Lloyds TSB Announces That It Will Be Increasing Rates On Its Fixed Rate Cash ISA By Up To 1 Per Cent

Available from 24th March 2009, the rate on the Lloyds TSB Fixed Rate Cash ISA 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.

Colin Walsh, managing director savings and investment at Lloyds TSB said: “This latest rate increase is just one example of how we are working to help savers make the most of their money in today’s difficult economic climate. Given the current low rate environment, it is more important than ever to make use of your tax free allowance and we would encourage savers to take action before the tax year end on April 5th.”

Existing customers who already hold a balance within the improved tiers will also see their rate increase from the 24th March. This means customers who have a balance of £9000 or more will earn a guaranteed rate of 3 per cent for 12 months.

Research from the bank shows that almost half of savers would prefer a fixed rate, in today’s uncertain economic climate.

Colin Walsh continued: “The ISA market has been active for ten years now and many savers have built up a substantial tax free nest egg. Unlike a number of the headline ISAs on the market, our product allows customers to transfer in their previous ISA savings, so they can earn a competitive rate on the maximum balance.”

More information on the Lloyds TSB Fixed Rate ISA is available through branches of Lloyds TSB or online.

Rate increase applies to 2009 Fixed Rate Cash ISA launched on 16th
February 2009. Rates on 2008 Fixed Rate ISA remain unchanged.

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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Financial press releases

Fixed rate mortgages are low, particularly for those with at least 25% equity, but will they/can they get any cheaper?

Tracker mortgage rates mirror any change in bank rate, but with mortgage lenders increasing tracking margins, and with bank rate at 0.5%, have you missed the boat?

Unusually, standard variable rates may also look attractive, but are lenders passing on any change in interest rates, as they struggle to retain savers?

If you are unsure what to choose, here are some L&C tips on how you could hedge your bets.

A mix and match mortgage is where you take part on a variable rate and part on a fixed rate. This gives you some security but will also mean you don’t completely miss out if rates fall again. The downside is that you’re likely to pay an arrangement fee for both schemes.

Drop lock mortgages, offered by lenders such as Halifax, Nationwide and C&G, allow you to take a tracker deal, but switch to a fixed rate in the future without penalty.

This might seem the perfect solution but timing your switch will be tricky, and is likely to involve your home being revalued. With house prices continuing to fall, a revaluation could see you move into a higher loan to value band with higher rates, so even if fixed rates generally fall, you could end up paying more. Any switch is also likely to mean a new arrangement fee.

You could also consider a capped tracker mortgage. The tracker means you don’t miss out on interest rate cuts, and adding a cap means there is a maximum rate you can pay, so if rates rise above the cap, you don’t need to worry.

The Coventry and Yorkshire Building Societies and Woolwich have all recently launched capped trackers.

To find out more visit the best buy mortgages section of the L&C website.

Whatever you do, L&C’s advice is don’t delay. With lenders reserving their best deals for those with up to 40% equity, and falling house prices eroding your equity, any delay could cost you dear.

For more information and no-fee advice, borrowers should call free on 0800 373300.


London & Country (L&C) is the UK’s leading no-fee mortgage broker. Based in Bath, it provides whole of market advice via telephone and post to clients nationwide. As well as residential mortgages, it also specialises in the Buy-to-Let and adverse-credit sectors.

L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers. For more information, go to www.lcplc.co.uk/green

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
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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Financial press releases

Forward Thinking PEO Services Provider Brings More Money to Businesses

It’s a known fact that American businesses these days are searching for more progressive ways to keep their organizations viable and profitable. The current economic situation has businesses locally, nationally and globally strategizing on how to balance income and expenses. Many companies are struggling with decisions like; should we diversify, cut payroll costs, adjust our employee benefits structures or shut the doors. A current reality facing all business decision makers is that it’s time to implement reorganization and restructuring strategies geared towards keeping their companies from experiencing devastating losses.

Fortunately, a Professional Employer Organization, PEO, can help in some very beneficial and economic ways. A PEO company is a one-stop human resources hub that can help any business streamline their back office support essentials like payroll processing, tax filing, and more. National’s PEO Services begins with a team concept that means the client has the attention of several experienced PEO staff and not just one or two persons. Whatever your business needs; payroll, human resources, workers compensation and benefits administration, to name a few, a professional and experiences PEO can save businesses money. Organizations with the staff sizes as small as10 or as large as 500 employees, are National PEO’s specialty.

Payroll Outsourcing Services is just one benefit provided a National PEO client. They can and have saved many companies hundreds to thousands of dollars. National PEO’s highly trained and accomplished staff can get your clerical and back office needs met quickly and efficiently. Many experts in business have proven that if a company enlists the help of payroll outsourcing services, the executives and management personnel are free to give their attention to the product or service offered to the consumers. What does all this translate to the new client of National’s PEO Services? It means more income to operate and less expense allocated in the clerical or administrative divisions.

Owning a business with employees means payroll processing. Payroll workers can spend countless hours tracking the employees time and where it was spent, tallying the figures for Federal, State, and Medicare taxes (this doesn’t include filing the tax forms quarterly or yearly), and writing the paychecks. Every business is unique and a perfect solution, for any business dilemma, can be found with the assistance of a talented and experienced PEO. The PEO team acts like a one-stop payroll administration center that incorporates the management of all human resource responsibilities such as: payroll processing, payroll tax filing. National PEO is not limited to payroll; they offer human resources information management (John Rico), benefits administration, information technology (Kevin Davis), paycard services and so much more.

Business experts and business professionals from all types of commerce and enterprises will warn newbie business owners to not take the accounting, clerical and payroll end of business for granted. It is in these areas that bad decisions or neglect can topple a company into bankruptcy. Don’t like the bookkeeping or back office end of business? Consider researching the services at National PEO, a
reputable professional employer organization.

