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Archive for April, 2010

Earth Day – Show your support!

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The year 2010 sees the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, when Earth Day Network and Carbon War Room are combining to connect public and private sectors and provoke discussion on the roles of government and industry in the fight against climate change, with talks by major industry leaders.

Projects include “A Billion Acts of Green”, when hundreds of thousands will participate in schemes or exhibitions on subjects including tree planting, water protection and forest restoration in 180 countries.

A Global Day of Action will take place today when conversations will take place throughout the world on climate action in 500 communities.

Celebrations will culminate in A Global Day of Celebration on April 24th 2010, when 40 major city events are organised around the globe in venues like London, Mumbai, Sydney, Barcelona and of course, Washington DC.

To become part of this united effort to bring about historic changes and preserve the world for generations to come, prospective participants can find events and register at www.earthday.net.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the Debt Recovery section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

390 People per Day Become Insolvent

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The latest Credit Action figures reveal that an estimated 390 adults will become insolvent each day in the UK. The figures remain incredibly high, despite the formal end of the recession during the final quarter of 2009.

Debt advice specialists at MoneySolve are not hugely surprised by the statistics, commenting that, “The recession is officially over, yes. But the effects of the recession will go on for quite some time. There”s still very high unemployment and consumer confidence has not fully recovered.”

A number of personal insolvencies can be attributed to the unemployment statistics, which are not being helped by the fact that more than 1800 people reported being made redundant every single day in the three months to the end of January 2010. MoneySolve warns that unemployment is a cause for potentially difficult finances.

“If you suddenly lose your income, you can find yourself in a position where you are unable to meet your financial commitments. This can result in relying on credit and ending up with troublesome debts. However, this need not instantly mean bankruptcy anymore, thanks to the alternatives such as the Individual Voluntary Arrangement. We provide IVA advice and information to debt ridden consumers on a daily basis and, while the IVA is not suitable for everyone, in some cases it is an excellent solution to unmanageable debt problems.”

In 2009, there were more than 130,000 personal insolvencies in the UK.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the Debt Collection section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Average debt being chased for payment rises by 40%

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Credit managers let out the reins and relaxed their commercial debt management strategies in Q1 2010, in a sign that business confidence is returning, according to Lovetts Plc, the leading debt recovery law firm.

In Q1 2010, the average commercial debt being chased for payment rose by almost 40%* compared to Q4 2009 suggesting that businesses are prioritising bigger and more significant debts. In addition, the length of time it is taking for companies to chase payments has increased. Late payers are getting an extra 5 days to pay, compared to the previous Quarter, before an LBA is issued and an extra 7 days after the LBA has been issued, before a claim is made.

However, Lovetts is warning that this renewed confidence could be short-lived if businesses fail to apply stringent debt management controls across the whole of their business.

Charles Wilson, Chairman and Managing Director of Lovetts says, “As the old adage goes, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.’ When it comes to debt recovery, the message is not far off this. It is of course vital for companies to chase up the large outstanding payments, but by ignoring the smaller ones, there is a danger that these sums will soon accumulate, putting cash-flow at risk.

“The cost of issuing a Letter Before Action (LBA) to chase up payments is extremely low in comparison to the amount of outstanding debt many businesses are facing. It therefore makes enormous financial sense to chase up all overdue debts to improve cash-flow.”

“Added to this, year on year, businesses are now waiting over 25 days longer before issuing an LBA. This delay could be costly, and puts companies at greater risk in what is still an incredibly uncertain economic environment. It’s simple: the quicker businesses chase up payment after the 30, 60 or 90 days of the payment terms has elapsed, the quicker they will see the money.

“Businesses need to remember that the tough times are far from over, despite the UK officially being out of recession. The next 12-18 months are pivotal for UK businesses and simply pursuing debts in a more effective and timely manner could spell the difference between success and failure.” Charles concludes.Credit managers let out the reins and relaxed their commercial debt management strategies in Q1 2010, in a sign that business confidence is returning, according to Lovetts Plc, the leading debt recovery law firm.

In Q1 2010, the average commercial debt being chased for payment rose by almost 40%* compared to Q4 2009 suggesting that businesses are prioritising bigger and more significant debts. In addition, the length of time it is taking for companies to chase payments has increased. Late payers are getting an extra 5 days to pay, compared to the previous Quarter, before an LBA is issued and an extra 7 days after the LBA has been issued, before a claim is made.

However, Lovetts is warning that this renewed confidence could be short-lived if businesses fail to apply stringent debt management controls across the whole of their business.

