Author Archives: Elias Kier Joffe

Argentina and the dollar – A fistful of financial instruments

In a speech last November, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner regretted that she did not possess “a little machine to print dollars”. Over the past few years, Argentina’s international currency reserves have slid considerably. Since the country is virtually blocked from international capital markets, using reserves is its only way to pay off its remaining debt. To protect those reserves, Ms Fernández has effectively blocked the sale of dollars at the official rate since she was reelected in 2011.

The policy has succeeded in reducing capital flight, but expensive energy imports and limp tourism figures have continued to erode the reserves, which fell by $4.7 billion in the first five months of 2013, to their lowest level in six years. Economists do not expect that downward trend to slow. Quantum Finanzas, an economic consultancy, predicts that reserves will fall by another $3.6 billion this year and by $9.7 billion in 2014.

Ms Fernández’s “dollar clamp” has also created a hungry black market for dollars. As they watch inflation ravage their peso savings by 25% a year, Argentines are willing to pay prices far above the official rate to get their hands on greenbacks. At the beginning of May the black market rate, or “blue” dollar as it is known in Argentina, shot to 10.45 pesos to the dollar, nearly twice the official rate.

Ms Fernández is understandably anxious to reduce the size of the black market and find a new source of dollars. In May, following the blue dollar’s spike, she announced a plan that aims to accomplish both those goals.

The scheme, referred to locally as the “laundering law”, invites those with undeclared dollars to invest in property and the energy industry without facing penalties for their previous financial chicanery. The government believes that Argentines have about $160 billion tucked under their mattresses or hidden away in foreign bank accounts. That is about four times the value of Argentina’s foreign currency reserves.

Under the plan, citizens can trade their dollars for two financial instruments: a dollar-denominated bond for investments in Argentina’s energy sector, and a dollar-backed certificate valid for property transactions, known as a CEDIN. Whereas the energy bonds will not launch until July 17th, the CEDINs made their entrance on July 1st.

In exchange for their surrendered dollars, investors will be awarded a certificate of equal nominal value which must be spent on buying or renovating a house, business premises or land. The recipient of the CEDIN may then sell the certificate or cash it in for real dollars at the Central Bank. Alejandro Vanoli, head of the financial services regulator, declared that the certificates will have a “revitalising” effect and “bring an interesting level of liquidity to the economy”.

Economists are less sure. Miguel Kiguel of EconViews, a consultancy, wrote in a note that the certificates will attract $2 billion at most, and that most holders will swap the quasi-currency for real dollars after validating them in the property market. In an interview withReporte Inmobiliario, a property journal, Daniel Muchnick, an economist, wondered“Who, how and in what way is someone, with this repressive government, going to want to take their illegal money and enter into the conventional world? And moreover, who is going to want to invest their assets in a place where foreign currency can enter, but it will not be allowed out?”

The market is equally pessimistic. Some 70% of estate agents doubt that the CEDINs will reinvigorate the property market, which has been damaged by the government’s foreign-exchange controls. Argentines used to buy and sell their houses in dollars; the crackdown has therefore resulted in 16 consecutive months of falling sales. They fell by 35% last year and by 41% in the first three months of this year. Construction also recently suffered its worst decline in 10 years.

Some estate agents are more upbeat. A banner on Tizado Property’s home-page reads: “The CEDIN is real. It is time to invest in bricks.” But Tizado is in the minority. Although the CEDIN may have a modest effect on reversing downward trends in the property market and construction industry, it is unlikely to prove a panacea. By July 3rd, two days after the CEDIN’s debut, the government had yet to sell a single certificate. In Mr Kiguel’s words, the hope that the CEDIN will stop the fall in reserves seems to be “more based on a fantasy kingdom than the reality”.

The proven Buenos Aires – Argentina lawyer professionals at the Kier Joffe law firm have experience working with foreign clients involved in all kind of cases in Argentina. Buenos Aires Argentina attorney professionals are knowledgeable in almost all the practice areas of law, to service its international cases in Buenos Aires Argentina. International clients will have the confidence of knowing that the case is being handled by an experienced and knowledgeable Buenos Aires  lawyer in Argentina.

www.kierjoffe.com

Alternative Fees

Today more than ever, clients require creative, flexible, and predictable approaches to the delivery and pricing of legal services. Kier Joffe works closely with our clients to develop budgeting and pricing models that deliver focused legal services that are both effective and efficient. We are prepared to offer fee structures and billing arrangements that deviate from the standard hourly rate arrangement.

