Month: March 2022

Investment Account
ArticlesBanking

Saving Through Investment Accounts: 4 Options You Should Know About

Investment Account

Big moments in life require a purposeful plan toward saving money. This is true whether you’re hoping to purchase a home, plan a big wedding, send your kids to college, or retire early. 

However, it’s not as easy as simply putting money aside. If your savings aren’t earning any interest, you’re not only missing out on an opportunity to make more money but you are, in fact, also losing it due to inflation.

The trick is to find the right balance between risk and interest-earning potential. In particular, you want to choose a low-risk option that will yield a substantial return over time. Fortunately, there are many options that offer exactly that. Here are the pros and cons of the four major low-risk options:

 

1. Education Accounts

The most popular payment option for post-secondary education expenses is a 529 savings plan. These tax-advantaged savings plans can be opened on behalf of the beneficiary (college-bound teens) — and anyone can contribute to it. However, the account owner — not the beneficiary — ultimately retains control over the funds.

  • Pros: The 529 savings plan involves fairly low maintenance and is easy to set up. There are no contribution or high aggregate limits, and contributions are considered gifts to the named beneficiary. The income grows tax-deferred, and distributions are tax-free — as long as they’re used to cover qualified education expenses.
  • Cons: If the distributions aren’t qualified, they will incur an income tax, as well as a 10% penalty (there are a few exceptions, though). Investment options included in the 529 plan are limited to a static portfolio that should reduce the risk. Account fees can vary significantly, so make sure to choose a low-cost 529 plan that will cover your family’s specific needs. 

 

2. Standard Brokerage Accounts

This type of account offers a wide portfolio of investment opportunities, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more. Brokerage accounts are subject to taxes, and you must be age 18 or older and have a Social Security number or tax ID to own one. This is a good choice if you plan to save for more than five years.

  • Pros: You can open a brokerage account as an individual or share it with a spouse or a relative. There’s no limit on contributions, and you’re free to withdraw your money at any time.
  • Cons: Ultimately, you’ll need to pay taxes on the interest or dividends your portfolio earns, as well as any gains made by selling your assets.

 

3. Retirement Accounts

Similar to standard brokerage accounts in terms of investment opportunities, retirement accounts differ in taxation and withdrawal conditions. The most popular retirement accounts are traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Some companies offer 401(k) investment opportunities, in which your employer matches any contributions you make up to a certain amount; it’s usually 5%. To qualify for an IRA, you have to have earned an income.

  • Pros: The greatest benefit of IRAs is that your funds grow tax-free. Plus, traditional IRA contributions are tax-deductible. Of course, there are some limitations to this rule, so make sure to research them.
  • Cons: Contributions to an IRA are limited, and your money will be tied down until you reach retirement age — unless you’re willing to pay a penalty to access these funds early. There are some exceptions to early withdrawals. After age 72, you’ll have mandatory withdrawals with high penalty fees if you don’t utilize them (50% + taxes).

 

4. Children’s Investment Accounts

Each of the previous options requires that the owner is age 18 or older. However, there are also a few options for custodial accounts that can be owned by minors. 

The two main types of children-owned accounts are custodial brokerage accounts and custodial IRAs. Assets in custodial brokerage accounts can be typical investments (i.e., stocks, bonds, cash, etc.) or even tied to real estate. Once placed into the account, the funds cannot be transferred to another beneficiary, but they can be used for any purpose. 

Conversely, children are eligible to open a Roth or traditional IRA if they’ve earned an income through a custodial IRA. The funds are not taxable, and there are no withdrawal penalties.

  • Pros: These types of accounts are easy to set up, and there are no income or contribution limits. There are also no penalties for early withdrawals and no restrictions on how the funds should be used. The income is taxed at child rates and the contributions are tax-deductible. 
  • Cons: Custodial accounts count as a child’s asset, so they might not be eligible for financial aid such as student loans or grants. And once the child owning the account becomes an adult, they will be liable for taxes on income gained at the regular tax rates.

 

Choose the Right Investment Savings Account for Your Needs

Finding the best savings options that fit your circumstances may not be limited to one type of investment account. In fact, you may decide to split your savings into short-term and long-term options, giving you more flexibility to save for goals you’re anticipating in the next few years. Once you’ve assessed all your available options, you’ll gain greater clarity on the best route to guide you and your family toward financial freedom.

Traditional Banks vs. Online
ArticlesBanking

Traditional Banks Must Innovate to Survive

Traditional Banks vs. Online

Philippe De Backer & Juan Gonzalez

Arthur D. Little

The traditional banking sector is in serious trouble. In an age where the digital economy is kicking over the traces of the old world, customers are falling out of love with conventional high street banks and are starting to embrace new, more agile financial service providers.

If traditional banks are to survive and remain relevant, urgent action is needed to transform their business into one that is more suited to the demands of the 21st century consumer. They have to move on from just exploiting their pre-existing markets, and instead embrace innovation and develop an ‘ambidextrous’ mindset and culture.

 

Banks challenged by new entrants

The magnitude of the challenge facing traditional banks is immense, with the signs of a financial revolution everywhere. For instance, Europe’s three largest ‘neobanks’ – Revolut, N26 and Monzo – have 23 million registered users between them and that number is continuing to grow. The scalable business models of the neobanks give them an easy advantage. Their lower cost structure, lower capital requirement and greater flexibility in introducing products make them nimbler and more adaptable to changing consumer demands.

There are also incursions into the market from businesses that look very different from traditional financial institutions. For example, Amazon Cash enables customers to load money from their Amazon account on to a card and use it to buy products at physical retailers. Google has launched a physical debit card linked to a Google Wallet account. And the Apple Pay app further removes consumers’ mental association between day-to-day financial transactions and traditional banks. Meanwhile, supermarkets and high street brands have become post offices, banks, and bureaux de change.

 

Adopting an explorer mindset

To survive and potentially thrive, traditional banks need to adopt an ‘ambidextrous’ approach. That means balancing short- and long-term priorities and exploiting existing markets while experimenting with new ones – capitalizing on historical strengths while also embracing radical change.

The problem is that banks have remained in ‘exploit’ mode for too long, the consequences of which are now catching up with them. Now, they have to learn from businesses with an ‘explorer’ mindset if they are to continue to remain viable. These are firms focused on experimentation, risk-taking, discovery and innovation. They are more flexible and comfortable in the presence of uncertainty than their exploiter counterparts, creating an environment from where interesting innovations can emerge.

Neither exploration nor exploitation is inherently good or bad. The key is to achieve a working equilibrium between the two. The ambidextrous bank must balance short-term value drivers with the need for innovation to drive growth and transformation.

 

Becoming ambidextrous

To become truly ambidextrous, traditional banks will need to do much more than just reduce costs or add more features to existing products and services. It will necessitate a total rethink of its business model to enable the bank to differentiate itself in a marketplace that, on the one hand, is becoming increasingly commoditized, and on the other, is transforming beyond recognition.

Against this challenging backdrop, the most important thing that banks can do is find the right person to lead them to an ambidextrous future. This appointment needs to be an inspirational and entrepreneurial leader who understands the need for transformation and is willing to take risks and think differently – rather than merely maintain the status quo.

He or she must be a mix of innovator and optimizer: someone who can resolve the exploration-exploitation dilemma by replicating the drive and technology innovation of a digital start-up, through risk-taking and experimentation – while simultaneously squeezing the most from the organization in the short-term.

It’s also vital that new blood is brought in at the executive level to nurture and stimulate the ambidextrous mindset. There should be a widespread mix not just of age and gender, but of technology skillsets and digital acumen too, all of which are critically important in challenging a board’s traditional assumptions that hold it back from change.

Timid board members who hide behind the excuse that transformation initiatives will disturb business-as-usual miss the point. In a world of neobanks and digital fintech, disrupting business as usual is precisely what needs to be done. And if they feel they cannot, or prefer not to, participate in this, then they should make room for someone who’s willing to do what’s necessary.

In the wider economy, it’s easy to spot ambidextrous businesses: Amazon and Alphabet are clearly two companies that have blended left- and right-brain capabilities to spectacular effect. Yet there are also companies in the financial services sector that have also combined the efficient exploitation of traditional markets with digital risk-taking and service innovation.

A great example of this is DBS, Singapore’s largest bank, where radical change has been driven by Piyush Gupta, a CEO with an explorer mindset. With Gupta at the helm, DBS has taken a leap into the digital future. By adopting the cultural vision of a ‘27,000-person start-up,’ DBS has successfully repositioned itself, developing new products and services and delivering the type of growth and financial performance that has seen it go from a traditional regional player to being recognized as one of the world’s most forwarding-thinking and innovative banks.

To remain competitive in this new world of digital finance, the traditional banking model has to change. But banks will only succeed if they see this transformation for what it is: a fundamental reconfiguration. It is not a gradual, incremental set of improvements – instead, it’s a total shift in both mindset and operations.

As such, creating an appropriate culture must be a top priority for the CEO of any truly ambidextrous organization. He or she must also ensure that innovation permeates every cell of the business as part of the transformation process.

For while there’s still money to be made in traditional financial services, it soon won’t be sufficient to support the huge and unwieldy corporations that conventional banks have become. Banks must innovate and diversify now, or face obsolescence.

 

Philippe De Backer is managing partner and global practice leader of financial services at Arthur D. Little. Juan Gonzalez is a Partner at Arthur D. Little. They are co-authors of Disruption: The Future Of Banking And Financial Services.

Investing
ArticlesMarkets

4 Things to Consider When Investing This Year

Investing

Before you make any vital alterations to your investment portfolio, make sure you are considering your long-term financial goals, especially during a period of volatile market changes. 

Investing out of fear and sudden ups and downs can lead to strange changes to your financial future that could have been served better with patience and strategy.

 

Tenant Credit Reports 

Instantly issue tenant credit report checks instead of being stuck wasting time manually pulling credit data on potential tenants that you are going to be entrusting your rental property to live in.

Credit reporting services permit you to efficiently and quickly screen potential tenants with real-time credit data and top-notch support to avoid tenant defaults.

