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The Kilpatrick Renaissance wins Excellence in Masonry Award

The Kilpatrick Renaissance recently won an Excellence in Masonry award from the Masonry Advisory Council. Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, P.C. is proud to have been a team member on this project. Congratulations to everyone involved!

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The Kilpatrick Renaissance is a 4-story independent senior’s apartment building located in Chicago’s Portage Park neighbourhood. The project was built to address the need for affordable housing options that would allow local seniors to remain in the neighbourhood they call home. It includes 98 residential units available to seniors ages 55+ that consist of 38 studio apartments, 54 one bedroom apartments, and 6 two bedroom apartments. In addition to the residential units, The Kilpatrick Renaissance features numerous common amenities available to the residents including an on-site management office; club room with a fireplace, lounge areas, and a kitchen; sun room opening onto a beautifully landscaped private courtyard with a pergola, fire pit, and seating areas; library with computer stations; fitness room; resident storage units; and a 4th floor roof terrace with a pergola and lounge. In addition, the project includes a public pocket park on-site with seating areas, landscaped planting beds, and community garden plots that are open to all members of the community.

The building’s exterior façade consists primarily of brick and stone masonry with detail elements of composite metal panels at the projecting bays. The massing of the 4-story building was broken up into smaller volumes to fit better within the neighbourhood context. The project has incorporated a number of sustainable design features including energy efficient variable refrigerant flow mechanical systems for heating and cooling, energy recovery on the building’s ventilation system, high efficiency lighting, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, and a rainwater harvesting system that will supply water for the landscaping irrigation system.

The Masonry Advisory Council is a collaboration of Educators, Experienced Professionals, Engineers, and Supplier Groups that support masonry construction, materials and assemblies. Contact us with your masonry questions, we are here to help!

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Corrs wins National Infrastructure Award for Advisory Excellence

Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, together with KPMG, have won the National Infrastructure Award for Advisory Excellence for their role in advising BaptistCare in its partnership with the NSW Government and the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).

Both Corrs and KPMG advised BaptistCare on its successful bid for the NSW Government’s SAHF to deliver 500 new social and affordable units and tailored support services for a period of 25 years.

According to Corrs’ lead partner on the matter, Airlie Fox, “Through this partnership with the NSW Government, BaptistCare will be able to provide housing and tailored support to a significant number of additional seniors and single-parent families who are experiencing housing stress.

“Corrs was delighted to assist BaptistCare on its successful bid and we are grateful that our firm, and KPMG, were recognised by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia with this significant award.”

The Judging Panel awarded Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and KPMG, the Advisory Excellence Award because of “their leadership and collaboration with the NSW Government to improve services for vulnerable communities in a complex policy environment”.

The Corrs team lead by Airlie included partners David Warren (Construction), Clare Corke (Banking and Finance) and Peter Calov (Property), with Consultant Trevor Danos providing strategic advice throughout the process.

BaptistCare is a registered Community Housing Provider under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing. The organisation has been providing affordable housing since 1953.

The SAHF is a key component of the NSW Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW strategy that will result in more social and affordable housing dwellings linked to tailored support, to help households gain independence.

For further information, please email Glenn Taylor or contact by phone on +61 2 9210 6593.

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Meet the BYPY 2018 Winners

Laura Thursfield took the overall title of Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) on Thursday 24th May as guests from the city’s business and professional services sector attended BPS Birmingham Future’s flagship awards ceremony at the ICC.

Each year BYPY celebrates the city’s finest talent across six award categories, with one category winner taking the highly-coveted title of Overall BYPY Winner. For the second time, 2018’s winner also received an Executive MBS from Aston University worth £20,000.

In addition to category winners, BYPY also recognised an exemplary figure and role model within the professional community with its Inspiring Leader award. Lorna Gavin, Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Corporate Responsibility at Gowling WLG, received this award.

The Aspiring Talent category, which recognises exceptional individuals aged between 16 and 24, was named as Daniel Goddard, Trainee Solicitor at Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

BYPY 2018 Winners

Overall Winner and Winner in the Finance category
Laura Thursfield, Mazars

HR, Recruitment & Training
Gishan Abeyratne, BCL Legal

Legal
Chrissie Wolfe, Irwin Mitchell

Marketing & Comms
Tru Powell, Alternative Events

Property & Construction
Kuli Bajwa, RPS Group

Technology
Sarah Mullett, Legal & General

Aspiring Talent
Daniel Goddard, Trowers and Hamlins LLP

Inspiring Leader
Lorna Gavin, Gowling WLG

For more information about BYPY, please visit: http://bpsbirmingham.co.uk/bypy/

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TSB chief Paul Pester to forfeit £2m bonus in wake of IT meltdown

The CEO of TSB will forfeit a £2m bonus payment in the light of an IT failure that left thousands of customers locked out of their accounts, as MPs accused the bank boss of being “extraordinarily complacent”.

