Nabers Group to Give Away Self-Directed Solo 401k

Nabers Group, the world’s first and only full-service self-directed plan provider, has launched a contest to give away (i.e., set up) a Self-Directed Solo 401k plan at no cost to the person who offers the best insight(s) into what he or she thinks are the most powerful business or investment opportunities given today’s recessionary economic environment.

The Self-Directed Solo 401k is a qualified retirement plan that helps business owners grow and preserve their retirement wealth by enabling them to legally invest their retirement savings in alternative investments such as real estate, mortgage notes, private businesses, precious metals, and other qualified assets. The Solo 401k has already helped thousands of serious investors diversify their retirement portfolios beyond stocks, bonds and mutual funds while still enabling them to receive the much desired tax advantages the traditional IRA and 401k offers.

Eligibility: To be eligible to enter to win a free Solo 401k account, the entrant must be self- employed or have self-employment activity (such as Schedule C income on entrant’s 1040 or own a business). The entrant cannot have any employees at any businesses in which the entrant or the entrant’s spouse has significant ownership.

How to Enter: To participate, entrants must do two things:

1) Add Jeff Nabers, the founder of the Nabers Group, as a “Friend” on Facebook. This will enable entrants to stay apprised of events, news and u p d a t e s f r o m Nabers Group. The winner will be posted on Facebook and at

2) Write a brief explanation of what they think are the most powerful business or investment opportunities today given that the country is in a recession. Entrants should submit their comments on the ( blog or post to the “Wall” at the bottom of the Facebook Solo 401k Contest page.

Selection: Each entry will be reviewed by officials at Nabers Group. The person deemed to have the best idea(s) will get a Solo 401k set-up for them at no cost by Nabers Group.

Prize Value: Valued at $210,585, a Solo 401k f r o m Nabers Group can be the investment vehicle to lead to your financial freedom. See the math at

Deadline: Entrants must submit on or before March 15, 2009.


About Nabers Group
Founded in 2005, Nabers Group is the world’s first and only full-service self-directed plan provider that helps investors and self-employed business owners establish and set up Self-Directed IRA LLC accounts and Solo 401k plans. Nabers Group was the first company to offer the Self-Directed Solo 401k and regularly educates the public about unrestricted investment options that would enable use of retirement dollars to invest in alternative investments including real estate, mortgage notes, private stock, debt instruments, foreign assets, margin brokerage accounts, precious metals, among other assets. For more information on self-directed investing or the Solo 401k, please visit Nabers Group at

Official Free Solo 401k Facebook contest page:

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New Fixed Rate Cash ISA By Lloyds TSB

Lloyds TSB has announced the launch of a new Fixed Rate Cash ISA, offering savers the opportunity to earn a competitive tax free rate up to 3.20 per cent.

Available from 16th February 2009, the new Fixed Rate Cash ISA rate is guaranteed for 12 months from the date of account opening. Accounts can be opened with a minimum deposit of £3000 and will accept transfers from previous tax years.

Janet Pope, savings and investments director at Lloyds TSB said: “In this unpredictable rate climate, savers are moving towards fixed rate products. The security of knowing exactly how much you will earn on your savings is invaluable in today’s uncertain environment. This product is ideal for those looking to get a guaranteed, tax free return on their nest egg.”

Nearly half (46 per cent) of ISA holders questioned by the bank say they will be opting for a fixed rate in the 2009/2010 tax year, with only 11 per cent willing to take a chance on a variable rate ISA. Just seven per cent of savers believe that interest rates will rise in the next 12 months, but almost a quarter (22 per cent) anticipate further cuts.

Janet Pope continued: “Now is not the easiest time to be a saver, as interest rates are at an historic low. This makes it more important than ever to utilise the tax free allowance available, but with the 2008/2009 tax year end looming on April 5th, six out of ten ISA holders have not yet taken full advantage.”

The findings show that 63 per cent of ISA holders have yet to use the full £3600 available to them, with a further 40 per cent admitting they do not have an ISA despite having savings elsewhere.

Research conducted by ICM online with 2000 UK adults in February 2009
A minimum deposit of £3000 is required
Customers may only make one deposit for the 2009/2010 tax year

About Lloyds TSB:
Lloyds TSB offers customers a wide range of current accounts, savings accounts, insurance, personal loans and credit cards, designed to meet different customers’ needs. Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Lloyds TSB Scotland plc are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and signatories to the Banking Codes. Lloyds TSB Bank plc Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065.

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Cash Strapped Brits Plan To Cut Insurance

Research by insurer LV= has revealed that more than five million Brits (12%) plan to cancel or reduce one or more of their insurance policies over the next 12 months, in a bid to save money during the recession, with home insurance policies set to be the hardest hit.

Of the 5.1 million who are looking to change their level of cover to save money 44% are considering cancelling or reducing their home insurance. Overall, the most popular element of home insurance cover to cut is flood insurance, with 29% of people saying this would top their list. This is despite numbers of flood claims increasing dramatically in the last three years due to bad weather and costing an average of nearly £17,000* each time.

Among those that are planning to cancel or reduce their insurance policies this year, 37% said they are considering downgrading their car insurance. Motorists in this situation should bear in mind that car insurance is a legal requirement. If they are caught without the right insurance they could risk a fine of £5000, disqualification and the car being seized and crushed by the police.

Another popular type of insurance to be cut back on is travel insurance. Almost a quarter of those who intend to cut back (22%) said they plan to cut or reduce their travel cover. Travel insurance is extremely cost effective, with insurance for a week in the sun costing from under £20**. This is compared with the cost of an air ambulance from the Canaries back to the UK carrying a fee of around £16,000***.

On average, those who are planning to cut their insurance cover this year believe they will save £125 over the course of the year, working out at just £10.41 in savings a month.