Ensure that your tenants meet your qualifying requirements and minimize your exposure to potential legal action by streamlining your tenant qualifying process.

You can orchestrate soft-pull credit reports from Equifax, match potential tenants’ credit data to your requirements, and invite them to make a formal application request. Criminal and eviction reports are easy to generate, with easy integration to your platform.

 

Fractional Short-Term Rental Investing  

Fractional ownership is a method that allows you to purchase a percentage of shares in a high-dollar asset such as a jet, yacht, or real estate. 

Just as the name implies, the asset is divided into several fractions to make the cost of entry more accessible and lessen the burden among several like-minded people. 

It wasn’t long until fractional ownership ventured over into the stock market. Some brokers offer fractional-share trading of high-priced stocks like Amazon and Tesla, making these pricier stocks more accessible. 

Typically you decide how much money you want to invest, and then they’ll tell you how much of the share you can own. This method can be very appealing to new investors who are looking to start small. 

Even if you have the necessary funds to purchase an entire share, it’s a great way to diversify your portfolio and try your hand at more than one. Some brokers allow you to buy fractional shares in $1 or $5 increments, but some are even as small as one cent. 

Fractional ownership in real estate offers a way to invest in property without having to take on the entire cost by yourself. 

In most cases, a special purpose vehicle is created. A group of people pool their resources to share ownership in a home or vacation property, eliminating the need for a large sum of cash or hefty loans. 

All of the investors are deeded as equitable title owners and share in both the perks of the amenities as well as the cost of upkeep. This makes it an affordable option for luxury resort vacation homes that might otherwise be out of reach. 

Fractional owners also share in the gains and losses that come along with property ownership. If the home’s value grows over five years, everyone’s share in the home grows as well. 

If the co-owners receive income from the property, everyone gets their proportioned share of the income brought in. Each co-owner is also responsible for their share of the property taxes, which may go up as the property’s value goes up. 

With fractional properties, the property is usually maintained by a third-party management company in which the buyers would split that cost proportionally as well.

 

Invest in vacation rentals like stocks

Earn a passive income from the highest-yielding asset class in real estate with vacation rentals. Get started with as little as $100.

What are some of the many benefits that are associated with fractional short-term real estate investing with a company like Here for vacation rentals? 

Get in on properties that are situated in stable, high cash-flowing vacation markets that put it in a position to garner long-term returns on investment.

You can get your hands on totally passive income investment opportunities that come with full-service property management that allows you to not be bogged down with time-consuming tasks in order to keep the properties earning for you. 

Fractional ownership makes it possible for you to actually own shares of the vacation rentals property that you decide to get involved with and yield the results with a much lower barrier to entry and investment cost than you would be looking at if you decided to be the sole owner of the house. 

You will receive economic rights in the underlying property that include potential net rental income, tax benefits, and appreciation that you are entitled to. 

You will be in partnership with the company Here with a vacation rental and receive fractional ownership, which means that Here has a direct ownership interest in each property, so all the responsibility doesn’t fall on your shoulders. 

This is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) investment situation, so each 

property is held in an LLC and protected with property insurance that prevents you from being stuck with personal legal liability.

 

Be Careful of Investing too Much in an Individual Stock 

Lessen the risks of investing by diversifying your investments. 

You’ll be financially vulnerable and open to significant investment risk if you pour too much money into your employer’s stock or any individual stock because if it does poorly, or even worse, the company tanks and goes bankrupt, that is all money you will lose right along with. 

 

Investing with the Robinhood App 

Using the digital investment app called Robinhood allows you to have access to thousands of fractional shares.

Robinhood is appealing for newer investors who may not have a whole lot of liquid cash to put into the stock market for stocks, options, crypto, and ETFs.

There are no trading or commission fees, account minimums, or account maintenance fees.

Robinhood allows you to invest in thousands of stocks with as little as $1 for any amount that you want; you will get your dollars converted to portions of company shares and funds to help reduce risk and build a balanced portfolio. 

You get to enjoy stock trading in real-time, with trades that are implemented during market hours getting executed at that time to allow you to be aware of the actual share price. 

Unsecured Loans
ArticlesFinance

Unsecured Personal Loans FAQ

Unsecured Loans

Large unsecured personal loans are sizeable loans not protected by collateral. You don’t have to provide any asset like your home or car as collateral to get approved for large unsecured personal loans.

The lender must trust your intention to repay and base the loan’s approval on your affordability or ability to repay the amount you borrow.

 

How Do Large Unsecured Personal Loans Work?

Large unsecured personal loans involve a contract or agreement between you and the lender. You’re allowed to borrow a large lump sum of money on the basis that you agree to repay within the promised timeframe.

You get a fixed amount of money when you’re approved and pay the money back plus interest over the chosen term until you settle the loan.  You’ll get a fixed interest rate for large unsecured personal loans and will usually repay in monthly instalments.

You can see the current and best rates on the Times website, allowing you to easily compare rates.

Lenders will look at your monthly income and expenses to determine affordability when assessing your application. They’ll also consider your credit history to determine how you handle your finances and your likelihood of repaying the loan.

A large unsecured personal loan is your best bet if you’re looking for a substantial amount of cash that you can repay by spreading the cost through a series of manageable monthly instalments.

 

Features Of Large Unsecured Personal Loans

Easy Online Application

You can quickly borrow large unsecured personal loans online from anywhere in the UK. Most lenders allow you to borrow through a quick and easy online application process. The entire process takes place online, from requests and approval to funding.

 

Quick Approvals And Payouts

Applications for large unsecured personal loans are approved quickly within an hour because you don’t have to prove ownership or the value of an asset. You get quick approval and feedback online, and some lenders offer same-day payouts.

 

Zero Risk to Your Assets

There’s no risk of losing your valuable assets in a large unsecured personal loan since you’ll not use any collateral to secure the loan. Your property cannot be seized and sold to recover the outstanding loan balance if you default.

 

High Loan Amounts

With large unsecured personal loans, you can access a more considerable lump sum of cash than typical short-term unsecured loans like payday loans. Your credit score can influence the amount and terms you get. A good credit score will enable you to access the amount you need without restrictions or stringent limits.

 

Uses of Large Unsecured Personal Loans

Unlike some secured loans that must cover particular expenses like buying a home or car, you can use large unsecured personal loans to cover a wide variety of financial needs. Common uses include:

  • Home Improvements

One great way to invest back into your property and improve its value and curb appeal is through home improvements. However, they can be pretty costly. Large unsecured personal loans can help you get the finances you need to cover the costs of your desired home improvement project.

However, as Mortgageable.co.uk explains with regards to home improvement loans “keep in mind that each lender will use their criteria when assessing your application, and some may view you more positively than others.”

Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, extensions, conversions, maintenance, or repairs required, large unsecured personal loans can help you fulfil your needs.

 

  • Debt Consolidation

With debt consolidation, you combine multiple high-interest debts into one. A large unsecured personal loan can help you consolidate all your debts and cover the total amount, so you’re only left with one lender to repay. Instead of dealing with multiple lenders every month, you’ll only be making a single repayment.

Large unsecured personal loans can help you get a breath of fresh air if you’ve been struggling under the weight of multiple high-interest debts. It will drastically reduce your monthly expenses and make it easy to manage your bills.

 

  • Personal And Business Financing

Large unsecured personal loans can help you finance small and large personal financial needs and purchases. You can buy or achieve what you need or desire now and pay later through affordable monthly repayments.

They can help you buy a car, home, land, advance your education, finance your dream wedding, or simply take a much-needed vacation.

Businesses also require a cash injection from time to time. Large unsecured personal loans can help you cover current and future business financial needs like stock, equipment, resources, new premises or expansion.

 

Large Unsecured Personal Loans with Bad Credit

If you’re worried that your bad credit score will affect your unsecured personal loan application, worry no more.

A bad credit score is no longer a financial death sentence but only a hiccup when you need a loan. Although it can be challenging to get large unsecured personal loans with bad credit, it’s not impossible.

A loans adviser can provide guidance and connect you to understanding lenders specialising in giving large unsecured personal loans to borrowers with bad credit in the UK.

Instead of focusing on your past financial troubles, they only consider your current situation and affordability based on your monthly income and expenses.

With easy monthly instalments, you can comfortably make repayments on time, which will reflect positively on your credit score. Your credit score will improve and show lenders you’re a reliable borrower.  

 

What Happens If You Don’t Repay Large Unsecured Personal Loans?

Although you don’t risk losing any of your assets when you fail to repay or default on large unsecured personal loans, you’ll still face various consequences.

The default or missed payment will be included in your credit report for up to six years, impacting your ability to get credit in the future. You’ll also face penalties and fees for missed payments.

Lenders also have a legal right to try and recover their money in some way when borrowers fail to repay. It includes filing court actions against you, like arranging a county court judgement (CCJ) that can appear in your credit record for six years unless you repay the total amount in a month.

 

Can I Get a Large Unsecured Personal Loan When Unemployed?

Yes. Not being ‘formally employed’ does not disqualify you from accessing large unsecured personal loans. Many understanding lenders in the UK welcome all kinds of borrowers and accept all income types.

You may be unemployed but still get some form of income from part-time work, freelancing, benefits, trust proceeds, dividends, child support and many more.

As long as you can afford to repay the loan with income from any source, you can qualify and get approved for large unsecured personal loans.  

Tax
ArticlesTax

Tax Considerations When Managing Cross-border Payments

Tax

Nick Farmer is an international tax partner at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP.

To read more about the top tax challenges facing UK businesses, read our white paper here.

From selling products and services to global customers to interacting with other group companies, many businesses are entering into cross-border transactions on a regular basis. Despite their growing prevalence, the tax implications of such arrangements can sometimes be overlooked.

To protect profit margins, it’s vital that businesses develop a clear understanding of their tax position before entering into international contracts and that they seek upfront expert advice.

In recent years, technological developments have enabled UK-based businesses to connect with global customers more readily. The availability of more support and information for SMEs considering trading overseas is also behind an increase in international transactions. Despite this, many decision makers are failing to give the associated tax implications the attention they deserve.

