Business School expands online

first_imgHarvard Business School (HBS) announced today the launch of HBX, a digital learning initiative aimed at broadening the School’s reach and deepening its impact. In HBX, the School has created an innovative platform to support the delivery of distinctive online business-focused offerings, including HBX CORe, a primer on the fundamentals of business.“The HBX launch marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to educate leaders who make a difference in the world,” said HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. “HBX embodies the highly engaged, interactive learning that has been a hallmark of the School’s M.B.A., doctoral, and executive education programs for more than a century. Moreover, HBX will provide a powerful channel for communicating ideas to and engaging with new and wider audiences, complementing the work we do through Harvard Business Publishing.”The initial HBX offering, CORe (Credential of Readiness), comprises three interlinked courses:  “Business Analytics,” “Economics for Managers,” and “Financial Accounting.”HBS Professor Bharat Anand, faculty chair of HBX, says that CORe will be a rigorous program designed for serious and committed learners. “The HBX faculty team has thought carefully about how to create an online offering that mirrors the energy you find in an HBS classroom and that allows students to benefit from the diversity and experiences of other students.”Consistent with the HBS case method of teaching and participant-centered learning, CORe requires students to be active learners, thinking through and solving real-world problems.HBX aims to complement the School’s existing programs. Noted HBS Professor Youngme Moon, senior associate dean and chair of the M.B.A. program, “While our M.B.A. program is focused on educating outstanding people with business experience who are looking to develop themselves as leaders, and our executive education programs are designed to further strengthen the capabilities of established leaders, CORe is designed to provide basic business fundamentals to segments of the population we’ve never directly addressed before: undergraduates, graduate students in non-business fields, and people who have just begun their first jobs in business but want a better foundation so they can thrive earlier in their careers.”CORe will launch in June, initially with a limited cohort of students drawn from Massachusetts colleges and universities. Applications will be available in April on the HBX website ( addition to CORe, later this year HBX will introduce a series of specialized courses for executives on topics such as entrepreneurship and innovation; disruptive innovation, growth, and strategy; and the microeconomics of competitiveness. Over time, HBX expects to roll out more courses that build on the HBS faculty’s influential research.HBX also will introduce HBX Live, a virtual classroom that collapses geography and allows participants worldwide to interact with one another and a faculty member in much the same way as in a campus-based HBS class. HBS has partnered with public broadcaster WGBH to create a state-of-the-art space that will allow virtual engagement with up to 60 participants at a time. HBX Live will launch this summer and will be available initially on an invitation-only basis.  Its early focus areas will include lifelong learning opportunities for HBS alumni and enhancement of the School’s modular executive education programs.HBX is the newest initiative supporting Harvard University’s overarching efforts to infuse innovation into teaching and learning. In 2012 Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of edX, a nonprofit online learning platform that would expand the reach of higher education by developing Internet-based courses that could be taken by students of any age, anywhere.Today there are more than two dozen Harvard-based learning experiences on topics ranging from history to neurosciences to national security, all developed by HarvardX, a University-wide initiative that enables faculty to build and create online learning experiences and to conduct groundbreaking research in this rapidly evolving area.“We applaud the arrival of HBX. This unique digital learning endeavor continues the Business School’s long history of innovation and experimentation in management education, and is yet another example of how Harvard is setting the standard for the 21st century,” said Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber. “The lessons we learn from HBX will be deeply interwoven with other efforts such as HarvardX and edX, informing best practices in blended and online teaching and offering world-class educational materials beyond our campus.”last_img read more

