Shrinking Disposable Incomes Underline The Need To Cut Back On Spending And Seek Debt Advice When Necessary

Following a survey from comparison site uSwitch showing that disposable income had dropped for the first time since 1997, financial solutions company has stressed the need for consumers to cut back on their spending and, when necessary, seek expert debt help or advice.

Released at the end of August, the report related that UK households are £2,500 worse off this year than in 2007 – that the average disposable income had shrunk by 15% in just 12 months.

In theory, ‘Disposable income’ means money that’s available for discretionary spending – the part of a household’s income that’s left after paying for taxes, social contributions, mortgage / rent, fuel, food, transport, education, etc.

“Disposable income, therefore, must cover everything else, from socialising to buying magazines, computer games and so on: basically, the things that people actually like to spend money on,” said a spokesperson for “But the word ‘disposable’ can be misleading. The average household disposable income may be £14,520 (28.4% of gross total income), but how many households have £280 per week to spend in whatever way they see fit?”

“Figures from the Bank of England show that around 230 billion pounds of the UK’s ‘personal debt mountain’ is not secured on dwellings. Payments to unsecured debts (credit cards, personal loans, overdrafts, etc.) come out of a household’s disposable income, but they’re nonetheless essential – the consequences of non-payment may not be as serious as missing mortgage payments, but borrowers are still legally obliged to make them.”

The good news for borrowers is that such payments may, in certain circumstances, be negotiable. With the right debt solution, they could reduce the interest rates they’re paying, or even arrange for some of their debt to be written off. They may also, if they can’t make their repayments, be able to reduce the amount they’re paying each month – something which this survey indicates may be particularly appealing right now: “Anyone who was devoting a large part of their disposable income to unsecured debt repayments a year ago is likely to be facing serious problems today, and looking for a way to reduce their expenditure as soon as possible.

“The first thing to do, of course, is take a good look at their spending and identify areas where they could cut back. In many cases, though, this isn’t enough – and this is where a professional debt solution can give them a chance to regain control of their finances.

“Most unsecured creditors would rather renegotiate the repayment terms than try to force the borrower to stick to the original repayment plan when this clearly isn’t an option. Many people ask a debt management organisation to talk to their creditors on their behalf, negotiating a more realistic repayment programme – with lower monthly payments, for example, frozen interest and/or waived charges.”

Should debt management not be an option, there are other debt solutions, such as debt consolidation loans, debt consolidation mortgages and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements). “Everyone’s different, and there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ debt solution. The important thing is to talk to a professional debt adviser before making any firm decisions.”

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Insurance Rates, We Make It Easy For Consumers To Get All The Information They Need To Find Cheap Insurance

Consumers are often besieged by advertisements for the best rates, cheapest insurance, free quotes, etc, etc, ad nauseam. At Cheap Insurance Rates, we make it easy for consumers to get all the information they need to find Cheap Insurance. Our clients come to us seeking information on a host of financial and insurance services and we connect them with the best service providers in those industries. They come to us to instantly compare auto insurance offers. Rather than having to go shopping multiple insurance carriers, clients can fill in one simple form and have agents competing for their business. They come to us to get deals on home insurance and life insurance, and even pet insurance. They come to us to find health insurance deals to provide long term protection and comprehensive medical coverage for their families.

At, we work with pre screened insurance professionals and match our clients with the best of the best. Quotes are free, and there is no obligation.Cheap auto insurance quotes require answering just a few basic questions about you and your vehicles, takes only a few minutes and you can view your quotes right on line. Shopping for competitive rates for health insurance is easy with Cheap Insurance Rates as well. Simply fill in the form and sit back and relax while we do the work for you. We search for carriers who can provide you the best rates possible and the insurance companies come to you, allowing you to pick and choose from which ones are giving you the best deals possible, and the best coverage. Now that’s competitive insurance shopping.

You can handle all of your insurance needs at, take a few moments on our web site, fill int eh forms for each type of insurance you want to obtain quotes for, and we take care of all the details for you. Your personal information is kept safe and secure, shared only with prescreened insurance professionals who meet our stringent criteria. You can even find information on pet insurance plans to help cover accidents, illness and even the annual vet bills. Accidents happen, and your pet is an important part of your family; we understand that, and we’re here to help. Home owners insurance is a necessity, and taking the time to shop different companies is time consuming and inconvenient. By filling out one, single-page form at, you can obtain multiple quotes for insurance, from reputable companies, without wasting your time.

At, we work with you, putting you in touch with prescreened, reputable professionals who are offering the services you need, and we help you narrow the field to the providers who best match your needs. Contact us today to get free, no obligation quotes, and let us help you find the best agent for your needs.

