Archive for the 'Business' Category

The Bank of England vs the banks of England – Negative Interest Rates

What’s wrong with negative interest rates?

The problem with low and negative rates is that banks don’t like them. Which may sound like good news. Especially in a newsletter about taking on the financial establishment.

And perhaps it really is good news for those of us trying to get or refinance a mortgage. At least it would be good news in the short run.

But here’s the thing. When bankers aren’t busy wreaking havoc with your money or ripping you off (or both), they do perform some useful functions. They lend money.

And if they can’t do so at a decent profit, well, they won’t do so.

Sure, borrowing at 0% sounds good to you and me. But would you lend someone money at that rate?

Negative interest rates mean bankers are agreeing to lose money on their lending. Does that sound like something they would do?

And if they did do it, what do you think would happen to the bank over time? It would start to struggle.

In other words, negative interest rates do so much damage to banks that they undermine the banks’ lending activities. And even their financial soundness.

Banks then pass this lack of revenue on to their depositors. In the form of fees on accounts, negative rates on large deposits, or other fees. Either way, we end up paying somehow.

The point is, when rates go negative, banks lend less and make money in other ways.

Either way, it’s not great news for an economy addicted to debt. And not good news for anyone who needs a bank account. Which is all of us. Especially lately.

Taste of success at High Peak Business Club’s latest meeting

The latest meeting of High Peak Business Club took place on the morning of Friday, October 6.

The guest speaker was Raymond Reynolds, property and business development director of Greggs and his theme was Baking Up A Business. The club’s Edwina Currie reported: “Raymond Reynolds is Scottish and very tall. And slim – if he’s eating a lot of his firm’s pasties, he doesn’t show it.

“Changing roles after ten years as retail director, he now has “a wide portfolio of responsibilities.” He’s been with Greggs since the 1980s, so he’s seen it grow and adapt as the traditional High Street has come under pressure. How does a bread shop business become the darling of the stock market?

“At High Peak Business Club as we scoffed sausage rolls from Greggs in Buxton, we realised that the firm is, in Raymond’s words, “a success story in staying relevant; you can never rest on your laurels.” That’s a pertinent lesson for everyone in business (and, dare I suggest, in politics too).

Small Business Fed Up of Queuing at The Post Office?

Hermes direct:

Eventually we started using Hermes directly. Same bulk upload tools as P2G but a few pence cheaper.

Cons:

Hermes are great for low value items you can afford to give some away of – because you will be doing.
The drivers routinely lose/steal stuff or deliver it to random neighbours, sometimes other addresses entirely, leave it in their car for a week if they have flu, drop it in puddles or simply toss stuff over walls in the rain.
Because of the above, tracking will sometimes say delivered but customer says it isn’t.
We found Hermes to be more trouble than they were worth eventually and preferred to pay more to get a better service.
Put Collect+ and Yodel into the same category.
>>Read about Hermes/MyHermes here<< My preferred options: We use a mix of Post Office PPI and DPD courier. Royal Mail Business. You get in touch with Royal Mail business section and tell them you want an OBA (online business account) and want to use PPI. This allows you to book your own boxes online, select Recorded etc, and drop them off at the post office in bulk done already and walk out. You pay every month by DD. You are sat at home with a glass of wine rather than standing in the PO. Now they will make you buy a £250 printer to do this now (we use the old label system still) and the software is a bit of a learning curve, but once you are doing it, it is easy peasy and a bit cheaper than the PO counter. Cons: Your local post office might sulk at taking them in pre-paid this way – ask them. They are contractually obliged to take them but many still refuse citing lack of space. You may need to remind them they still get paid if they scan recorded mail (which they do from your book 10 at a time using the bulkscan tool on their screen).

Landsbanki Guernsey Fiasco Ends after 8 Years. Depositors LOSE 8% in Unsafe “Haven”.

Banking in Guernsey: That well-known crown dependency of the UK, offshore tax haven and a reliable custodian of your cash.

Or NOT as the case was.

Nestling amongst the allegedly safe banks on Guernsey was Landsbanki, an Icelandic owned bank guaranteed by its huge parent company Landsbanki in Iceland. What could go wrong? All these countries are EU, right? Icelandic banks were well-known and reliable, right? Guernsey was a world-class banking haven insulated from grasping Gordon Brown and not stupid enough to invest in US mortgage debt. Cash was safe in Guernsey everyone thought.

