OpenPages Introduces Comprehensive J-SOX Software Solution Package
OpenPages SureStart Provides Support in Meeting J-SOX Compliance Regulations
Waltham, Mass. - July 30, 2007 - OpenPages, the leading provider of enterprise governance, risk and compliance management (GRCM) solutions, today announced the availability of OpenPages SureStart, a software solution package that helps organizations meet J-SOX financial requirements by providing a packaged solution of software, services and training that empowers organizations to make J-SOX compliance sustainable and repeatable.
OpenPages SureStart combines the flexible architecture of OpenPages FCM, the market-leading software solution for compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and similar worldwide financial reporting regulations, with the expertise of OpenPages' professional services organization.
The SureStart software solution includes:
- A diverse library of documentation control frameworks (processes, risks and controls) that can be leveraged to accelerate a company's documentation efforts.
- Powerful, real-time reporting capabilities that enable visibility into the current state of a company's documentation effort.
- Data import tools to accelerate the loading of existing controls documentation seamlessly.
- Training sessions for business users and administrators to enable immediate adoption and use of OpenPages FCM.
OpenPages SureStart solution has been designed to accelerate companies' "time to first year compliance" with J-SOX while enabling visibility and clarity during this journey. These capabilities and best practices have been developed by OpenPages in partnership with hundreds of companies around the world. Companies can also access the powerful workflow capabilities which enable sustainable automation for ongoing compliance from year two and beyond.
The OpenPages SureStart methodology delivers a defined process for companies to assess the technical and service requirements for J-SOX compliance, conduct a company-specific assessment to identify any unique requirements and complete the FCM installation and deployment.
Although officially scheduled to go into effect in April 2008, Japanese-based companies have already began to realize the benefits associated with implementing a streamlined compliance solution to help meet mandatory J-SOX regulations. Softbank Corp., an integrated digital information services company, recently announced that it had selected OpenPages FCM to help strengthen controls related to financial reporting compliance and to significantly improve operational performance and efficiency, ensuring better results as it works to meet imminent J-S0X requirements.
"With the introduction of J-SOX in 2008, organizations are confronted with the challenge of meeting new financial reporting requirements in an effective and efficient manner," said Michael J. Duffy, president and CEO of OpenPages. "Relying on manual procedures for J-SOX requires significant efforts while the costs associated with meeting these regulations increase the potential for errors and failure to provide management with a holistic view of the state of J-SOX compliance. OpenPages SureStart provides the guidance and clarity needed for organizations to appropriately meet these unfamiliar financial regulations through automation, rapid implementation and key technical training that allows organizations to successfully meet their compliance goals."
OpenPages FCMSM is the market-leading software solution for compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and similar worldwide financial reporting regulations. Leveraging a core, shared-services and open architecture, OpenPages FCM automates an organization's entire compliance lifecycle - from design and documentation, through test, review, approval and certification. Combining full document management with interactive reporting capabilities, OpenPages FCM makes compliance procedures more effective and efficient while providing executive management with clear visibility into the state of the financial controls and assurance that the organization is meeting its compliance requirements.
OpenPages is the leading provider of Governance, Compliance and Risk Management solutions for Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance, General Compliance Management, Operational Risk Management and IT Governance. The company's solutions provide the visibility, decision support and control to improve accountability, better manage risk, achieve compliance with numerous regulations, improve operational performance and align strategies to ensure better results.
Market-leading corporations in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, media/entertainment, retail/consumer, energy, high technology, health services and life sciences rely on OpenPages to help them achieve sustainable governance, risk and compliance management -- enabling them to become well-governed businesses. Founded in 1996, the company is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, with international offices in Hong Kong, Japan, France and the United Kingdom, and regional offices throughout North America.
For more information on OpenPages' suite of business governance software solutions or to register for an online demonstration, please call 781-693-5999 or visit www.openpages.com.
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College Toolkit Selects SimpleTuition to Provide College Funding Resources
Users Can Now Compare Student Loans Directly on CollegeToolkit.com
Newton, MA and Brooklyn, NY, July 30, 2007 -- SimpleTuition, Inc. (www.SimpleTuition.com
), a company dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing choices, today announced a partnership with College Toolkit (www.CollegeToolkit.com), a leading online resource for college information. As a result, students and parents can now research, compare and select student loan options on CollegeToolkit.com using SimpleTuition's proven solution.
With a primary focus on students, College Toolkit provides a comprehensive resource for information on colleges, admissions, scholarships, the financial aid process and careers. By partnering with SimpleTuition, College Toolkit now delivers objective and transparent student loan information necessary for students to research and find the best options for financing higher education. With the help of SimpleTuition, CollegeToolkit.com is fast becoming a trusted resource for college financing information.