LV= warns consumers that they could leave themselves underinsured and exposed to costly bills by being too hasty in cancelling or reducing important cover.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= general insurance, said: “It’s understandable that people are looking to ways in which they reduce their outgoings, however cancelling or reducing essential insurance cover could result in many people finding themselves seriously out of pocket if something untoward happens.

Home contents insurance is not legally required but anyone who has suffered a flood or break in will know how important it is to have cover in place as if you do have a problem and you don’t have cover, the cost often runs into many thousands of pounds.

“I would just urge those looking to save a few pounds to consider the wider implications of leaving themselves without valuable insurance cover this year, as it is at time likes these, when money is short, that insurance becomes evermore important.”

* LV= internal claims data
** £17.62. Based on a 28-year-old male, travelling to Europe on 12 February for one week including personal possessions cover, £10 million medical cover, £5000 cancellation cover and £2500 for baggage and £500 for lost or stolen money. The policy has an excess of £50.
*** Commonwealth Office (FirstAssist)

Opinium Research carried out a survey of 2141 people between 16 and 20 January 2009.


About LV=
LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007.

LV= employs more than 3400 people, serves more than 3.6 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Year Book 2006/2007, Total Net Assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

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Virgin Money Has Launched A ‘Pay Monthly’ Tariff As Part Of Its Virgin Prepaid Mastercard

Customers can decide which tariff to pay depending on how often they use the card to ensure they get the best deal. Customers will be able to choose from either ‘pay as you go’, or the new ‘pay monthly’ option.

‘Pay monthly’ prepaid card customers will pay a monthly fee of £4.75 per month, but will not incur any UK transaction fees.*

Both cards can be loaded free at the Post Office, or free by debit card or direct transfer, while a credit card load fee of 2.5% (with a minimum of £2) exists on both cards (restrictions may apply). Express top-ups at Pay Point locations are available, with a 2.75% fee applying to both cards. A start-up fee of £9.95 exists on both cards and customers can switch between the two tariffs once the card is set up, and then once every 4 months.

Grant Bather, spokesman at Virgin Money, said: “Pre-paid cards allow the user to set a limit on their expenditure and in the current climate could be a good option for people looking to budget. With users only able to spend what they have topped up onto the card, the prepaid option could be particularly useful for parents keen to give their children some money, or for those worried about over spending.

“The cards are easy to top-up and cardholders can get discounts from a range of Virgin companies including Virgin Experiences and Virgin Wines, as well as access to discounted vouchers for High Street stores including Sainsbury’s, Boots and Debenhams.”

About Virgin Prepaid Mastercard:
The Virgin Prepaid MasterCard® is issued on behalf of PrePay Technologies Ltd by Clydesdale Bank PLC pursuant to a licence by MasterCard® International Incorporated. MasterCard® is a registered trademark of MasterCard® International Incorporated. Prepay Technologies is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. 360money is a registered trademark of PrePay Technologies Ltd.

* Customers will be charged a flat fee of £1.50 for cash machine withdrawals in the UK or overseas. A fee of 2.95% on foreign transactions is also in operation. The ‘pay as you go’ pre-paid card includes a transaction fee of 2.95%, with cash withdrawals also charged at 2.95%. Card transactions and withdrawals overseas both incur a charge of 3.5%.

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Over £30 Million Of Unclaimed Premium Bond Prizes Exist In UK Says NS&I

A major nationwide search has been launched by National Savings and Investments (NS&I) to track down the winners of over 550,000 unclaimed Premium Bond prizes worth over £30 million in total. This is the largest amount ever left unclaimed and includes one prize worth £100,000, two worth £25,000 and ten worth £10,000.

The prizes commonly become unclaimed because people fail to pass on new addresses when they move house, they have forgotten that Bonds had been bought for them when they were a child or executors are unaware the Bonds are held when someone dies. Over a third (37%) of people who have lost touch with their savings have moved home and failed to tell all their financial providers their new address. Half (50%) say they find it difficult to remember all of the accounts they have opened over the years.

The unclaimed premium bond prizes range all the way from £25 up to £100,000. NS&I gives away over one million tax-free* Premium Bond prizes each month.

Sally Swait, Premium Bond manager at NS&I said: “Following the expense of Christmas, tracing lost Premium Bonds prizes may prove to be a welcome source of extra money for some.”

She continued, “We urge anyone who believes they could have unclaimed prizes to check with us. The easiest way is to use our website and there is no time limit on claiming the prizes.”

There are two ways to check for an unclaimed prize: The Premium Bond prize checker is on the home page of the NS&I website at – customers simply need to enter their Premium Bond holder’s number into the search facility.

Alternatively customers can write to
Premium Bonds
National Savings and Investments

There is no time limit on claiming prizes and each unclaimed prize is held until the winner can be tracked down. The oldest unclaimed prize dates back to November 1957 for the sum of £25.

* All Premium Bonds prizes are free of UK income Tax and Capital Gains tax.

About NS&I:
NS&I is one of the largest financial providers in the UK with 28 million customers and over £83 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers High Income Bonds, ISA accounts, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order. They are also available through a network of 14,000 UK Post Office branches.

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Managing Debts When The Economy Slumps

Responding to the Fourth Quarter Economic Survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), debt management company Gregory Pennington stressed that negotiating with lenders is an important part of dealing with (and preparing for) the kind of ‘tough times’ that the Survey spells out.

“Most economic reports contain a mixture of good and bad news,” said a spokesperson forGregory Pennington, “but the BCC has stated – in black and white – that ‘There are nopositive features in the Q4 results’, going on to use words like ‘awful’, ‘terrible’ and‘alarming’. There’s no point in being overly negative, but the report clearly spells out that last year ended badly – and that businesses throughout the UK are in for a rough 2009.