At Kier Joffe, we collaborate with our clients to jointly develop customized alternative fee arrangements for a specific engagement or group of matters. Such arrangements provide greater predictability in budgeting for legal costs, promote risk sharing, and better align the interests of the client and our firm.

If implemented successfully, alternative fee arrangements provide substantial value and are mutually beneficial for the firm and the client. To ensure alternative fee arrangements are successful, at the initiation of a new engagement, we will invest significant time and effort to better understand the client’s ultimate objectives and preferred approach and legal strategy, as well as agree on the scope and parameters of the project. Because details of the matter are disclosed and discussed at the outset, the resulting fee arrangements typically provide the optimal balance between risk and reward for both parties.

Kier Joffe prides itself on not only its enthusiasm for alternative fee arrangements, but also its ingenuity and creativity in developing alternative fee arrangements that suit the particular needs of a specific client or matter.

Below are some examples of the alternative fee plans our clients have found attractive.

Alternative Hourly Rates 

Blended Hourly Rates – For some matters, Kier Joffe may agree to bill the same rate for all lawyers who work on a client’s matters, regardless of each lawyer’s level or individual billing rate. Blended rates are determined on the basis of work we expect to be provided for a matter and the billing rates of those lawyers we anticipate will work on the matter.

Volume Discounts – In situations where a client prefers traditional hourly rates, we may consider providing hourly rate discounts on a sliding scale in return for that client guaranteeing a set level or volume of legal work.

Fixed or Flat Fees 

Straight Fixed or Flat Fees – Kier Joffe is willing to provide some services for a set fee. This fee could cover a particular matter (e.g., a fixed fee for all work provided on an internal investigation) or a particular service (e.g., a flat fee for consulting services provided on a monthly basis). Fixed fees typically are set for individual matters or for an entire portfolio of matters, and may cover the entire life of a matter or be limited to a specific period of time or a particular task.

Fixed Fee or Pre-Agreed Upon Budget with Collar – Some fixed fee arrangements (and matters with pre-agreed upon budgets) will warrant a “collaring” arrangement. This fee arrangement anticipates engagements in which the amount of effort needed to fulfill our obligation as responsible legal counsel is greater or less than what both we and our client initially thought the effort would require.

Under such a collaring arrangement, Kier Joffe and the client would agree that if the hourly value of our firm’s lawyer time expended on a matter falls considerably outside the fixed fee (or pre-agreed upon budget), we will share the fee upsides and downsides with each other.

Monthly Access and Advice Retainers – Although this is a variation of the straight fixed fee approach described above, an advice and access retainer has benefits that warrant further explanation. This approach makes sense in situations where a client wishes to be proactive in seeking legal advice to avoid legal exposure, but does not want to pay for expensive legal research every time a potential legal issue arises. This arrangement offers clients ready access to relatively inexpensive legal advice and offers Kier Joffe the chance to add value to the client. We are able to help distinguish early on between those situations that are easily dealt with and others that, unaddressed, might expose the company to significant liability.

Phase-Based Fees – The firm will estimate a specific fee for each phase of a matter based on the work anticipated for each phase. In litigation, for example, this arrangement might result in a separate fee for each of the following phases:

-Motion to dismiss
-Discovery
-Dispositive motions
-Trial preparation
-Trial

In transactional matters, phases of work might include due diligence, drafting of specific agreements, negotiating the terms and amount of the purchase/sale price, closing activities, etc.

This approach could be implemented in a variety of ways. For example, the arrangement may be based on fixed fees, where Kier Joffe charges a fixed fee for each matter phase. Another approach that might be taken would require the client to pay an estimated (budgeted) fee for each phase with a rationalization against actual billings at agreed-upon times, e.g., quarterly, annually, or when the matter is concluded.

Fee Caps – For matters in which the scope is understood and well defined beforehand, the firm may agree to cap its fees. Fee caps are determined based upon anticipated fees for the scope of work, and they can be set for the entirety of the matter or for each phase.