One reason why international tax considerations may not be at the top of the management agenda for many businesses is the common misconception that it will always be possible to obtain relief for overseas taxes back in the UK. This isn’t always the case and failing to consider tax issues at the right time can lead to unwelcome surprises. Tax may also fall outside the remit of those leading a company’s commercial operations and there should be clear internal policies to make sure it is not overlooked before it is too late.

To avoid this scenario, it’s important for businesses to consider their tax position carefully when drawing up contracts. For example, in some jurisdictions, such as in the Middle and Far East, UK-based companies may suffer ‘withholding taxes’ when receiving payments from a customer. Other taxes that may need to be considered include VAT and customs duties, as well as state and local taxes that may arise in a particular territory. If services have been delivered on the ground in another country, there is a risk that a permanent establishment may be created, and this could give rise to local corporate tax and local payroll-related taxes.

Before entering into a contract with overseas customers, decision makers should identify what taxes arise, and when, the tax treaty position with the relevant country and any relief that might be available in the UK. Businesses should also investigate any local tax registrations that are required in the jurisdiction they’re trading with.

Undertaking this process in advance allows for the tax implications to be clarified and included within contractual agreements. This will help to avoid any unwanted, unforeseen tax consequences, and will also enable the business to consider if any additional tax costs can be passed onto the customer by way of increased prices for products and services.

In order to agree the international tax position, it will often be relevant to discuss the matter with the overseas customer. For example, does the customer expect to withhold any tax on payment, and would any specific documentation, such as a certificate of residency, enable the business to take advantage of a lower tax treaty rate? However, it’s also vital to have the accuracy of such advice verified by a tax professional. In particular, getting support from UK-based advisers with strong international connections enables companies to experience the best of both worlds by learning about the tax implications of overseas transactions from a 360-degree perspective.

Another area of taxation that businesses need to be aware of is ‘transfer pricing’. This affects multinationals or groups that are transacting between related companies in different countries. In this case, transactions should be priced on an arms-length basis. This is a hot topic for tax authorities and may require additional reporting as part of the tax compliance process. The UK Government has also recently consulted on plans to introduce transfer pricing reporting for corporate tax returns, in a view to improve transparency and better enable HMRC to identify the tax risk on particular transactions.

The international tax landscape is changing rapidly and as overseas transactions become increasingly common, more countries will take steps to protect their tax revenues. As such, it’s crucial for UK businesses to keep a close eye on any changes and avoid making any general assumptions about their international tax position, as rules and treatments could vary widely between jurisdictions.

By carefully researching local tax laws and seeking expert support before entering into commercial agreements, decision makers can avoid any costly surprises and maximise their profit margins when trading across borders.

Bad Credit Loan
ArticlesFinance

How to Get Bad Credit Loans For Low CIBIL Score

Bad Credit Loan

Sometimes it’s almost impossible to foresee a financial crisis until it strikes when you don’t have money in your pocket or any friends and family that can lend you the funds you need. Even worse, you can’t qualify for loans from specific lending platforms due to poor CIBIL scores. 

If you’re in this situation, don’t panic. There are various ways or things you can do to secure bad credit loans, even with a poor CIBIL score. So without further ado, let’s jump straight into it. 

 

How to Get Bad Credit Loans For Low CIBIL Score

1. Choose Collateral-based Loans

Collateral loans are one of the best ways to compensate for your poor CIBIL score, as they don’t consider it when offering the loan. It may require you to give up your valuable jewellery, shares, or even profit until you repay the loan. 

Once your assets have been made as part of the loan deal, you’ll be in a position to select the best suitable lender you want for bad credit loans. You should pick the lender regarding the interest rates they offer, the period, and terms. 

However, default payments in collateral loans are dangerous as the lender will seize your collateral asset to compensate for the amount you borrowed as well as the interest rates charged. Therefore, you should abide by their policies and pay-up as the contract provides. 

 

2. Identify a Guarantor

Having a credible guarantor is by far one of the best techniques for securing a loan, especially if your CIBIL score is low. Your guarantor might be a colleague, family member, or your best friend. Of course, your guarantor must have a high CIBIL score for any lender to accept you. 

 

3. Look For a Co-Applicant

Finding a co-applicant with a good income source is another terrific method to get a bad credit loan despite a poor CIBIL score. However, the co-applicant will have to come from within your inner circle, preferably a family member who will be alerted to your intention to secure a loan. 

The co-applicant and the guarantor will pledge to take the burden of paying the loan if, for whatever reason, you fail to repay the outstanding balance. However, the co-applicant and the guarantor will still have to meet specific criteria before the loan discussions can be held. 

 

4. Demonstrate Your Creditworthiness

A poor CIBIL score doesn’t just come from late or default payments. On the contrary, it might be due to not using credit cards regularly, or maybe you haven’t sought out a loan before. However, if you can prove to the lenders that you have a steady and reliable source of income, then you will qualify yourself for a loan. 

The worst lenders may need your bank statements and payslip, and after they conduct a proper review, you’ll go directly into the loan terms and conditions. 

 

5. Be Conservative While Borrowing

If you’re sure you have a poor CIBIL score, then requesting a considerable sum of money from lenders will be almost financial suicide. Let’s face it; no lender will be willing to give anyone with a poor credit score vast amounts if they don’t meet the essential criteria. So asking for a large sum automatically disqualifies you. 

However, all this can change if you go for a reasonable amount of money. Requesting realistic loans will give the lender time to gauge if they can offer the loan. However, if they issue you a loan despite your bad CIBIL score, expect to pay a high-interest rate.

 

6. Go For  Online Lenders

Many individuals are moving away from traditional ways of securing loans as they have extreme requirements to meet before they listen to your loan plea. Fortunately, online platforms like Gday Loans can work with credible lenders who offer loans regardless of your CIBIL score. 

You’ll only have to fill in an application form which they’ll review within minutes and give you feedback; then, the next step will be to connect you with your desired lender or the lender that fits your needs. However, the interest rates might be slightly higher due to the bad CIBIL score but rest assured you’ll secure the loan. 

 

7. Establish Lending Criteria In Advance

Even though most people ignore the eligibility criteria, it still plays a pivotal role in securing loans with a poor CIBIL score. That being said, you should conduct proper online research on which platforms you match with and if they can offer you a loan regardless of your bad CIBIL score. 

Of course, most lenders will want to know your CIBIL history and score. The reason behind this is that they’ll want to evaluate if you are credible or if you have that desperate trait that lenders dislike in borrowers. 

However, if you manage to find the most suitable lender that can offer you a loan without diving deep into your CIBIL score, you’ll have won. But until then, you have to do due diligence and keep checking various lending platforms and the criteria they require their borrowers to meet. 

 

Wrap Up

Even though securing a loan with a poor CIBIL is almost impossible, there are platforms such as G’day Loans that are willing to connect you with their credible lenders so that you secure bad credit loans. 

So if you need a loan, even with a bad CIBIL score, try Gday Loans so that you get the financial assistance you need at reasonable interest rates and repayment periods. 

Fintech Regulation
ArticlesFinance

Making Regulation Work In Fintech

Fintech Regulation

“Upskilling supervisory officers is the answer to making regulation work for the Fintech Industry while safeguarding the integrity of the sector” argues FinTech regulatory veteran Tony Brown

Tony Brown, Head of Compliance & MLRO of IFX Payments

The state of regulation as it stands, in my opinion, doesn’t hinder Fintech’s chances of success per se but the constant evolution and moving benchmarks does act as a major blocker. 

The exciting prospect of Fintech is our agility and ability to get products to market, however, the regulatory environment is in a constant state of flux and regular compliance updates mean that development teams often have to re-scope or sometimes completely redesign late in production.

For me there’s no question that the ethics and values that the current regulatory regime is built on have to remain the same, but the measurements for demonstrating successful application of these needs to change, and fast.

 

Traditional FS vs Fintechs

We are trying to apply outdated benchmarks of traditional financial services and banking to a new-age of products and businesses. Fintechs are operating more and more like a Silicon Valley tech company than a Canary Wharf bank, and this approach is what breeds innovation. 

Even amidst the rapid growth of the industry, regulation has remained pretty stagnant, while our means of complying with it has been completely revolutionised. Put simply, the issue for the industry is not the regulations ‘themselves’, but the fact that we are still trying to compare FinTech to Banking, and it simply is not the same thing.

The growing number of unicorns and the billions in investment suggests success is not hindered by current regulation, but with some alignment and free reign to be creative, the possibilities for our sector are endless. I mean, let’s not forget why the FinTech sector and Challenger Banks were born. Doing things quicker, cheaper and safer for customers. By no means do I think the supervisors are extinct, but they are some pace behind the industry leaders and the gap is only getting bigger.

 

So what next?

We are all currently working on our Operational Resilience Plans that are due for completion 31st March 2022, and personally I have found this exercise to be extremely beneficial.  

Our approach has been to break down business critical tasks per department, conduct a thorough analysis of the effectiveness of the function and find a minimum operating standard for each component.  We have taken this even further by adding a ‘worst case scenario’ factor into each business unit and built a Plan B and even a Plan C to make sure we can continue to serve and protect our clients at all times. 

I believe the government can roll this approach out across multiple industries, starting with those sectors considered ‘key workers’ during the pandemic. Protecting client funds is of the utmost importance to the financial sector, but look at the pressure the NHS has faced over the past couple of years, and they are protecting people’s lives!  Sometimes we have to take stock and figure out what is truly important, and for me, when the chips are down, assets and revenues should not be our only priority.

 

The role of the regulator

Before any regulation or guidance is updated, I would like to see the regulator spend a significant amount of time upskilling its officers to better understand the sector. Even spending time on site at the bigger Fintechs to simply observe how these firms interpret compliance and the unique and exciting ways they go about meeting the standards would be hugely beneficial. Having spent a long time myself auditing in the sector, I have been blown away by the ability of our sector to innovate and replicate. It’s naïve, if not completely wrong to assume our regulator knows everything about what we do and how we do it.  I think we need to open our doors to them and educate the regulator on how they can better supervise us. This is mutually beneficial as a more knowledgeable supervisor means more alignment with governance and dare I say, more innovation.

