NSA’s Internet Surveillance Program Bill Renewed

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 702 Bill that renews the National Security Agency’s warrant-less internet surveillance program. The renewal of the law is in effect for six years and provides for few changes to the NSA program. The program collects information from foreigners overseas but with the side effect of collecting an unnoted amount of communication from Americans.

With the renewal of the law, the NSA is still able to eavesdrop on broad amounts of digital communications from foreigners who live outside the U.S. through U.S. Companies like Verizon Communications (VZ) and Facebook, Inc. Incidentally, the program also collects Americans’ communications when they communicate with foreign targets overseas. Note that this information can be searched without a warrant.

The bill passed the House easily, and barely missed a filibuster in the Senate. The measure drew opposition from a coalition of libertarian Republicans and privacy-minded Democrats.

Trump signs bill renewing NSA’s internet surveillance program

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he signed into law a bill renewing the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, sealing a defeat for digital privacy advocates. “Just signed 702 Bill to reauthorize foreign intelligence collection,” Trump wrote.


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American Express Adding The Centurion Lounge at JFK

American Express Company (AXP), and its subsidiaries provide customers and businesses globally with charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services while seeking to enrich the lives of their customers and build business success.

If you fly to NYC via JFK regularly like so many of us, you will be happy you to know that American Express recently announced the opening of The Centurion Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4 in early 2019. The new lounge will the largest one spanning over 15,000 square-feet over two levels.

The Centurion Lounge at Terminal 4 will include the complimentary custom bar and food menu, premium restrooms and shower suites, high-speed Wi-Fi, noise-buffering workspaces, and new special features to be announced closer to opening. The Centurion Lounge is also a signature Lounge program with the broader American Express Global Lounge Collection that give Platinum Card Member and Centurion Members access to over 1,100 lounges around the world

Gert-Jan de Graaff, President and CEO of JFKIAT, the company which operates Terminal 4, stated “We are thrilled to be working with American Express to bring The Centurion Lounge to Terminal 4. Terminal 4 strives to provide passengers with a superior travel experience, and this lounge is a welcome addition to our existing mix of premium terminal amenities. We are excited to soon be able to offer passengers yet another service to take advantage of before departure or during a layover.”

To learn more about American Express Company (AXP) and to continue to track its progress please visit the Vista Partners American Express Coverage Page.

Travelers Europe Offers Cyber Package for Technology Businesses

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) is an insurance provider of property casualty insurance for home, auto, and business.

Travelers Europe has announced that it has improved its insurance offering for technology businesses in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The new pack provides better protection against risks that are unique to the cyber world. Cyber breach can severely impact the operations, reputation, and finances of a company, and has even been reported by 65% of technology firms as the most significant threat to their business.

Elements of the new package include:

  • Network Security (cyber cover)
  • Professional Indemnity and Cybermedia Liability
  • Data Breach Response Service
  • Cyber Breach Coach

Other insurance products for technology businesses that Travelers offers include management liability, personal accident and business travel, cargo and kidnap an ransom cover.

To learn more about The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) and to continue to track its progress please visit the Vista Partners Travelers Companies, Inc. Coverage Page.

Press Release | Travelers Insurance



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The Home Depot Expands Capabilities in Textiles with Acquirement of The Company Store

The Home Depot, Inc. (HD) is the world’s largest home improvement retailer with retail stores all across North America. The Home Depot sells building materials and home improvement products, as well as lawn and garden supplies, and provides installation, home maintenance and professional service programs.

Recently, The Home Depot, Inc. acquired The Company Store which is an online retailer in high quality textiles and home decor products. In acquiring The Company Store, The Home Depot also gains the strong relationships and industry leading capabilities of The Company Store.

“The acquisition of The Company Store provides product development and sourcing capabilities to help us expand our online décor business into broader categories across the entire home.” -Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president of The Home Depot

The obtainment of The Company Store does not include The Company Store’s five retail locations.

To learn more about The Home Depot, Inc. (HD) and to continue to track its progress please vista Partners The Home Depot, Inc. Coverage Page.



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Karen Patton Seymour Is New Partner and Co-General Counsel At Goldman Sachs (GS)

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) is one of the world’s leading investment bankers that offers a wide range of financial services with a diversified client base.

The Goldman Sach Group, Inc. recently named Karen Patton Seymour as both a partner and co-general counsel of the firm. Seymour will be based in New York where she will work with the Management Committee, advise the company, and have responsibility over the firm’s worldwide legal matters effective January 2018.