“Every time a business fails, this inevitably has a negative impact on consumers’ finances – not just its actual employees, but everyone connected to the business, from its suppliers to its commercial customers. Everyone who depends on that business for all or part of their income will have to make the necessary adjustments to their lifestyle, until they can find a way to raise their income once more.

“During a period of economic turmoil and high unemployment, carrying debts can beparticularly dangerous. Anyone entering a period of unemployment with significant unsecured debts to their name is far more likely to run into difficulty almost at once: as well as paying for essentials such as mortgage / rent, utilities, food, petrol, etc., they’ll need to stay on top of payments to their unsecured debts – payments which have suddenly become much harder to afford.

“When someone (whether employed or unemployed) can’t keep up with their debt repayments, this can lead to charges and legal action, and can draw them into a ‘spiral’ of debt, in which all their efforts to reduce the debt aren’t enough to keep pace with the rate at which it’s growing. Negotiating with lenders – through a debt management plan, for example – can help them avoid this, as their lenders may agree to accept lower monthly repayments, waive charges and freeze or reduce interest.”

“Of course, surviving a period of unemployment will be easier if they’ve taken precautionary steps beforehand – perhaps when they hear warnings from organisations such as the BCC, the International Monetary Fund or the International Labour Organization. For example, some people may attempt to overpay their mortgage so they’re in a better position if they need to take a payment holiday later on. Others may choose to concentrate on their credit card debt or overdraft, trying to reduce the monthly cost of servicing their debts, as well as the overall debt itself.

“They may not be able to clear their debts altogether, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a good start. The more progress they can make, the easier it will be to cope if they are made redundant – and if they aren’t, they’ll still benefit from reduced interest payments and increased financial security.”

Borrowers who do end up losing their job may find that a debt management plan could help them adapt to living with a reduced income more quickly. “Their debt managementrepresentatives will be able to talk to their creditors, trying to re-negotiate lowerrepayments that reflect their lower income. In many cases, lenders would recognise thattemporarily accepting lower payments (if necessary, nominal payments) could help theborrower cope until they could find new employment – or to get back on top of their debtsonce they have found it. After all, in the vast majority of cases, it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the borrower has an opportunity to repay their debts, rather than beingdeclared bankrupt.”

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Tracesmart Sign the Personal Information Promise

Cardiff based Tracesmart, leading suppliers of consumer tracing and data cleansing services, have signed the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Personal Information Promise. Tracesmart have pledged their support and compliance with the ICO initiative as part of their companywide commitment to the ethical and compliant use of personal data.

The Personal Information Promise was launched on the 28th January 2009 by the ICO to celebrate European Data Protection Day. The aim of the Personal Information Promise is to improve compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and help restore public faith in organisations that hold personal information. Public trust in bodies holding such information has been tarnished in recent years following multiple instances of data breaches and many organisations displaying an apparent lack of diligence when it comes to data security.

Tracesmart are keen to demonstrate their commitment to the proper use of personal data as it is at the heart of all the company’s services. This includes their online consumer site, which members of the public use to trace people; and their Tracesmart Corporate suite of services, which are employed by various public, private and third sector organisations to reunite individuals with unclaimed assets, conduct online identity checks and cleanse consumer data.

Mike Trezise, Managing Director at Tracesmart, was the company’s official signatory and he highlighted how signing the ICO’s Personal Information Promise is very much in line with the company’s data protection culture,

“Our signing of the Personal Information Promise further reinforces our commitment to ethical data usage and corporate social responsibility. As a company Tracesmart goes to great lengths to guarantee that not only is the data we supply accurate, but also stored securely and used responsibly; both internally and by our customers. Ethical data usage is paramount in our business activities and we welcome any opportunity to build both consumer and commercial confidence in companies that handle personal information.”

About Tracesmart

  • Tracesmart Ltd was formed in 1999 and supplies a diverse range of consumer data cleansing, identity check and people tracing tools to a wide variety of industries. The company’s client base ranges from SME to Blue Chip, who are all recipients of bespoke solutions, built around their specific needs.
  • The ICO is the UK’s independent public body set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information by promoting good practice, ruling on eligible complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations, and taking appropriate action when the law is broken.
  • Mike Trezise is the founder and Managing Director of Tracesmart. With over 25 years tracing and fraud analysis experience, his unrivalled knowledge provides the company with a distinct competitive advantage.

Angel Investors Take Control of the Economic Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs

The Southeast Private Equity Conference (SPEC) is seeking dynamic high growth companies in search of angel investors and venture capital to present their business opportunity at the acclaimed SPEC 2009 scheduled for April 14 and April 15 in Atlanta, GA.

Conference coordinator, Karen Rands, states “the market for angel investors and early stage venture capital is on the rebound and SPEC is at the forefront in bringing these communities together to create an environment where innovative companies connect with capital, investors and resources. The response f r o m investors for early registrations to attend SPEC 2009 has been impressive and indicative of their optimism for an economic upswing.” Investors f r o m across the East coast and as far away as Detroit, Dallas and Silicon Valley have made plans to attend this particular conference for three very important reasons:

1) SPEC targets early stage and emerging growth companies that have viable business models so the valuations are still low enough to garner a significant multiple on their investment at exit.
2) The location for SPEC is a more intimate setting than most conferences held at big hotels so they can maximize the effectiveness of their time at the conference by making the strategic connections critical to their business objectives.
3) The timing of SPEC fits with busy schedules to make a two day trip with only one night stay over in Atlanta.

Companies interested in participating in this year’s event are encouraged to submit their proposals by March 15, 2009. Early Bird discount pricing savings for investors, strategic service providers, and entrepreneurs expires Feb 25, 2009. Special travel rates are available through Travelocity and Expedia to travel to Atlanta. Hotel information, application, accommodations, agenda and registration information can be found online at

SPEC will showcase the most promising emerging growth and technology companies f r o m across the United States, providing these companies with unmatched exposure to a national audience of venture capitalists, accredited investors, investment bankers, fund managers, angel investors, corporate and private equity investors representing over $560 million in investment capital. The conference offers exclusive networking opportunities, an exhibition area, featured speakers, and investor and entrepreneur break-out sessions.