Businesses today need state of the art information technology. Difficult economic times do not have to mean the end of any business enterprise. The smart business person and decision makers are always open to strategize internal changes that can keep operations profitable and continue to provide customers the quality service and product they have come to expect. Peo Services like National PEO, puts money back into business. They can handle numerous requirements presented by the business owner or corporation, in return, saving that business precious time and money.

About National PEO, LLC:

Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, National PEO has been in business since 1999. They specialize in providing professional employer services with an emphasis on teamwork. A highlight of National PEO is that clients can purchase bundled or ala carte services. National PEO caters to businesses of any size.

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Financial press releases

Woolworth’s Release Everyday Money Credit Card

If you are a Woolworth’s customer or thinking of becoming one then the new “Woolworth’s Everyday Money Credit Card” offer is for you. The advantage of the new Woolworths credit card is that it rewards you for being a loyal shopper. You receive bonus points f r o m Shopping at Woolworths and partner stores around Australia. Rewards For Shopping at Woolworth’s Supermarket. 

Earn 3 points for every dollar spent on select products at Woolworth’s supermarkets. If you spend $200 on food shopping per week then this would equate to 600 bonus points added to your Everyday Money bonus points account. Earn 2 points for every other product you buy at Woolworths, Safeway, Big W, CALTEX WOOLWORTHS/SAFEWAY co-branded fuel outlets, epump, Woolworth’s/Safeway Liquor, Dick Smith PowerHouse and participating Dick Smith Electronics and Tandy stores. The Everyday Money deal also gives you 1 point for any other purchases made on your credit card. This product gives you the opportunity to earn reward points for your everyday shopping in Australia.

Redeeming your Points
Every 4 months depending on how many points you have earned in this period Woolworth’s customers will earn a Shopping Card that can be used at Woolworth’s stores and participating partner networks. The shopping card can be used for anything f r o m food shopping to the petrol pump.

Credit Card Features
The Everyday Money Card is issued on behalf of the HSBC Bank and is subject to their lending requirements. The low purchase interest rate as of March 24 2009 is 17.99 percent. For a limited time only the Everyday Money Mastercard comes with a $50 bonus shopping card upon the first card usage, and zero dollar annual fee for the first year, after which the annual fee is $49 per year. If the balance transfer is not paid off within this period then the standard purchase rate applies.

If you are a Woolworths customer and a responsible credit card user then the rewards program offered by the Everyday Money Mastercard will provide you with advantageous benefits. Woolworths is one of Australia’s most reputable organisations and the partnership with HSBC Bank gives the Australian consumers a deal that will save.

Via EPR Network
Financial press releases

NS&I Changes Premium Bonds Prize Structure And Variable Rates On Savings

NS&I has announced that f r o m the April prize draw onwards one of the two monthly Premium Bond jackpot prizes of £1 million will be replaced by a wider mix of prizes in the monthly draws, allowing more people to win but still retaining the chance of winning the £1 million jackpot prize. Similarly, a new £25 Premium Bond prize will be introduced and used alongside the existing prizes (ranging f r o m £50 to£1 million). These changes have been introduced because Premium Bond holders say that maintaining the chances of winning tax-free prizes on a regular basis is particularly important to them.

In addition to these changes, NS&I is reducing the Premium Bond prize fund rate f r o m 1.8% to 1%. This rate will be held at least until the June 2009 draw even if there are further changes to the base rate. This is the first change NS&I has made to the prize fund rate since December last year – during which time the Bank of England base rate has fallen f r o m 3.0% to 0.5%. The revised prize fund rate will come into effect f r o m 1 April 2009.

The current odds of each £1 Premium Bond number winning any prize will remain unchanged at 36,000 to 1, so with average luck an investor with £30,000 in Premium Bonds could win 10 tax-free prizes a year. The unclaimed premium bond prizes range all the way f r o m £25 up to £100,000. NS&I gives away over one million tax-free* Premium Bond prizes each month.

NS&I is also reducing the interest rates on its other variable rate savings by up to 0.50%, following movements in the Bank of England base rate. The revised interest rates will come into effect f r o m 18 March 2009.

Peter Cornish, Director of Customer Offer, NS&I, said: “Premium Bonds are unique and are hugely popular with our customers. Replacing one of the £1 million jackpot prizes with a wider mix of prizes and introducing the new £25 prize category will help us maintain the frequency of tax-free prizes – something that we know is particularly important to Premium Bond holders. “

He continued, “We always aim to reward as many of our customers as possible f r o m the prize fund available, together with having the right mix of prizes. We continue to pay out hundreds of thousands of tax-free prizes each month and customers also benefit f r o m a 100% guarantee on their investment because we are backed by HM Treasury.”

As always, NS&I will communicate all of these changes to customers via a range of outlets, including press advertisements and NS&I’s website, as well as putting an updated Premium Bonds prize draw details leaflets in all Post Offices and updated interest rates leaflets in most branches of WH Smith throughout the UK.

* Tax-free means that interest and prizes are exempt of f r o m UK Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax Gross means the taxable rate of interest without deduction of UK Income Tax.


When interest rates are s e t on tax-free products, NS&I takes into account the amount of tax the Exchequer would have received if the product had been taxable.

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers inflation-beating savings account guaranteed equity bonds, savings bonds easy access accounts and children’s bonus bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

Out of hours above number diverted to staff mobile phone ISDN line for interviews: 020 7602 4522.

Via EPR Network
Financial press releases

Recession Woes Grow For Pensioners

New Prudential Class of 2009 retirement survey reveals the UK’s deepening economic crisis will mean the 3.25 million UK adults who plan to retire in 2009 can expect to receive £2.87 billion* less in their pensions than those who planned to retire in 2008.