"SimpleTuition and College Toolkit are both committed to helping students with the big decisions that come hand in hand with choosing to go to college," said Kevin Walker, CEO of SimpleTuition. "SimpleTuition prides itself on offering the most complete, interactive online resource to make financing a higher education a reality and we are pleased to extend the service to users of CollegeToolkit.com."
From the College Toolkit web site, users are able to enter the loan amount needed, date the loan is needed, and date of graduation. When clicking on the "Search Now" button, users will be redirected to a site powered by SimpleTuition.com(http://www.simpletuition.com/collegetoolkit/home
), where more in-depth searches can be performed and users can find more than 100 loan options from 45 lenders with or without borrower benefits and sort by monthly payment, APR or total cost of loan.
"College Toolkit selected SimpleTuition as a partner because we share a common goal of providing a comprehensive resource to help students with all the major decisions that come along with going to college, such as finding a school, paying for it, searching for scholarships and exploring career options," said Mark Rothbaum, President of College Toolkit.About College Toolkit
College Toolkit is a one-stop resource for life after high school, allowing students to find and apply for scholarships, search through a database of more than 4,000 colleges, and explore 900 careers all in one location. It is one of the most comprehensive sites for life after high school. To learn more, visit www.CollegeToolkit.com
.About SimpleTuition, Inc.
Founded in 2005, SimpleTuition is dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing options. Recently featured as one of Fast Company's Top 12 Web 2.0 sites, SimpleTuition offers the leading independent and interactive solution for researching and comparing over 100 private, PLUS, Stafford, GradPLUS and Federal Consolidation loans from more than 45 lenders. SimpleTuition is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts and is funded by Atlas Venture, IDG Ventures Boston and North Hill Ventures. For more information, visit www.SimpleTuition.com
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Gift Card Market Continues to Evolve
Sure, you loved that pink fluffy kitten sweater from Aunt Bertha two Christmases ago, even if it was three sizes too small. And the year before, you adored the singing fish plaque. Yeah, right.
Chin up, friend. Chances are good you won't be looking to regift Auntie's presents in the future, thanks to the burgeoning popularity of gift cards and gift card "malls" - those racks offering cards from multiple retailers you've seen in locations like CVS.
For many -including befuddled gift givers who don't have a clue what their friends or relatives might want to receive -the category has been a godsend. Consumers are expected to spend upwards of $90 billion this year on gift cards, up from $76 billion in 2006, forecasts Dan Horne, associate professor of marketing at Providence College in Rhode Island. And by 2008, the category is projected to surpass $100 billion.
The fact that a gift card can cater to every interest works for both buyers and recipients.
"It used to be gift cards were always the lazy-person way to give a gift," says Bob Skiba, executive vice president, general manager for gift card provider Comdata (formerly Stored Value Solutions). One of the largest gift card providers with 650 clients, Comdata distributes cards in 150,000 retail locations.
"Gift cards have become accepted," adds C. Britt Beemer, founder of America's Research Group, a consumer behavior research and strategic marketing firm. "There is virtually no negativity around them anymore."
In order to stand out in a sea of plastic at retail, marketers are using more imagination in their designs. Moveable parts, scented cards and audio chips are some of the gimmicks to recently hit store shelves.
"Retailers are looking for card products and card services that bring innovation to something which had become rather stale," says David Brown, CEO of digital publishing company Serious USA, which markets interactive CD-ROM cards.
One way to stand out is to be useful. For example, Home Depot created a tape measure gift card
around Father's Day. The item not only looks the part, but has an actual tape measure and level. The design was a hit. The product is so popular that it's often sold out.
"One of things we try to make a cornerstone in our strategy, whether it's across the retail business or the B-to-B channel, is innovation," says Manish Shrivastava, director of Home Depot Incentives Inc. "We are trying to get our brand in more places, in front of more people. It's a way of going beyond the orange box to reach consumers and then, in turn, drive them in."
Other retailers play off affinity. Target, for instance, last month launched a limited-edition card tied to the 'Transformers" movie. The dual-purpose item assembles into one of the "robots in disguise," complete with moving parts. Or, if the would-be recipient is in need of some relaxation, Target also offers a card packaged with aromatherapy bath salts. This is an example of adding value, Horne notes.
Merchant-specific gift cards are known as "closed loop," and are good at only that retailer. In contrast, an "open loop" card can be redeemed at any retail location. They're branded with the logo of a credit card company or financial institution.
Personalization is a tactic used at Dunkin' Donuts to boost sales. Photos or personal messages can be printed on cards.
"Not only do they help distinguish Dunkin' Donuts Rechargeable Cards from our competitors, but they also give consumers even more reason to keep the card in their wallets," says David Tryder, Dunkin' Brands manager of marketing services.the Machinations of Redemption
To the buyer and recipient, gift cards are relatively transparent. The person on the receiving end figures out what he or she wants, brings the card to the cash register and that's about it.