We cannot measure new products and services with old metrics.  If there is a disparity in the regulatory approach it needs to be acknowledged rather than simply carrying on doing things the same way, because it has always been done this way.  Educating Fintechs and upskilling supervisors so that they are at least looking at the same things in a similar way is imperative.  Then Supervisors can figure out the benchmarks for good practice, and regulation can follow.  I often feel that as an industry we are slow to react and then are left to make things fit, then we all sit and scratch our heads when we are left with square pegs and round holes and so the cycle repeats.

Precious Metals
ArticlesMarkets

The Benefits of Investing in Precious Metals

Precious Metals

Precious metals have been considered a valuable commodity for centuries. At one time, gold and silver was the primary form of currency. Unlike other currencies, these metals have retained their value over time, which is why many investors still use them today.

Here are some of the overarching benefits to keep in mind if you’re considering a precious metal investment strategy.

 

Self-Directed IRA Options

One of the main aspects of precious metal investments that investors enjoy is the ability to open a self-directed IRA. This familiarity makes investing in precious metals more comfortable, approachable, and manageable. As an investor, you maintain control of your assets, determining if and when to sell or buy. 

If you already have an IRA or 401(k), you can even use the assets to perform a rollover into a gold IRA (the umbrella term for precious metal investments). Take some time to research the best gold IRA companies and discuss your options with a financial advisor to find the best path forward.

 

Low Market Volatility and Risk

The aspect of investing in precious metals that makes it so appealing to many investors is the low risk and minimal market volatility. While it’s impossible to rule out the potential for market volatility, most precious metals— gold, in particular— are recession-proof and operate separately from stocks and bonds. 

Many investors use precious metals as their safe haven account— a failsafe to protect some of their assets should periods of economic distress occur. The value of gold and silver continued to rise through the great recession and the pandemic, while other investments toppled. Precious metals are considered more stable and predictable than real estate and other alternative investments.

 

Ideal for Diversification

The continuous increase in value, low risk, and market stability make precious metals an ideal alternative investment for portfolio diversification. 

It’s worth noting that precious metal investments aren’t without flaws. They have extra costs associated with brokerage and storage and lack the same tax advantages and short-term payoffs as other investments. I.e., you won’t see the return on your investment until you sell. 

However, these features are why it’s considered an alternative investment for diversification rather than a primary investment strategy. Talk to a financial advisor to determine whether this alternative investment is the right form of diversification for your investment goals.

 

Tangible Products

There’s something powerful about having a physical commodity to represent your wealth. In our digital world, currency is largely intangible; you won’t find stacks of cash sitting in a vault to access when you need it.

As precious metals are tangible, they also offer simple liquidity. When you decide it’s time to sell, you work with your broker and custodian to make it happen; there’s minimal red tape and fanfare. This feature also contributes to its value as a safe haven investment.

 

Various Formats

In addition to several types of precious metals in which to invest, there are also various formats. When you purchase precious metals, you can choose from coins, bars, and rounds. Keep in mind that you can’t purchase precious metals yourself then transfer them into an IRA; you require a broker to manage the purchase of approved products.

Investing in precious metals isn’t for everyone, but it’s a diversification strategy worth considering. If you’re evaluating alternative investments, consider these benefits of precious metals. 

E-Health
ArticlesMarketsStock Markets

Here’s Why You Should Invest In eHealth Stocks

E-Health

As the eHealth market continues to soar, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, sheds light on this trend and three of the top undervalued eHealth stocks to watch.

The global eHealth market only continues to grow, driven by rising awareness throughout the pandemic of the benefits offered by digital solutions. From remote monitoring tools to telemedicine, eHealth has come into sharp focus for healthcare professionals across the globe.

In turn, retail investors looking to maximize their portfolios are jumping on this trend. As an increasing number of investors look towards eHealth as a means to both combat critical health issues and generate high returns, organisations are seeing demand for digital applications soar. 

In light of this, let’s explore the growing popularity of the eHealth market and the trends associated with this growth. More importantly, let’s take a look at how investors can pick eHealth stocks that are right for them, as well as three undervalued eHealth stocks to watch.

 

The continued growth of the eHealth market

Analysts are expecting eHealth to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.1% during the forecast period of 2022 to 2027, with the expectation of the eHealth segment generating revenue of £46.7 billion in 2022 alone. China is expected to be the largest eHealth market in 2022 with £13.8 billion in revenue, followed by the US with £7.7 billion in revenue.

The major growth drivers of eHealth include the development of technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as increasing demand for health management. In recent years, the number of Internet applications in healthcare have increased exponentially. Using the Internet, healthcare professionals can deliver medical information to consumers more efficiently. 

In particular, technological advancements in electronic health records (EHR) are driving the adoption of eHealth solutions, thereby contributing to the growth of the overall market.

 

The impact of the pandemic on eHealth

The growth of the eHealth industry accelerated during the pandemic as various technologies were used for remote monitoring and health management, including technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. The pandemic also forced various governments to quickly shift patient care and records to eHealth, due to long lockdowns and the fear of further spreading of the virus. In turn, this led to a significant market growth. 

This trend is expected to continue as awareness about the benefits of eHealth become more apparent. Even as the pandemic fizzles, digital health is expected to maintain its strength as healthcare providers and patients take advantage of new technologies and innovations.

Telemedicine remains one of the most important drivers of eHealth as it has increased access to healthcare, reduced person-to-person contact, and ensured continuity of care, as well as providing care for non-Covid emergencies.

 

How to pick the right eHealth stock for you

Investors can find the best eHealth stocks by following the standard parameters for selecting high-growth investments. Looking at revenue growth trends is a suitable place to start. It is typically a pretty good indicator that the company is doing something right. Even small, regular improvements over a long period can be a positive indicator. Both earnings growth and value must go hand in hand for the stock to be worth investing in.

You should also look at a company’s financial statements, which are often available on its investor relations website, both quarterly and annually. This will enable you to see whether revenue and / or profits are growing or declining. Companies that show positive profit growth tend to have financial and operational stability.

Ultimately, a stable eHealth company will possess certain characteristics: revenue growth, keeping debt at a low or medium level, competitiveness in its industry, and effective leadership.

 

Three stocks that are undervalued in the eHealth sector

1. Teladoc Health (TDOC) is arguably one of the brightest representatives of eHealth providers and received a solid boost from the pandemic. The company specializes in telemedicine services – providing medical care remotely over the Internet or phone, which was heavily needed during the pandemic. 

The global telemedicine market is expected to grow at an average rate of 32.1%, reaching an expected £486.9 billion in 2028. With the industry’s steady growth, Teladoc Health seems poised to reap the benefits. 

The bullish long-term outlook for Teladoc Health is supported by the fact that it is already a dominant player in the industry. As of January 2022, the company has a customer base of 76.5 million paying members in more than 12,000 companies. Despite Covid’s diminishing impact on the healthcare industry in 2021, Teladoc was able to increase its number of paid memberships by 50% year-on-year.

This is a clear sign of acceptance of the company’s virtual healthcare services. Teladoc Health is also growing through several strategic mergers and acquisitions. These deals boost earnings by helping to maintain engagement and expand the organisation’s geographical presence. 

Between 2021 and 2025, Teladoc is targeting annual revenue growth of 25% to 30%. This will likely be supported by an increase in paid visits from members, combined with growth in average revenue per member. 

2. American Well Corporation (AMWL) operates as a telemedicine company that provides digital health care. Its application offers emergency care, pediatric care, therapy, population health management, telepsychiatry, pregnancy and postnatal care, and breastfeeding support. 

The company also provides telemedicine equipment, peripherals, TV sets, tablets, and kiosks. There is upside potential to the average target price of £5.97 (about 120% upside).

 

3. 1Life Healthcare, Inc. (ONEM) operates a membership-based primary care platform under the One Medical brand. The company has developed a digital health membership model based on direct consumer enrollment, as well as employer sponsorship. 

Its membership model includes seamless access to digital health services combined with an invitation to in-office health care, which is typically covered by health insurance plans. The company also offers administrative and management services under contracts with physician-owned professional corporations or One Medical Entities. There is upside potential to the average target price of £18.37 (about 172% upside).

Articles

6 Reasons To Pick Up An Instant Loan Today

While traditional loans may take days or weeks to finance, an instant loan provides you with quick access to a personal loan in a matter of minutes.

Unexpected expenses are unavoidable in life, and you may not always have a plan to deal with them.

Whatever the nature of the situation, you will want cash quickly, and while many people can turn to their savings, you may not be so lucky.

You could not have enough money to cover the emergency, leaving you in a hole financially.
Fortunately, you can always depend on other financing options like an instant loan that you can receive in a matter of minutes.

You Can Easily Apply Online

Thanks to digitisation, you can now access a variety of financial products over the internet.
This includes emergency personal loans, and prominent lenders will provide you with a digital option.

All you have to do is:

Visit the official loan website, https://www.jacarandafinance.com.au/ for additional information.
Complete the online application form with your information.
Confirm your identity.
Upload the necessary papers.
Fill out an application and wait for the approval.
If you meet all loan conditions, you may receive an instant loan online without travelling to a bank.

You Can Consolidate Debt

If you have debt spread over many credit cards with exorbitant interest rates, a personal loan may be an option for debt consolidation, particularly credit card debt.

It\’s also one of the most common reasons for taking out a personal loan.
Personal loans offer lower interest rates than credit cards, especially if you have a good credit score.

The best personal loans have a low-interest rate, much lower than the double-digit percentages charged by most credit cards.

You can get a personal loan, pay off your credit card balances, and then make a single payment to your new personal loan servicer.

You\’re Looking For A Less Risky Option To A Payday Loan

If you have bad credit, you may have contemplated taking out a payday loan to finance a purchase.

On the other hand, payday loans are troublesome, even though they might be a convenient way to get cash between paychecks.

A bad or low credit score does not automatically preclude you from borrowing money, but it may need a more thorough examination of your lending choices.