The survey found UK workers planning to draw their pension in 2009 expect to get an average income of£17,779 a year, £884 less than those retiring in 2008 who anticipated an average annual income of £18,663. Retirement will mean taking a £7,129 cut in income compared with the national average salary of £24,908** but some believe they will be considerably worse off.

The Prudential survey showed that 11% of people retiring in 2009 expect to receive an income of less than £10,000 a year from their pensions and investments, with 12% of women expecting to manage on this level of income compared to 9% of men.

While 39% said their pension and savings would give them a decent retirement income, 61% were doubtful that they would have enough money to enjoy a comfortable life in retirement. When asked if they thought they were financially well prepared for retirement, only 47% responded positively.

Keith Haggart, Director of Lifetime Mortgages at Prudential said: “The global economic recession is relentless and indiscriminate in its impact and it was only a matter of time before we began to see British pensioners bear the brunt.”

He continued, “Although the results of our survey make unsettling reading, there are ways for pensioners to maximise their incomes during these difficult times. Drawing on some or all of the assets saved throughout their working lives, including releasing value from property through equity release schemes, can boost annual incomes without having a detrimental impact on quality of life or forcing pensioners to downsize or embark on a fire sale of their possessions and assets.”

Keith urged anyone approaching retirement or who has recently retired to talk to a financial adviser to help them review all their assets and savings to see how they could be used to maximise income.

Prudential’s retirement planning website helps consumers and employers tackle retirement issues. The website features a Retirement Planner which has been designed to help determine how much income a customer’s current arrangements might give them in retirement, factoring in current pensions, property, savings and investments. The Planner also shows customers how they might be able to boost retirement income, if there is a gap between what their current arrangements will provide at the point of retirement and what they anticipate they may need.

* Office of National Statistics 2007 show 24,990,500 adults aged 45+ in the UK. Prudential research shows that 13% of UK adults aged 45+ (youngest age stated by individuals planning to retire in 2009) said they planned to retire in 2009 = 3,251,854 people. Multiplied by £884 individual shortfall = £2.87 billion.

** 2008 ASHE survey results show median weekly pay for full-time employees in UK grew by 4.6% in the year to April 2008 to reach £479 (multiplied by 52 weeks =£24,908).

Survey conducted online by Research Plus among 1,000 UK adults aged 45+, during 10–18 November 2008.

About Prudential
“Prudential” is a trading name of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited, which is registered in England and Wales. This name is also used by other companies within the Prudential Group, which between them provide a range of financial products including life assurance, pensions, savings and investment products. Registered Office at Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0HH. Registered number 15454. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Via EPR Network
Financial press releases

NS&I Has Launched A New Online Feature, The Five Questions, Featuring Sir Alan Sugar, To Encourage The British Public To Give Their Personal Finances A Much Needed Health Check

With research from NS&I revealing that 40 per cent of the population have no long-term financial plan and almost a fifth (17 per cent) don’t seek information on managing their money because it is too confusing, the need for a quick, simple way to help people review their current financial situation is clear.

The Five Questions prompt individuals to consider important aspects of their financial management, including how much debt they have and what their cash and assets are worth. Each question is designed to ensure that everyone, regardless of age or situation, really thinks about their current financial situation and plans accordingly for a secure financial future.

John Prout, Director of Customer Sales and Retention at NS&I said: “The Five Questions help focus the mind and help people make an honest and straightforward appraisal of their financial situation. This is part of our ongoing work to fulfil our duty, as an organisation in the financial services industry, to help everyone understand the basics when it comes to making financial decisions.”

Once answered, the five questions link to specific information on NS&I’s You and your money website. This is an impartial website launched by NS&I in 2008 as part of an ongoing drive to improve the public’s understanding of personal finance. The site has a dedicated financial jargon-buster guide and sections on key life stages, such as planning for a family or retirement. Just like The Five Questions, it is simple and easy to use, even for those who find finance difficult to understand.

John Prout added, “Most people are very familiar with the healthy eating model of ‘five portions of fruit and veg daily’. We want to encourage a similar mindset about financial planning to ensure people review their finances on a regular basis.”

Nick Cann, Chief Executive at the Institute of Financial Planning stated, “Asking the key questions to help you get your finances in better shape needn’t be hard work. Through basic planning techniques, individuals can then make the first step to improve their overall financial ‘fitness’. We welcome this initiative, and it aligns well with the IFP’s development of a national Financial Planning Week – scheduled for September 2009.”

You and your money has a range of useful links and tools to help people decide what action they should be taking. These include:

-pensions and personal inflation calculators
-FSA online tools
-Government online tools and calculators

NS&I plans to add further lifestyle sections to the website over time.

*The survey, which questioned people about financial planning, was carried out by TNS in 2008 among 1009 GB adults aged between 16 and 64.

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with 28 million customers and over £88 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers Inflation-Beating Savings and investment accounts, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. NS&I also provides a choice of isa accounts with the direct isa and a cash isa which will remain available to new customers until 5th April 2009. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. NS&I has a number of spokespeople available for interviews via ISDN line: 020 7602 4522.

Via EPR Network
Financial press releases

New Book Reveals Safe And Lucrative Investment Alternatives

“Unlimited Investing with a Self-Directed IRA LLC or Solo 401(k): Break Free F r o m Wall Street to Build Real Wealth with Alternative Investments” teaches investors safe and effective ways to build and protect their wealth.