But for merchants and suppliers, herein lies a somewhat convoluted process that takes a while to show up on the books. Marketers can't list gift cards as revenue until they are redeemed, thus resulting in money held in limbo for varying periods of time.
More than half of recipients redeem the cards within three weeks of receipt, while 85% do so within three months, according to InComm, a marketer and distributor of prepaid cards.
About 5% of all gift cards go unused in a 12-month period. Some gift cards marketers attach expiration dates or fees for non-usage beyond the one-year mark. But those penalties are a fading trend. Many marketers are doing away with the restrictions for fear of turning off consumers.
"It can give retailers a competitive edge to not have a time expiration," says Mike Gatti, executive director of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a division of the National Retail Federation. "It depends on the relationship with consumers and where the [brands] are competitively."
For those that still implement expiration dates, such as closed system cards like American Express or Visa, "It can be used as marketing ploy to draw people in," he adds.
Some recipients hang onto the cards waiting for a sale. For instance, 28% of people used their gift cards this Memorial Day weekend, compared to 18% in 2006 and 6% in 2005.
"People don't use gift cards frivolously," Beemer says, noting that five years ago the cards were treated as found money. Now, they're perceived in the same vein as hard-earned cash.
Marketers largely measure their ROI in this area by incremental sales above the original gift card amount. In many cases it works. Consumers, on average, spend 20% to 40% more than the gift card amount, according to InComm. Indeed, about 51% of consumers who redeemed holiday gift cards said they spent additional money beyond the value of the card, according to an NRF survey conducted by BIGresearch.
Some marketers are getting crafty to lure consumers in to the store. Circuit City, for instance, is developing a drawing contest around its customizable kids' gift card. The winning design will be printed on the card, and a portion of all gift card sales will be donated to charitable organizations.
The promotion is expected to launch by the first quarter.Card Ubiquity
Gift cards "malls" are cropping up everywhere -from pharmacies and supermarkets to gas stations and convenience stores. These aren't traditional malls, but rather a rack of dozens of gift cards from numerous different non-competitive brand retailers.
The number of cards on display depends on space. Smaller outlets may display five to 10 choices; larger stores could offer 30 to 40 cards. Four competitors dominate the gift card mall space: Comdata, Blackhawk Network, InComm and CoinStar.
"We're seeing a steady increase," says Kristi Turner, senior vice president, marketing, InComm. "We're seeing many retailers commit to the category. Consumers tend to go there as a destination, rather than as a last-minute idea."
Through gift card malls, Circuit City extends its reach to 14,000 locations beyond its 630-store footprint.
"We'd never be able to get that volume without these gift card malls," says Circuit City's Diane Linke, senior manager, gift card marketing and operation. "It's a benefit for our brand outside the store walls."
One unusual wrinkle is the varying percentage of commission that a retailer earns from a gift card sale. That amount depends on "how enticing a brand you are," says Comdata's Skiba.
CVS/Pharmacy, a gift card mall provider that offers cards in 5,400 of its stores, has positive results.
"Gift cards are a great seller for us," CVS spokesperson Erin Pensa says. "The display units are accessible and make it easy to find what you are looking for."DVD Content
A gift card needn't be an inanimate piece of plastic. In fact, it can contain video entertainment.
In May, Circuit City started selling a gift card produced by Serious USA, which tied into the theatrical release of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."
When put into an Internet-connected computer, the disc, which was actually a molded mini DVD
disc, played clips from the movie and offered downloads and links to "Pirates" merchandise.
"Retailers are saying, ‘We want to sustain customers,’" Serious USA's Brown says. "You can only do that if you bring them new and exciting things."
Of course, when there's interest in a hot technology, litigation over intellectual property may not be far behind. Last spring, Serious USA alerted two companies working together -EnXnet and MoxyCard International -of potential patent infringement.
EnXnet is developing a hockey rink-shaped multimedia gift card that it plans to launch during the holidays. The ThinDisc-based technology card works in both computers and DVD players, and contains video and audio clips, as well as Internet connectivity and special promotions. MoxyCard International will handle the marketing behind the card.
"We have advised them we are monitoring the marketplace," says Katrine Levin, IP and general counsel for Serious USA. "Once the product hits the market, we will take appropriate action, if any."
But EnXnet, a research and development firm, says it's operating on an existing patent.
"I don't know of any real problems there," says EnXnet CEO Ryan Corley. "Our product is different. There's nothing that's keeping us from bringing it to the market."a Complete Package
Packaging, like technology, can distinguish gift cards from the rest of the pack.
"A lot of retailers are looking to enhance packaging as a way to stand out so they don't get lost in the sea of cards," says Eric Child, president of Seastone, a specialty gift card package manufacturer.