The conference is unique in bringing together early stage companies and capital sources while blending a tradeshow environment with deal flow presentations and entrepreneur and investor education. Held at the trendy 103 West in Buckhead, Georgia, SPEC 2009 creates an environment that is conducive for networking and deal making.

Investors are treated to the best in culinary creations and comfort as they mix and mingle with other investors and the CEOs of the hottest emerging growth companies in the Southeast. Investors will view unique investment opportunities to rebuild slumping portfolios and will have a direct impact on the economy by creating needed jobs with the growth of these early stage companies.

The recession had already begun when the inaugural Southeast Private Equity Conference kicked off in April 2008. Over 100 investors attended that event to preview 40 of the most exciting high growth companies of 2008. Many deals were initiated and millions of dollars were invested to help those companies act on their market opportunities. Angel Investor Michael Horton had this to say about SPEC 2008, “Congratulations on a superb job on SPEC — great organization, many interesting companies and an attendance that far exceeded my expectations.” To learn more about what investors and entrepreneurs experienced in 2008, view testimonials at

Atlanta is rapidly becoming the hotbed of innovation and capital formation in the Southeast. Three venture capital oriented forums are scheduled for 2009. The Southeast Private Equity Conference (SPEC) differs f r o m the larger conferences, SEVC and Venture Atlanta, in 4 ways that are important to both investors and early stage companies:

1) An intimate setting at a 103 West maximizes the connections made between investors and entrepreneurs.
2) The use of breakout sessions to educate both investors and entrepreneurs brings additional value to attendees.
3) The blend of formal venture deal presentations in the Innovative Company Showcase and the reverse capital marketplace set in the Capital Expo helps investors easily find the companies they want to talk with about investing.
4) With the Fast Pitch segment scheduled during the VIP reception in the Capital Expo, investors will get a highlight of each company and opportunity to identify those they want to spend more time with the following day following full presentations by selected companies in the Innovative Company Showcase.

Sponsors interested in reaching investors of all types and entrepreneurs of high growth potential companies should consider choosing a SPEC sponsorship level that fits their budget. SPEC offers a great value for sponsors looking to reach this target audience during a tight economic time. Information on sponsorship levels and benefits can be found at

With investors looking for ways to rebuild their losses f r o m recent market fluctuations and entrepreneurs seeking capital to bring tremendous innovation and job growth opportunity to the market, the Southeast Private Equity Conference (SPEC) is poised to be a pivotal event to have profound impact on the market. Earlybird tickets are now on sale for this very important event at

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Daniel Nole Was Appointed Chief Operating Officer At Xasax

Xasax Corporation is challenging the boundaries and integration of network infrastructure and systems technologies through its leading edge Xasax Financial Backbone. Built on Dark Fiber routes and a la carte trading services, Xasax is exceeding customer expectations. In keeping with this mantra, Daniel Nole was appointed Chief Operating Officer. His mandate, to guide the process and spearhead operations in providing this ultra low latency solution to the markets.

“Xasax is pleased to have an experienced top tier player on our team. Dan’s level of expertise and industry knowledge is certainly in keeping with the Xasax gold standard of quality and service. He plays a significant role in our overall planning and execution. The entire Xasax team is excited to have him,” said Noah Lieske, Xasax Chief Executive Officer and Founder.

Mr. Nole remarked, “The Xasax Offering is unlike any other on the street today. Low latency has a new meaning and definition under the Xasax model; speed to market, scalability, customizability, and flexibility are the hallmarks of this next generation solution. I am pleased to be a part of this tradition of excellence and look forward to assisting Xasax in the expansion of its global reach.”

Mr. Noles’ prior appointments include COO at NYFIX Millennium, Portware, and FTEN. Mr. Nole leverages his grass roots beginnings in financial audit at Ernst & Young, as well as his trading and operations expertise on the Floor of the Boston Stock Exchange. Dan brings a unique blend and wealth of knowledge from leading financial technology companies to Xasax.

About Xasax:
Xasax Corporation provides an ultra-low latency financial network called the Xasax Financial Backbone built by lighting diverse dark fiber paths. The XFB encompasses the majority of available liquidity in the US with dark fiber interconnections. Xasax services include proximity hosting / co-location; raw and consolidated market data; order routing and execution management systems; Vendor of Record/entitlement solutions, and historical data warehousing. This infrastructure facilitates high-frequency traders, hedge funds, and financial service providers.

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Integrity Financial AZ Opens New Communications Center In The Face Of The Collapse On Wall Street

IFAZ LLC opens a new communications office in the face of the collapse on Wall Street. With the S&P down over 1000 points since Election Day 2008 and with the evaporation of over 12 trillion dollars of private wealth from 401ks / IRAs and from private home equities, there is a bright light emerging within the private financial sector.

According to Stanley Paulic, CEO of Integrity Financial AZ, LLC, “I hear countless stories from across the country, I understand why the majority of people are afraid to do anything, especially involving change; however, if one waits to recoup their investment losses to the 2007 values, sadly they will wait for nearly a decade, according to some economic reports.”

Integrity Financial AZ LLC opens a new communications office even in Wall Street’s darkest hour proving that integrity and service is always in demand and that true communication requires a little listening as well. IFAZ LLC believes that transparency and open communication are the cornerstones of wisely investing in the midst of an economic crisis.

Between 1926 and 2007, the average return for the S&P 500 Index equaled 10.37%. Investment Brokers will soon however, “have to face the music,” states Stanley Paulic. The dogma for years that has been echoing within the halls of most financial brokerages has been to keep your money invested in the market for the long haul because as an aggregate it has always trended upwards. This mantra along with some new advice has many investors scratching their heads in wonderment as advisors are instructing clients not to look at their monthly statements. Others have suggested their clients open a lock box for their statements, leave them unopened and to throw away the key.