With investors fed up with corporate greed, corrupt financial institutions and risk-laden Wall Street investments, now more than ever investors are looking for strategic ways to accumulate, grow and preserve their wealth outside of Wall Street. “Unlimited Investing with a Self-Directed IRA LLC or Solo 401(k): Break Free F r o m Wall Street to Build Real Wealth with Alternative Investments,” enables average investors to start learning how to identify safe, alternative places for their money so they can achieve financial freedom and financial security. The book is co-authored by the world’s leading self-directed investing expert, Jeff Nabers, and real estate and financial author, Phoebe Chongchua. Download the first chapter at UnlimitedInvesting.com

Nabers says that unlimited retirement accounts have been used to invest in alternative assets for decades, but few investors take advantage of these opportunities because of a lack of awareness. “Until recently, everyone thought the road to riches was paved with stocks and bonds. But today we know this isn’t true. Investors can no longer depend on untrustworthy financial institutions and greedy Wall Street executives to secure their financial future for them,” says Nabers.

“Instead, this book will teach investors how to convert their shrinking mutual fund portfolios into solid portfolios of real assets.”

Unlimited Investing includes everything an investor needs to know about protecting and growing wealth in today’s uncertain terrain, including:

• How to profit f r o m the decline of the dollar
• How to recession-proof your investments
• How to get your assets in your hands and stop risking them with untrustworthy financial institutions
• Understanding your Self-Directed IRA or 401(k) investment structures’ options
• How to avoid large or unnecessary fees and expenses

“Anyone who has ever wanted to invest in real estate, gold and silver, private equities, private debt instruments and international investments will benefit f r o m the practical advice and rare information available in this book,” says Chongchua.“It’s time for investors to wake up and explore the investment opportunities that await them outside of Wall Street. They’ll be glad they did.”

Nabers says he believes average and sophisticated investors alike can benefit f r o m his years of knowledge. “I’ve dedicated six years of my life to learning everything possible about self-directed investing and am making all this information available for public consumption for the first time ever with the release of Unlimited Investing,” says Nabers.

“Unlimited Investing” can be pre-ordered directly at http://www.UnlimitedInvesting.com

Jeff Nabers is a nationally recognized educator, speaker, and consultant specializing in the topic of investing with Self-Directed IRA & 401(k) plans. He is the founding member and chairman of IRA Association of America, the industry’s only non-profit trade association. Jeff is also CEO of Nabers Group, a full-service self-directed retirement plan provider. Years ago, as a real estate investor and owner of a mortgage lending company, Jeff set out to learn the ins and outs of using a Self-Directed IRA. It turned out to be a long and strenuous process. Jeff found himself traveling all over the country to pick up bits and pieces of useful information f r o m dozens of sources. Unlimited Investing is a compilation of the fruit of Jeff’s research combined with the experienced perspective f r o m Jeff’s participation in thousands of transactions involving both alternative assets and retirement plan funds.

Phoebe Chongchua has a 20-year background in journalism, marketing, and customer service. She specializes in real estate writing and her work is featured in Donald Trump’s book “The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received,” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Buying Foreclosures.” She is the author of “If the Trash Stinks: TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles For Your Success.” Phoebe began her career in TV as an anchor and news reporter for ABC News in San Diego, California. She holds a real estate license in California and continues to write and educate consumers on real estate and financial issues in various columns and publications online and in print. She is a columnist for Realty Times, Bizymoms Expert on Real Estate, and the publisher of Live Fit Magazine. After writing several articles on the topic of alternative asset investment vehicles, she realized how little the average consumer understands this highly powerful method of investing. Catalyzed to improve awareness, Phoebe’s research dug deeper, and the helpful findings are presented in this book.

Via EPR Network
Financial press releases

Sunwest Trust, Inc., Self Directed IRA Custodian Announces 19% Growth in 2008

Self Directed IRA Custodian, Sunwest Trust, Inc., which is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, defies economic odds by growing by 19% in 2008 despite the recessive economy. Sunwest Trust has diverse business interests and services self directed IRA and 401k clients nationwide.

Despite the grim economic climate and the receding value of the DOW, “Sunwest Trust continues to thrive and grow,” says Terry White, Chief Executive Officer for Sunwest Trust, Inc. In 2008, Sunwest Trust experienced their most profitable year in the company’s history and has grown by nearly 19% during the recession. White attributes much of their 2008 growth to the recent exodus from Wall Street, resulting from the daily fluctuations in the stock market. He adds, “Investors are pouring out of the stock market because they are fed up with the downward market free fall.” With the DOW down as much as 7000 points since last June, many IRA and 401k accounts have seen negative growth and have fallen by as much as 50%. As IRA holders see their retirement accounts deteriorating, “they are eager to look for investment alternatives,” says White.

Indeed, Sunwest Trust is positioned to meet this need; Sunwest allows their clients to invest in anything that is not specifically prohibited by the IRS code. Basically, this includes anything other than life insurance and collectibles. Although Sunwest allows clients to invest alternatively, White adds, “We strongly encourage our clients to exercise thorough due diligence and speak with a tax professional before making any alternative investments.”

Dustin White, Business Development/ IRA Specialist, suggests, “Our reasonable fee structure and customer service have also had a hand in our success in 2008.” Sunwest Trust IRA account fees have remained unchanged over the past seven years, and according to Dustin, “we do not plan on raising our fees in the foreseeable future, especially in this economic climate.”

Sunwest continues to provide outstanding service by managing their growth one client at a time. “We strive to personalize our clients’ experience. For example, when you call Sunwest Trust, you’re not going to get an automated voice answering system; you’re going to talk to a real person,” adds Dustin.

“February 2009 was another record-breaking month for Sunwest, in terms of new accounts received. All indications point to another great year for the company. We grew 19 % last year, and I see no reason why we can’t top that again this year,” says White.