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Debt Management Company Gregory Pennington Say The Recent Report On Student Credit Card Debt Reflects The Growing Problem Of Student Debt In The UK

Responding to a report suggesting that 37% of students rely on credit cards as an additional source of finance, debt management company Gregory Pennington ( commented that this echoes the growing problem of student debt in the UK.

The report from Halifax building society follows an NUS (National Union of Students) poll suggesting the average student is likely to leave university with debts of £17,500.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington said: “It’s worrying that so many students are choosing credit cards as an option for extending their finances, although on the other hand, it has to be accepted that fast-rising costs of living may play a part.

“Credit cards typically should only be used for emergency purchases, or other purchases that can be repaid quickly. Most credit cards carry a high interest rate, so failing to repay on time means those debts grow far more quickly than other forms of credit.

“Students typically only have a very low income, with disposable income often minimal – so the temptation to make purchases on credit cards is probably best avoided. Repaying credit card debts could prove difficult on such a low income, and the high interest means that the debt can grow very quickly.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson said that credit card debts make up a small part of what is a much wider problem with student debt in the UK.

“Ever since the Government stopped paying for tuition fees, many would-be students have had a choice to make: become a student and land up in debt, or go straight into work.

“Student loan debts are not necessarily the problem, since they allow repayments in small amounts over a long period of time. The real issue is the pressing need for students to raise extra finances on top of their student loans, which often takes place through overdrafts and other forms of credit.

“But when money is tight in the first place, many students find these ‘extra’ debts impossible to pay off on time. The problem only gets worse if it is left until graduation – many graduates can find their income reduced for several years because they are repaying the debts they incurred on top of their student loans.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson went on to say that students are best advised to avoid additional credit wherever possible. “Student loans should cover all costs, since that is what they are designed to do. If not, many banks offer student accounts with interest-free overdrafts, which is good in the short term, but remember that this will have to be repaid once you have graduated, so we advise students to consider how they plan to do that.

“Credit cards should be seen as a last resort for students, unless they are absolutely positive they can pay back the balance each month. If that doesn’t happen, there’s a very real risk of getting into unmanageable debt, and it can happen more quickly than you might think.”

The spokesperson also urged anyone who is concerned that they may struggle to repay their debts to seek expert debt advice as soon as possible. “Even if your qualifications get you a good salary, graduate debt can still be a burden,” she said. “The longer they are left, the bigger they are likely to grow, so it’s essential to put a stop to that as soon as possible.

“Some debt solutions are only available if you have a steady income, but if you’re in trouble, it’s still worth getting in touch with a debt adviser for some valuable, free advice on managing your debts. Once you graduate and go into work, though, you should get back in touch to discuss whether any alternative options are more appropriate.

“For smaller debts, a debt management plan is a good way of coming to an agreement with your creditors on how best to repay your debts. For multiple debts, a debt consolidation loan can reduce your monthly payments and simplify your finances – but bear in mind you are likely to repay the debt over a longer period of time.

“There are also debt solutions available for more serious debts, such as an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) for debts of around £15,000 or higher. If you’re unsure, contact a debt adviser for more information.”

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The Importance Of Location, A Factor That Every Would-Be Homebuyer Should Consider Carefully, Says Financial Solutions Company Thinkmoney.Com

Commenting on recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), financial solutions company reminds potential homebuyers of the need to think twice about the location of their proposed purchase.

In Q2 2008, there was an 18% quarterly increase in ‘loans for house purchase’ (mortgages) in Scotland – a year-on-year decrease of 34%. These figures were significantly more robust than the Q2 figures for the UK as a whole: a 5% quarterly increase and a year-on-year decrease of 46%.

“The issues in the mortgage market are affecting the whole of the UK,” said a spokesperson for, “but the availability of mortgages does vary greatly from country to country. Prices are, of course, a key factor in determining whether people can get on – or move up – the property ladder: in May 2008, the average house price in Scotland was £167,126, according to the Department of Communities and Local Government, while the average UK house price was around 30% higher, at £218,151.

“What these figures highlight is the sheer scale of the price variations in different parts of the UK – but there’s no need to move country to benefit from this, as the price of two similar properties a few miles apart can easily vary by tens of thousands of pounds. Any would-be buyer would be well advised to broaden their search to include nearby areas: unless there’s a significant difference in terms of amenities, a lower price could more than compensate for any minor compromise they have to make.”