IBM awards more than $500,000 in grants to Vermont community organizations

first_imgIBM announced today it has awarded $525,540 in grants, ranging from $500 to $10,000, to more than 100 Vermont not-for-profit organizations and schools throughout the state. The grants were awarded as part of IBM’s celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2011, and made to organizations where IBM employees are volunteers. The grants fund organizations throughout the state supporting the arts, education, disaster and emergency response, the environment, health and youth services, and libraries. These grants bring the approximate value of IBM’s corporate and employee community support in Vermont to $2.7 million for 2011. This includes Centennial Celebration of Service grants and other corporate grants, employee pledges to the company’s annual Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign, and the value of more than 45,000 hours of recorded employee volunteer service. The Centennial grants include 20 IBM Community Impact grants for $10,000 each that support IBM employees’ involvement in local projects that link IBM’s community priorities with a school or not-for-profit organization. In addition, earlier this year IBM announced a $10,000 grant to the DREAM mentoring program and a $100,000 corporate Centennial Grant ‘ one of only 11 awarded worldwide ‘ for an energy efficiency project for HowardCenter and the Vermont State Colleges. IBM is providing nearly $12 million in grants worldwide to schools and not-for-profit organizations this year in recognition of its 100thanniversary. ‘Every one of these IBM grants came to Vermont based on the personal commitment and involvement of IBM employees to community organizations, both as individuals and teams,’ said Janette Bombardier, senior location executive for IBM in Vermont.  ‘IBM’s combined community support reached nearly every corner of the state and is representative of the positive impact made by IBM and its employees in Vermont every year, and particularly during this IBM Centennial year.’ The grants support organizations providing services both regionally and statewide. Some examples include funding for: — A swift water rescue team for Grafton Fire and Rescue — Emergency shelter project of the Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross — Installation of e-911 signs by Fairfax EMS. — The annual Vermont State Science and Math Fair. — Creation of an environmental curriculum for YMCA’s Camp Hochelega. — Expansion of Linking Learning to Life’s career awareness program into Lamoille and Addison. counties. — Educational programs of Vermont Works for Women.  IBM Vermont 12.20.2011last_img read more