About Sunwest Trust:
Sunwest Trust is an independently owned private company that offers self-directed IRA custodian and escrow services. The company offers a huge range of financial services providing post retirement benefits, private mortgages, real estate contacts and other related fields for its clients. FDIC insured banks back the self directed IRA funds of their clients. For more information on the activities of the company, please visit

Also, you can learn more about Sunwest Trust by watching their self directed IRA videos on Youtube.


Via EPR Network
Financial press releases

Tackling Unsecured Debt Can Prevent Repossession

Responding to the 2008 repossession and arrears statistics released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), debt specialists Debt Advisers Direct have stressed the relationship between unsecured debt and mortgage arrears.

“As the CML reports, there were 40,000 repossessions in 2008,” said a spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct, “and a further 219,000 mortgages ended the year more than three months in arrears.

“For many of those people, however, the problem lay not in the cost of their actual mortgage payments, but in the cost of servicing their unsecured debts. Charging significantly higher interest rates than mortgages, unsecured debts can easily ‘snowball’ to the point where borrowers simply can’t keep up with them – where their monthly payments barely suffice to pay off the accumulating interest.

“Unsecured debts can also be alarmingly easy to take on. Credit cards and store cards in particular allow significant levels of debt to accumulate gradually: people who would hesitate to take out a £2,000 loan can find they’ve acquired £2,000 of debt on a number of cards without even noticing it.”

This combination of high interest rates and ease of access has left many homeowners with unsecured monthly debt repayments that take up some or all of the funds they need to service their mortgage debt. Unless they take steps to address this, it can end up leading to repossession.

“There are ways of reducing the burden of their unsecured debts,” the spokesperson continued. “Many people successfully negotiate with their unsecured lenders – either on their own or through a professional debt management organisation – asking them to accept lower payments, freeze interest and/or waive charges, to ensure that servicing their unsecured debts doesn’t take up funds they need to stay on top of their mortgage payments.

Others find that their unsecured debts have passed the point where negotiation is a realistic option: “In 2008, some 106,000 people in England and Wales turned to insolvency (bankruptcy or an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement)) as the only realistic path out of debt – and experts such as KPMG believe this figure could easily grow by 50% this year.

“For the majority of homeowners, an IVA offers distinct benefits over bankruptcy. Like bankruptcy, an IVA lets them write off the debt they can’t afford to repay, and will have a severe impact on their credit rating. Unlike bankruptcy, however, it will allow them to retain ownership of their property.”

This is what makes it a particularly interesting option for homeowners who worry that their unsecured debts could end up costing them their home: “An IVA requires substantial commitment, as they will need to make regular payments towards their unsecured debt for five years, but those payments are designed to be affordable.

They will be calculated to take up the individual’s entire disposable income – the money they will have left after taking into account their essential monthly expenditure, such as food, petrol, utility bills and (most importantly) mortgage payments.

“So a homeowner in an IVA will be required to contribute all their disposable income to their IVA for a full five years, as well as releasing some equity halfway through the final year of the IVA to maximise the amount they can pay their unsecured creditors.

“However, they’ll know they’re protected from any legal action by their unsecured creditors – including attempts to make them bankrupt – and they’ll know their outstanding unsecured debts will be written off at the end of that period. Most important of all, they’ll know the budget they’re following is specifically designed to ensure their monthly mortgage payments will be met.”

“The important thing is to take action in time, as soon as their unsecured debts reach unmanageable levels. An IVA is a legal procedure that requires the approval of creditors who collectively ‘own’ 75% of the debt in question – in general, the sooner an individual speaks to an Insolvency Practitioner about an IVA, the better their chances of gaining that approval.”

Via EPR Network
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The Incentive Group, Inc., Works to Assure Event Success and National Financial Recovery

Talk about full service: The Incentive Group, Inc., a Corporate Event Planner, not only provides comprehensive services for planning employee incentive programs or sales recognition programs, but now its activities behind the scenes are helping to put guidelines in place to ensure that your company’s incentive activities are conducted in compliance with new federal laws and to ensure that your company maintains eligibility for federal emergency funding. 

The Incentive Group, Inc. provides all-inclusive services in conducting a variety of corporate events, from 

routine meetings and conferences, to sales recognition programs and employee incentive programs. The Incentive Group, Inc. maintains that company productivity and profits can be sustained and improved, even in tight economic times, by improving relationships with two major sources that are essential to business success: good customers and good employees. Even the most successful businesses must regularly take external and internal action to maintain happy customers and happy, productive employees.

Sales recognition programs have long been deemed essential management tools, utilized by companies to motivate and boost the confidence of their sales employees. More recently, companies have recognized that employee incentive programs targeting non-sales employees also have a measurable positive effect on the bottom line. Well-informed companies now view both types of programs as necessary to nurture good relationships with one of their most valuable resources – their employees.

Why incentives? Why not cash? The Incentive Group, Inc. presents a compelling case in favor of Travel Awards Employee Incentive Programs. Independent studies support the position that such incentives work better than cash to create feelings of satisfaction and to produce a high level of individual motivation.

Why not just organize your own events? The Incentive Group, Inc. has the purchasing power and connections to negotiate the best rates on services. Minimizing costs helps maximize attendance, ensuring greater success. Letting The Incentive Group handle the details free up company personnel from the onerous obligation of struggling to complete all the tasks necessary to set the stage for these kinds of events. Your employees are then able to spend their time doing what they do best: Their jobs.

You definitely need to consult with a professional corporate event planner before hosting any incentive event if you have received emergency government lending for distressed corporations. Under calls from the Obama administration, as well as a bill proposed in the U.S. Senate, the Secretary of the Treasury would be required to “develop and publish corporate governance principles and ethical guidelines for recipients of emergency economic assistance including restrictions governing payments for conferences and events.” (S.133, “Troubled Asset Relief Program Transparency Reporting Act,” Introduced 01/06/2009). The bill also mentions travel accommodations, travel expenditures, entertainment, holiday parties, and employee recognition events.