There are a lot of lenders that provide poor credit personal loans and will deal with you regardless of your credit score, including:

A personal loan will nearly always offer lower rates and fees than a payday loan, as well as a longer payback timeframe, so your search will be worthwhile.

Instant Loans can Help With Unexpected Expenses

You may take out a personal loan if you need money right soon to meet bills, an unexpected financial situation, or anything else that requires immediate attention.
Most lenders provide online applications that enable you to find out if you\’ve been accepted in minutes.

Depending on your lender, you may get financing the same day or within a few business days.
An instant loan can be used to pay a variety of expenses, including:
Taking care of past-due mortgage and utility bills
Medical expenses
Expenses for the funeral
An unanticipated vehicle repair
Wedding Expenses
Moving Costs

You\’re Searching for a No-Collateral Loan

One of the advantages of taking out an instant personal loan is that they are usually unsecured loans, meaning they are not secured to assets such as your home or vehicle.

While secured loans usually have lower interest rates, they do come with some risks:
If you fail on a secured loan, you may forfeit the collateral you used to secure the loan.
For example, falling behind on your car loan payments, your vehicle could be repossessed.
You may feel more protected with an unsecured loan since financial difficulties might come at any moment.

Car Loans

If you want to purchase or lease a vehicle, vehicle loans are accessible, but personal loans are also available.

Although vehicle financing offer lower interest rates than personal loans, they are secured loans that require the use of your car as collateral.
Personal loan funds may be a better alternative for you if you\’re concerned about skipping payments and having your automobile repossessed.

Final Word

Sometimes all you need is a bit additional cash to accomplish what you want. Immediate loans may help you bridge the gap and get back on track with a fast, safe, and cheap instant loan.

Cryptocurrency
ArticlesMarketsStock Markets

Three Promising Crypto ETFs to Watch

Cryptocurrency

With investors persistently looking for new ways to diversify their market portfolio, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, outlines three promising crypto ETFs to consider over the next few months. 

Cryptocurrency continues to catch the eye of many investors, with the demand for digital currencies growing significantly year on year. Offering greater choice, independence, and opportunity in their finances, cryptocurrency is a great investment for those willing to accept that this type of trading often comes with risk. 

As part of this trend, crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are soaring in popularity amongst investors, by making it as easy to invest in Bitcoin as it is to buy popular stocks. On top of this, rather than attempting to pick a high-earning crypto yourself, an ETF offers exposure to a basket of different cryptos and provides easier access to the world of cryptocurrency.

In light of this, let’s take a look at the benefits of investing in crypto ETFs and three of the most promising crypto ETFs to watch over the coming months.

 

What is a crypto ETF?

An ETF is a pool of shares or assets that are grouped together, then sold on a stock exchange. This effectively allows for a variety of shares or assets to be owned through the ownership of just one share in the ETF.

A crypto ETF is very similar to your standard ETF. However, rather than tracking an index or basket of assets, a crypto ETF tracks the price of one or more digital tokens. This enables you to leverage the price of Bitcoin without having to learn the intricacies of how Bitcoin works.

Many investors are interested in crypto ETFs due to the benefits they bring at relatively low effort. Whether that be flexibility with trading, diversifying your portfolio, or lower cost of ownership, ETFs are a simple and easy way of gaining exposure to Bitcoin. 

 

The top three crypto-ETFs with the highest growth potential

1. The Siren Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (BLCN) is one of the first ETFs to focus on blockchain technology. With assets under management (AUM) at £142.5m, the fund tracks an index of global companies committed to blockchain development. Although the index committee is not active, it has broad authority in selecting companies. 

The main criterion used to evaluate a company is the level of material resources it has committed to researching, developing, supporting, and expanding the use of blockchain technology. It appears that distributed ledger technology, the blockchain, will play a central role in the economic transactions of the future. 

Given the recent weakness amid a general market correction, BLCN shares could be an interesting buy after breaking resistance of £27.3, in which case a move towards £34.95 is likely, making the growth potential 28.0%.​

2. ​​​Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) is an actively managed portfolio, mainly composed of global blockchain-focused stocks. With assets under management (AUM) at £671.6m, BLOK seeks to invest in companies developing or using what it calls “transformational data sharing technologies”, primarily focusing on blockchain technology. 

Blockchain, the technology that drives Bitcoins, is a distributed peer-to-peer ledger that facilitates transaction recording and asset tracking in the business environment. The growing blockchain ecosystem is a rapidly changing environment that includes many different industries because of the large number of applications. This relatively young market has great growth potential as the number of users increases and developers continue to create the so-called new Internet. 

Should it break resistance at £24.2, a growth of 34.4% is likely, changing the levels towards £32.52.

3. ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) provides access to Bitcoin (BTC) dynamics in an ETF shell. The fund does not invest directly in Bitcoin but invests in Bitcoin futures, this is worth keeping in mind as there may be some lag in the price of Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin futures are traded in contango, which means that the next month’s price is higher than the previous months. Every time the fund sells futures contracts closer to expiration, it sells the cheaper contract to buy the more expensive one. This process affects the fund’s net asset value (NAV), which causes it to lag slightly behind spot Bitcoin. Nevertheless, this ETF is the most affordable way to have exposure to Bitcoin via stock market instruments. 

Overall, BTC dynamics have been good lately, on the back of rising demand, BITO stock could be interesting to buy after breaking resistance at £18.5, the growth potential of 36.3% is possible, making a new price of £25.22. 

Unregulated Investment
ArticlesFinance

Unregulated Investments – Will This Discourage Potential Investors?

Unregulated Investment

The authors are Rob Goodhew, director, Restructuring Advisory, Ben Boorer, associate managing director Business Intelligence and Investigations (BII) and Patrick Crumplin, director, Expert Services at Kroll

Unregulated investments, many of which are high-risk, not only in the sense of the asset class but also potentially in terms of the underlying assets, and some of which are just outright scams, have become a major problem in the UK. Since the introduction of pension freedoms in April 2015, the UK has seen a growth in unregulated, unlisted, high-yield investments being marketed and sold to members of the public, often as low-risk opportunities. While such investments might seem low-risk at first glance, not least because of the security and assurances set out in the promotional materials, claims of such high returns in an era of low interest rates should raise alarm bells.

Research highlighted by the FCA in 2019 indicated that 42% of pension savers, equivalent to over five million people, could be at risk of falling victim to one or more of the common tactics used by pension scammers. Illustratively, if each of those potential investors had £50,000 to invest, the potential prize for those promoting and running such schemes would be a staggering £250 billion (bn). It’s not surprising that scheme operators, whether scammers or not, might want to access that kind of money.

Classifying such investment schemes is not straightforward, but there are certain features that characterize the problem. There are many types of underlying businesses, schemes and assets on offer such as property development, foreign exchange, cryptocurrencies, agriculture and forestry, precious metals and even sports betting. In terms of property development, there has been a proliferation of unregulated investment schemes marketed as unitized property-backed investments, such as parking spaces in a carpark, storage units, or rooms in hotels, student accommodation and care homes. Typically, investors are offered high-yield bonds or loan notes with a range of maturities, often over a longer term, meaning that capital could be tied up for some time. Advertised returns are regularly up to 10% or more and some schemes include an attractive buyback clause.

Given the underlying income-generating “bricks and mortar” assets, it’s easy to see why such opportunities might be attractive. It’s a logical proposition that appears safe, but the reality may be quite different. If the advertised returns weren’t challenging enough in the current low-interest environment, commissions of up to 20% or more that are usually paid to sales agents or “introducers,” together with sometimes equally high management fees or other payments to the scheme operators, can be crippling, potentially causing a systemic flaw in the investment model. After operating costs have been paid and possibly other debt serviced, the underlying business should have a strong performance to be able to repay the original capital invested—and all of this assumes that the scheme runs perfectly and is not just being a scam from the outset. While some unregulated investment schemes might be well-intentioned initially—potentially adding to the attractiveness of the scheme at the time of promotion—they may go on to face challenges with their investments and their operations.

This can result in issues snowballing over time to the point where the situation is irrecoverable. It may be the case that investors find out about such issues too late after attempts have already been made to recover the situation; by that time, investments might have become compromised, with value lost.

Of course, it’s important to have a good understanding of the investment opportunity beyond the glossy brochures, websites and sales talk from the beginning. Investment propositions can appear immensely attractive and credible, but it is vital that investors have a proper understanding of the true nature of the underlying business, any discretion the management might exercise to use capital, the legal structure, the nature of the financial instrument being offered, the involvement of introducers/agents and their fees and regulated parties, security over underlying assets, the trading history of the management team, and the rights of the investor.

Most of the drivers that contribute to the sale of high-risk, unregulated investments have existed for some time now.

  • People are free to invest their funds as they wish. The risk is to savings in whatever form, but pension freedoms have significantly increased the amount of funds available which has attracted the attention of investment scheme promoters seeking capital.
  • There is no requirement to take advice when drawing down a pension or investing, and research suggests that most people don’t take advice when accessing their pension funds.
  • The low interest rate environment remains.
  • Regulations permit the marketing of such investments to certain types of investor.

 

Compounding the above, COVID-19 may have made the situation worse. In addition to the obvious economic influences and stresses, lockdown has forced us to operate in a more virtual world, and we are more isolated and vulnerable than usual.

The marketing of unregulated investments to individuals is restricted to “high-net-worth” and/or “sophisticated” investors. However, potential investors qualifying as high-net-worth or sophisticated may not necessarily fully appreciate the risks associated with the investment, and those classifications do not provide immunity to old fashioned sales tactics and unconscious bias. Further, the assessment of an investor as high-net-worth or sophisticated is essentially one of self-certification and takes moments to complete. In reality, many of these schemes are marketed using persuasive or even high-pressure sales tactics to ordinary people, who may have raised funds by cashing in pensions or other life savings, through inheritance, or even through refinancing their home.

