MS Board Limits Changes to the Discover Spin-Off

Morgan Stanley’s board of directors said that suggestions for management changes or a corporate re-organization beyond the proposed spin off of its Discover Card business would not be in the best interest of shareholders. The board approved some additional changes to include: “de-staggering” the three classes of its directors, creating a “lead director” position and naming two additional outside directors to the board as well as various amendments to bylaws. Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm with more than 600 offices in 28 countries.

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Purchasing Card Volume CAGR is 21%

A new report has found that average expenditures managed via purchasing card programs has grown from $3.1 million to $6.6 million over the past five years. The study also found that annual transactions now average 77,244 per program, representing annual growth of 15% during the same period. “The Purchasing Card Benchmark Report” by AberdeenGroup, says the growth is driven by the diligence of program directors who are deploying card payments in an increasing number of spend categories, with assistance from card issuers, to improve reporting and supplier acceptance. However, the research group also found that many program directors believe their programs have reached a plateau. AberdeenGroup recommends that purchasing card programs challenge program scope and expand the programs by addressing master agreement and contract pricing requirements, examining specific purchase order types that lend themselves to payment via purchasing cards, extending the program to service categories, and proactively exchange electronic payment remittance information on suppliers providing non-traditional, large project or recurring services requirements.

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Diebold Acquires its 4th Security Firm

Diebold has acquired London-based TASC Security. TASC specializes in customizable and scalable electronic security solutions that include alarms, access control, closed-circuit television and video surveillance systems. The company also provides system design, integration, installation and service. TASC is the fourth security systems integration company Diebold has acquired during the past year.

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Starwood Wins its Sixth Freddie Award

Starwood Preferred Guest was once again voted “Program of the Year” in both America and internationally during the “17th Annual Freddie Awards” The Freddie Awards recognize the best loyalty programs in the world and the awards are voted on by frequent travelers. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is a global hotel and leisure company with approximately 750 properties in more than 80 countries.

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Morgan Beaumont Hires Usher Card Exec

Florida-based prepaid card specialist, Morgan Beaumont, has hired Scott Matthews, former founder and CEO of Platinum Financial Group, as VP/Business Development. At Platinum, he launched the “Usher Success” MasterCard card. Matthews also founded International Gateway Exchange, a technology company that developed and marketed the “UTA Cash Card”. He received his bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Florida State University. Morgan Beaumont, Inc. is a provider of stored value and debit card solutions.

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LLOYDS & AMEX

Lloyds TSB has teamed with American Express to issue its own range of credit cards utilizing the American Express Network in the UK. Lloyds will create the products, issue the cards and manage the customer accounts, billing and credit management. The first in this new line of credit cards will launch later this quarter. Lloyds will introduce a new rewards program that enables cardholders to earn points that can be redeemed for vouchers at some of the UK’s leading retailers. The new card will also provide exclusive access to unique benefits offered by American Express, including special merchant offers and global customer support. Lloyds TSB has 16 million customers, over 2,000 branches and, more than 6 million credit card customers.

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AmEx Survey Sees a Big Uptick in Biz Travel

American Express has released a new “Global Business Traveler Survey” of more than 1000 business travelers which shows that 86 percent of business travelers expect to see an increase in business trips over the next year. The survey also found that while a majority of business travelers are comfortable with their personal safety and security while traveling, they valued security assurances such as online visa/passport support and travelers insurance. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. recorded $18 billion in worldwide travel sales in 2004.

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Indian Airlines and Citibank Offer EMIs

Indian Airlines and Citibank have teamed to offer an equated monthly installment program. Consumers can make payments in ten interest free “EMIs.” The EMI tickets can only be purchased through Indian Airlines offices in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. The deferred payment option is available for any Indian Airlines or Alliance Air Domestic/International economy class service on a rupee tariff.

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