Clothing retailer Stage Stores Inc. worked with Seastone last year to spice up its card offering with four holiday-themed designs and packaging. As a result, the apparel chain reported a double-digit increase in gift card sales, says Jennifer Grammar, gift card marketing manager, Stage Stores.
"Customers want a choice of what kind of card to buy," Grammar says. Often the deciding factor is "anything that makes the card look special. The packaging is there to enhance the gift card sales. It makes a complete gift."
"Gift cards are going into a whole new generation of development," notes Structural Graphics CEO Michael T. Maguire, whose firm designs and manufactures interactive packaging and advertising materials.
As for the future, think digital. Mobile phones could become a preferred method of distribution. Rather than show a gift card, consumers could display a barcode on their cell phones to use as a gift certificate to redeem merchandise.
"The technology may change," Horne says. "It's a hard concept for consumers to get out of the blue... but that is coming."
- Birthdays are the biggest gift card-giving occasion, followed by holidays.
- The average value of gift cards ranges from $38 to $40.
- Of gift card buyers, 22% bought them from a gift card mall last year, compared to 14% in 2005.
- During the holidays, consumers spent an average of $164.81 on gift cards, up from the $146.20 they planned to spend.
- For the holidays, department store gift cards were the most popular followed by restaurants, electronics stores and discount outlets.
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Serious Named Finalist in PRO Awards
The PRO Awards has selected Serious as a finalist in the Best Use of Targeted Direct Mail or Email category for its Indy 500 Direct Mail CD Card campaign. The PRO Awards recognize the best in promotion and marketing in the United States. The awards will be held on September 18 in Chicago.
The Indy 500 project continues to gain esteem, having won first place in the New Media category of PROMO Magazine's 2007 Interactive Marketing Awards.
The campaign's goal was to continue the excitement of the Indy 500 and encourage ticket renewals by sending direct mail CD Postcards to ticket holders the Indy 500 upon their return home from the race.
The Card, produced from Serious' patented CD Cardz Media, offered fans race highlights and a video timeline of more than 80 years of Indy history. The call to action to renew tickets online included a free racing DVD with renewal as an incentive.
"When our fans got home from the race, this was sitting in their mailbox," said Terry Angstadt, former vice president of marketing for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Using Serious' card tracking software, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway could quantify how many people used the Card. The results were tremendous as 28% of recipients clicked through from web links within the Card to renew their tickets online. The racetrack's return on investment was 47 times the flat fee it paid for the cards.
To learn more about the Indy 500 CD Card, go here.About Serious
Serious is an award-winning, privately held digital publisher and marketer with offices in New York, London and Singapore. Its portfolio of intellectual property includes over 100 optical card patents in 60 countries. Applications of its proprietary technology include interactive gift cards, loyalty cards, pharmaceutical patient education cards, direct mail programs and collectible digital trading cards.
Serious' clients include Disney, BBC Worldwide, Best Buy, Vodafone, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Electronic Arts, Circuit City, five of the top 10 US pharmaceutical companies, Manchester United, Sony Pictures, New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers, ESPN and Campbell's.
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Student Lending Hits the Web
Amid 'Preferred' Lists Scandal, Services Sprout Up to HelpBorrowers Shop for Financing, but They Face Scrutiny, Too
By ANNE MARIE CHAKERJuly 19, 2007; Page D1
Amid controversy about how colleges steer borrowers toward certain lenders for student loans, a slew of Web-based services have popped up in recent weeks to help people shop for college financing -- and already, they, too, are drawing official scrutiny.
These new services, with names like Studentloanscout.com and Collegeloanmarket.com, arose partly in response to scandal surrounding colleges' "preferred-lender lists," which are names of suggested lenders that schools give to students to go to for loans. A widely publicized investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has found that some lenders provided perks such as stock or fancy meals to college financial-aid officers in order to be featured on such lists.
But some of the new sites, too, are under investigation by Mr. Cuomo's office, according to people familiar with the probes. These people decline to say which companies are being scrutinized. But they say concerns include lack of disclosure that the sites may have a financial interest in the recommendations they make; the accuracy of the interest rates posted; the impact on students' credit scores; and marketing practices in general.
The new Web sites say they aim to help the borrowers who want to shop for loans on their own, without relying just on input from the schools. Each works slightly differently. But they all say they aim to help consumers compare interest rates and terms for private student loans -- the fastest-growing segment of the student-loan industry. The sites don't charge borrowers, but generally make money off fees that either lenders or schools pay.
More families have had to turn to private loans in recent years to finance college educations. Subsidized federal-loan programs limit what students can borrow, and, increasingly, that amount isn't enough to meet students' needs as colleges raise costs far ahead of the inflation rate. This past school year, the average total tuition and fees at private colleges rose to $22,218 -- 5.9% more than the previous year. Add room and board, and the cost climbs to $30,367.