The Incentive Group, Inc. is a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), one of a group of eight event industry associations that have stepped forward to voluntarily create a “Model Board Policy for Approval of Meetings, Events and Incentive/Recognition Travel.” Although the Model Policy will constrain the very corporations that use the services of member corporate event planners, it will also protect the uninterrupted, smooth operation of the event industry.

MPI members like The Incentive Group, Inc., have thus dedicated themselves to assisting economic recovery by taking action to protect the significant percentages of jobs, tax revenues, and travel-related spending generated by the event industry, and also by aiding client companies that receive federal emergency funding to avoid legal problems over its use.

About The Incentive Group, Inc.

The Incentive Group, Inc. offers comprehensive corporate event planning, from local, regional, or national meetings, to custom-designed Travel Award programs, to participant feedback reports, plus everything in between. All services provided by The Incentive Group, Inc., have a unified goal in mind: To understand your business and to provide what you need in order to obtain measurable results.

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npower Urges Businesses To Act Now In Order To Profit From Emissions Reduction

Npower has commissioned a new white paper which reveals that businesses that make emissions reduction a board level priority can reap the rewards of a low carbon Britain.

The newly published white paper, UK Climate Policy for Business, was commissioned by npower from the London School of Economics.

The white paper comes on the back of research from npower, which revealed that many businesses are concerned that Government regulation to reduce carbon emissions will make the UK uncompetitive and add more cost than benefits.

To address this concern and to stress the potential financial reward of emission reduction, the white paper provides a guide to the UK’s emission reduction regulations and gives advice on the actions businesses need to undertake to succeed in a low carbon Britain. It also underlines that early adopters will be in the driving seat to make the most of a smaller carbon footprint.

The white paper stresses that the new regulatory instruments will not be without their complexities and that firms will have to learn new skills to ensure compliance with the rules, but that those that can do this early will be best placed to take advantage of the opportunities that might arise. It states carbon policy is specifically designed to reward firms that spot opportunities to reduce emissions, cut costs and adopt low-carbon processes.

“Reducing a firm’s carbon footprint can be a challenge, but the measures needed are often cash-flow positive, with investments recouped in a short period of time,” says Dr Samuel Fankhauser, author of the paper, principal research fellow at the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and a member of the Committee on Climate Change.

“Reducing a carbon footprint is all about sound management and success will be determined by the priority businesses attach to emission reduction. Research has shown that well-managed firms tend to use less energy per unit of output than less well-run firms and are therefore better placed to succeed,” he adds.

David Titterton head of business development within energy services at npower adds: “Our aim in commissioning the white paper is to help businesses understand the current regulatory framework and point to the benefits firms can enjoy if they position emission reduction as central to their business goals. By doing so, we hope to ease the concerns that businesses clearly have.

“We understand that these are challenging times for businesses and many are focused on cost saving. Putting in place an energy management programme to reduce consumption can help manage costs, while also reducing emissions. Businesses doing this will be better placed to operate under the UK’s climate change policies and succeed in a Low Carbon Economy.”

The White Paper, UK Climate Policy for Business, can be downloaded at www.npower.com/businessenergy


About npower:
npower is one of the top energy suppliers to the UK business market, serving over 230,000 small to medium sized enterprise sites and around 15,000 industrial and commercial customers, with over 100,000 sites.

npower is dedicated to helping UK businesses use energy more efficiently and therefore spend less money on their bills. We aim to have a positive impact on the communities we serve and reduce our customers’ carbon footprint whilst always improving our service to our customers.

npower specialises in risk management solutions, including market-leading flexible energy purchasing, energy efficiency, and broader energy management functions, tailored to every size of business. npower customers include BT, Wembley Stadium plc, AstraZeneca and Sainsbury’s.

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Online Marketing Strategies Leave IT Departments Isolated Reveals Rackspace

IT decision makers are increasingly falling into a “Website Wilderness” as they fail to align technology with the delivery of online marketing, according to international research launched by Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX). The research also indicates that businesses are not engaging effectively online or aligning formal objectives with business goals.

The survey investigated the views and future plans of 250 IT decision makers among eight industry sectors and across several regions – the UK, Northern Europe (Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark) and South Africa.

According to the study nearly two-thirds (64%) of UK respondents expect to see more investment in online marketing in the coming year, but almost the same number (65%) claim they would not be involved in its delivery. The findings were similar across Northern Europe, where 44% stated online marketing would be a big focus, but 45% did not expect to get involved in it. Considering 90% of shoppers bought their Christmas presents online in 2008*, these findings are particularly startling.

As well as the disconnect between IT and the delivery of online marketing, only 20% of UK businesses and 32% in Northern Europe are investing in blogs and web forums. This could put businesses at a competitive disadvantage as the use of social media as a channel to communicate with customers increases in many sectors.

Just over a third (36%) of IT decision makers have formal objectives aligning IT with business goals, highlighting a disconnect between business strategy and technology implementation. This number is less in Northern Europe (28%). With so many options on how technology is delivered to the business, it seems that IT decision makers are confused by the array of applications they can host, which
include hosting, accounting, finance, email, ERP, payroll and websites.

Fabio Torlini, marketing director at managed hosting provider Rackspace, said: “The online ambitions of the marketing departments need to be supported by the technical expertise of the IT department for the benefit of the whole company. Technology has evolved in such a way that businesses can have almost any service adapted to support their marketing needs. So for businesses not to use this to their advantage is completely misguided.