During a bruising evidence session before the Treasury select committee, TSB chief executive Paul Pester and the bank’s chairman, Richard Meddings, said they had received 40,000 complaints about the outage but did not know exactly how many of the bank’s 1.9 million online customers had been affected.

Meddings told MPs that Pester had volunteered to give up a £2m bonus associated with the migration to a new IT system, hinting that other executives could also have their bonuses slashed. But Pester could still receive up to £1.3m in other bonuses for 2018, on top of a further £1.3m in basic pay, benefits and pension contributions.

Pester declined to predict when the problems, which have been affecting customers for 10 days, would be fixed. The committee chair, Nicky Morgan, accused Pester of being “extraordinarily complacent” after he said the bank’s move to a new IT system, which triggered the problems, had mostly run smoothly.

“What we are hearing this afternoon is the most staggering example of a chief executive who seems unwilling to realise the scale of the problem that is being faced,” she said.

Pester insisted that 95% of customers were now able to log in to the bank’s mobile app and website without problems.

However, MPs on the committee read out a series of emails and tweets from customers that indicated ongoing chaos. One customer said they had spent 14 hours on the phone to customer services, while another said they had been left unable to pay their gas and electricity bills and a third said they risked a house purchase falling through because they could not access bank statements.

Morgan questioned the notion that the IT problems were mostly fixed, saying customers had been put in an “impossible financial situation”.

Simon Clarke MP said Pester’s belief that most customers were now banking without problems could not be true unless there was a “mass conspiracy by members of the public”.

Morgan added that two Treasury committee staff members had found they could not log in during the evidence session, drawing an unexpected reply from Pester.

“It’s nice to know we have so many customers in the room,” he said. “Thank you very much for using TSB.”

He said he was “disappointed” that some customers, who he admitted were being made to wait 30 minutes for their phone calls to be answered, were hanging up in frustration.

TSB has marketed itself in large part on its ability to provide better customer service than larger high street lending rivals.

However, customers began experiencing problems with their accounts on Monday 23 April after the bank – now owned by Spanish lender Sabadell – migrated from an IT system inherited from the previous owner, Lloyds Banking Group.

Sabadell had hoped to make more than £100m in annual savings by using the new system, known as Proteo in apparent reference to Proteus, a Greek god of the sea often associated with change.

Pester insisted the switch to the new system had been rigorously tested beforehand and was “running smoothly” for the most part but that it was struggling to deal with high levels of demand.

“It’s the equivalent of having a shop that’s too small to let the number of customers in,” he said.

He said around 50% of customers had experienced problems with their accounts on the first day of using the new system, with 40,000 complaining, compared to an average of around 3,000 during a typical 10-day period. Pester said around 22,500 have had their problem “acknowledged” by the banks so far.

Morgan referred to a comment made by the bank’s chief information officer in December 2017, who said the switch to Proteo would make TSB “a digital business that just happens to be a bank”. She said TSB “is neither a digital business, nor a bank. In fact it’s a broken bank.”

Pester and Meddings said customers would receive compensation from TSB, not only for any financial loss but also for emotional distress and inconvenience, adding that no customer would be left “out of pocket”.

“We apologise profusely for the issues we’ve caused our customers,” Pester said, adding that it had been a “terrible decision” to go ahead with the switch to a new IT platform.

But he said that TSB was needed to challenge the so-called Big Five high street banks and provide greater competition.

The accountancy firm Deloitte is advising on the bank’s compensation strategy, while TSB has recruited IBM to fix the IT problem and the City law firm Slaughter and May to investigate the cause.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.tsb.co.uk/

Steven F. Benz has been recognised among the top in his profession

Steven F. Benz, Partner, Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, PLLC, has joined Noticed©, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals. Benz has been chosen as a Distinguished Lawyer™ based on peer reviews and ratings, dozens of recognition’s, and accomplishments achieved throughout his career.

Benz outshines others in his field due to his extensive educational background, numerous awards and recognition’s, and career longevity. After earning his B.A. in economics, political science, and history, and his M.A.L.D. in international law, economics, and trade, Benz went on to pursue his J.D. at Stanford Law School. Benz has since prosecuted cutting-edge cases involving monopolisation, price fixing, and breach of contract, among others.

