EVP Systems News https://www.evpsys.com The latest news from Estate Valuations & Pricing Systems, Inc. Wed, 13 Apr 2022 00:00:00 -0800 en-US daily 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://www.evpsys.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cropped-logo_square_white-32x32.png EVP Systems News https://www.evpsys.com 32 32 “Single Broker Quotes” Available Again https://www.evpsys.com/news EVP Systems Thu, 14 Apr 2022 00:00:00 -0800 evpsys-2648 EVP Systems is happy to announce that, once again, it is able to provide “single broker quotes” for estate and gift tax valuations across its full line of products, including EstateVal and GiftVal. Over 50,000 of these hard-to-find prices are available every day, starting today and going back to early January 2022.

Single broker quotes are prices for securities that are very thinly traded, making it difficult to find or confirm a consensus value. Usually, just one broker provides each price, requiring an extra degree of care and scrutiny. They’re also known as “broker-quoted securities” or “broker-dealer quotes.”

The new data comes from Refinitiv, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange, and covers tens of thousands of individual securities. We have access to prices starting January 3, 2022 and will continue to receive the data every day going forward. Unfortunately, prices prior to 2022 are not available.

EVP Systems originally lost access to single broker quotes on September 30, 2020, when our primary data provider—Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)—stopped supplying them. When evaluations were run after this date, the reports instead included a special note (“Price no longer available from data source”) to indicate that the previously available data was gone. This note will still be included if an evaluation is attempted for a date prior to what we have available in our database.

If you have any questions about single broker quotes or how they may affect your evaluations, please feel free to contact our Support Department at support@evpsys.com or (818) 313-6300.

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EVP Systems Prepared for Russia / Ukraine Conflict https://www.evpsys.com/news EVP Systems Mon, 14 Mar 2022 00:00:00 -0800 evpsys-2631 EVP Systems is fully prepared to provide all our services throughout the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the sanctions against Russian-domiciled companies that have resulted, and the possibility of Russian or other cyber-attacks on American targets.

The war in Ukraine is an unfathomable disaster with an uncountable human cost. But even in light of this tragedy, our clients have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, and rely on our software to help fulfill it. EVP Systems takes this duty seriously.

The invasion has the potential to impact our clients in two ways, one concrete and one theoretical. First, the concrete impact:

As of February 28, 2022, all EVP Systems’ data suppliers stopped providing pricing for Russian-domiciled companies, in accordance with American financial sanctions against the Russian government. The Russian company that we most commonly provide pricing for is Yandex (YNDX), the search engine, and it—along with many other smaller firms—will not have historical prices available from March 1, 2022 through the removal of sanctions at some future date.

This situation is not unique to EVP Systems, of course—no American companies can report this data. It is currently against the law.

If a decedent held any Russian-domiciled securities on a date of death as of March 2022 or later, or the securities were included as part of a gift, it is currently unclear how to value them. If and when the IRS makes a definitive ruling on the matter, we will update this article.

Second, the theoretical:

The Russian government (both directly through special military units like “Fancy Bear”–more formally known as Advanced Persistent Threat 28, or “APT28”–and indirectly through control of criminal organizations) is known to participate in illegal hacking. The most common case is “ransomware,” where intruders penetrate a business, encrypt its data, and then offer the decryption key for a price. In other, rarer instances, physical infrastructure is attacked via its electronic control systems: power grids are shut down, or water supplies are turned off. Most observers of Russian information security attacks have been surprised that there have not been any significant incidents so far during the war, either against Ukraine or the countries supporting it, especially the United States. This situation, however, may not continue.

EVP Systems is protected against all of these threats.

Our production servers are hosted at Amazon Web Services, in two separate availability zones on the east cost of the United States. These “AZs” are physically distanced from each other, and each has multiple, independent power and Internet connections. Amazon has best-in-class physical and virtual protections for its data centers, and our systems are shielded by all of them. If one side of our production infrastructure were to go down—for any reason—the other would automatically pick up the full load. Each side is provisioned with enough capacity to easily handle peak usage.

If the entire AWS region were to go down, the EVP Systems Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity documentation includes a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of four hours if our servers were to be restored in another AWS region, and eight hours at another cloud-hosting provider.

As for the EVP Systems servers themselves, they are all protected by firewalls that only allow in-bound connections to well-known ports running high-reliability software. Human access is controlled by closely-held private keys instead of passwords, and full database snapshots and off-site backups are taken every night. We also monitor for dozens of log anomalies in real-time. Details are available in our Information Security Policy and Intrusion Detection and Audit Process documentation.

If you have any questions about our information security architecture or plans, please don’t hesitate to e-mail our Compliance Department at compliance@evpsys.com.