Charles Wilson, Chairman and Managing Director of Lovetts says, “As the old adage goes, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.’ When it comes to debt recovery, the message is not far off this. It is of course vital for companies to chase up the large outstanding payments, but by ignoring the smaller ones, there is a danger that these sums will soon accumulate, putting cash-flow at risk.

“The cost of issuing a Letter Before Action (LBA) to chase up payments is extremely low in comparison to the amount of outstanding debt many businesses are facing. It therefore makes enormous financial sense to chase up all overdue debts to improve cash-flow.”

“Added to this, year on year, businesses are now waiting over 25 days longer before issuing an LBA. This delay could be costly, and puts companies at greater risk in what is still an incredibly uncertain economic environment. It’s simple: the quicker businesses chase up payment after the 30, 60 or 90 days of the payment terms has elapsed, the quicker they will see the money.

“Businesses need to remember that the tough times are far from over, despite the UK officially being out of recession. The next 12-18 months are pivotal for UK businesses and simply pursuing debts in a more effective and timely manner could spell the difference between success and failure.” Charles concludes.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Election shows up lack of commitment to SMEs

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Doubts were raised yesterday over the commitment of the major parties to increase government spending with small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs. At a panel reception for Women in Public Policy chaired by Baroness Symons in the House of Lords last night, the Chief Executive of a major independent employment company criticised all three parties for their piecemeal approach to government procurement through SMEs.

Joy Nichols, Chief Executive of the CMB2 Group and a spokesman for The Enterprise Trust, a think tank for industry, said that the Conservatives were only pledging to widen procurement opportunities for small and medium sized ICT companies. “They seem to suggest that ICT were in some way more deserving of greater procurement opportunities than any other SME businesses. The Labour Party manifesto have only 24 lines on support for Enterprise and mentioned SMEs only once. The Liberal Democrats in their manifesto had just four lines on Enterprise and not a single mention of SMEs or government procurement.

The Enterprise Trust has been calling for a proper debate on the definition of small and medium sized enterprises; a reasonable share of all government contracts, and a fundamental change in the law that signs up the UK to treaties with the World Trade Organisation that specifically exclude the setting aside of contracts for the SME sector.

“Because the SME sector is an ill-defined sector, many companies are excluded from their rightful share of all government procurement. Instead, they are dependent on scraps from the large corporations who gain or in some cases are given these contracts.”

The Enterprise Trust now believes that a common denominator in the policies of the Conservative and Labour Parties is the economic advisor to the Tories, Sir Peter Gershon. Previously an advisor to the Labour government he has taken the line that procurement should be aggregated into large contracts and not broken down for specially set aside funds to be used for procurement through SMEs.

Also involved were American members of Women in Public Policy who described the success of small and women-owned business gained through government procurement systems used in the United States. And they heard that at least the Tory manifesto admitted that governments in Britain have a dreadful record in managing procurement with billions of pounds wasted.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

UK Businesses Fight For Recovery

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Leading business information provider, Equifax, has released its Business Failures Report for the first quarter of 2010, revealing an apparent steely determination by UK businesses to survive – despite the recession.

As Nic Beishon, Head of Equifax Commercial Information Solutions explained, whilst the drop in businesses going bust since the end of last year is very small – just half a percentage point – it could be an important indicator of how companies have been managing their operations, from cost cutting to improved collections, to survive in the current recession.

“Our new analysis appears to suggest that UK businesses have been working hard to recover from the challenges of the last 18 months or so – or at the very least simply survive!” said Nic Beishon. “When compared to the last quarter of 2009, overall there was a very small drop of just 0.5% in businesses going under in Quarter 1 2010. And whilst this number is small in itself I believe it is an encouraging sign of a turn-around in fortunes for the UK economy as a whole although, clearly there is still much to do to put real confidence back into commerce.”

The Transport & Communications, Services and Wholesale sectors each saw drops in failures in Quarter 1 2010 compared to the last quarter of 2009. However, in quite marked contrast, the Retail sector experienced an 11.2% increase in businesses going under – perhaps reflecting those businesses that simply couldn’t survive after difficult Christmas trading or that were impacted by the bad weather that seemed to persist for much of Quarter One. The Construction and Manufacturing sectors also saw increases in failures in Quarter One compared to the end of last year.

Regionally, the North East, South East, West Midlands and Scotland saw declines in the number of businesses going bust at the start of the new decade compared to the end of the Noughties. However, for some regions the picture was less positive in the first few months of 2010. The South West saw a 14.8% increase in failures quarter on quarter and there was a 10.9% rise in businesses going under in the East Midlands.

