Foundation asks court to amend IOTA rule

first_imgFoundation asks court to amend IOTA rule Mark D. Killian Managing Editor The Florida Bar Foundation will seek a rule change that would throw open the IOTA program to financial institutions other than banks and require those holding the trust accounts to pay interest rates or dividends commensurate with those offered to their non-IOTA depositors. That, according to Foundation board member Kathy McLeroy who chaired the ad hoc committee studying the proposed change has the potential to double the money generated by the IOTA program. McLeroy said if the rule changes are adopted it would “allow us to be treated as similarly situated bank customers would be treated and, therefore, increase IOTA revenue to what I understand could be in the neighborhood of $26 million.” Meeting recently on Amelia Island, the Foundation board voted without dissent to ask the Supreme Court to amend the IOTA rule to allow financial services companies such as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter or Merrill Lynch to hold IOTA accounts. The change also would require any institution that wants to handle IOTA accounts to offer the same market rate of interest or dividends on products available to non-IOTA depositors with comparable balances. Authorized investments would include FDIC insured accounts, daily bank repurchase agreements (REPOS) or appropriate safe- guarded investment products such as money market accounts, money market funds or mutual funds. Currently, IOTA funds can only be held in federally insured checking accounts or REPOs. “I think this is a big step for this Foundation to take,” said Foundation President Hamilton Cooke, noting that currently most banks do not offer the same products to lawyers’ IOTA accounts as they do to other large customers. In short, said Foundation Executive Director Jane Curran, banks generally are not treating lawyers’ IOTA funds the same as other customers who might take their business to a bank paying higher interest rates. Curran also said the Foundation recognizes there is no broad consumer demand for higher checking account rates, which is why the Foundation obtained Supreme Court approval for REPOs. “Unfortunately, only two major Florida banks SunTrust and AmSouth have agreed to offer, on a limited basis, REPOs to law firms with large IOTA accounts,” Curran said. In tailoring the proposed change, McLeroy said the Foundation worked to put the onus of meeting the new standards on the financial institutions and not the lawyers. Cooke said the Foundation will now have to put together an education plan and strategy to get the changes adopted. “Obviously there are going to be road blocks,” Cooke told the board. “Bankers, we are probably going to hear from them, and we are probably going to hear from some lawyers.” Under the current program, total IOTA revenue will amount to about $11.1 million this year, and has been steadily falling since the mid-1990s as interest rates have waned. At its peak, IOTA was generating about $19 million a year for legal aid, administration of justice and law school assistance programs. Board member Bill Davis of Tallahassee said it’s a good idea to require banks wanting to hold IOTA accounts to provide market interest rates. “I can’t help but think that IOTA accounts are being discriminated against in the market place by some banks,” Davis said. “I think this rule is really what attorneys have been asking for,” said board member Drew O’Malley of Tampa, noting lawyers are reluctant to “beg” their banks for higher IOTA rates. “This rule takes the lawyer out of the equation.” Several lawyers on the board agreed that attorneys are often not willing to push banks to increase their IOTA interest rates because it would jeopardize side business relationships they have with their banks. Bill Thompson said one of the “great aspects” of the rule is it will create some competition for IOTA accounts. Thompson also said as the Foundation drafts the proposed rule for the court’s consideration, the board must keep in mind the large number of small-firm lawyers to make sure they are not burdened by the changes. “We tried to make it so there would be very little impact on the lawyers themselves,” McLeroy said, adding that allowing IOTA accounts of any size to be opened at eligible financial services companies was made in response to the Supreme Court’s directive that the Foundation continue to investigate alternative investment opportunities that would accomplish the dual goals of increasing IOTA revenues and safeguarding trust funds. “That is something the Supreme Court had asked us to consider a number of years ago and we think is significant in this proposal,” McLeroy said McLeroy said requiring that IOTA accounts earn the highest interest rate available to non-IOTA depositors with comparable balances at the same bank or financial services company would make IOTA voluntary for institutions. And by meeting the standard, banks would become eligible for participation, and lawyers and firms would be required to deposit IOTA funds only in eligible institutions, she said. As part of the plan, McLeroy said the Foundation also will independently work with banks and financial services companies to develop appropriate products which are in compliance with the IOTA rule. McLeroy said that will include providing them computer and technical support needed to remit IOTA earnings to the Foundation and conduct the required reporting. McLeroy said the Foundation, not the lawyer, will be responsible for monitoring usage of banks’ and financial services companies’ existing products available to non-IOTA depositors, with respect to rates being paid on individual attorney and law firm IOTA accounts as reported by the Foundation on IOTA remittance reports, in order to determine compliance with the IOTA rule. The proposal calls for no action to be required of law firms by the proposed amendments to monitor their institution’s compliance and unless and until an attorney’s or law firm’s bank becomes ineligible to hold IOTA funds because of its unwillingness to offer products in compliance with the rule. In that instance, the Foundation would advise the attorney or law firm that their financial institution had become ineligible to hold IOTA funds. “However, in the event a bank is in compliance with the comparable interest rate or dividend provisions of the rule, but is unwilling to remit interest directly to the Foundation, in order to accommodate law firms, the firm would be permitted to maintain their account where it was situated and remit directly to the Foundation rather than be forced to change institutions,” McLeroy said. McLeroy said the proposed IOTA rule changes provide that IOTA funds are as safe or safer than in the current IOTA rule. For example, if not FDIC insured or in the currently-approved REPOs, which are collateralized by U.S. government notes, bonds or agency debt, then the Foundation would indemnify attorneys and law firms. That would provide, in a sense, “deposit insurance” against market loss of client funds held, for example, in government money market funds. The Foundation would purchase private insurance to cover the cost of such indemnification, if any. Foundation asks court to amend IOTA rule February 15, 2001 Managing Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Binghamton youth centers in need of foster homes