At a time like this, when prices have dropped substantially, a slightly more flexible approach to house-hunting can really work in a buyer’s favour – especially if they’re a would-be landlord and therefore less likely to be ‘tied’ to a certain area. “Lower prices always give homebuyers a chance to buy a better property and / or put down a larger deposit, but in today’s mortgage market, a lower price can be particularly attractive.”

Since deposits are measured in terms of percentages, a sum that counts as a 23% deposit on one house could easily account for 26% of the value of another. In some cases, this could give access to a significantly lower rate of interest; in others, it could make the difference between being offered a mortgage and being refused.

While mortgage providers have always reserved the best deals for people with larger deposits, the disparity is particularly noticeable in today’s mortgage market, with the bulk of the recent rate cuts benefiting people with larger deposits far more than those with less to lay down.

Finally, when house prices are dropping, no would-be homeowner should buy property without weighing up the odds of losing money on it, and comparing this with the money they’d spend if they continued to rent. “This isn’t a straightforward equation. Even though homeowners face the possibility of negative equity (carrying a mortgage that’s larger than the value of the property), they also know that house prices are bound to recover sooner or later – but any money spent on rent is gone for good.”

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Eqlibrium Investments Now Offers Trust Deeds For Clients

A trust deed, or also known as a deed of trust, is a document used to secure debt on a home acting as a mortgage. A trust deed is recorded as a lien on real property. However, although a deed of trust acts like a mortgage, there are differences between a mortgage and a deed of trust.

A trust deed is used as security for a loan on real property, and the specifics regarding the loan are written in a promissory note. A deed of trust is then documented at the county recorder’s office to legally notify the world that the property in question has now been pledged to secure a loan.

There are three parties involved in a trust deed. The Beneficiary which is the investor/lender/note holder, the Trustor which is the borrower and the Trustee which is a third party selected by the investor who has the legal power to act on the investors behalf and holds the title until the note has been paid. The deed of trust recorded against the borrower’s property title is what secures the lenders investment.

When making an investment in a deed of trust, the Trustor makes the property transfer, in trust, to the Trustee (independent third party). The Trustee then holds the conditional title on the behalf of the beneficiary (investor/lender/note holder), and then either of the following takes place: The trust deed will be returned to the borrower once they satisfy all of the terms and conditions that were outlined in the promissory note. The property will be put up for sale should the borrower default – also known as foreclosure. “In many cases, if the borrower defaults there is actually more profit in the investment,” said Louis Pugliese, President of EQlibrium Investments. “A good management company will pass along most, if not all, of this additional return to the investor.”

A few of the benefits of trust deed investing are high returns, a consistent cash flow, and capital preservation while owning an investment that is secured by real property. “Trust deeds offer a great way to earn a higher rate of return and still be secured by an asset to minimize risk,” Pugliese said.

Investors who invest in trust deeds typically make a 12 to 18% return, paid out monthly, with a minimum investment of just $50,000 and relatively low risk. As a result, they are able to enhance their lifestyle significantly without threat to their principal, or build a large nest egg, safely, in a relatively short period of time. Pugliese adds: “Most investors do not realize that they can also use their 401K and IRA’s to invest, earning them much higher returns.” Investing in a trust deed is simple. All you need is knowledge of your personal financial situation and investment account records.

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The Number Of Compensation Analyst And Compensation Manager Jobs Increase As Banks Rush To Revamp Remuneration Plans

According to new research from City HR recruitment consultancy Joslin Rowe, while August may have been a damp squib weather wise, in the HR jobs market recruitment activity has been boiling over.

The latest figures show that demand for good HR professionals, especially for compensation and benefit jobs has actually increased – despite the credit crunch and the usual seasonal summer slowdown.

Daniel Cooper, senior consultant with Joslin Rowe, reflected, “The ongoing banking crisis is actually fuelling the volume of compensation analyst and compensation manager jobs. The current market conditions mean that employers are focusing evermore on their bottom line and staff remuneration is an enormous part of this. Banks need to pull off the tricky balancing act between retaining the best talent but within the most cost-effective reward structures. Put simply, companies are keener than ever to build robust compensation platforms for the future and they know to do that they must hire the very best compensation people in strategic compensation analyst and compensation jobs to do this.”

The Joslin Rowe data shows financial services firms are willing to pay a premium to secure the best compensation professionals at all levels of recruitment for current finance jobs – from analyst to strategic manager jobs.

“Recently, we assisted a compensation analyst on £40,000 to move employers for a new starting salary of £55,000. A 38% pay increase is phenomenal at the best of times – but the fact that it’s happened now in what continues to be a challenging environment shows just how in demand these skills are”, said Cooper.