The authorities are well aware of the issue, but is enough being done? The UK government introduced a ban on cold calling in relation to pensions that came into effect in January 2019.  At the same time, the FCA was investigating London Capital & Finance, which collapsed later that month. So, there are legacy issues, but has the problem now gone away? Unfortunately, the answer to that appears to be no. There have been public awareness campaigns, which are important, and the FCA does, on occasion, take action against unregulated firms, but resourcing and the potential scale of the problem outside the regulatory perimeter mean that not very much has changed. The ban on pensions cold calling was a welcome step forward, but it may have had little impact on the promotion of high-risk, unregulated investments.

On a more positive note, the Work and Pensions Committee recently conducted a major inquiry into the problem of pension scams, making a range of recommendations in relation to reporting, prevention, enforcement and victim support. Additional legislation has also recently been passed or is in the pipeline. The Pension Schemes Act 2021 received royal assent earlier this year, providing for new preventative regulations and new enforcement powers for the pension regulator. Separately, the FCA recently issued a discussion paper to canvass views on changes that can be made to strengthen the FCA’s financial promotion rules for high-risk investments and for authorized firms which approve financial promotions. Positive steps indeed, but all of this takes time to put in place and to become effective.

In the meantime, if such a scheme collapses, the fallout may be complicated by poor record keeping, complex group structures, intra-group lending and the existence of charges over the underlying assets. This means that it might not be straightforward to establish what happened, and there may be competing claims for the remaining assets. More clearly needs to be done to prevent it from getting to this stage in the first place, but for investors who find they have a problem with their investment, they must understand their rights under the investment documentation and be aware of their options in terms of recovering their money.

Bear and Bull Market
ArticlesMarkets

How to Trade Bull and Bear Markets in Denmark

Bear and Bull Market

Many traders trade in Denmark, but it’s not always easy to make money in the markets. Read this article, and you will see why trading can be hard in a market that is in a bear trend.

But, there are also possibilities you can profit in a bull market.

There are several trading strategies to make money when the markets are trending, but if you want an easy way to get started with trading, one kind of strategy will help shorten your learning curve. You can also check out Saxo for more info.

 

So what is swing trading?

At its core, swing trading means opening positions for short periods. It could be anywhere from hours/days, or even weeks. The idea is to generate more income during a trending market and limit the risk when trading sideways or during a bearish market. This article will focus on swinging trade in bull and bear markets.

You should try taking trades that fit your daily schedule to swing trade. Depending on what works best for you, it could be after university, lunch break or even after work. You can not expect to make money if you plan your day around trading because there are only 24 hours in a day.

It would be challenging to stay focused if you tried swinging trades all day. But, when done right, it will be a simple, fun and easy way of increasing your income without working too much.

Swing Trading in Denmark, in the finance world, has two general types of markets. There is a Bull market and a Bear market. In a bear market, prices go down, and all investors lose money, but in a bull, market prices go up, and you can make money if you know how to trade it correctly.

 

A Bull Market

In a bull market, traders who have bought stock can profit from a price increase – this is because they will be able to sell the stock for more than they bought it for or sell it later at a profit even though they have already made their money back now that the price is higher.

So now what? You want to buy those stocks as well! A popular investing strategy called dollar-cost averaging lets you invest small amounts of money over some time to minimise risk.

So you could buy shares at regular intervals, but what is there left for you to do?

If prices go up, it’s apparent that it goes well for the stockholders and means that other traders who want to trade in this market might be put off because they think that the markets are not trending down.

It means that swing trading will be difficult because you won’t find any opportunities until the price has reached resistance or support levels where other traders will start retaking positions.

So basically, swing trading is difficult when prices move sideways; there isn’t much movement, so the chances are high that many people will sit on their hands until the next trend appears.

 

A Bear Market

When bearish trends are long-term, they can be difficult to trade because there are no clear entry points. The best way of trading in a bearish or down-trending market is investing in the trend.

If you wait for proof that prices go lower before buying any shares, then you could end up waiting forever! It means that if you buy too soon, your losses will be more significant when the price starts going up again.

 

Bottom line

Several strategies help you trade in a down-trending market without the high risk involved when trying to buy after prices have gone up. You can try short-selling instead of using your own money to buy stocks when bearish trends appear on your chart. Short selling involves borrowing stock from someone else, selling it and hoping to repurchase it later at a lower price.

Financial Crisis
ArticlesFinance

Ukrainian Crisis Worsens Financial Difficulties in the UK

Financial Crisis

Research by KIS Finance has revealed that as a direct result of the rising cost of living, 57% of people in the UK are either already struggling financially, or expect to do so in the very near future.

With no solution to the war in Ukraine in sight, the situation is set to get much worse, as the economic impact of the crisis starts to hit home here in the UK.
Against a backdrop of rising inflation, which is already at its highest level in almost 30 years, and increasing food and energy costs, the situation in Russia and Ukraine will add further upward pressure on prices in the UK.

With some experts now predicting that inflation may reach as high as 8.3% in April (far higher than the 7.25% predicted by the Bank of England back in February), the average UK household is facing a very challenging time.

 

Key Statistics

KIS Finance’s research found:

•27% are already struggling financially as direct result of the rising cost of living.

•30% anticipate financial problems in the very near future as the impact of rising prices bites.

•35.5% of 18 – 24 year olds report they are already financially struggling.

•36% of over 55’s are worried that the financial pinch will hit them shortly as prices continue to rise.

•The South East is the area most affected to date, with 30% already struggling financially.

•22% of 18 – 34 year olds have had to take an additional job just to make ends meet.

Over a quarter of people are already struggling financially

As the impact of rising inflation starts to really bite, over a quarter of those surveyed report struggling to make ends meet. With real wages in the UK predicted to be lower by 2026 than they were in 2008, this worrying trend looks set to remain for some time.

The Resolution Foundation has forecast that current inflation will mean that the typical UK household income will fall by around £1000 a year in real terms. That’s a fall on a scale that we’ve not seen since the 1970s and one that will lead to many more people struggling to make ends meet.

Research by KIS has found that only 30% of people report a rise in pay since before the pandemic, whilst 70% have seen their wages either stagnate or fall. Against this backdrop, the effect of high inflation rates, alongside the growing impact of the crisis in Ukraine, are set to have devastating results for many households.

 

Cost of everyday essentials are soaring

Fuel costs are soaring

As a direct impact of the conflict in Ukraine, oil prices are continuing to rise at an unprecedented rate. Costs were already soaring before the conflict, but now oil prices are at their highest level in 14 years and the price of gas has doubled. In the UK it’s predicted that this could mean that the average household fuel bill is likely to be in the region of £3000 per year. Something that could push many families’ budgets to breaking point.

Whilst the UK only gets 6% of its oil and 5% of its gas from Russia, the impact on the global market and particularly Europe, which relies far more heavily on Russian fuel, will have a knock on effect on prices here in the UK.

Petrol prices have soared in the UK since the invasion of Ukraine, with unleaded prices increasing by 3.5% and diesel prices by 4% in just 2 weeks. With prices continuing to rise things look set to get even more desperate for UK households.

 

Food price rises set to place a further strain on household budgets

Families are also facing hikes in food prices, as the impact of events in Ukraine hit global food supply chains. Whilst we don’t directly import many foodstuffs from Russia, shortages elsewhere may impact on other countries’ ability to export food items to the UK.

In addiation, large quantities of fertiliser are imported into the UK from Russia and rising costs will certainly have an impact on the cost of farming here at home. As the world’s biggest exporter of synthetic fertiliser, Russia in responsible for more than a fifth of the supply of urea, which is a key fertiliser used in the UK. Increases like this in production costs will certainly further impact on food prices here at home.

 

Rising global metal costs leading to multiple price increases

We’re also likely to see price increases across a range of items which rely on the supply of various metals as a key component. With Russia as a leading supplier of metals across the globe, the impact of shortages will hit numerous industries, from canned foods to car production. Some car manufactures have already suspended production in Russia. With Toyota and Volkswagen operating large scale manufacturing hubs there, the impact is likely to be felt in the lack of availability of new cars back here in the UK.

 

A third fear that the worst is still to come

In our survey, nearly a third of people reported genuine concern that rising prices and the increasing cost of living would have a negative impact on their lives in the very near future. Whilst some have been able to make use of savings built up over lock down to help meet increasing costs, this temporary buffer won’t last for long and the impact of a permanently higher cost of living is a real worry for many.

As energy prices soar, pushing up both the direct cost for heating and powering our homes, and the indirect cost of other goods and services, the impact on household budgets is one that few can ignore.

 

Young people hit the hardest by rising costs

Over 35% of those aged 18 to 24 are reporting that they are already struggling to get by financially. Research by the think tank Demos, has found that young people are currently the hardest hit and face the ‘greatest uphill battle’ to make ends meet. With potentially higher levels of debt and lower incomes, it’s this generation that may find it the hardest to take on additional expenses as costs rise.

As their expenditure increases on day to day living, their ability to save is likely to be hard hit. For many this will mean that the dream of saving a deposit to get onto the property ladder will now be even less of a reality than before.

 

22% of young people forced to take additional jobs

As many of those aged 18 to 24 struggle to make ends meet, nearly a quarter have had to take an additional job to get by. Whilst people may choose to have a second job to supplement their income, many young people are now finding that they have no alternative if they are to manage financially.

When asked why they took on an additional role, some responded that they were worried about job security and took on other jobs in case their primary role was at risk in the future. Whilst this may boost their finances in the short term, the additional pressure of longer hours and juggling multiple jobs may well take its toll on the well-being of those that find themselves in this situation.

 

36% of over 55’s are worried that things are going to get a lot worse

Whilst younger people are already feeling the impact of the rising cost of living, those aged over 55 are the most worried about the impact on their finances in the coming months and anticipate finding themselves in difficulties soon. Whilst they may have higher levels of savings, anyone who is thinking about retirement in the next few years may now be reconsidering whether they can afford to do so.

 

South East the hardest hit

30% of those in the South East report already being in financial difficulties as a direct result of rising costs. Whilst average wages may be higher, increases in living costs are being acutely felt by those living there. As interest rates now rise, those with large mortgages will feel the pinch even more as monthly repayments increase alongside other rising costs.