6 ways your credit union can violate OFAC’s 50 percent rule

first_imgIn November, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued a Joint Statement on Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) cybersecurity sanctions. It warned that many entities sanctioned for malicious cyber activity claim to be domestically based and offer technology-related services to financial institutions under false pretenses. These sanctioned entities increase both operational and OFAC compliance risk for the institutions that have used or continue to use their services. While assessing your exposure to this particular OFAC risk, take the opportunity to also review your compliance with OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule, as the two issues are closely related.    OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule OFAC first addressed entity ownership in 2008. In 2014, it published Revised Guidance on Its 50 Percent Rule, which states that, “any entity owned in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons is itself considered to be a blocked person.” The Treasury Department’s FAQ on the OFAC 50 Percent Rule “urges persons considering a potential transaction to conduct appropriate due diligence on entities that are party to or involved with the transactions or with which account relationships are maintained in order to determine relevant ownership stakes.”6 Ways to Violate OFAC’s 50 Percent RuleOn its face, the 50 Percent Rule appears straightforward, but complying with it is quite complicated, in large part because OFAC does not publish a list of majority SDN-owned entities. That leaves the legwork to compliance teams to determine.Here are six ways that a credit union, money services business or any other business can get tripped up by OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule:Fifty percent ownership by one or more SDN: Exactly as the rule states, if your organization conducts a transaction with an entity that is owned 50 percent or more by one or more SDNs, it has violated the 50 Percent Rule. Barclays Bank was fined $2.4 million by OFAC for doing just that. According to the OFAC enforcement action against Barclays, the activity took place between 2008 and 2013 and involved 159 transactions with an entity that was “owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, by a person identified” on the OFAC SDN list. This case highlights the difficulty in following the rule to the letter of the law. The enforcement action emphasized that, despite multiple attempts by the bank to improve its OFAC compliance program, Barclays screening system “had several limitations” and its “Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures were ambiguous and difficult to follow with respect to the requirement to identify related parties and/or beneficial owners of corporate customers.”   OFAC’s recent enforcement action against a technology company is another clear example. The first cited violation occurred when the company sold goods to a firm not itself listed as an SDN but that was owned 51 percent by an SDN. By the time of the tech company’s second and third transactions, the buyer had been added to the SDN List, but the firm’s “denied party screening produced no warnings or alerts.” For those three violations, the firm was fined $87,507. Per its enforcement action, OFAC notes that, this “case demonstrates the importance of companies operating in high-risk industries (i.e., defense) to implement effective, risk-based compliance measures.” It also called on companies doing business internationally to “maintain a culture of compliance where frontline staff are encouraged to follow up on sanctions issues.”SDN-controlled entities: While the above scenario shows that majority ownership can be problematic, entities control by an SDN proves even trickier. According to OFAC, “an entity that is controlled (but not owned 50 percent or more) by one or more blocked persons is not considered automatically blocked pursuant to OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule.” However, it warns that such an entity could eventually be placed on the SDN List. Entity control tripped up ExxonMobile to the tune of $2 million. According to OFAC’s enforcement action against the energy giant, it entered into eight business agreements with an entity (not on the SDN List) that were signed by a Russian oligarch who was on the SDN List. In regard to its 50 Percent Rule, OFAC specifically states that, “U.S. persons should be careful when conducting business with non-blocked entities in which blocked individuals are involved.” Further, they may not “enter into contracts that are signed by a blocked individual.” Significant but non-majority ownership by an SDN: Consider an entity owned 49 percent or even 40 percent by one or more SDNs. It is less than 50 percent ownership, so you can do business with it, right? Not so fast. OFAC “urges caution” whenever an SDN has significant ownership under 50 percent, although it does not provide a specific number. And again it stresses future possibility, noting that, “such non-blocked entities may become the subject of future designations or enforcement actions by OFAC.” Dow Jones’ Risk and Compliance unit, which compiles its own Sanctions Ownership Research (SOR) list—a list of entities with 10 percent or more ownership by an SDN, also notes that blocked persons have been known to structure their ownership to avoid triggering the 50 Percent Rule.Russian-based entities: Given recent geopolitical and cyber activity, doing business with anyone located in or associated with Russia inherently increases OFAC risk. To begin with, the U.S. Department of Treasury continues to ramp up sanctions against Russian entities. In April alone, OFAC designated the following for sanctions: seven Russian oligarchs, 12 Russian companies owned or controlled by those oligarchs, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned entity and its subsidiary. In addition, it is important to note that not all Russian persons and entities that have been designated for sanctions have been placed on the SDN List yet. This complicates OFAC compliance. Finally, it is imperative that U.S. financial institutions understand from whom they are acquiring technology services, as well as with whom their third-party vendors might be interacting. OFAC’s Cyber-Related Sanctions Program specifically mentions the 50 Percent Rule, and the FFIEC’s recent Joint Statement on the same warns that, “continued use of products and services from a sanctioned entity may cause the financial institution to violate OFAC sanctions.” A download of a software patch is enough to merit such a violation. Before dismissing this as irrelevant to your organization, keep in mind that Russian technology firms span the globe, and their connection to their U.S. subsidiaries is often opaque.Majority-owned by a sanctioned government: In addition to avoiding business with entities that are 50 percent or more owned by SDNs, organizations must also be on the lookout for entities that are majority-owned by a government or country that is subject to a sanctions program. In November of 2018, the French bank Société Genéralé was fined $54 million for activity occurring between 2007 and 2012 that included, among other things, doing business with a company majority-owned by the government of Sudan. TD Bank faced similar violations in 2017, as it was forced to pay $955,750 for maintaining accounts and processing transactions for a Canadian company owned by a Cuban company at a time when this was prohibited by the Cuban sanctions program. Past sins: Keep in mind that even if your organization’s current OFAC compliance program is fully in line with the 50 Percent Rule, it can still be penalized for past interactions that violated it, as evidenced by the enforcement actions described above. If your organization is aware or becomes aware that a past violation occurred, it is wise to voluntary self-disclose it to OFAC, because that will typically count as a mitigating factor in reducing the base fine. On the other hand, failing to self-disclose is often cited as an aggravating factor that negatively impacts the final amount of any fine.Incorporate OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule into Your Compliance ProgramHolland & Hart, which provides legal services for financial institutions, describes OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule as “a logical extension of the prohibition on transactions and dealings involving blocked property.” However, “it also adds the substantial burden of an enhanced due diligence exercise.”Here are some ways to more effectively handle that burden:Conduct routine risk assessments of your OFAC exposure.Review customer on-boarding and ongoing due diligence policies and procedures to ensure that entity ownership is initially identified and continually monitored for changes.Review third- and fourth-party vendor management policies and procedures, specifically to include an assessment of their OFAC exposure and compliance programs.In addition to screening entity names against the SDN List, screen entity officers, directors and contract signatories of both customers and vendors.Upgrade your watch list screening process to cross reference a database, such as the Dow Jones SOR list, that identifies entities that are owned by sanctioned persons or jurisdictions.  3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Amber Goodrich Amber Goodrich, compliance strategist for CSI Regulatory Compliance, has more than 15 years of financial industry experience. She is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and a Certified Regulatory Compliance … Web: Detailslast_img read more

The stock market’s best returns have occurred under Democratic presidents with a split Congress

first_imgVote counting continued Thursday in the tight presidential race, but odds of a Joe Biden win and a split Congress have increased. If that’s the final outcome, history shows that this type of gridlock in Washington has been quite market-friendly for stocks.The stock market has enjoyed the best returns under a Democratic presidency and a split Congress, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, who analyzed data going back to the end of 1944. The S&P 500 has rallied 13.6% on average during a calendar year with such a political makeup, the data showed. Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election during an appearance with in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 4, 2020.Kevin Lemarque | Reuters – Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more