Currently Seymour serves as a partner and member of the Management Committee at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP where she specializes in commercial litigation and regulatory enforcement and internal investigations.

“Karen has extraordinary legal experience. We look forward to benefitting from her wise counsel and having her join our leadership team.” -Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs

To learn more about The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) and to continue to track its progress please visit the Vista Partners Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Coverage Page.

Goldman Sachs | Press Releases – Karen Patton Seymour to Join Goldman Sachs as a Partner and Co-General Counsel



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Disney Acquires Significant Assets of 21st Century Fox, Inc. for $52.4B In Stock

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and its subsidiaries is a diversified worldwide entertainment company that operates in four business segments: Studio Entertainment, Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, and Consumer Products & Interactive Media.

The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (NASDAQ: FOX) announced their agreement for Disney to obtain significant assets of 21st Century Fox. This agreement includes the acquirement of Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios and the cable and international TV businesses for $52.4B in stock. Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox New Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network will be separated into a newly listed company and spun off to its shareholders. With the new agreement, 21st Century Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares per 21st Century Fox share held.

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry.” -Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox.

Robert A. Iger will remain the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company through the end of 2021, per the request of 21st Century Fox and the Disney Board of Directors.

This acquisition continues to build on Disney’s commitment to deliver the highest quality branded entertainment, provides new benefits to customers, and enhances Disney’s worldwide offerings.

To learn more about The Walt Disney Company (DIS) and to continue to track its progress please visit the Vista Partners Walt Disney Company Coverage Page.

The Walt Disney Company To Acquire Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., After Spinoff Of Certain Businesses, For $52.4 Billion In Stock – The Walt Disney Company



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Groundwork Forum Podcast Ep. #3 Interview with Chad Gray “A Fresh Look at an Overlooked Asset Class”

John Heerdink, Host of the Groundwork Forum Podcast, interviewed Chad Gray, CFA is Portfolio Manager at Convergence Investment Management, a San Francisco-based Registered Investment Advisor.  The interview titled “A Fresh Look at an Overlooked Asset Class” can be found on the Vista Partners website via the Podcast section.
Prior to Convergence, Mr. Gray spent his 20+ year career with McKinsey & Company and leading Silicon Valley technology firms developing advanced data analytics.  Chad earned both an M.B.A. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Engineering from Northwestern University.  He also holds the CFA designation and is an active member with the CFA Society of San Francisco.
Those interested in learning more about closed-end funds can visit Convergence’s website to download a free whitepaper.  Educational and data forums like Closed-End Fund Association and www.cefconnect.com may also be helpful, as well as websites for leading closed-end fund sponsors like Blackrock, PIMCOEaton Vance, and Nuveen.

Vista Partners Quote of The Day Via Legendary Investor Benjamin Graham

“The underlying principles of sound investment should not alter from decade to decade, but the application of these principles must be adapted to significant changes in the financial mechanisms and climate.” -Benjamin Graham

According to Wikipedia, Benjamin Graham was a British-born American investor, economist, and professor. He is widely known as the “father of value investing,” and wrote two of the founding texts in neoclassical investing: Security Analysis (1934) with David Dodd, and The Intelligent Investor (1949). His investment philosophy stressed investor psychology, minimal debt, buy-and-hold investing, fundamental analysis, concentrated diversification, buying within the margin of safety, activist investing, and contrarian mindsets.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2017 And Its Lowdown

Happy Thanksgiving 2017 to all of the Vista Partners Community! However you are choosing to enjoy the holiday and the hokiday weekend we hope it is your best! Please see following brief current and historical summary.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s the lowdown on the tradition

Thanksgiving has continued for hundreds of eyears since and is celebrated with a lots of delicious food and wine. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s festivities…


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CAT Positions to Pay Higher Dividend For 24th Consecutive Year!

The board of directors of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) voted recently to pay the quarterly cash dividend of seventy-eight cents ($0.78) per share of common stock, payable November 20, 2017, to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 23, 2017. This will be 24 consecutive year that CAT has paid higher dividends.l to shareholders.

For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2016 sales and revenues of $38.537 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.

To learn more about Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and to track their progress please visit the Vista Partners Company Dedicated Coverage Page.

Caterpillar Inc. Maintains Dividend Rate

DEERFIELD, Ill. , Oct. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The board of directors of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) voted today to maintain the quarterly cash dividend of seventy-eight cents ($0.78) per share of common …..


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