Paulic and his firm has a different prospective. Many of the individuals he talks to “can’t afford to wait 10 minutes much less 10 years to make up the short falls as many people who feel stuck in the market are just about ready to hit the retirement rolls in record numbers. Many have watched the decimation of their hard earned portfolios evaporate as if they where watching a Ground Hog Day version of the movie ‘How Enron Was Mismanaged’.” There is no way to sugar coat it with the market down 30-40% many investors need to find alternatives to stimulate their retirement portfolios.

The IFAZ leaders hope to stem the tide of negative growth within investor portfolios by introducing them and setting them on new path light years away from the volatility on Wall Street. They are hoping the new communication’s center can help provide an outlet for investors who need to turn around their financial situation in the short term and help guide them on a long term program as many do not have another viable investment alternative.

IFAZ LLC touts that their clients consistently earn a fixed investment return of 10% APR. “The one thing we want our clients to have is a good investment experience and to have them open their statements on a monthly basis without the fear. There are a lot of people that will never be able recoup their losses of 2008 because of their age. This is exactly the problem that IFAZ has set out to remedy,” concludes Paulic.

IFAZ LLC is headquartered in Sacramento, CA. They assist families to get out of the “hope mode” and into the “action mode”. The government monitored websites on the IFAZ LLC webpage removes any doubt that
“we say what we mean, and mean what we say.” More information about IFAZ LLC can be learned at

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L&C Customers Save £5.9M In Broker Fees

The mortgage market has changed out of all recognition in the last 18 months and borrowers are ever more keen to seek quality advice without incurring a heavy cost for that advice. Mortgage arrangement fees have soared in recent years and with some broker fees amounting to as much as 1% of the mortgage amount on top, borrowers cannot ignore their impact.

“Fee-free, whole of market advice coupled with quality service from application to completion has been central to borrowers choosing L&C. With mortgage availability restricted the last thing our borrowers want to face is another fee. That’s why we are maintaining our commitment to fee-free mortgage advice”, commented David Hollingworth at L&C.

Borrowers seeking fee-free advice should call 0800 373300. Saving in broker fee calculated based on a fee of £250 per mortgage.

London & Country Mortgages Ltd is the country’s leading whole of market no-fee mortgage broker and submitted in excess of £4bn of mortgages to over 70 lenders in 2008.

L&C has won numerous awards including:

Best Mortgage IFA/Adviser of the Year – Money Marketing, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008
Best Technology Adviser – Money Marketing 2007
Best Mortgage Broker outside London – Mortgage Strategy, 2004 and 2005
Best National Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005, 2006 and 2007
Best Overall Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005
Overall broker of the year – Pink Home Loans, 2006 and 2007,2008
Top 100 company in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for 2004 and 2005
Business of the Year – The Bath Business Awards 2005

Growth Strategy of the Year – National Business Awards (Wales and West) 2008
Business Leader (Broker) – British Mortgage Awards – 2008
Online Mortgage IFA of the Year – Financial Adviser – 2008

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It’s Not Too Late To Save Your Home – Hotline Offers Free Consultation

The Lincoln National Group is pleased to announce the opening of their free foreclosure prevention hotline. The hotline and the assistance it offers is arriving just in time to help US homeowners as the US foreclosure rate has reached alarming proportions. In 2008, 2.3 million American homeowners faced foreclosure proceedings which was an 81 percent increase over 2007. One in 54 housing units received at least one foreclosure notice during the year. Foreclosure filings were reported on 303,410 US properties in December 2008, up nearly 41 percent from December 2007. And the situation doesn’t look like it is getting better any time soon with US homeowners facing layoffs, shrinking investment portfolios and falling home prices.

Last month, 11.6 million people were unemployed and the unemployment rate rose to 7.6%. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed has increased by 4.1 million. It doesn’t appear that the foreclosure prevention programs currently implemented nationwide have had any real success in slowing down this foreclosure tidal wave. Recent government legislation appears to have done little more than delay the inevitable foreclosure proceedings for thousands of homeowners.

Lincoln National Group is stepping in at this crucial time to help US homeowners avoid foreclosure and save their homes. The experts at Lincoln National Group, an affiliate of the law firm of Debra Tsadok, have the knowledge and the ability to prevent foreclosure. They have the solutions. With their extensive experience they help homeowners every step of the way and do everything possible to prevent foreclosure. After performing an assessment of the homeowner’s situation and an analysis of the homeowner’s financial situation they negotiate with their lender to achieve the best outcome.

The free foreclosure prevention hotline manned by the experts at the Lincoln National Group can help with a wide range of problems. What preventative steps should be taken if a homeowner loses his job and fears he won’t be able to pay his mortgage on time? What should a single parent do if she falls behind in her mortgage payments? What options are available to those who have already received foreclosure notices? The Lincoln National Group hotline is open from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm at 201-541-6680. It is open from Monday through Friday.

About Lincoln National Group
Lincoln National Group is dedicated to helping US homeowners avoid foreclosure and save their homes. They offer a variety of foreclosure prevention options. For more information please call them at 201-541-6680 or visit their website:
Lincoln National Group.

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Following the huge popularity of Barclaycard’s waterslide advert, the credit card provider has created an online game to help promote their contactless payment method

The waterslide game sets users a time limit in which to complete a puzzle to ensure the smooth and safe arrival of the game’s character as he travels through a city using a waterslide.

The game is based on the waterslide advert that sees an office worker cut out the hassle of public transport on his way home as he takes a shortcut by getting a waterslide directly to his house. The video has proved popular on the internet, with more than 1.3 million views and a further 60,000 views for the ‘Making of…’ video.