Risk Sharing Arrangements 

Fee Holdbacks – In certain situations, Kier Joffe can hold back an agreed-upon percentage from its monthly billings. In return, we will have the opportunity to earn and be paid the full holdback amount at the client’s discretion. Whether we earn back all or some of the holdback amount will be based on the client’s assessment of our performance against certain predetermined criteria, e.g., work quality, results, creativity, efficiency, cost-consciousness, collaboration with other outside counsel, and effective utilization of the client’s own resources. In these situations, the criteria are established up front. The client’s holdback determinations could be made annually or when the matter concludes. A fee holdback arrangement could be applied to a litigation or transactional matter.

Success Fees – Under this arrangement, Kier Joffe would be eligible for a success fee or premium in addition to its prior billings, in the form of a performance bonus at the client’s discretion. A success fee can be a set fee, a graduated fee according to a mutually developed schedule, or a percentage of our billings. As with a holdback, whether we earn a success fee will be based upon the client’s evaluation of our performance against predetermined criteria.

Broken Deal Discounts – The firm would consider a discount off of its fees in the event that a project did not proceed beyond a certain stage of the transaction. For example, there would be an agreed upon substantial discount if the client chose not to proceed after completing its due diligence, followed by separate discounts should the client elect to proceed with documentation after completing due diligence, but then failed to reach a financial closing of the project.

Contingency Fees 

Traditional Contingency – Under a traditional or full contingency arrangement, Kier Joffe will defer its fees entirely in exchange for receiving an agreed upon portion of the client’s ultimate recovery. Typically, the client pays the expenses of the litigation.

Partial Contingency – In a partial contingency arrangement, the firm handles a matter at a reduced hourly rate and shares in a favorable recovery or resolution at a smaller percentage. Partial contingency arrangements reduce legal expenses during the course of a matter, and provide a mechanism for the firm to share litigation risk with the client. Defense cases can also be structured as partial contingency fees with success contingent on specific predetermined results or milestones being achieved.

For transactional matters, the firm may conduct the work at reduced hourly rates in exchange for a percentage of the value the client receives upon liquidation or sale.

Reverse Contingency – A reverse contingency fee is based on how much the firm saves the client as a defendant. If we are able to resolve a matter for less than the exposure attributed to it by the client (or reduce the client’s reasonable exposure through dispositive motions), then the fee would include an agreed-upon percentage of that savings to the client.

With both traditional and reverse contingency fees, we often use graduated rates based upon the phase of the matter. For example, the closer a matter progresses to trial, the greater the percentage we would be paid for a favorable result.

Hybrid Fee Arrangements 

Hybrid Fee Arrangements by Matter Phase – In certain situations, the billing arrangement that makes the greatest sense is a combination of several arrangements described above. For example, Kier Joffe could estimate fixed fees for some matter phases, holdbacks on hourly rates for other phases, and success fees for other phases.

“Frequent-Flyer” Credits toward New Legal Services – Kier Joffe may agree to provide a significant reduction in fees for one matter in exchange for the client’s commitment to assign other matters to us in different areas of the law where we have not yet served the client. This could take the form of a discount on the instant matter, a credit against future billings for the new area, or some combination.

Real Estate Argentina: Central Bank publishes regulations on CEDIN bonds

Buenos Aires Herald

The Argentina Central Bank regulated the CEDIN, a trade bond that allows its holder to purchase property and use it as an alternative method to paying with US dollars in order to acquire real estate assets or any other transaction as long as both parts involved in the transaction agree.

The bonds will have the power to purchase urban and rural property as well as commercial businesses and construction materials. Those applying to purchase the bonds will transfer their money to a financial entity that eventually will receive the same amount of dollars in CEDIN bonds from the Central Bank.

Once the transaction is complete, the bank will execute automatically another transfer back to the Central Bank trough an electronic operation known as “Mercado Electrónico de Pagos” (Payments Electronic Market).

The CEDIN bonds won’t have an expiration date, and the banks won’t charge holders any commission or interest.

The proven Buenos Aires – Argentina lawyer professionals at the Kier Joffe law firm have experience working with foreign clients involved in all kind of cases in Argentina. Buenos Aires Argentina attorney professionals are knowledgeable in almost all the practice areas of law, to service its international cases in Buenos Aires Argentina. International clients will have the confidence of knowing that the case is being handled by an experienced and knowledgeable Buenos Aires  lawyer in Argentina.

www.kierjoffe.com

Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorney

Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorney

Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorney: Whether you are a buying or selling a house, or own property like a condo, single family residence, or commercial real estate, a Buenos Aires real estate attorney may help, but not every attorney will be right for you.