Private-loan volume now totals $17.3 billion. That is more than three times the amount borrowed in 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The upshot: A college funding stream that was fairly exotic just a decade ago now amounts to about a quarter of the entire federal student-loan volume.
However, borrowers shopping for private student loans find it is almost impossible to accurately assess the cost up-front, since lenders try to conceal their interest-rate formulas on the grounds that it is proprietary information. Often, students have to actually apply for the loan to get a sense of what interest rate they'll have to pay.
Among the sites to help borrowers compare loans, new auction-style models are emerging that aim to present real offers from lenders. Studentloanscout.com, the Internet portal of San Diego-based College Advance LLC, plans to officially launch next month. Consumers will share personal information -- including Social Security number, mother's maiden name and the school they attend -- which goes to the lenders, which also run a credit check. Then lenders would submit pricing offers through a password-protected page that students can check over several days.Risk to Credit Scores
But this model poses a risk to borrowers because multiple lenders running credit checks could potentially lower a consumer's credit score. Fair Isaac
Corp. -- which created the FICO scoring system that creditors use to assess consumers' risk -- says it can make accommodations for other types of loans, notably car loans and home mortgages. Consumers shop around for those loans, and Fair Isaac has been able to take that into account in its credit-risk-assessment formula.
But since shopping for a private student loan has been far less typical, the company has no such accommodation for student loans, says Craig Watts, a spokesman for Fair Isaac. He says the company will look at the phenomenon and consider adjusting the model.
"We think it will happen," says Ulrika Myggen, chief executive of San Diego-based College Advance. Until it does, she says the site offers a disclosure note in the step just before students submit their application, warning that lenders may request credit reports "and that these requests could negatively affect your credit score."
She says she hasn't heard from Mr. Cuomo's office.
Other companies say they have a way around the credit-scoring issue. College Loan Market LLC says its site acts as a gatekeeper for consumers, passing on information to the lenders -- such as the credit scores of the student and co-signer -- while keeping the borrower's identity secret, so that the credit scores are minimally affected.
CEO Marc Stein says five lenders but no schools yet have signed up for his service --
Collegeloanmarket.com -- which launched just last week. He says he hasn't received an inquiry from Mr. Cuomo's office, adding that he believes his product is in the "consumer's best interest."
In general, the lenders that are listed agree to pay the sites a referral fee in exchange for business, meaning that consumers may never learn of lower-cost competitors that don't pay.
And at least one is owned by one of the lenders it lists.
EStudentLoan.com, which is owned by lender Goal Financial LLC, says 12 lenders agree to pay fees in exchange for being listed on the site. A recent search on eStudentLoan.com for a $25,000 private loan yielded two results: One pitched a loan with an interest rate ranging from 8.88% to 14.5% from Campus Door Inc., a unit of Lehman Brothers
Inc. Another offered loans at interest rates between 9.34% and 18.72% from Goal Financial.
EStudentLoan doesn't disclose anywhere on the site that it gets referral fees. Shawn Lindstrom, director of e-commerce for Goal Financial and a co-founder of the Web site, says he thinks it should be "pretty obvious" to consumers. Mr. Lindstrom says he hasn't heard from Mr. Cuomo's office.
Another company, SimpleTuition Inc., also features paying lenders on its site. Simpletuition.com lists a total of 65 lenders; some 40 "partner" lenders, such as Key Bank and Bank of America, pay a referral fee to SimpleTuition each time consumers click to them or ultimately choose them. To drive shoppers to those banks, the site gives them favorable placement atop a borrower's search results.Referral Fees
In April, the company decided to also include nonpartner lenders in the mix -- including Chase and U.S. Bank -- to broaden the results. Those companies are listed in smaller typeface and don't include links to their Web sites. Simpletuition.com states on the site that it "may receive" a referral fee when a student selects one of its partner lenders.
The site doesn't provide specific rates offered by lenders, but rather says the rate would be "as low as" a certain amount. If you click through links to seek more detail on the lender, you can get the "up to" figure.
Kevin Walker, chief executive of SimpleTuition, says the service doesn't purport to be a comprehensive search of loan options. "Internally, we say we want to be part of a nutritious breakfast," he says. He adds that he doesn't believe his company is being investigated. "Using our site doesn't impact the credit rating," he says.
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D.A. Davidson and Placemark Investments are pleased to announce the launch of a UMA program
New program to headline D.A. Davidson’s fee-based platform -
GREAT FALLS, MT, July 17, 2007 - D.A. Davidson & Co., the largest full service investment firm based in the Pacific Northwest, and Placemark Investments, Inc., the largest independent provider of active overlay portfolio management services, are pleased to announce the launch of a custom unified managed account (UMA) program created to continue D.A. Davidson's long tradition of providing innovative wealth management solutions for the firm's advisors and clients.