But when comparing the number of Business Failures in Quarter One 2010 with the same quarter in 2009 there was, perhaps not surprisingly, quite a significant drop across most sectors and regions, which Nic Beishon believes reflects a slowing of the downturn.

Overall there was a 11.1% drop in businesses going bust and the Wholesale, Retail and Transport & Communications sectors all recorded decreases in excess of 20% year on year.

“There is no getting away from the fact that the economy is still incredibly fragile” concluded Nic Beishon. “But these latest figures do seem to give some hope that UK businesses are fighting hard to come out of the recession, alive and kicking!

“Businesses and trade bodies all across the UK should take heart from these latest figures but obviously need to be mindful that it’s still early days to be believing this is a clear trend, especially whilst the economy remains fragile as we await the outcome of the General Election”, concluded Nic Beishon.

“UK businesses must, therefore, continue to take the right precautions to protect themselves from some of the risks of the continuing difficult trading conditions. They need to continue to use rigorous credit checks, alongside ongoing monitoring of the financial status of their customers and suppliers. By operating best practice and harnessing the power of the latest risk management solutions, firms can minimise the threat of bad debt and secure the future of their business.”

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Lack of financial education blamed for debt crisis

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Lack of money management lessons in schools has been blamed for 5.4m people spending more than they earn each month.

A survey from Uswitch has found that 5.4m adults – which represents 11 per cent of the population – every month spend more than they earn.

The poll showed a further 13 per cent just ‘break even’ each month and another 53 per cent have less than £100 in their bank account when everything else has been paid.

According to debt management experts at MoneySolve, the figures are a real cause for concern and are a result of a lack of formal money management education.

Elizabeth Beesley, debt management expert at MoneySolve, said: “What this indicates is that people are continuing to live beyond their means.

“But it’s perhaps little surprise that we have these problems when formal money management lessons are only just, in the 21st century, becoming a compulsory part of education.”

Ms Beesley has previously called for education on matters relating to debt for adults in the UK and has said that this is essential in cutting debt problems.

She also said this could help to make people feel more comfortable speaking about financial matters.

Ms Beesley added: “Seeking professional debt help is a really great move forward in dealing with any debt problem.

“However, talking about debt still tends to be something of a taboo matter. This can make people feel uneasy about seeking help sometimes.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of FTAdviser and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Election battle 'a phoney war'

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The three main political leaders are fighting a “phoney war” according to Seven Investment Management’s co-founder and marketing director Justin Urquhart Stewart.

He said: “We know there will be cuts and tax rises but nobody will win the election by saying that. They are in a phoney war. As it develops though, I suspect there will be sharpened stilletos”

Mr Urquhart Stewart said: “The largest employers outside government are small and medium businesses. If you encourage people to start up businesses they do.”

He criticised the government’s Child Trust Fund as “irrelevant” and said the government’s pension scheme rules were “impossibly complicated”. One solution, he added, was for an Australian-style compulsory life-long single savings fund.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of FTAdviser and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

London IFA fined £24,500 over pension switching

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Robin Bradford (Life and Pension Consultants) Ltd has been hit with a £24,500 fine for exposing customers to unacceptable levels of risk of receiving poor pension switching advice.

The FSA reported the London-based IFA firm is also reviewing the pension switching advice conducted during the period in question to see whether any redress is required.

During its investigation, the FSA found that between 6 April 2006 and 21 April 2008, Mr Bradford exposed customers to the risk of receiving poor advice by failing to obtain and record relevant information from its customers to assess whether advice was suitable, and failing to include relevant information in suitability letters to help customers make an informed choice on the decision to switch.

It also failed to adequately monitor the quality of its pension switching advice.

In a review of 10 of the firm’s pension switching files, selected randomly, the FSA found that eight files did not contain a fact find document, two files did not have an assessment of the customer’s attitude to risk and two files did not contain a suitability letter.

The regulator also found three files did not contain an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of switching pension and two files were initially missing but both were subsequently found and of those files, one was considered as not being relevant to the investigation as no pension switch had taken place.

The FSA also found Mr Bradford put customers at risk when it issued a direct offer financial promotion on switching pensions that contained a recommendation and therefore constituted advice.

In this way, the firm’s failure to communicate in a way that was clear, fair and not misleading put customers at risk of receiving unsuitable advice, as advisers had not assessed the suitability of the recommendation for each customer.

Tom Spender, head of retail enforcement at the FSA, said: “Robin Bradford Ltd exposed its customers to an unacceptable level of risk when they sought advice about pension switching.

“Encouragingly, the firm has acknowledged its failings and put in place new measures to reduce the risk of poor advice; furthermore it is reviewing the pension switching advice conducted during the relevant period to see whether any redress is required.