“Marketing leaders must tap into the expertise of the IT department and IT decision makers become engaged in the marketing strategy. The challenge for IT people is to look to new ways of working, such as online engagement and hosted applications, to enhance competitive edge. In particular I would expect to see a review of strategies in line with the economic downturn. Outdated views of technology and a disconnect between IT and the wider organisation will present a risk for businesses in 2009. Set against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, making mistakes in IT strategy could prove costly to repair.”


* IMRG e-Retail Customer Service (e-CSi) Index, Dec 08

The research was carried out by independent research company, Loudhouse Research, who interviewed 100 IT decision makers from UK, including IT Directors, IT Managers, IT Project Managers, Heads of IT, Network Managers, MDs and CEOs.

About Rackspace Hosting
As the world’s leader and specialist in hosting, Rackspace Hosting is changing the way businesses worldwide buy IT. Rackspace delivers computing-as-a-service, integrating the industry’s best technologies into a flexible service offering, making computing more reliable and affordable. A trusted partner to companies of all sizes, Rackspace enables IT departments to be more effective. Rackspace is distinguished by its award-winning Fanatical Support, furthering the company’s mission to be one of the world’s greatest service companies. Rackspace featured in the top 30 of both the Sunday Times 100 Best companies to work for list and the Financial Times Great Place to Work Awards, 2008. Rackspace’s portfolio of hosted services includes managed hosting, email hosting and cloud hosting.

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UK Adults Delaying Retirement Due To Economy Reveals Prudential

According to the new Prudential ‘Class of 2009’ retirement survey, around 2.2 million* UK adults aged 45 and above** are delaying their retirement in 2009 due to the state of the economy and the falling value of their investments.

The Prudential survey also highlights that their concerns are so severe that those delaying retirement do not expect to be able to get their plans back on track for years to come.

Only one in four (25 per cent) of those delaying drawing their pension in 2009 expect they will be able to retire before 2012, with an even higher number – two in five (42 per cent) – expecting it will be 2012 or beyond before they can retire and one in four (23 per cent) believing they won’t ever be able to afford to retire.

But, despite many adults delaying retirement, nearly one in three (30 per cent) of those actually able to retire in 2009 are public sector workers, even though they make up just one in five people in the UK workforce***.

The remaining 2009 retirees will be split 35 per cent from private sector jobs and 15 per cent from self employed roles, with the remainder coming from those who are unemployed or in other sectors.

“It is a reflection of the difficult economic situation that so many workers, and particularly those in private sector roles who do not benefit from public sector final salary pension schemes, are trying to delay retirement but there are other options available,” said Martyn Bogira, Director of DC Solutions at Prudential.

Martyn pointed out that even with the economy in its current depressed state, many annuity rates have performed better than many feared and there are a number of other pension income options available, like income drawdown, which can let workers delay buying an annuity until such time as the economy has started to recover.

Martyn continued, “Now more than ever it pays to seek early retirement advice from an independent financial adviser and we would suggest that people start planning for their retirement early, ideally at least 15 years from retirement. It is vital that those saving for retirement continually monitor their investment mix to ensure they have the right risk profile to help minimise the impact of economic fluctuations and falling stock markets.”

The information contained in Prudential UK’s press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found at www.pru.co.uk.

Survey conducted by Research Plus among 1,000 UK adults aged 45+ between 10 – 18 November 2008 using an online methodology

* Office of National Statistics 2007 population estimates, 2.2 million adults aged 45 and above.
** Of the survey group, the youngest age given for individuals planning to retire in 2009 was 45
*** ONS Labour Market Study, public sector staff account for 20.4 per cent of employed population in June 2005

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New Software Helps Entrepreneurs Find Venture Funds

Commonwealth Capital Advisors (CCA) reached yet another milestone when it released a new software module of Financial Architect® Venture Producer™. Venture Producer™ is revolutionizing the way start-up and early-stage Venture/Hedge Funds are raising substantial amounts of capital using the techniques of Wall Street investment banks.

Venture Producer™ is an addition to the highly acclaimed Financial Architect® family of programs, which simplify equity financing for start-up and early-stage companies and Funds. The easy-to-use software based Venture Producer™ generates the required securities offering documents and investor leads, which enable start-up and early stage Venture and Hedge Fund managers raise and manage an unlimited amount of capital for their management companies as well as their venture or hedge funds.

CCA is an eleven-year-old investment banking advisory firm comprised of Wall Street Investment Bankers, Securities Attorneys and CPAs who invented Financial Architect®, a patent pending system designed to substantially reduce the cost (in time and money) of raising capital, through the selling of securities.

“The goals of Financial Architect®, and the module we’re announcing for Venture/Hedge Funds are simple,” said Timothy Hogan, CCA’s Chairman and CEO. “We want to help experienced professional entrepreneurs involved in and or desiring to break into the very lucrative fields of venture capital, mutual and hedge fund management industries to significantly lower the costs and increase the speed of raising equity capital. Just as important, we want to provide these professional management teams with an easy-to-use expert system that will enable them to choose the right deal structure for capital they need and manage those funds in compliance with federal and state securities laws, rules and regulations.”

“We believe there’s significant and growing demand among entrepreneurs for control over their financing strategies. The software components of Financial Architect® are designed to meet this ‘do-it-yourself’ approach,” he concluded.

More importantly, Commonwealth Capital Advisors has developed and now provides Financial Architect® as the Premier Expert System for start-up, early-stage and seasoned companies, that seek capital. The patent pending, software based, Financial Architect® is a system and method of reducing the cost of raising capital, as so states the abstract of its patent application.

