JA Seeks Scholarship Applicants

Jewelers of America funds scholarships for members on renowned industry diploma, professional development and certification programs. JA awards scholarships during the enrollment period from February 1st, 2015, through September 30th, 2015, and employees of JA Member companies are encouraged to apply.

“Jewelers of America is committed to giving our members affordable, convenient opportunities for their professional development,” says JA Director of Public Affairs & Education Susan Posnock. “The JA scholarship fund covers up to 60% of fees for training at GIA and other leading industry programs and makes continuing education a realistic opportunity for employees of JA Member companies.”

Exclusive JA scholarships are available for the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Diamond Council of America (DCA) and Jewelers Education Foundation of American Gem Society (JEF). Scholarships are also available for Jewelers of America’s Bench Professional Certification program.

Applicants must be an employee at a JA Member store and at least 18 years of age. They must have at least one year’s experience in a JA Member store or two years’ experience in the jewelry industry.

For more information and to download the application, visit www.jewelers.org/benefits/education/jewelry-scholarships/ or contact JA’s Member Services at (800) 223-0673.

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DEF Announces Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas 2015

Following its successful Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas Gala in 2014, the Diamond Empowerment Fund will once again kick-off the 2015 JCK weekend with their Diamonds In The Sky Gala in Las Vegas.

The Gala celebrates diamonds and the positive impact made by the diamond industry worldwide and will take place in the Four Seasons Ballroom on Thursday, May 28, beginning at 6:30pm.

Presentation of the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s 2015 Global Empowerment Award will be made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Government of the Republic of India in recognition of their global leadership and contributions to democracy, development and the growth and expansion of the international diamond industry. D.E.F President Phyllis Bergman affirmed, “We are thrilled to honor India at Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas 2015.”

Diamonds In The Sky Las Vegas 2014 saw a historic gathering of global diamond industry leaders as the 2014 Global Empowerment Award was presented to President Ian Khama and the Government of the Republic of Botswana. Over $1 million dollars was raised to benefit D.E.F’s global 'Diamonds Do Good' mission of supporting education initiatives that help people from diamond communities around the world.

Premier Presenting Sponsors include Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, Inc., De Beers Group of Companies Rio Tinto Diamonds, and Signet Jewelers Limited (Kays Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales Jewelers).

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JVC Urges Electronic Filing of Cash Transactions

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has released the following statement regarding the reporting of cash transactions:

“Our industry has long been familiar with the obligation to report to the U.S. Treasury Department when sellers receive over $10,000 in cash. 

Some companies submit many 8300 Forms every year, documenting these transaction, and others rarely receive large quantities of cash and thus only infrequently file.  No matter the frequency of filing, however, the forms can be submitted electronically.  Not only is this the method preferred by the government, it has several advantages over paper filings sent by mail.  

First, electronic filing is the quickest way to report cash transactions to FinCEN, the office of the Treasury Department that reviews the reports.  Delivery is immediate, and filing acknowledgements – which serve as receipts – are sent back to the submitter within 48 hours.

Second, electronic filing is the most secure way of submitting this sensitive information. 

Regular mail can be lost, delayed, misrouted or even end up in the wrong hands.  The electronic filing system, on the other hand, is strongly encrypted and thus very protected.

Third, cash transaction reports that are submitted electronically are processed sooner than paper submissions.  This means that information of potentially critical importance to law enforcement – regarding money laundering and terrorist financing – is reviewed and acted upon far more quickly.

Fourth, electronic filings are becoming customary in our interactions with the government.  At some point they may well become mandatory.  It is a good idea to be ready for that likelihood by gaining familiarity with FinCEN’s e-filing system now.

For more information about e-filing, and the enrollment process, visit this FinCEN webpage: bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov.

Remember to file an 8300 Form anytime you receive over $10,000 in cash in one transaction or in two or more related transactions.  Any transactions conducted by the buyer and the seller in a 24-hour period are considered related transactions.  They are also considered related if the seller knows, or has reason to know, that the transactions are connected. 

Note that when filling out the 8300 Forms you will be required to provide identifying information concerning the buyer, including the Taxpayer Identification Number for an individual or sole proprietorship, or the Employer Identification Number for corporations, partnerships or estates. 

Submit the 8300 Form within fifteen days of the date you receive the cash.

Please contact the Jewelers Vigilance Committee if you have any questions about cash transactions or 8300 Forms, or any other anti-money laundering obligation, at 212-997-2002 or askamlexpert@aol.com.”

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Synchrony Financial’s Customer Service Re-Certified by BenchmarkPortal

Synchrony Financial has been re-certified as a 2015 Customer Service Center of Excellence from BenchmarkPortal, LLC, a global leader in the contact center industry.

Awarded to customer service call centers that rank in the top 10 percent of all call centers audited, the designation applies to all Synchrony Financial call center locations worldwide and specifically cites the business for high customer satisfaction, and other effectiveness and efficiency measures that surpass industry averages.

The re-certification follows initial certification for 2014, and the naming last year of Synchrony Financial as the winner of BenchmarkPortal’s “Top 100 Call Centers Contest” in the Large Center (250+ Agents) category.

“Earning certification for a second consecutive year truly validates our work in customer service and support,” said Kurt Grossheim, chief operating officer of Synchrony Financial. “These awards recognize the important value of the customer-focused experience we bring to our partners and their customers.”

BenchmarkPortal audited Synchrony Financial’s call center metrics and processes, comparing key performance indicators with best practice data from thousands of contact centers. The rigorous certification process is metrics-driven and assesses call centers against objective and quantitative data for efficiency and effectiveness.

“The certification of Synchrony Financial is a direct result of its leadership’s commitment to balancing cost-effective service solutions with best-in-class service performance,” said Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal. “It is an achievement of distinction.”

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