Do You Need a Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorney?

Deciding whether to hire a Buenos Aires real estate attorney is an important decision. The first issue is whether you need a Buenos Aires real estate attorney. For many people, the purchase or sale of a home in Buenos Aires is the most important legal matter in which they will be involved. Purchasing a residence is usually the single most expensive investment a person will make. The documents involved in the transaction for both the Buyer and the Seller carry far reaching legal effects. It is most prudent for the parties to each consult and retain an attorney to review the documents to adequately protect the rights and interest of both Buyer and Seller.

 

The involvement of a Buenos Aires attorney who is experienced in real estate transactions will provide each party with a full understanding of their rights and responsibilities. An experienced real estate attorney can also help to avoid future legal problems that may arise if either Buyer or Seller is not fully aware of the legal effects of the real estate transactions.

 

Indeed, Buenos Aires real estate attorney help you when you have real estate problems like a dispute with the homeowner’s association or noise from neighbors, recording issues involving your deed (e.g., an easement or encroachment), or your mortgage (e.g., a lien or mortgage fraud).

 

Not Every Real Estate Attorney will be Right for You

You must be sure that your philosophy of how to handle your real estate case matches that of your attorneys; both of you need to be on the same page. It is important that you ask questions and gather information which reveals the attorney’s philosophy for handling cases.

 

Selecting the right real estate attorney for your case will help you get through legal problems with the least amount of time, stress and money.

 

Research Your Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorney

Once you have selected a real estate attorney to meet with, the next thing you should do is look into that attorney’s experience and background. The best way is to search the Internet: Do a Google search on your attorney. Look for a legal blog, a website, news stories quoting or featuring the attorney, and other online information.

 

Recommendations

Contacting the Real Estate Attorney’s Office and Scheduling Your Initial Consultation

Now that you have selected a real estate attorney to interview and have done research on him or her, the next step is to contact the attorney’s office and schedule an appointment. You can learn a lot about how your attorney will behave if you retain him or her just by how he or she handles the simple but important task of scheduling a meeting with you as a potential new client.

 

Contact the real estate attorney’s office by telephone or e-mail and request an appointment. When you do this, it is important to tell the attorney’s office that you would like to discuss a specific type of real estate case. Take careful note of how quickly your message is answered. Your inquiry should always be answered promptly. If the attorney you contacted cannot manage to reply to a potential new client who is bringing him or her a new case and therefore new fees, that fact should tell you something about how he or she will behave once he or she already has your money.

 

Finally, you should ask about the cost of the initial consultation. Evaluate the response you get to these questions. Was the response clear and unequivocal?

 

Visiting the Real Estate Attorney’s Office; What You See & Hear is What You Get

The experience of meeting your real estate attorney at his or her office is critical to determining whether this attorney is a good fit for you and your special case. An attorney’s office is, in effect, his or her professional home. And the rules that apply to a attorney’s professional home are the same as those that apply to your own home. So, you should pay careful attention to what you see and hear in your attorney’s office.

1. Visit during normal business hours. Set up your appointment during normal hours when the rest of the staff is present. Why? Because you want to meet the staff and see just how well they take care of clients.

2. Is the office neat and clean? This tells you something about how organized and focused the real estate attorney is. If the office is a mess and there are papers and files everywhere, imagine how that will affect the attorney’s ability to find your file and deal with your case at critical moments.

3. How does the attorney and his or her employees behave towards you and each other? It is important to observe how the real estate attorney’s staff treats you and each other during your visit. What you see when you are there is likely to be their best behavior. If you are not well taken care of during your visit or you observe inappropriate behavior during your visit, you can be certain this conduct will get worse once you are a client of the firm and the attorney has your money in hand.

 

Interviewing your Real Estate Attorney; 8 Questions You should Ask

Preparing for your interview with your real estate attorney will help you make a better and more informed decision. You should organize discussion topics prior to meeting and bring with you any relevant paperwork. Your real estate attorney may need some of the documents you bring with you so be prepared and retain copies for your own records. If you can, you should write down dates and times of events, the names and addresses of any witnesses and any other important facts.

 

You should try to understand that real estate attorneys have professional and ethical commitments to all of their other clients, so you should expect your interview to last about 30-45 minutes on average.