Financial Architect® enables entrepreneurs to: valuate their company pre and post-money; create “marketable deal structures” for securities to be offered that are designed sell into today’s private equity markets; create the required securities offering documents compliant with federal and state securities laws, rules and regulations; and access to accredited “angel” investors, private equity funds, hedge funds, registered investment advisors, broker-dealers and many other sources of capital, around the world, that have a specific interest in funding start-up and early-stage companies. Access to investors, more Wall Street secrets and techniques, as well as, regulatory guidance is located in the password-protected “Commonwealth Capital Club” located on CCA’s website and is part of Financial Architect®.

“When it comes to raising capital, there are no guarantees — only degrees of probability. To further ensure success, simply increase the probability to the highest degree possible. Financial Architect® is designed to increase your probability of raising capital to the highest degree possible. How can we make such a claim? Because this is the Wall Street process and without it, Wall Street wouldn’t exist. We’ve simply brought the “Wall Street” process to “Main Street” companies.” Timothy D. Hogan, Founder & CEO: Commonwealth Capital Advisors

“When it comes to raising capital, there is no simpler way to explain how to effectively raise substantial amounts of capital while maintaining voting control. If you read just the first 2-Chapters of the Ebook, “The Secrets of Wall St. – Raising Capital for Start-Up and Early Stage Companies,” it would be time well spent. By doing so, you will be able to make an informed decision if our process is right for your company’s capital raising needs. At a minimum, you will save a significant amount of time, money and headaches trying to figure out how the world of capital really works,” Hogan concluded.

If you have not been through the process before and have a limited appreciation and understanding of it, then we suggest you educate yourself first, by reading the abridged edition of: “The Secrets of Wall Street — Raising Capital for Start-Up and Early Stage Companies.” (It’s Complimentary)

Entrepreneurs around the world are revolutionizing the way capital is raised using Financial Architect®.


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J2 Solutions Sign With Tracesmart

Leading suppliers of debtor tracing and data cleansing services, Tracesmart welcome the award winning J2 Solutions to their continually expanding list of tracing agency clients. J2 Solutions will be utilising the company’s online people tracing system with a view to improving their already high levels of trace success.

Operating in a variety of industries, J2 Solutions are based in Northwest England and currently employ over 30 highly trained and dedicated telephone tracing agents. The company was established in 2004 by their Managing Director, Gary Jones, who joined the debt collection industry as a doorstep collector at the age of 18, before progressing to generalised investigations and then specialising in telephone tracing.

Jones was recently appointed to join the board of the Credit Services Association (CSA), the official voice of the UK debt collection industry, following a substantial level of involvement with the organisation and in particular his role as the driving force behind the CSA Tracing Code of Conduct. Commenting on the code of conduct and why his company has opted to use Tracesmart, Jones noted,

“The debt collection industry has endured more than its fair share of negative press over recent years in regards to ethical debtor tracing. I fully support the CSA’s Tracing Code of Conduct and implore tracers to only conduct debtor tracing exercises using fully legitimate and ethical means. As part of our commitment to ethical tracing, J2 Solutions only utilise appropriate sources of information – one of the reasons we have opted to sign up with Tracesmart. We also hope that in using their system we can continue to improve our trace success rates and further cement our place in the top flight of tracing.”

J2 Solutions join Tracesmart’s diverse client base, which include the likes of renowned financial institutions who use the company to reunite individuals with unclaimed assets, and solicitors who use their online systems to conduct identity checks as part of compliance measures. Tracing agencies are, however, some of the company’s key clients and Tracesmart helps these organisations to efficiently and ethically trace people; commenting on these core clients Chris Rothwell, Sales Director for Tracesmart noted,

“Tracesmart has a proven track record with tracing agencies and our services are utilised by a wealth of companies from sole traders right the way through to blue chip. A comprehensive working knowledge of tracers’ needs and continual development of our services, ensure our clients have an effective, reliable and ethical tool to use when conducting positive and negative traces. We fully support the work of Gary Jones and the CSA’s Tracing Code of Conduct, and are now proud to welcome J2 Solutions as a client.”


J2 Solutions – One of the UK’s leading tracing agencies, J2 solutions deliver professional tracing services to a wide range of sectors including; legal services, private sector, public sector, credit industry and private individuals. In 2008 they won the inaugural “Tracing Agency of the Year” title, at the Credit Today Awards.

Tracesmart Ltd, Formed in 1999, Tracesmart 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.

Gary Jones, J2 Solutions Managing Director, Gary is renowned as one of the country’s leading trace specialists. A member of the CSA board, his extensive knowledge played a key role in the development of the CSA’s Tracing Code of Conduct.

Chris Rothwell, Tracesmart’s Sales Director, Chris previously worked in both the financial markets and tracing industry. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Chris heads up Tracesmart’s corporate sales team in addition to providing tracing consultancy.

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Javelin Marketing Provides Resources for Financial Advisors to Combat Recession

It’s no secret that financial advisors, financial planners, stockbrokers, life insurance agents and other financial services professionals are having a hard time retaining clients. Many clients have fled the financial markets for the safety of bank accounts and treasury bills.

There are approaches that advisors can use for client retention in this market and these are discussed at Javelin Marketing’s main blog. Additionally, Javelin Marketing provides free financial services marketing tools to download at their special download blog. New tools are added each month. Current tools and downloads available to financial advisors:

• Four ways to eliminate capital gains taxes—a great piece to share with clients right in the middle of tax season
• The benefit of offering FDIC insured CDs to retain clients now
• How to get more involved with individual fixed income securities to serve and attract an aging clientele
• A special social security tax reduction calculator that shows annuity sellers how in most cases, an annuity will save the retired owners taxes on social security income
• Ebook on Marketing to Seniors

If you register at the blog, you will be notified as tools are added. Soon to be added is “How to Find and Hire the Best Assistant.”


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