first_imgSo she says if you’re at all interested in becoming a foster parent to contact a local adoption center and learn more. At Berkshire Farm Center, Rodzinka says the pandemic has not only decreased the number of available foster homes, but increased the need for them. She says information from the Crime Victim’s Assistance Center in Binghamton indicates this uptick is a result of the pandemic. “Even if it’s just for a brief period of time being able to give that child a positive outlook is rewarding enough,” she says. “I have a toddler and a six year old right now and it’s been an adjustment but we do outside activities like sidewalk chalk, school meetings, fun crafts.” In turn she says, the center will be there for you and your foster child. “Not a day goes by that I don’t get a call from CPS asking if I have a home for a youth, but the pandemic has increased domestic violence to a degree, increased CPS going into homes,” she says. “People are cooped up together and they don’t have an outlet to get out that energy and they get on each other’s nerves.” At Berkshire Farm Center in Binghamton, Foster Care Program Coordinator Jennifer Rodzinka says the COVID-19 crisis has made finding people like White more difficult. “We have foster homes who have pre-existing health conditions or who have elderly people in them, that are at the higher risk groups so they are more reluctant to allow people into their homes,” she says. (WBNG) — Local youth centers say the COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to place children into foster homes, while at the same time increasing the need for families who are willing to take in foster children. center_img “We’re looking to expand our pool of foster homes because children really are in need of placement at this time,” she said. “We’re always going to be there with you throughout the whole process we’re not going to just drop a kid off and say good luck, we’re constantly working together,” she says. But pandemic or no pandemic, she says being a foster parent is a rewarding experience. At the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference, an organization that works with Broome County to place children, Aliscia Gaucher Director of Home Finding and Adoption says they too are in need of foster homes. “Call and get the information, join an informational session and take an orientation to get your questions answered,” she says. Elizabeth White is a foster parent who lives in Endicott. She says she’s getting used to fostering children during the pandemic. Rodzinka says if you are concerned about the pandemic but would like to start the process, orientations and informational sessions are being offered virtually.last_img read more

Cabaye: I miss Champions League

first_img The last time the 27-year-old France international featured in Europe’s elite club competition was in 2006-07 with Lille, from whom he joined the Magpies in 2011. Over the summer Arsenal made a bid for him which Newcastle swiftly turned down. Press Association Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye has suggested he may look to leave the club at the end of the season due to his desire to play in the Champions League again.center_img Cabaye was quoted as saying in an interview this week with French radio station RTL: “I miss the Champions League. “I’ll finish this season with Newcastle and concentrate on the coming months and then we’ll see.” Newcastle are currently eighth in the Barclays Premier League. last_img read more