Iceland is not EU. Nor, technically, is Guernsey (although they bow to the EU savings directive and are a UK Crown Dependency).

Well, Guernsey is not safe any more it seems! In October 2008 the Icelandic government nationalized Landsbanki Iceland. In turn, all its affiliates and subsidiaries around the world toppled like a house of cards.

However, what of Landsbanki Guernsey? Well nobody noticed before, but Guernsey lacked depositor protection. Savers relied on its stringent financial regulation [sic] not to let minnows and “Johnny-come-lately” types into Guernsey.

However, while Lyndon Trott – the big cheese on the island – and some of his cohorts were bigging it up in the Orient on Labrador fried rice at the taxpayers expense, Guernsey was wobbling as a trusted financial centre.

Landsbanki Guernsey went into administration. The administrators have paid out 30p in the pound within a couple of weeks of the bank’s collapse, and made further payments in 2009 (25p), 2010 (12.5p), 2011 (17.5p), 2013 (4.6p) and 1.96p at the end of May 2016.

What of the 8% shortfall? Guernsey won’t pay. The UK won’t pay. Iceland has managed to slither out of its commitments abroad even though they nationalised the parent bank.

FACT: In 2016 UK-based and other international savers lost 8% of their cash in Guernsey.

Guernsey is finished as a retail financial centre – simple as that. Nobody wants to invest money in a “financial centre” where people lost their cash – it’s that simple!

If people want risk, they can get that earning 17% interest in Ukraine. They can get a government backed guarantee in Russia and 10% interest with no government stealing some of the interest. Why will they mess about for 4%-6% in Guernsey where the cash has a tendency to do a credible impersonation of Houdini?

Guernsey’s “depositor protection scheme” is worthless. That is called “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted” – Guernsey’s DPS has as much value and credibility as one from Zimbabwe.

This site says: The Guernsey Government should compensate savers for the 8% shortfall. Every other government in the world appears to be doing this in their own jurisdictions. This is called depositor protection.

Guernsey say they cannot afford to pay. Really?

They could use some of the £15m a year they make from information snooping for the tax authorities in the UK, or maybe some of the tax and other monies they made from Landsbanki to date.

Regulation appears to have been insufficient or ineffective.

Landsbanki Guernsey was poorly regulated and inadequately supervised. Until Guernsey pays the Landsbanki savers (dont hold your breath) they will pay the price with their reputation.

Don’t put your money in Guernsey, folks!

Where To Get Long Stainless Steel Barbecue Skewers BBQ

Finding good quality long barbecue skewers  in the UK can be a drag. But you are in the right place to find out more. BBQ skewers are a sector of the market that cheap Chinese manufacturers and ‘pile em high, sell em cheap’ eBay and Amazon merchants have been all over for some time. Finding the […]

Want the VAT Number of Tameside MBC?

So you want the VAT number for Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council?

So did I, they had billed me for an item I decided should have included VAT, and my accountant asked me to obtain the VAT number.

Easier said than done.

It took me some extensive searching to find it.

If you call them, they wont tell you.

There are no reverse search VAT number directories.

You can only check the validity of a VAT number you have. Not the other way around.

However, I am quite resourceful, so I eventually got it, and to be sure, I checked it with the EU VAT validation website.

So here it is:

The Realities of Expat Living in Moscow 2016

Let’s break down some metrics:

I live in a 2-room flat less than a 10-minute car ride to the city center (Prospect Mira for those of you who know the area).

It’s Western renovated and ran about $1330 (40k rubles) before the ruble devalued. Concurrently, most apartments in Moscow have either kept the same rental price, or have actually decreased in price in order to find tenants.

So, while someone’s income has decreased because of the exchange rate in dollar terms, so has relative housing cost; over $8k a year in my case (roughly $675 a month). That 40k includes gas, electricity, landline, cableTV/internet, trash, water and my Tajik Concierge. Great guy, and very helpful.

If I were to go back and live in a comparable flat in Los Angeles, the same cost would double, minimum.

I would also have to buy a car, so we’d be talking conservatively about another $600 for car payments, gas, insurance and maintenance for an average $20K ride. My transportation costs average about $150 a month (metro, taxis, g/f’s car, etc.).