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Expat and Open Source at EVP Systems https://www.evpsys.com/news EVP Systems Tue, 01 Mar 2022 00:00:00 -0800 evpsys-2610 Open-source software powers much of the modern world—everything from high-end servers at billion-dollar companies to free-when-you-sign-up smartphones from cell providers.  Developed by volunteers and given away for free—by individuals and communities intent on making the world a better place—open-source software has been around as long as computers have, and makes innumerable projects faster, more efficient, and more secure.

Including EstateVal.  It’s past time we recognized its contribution.

Today, EVP Systems is proud to announce the first in an on-going series of donations to the open-source projects that we have used in our products over the years.  In each program, if you click on Help → About... and then click the Licenses button, you’ll see each piece of open-source code the application uses.  From the biggest to the smallest, we’re grateful for all of them.

But the very first, and probably the most important, is Expat.  Expat reads data for a file format called XML (or “eXtensible Markup Language”), and EstateVal has used it for over 20 years to store portfolio data and prices. XML is flexible enough to allow us to continue to add new information to our portfolios—things we never imagined two decades ago—while still effortlessly reading files that were created last century. And Expat’s implementation of the XML standard is so good that in all that time, there has only ever been one issue associated with our portfolio files that has affected our customers, and that was our fault, not Expat’s. (For the curious nerds: the first release EstateVal that used XML data files didn’t properly entity-escape security names, so any portfolio with “AT&T” in it caused a parsing error. Fixed!)

To have access to robust, tested code for such a complex data format is incredible. That the Expat project—with just eight core team members over the years—makes it available, for free, for anyone to use is almost unbelievable.

So, to the entire Expat team: Thank you. EstateVal is just one of literally hundreds of projects that take advantage of what you have created, but it has been made better for your efforts. We know you don’t do what you do for the money, but please consider the donation a small token of our gratitude for your dedication, skill, and generosity.

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EVP Office 9.0.1 Offers Built-In Calculator, More Crypto, New Export https://www.evpsys.com/news EVP Systems Tue, 08 Feb 2022 00:00:00 -0800 evpsys-2563 With the release of EVP Office 9.0.1—as always, available as a free upgrade from our websiteEstateVal and the other applications in the suite have learned some new tricks. This is a minor upgrade that has some handy features, but there’s no reason to rush to update if you don’t need them.

Built-In Calculator: Every numeric field in all the programs now has a four-function calculator built in! You can enter numbers as you always have and nothing will be different, but if you use any of the arithmetic characters (+, -, * or x, /), the software will pop up a box that lets you enter a full mathematic expression, and updates the result as you type. When you’re done, just hit Return and the result will be dropped back into the field you were editing. Not having to bring up the system calculator to add two numbers and then copy-and-pasting the value is a handy little trick.

More Cryptocurrencies: As the crypto landscape expands—and as the IRS takes a greater interest—EVP Systems is committed to keeping up. When we introduced cryptocurrency pricing to estate valuations in 2019, we started with what were then the thirteen most popular coins. Some remain very actively traded, but others have been replaced at the top of the market-capitalization list with newer offerings. So EVP Office 9.0.1 supports a dozen new coins, including all of the current top ten, all available to be directly entered into the grid or looked up via Tools → Look Up → Cryptocurrency Identifiers.... The new coins are: Cardano (#ADA), Avalanche (#AVAX), Binance Coin (#BNB), Dogecoin (#DOGE), Polkadot (#DOT), Chainlink (#LINK), Terra Luna (#LUNA), Shiba Inu (#SHIB), Solana (#SOL), Uniswap (#UNI), USD Coin (#USDC), and Tether (#USDT).

New Excel Export: EstateVal, GiftVal, and CostBasis also have a new export format—a simple Excel spreadsheet that uses one row for each lot, called “Excel (XLSX, Simple)”. It’s not as detailed as the regular reports (or their Excel-export equivalents), but it’s a great way to output penny-accurate summaries that make sorting, subdividing, and subtotaling a portfolio much easier. To use this new format, just select it in Tools → Options... → Export.

There are more new features and a few bug fixes in the new version, too. As always, the full list is on our website, along with the free upgrade.

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Jack Barthel, 1937 – 2021 https://www.evpsys.com/news EVP Systems Wed, 19 Jan 2022 00:00:00 -0800 evpsys-2516

Jack Barthel—EVP Systems long-time salesman and good friend—passed away on December 30, 2021. He leaves behind Dee Dee, his wife of 56 years, six children, and eight grandchildren.

For a decade and a half, Jack headed up EVP Systems’ Sales Department, before retiring in 2007. He was responsible for much of our initial success, and helped establish EVP as an industry leader by being honest, friendly, funny, and smart—setting a standard that we try to live up to every day. He improved everyone and everything around him.

Thank you for everything, Jack. You will be missed.

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