Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for August, 2012

Network Solutions solves its cash flow problems on clients’ backs

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We hold eight domains through Network Solutions. We renew each of them annually for $37.99 apiece. When we renew, we do so on a voluntary basis, paying right before the renewal date. None of the accounts was on auto-renew. Until just now.

This morning, we received and email notice thanking us for our payment on one of the domains with a 9/23/2012 renewal date. We thought this irregular. Going online, we were amazed to find that each of our domains has been switched to auto-renew. Online, somebody from Network Solutions offered to chat, until they found I needed service. Then, they referred my to the land of perpetual hold.

When I finally reached the support person, I thought I was B’rer Rabbit, trying to engage the Tar Baby. Our conversation was oblique at best. I did extract from her the fact that I was talking to her in the Philippines. I kept repeating what I wanted; she kept repeating her canned lines. All I wanted was to know how the accounts had shifted to auto-renew and to have the money sent back to the account whence it came.

I was due a call from the Network Solutions supervisor within 1-2 hours, not later than 12:30 PM this afternoon. It is about three hours past that, so I am putting this out for public consumption.

Has anybody else had similar problems?

If so, were they ever resolved? How?

Are these unauthorized changes to the clients’ accounts fraud, or theft?

What mechanisms do we in the USA have in place to enforce honest business dealings from this sort of vendor?

Written by Gloria Ferris

August 23rd, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Posted in dialogue,ethics

Money Market Funds Under Attack

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My first encounter with money market funds was back in 1981 when I worked for BP Oil. One of the refinery guys would discuss stocks and bonds with me while we waited for his drivers to call in so that he could answer the question I had about fuel deliveries. One day, he told me about money market funds. He said the beauty of them was that they used Net Asset Value, and you always knew your dollar would be a dollar. He was right they are beautiful due to their stability and accessibility. This will no longer be the case if SEC Chairman Mary Shapiro has her way. Changing to a floating NAV and requiring “capital buffers” for money market quite likely will be the death knell for money market funds.

Not only is this an attack on money market funds but it is an attack on the middle class who use them as savings vehicles for rainy days and for sunny days.

Below is a letter sent by Federated investors, Inc. to financial professionals, investors, and other interested parties that informs the public of the attack on Money Markets Funds led by SEC Chairman Mary Shapiro. Please take the time to click on the link and tell the SEC just how bad an idea this regulation is.

Over the past 40 years, money market funds have become a staple of the US economy, used by millions of investors, businesses, state/local governments and non-profit organizations as a stable, efficient and liquid cash management vehicle. Unfortunately, if Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Schapiro has her way that may not be the case for much longer, as the SEC is poised to consider a set of proposals that would be the death knell for money market funds.

Federated has been very active in the battle to save money market funds and I am pleased to report that we are not alone. In addition to a host of financial services companies, hundreds of corporations, business groups, state/local governments and non-profits have written to the SEC to express their support for money market funds and to oppose Chairman Schapiro’s proposals. There are three proposals being promoted by Chairman Schapiro and other Washington regulators – a floating NAV, redemption restrictions and capital requirements – each of which would destroy the very foundations that make money market funds so effective and so popular.

· Replacing the stable $1.00 net asset value, which has been the hallmark of money funds, with a floating rate NAV would create accounting nightmares for all users, requiring the tracking and reporting of fractional changes in share price each time shares are bought or sold.

· Instituting redemption restrictions would prohibit money fund users from having full access to their investments when they want it or need it. Such a freeze would also cripple sweep accounts, check-writing and a number of others features that money market fund users depend on.

· Requiring money market funds to maintain “capital buffers” or reserves would further limit the attractiveness of money market funds, particularly in the current low interest rate environment. It is crunch time. The SEC is getting ready for a public meeting on these proposals. We need the help of everyone who knows the benefits of money market funds and their importance to the economy. Federated has developed a website that provides you the ability to contact the SEC and other officials to let your voice be heard in support of money market funds. You can visit www.savemoneymarketfunds.org to tell the Washington regulators not to destroy money market funds.

I truly appreciate our relationship and your consideration of helping Federated and money fund users everywhere in this important matter.

Sincerely,

J. Christopher Donahue

President and Chief Executive Officer

Federated Investors, Inc.

Written by Gloria Ferris

August 15th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Brooklyn Centre Bicentennial: I Love A Parade!

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Nothing gets my heart pumping faster than a parade and on Sunday August 12th there is going to be a great parade.

If you  would like to be part of the parade all you need to do is Join “Neighborhood on Wheels”. Joining is as easy as bringing your bicycle to Art House at 3119 Denison Avenue on Friday August 10th from 4 to  6 pm and decorate it.

All the materials and supplies things you need to make your bike sparkle, glitter, or just plain “cool” will be available free!

Then, all you need to do to be in the parade is to show up at Riverside Cemetery 3607 Pearl Road on Sunday between 11:30 am and noon to line up and be part of the celebration.

Step off time for the parade is Sunday August 12, at 1:30 pm.

The parade staging area will be in Riverside Cemetery.  The parade will go down Pearl Road turn right on Denison Avenue and proceed to W.C. Reed Park where the Community Picnic will begin at 3:30 pm. 

The picnic will have games and activities for the kids and lemonade and iced tea for the adults.

Be sure to let your friends and neighbors know about the parade so that the parade route will be full of spectators cheering the bands, antique cars, the marching units and they will see just how creative you and the kids can be.    

Written by Gloria Ferris

August 8th, 2012 at 5:42 pm