D.A. Davidson's open-architecture UMA program, with Placemark as the overlay manager, has investment minimums starting at $250,000 and incorporates a variety of unaffiliated investment products and flexible asset allocations, allowing D.A. Davidson financial consultants to build custom solutions for their clients. Consultants will have a broad array of investment options based on in-house research to choose from, including well-known separate account managers such as Alta Capital Management, Ashfield Capital Partners, Johnson Asset Management and Riverbridge Partners. Advisors can also select mutual funds and ETFs to be included in the portfolio and in coming months will be able to incorporate actively managed fixed income portfolios and additional investment products as the program is expanded.
"We wanted to launch a program that utilizes all of the most advanced features and benefits that a UMA can offer," said Cory Custer, Senior Vice President and Director of Managed Accounts for D.A. Davidson. "In partnership with Placemark, we feel that we can now offer our clients a best-in-class program, giving them better diversification, superior investment options, and higher degrees of customization and portfolio personalization."
Placemark Investments, based in Dallas, TX, and Wellesley, MA, will have investment discretion on all accounts. D.A. Davidson's financial consultants will have access to Placemark's advisor workstation application to profile clients, produce proposals, configure investment solutions, and facilitate the account opening and maintenance processes.
DA Davidson clients will have the option of adding Strategic Tax Overlay Management to their UMA portfolios, in which Placemark custom constructs a client's portfolio based on their individual tax rates, gains recognition limits, and other custom tax management criteria. Strategic Tax Management will allow D.A. Davidson consultants to deploy household level integrated tax-management strategies across a client's multiple accounts/registrations, while also considering taxable gains and losses outside of the UMA portfolios.
"We are looking for this program to be our flagship fee-based platform, and the focus of future development, advisor education, and asset raising," continued Custer. "Placemark was able to build a program that not only meets the needs of our clients today, but also has the scalability and feature set to grow in the future. We see this program developing into a broader integrated Unified Managed Household platform, allowing our advisors to offer higher degrees of service across all of a client's assets, including assets they might have with other financial institutions."
"We're delighted to partner with D.A. Davidson in developing innovative and integrated unified investment solutions for the benefit of the firm's advisors and their clients," said Lee Chertavian, Placemark's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Unified Managed Account and Unified Managed Household programs provide state-of-the-art effective solutions to investors and are rapidly supplanting an outdated business model, featuring traditional separately managed account programs, in which multiple managers directly trade small pieces of a client's overall portfolio in an uncoordinated fashion."
About D.A. Davidson
D.A. Davidson & Co. is an employee-owned investment firm with operations in 16 states. Founded in 1935, the firm is the largest securities firm based in the region, with over $20 billion in client assets under management and approximately 950 professionals. As a full-service investment firm, Davidson provides research, investment banking services, bond sales and trading, stock sales and trading and private brokerage services. D.A. Davidson's investment banking group underwrites public offerings, serves as a placement agent for private financings, and advises companies on mergers and acquisitions.
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College of the Sequoias Becomes First College in California to Speed Refunds
COS Looks to Improve Customer Service to Students with Higher One's Services
New Haven, CT - July 17, 2007 - Higher One, a student-focused company servicing higher education, announced today that College of the Sequoias has decided to implement Higher One's OneDisburse Refund Management program to speed the delivery of financial aid refunds to their students. COS will begin to distribute financial aid refunds using OneDisburse by August of this year.
COS joins a host other schools like the University of Houston in Texas and Pace University in New York, as institutions that have blazed a new trail for refund efficiency in their respective states. Higher One now has 81 clients in over 20 states.
"COS is happy to be the first College in California to begin a partnership with Higher One in an effort to provide our students with a faster and more convenient method of financial aid disbursement," said Bill Scroggins, Superintendent/President of College of the Sequoias. "By providing our students with a choice of three different ways to receive their awards, we feel confident that OneDisburse Refund Management will improve the financial aid disbursement process."
The administration at COS, a college with an enrollment of just over 10,000 students, has a desire to reduce the amount of waiting time that a student endures while awaiting a payment from the school. Currently, COS relies on a paper check system of financial aid disbursement, which keeps the staff at the College tied up with the check production process.
Upon reviewing the options that were at the College's disposal, COS decided to partner with
Higher One after speaking with several schools on the east coast who have had the opportunity to use OneDisburse Refund Management. Dr. Linda Fontanilla, Dean of Student Services, said that the conversations were very influential in the decision making process.
The administration at COS wanted the company that they chose to disburse refunds to provide students with multiple methods of receiving their financial aid rewards. Higher One gives students a choice of three such methods, two of which are electronic. Students have the ability to deposit refunds into their existing credit union account or other bank account. The College also feels that the free, FDIC-Insured checking account, called the OneAccount, provided by Higher One will be a great tool for the students.