The waterslide advert highlights the new contactless credit card available from Barclaycard. This card allows holders to make payments of up to £10 quickly and securely, saving shoppers the hassle of searching for small change. Pre-installed technology on the card means it only needs to be pressed against a secure reader to be activated. There are currently 3000 readers in London and another 3000 nationwide, with the numbers steadily growing.

PIN details will need to be entered occasionally to help protect against fraud and any payments made that are more than £10 will also require the cardholder to enter their PIN, meaning shoppers will have 100% fraud protection on contactless transactions.*

Contactless credit cards, such as the Barclaycard OnePulse, can also come with an inbuilt Oyster card for easy use on London’s transport system.

The waterslide emphasizes the smooth, fast transactions afforded to the holder by the new contactless credit card and the online game acts as a gateway to a large collection of information about the new card – with safety and usage tips available.

*Cardholder will be liable if they, or any additional cardholder, gives or provides access to the card, account or PIN details which results in those details being used fraudulently.

About Barclaycard
Barclaycard is a multi-brand credit card and loans business which also processes card payments for retailers and merchants and issues charge and credit cards to corporate customers and the UK Government. Barclaycard is one of Europe’s leading credit card businesses and has an increasing presence in the United States.

In the UK, Barclaycard comprises Barclaycard, Sky Card, Thomas Cook and Argos branded credit cards and FIRSTPLUS secured lending. Barclaycard also manages card operations on behalf of Solution Personal Finance.

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LV= has announced that it is now offering free critical illness (CI) cover to anyone taking out an income protection (IP) policy under the LV= Flexible Protection Plan within the next three months

New customers will receive a free lump sum CI benefit equivalent to three times their monthly IP benefit.

Chris McFarlane, LV= Head of Protection, said: “At LV= we believe that protecting your regular income should be at the heart of sound financial planning. Worryingly, there is a clear consumer misconception that critical illness cover will provide the protection they need if they are unable to work due to long term sickness or an accident. In many cases the real need is for a regular continuing income, rather than a lump sum payment provided by critical illness cover.

“In addition, there are conditions that are not covered under critical illness policies, for example a back injury, which could leave someone experiencing financial difficulties if they are unable to work and don’t have the right cover in place. Now more than ever, financial advisers need to help their clients understand the importance of protecting their regular income in case they are unable to work for a long period.”

This special offer aims to promote income protection and encourage more customers to protect their regular monthly income, but it also recognises that customers can additionally benefit from a small lump sum payment to help them adjust if they had a serious illness. LV= believes that this will make it easier for financial advisers to sell more appropriate cover and therefore grow their volumes.

Additionally LV= has also launched an online Income Protection Toolkit, available from, for financial advisers to use with their clients. This follows the publication of LV= research which revealed that of those surveyed eight out of ten adults in full time employment (84%)* were unaware of recent changes to the Welfare Reform Act, and how these could affect any income received from the state if illness or an accident prevented them from working.

Among various multi-media elements, the toolkit includes an Income Protection Shortfall Calculator for financial advisers to use with clients, to show the impact that an accident or sickness could have on their monthly income. The calculator also takes into account what people may be entitled to receive from their employer if they couldn’t work for a long period, and the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) they may be able to claim.

Chris McFarlane concluded: “We are committed to supporting advisers with relevant tools, information, offers and guidance to help educate their clients. The free CI offer highlights the importance of IP, both on its own and alongside CI, and will also help advisers to grow their business. Our innovative calculator is easy to use and shows in a simple graph format how IP can protect a client’s regular monthly income, should the worst happen.”

* Source: Opinium Research. Total sample size was 2,000 UK adults. Fieldwork was carried out online, between 29 – 31 October 2008.

Full details of the LV= free Critical Illness cover promotion are available on the LV= website.

About LV=
LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007. LV= employs more than 3,700 people, serves more than 3.6 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. LV= is also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Year Book 2006/2007, Total Net Assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider. Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and entered on the Financial Services Authority Register No. 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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Barclaycard has announced it is to freeze its rates for existing customers, as well as offering a reduced APR for new Barclaycard Platinum and Barclaycard OnePulse customers

Barclaycard is freezing the prices for all its UK personal customers for at least the next four months. Although committed to the principle of risk based pricing, Barclaycard has decided to suspend the process to help its customers, meaning no individual will have their purchase interest rate increased until at least June due to the change in their risk profile.

At least three million UK Barclaycard customers will benefit from the freeze in rates, with purchase interest rates being reduced by between 2.5% and 5%. Selected customers will be informed directly of the change, with half of these reductions being implemented in February and the remaining taking place throughout the year. These customers have been identified as having a low risk profile and they include both those who clear their account regularly and customers who borrow.

As well as freezing rates for its existing customers, Barclaycard has reduced the headline APR for its flagship Barclaycard Platinum credit card (the most popular card in the company’s portfolio) and Barclaycard OnePulse (the combined credit, contactless and Oyster card) by 2.5% to 12.4% for new customers. In addition, Barclaycard will continue to offer a full range of cards to new customers, depending on individual circumstances and needs.

Barclaycard has also established a new helpline for customers concerned about their financial situation. Those who believe that they may get into difficulty can talk directly to an expert and receive practical support and advice by calling the helpline number available in the credit card guidance section of the Barclaycard website.

By using behavioural data shared with other credit card lenders and additional information about the total borrowings of customers, Barclaycard can now able to predict accurately when customers may be getting into difficulty, and the company is launching a programme of contacting customers who are showing potential signs of financial difficulty before they miss payments, offering support and advice to individuals as soon as possible.