The next biggest expense is of course food. I spend at most 1000 rubles a day. I really can’t see spending more than this, and 1000 could probably be chopped in half if push comes to shove. But for the sake of argument, let’s double it to 2000 and use this for reference.

Housing, utilities cable and WiFi internet – 40000

Transportation – 10000. Remember I’m an expat and don’t need a car here.

Food – 60000, and believe me that is an ambitious sum, more like 30-40000 at most, but again for the sake of reference. We’ll use 60k to include entertainment such as eating out, movies, theatre, etc., and a daily 300 ruble Starbuck mocha that I could easily do without, etc. This factors in a 35% rise in food costs during the devaluation period.

Restaurants/cafes prices have only increased about 5-10% during this time; closer to 5% all things considered.

Pretty much covers about everything and we’re looking at 106,000 rubles.

Now I understand that it would be nice if you could still stash away about $3k a month, but times they do change. And if you were someone who hasn’t saved for a rainy day (time), then that’s on you.

Nevertheless, that leaves us with 94000 rubles and that is still close to $1500; not bad all things considered.

If you think that things will not improve, or that your time back in the States will be better, I say don’t let the customs agent kick you in the ass on your way out. And good luck with those American women.

All I know is, given the situation, there’s no way I’m heading back, and really, why would I? Simply put, I have a wonderful life here, despite all the oppression I [don’t] feel from Putin.

Contrary to popular belief, life is good here. And it’s especially good if you’re lucky enough to be making 200k rubles a month. 98% of the working population in Moscow would love to make that kind of money. And if you’re one of the very fortunate expats to be making 200k a month or more, then count your blessings.

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Forum Newsletter – Summer 2015

The Forum Has Changed Direction a Little to Include More Travel, Culture, News and Politics.

The site was stuck in what is a dying and declining niche. When the site first started back in the mid naughties, it was firmly aimed at what some termed the “mail-order bride” niche. The FSU dating scene was then – although slowing down – still a vibrant industry. It was mostly centred on Ukraine the last decade or so, and most of those travelling there to meet women were from the US.

However, as you will know, a year and a half ago, there was a western-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw the overthrow of the elected president and the installation of a new regime in Kiev. Subsequently, Crimea reunified with Russia and the east of Ukraine broke away into independent regions. Since then, civil war has raged in Ukraine while the new borders are being defined.

Against a backdrop of significantly reduced dating-related travel to the region, Crimea reunifying with Russia, increased American aggression against Russia, US/EU sanctions against Russia, counter sanctions from Russia, civil war in Ukraine and the MH17 crash, it isn’t hard to see why the forum became quickly dominated by these topics of discussion. So we decided to roll with it and reorganise the site somewhat.

If you take a fresh look at the placement of the forum rooms, you will find the dating and marriage sections have been condensed and moved further down the page. Up closer to the top you will find Cyrillic & Language, FSU News & Politics, Visas, Travel Discussion, Travel Reports, Culinary, Culture, Russian/Ukrainian Media and Expat Chat closer to the top. While we still have a lot of chat pertaining to dating in the former Soviet Union, you will find it isn’t as dominant as it once was.

Guys, if you are already married and haven’t visited us in a while, you can tell your wife it is a political, news and travel forum more than a dating forum nowadays. We know we lost a few of the married guys as their wives objected to them participating in what they saw as a ‘dating forum’. Yes, we still have some dating ads along with other types of ads, but like any site, we have to pay the bills. There is a topic on that here: Site Funding. Supporting Members. Q&A.

We would like to give you a few links to, and a little background about some of the recent popular topics.

Dyson Hand Dryer AB01 and AB03 Filters.

So you want to buy a Dyson Airblade filter?

At last you can buy a Dyson Airblade filter online.

The difference is that you can buy these without serial numbers, registration, or anyone trying to up-sell you into a new hand dryer.

Better still, you don’t have to call anyone begging for them as you did before with Dyson. You can buy them painlessly online and get one or more delivered anywhere in the world.

Problem solved. thumbs

Oh, you want to know where from?

Get them here: Buy Dyson Airblade Hand Dryer Filters.

Dyson DC24 Buyers Guide

So you have decided you want a Dyson DC24? The baby ball? Dyson no longer produce them new, but they are a great reconditioned/refurbished buy if you get it right. Before I explain to you where to get one from, you should make sure a DC24 is for you. Dyson marketed the DC24 at everyone. […]


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