"We like that the students can have their awards transferred into their OneAccounts, as it will enable our students to gain experience using online banking and permit them to become more familiar with a trend that is becoming more important in the 21st Century," explained Dr. Fontanilla.About Higher One
Focused exclusively on higher education, Higher One provides Refund Management to higher education institutions and banking services to members of their community through a card based solution. Higher One's integrated solution helps it's clients reduce administrative costs, streamline business processes, create new revenue streams, increase student customer service and strengthen the campus community. Higher One's OneDisburse provides students with more choices and better services for receiving financial refunds and payroll. Higher One also offers a suite of banking services called OneFinanceSM, which includes the OneAccount, a no minimum balance, no monthly fee checking account with the OneCard, a Debit MasterCard for ATM withdrawals and purchases, and exclusive features such as "Send Money", Easy RefundSM, and Campus AutoLoad. The OneFinanceSM and OneDisburse solutions can be integrated with the institution's ID card or provided through a separate "refund only" card.
To date, Higher One has disbursed $2 billion dollars in refunds for its clients. More than 600,000 students, faculty, and staff at distinguished public and private higher education institutions use Higher One's services through their ID or refund card.About College of the Sequoias
College of the Sequoias is a two year, fully accredited community college offering associated degrees, certificate programs and university transfers programs with a long history of excellence in higher education. The College serves the majority of Tulare and part of Kings and Fresno counties with an enrollment of about 10,000 students. COS is very proud of the educational support offered to students and is dedicated and highly committed to enhancing our diverse educational and cultural campus environment. Our administration, faculty and staff are committed to the advancement of economic growth and to our mission of preparing our citizens for productive work, lifelong learning and community involvement.
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SimpleTuition Adds Student Loans From KeyBank
Now Families Have Even More Federal and Private Loan Options to Choose From at SimpleTuition.com
Newton, MA and Cleveland, OH, July 11, 2007 -- SimpleTuition, Inc. (http://www.simpletuition.com/
), a company dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing choices, today announced a partnership with KeyBank, (NYSE: KEY) one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies. As a result, KeyBank federal and private student loans for undergraduates, graduate students and parents are now available through SimpleTuition.com.
"When it comes to something as important as financing an education, KeyBank urges parents and students to explore all of the available loan options," said Daryl Leake, national director of business development for Key Education Resources. "The loan comparison feature available through SimpleTuition.com will help borrowers compare loan products and make the best choices for their financial situation."
Although many students are enjoying the summer break, come August more than 16 million students will be heading off to school. About three-quarters of all full-time undergraduates will realize that they still need some type of financial aid.
"Paying for college is a long-term financial commitment lasting years beyond college graduation, so we believe in giving borrowers a rich range of choices," said Kevin Walker, CEO of SimpleTuition, Inc. "Partnering with KeyBank reinforces our commitment to offering the widest range of student loan choices, empowering the borrower to easily compare, find, and ultimately select the financing option best suited for them."
After users review their choices, SimpleTuition offers direct links to KeyBank where the entire application process can be completed online. Users can sort results by monthly payment, total cost of the loan, number of payments, first payment due date and APR, as well as compare by lender, loan type, fund disbursement, credit sensitivity, minimum and maximum loan amounts, repayment options and borrower benefits. To ensure objectivity, SimpleTuition is not a lender.About Key Education Resources
Key Education Resources, the education financing arm of KeyBank, is one of the largest education loan providers in the U.S. In business for more than 50 years, Key Education Resources provides federal education loans, private loans, monthly payment plans and education consolidation loans for students and families in K-12, undergraduate, graduate and professional education institutions. For more information, visit www.Key.com/educate
Cleveland-based KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $93 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. For more information, visit http://www.key.com/
.About SimpleTuition, Inc.
Founded in 2005, SimpleTuition is dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing options. Recently featured as one of Fast Company's Top 12 Web 2.0 sites, SimpleTuition offers the leading independent and interactive solution for researching and comparing over 100 private, PLUS, Stafford, GradPLUS and Federal Consolidation loans from more than 45 lenders. SimpleTuition is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts and is funded by Atlas Venture, IDG Ventures Boston and North Hill Ventures. For more information, visit http://www.simpletuition.com/
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OpenPages Named a Finalist for Mass Technology Leadership Council's Technology Leadership Awards
Waltham, Mass. - July 10, 2007 - OpenPages, the leading provider of enterprise governance, risk and compliance management (GRCM) solutions, today announced it has been named as a finalist in the Mass Technology Leadership Council's 2007 Technology Leadership Awards for the category of Enterprise Technology Vendor.
The Technology Leadership Awards honor Massachusetts companies and individuals who best exemplify leadership and excellence in business and technology. Finalists were selected from a field of 180 candidates by the Council's Board of Trustees. A separate panel of judges will select the winners that will be announced at the Awards Gala on October 18th at the Westin Copley Place.