Barclaycard has committed not to contact customers for up to two months to seek payment if they are actively working with the free money advice sector to sort out their financial difficulties. Continuous training of collections advisors is being undertaken to ensure that all customers in difficulty are treated with compassion, empathy and respect. Barclaycard has also committed £4.3 million over the next three years to the company’s flagship community initiative Horizons, which it launched in 2005. Working with three charity partners, including Citizens Advice, the additional money will enable Horizons to support 450,000 lone parents and their children to deal with financial hardship and build their skills for a brighter future through a programme of debt advice, financial literacy training, grants and an employability programme.

Antony Jenkins, Chief Executive of Barclaycard, said: “We recognise that 2009 is going to be a difficult year for many people and we want to do what we can, when we can, to help Barclaycard’s customers.

“Today’s announcement will assist millions of our customers and we are determined to support them further, in innovative ways, over the coming months.”

Barclaycard Platinum, APR of 12.4% with 0% BT for 12 months (3.0% BT fee applies) and 0% on purchases for 3 months.

Barclaycard OnePulse, APR of 12.4% with 0% BT for 12 months (3.0% BT fee applies) and 5% cash-back on Transport for London spend plus 0.5% on all other spends until the end of 2009.

About Barclaycard:
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Global and Retail Commercial Banking division, is a leading global payments business which understands the needs of both purchasers and sellers. It enables retailers and merchants to accept cards, helps customers make payments through card, contactless and mobile applications as well as extending credit to consumers. In addition to the UK, Barclaycard operates in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle and Far East.

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Tracing Agency to help reunite customers with their dormant accounts

Tracesmart has been exclusively appointed by Britannia Building Society to help reunite missing customers with their accounts. As part of Britannia’s comprehensive program of activity to trace customers with unclaimed assets, Tracesmart, the Cardiff based tracing agency, is to trace people who hold accounts which have been dormant for 15 years or more.

Assets go missing in a number of ways; account holders lose track of accounts when they change address and forget to notify their financial institution; other assets are ‘lost’ when customers pass away and their relatives are not aware of accounts; so over time savings are forgotten.

The Government has defined a dormant account, in this instance, as one where there has been no customer activity for a period of 15 years. Astonishingly, vast amounts of money are lying unclaimed in financial institutions across the UK as people lose track of their assets. According to The Commission on Unclaimed Assets, one in three adults in Britain believes they have a dormant account of some description.

Tim Franklin, Managing Director of Member Business at Britannia, said; “Our programme to reunite customers with their unclaimed accounts has been successful, but there are some members who we’ve not been able to trace through the records we hold. We enlisted Tracesmart to find those customers using their advanced tracing methods and expertise.”

Michael Trezise, Tracesmart’s Managing Director, commented, “We are of course delighted to be exclusively appointed by Britannia, the UK’s second largest building society, to assist them with their asset reunification program. Our advanced data cleansing systems, skilled tracing agents and unique multi-tiered search solutions have enabled us to work closely with Britannia, reinforcing our claim to be the UK’s leading tracing agency. Tracesmart’s continued investment in key personnel and cutting edge technology is now reaping significant reward.”

Trezise added, “Following the enactment of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act in November 2008, Tracesmart is now well placed to assist more and more financial institutions as they enter into their asset reunification program.”

For more information on the Tracesmart/Britannia asset reunification program visit

About Tracesmart Ltd

Tracesmart Ltd formed in 1999, is one of the UK’s market leaders in the provision of online consumer data intelligence, serving both the consumer and corporate markets. To the corporate markets, Tracesmart offers a powerful data cleansing and tracing service in addition to an identity verification system, a facility that businesses and organisations from SME to Blue chip companies employ to combat fraud and money laundering activity. Tracesmart’s electronic ID service delivers fast, regularly u p d a t e d  and unfailing information and is relied upon by a growing legion of operators in the financial, legal and retail sectors.

Mike Trezise – is the founder and Managing Director of Tracesmart. With over 25 years tracing and fraud analysis experience his unrivalled knowledge provides the company with a distinct competitive advantage.

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 The Act was put in place to enable the banking industry to transfer unclaimed assets in the banking system so that they may be reinvested in society, whilst ensuring the rights of owners to be reunited with their assets are protected. The Act defines unclaimed assets as broadly covering all bank and building society accounts where there has been no customer-initiated activity for 15 years. The Act also allows for a reclaim fund to be set up to manage customer reclaim across the industry, on which the liability to repay customers will be placed, and to be authorised by the Financial Services Authority. The Act makes provision for assets to be distributed to the community via the Central Reclaim Fund, with a focus in England on youth services, financial capability and inclusion and (if funds permit) social investment. Devolved administrations will decide their own spending priorities.


Debt Advisers Direct have responded to new figures showing that UK gas prices have increased at over four times the rate of the European average, emphasising the importance of good financial management

Responding to new figures suggesting that British energy bills are rising four times faster than those in Europe, Debt Advisers Direct have advised consumers to take extra care over their finances – particularly with regard to repaying debts – and have said that anyone who finds themselves struggling with their debts should seek expert debt advice as soon as the problem emerges.

The figures, compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), showed that energy prices have risen by 16.7% in Britain over the past year – over four times as much as the 3.8% average across Europe.

The OECD recorded a 1.3% rise in Denmark, 1.5% in Germany and 5.3% in Sweden. Of the developed nations studied, only Australia (20%) and Turkey (28.7%) experienced bigger price rises than the UK in the past year.

Energy companies have come under fire in recent months over their energy pricing –despite significant falls in the wholesale cost of gas and electricity, none of the major companies have cut their prices to consumers.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct said: “The OECD’s report demonstrates the extent to which UK energy prices have risen compared with other nations. A lot of billpayers have felt unfairly treated by their energy providers in recent months, and this news may have many wondering why the companies haven’t acted to reduce their prices yet.

“Scottish Power have recently announced a 10% cut to one of their gas tariffs, and other companies are likely to follow suit – but this cut does not cancel out the two big price rises made by most companies last year.”