This demand is filtering into a much faster recruitment process, according to the research. Joslin Rowe found that the average time to hire, which is defined as the period from vacancy notification to when someone completes their notice period and starts in that new role, is running at around 2 weeks less for compensation & benefit jobs. That’s an average recruitment process time of 6 weeks in comparison to 8 weeks for the rest of the HR jobs recruitment market – and it may become faster.

However the clock may be ticking. Currently the banks are desperate to get people on board now so that they can start looking at the 2009/10 budget period. As soon as a new compensation analyst CV appears, the banking jobs interview requests flood in.

Cooper concluded, “For good people with a great compensation & HR background, a solid CV and experience of making improvements to share schemes and benefit plans, there are no end of options. The compensation analyst jobs and compensation manager roles on offer are very strategic – after all most companies know they need to act now to make a real difference to business performance”.

About Joslin Rowe
Established in 1982, Joslin Rowe is one of the leading UK financial services recruitment firms in the UK. Joslin Rowe consultants, candidates and clients work together to achieve the best employment opportunities and long term relationships. Joslin Rowe recruits for jobs across London, Edinburgh and Glasgow including long-term contracts, temporary and permanent roles. Joslin Rowe is a Randstad company – the second largest HR services group globally.

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With A Recession Looming Many Are Watching The Pennies. Research Shows This Doesn’t Seem To Be The Case With Holidays This Year

At the start of the school holidays, as most start there travels abroad, new research* by The Co-operative Bank Credit Cards has shown that even though most are worried over rising inflation the majority of people (53%) will not be watching the pennies on their holiday expenditure this year.

Many spend before reaching there destination, where on average people spend £18 each before even boarding their flight, which equates to £72 for a average family. Most people spend this on food and drink (84%), after this came books and magazines (60%,), 3rd was duty free (35%), 4th last minute essential’s (17%) and last was currency exchange (4%).

In addition the research also embolds that this year more than three quarters of people (77%) are planning to pay for a period of their summer break on their credit card.

Maxine Xodo, Product Manager for Credit Cards at The Co-operative Bank says, “The findings clearly show that despite the current economic climate, after working hard all year many people are reluctant to cut back on their summer holiday spending. However as more people are putting holiday spending on their credit cards, it pays to make sure they are getting the best deal for their needs.”

The Co-operative Bank offers a fixed rate platinum card, with a low fixed rate of 9.9% APR typical variable for the first five years.

In addition to this the card provides everyone with access to a large amount of travel benefits this includes up to £100,000 free travel accident insurance when the card is used to pay for travel tickets, 24 hour medical and legal assistance overseas, as well as money off on holidays, travel, airport parking, airport hotels and car hire.

Maxine Xodo, adds, “When travelling either home or away this summer, this card offers customers a wide range of market leading travel benefits, with no annual fee to pay as well as peace of mind that the low rate they sign up to will remain fixed for five years.”

Full details of the card are as follows

– A low fixed rate of 9.9% APR (typical variable) for the first 5 years
– Up to 46 days interest free credit
– Free 90 days purchase protection insurance
– Card replacement service and emergency cash
– 24 hour medical and legal assistance overseas
– No annual fee
– Up to £100,000 free travel accident insurance, when the card is used to pay for travel tickets
– Travel benefits including discounts on holidays, travel, airport parking, airport hotels and car hire.

Customers wanting further information should call 0800 731 9474

The platinum credit card is available at,CFSweb/Page/Bank-CreditCards they are available to people over the age of 25, with an income of over £25,000.

Full product details are as follows:

– 9.9% APR (typical variable) for the first five years
– 9.9% Purchases
– 9.9% Cash
– 9.9% Cheques
– 9.9% Balance transfers (excludes balance transfers from other Co-operative Bank credit cards)
– Up to 46 days interest free period if balance is paid in full by the due date (purchases & balance transfers)
– Minimum repayment 2% of outstanding balance or £5 (whichever is greater)
– Minimum credit limit of £500, maximum credit limit subject to status
– No annual fee

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Gregory Pennington Has Warned That The Recent Growth In Retail Sales Should Not Be Taken As A Sign Of Market Recovery

Responding to the recent news that retail sales growth enjoyed an unexpected rise in July, debt management company Gregory Pennington ( has warned that this should not be taken as a sign of market recovery, and that consumers should still be looking to protect themselves against a potential downturn at some point in the future.

Despite the Office of National Statistics’ predictions that retail sales growth would fall by around 0.2%, July in fact saw a rise of 0.8% compared to the previous month – a figure which, according to a Gregory Pennington spokesperson, may prompt some to “underestimate the danger that lies ahead for the economy”.