"OpenPages is honored to be nominated for this prestigious award," said Michael J. Duffy, president and CEO of OpenPages. "The Massachusetts Leadership Technology Council recognizes only the best and brightest companies in the region. It further validates our leadership position with providing innovative software solutions that enable companies to manage risk throughout their organizations. This accolade, along with many others we've received recently, is a testament to the hard work and dedication put forth by everyone at OpenPages."
"The Mass Technology Leadership Council is committed to fostering entrepreneurship and promoting the success of companies that develop and deploy technology across industry sectors and these awards are an important part of this effort," said Joyce Plotkin, president of the Mass Technology Leadership Council. "These honorees represent the spirit of innovation, the history of accomplishment and the future promise that define the Massachusetts technology community."About The Mass Technology Leadership Council, Inc.
The Mass Technology Leadership Council, Inc. is the only association that addresses the critical leadership issues of innovative software and technology-enabled companies. Formed by the combination of Massachusetts Software Council and New England Business and Technology Association, Inc., the organization is dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and promoting the success of companies that develop and deploy technology across industry sectors. The Mass Technology Leadership Council conducts educational programs, hosts industry events, facilitates networking, sponsors research, advocates in favor of technology policies that promote innovation, entrepreneurship and competition, and recognizes industry-leading companies and people.About OpenPages
OpenPages is the leading provider of Governance, Compliance and Risk Management
solutions for Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance
, General Compliance Management
, Operational Risk Management
and IT Governance
. The company's solutions provide the visibility, decision support and control to improve accountability, better manage risk, achieve compliance with numerous regulations, improve operational performance and align strategies to ensure better results.
Market-leading corporations in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, media/entertainment, retail/consumer, energy, high technology, health services and life sciences rely on OpenPages to help them achieve sustainable governance, risk and compliance management -- enabling them to become well-governed businesses. Founded in 1996, the company is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, with international offices in Hong Kong,
Japan, France and the United Kingdom, and regional offices throughout North America.
For more information on OpenPages' suite of business governance software solutions or to register for an online demonstration, please call 781-693-5999 or visit http://www.openpages.com/
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SimpleTuition Continues to Sign Steady Stream of U.S. College Partners
SimpleTuition Fast Becoming the Resource of Choice to Help Parents and Students Find and Compare the Best Student Loan Options
Newton, MA, July 9, 2007 -- SimpleTuition
, Inc., a company dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing choices, today announced the addition of nine leading U.S. institutions of higher education to the rapidly growing list of schools it serves.
SimpleTuition assists financial aid officers by providing students and their families with self-service, user-friendly tools for making critical educational financing decisions. Colleges and universities that work with SimpleTuition can customize a site to include information on how the loans they elect to feature were selected, providing full lender list disclosure. Schools can include ANY lender of their choosing, from any required minimums to a broader selection to give families greater choice.
For students entering Alderson-Broaddus College (WV), Coastal Carolina University (SC), Lincoln Christian College (IL), Pacific Northwest College of Art (CA), Spoon River College (IL), University of Alaska Southeast (AL), Umpqua Community College (OR), University of North Dakota (ND), and Wabash College (IN), the process of evaluating and applying for student loans is now much clearer with the help of SimpleTuition.
"Over the last several months, there has been a push for greater transparency with student loan lenders," said Jo Branson, Director of Financial Aid at Spoon River College. "Our ultimate mission is to help our students find and receive the best loans possible to meet their financial situation, which we are able to do by partnering with SimpleTuition. We can now offer families a side by side comparison of loan options, helping students make better informed choices."
SimpleTuition provides an independent, online resource to help families compare, analyze and apply for student loans. Students are able to view and use an apples-to-apples comparison for Private, PLUS, GradPLUS, Stafford and Federal Consolidation loans, depending on which are appropriate on a given campus/program. Results can be sorted by monthly payment, total cost of the loan, number of payments, first payment due date and APR, and results contain detailed information about loan pricing, borrower benefits and other attributes. SimpleTuition is not a lender.
"We are committed to supporting financial aid professionals across the country in their quest to help families get access to the right resources to make a college education possible," said Kevin Walker, president and CEO of SimpleTuition. "Paying for college is a confusing and overwhelming process for millions of families. SimpleTuition is dedicated to working with our school partners to make the process painless."About SimpleTuition, Inc.
Founded in 2005, SimpleTuition is dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing options. Recently featured as one of Fast Company’s Top 12 Web 2.0 sites, SimpleTuition offers the leading independent and interactive solution for researching and comparing private, PLUS, Stafford, GradPLUS and Federal Consolidation loans. SimpleTuition is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts and is funded by Atlas Venture, IDG Ventures Boston and North Hill Ventures. For more information, visit www.SimpleTuition.com/schools
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