Holly Andrews, MD at KIS Finance comments on the findings:

“Many households have already been struggling over recent months as they have seen their real wages fall as inflation rises. As the impact of the events in Ukraine start to hit our economy, we know that even more people will be facing difficult times making ends meet.

The interest rate rise to 0.5% in February has already impacted on the housing market, with banks and building societies withdrawing over 500 mortgage products from the market in March. In fact we are now seeing the highest average rates in 7 years for a 2 year fixed mortgage. The Bank of England’s decision to increase interest rates has been in response to increasing inflation, but with the current global uncertainty and related price increases, we may be facing a further rise from the next review later this month.

With the cost of borrowing increasing alongside the rising cost of living, those saving for a deposit will find this even more challenging. Similarly those applying for a mortgage may find it more difficult to meet income requirements, as disposable income is hit by the rising cost of essentials.

As everyday costs rise finding ways to save money is becoming even more important. Set out below are some of our top tips for saving money on petrol costs”.

Digitalisation Finance
ArticlesFinance

How Digitalization Is Impacting Financial Services

Digitalisation Finance

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that the majority of our financial services were mainly accessible in person. You had to visit your local bank branch or financial service business to access help, and it was a time-consuming process for all involved.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how we access the financial services we require. The majority of finance-related processes are being carried out online, allowing businesses, customers, and employees to benefit in a range of ways. You may know that the entire financial industry has been transformed, but you may be surprised to learn that digitalization is impacting financial services in some of the following ways.

 

Accepting Loan Applications Online

Whenever you needed to borrow small or large sums of money to purchase a house, car, or something else, you often needed to set time aside in your day to visit a loan provider.

Now, we have programs, software, and technology like MeridianLink API to move the entire process online. Most credit unions run such applications to streamline the whole application process for both businesses and potential customers.

Using benchmarks, algorithms, and customer information, decisions about lending can be made online in just minutes rather than with human intervention in person.

 

Greater Consumer Trust

New technology can be daunting, and not all consumers have been quick to adjust to online banking and other financial and technological advancements. However, consumer trust is growing with more and more services going online.

It has also been accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As technology has enabled us to access financial services without visiting a physical business location, the average person has become more trusting as they slowly learn just how many exciting and innovative features they have been able to take advantage of in the online space.

Now, traditional financial institutions are worried. At least 88% are concerned about losing revenue to fintech companies.

 

Innovative Auditing Strategies

Audits are an integral part of confirming a business or company’s transparency. Companies are not always managed by their owners, so the owners can hire professionals to vet fiscal information and ensure all financial statements within a business are a fair and accurate representation of the business’s actual position.

This was traditionally a long and arduous process, but digitization has transformed it for the benefit of the auditor and company being audited. Technology is now an integral part of the auditing strategy, providing them with better access to company data and an improved means of investigating that data. The result can generally be a high-quality audit that delivers excellent value to stakeholders for peace of mind in their financial position.

 

Improved Customer Relationships

Artificial intelligence (AI) used to be something we feared when watching it take over in science fiction and horror films. Now, it’s a helpful and practical technology we can integrate into most industries and businesses, and something that we even reward companies for having.

AI regarding customer relationships has been a game-changer in many companies. A combination of machine learning and AI has allowed us to gather as much data as possible about our customers to understand them and provide a better service. We can also make decisions based on real-time data and provide hyper-personal and relevant services for customers.

AI has even enabled us to create chatbots that work alongside humans and make business practices more efficient. Chatbots have allowed customers to take care of minor issues by themselves, rather than relying on human staff members to step in and solve them. With this technology, businesses may notice increased productivity levels and efficiencies that may not have been possible before.

 

Money Savings

The cloud has been a primary driver in cost reductions, efficiency, flexibility, and scalability. Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars housing bulky servers and being limited in data security and accessibility, businesses can now utilize this innovative technology and transform their business models in the process.

Many financial institutions have taken advantage of the cloud’s benefits and have undergone the great data migration. While there may be some risks associated with the cloud, the money savings have been enough to lure in millions of businesses in their droves.

Clients can choose the level of service they need, get rid of traditional hardware, and enjoy on-demand service. It has truly had a dramatic impact on financial services and many other industries.

As the years have passed, technology has become more advanced, and businesses have been transformed. While you may be aware of the role it plays in your everyday life, you may not have realized just how many companies have been able to streamline their services for the benefit of their bottom line and their customers’ experiences.

Articles

Three Ways to Build Ecommerce Wealth With Minimal Upfront Financial Investment

If you’ve been brainstorming ways to increase your wealth and boost your financial earnings, you should think about starting an ecommerce site. In fact, over 70% of small businesses in the US make money by selling their products or services online.
Additionally, 69% of Americans are known to regularly shop online and 25% shop online at least once a month. In light of these encouraging statistics, it’s a fair claim to say ecommerce is here to stay. You can potentially earn a tidy profit by starting your own ecommerce site. But how?
Earning money with an online business is certainly achievable. However, most startup ecommerce entrepreneurs don’t realize it doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg to get off the ground. Here are three simple ways you can start making money in the ecommerce world without breaking your bank account.

Build a DIY Ecommerce Site

The benefits of bootstrapping your own ecommerce site are multitudinous and this option is ideal for the free-spirited entrepreneur. If you have a very distinct idea of how your sales website should look and feel to your viewers, a DIY site is for you. You have full control of site navigation, page-load speeds, and creative expression. A DIY ecommerce site also allows you to scale and adjust according to your financial goals.

There are a few disadvantages to this option. Building your own website can be relatively simple to start with a super user-friendly content management (CMS) such as WordPress. However, if you’re technically challenged and have no clue about any kind of online publishing or selling, the DIY option can present frustrations. Still, there are inexpensive workarounds to help you through newbie learning curves.

Starting an ecommerce website on your own requires minimal upfront costs. However, you will need to pay for quality hosting such as a WooCommerce hosting platform. This ensures your site speed is fast, and online purchases are safe and seamless for your customers.

Specialized ecommerce hosting is also a godsend if you are new to ecommerce website maintenance and ownership because it can automate a lot of functions that, as a newcomer, might be fiddly. The cost is very affordable, and monthly service packages are available to suit any budget.

Third-Party Ecommerce Site

This might be a better option for new online entrepreneurs who don’t want to tinker with programming, design or coding. Third-party services such as Shopify.com provide all-inclusive packages with pre-made themes. It’s basically a one-stop solution for building an ecommerce website.
The downside to this option is that service fees and hosting costs can get very expensive. This is especially true the bigger your website gets. While some “boxed” ecommerce website packages proclaim low monthly charges at first, the add-ons to make your site functional and appealing to your customers can add up over time. Additionally, fees are typically taken from each sale you make using this method of online selling.
Furthermore, you have very little freedom with site design and creative expression. Third-party ecommerce sites tend to be very cookie-cutter. You can make creative changes, but if you don’t have the knowledge, you may wind up paying a professional web designer to do it.

Sell On Other Websites

This option is for budding entrepreneurs who want to sell online without having their own ecommerce website. Online marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy or Ebay allow you to make money online by selling your products on their platforms. While this is a no-brainer for anyone wanting to skip over the challenges of owning their own website, it isn’t necessarily a cheap option.

To explain, every online marketplace wants their cut from your profits. For instance, Esty charges a fee for every product you list on their site. Ebay takes a percentage of your sales. And if you want to sell on Amazon, you’ll be expected to buy into a monthly seller\’s plan. Furthermore, some online marketplaces tack on additional transaction fees after customers purchase your products.

Weighing Financial Costs and Gains With an Ecommerce Website

After considering these three main options available for selling online, hopefully you’re in a better position to take the plunge and make money with an ecommerce website. To be sure, each option presents different advantages and disadvantages. Your choice to grow your wealth through ecommerce depends largely on your budget and the amount of time you want to invest in your endeavors.

Finance market
ArticlesFinanceMarkets

Financial Market in Athens Now on the Road to Recovery

Finance market

The business world has previously reeled from the economic impact brought on by Covid. The financial-market implications of the pandemic has no doubt been huge but despite this, key markets in the Eurozone are now slowly recovering.

 

Economists’ Forecast Trajectory of the Recovery

In recent weeks, Greek economists have begun putting out more positive forecasts on Athens’ economic growth, With the Omicron now fully managed, reopening efforts have began and global supply chains are now slowly getting back in order. In fact, passenger traffic just increased by 50% despite the 2021 May lockdown in Athens.

 

Business Travel Also Projected to Rise

With passenger traffic soaring at its highest peak yet, business travel is also projected to increase. Using luggage storage in Athens is a simple way to enjoy all your stops in the city without the hassle and stress of hauling your luggage around with you. There are just a few simple steps to store your luggage for the day:

  • Search online for the best location to drop off your luggage
  • Book your luggage with that location
  • Drop off all your luggage
  • Begin your ultimate day trip!

 

Greek Islands to be Revived

The government has planned a structural revamping for Greek Islands’ transport system as early as 2020 which came in time in the revival efforts of its travel market. The government, in partnership with Volkswagen, is aiming for a more sustainable way to travel within the island especially since it’s slowly reopening its doors.

With such plans, you can now set sail and take an all-day cruise to the islands of Poros, Hydra, and Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.  While breathing in the salty sea air and stunning views of the three islands, you get to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of these Saronic Islands. enjoy these activities throughout your day:

  • Entertainment on board such as Greek dancing and music
  • A buffet lunch
  • Plenty of time to leisurely stroll the islands and shop
  • Opportunities for guided tour of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina Island

On this all-day excursion, these islands take you back in time when you walk down the marbled-cobbled streets and take in the historic stone buildings. With no wheeled vehicles allowed, you can easily imagine that hustle and bustle of carts, donkeys, and mules on the island of Hydra.

 

The Economy of Athens

Athens, being the capital of Greece, has a rich economy and the same can be said of it’s culture and history. It experienced sharp downturn in 2020 when it comes to economic growth although it has been forecasted that it’s set to experience a five-year trend of increased economic freedom.