“This is another example of the FSA’s commitment to taking action against firms who fall below our standards for pension switching. Firms need to get their houses in order as failure to do so will result in swift and severe action by the FSA.”

This is the third enforcement action following the FSA’s review of pension switching advice.

Because the firm co-operated fully with the FSA and agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation, it qualified for a 30 per cent reduction in penalty.

Were it not for this discount, the FSA would have imposed a financial penalty of £35,000.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of FTAdviser and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Millionaire women are growing in influence

Friday, April 16th, 2010

More women are involved in making financial decisions within multi-million pound households, according to John Clemens of Tulip Financial Research.

Mr Clemens, managing partner of Tulip Financial Research, said research had found women were becoming equally responsible within the home.

He said: “Two decades ago the man of the house made all the financial decisions. That has been rapidly changing in households if there are two persons, they will discuss financial decisions jointly. Twenty years ago you had one investor, now there are two.

“Women are becoming more involved and more responsible in making financial decisions. Most financial institutions do not cater for women which is significant because they invest differently from men.”

The Diversity of Multimillionaire Investment Strategies report published by Tulip also highlights that even though the number of female multi-millionaire is about 10 per cent it is growing year on year.

The 39-page report stated: “The average multi-millionaire age is about 60, most are male and married and the majority live in London, the south-east and the south-west. These broad facts, however, disguise some intriguing differences in both their demographics and their influence.

“The higher echelons of the multi-millionaires, those with liquid assets of £7m plus, tend to be younger and the proportion of women multi-millionaires, though only around 10 per cent of the total, is growing fast year on year.”

The report stated that there are 286,000 multi-millionaires in the UK: 192,000 or 67 per cent own on average £2m liquid; 72,000 or a quarter are true multi-millionaires averaging £7m apiece; and the remaining 22,000 who are seriously rich with average liquid assets of close to £50m.

Adrian Lowcock, senior investment adviser for London-based Bestinvest, said more women are taking control of household finances in general and this is the evolution of more women in the workplace and they have more control over their own personal finances.

He said: “I have read that women tend to prefer property and men equities. It is a small bit of the market the report is looking at because they are looking at multi-millionaires. People who invested in property have benefited because property held up in the recession and did not fall as much as the equity market.

“Behaviour has a big impact on the investment choice, but there can be a difference between the way men and women invest and it can boil down to individuals. So it is good to get a second opinion from an adviser.”

Table: Respondents by gender and profile

£1m to £2m £3m to £6m £6m plus
106 men questioned 59 30 17
13 women questioned 8 5 0

Source: Tulip Financial Research

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of FTAdviser and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

EU advisers could be skipping fees – IFA

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Advisers maybe able to circumvent regulation of the FSA if they “passport in” from a European Union country, an adviser has warned.

Simon Mansell, director of Worcestershire-based IFA Temple Bar, said he was concerned about the development of advisers’ “passporting into” the UK because it may result in regulation and fees being circumvented.

He said: “Any adviser from the European Union, under Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and its trading harmony rules, can practice in the UK. This means you could go to a country, probably with less of a regulatory burden and lower fees than in the UK.

“When you are faced with a fee for the failure of the FSA to regulate Keydata you may think it is justified to ‘passport into’ the UK. The example of the doctor from Germany, who was able to practice in the UK because of European law, is an example of what happens when things go wrong.”

Paul Stanfield, chief executive of the Federation of European IFAs, said that all European Union countries have minimum regulatory standards.

He said: “It is right to say that there are regulatory differences between the regulatory framework and regime in different European countries.

“It could happen that advisers ‘passport’ from a country with lower regulatory standards of the host country.

“If a company ‘passports in’ it may be harder for the adviser firm to attract clients.”

Andrea Kinnear, spokesman for the FSA, said an IFA operating from a European country would tell their home regulator that they want to operate in the UK and that regulator would inform the City regulator.

If the adviser is “passporting in” to the UK through a phone or online presence fees would be paid to their home regulator, according to Ms Kinnear.

She said: “Then a formal passport notification is issued. The authorisation from the home member state will be transferred over here.

“How we look at them depends on whether the IFAs have a physical presence or a branch in the UK.

“The FSA will regulate the advisers for their conduct of business rules and money laundering.

“For other aspects of regulation it would be their home regulator. MiFID or the Insurance Mediation Directive should be quite similar in other European countries where ever their regulation is in a home or host country – if there is a branch here the adviser will be asked for fees.

“If they are ‘passporting into’ the UK, they are doing through a phone or online presence and any fees paid here would be to their home regulator.”

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of FTAdviser and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

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