Volume 4 Number 46
November 16, 2007

Fellow Floridian:

This past week CFO Sink hosted, along with Commissioner Bronson, the last in a three-part series of climate change discussions. The Cabinet workshop titled “Climate Change: The Bottom Line” focused on identifying the financial impacts and opportunities presented to Florida as a result of climate change. In kicking off the meeting CFO Sink aptly observed that Florida is the Sunshine State and we should be a national leader in renewable, clean energy.

The Cabinet heard from three nationally known speakers on financial aspects of climate change. Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres, a nonprofit organization which advises a network of institutional investors on climate risk, explained the risks that companies will confront more frequently. Climate changes are
physical risks, competitive risks and regulatory risks. Once these risks are disclosed, investors are more informed and companies generally begin to take actions to mitigate against the risks.

Lewis Milford, president of the Clean Energy States Alliance, a coalition that works on climate and clean energy, provided an overview of what other states are doing in creating clean energy funds.

Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer for Risk Management Solutions, spoke about insurance and risk. His company assesses how risks associated with climate change will impact and affect insurance coverage and rates. His company offers solutions to minimize risk and exposure.


At the end of the workshop, the following announcements were made:

  • CFO Sink has asked the state treasury investment managers  to assess their ability to disclose risk from climate change. Florida is the first state treasury in the United States to require investment fund managers to make such disclosures. The goal is to safeguard tax dollars from the risks posed by climate change and to encourage companies to capture financial opportunities related to the changing climate.

  • CFO Sink will explore the creation of a clean energy fund for the state. Eighteen other states have created similar funds, which invest in renewable clean energy resources, such as solar, wind and biomass.

  • Margaret Lowman, director of environmental initiatives at New College of Florida in Sarasota, has been appointed as science adviser on matters related to climate change.

Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO; CFO Alex Sink and Lewis Milford, Clean Energy States' Alliance president.


Florida first state Treasury in United States to require climate risk disclosure

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced two new initiatives designed to help Florida financially prepare for the threat of climate change, including new disclosure requirements for the state’s Treasury investment managers and the exploration of the creation of a clean energy fund for Florida. Additionally, CFO Sink announced her appointment of Dr. Margaret Lowman of New College of Florida as her science advisor on climate change.


CFO Sink’s announcements followed Wednesday’s third and final “Conversations on Climate Change,” a Cabinet-level workshop co-sponsored by the CFO and Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson. Wednesday’s workshop, “Climate Change: The Bottom Line,” highlighted the financial risks and opportunities in climate change for Floridians.

“Florida has 1300 miles of coastline that could be impacted by rising sea level and millions of taxpayers who depend on us to safeguard their tax dollars and retirement funds,” said CFO Sink, oversees the Department of Financial Services, the state’s $20 billion in Treasury funds and serves on the board of the Florida pension fund, which has $140 billion in assets. “It is my goal to help prepare Florida’s economy for the effects of climate change, avoid potential risks and take advantage of the many financial opportunities.” CONTINUED


First American Title Insurance Settlement Agreement



Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that First American Title Insurance Company (First American) has agreed to pay $5 million in penalties and costs after allegedly paying “kickbacks” to builders, bankers, real estate agents and brokers for the referral of business in violation of the Florida Insurance Code and federal law.

“I’m proud of the hard work of our title insurance investigators and lawyers, which resulted in this settlement,” said CFO Sink, who oversees DFS. “We will not tolerate anyone who violates insurance laws designed to protect the public in order to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors.” CONTINUED



About 150 marine industry and government officials from Palm Beach, Martin, Broward and Miami-Dade counties met at the Broward County Convention Center for the 9th Annual Marine Summit. Hosted by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the effort is aimed at tackling obstacles and sharing solutions to buoy the boating industry - under pressure from waterfront redevelopment and slumping boat sales.

This year's summit focused on three primary issues: economic incentives and business retention, environmental and business regulations, and workforce training. Summit leaders encouraged more collaboration between marine businesses, local politicians, government regulators and educators.

Alex Sink, the summit's keynote speaker, criticized the "highest and best use" appraisal method that finds many marinas and boat yards being assessed, and thus taxed, as if they were condominiums. Sink said she would support the marine industry's efforts to take its case to the state's Tax and Budget Reform Commission.

"Your issues are also my issues," she said. "You represent the best of what Florida has to offer."

Mary Fields, SFM



30th Annual Training Session held at Florida State Fire College, in Ocala, November 14-16, 2007

Jeff Merritt, SFM and president of FACAPFrom all over the state, 138 fire fighters registered for the annual training event. The morning was kicked off with a welcome from Captain Jeff Merritt of the State Fire Marshal's office, who is also the president of FACAP. 

Thursday evening was highlighted by the presentation of the FACAP Investigator of the Year award.

The 2007 award winner is Detective Thomas Barron of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Tommy is in the Northwest Region of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, has been with the State Fire Marshal's office since 1998 and previously was assistant chief of the Lynn Haven Fire Department. He is a member of the SFM Forensic Investigative Support Team and was recognized as the Northwest Region Detective of the Year for 2006.

Tommy Barron

The surprise of the evening went to the longest serving employee of the SFM, Mary Fields. Mary retired from the Bureau in 2006; however, she has maintained an active role in the FACAP organization. She was presented with the Meshalko Distinguished Service Award.   CONTINUED




In an ongoing effort to increase financial literacy and help Floridians make better financial decisions, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink held the Financial Literacy Council's sixth meeting in Miami.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the council discussed the content of the annual report due to the Governor and Florida Legislature on January 1, 2008, and heard presentations from Acción USA Florida, CompuCredit Corporation, Miami Saves, and the Human Services Coalition.

The council, authorized in 2006 by House Bill 825, was created to study the financial problems that affect consumers, particularly young persons, seniors, working adults and small business owners, which arise from a lack of basic knowledge of financial issues. The council will also develop recommendations to aid the Department of Financial Services in developing programs and resources aimed at increasing financial literacy among Floridians.

For more information regarding the Financial Literacy Council please visit www.myfloridamoney.com.