With the economy on the road to recovery, visits to historical sites in Athens are also set increase.The top sites to see in Athens include:

  • Acropolis of Athens: located cliffside above the city, holds some of the most significant ancient buildings of Greek history such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus was a former temple dedicated to the “Olympian” Zeus who was the head of the Olympic gods
  • Panathenaic Stadium hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896 is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble.
  • Mount Lycabettus is a limestone hill located in central Athens. You can take a railway that climbs the hill to the highest point in the center of the capital city.
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theater on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia. It was a venue for music concerts and now holds the Athens Festival each year from May to October.

 

Authentic Greek Businesses: Food, Trade & More

As a city rich in trading imports and exports, the city is no doubt alive with amazing food and goods selections. Mealtimes in Athens may look a little later than what you are used to. Lunch time is usually between 1:30 and 3:00, and dinner is usually between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Some of the most touristy places will serve food at earlier hours, however you may not see many locals in attendance. 

Also, breakfast is not the most important meal in Greece and many places do not offer it. If you’re looking for restaurants where gourmet food is more important than the price, here are some of the favorites in Athens:

  • Aleria Restaurant serves contemporary Mediterranean food using the best seasonal ingredients and area known specialties. Their wine list includes top artisanal wines from local producers and from around the world.
  • Kuzina is located on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city and giving Acropolis views. The menu changes throughout the year, only offering a few year-round dishes. Dinner is served from 5:00 p.m. to midnight.
  • Geros Tou Moria is a 90- year-old tavern that serves classic Greek dishes while you enjoy music and dancing each night. You can sit outdoors under the grapevines with views of Acropolis or sit inside closer to the music and dancing.

If you’re looking for authentic but medium-priced food, here are some of the top options:

  • The Old Tavern of Psarras opened in 1898 and is known for their fresh seafood, meat, and vegetarian options. This casual atmosphere offers live music, house wine, and outdoor seating.
  • Kostas is known for their gyros and souvlaki in the heart of the city. They offer pork or beef with fries, fresh veggies, and their signature tomato sauce. This is the best option for food on the go as the seating is limited.
  • O Thanasis has the best gyros, souvlaki, and kebabs, and is also located in the heart of the city. They offer more seating along the pedestrian street just off the Monastiraki Square. If you’re looking for a restaurant with flexible hours, they are open all day from 9:00am to 1:30 a.m.

 

Market Outlook for Athens

From its economy to financial landscape, you now have everything you need to plan if you’re planning to invest or take a trip to the capital city of Athens. Whatever you decide, you can do so much more if you store your luggage all day in one location as you conduct your business.

Articles

Did you know limousine services can save you money?


Though chauffeur hires are usually seen as an unnecessary use of money, the truth is that there are situations in which they are quite cost-efficient.
That long, beautiful car stopping right where you are. That elegant chauffeur stepping out to open the rear door for you. That gorgeous and huge cabin just for you and whoever is traveling with you. Beautiful décor to soothe your eyes, smooth music to please your ears, your favorite drinks to suit your taste… it is almost impossible to resist the numerous ways in which a limousine pampers you.
For most of us, the only reason why limousine services are not part of our routine is their cost; at a first glance, they are much more expensive than taxis or app rides, let alone public transportation. However, it is necessary to mention “at a first glance” because there are many variables to analyze. This article will show you that, in the end, limousine services deserve more attention than they get.

Limousines are safer


All limousine services are arranged beforehand, whether through an app or a phone call. Therefore, you do not need to worry about anything on the day: the car is going to arrive at the specified place and time. You will have no problems like app rides repeatedly canceling on you late at night, a taxi stop out of cars when you need one the most, or spending too much time alone on an empty street.
Another point is that building a strong image is essential to any limousine service. All chauffeurs are extensively trained and subjected to strict work protocols, not to mention that the company will be open to any reports you may have. In other words, you can expect only the best service and, in case something still goes wrong, you will have the means to report it and eventually come to a solution.

Limousines are healthier

The concern with their image is also the reason why limousine companies keep their cars clean and well-maintained all the time. For you, that means not only a pleasant cabin where to ride, but also a cabin with pure air, clean surfaces, the absence or mold or bugs, and no odors at all. Unfortunately, that is not the reality of several taxis and most of the vehicles employed in public transportation.
Choosing a limousine hire will benefit your ears as well. Older buses, cars and trains usually have a loud engine, not to mention clanking noise from defective trim parts. High-end cars are designed to reach as close as possible to absolute silence inside, so you can perfectly carry a conversation with your travel group or even catch up with some work while you have not arrived at your destination.

Limousines are more predictable

Arranging the ride beforehand allows you to rest assured that you are going to have a car available as you specified, and that it is going to have a trustworthy driver, as mentioned. Besides that, these services offer all-inclusive prices: you will sign a comprehensive contract that specifies the allowed luggage, what costs are included, and even what protection will be offered in case of an emergency.
With that contract, you are free from the problem of a driver taking a longer route to make you pay more, and the hassle of having unexpected expenses such as toll and luggage fees. Not to mention you will be informed of what assistance you are going to obtain in case of need. When we travel to a new place and/or are on a tight schedule, such predictability is more valuable than some dollars.
We know that the cost of a chauffeur service in Paris is usually high. However, this text aims to show you that such price does not come exclusively from luxury or ostentation: limousine services can, indeed, be a rational choice once you consider all factors involved. What do you think of that side of limousine rides?

Issues

Q1 2022

Welcome to the Q1 edition of Wealth & Finance International Magazine. As always, with every issue we endeavour to provide fund managers, alongside institutional and private investors with the very latest industry news in the traditional and alternative investment spheres.

This year we have seen already seen all kinds of weather, news, developments, and companies come and go. Pushing further into this year, we look for inspiration everywhere as we head towards spring. Here we have a varied selection of driven businesses tirelessly searching for new ways to succeed.

With AI at the cutting edge of the industry, some of these businesses have achieved full digitisation throughout the time of the pandemic. For many, this has been something on the cards for a long time but for others, this has merely been accelerated by the state of the world. With more people working from home, or isolating, there has been a huge demand for digitalisation and virtual meetings, data recording, and more.

As the year unfolds, we are looking forward to what is to come from an abundance of businesses in the financial world. The businesses in this issue have all come such a long way and, for many, they have achieved more than they ever could have wished for.

Here at Wealth & Finance we sincerely hope that you enjoy reading this issue and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Salaries
ArticlesFinance

How to Help Employees Stretch Their Salaries

Salaries

The number of people finding it hard to keep up with bills and credit commitments has doubled since the start of the pandemic, leaving many with an unsustainable burden of debt. Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows expenses are only set to mount, finding that households on low incomes will spend nearly on fifth of their income on energy bills by April.

With this comes a new source of stress and anxiety for employees, as well as a renewed impetus for employers to consider their staff’s financial wellbeing. Poor financial wellbeing can be a key contributor to several mental health conditions, and if left unchecked, it can start to affect employees’ ability to function at work.

To offer support during this time, employee benefits expert Sodexo Engage shares how  to help employees stretch their salaries and improve their financial wellbeing.

 

1. Financial education

Historically, financial literacy has received little time in the classroom, leaving many unaware of the risks associated with certain financial products. In fact, research conducted by Profile Pensions revealed that one in four millennials find pensions confusing, and more than half (53%) wish their employer would explain pensions and benefits to them.

Through financial education, employers can turn the dial and play a key role in making their staff aware of the options available to them – not just while they’re in debt, but also by advising on preventative measures for the future. Offering calculators and cost comparison tools can help employees work out the best approach for them and how much cheaper an alternative could be to their existing credit cards and loans.

 

2. Financial wellbeing services

While nearly a quarter (23%) of employees report their organisation has amplified their focus on financial wellbeing in response to the pandemic, the CIPD only found small improvements in activity to promote financial wellbeing other than signposting people to external sources of advice.

There is no shortage of financial wellbeing initiatives that employers can provide to close this gap. For instance, helping employees to access a loan, which is paid back through their salary, could be a welcome first step to achieving financial security. It also means that employers can offer loans to a greater range of employees than the high street and help them consolidate any debts that may have accumulated. Additionally, Christmas savings clubs and holiday saving programmes are other tools that can help people plan for a large expenditure and offer financial resilience.

 

3. eVouchers and cashback cards

eVouchers and cashback cards are another effective way to maximise the spending power in people’s pockets and ensure your employees can benefit from discounts on things that they really want. In a Mastercard survey, 41% even said gift cards were the top item on wish lists in 2021, highlighting their value to consumers today.

Employers can also offer their teams a cashback card, which gives them a percentage of what they spend on a purchase back in their account. Cashback cards are more than just a way for employees to treat themselves but can go a long way in cutting down the costs of everyday expenses. For an employer, they can also be used to reward your staff by topping up their card instantly to celebrate anything from long-service, an on-the-spot reward, or a promotion.

 

4. Salary sacrifice schemes

Salary sacrifice programs can be especially beneficial for employees, and often make much-needed services far more accessible. Salary sacrifice allows employees to deduct a portion of their monthly pay and put it directly towards an essential expense, such as childcare, a railcard, a new phone, or private health services. In fact, over half of British businesses are leveraging the salary sacrifice benefits available for workplace pensions.

Through salary sacrifice certain services are much more attainable, such as childcare, may be available at a reduced rate compared to those offered to the public. Many of these services can be essential support for employees and not only minimises their financial woes but reaffirms their value to an organisation.

 

Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments:

“The enduring cost of living crisis has left many feeling the pinch, making it crucial that employers support their teams with a truly holistic approach during this time. While a salary raise may seem like the obvious solution, it’s not the only way to help employees with their finances. Whether this entails taking the time to educate their staff or providing benefits that help stretch their salary, employers should dig deep to ensure their workforce takes the right steps to financially secure their future.

“It’s important to bear in mind that money woes can also be a leading cause of stress and anxiety. It can often result in poor physical health too, such as sleep loss or stress-induced headaches. As such, financial education or salary sacrifice schemes also play a key part in ensuring the overall wellbeing of a workforce and should not be neglected.”