 

At some point during the meeting, you should be able to ask questions about your case. You should try and write down as many of your questions as you can before the meeting so that you make sure you remember to ask them.

The 8 questions you should ask in the interview with your business attorney:

1. How much experience do you have with real estate cases like mine?

2. How much of your practice is devoted to the type of law I need help with?

3. What other types of real estate cases do you handle?

4. How do you communicate with clients? Do you prefer e-mail, text message or telephone?

5. How quickly do you answer calls and other communications from clients?

6. How much will your services cost me? What is your retainer fee?

7. Do you bill for normal business ‘overhead’ such as faxes, postage, and photocopies?

8. How long does a real estate case like mine usually take if there are no unusual developments?

 

Deciding which Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorney is Right for You

While you are interviewing a Buenos Aires real estate attorney, you should listen carefully to the answers provided. You should also pay extremely close attention to your attorney’s personality, his or her manners and behavior, and how you feel during the interview.

 

How does the attorney make you feel? Comfortable? At ease? Are you treated as an equal and with respect? Or do you feel like the real estate attorney has a superior attitude and talks down to you? Has the attorney spent meaningful time with you and provided answers to your questions and concerns in a friendly and appropriate manner?

 

How you feel about your real estate attorney and how he or she behaves towards you will have an affect on your ability to trust and communicate effectively with that person over emotional and highly personal matters. Once the interview is over and you have time to reflect, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. Did the real estate attorney listen to you? Did the attorney provide enough information to make you feel comfortable that they know the law and procedure? Did you feel confident?

 

Once you have gone through all of these steps, you now have the information and experiences necessary to decide which real estate attorney best suits your needs.

 

The proven Buenos Aires Real Estate  lawyers  at the Kier Joffe law firm have experience working with foreign clients involved in all kind of cases in Argentina. Buenos Aires Argentina attorney professionals are knowledgeable in almost all the practice areas of law, to service its international cases in Buenos Aires Argentina. International clients will have the confidence of knowing that the case is being handled by an experienced and knowledgeable Buenos Aires  lawyer in Argentina.

Buenos Aires Real Estate Lawyers

Best Buenos Aires Real Estate Lawyers – Top Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorneys – Prove Buenos Aires Real Estate Lawyers – Buenos Aires Real Estate Attorneys

Real Estate: Argentine Tax Amnesty Won’t Revive Housing Market, Survey Shows

Bloomberg – By Eliana Raszewski

A dollar-denominated central bank certificate created to encourage the investment of undeclared funds in Argentina’s flagging real estate market will fail to reverse a decline in transactions, according to 67 percent of respondents in a survey by website Reporte Inmobiliario.

About 30 percent of the 984 people questioned said the new instrument, created to inject funds that hadn’t been declared to the Argentine tax agency into the economy, will help boost property purchases.

Real estate transactions plunged since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tightened controls on the foreign exchange market after being re-elected in October 2011. She banned purchases of dollars for savings and for real estate transactions, which traditionally are carried out in greenbacks, Reporte Inmobiliario director Jose Rozados said on the website.

Last year “was the worse since 1980 in real estate transactions in the city of Buenos Aires,” Rozados said.

Sales in the city fell 48 percent in the first quarter from the same period two years earlier, before access to dollars was restricted, according to the capital’s public notaries’ college. Construction activity has fallen in 11 of the past 13 months on a year-on-year basis, government data show.

Last week, Congress approved legislation that pardons tax dodgers who invest their undeclared funds in either the construction industry by using the central bank certificates or buy bonds that will be used to finance increased oil and gas production.

The government says the legislation will help bring part of the $160 billion Argentines hide from the authorities into the economy.

While the peso fell 7.1 percent this year to 5.2915 per dollar today, the currency in the illegal market fell 20 percent to 8.54 per dollar, according to Ambito Financiero website.

The proven Buenos Aires – Argentina lawyer professionals at the Kier Joffe law firm have experience working with foreign clients involved in all kind of cases in Argentina. Buenos Aires Argentina attorney professionals are knowledgeable in almost all the practice areas of law, to service its international cases in Buenos Aires Argentina. International clients will have the confidence of knowing that the case is being handled by an experienced and knowledgeable Buenos Aires  lawyer in Argentina.

www.kierjoffe.com