With over 25 years dedicated to law, Benz brings a wealth of knowledge to his industry, and, in particular, to his area of specialisation, complex, high-profile antitrust and competition law cases. Benz’s noteworthy achievements—including the largest Sherman Act section II trial verdict in history and a recent $250 million day-of settlement in a Sherman Act monopolisation case—have earned him many prestigious accolades.

Benz has been distinguished by Martindale-Hubbell®, Benchmark Litigation, and Who’s Who Legal for his numerous successes on behalf of prestigious clients including AT&T, Verizon, Dial Corporation, Henkel Consumer Goods Inc., Kraft Heinz Foods Co., H.J. Heinz Co. L.P., Foster Poultry Farms, Smithfield Foods, Inc., HP Hood LLC, BEF Foods Inc., Spectrum Brands, Inc., Studio Spectrum, Inc., and Ritz Camera & Image, LLC.

Benz represents clients ranging from privately-held Fortune 100 companies to U.S. and foreign governments in multi-billion-dollar cases, on both the plaintiff and defence side. Armed with over a quarter-century of litigation experience and more than 140 litigated cases, trials, and appeals in which he served as counsel of record, Benz possesses a comprehensive understanding of winning litigation strategies.

As a thought leader in his field, Benz keeps his finger on the pulse of antitrust and competition law. In particular, he noted that many antitrust cases now involve “Big Data” product markets, as companies move into cloud-based computing and software as a service:

“‘Big Data’ cases are both fascinating and challenging as the law adapts to new technology. My firm has two ‘Big Data’ cases right now, including a significant litigation where I am representing Veeva Systems Inc. in antitrust claims against IQVIA. Both cases involve the monopolisation of an underlying data set and the blocking of applications’ competitors using ‘data security’ as a pre-textual business justification.”

Today, Benz is widely regarded as one of the leading antitrust attorneys in the U.S. He did not always have his eyes set on a career in law. He commented: “I worked as an economist representing US semiconductor companies in anti-dumping, countervailing duties and Section 301 cases before going to law school. I realised that there is a significant overlap between trade law and antitrust law, and economic analysis is critical to every antitrust case. Getting a law degree has allowed me to represent my clients directly in court, in high-profile tech cases, which have provided great benefits to both my clients and to consumers.”

Is Apple Buying Netflix?

Citi analysts recently sent a note to clients saying there is a 40% chance that Apple AAPL -0.03% will buy Netflix NFLX +1.93%, according to Business Insider. This will no doubt garner headlines and will be discussed ad nauseam on the financial news networks.

The basis for the analyst’s argument is that Apple will have $252 billion in overseas cash available to repatriate, and they need to do something with it. It would be boring and obvious to tell their clients that Apple will stay the course and continue what they’ve been doing — making smaller acquisitions (like last month’s purchase of Shazam), increasing research & development spending and buying back shares and growing their dividends. It’s much splashier to say they’ll do something exciting like buy Netflix, Walt Disney DIS +0.43%, or Tesla TSLA -1.05%.

Where did Citi come up with their 40% estimate? Did they just pull it out of thin air? Apple is very secretive when it comes to their long-term plans, so this type of analyst note seems to be nothing more than mere speculation.

The Citi analysts have nothing to lose by making their prediction — if they’re wrong, they can claim they said there was a 60% chance of a deal not happening. If they’re right, they can hang their hat on it and say they were the ones who made the call that it would happen.

Apple has already committed $1 billion towards creating new shows and their largest acquisition was buying Beats for $3 billion in 2014. Why would they spend $75 billion to buy Netflix? It would be a desperation move that would raise a white flag and signal a major organisational shift in philosophy.

Where did Citi come up with their 40% estimate? Did they just pull it out of thin air? Apple is very secretive when it comes to their long-term plans, so this type of analyst note seems to be nothing more than mere speculation.

Netflix shares will probably get a boost from this (“buy the rumour, sell the news!”), but they are already overvalued and overpriced. Netflix currently has a P/E ratio over 191 and negative free cash flow as it burns through cash developing new content. Competition in the streaming market is heating up considerably after Disney announced plans to pull their content from Netflix and start their own streaming service next year.

Ultimately, it’s highly doubtful that Apple would buy Netflix, especially at such a high premium. Citi probably knows that, but will be happy to have the attention, and their clients who own Netflix shares will be happy from the inevitable bump.