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully will be back with Dodgers in 2015

first_imgScully’s consecutive years of service make him the longest-tenured broadcaster with one team in sports history.“I’m obviously not alone in saying that I’m overjoyed Vin will be coming back to the booth in 2015,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “Our fans deserve the very best and Vin’s voice, knowledge, experience and passion for broadcasting Dodger baseball are second to none.” Momentum builderWhen the Dodgers lost four of the first six games of their just-concluded road trip, it had to be disconcerting knowing they were next going to play a three-game series at rival San Francisco, which led Los Angeles by 1 1/2 games in the NL West.No problem. The Dodgers and their three mound monsters – Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu – ventured to the Bay Area over the weekend and swept the Giants to move into first by 1 1/2 games. They won by scores of 8-1, 5-0 and 4-3. The way Justin Turner spoke Tuesday ahead of the Dodgers’ series opener against the Atlanta Braves, it was about as good as it gets.“I think the most important thing about it was the energy level you saw from guy to guy, all the way down from 1 through 25,” said Turner, an infielder who is batting .298 as a part-time starter; he was playing almost every day when third baseman Juan Uribe missed over a month in May and June. “It was a team effort and just guys having fun. Obviously, Zack and Kersh and Ryu going out there and doing what they’ve done all year obviously helps.“But I think that was the most energized and together and collective our offense has been all season. Everyone knew what it was playing San Francisco; we’re in a dog-fight with them.”Turner, a Lakewood Mayfair High product, is hopeful it acts as a springboard to much bigger and better things.“Hopefully, everyone is conscious of the atmosphere that we created in that environment and we can carry that on whether we’re playing the Giants or the Braves or the Cubs or whoever,” he said. “If we can create that atmosphere in every game, every series, we’re going to be a team that everyone sees on paper.”Turner said the way he saw things, it was one “great at-bat” after another in San Francisco.“You get that and it makes us really, really tough to beat,” said Turner, who did not play much in San Francisco, but had two hits and two RBIs in the one game the Dodgers won at Pittsburgh a week ago Monday.Manager Don Mattingly was equally stoked.“Obviously, a good feeling for us to be able to go there and play well and it ended up putting a nice little taste to the road trip from the standpoint of, we lose a series in St. Louis, we lose a series in Pittsburgh and were kind of able to rebound there and play really well,” said Mattingly, whose team led the Giants by two games going into Tuesday because the Giants lost Monday while the Dodgers were idle.“Hopefully, it set the tone moving forward.”Barney due in town WednesdayInfielder Darwin Barney, acquired Monday by the Dodgers from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later, had yet to arrive in Los Angeles but was due in town Wednesday, Mattingly said.Barney, a Gold Glove second baseman in 2012, was designated for assignment July 22 by the Cubs. A .244 career hitter, he was batting .230 this season with Chicago, but was batting .385 (15 for 39) in July.Mattingly would not discuss which of the players on the roster would fall victim to bringing Barney aboard, but he did discuss his plans for the 28-year-old out of Portland.“Well, I think we look at him as a depth guy, obviously a guy that’s been a Gold Glove second baseman,” Mattingly said. “But we feel like he can play short, we think he can play third. And it kind of adds depth to what we’re doing.”Kasten weighs inDodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten released a statement regarding a letter written by the California Congressional delegation urging Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA and area television providers to enter into binding arbitration regarding the ability to televise Dodgers games.“First, we’d like to thank the members of the California delegation, especially Congressman Brad Sherman, for putting our fans and their constituents first and doing their best to move this situation forward,” Kasten said. “We’re very pleased that our partners at Time Warner Cable have readily agreed to submit SportsNet LA to binding arbitration, and we urge DirecTV to quickly agree so that we can get those games on the air for their customers.” Vin Scully is staying in the broadcast booth for the Dodgers.The 86-year-old Hall of Fame announcer will return for his record 66th season with the team in 2015. The announcement was made on the Dodger Stadium video board in the second inning of Tuesday night’s game against Atlanta.The news was greeted with loud cheers and a prolonged standing ovation for Scully, who stood and waved to fans from his booth.“It is very difficult to say goodbye,” said Scully in a statement. “God willing I will be back next year. Over the years, I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen as well as those at home, who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally, there will come a time, when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more