The spokesperson added that a large number of people are still struggling to meet their financial commitments as a result of rising prices in the past year, with many of those experiencing debt problems.

“A combination of rising bills, rising costs of living and shrinking incomes have left many people struggling with their finances,” she said. “Some of those costs are starting to come down, but that won’t necessarily help those already in debt.

“Our advice to anyone in debt is to seek expert debt advice early. Even if living costs do come down, debt can still be a big burden and it’s important to tackle it in the right way.

“For people who want to reduce their monthly outgoings and simplify their finances in order to make their bills and debts more manageable, a debt consolidation loan might be the answer. A debt consolidation loan involves the borrower taking out a new loan to pay off their existing debts – effectively consolidating the debts into one.

“Most people who take out a debt consolidation loan lower their debt repayments by spreading them out over a longer period of time. Although this incurs more interest in the long run, it’s possible to save money in interest overall if the borrower is consolidating debts with a higher APR than the new loan.

“For more serious debts, a debt management plan could help. This is an informal agreement between the borrower and their creditors as to how the borrower intends to repay their debts – usually at a slower rate than originally agreed, and there may also be a freeze on interest and other charges.

“Alternatively, if there is no real chance of ever repaying the full debts in a realistic period of time, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) may be the best option. An IVA is a legally-binding agreement between the borrower and their creditors for lower monthly payments, based on how much the borrower can afford.

”For an IVA to go ahead, creditors accounting for 75% of the total debt must approve the proposal. An IVA usually lasts for five years – and homeowners may be expected to release some of the equity in their homes in the 54th month of the IVA. On successful completion of the agreement, the remaining debts are considered settled.”

“Our advice to anyone unsure about how to tackle their debts is to speak to a debt adviser beforehand.”

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Many receiving a tax refund see it as “free money”. But when used wisely it can be a way to catch up on bills and set up future financial success

Receiving a tax refund can be nice in tough economic times, providing service members and families with extra money they may not have anticipated. Often, those receiving a tax refund see it as “free money” they can use to splurge on items they might not otherwise afford. But when used wisely it can be a way to catch up on bills and set up future financial success.

Pioneer Services’ newest article, Making your tax refund work for you, provides detailed suggestions on what to do with a tax refund. The article focuses on debt reduction and long-term solutions, and is suggested reading not just for military families, but for anyone getting money back from the Internal Revenue Service this year.

“Very few people enjoy paying taxes, but many enjoy getting some of it back,” said Laura Stack, chief financial officer for Pioneer Services and author of the article. “Early filers will soon start receiving their tax refunds, and it’s important for their financial health to use it wisely.”

You can read the complete article over here.

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, provides financial services, personal loans, and award-winning financial education to members of the Armed Forces. For more than 20 years, Pioneer Services has been a leader in military lending, and supports military families and communities through a variety of partnerships, programs, and sponsorships.

For more information, visit For loan information, visit


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Quest CE announces the hiring of Marcy Kalat as Vice President of Business Development for Quest

Quest CE’s President & CEO, Alan Krenke recently announced the hiring of Marcy Kalat as Vice President of Business Development for Quest. Marcy brings over 15 years of Sales and Relationship Management experience to Quest working previously for RegEd and FIRE Solutions Inc. as Vice President of Sales, Penton Media as an Account Executive and as Area Sales Manager.

Marcy received her undergraduate degree in Social & Behavioral Science from Indiana University. Marcy’s industry affiliations include the National Society of Compliance Professionals and the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association.

Marcy will be working directly with Quest’s Sales and Marketing Team to aggressively expand Quest’s market share in the continuing education arena .leading Quest to become the premier provider of compliance technology solutions.

Marcy resides in San Rafael, CA with her husband Peter and daughter Marley and their chocolate lab Maggie. She is active in her community as a volunteer and is a member of the National Charity league.

Marcy can be reached by phone at 877-593-3366 or

About Quest CE:
Quest CE offers customized continuing education and online compliance management programs to financial service firms across the country. With over 100 clients in the insurance, mutual fund, broker-dealer and banking industries, Quest has the resources and expertise necessary to create and administer successful training programs for organizations of all sizes. For more information about Quest CE you may also contact Quest CE at 877-593-3366 or visit our website at

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Insurancewide highlights the importance of taking out adequate home insurance to protect the new valuable items that households receive at Christmas

With the economic crisis looking set to continue throughout 2009, many families in the UK will be keen to minimise their monthly outgoings – particularly in January, as household budgets attempt to accommodate the excesses of the Christmas and New Year season.

However, Insurancewide – a leading online insurance comparison website – has highlighted the importance of taking out adequate home insurance to protect any valuable or precious Christmas gifts that families may have received over the festive period.

Making a market-wide home insurance comparison could make it simpler for you to find a new home insurance policy that suits your family’s needs and you will feel safe in the knowledge that your new presents are protected.

Christmas presents can often be costly items. Expensive gifts, including laptops, games consoles – like the xBox 360 or Nintendo Wii – and multimedia mobile devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch, could significantly add to the value of your home contents.

But just because the value of your possessions has increased, your home insurance premium doesn’t necessarily have to rise too. Insurancewide’s home insurance comparison facility helps you search the market to find the home insurance policy that matches your personal requirements.

Insurance may seem like an unwanted extra expense when you’re trying to cut back on expenditure, but the long-term benefits of adequate home insurance could prove invaluable.

Insurancewide urges families to review their existing home insurance policy to ascertain whether or not their current levels of protection are adequate to cover their new household items in the event of fire, theft, flooding or a range of other tragedies that could befall a home.

About Insurancewide
Insurancewide, also known as Services Limited, is an online insurance comparison website offering insurance comparison tools that allow users to search the market and procure the best insurance policies and quotes.

Insurancewide was launched in August 1999 as the first insurance comparison website on the internet. The site also powered tools used on popular website


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