada. There will be no blog Weds which is a Jewish holiday.

We had technical issues posting the performance tables from Boston over the weekend but they are now up on the www.global-investing.com website. View the ones you are allowed to see.

*After US prisoner Bowe Bergdahl was released though its good offices with the Taliban, Pakistan has another new friend in America. Last month it was given a hand of friendship by India. The result is that our db e-trackers MSCI Pakistan IM Index UCITS ETF, listed in Hong Kong as 3106, are doing nicely. However, today the share fell 0.389% to HK$15.36 from 15.42 so it may be appealing to readers who haven't yet sprung for the stock. Its holdings are not disclosed, typical of an ETF.

This sub-fund is part of the tracker swap funds run by Deutsche Bank in Luxembourg, but also traded in Singapore, besides Hong Kong. The actual manage isState Street Bank, a US entity's sub in the Principality of Luxembourg. There are only 400,000 shares out and the minimum buy is 500 shares.

The invested money is actually invested in DB derivatives which may or may not actually reflect transactions taking place on the Karachi exchange, depending on how the German bank views the risks.

However, all the money reflects the performance of actual shares, not other investment vehicles other than DB's. If you do not yet know this, note that Pakistan in an emerging market, suffering high volatility of stock prices and exchange rates, as well as fixed income and interest rates. It also may impose exchange controls or restrict repatriation of funds, tax transactions or custody charges, or delay settlement. It also uses different accounting and disclosure standards than Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Germany and the US.

Moreover if there are disputes, the laws of Pakistan would apply to judgments and their enforcement, and—guess what?--they are not transparent and are subject to interference by local parties.

Furthermore the stock market in Karachi is new and has underdeveloped securities law and regulatory oversight.

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