Mortenson Construction has used building information modeling, or BIM, in conjunction with virtual design and construction since 1998 when it started work on the Walt Disney Concert Hall project, a multi-award winning structure with a curved steel frame in Los Angeles. The project team found that BIM/VDC was essential in the project, in large part because it helped them visualize complex sequences of work that before had only been listed in an Excel worksheet or on a Gantt chart.

Since then, the company has worked on a multitude of BIM/VDC projects beginning with the pre-planning process, through the design and construction. It found that the process and technology enhances communication among project stakeholders, increases productivity, improves safety, reduces time and cuts costs. A team at Mortenson studied 18 of its projects and created an infographic that shows their quantifiable results, including the cost savings enjoyed by its clients. (read more…)

One of the lesser known financial regulations implemented as part of Dodd-Frank is the requirement for swap dealers to be able to produce a full reconstruction of a trade within 72 hours of a request by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Satisfying the new requirement will require a range of technologies and processes, many of which are still in their infancy.

Bloomberg Vault sponsored a webinar “Tackling the Challenges of Trade Reconstruction,” exploring issues such as:

• Handling unstructured data, including tagging
• Weighing in-house versus outsourced solutions
• Establishing best practices around compliance

“The new rules [regarding trade reconstruction] are onerous and affect lots of different parts of the organization—front, middle and back office of firms,” said Harald Collet, Global Head of Bloomberg Vault. Those rules cover such areas as:

Recordkeeping: Records must be kept of all written and oral communications that lead to execution of swap.
Searchability: Data must be maintained in a form that identifiable and searchable by transaction and counterparty. (read more…)

When do you advise clients to start thinking about death planning? Have you broached this subject with your own loved ones? Not easy questions to process, are they?

As with many things, understanding the appropriate time to have these discussions with clients is both personal and widely varied depending on client preferences and generational differences. A recent Bloomberg article got me thinking about this topic specifically as it highlighted that many millennials aren’t currently purchasing life insurance, nor do they consider it a priority. Of course, this is partially due to younger generations marrying and starting families later in life; however, it also serves as a reminder of the role social media plays in helping financial professionals educate and advise certain consumer segments, particularly those who that may not be actively looking to make a purchase.

A new viewpoint for a new generation

What if firms viewed social media not as a chance to sell to younger prospects, but instead an opportunity to educate and build a relationship with them? (read more…)

Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, discussed Sec. 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, which deals with carbon emission reductions, at a webinar hosted by the American Sustainable Business Council on Sept. 4.

McCarthy said the rules proposed in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan are part of President Barack Obama’s climate action plan. “Climate change is a risk to health, business and economic growth,” she said, adding that small business owners overwhelming want action taken on the issue. And she’s proud of what the EPA is doing by developing standards to control air pollution, much of which comes from plants that generate power by coal, natural gas and petroleum.

McCarthy explained that the rule-making process took into account views from industry, unions, state officials and others. The EPA’s goal, in addition to cutting carbon emission was to make sure that the rules “can change climate economic risks into opportunities,” she said. (read more…)

Social media has become a necessity for financial advisers to stay “top of mind” with clients and prospects, but they need to be able to “put the time and dedication into it” in order to make their efforts successful, said Amy McIlwain, president of Financial Social Media.

LinkedIn is a popular choice for financial-services firms because its users are there for business purposes, making it the “trade show” of social media platforms, McIlwain said Saturday during NAIFA’s Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego. On LinkedIn, “your booth is going to be your profile,” which should be complete and tell your story effectively, she said.

Advisers who use Twitter should “listen first [and] talk second,” she said. As they become acquainted with the platform, they should follow others and take note of trending topics, which are designated with hashtags, she recommended. Once comfortable, they should join in the conversation and tell interesting, relevant stories to build their brand, she said. (read more…)