The figures follow June’s sales growth actually falling by around 4.3% – the largest decrease for several years. But the Gregory Pennington spokesperson says that this simply reflects the volatile nature of the retail market. “It’s important to look at the bigger economic picture,” he says. “Inflation is at a 16-year high, costs of living are increasing, and unemployment is rising – all of which are likely to affect the retail market negatively in the long run – but the full impact is yet to be seen.

“The retail market has seen several years of fluctuating growth – even when the economy was very strong. The rises and falls are rarely any bigger than two per cent, which is minimal in the scheme of things, and is probably coincidental.

“June’s fall of 4.4% did raise some concerns for the market, but the fact that it’s gone straight back up by 0.8% shows that this was just a particularly wild fluctuation.”

The spokesperson added that consumer caution is still necessary, highlighted by the recent year-on-year increases in people experiencing debt problems – which can be partly attributed to overly relaxed lending and high consumer spending.

“Statistics show that the number of people seeking debt help has been steadily increasing for well over a decade now – with the most distinct rise coming in 2007, when the credit crunch began to hit the economy,” he said. “Since problems with debt tend to filter through over a long period of time, we would expect this pattern to continue well into 2008 and 2009.

“Realistically, a continued slump in the retail market would in fact be a good sign for the economy, since it would show that people are taking the economic downturn and risk of getting into debt very seriously, as well as helping to bring down inflation.”

The spokesperson went on to say that if people do find themselves struggling in the coming months, they should seek debt help from an expert as soon as possible. “It’s looking like the downturn we are facing will be quite severe, and we would expect people with existing debts to suffer more than most – not to mention many people may be forced into debt as money gets tighter,” he said.

“If that is the case, it’s essential you seek debt help from a professional debt adviser. Lenders and consumers alike will feel under pressure over the next few months, so your debt adviser should be able to help come to an agreement that suits both you and your lender.”

Gregory Pennington ( are a debt management company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. They offer a wide range of debt help and solutions, including debt management plans, debt consolidation and IVAs.

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Barclays Has Become The First Bank To Offer Complete Free Online Security Software To All Its Customers

Barclays has become the first UK bank to offer all its two million online banking customers free internet security software covering not only anti-virus software but also spyware, adware, firewalls, parental controls and spam filters.

The offer is available to all Barclays customers who sign up for its online banking. The software provided by leading internet security firm Kaspersky normally retails for £51 for an annual subscription, but Barclays will offer it completely free of charge with customers able to download it from its online banking website.

This follows on from Barclays becoming the first UK bank to roll out its two factor authentication system, PINsentry, in 2007 which protects customers against phishing attacks and fraudsters getting hold of customer security information. Over 1 million PINsentry readers have already been sent out to customers.

Sean Gilchrist, Director of Digital Banking for Barclays, said: “For the last two years we have offered customers free anti-virus software, but as internet fraudsters become more sophisticated it is important that customers protect their computers from all threats and not just viruses. Kaspersky has one of the best reputations in the business and together with PINsentry we believe Barclays online customers will have one of the best security packages of all online banks.”

Barclays has signed a two year agreement to provide the Kaspersky software which will be worth £102 to customers. Barclays will also allow customers to download the online security software on up to three personal computers for each licence so that customers can protect all the computers in the same household.

Barclays customers that do not currently bank online can register by going Non-Barclays customers can gain access to the free software by opening a Barclays current account in branch or online.

Notes to editors:
Registered users can download additional online video content including a number of clips of Sean Gilchrist, Barclays Digital Banking Director, outlining the launch of Kaspersky, the importance of security and top tips for consumers to keep them safe. Downloads are available from

About Barclays
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs 143,000 people.

Barclays currently moves, lends, invests and protects money for over 38 million customers and clients worldwide.

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Whatever Financial Problems An Individual Is Facing, It’s Crucial They Seek Debt Advice As Soon As Possible

Debt specialists remind consumers with debt problems of the need to seek debt advice on time.

“Whatever their nature, virtually all financial problems have one thing in common: they get worse if left unaddressed,” says a Gregory Pennington spokesperson. “Whether someone’s behind on their mortgage payments or struggling to keep up with credit card bills, all the experts agree that the sooner they seek debt advice, the better their chances of clearing their debts as quickly and painlessly as possible.”

At the moment, mortgage payments are at the forefront of many homeowners’ worries. “The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported 18,900 repossessions in the first half of the year, signifying a year-on-year increase of 48%. Given their forecast of 45,000 repossessions in 2008, this means they expect over 25,000 more before the end of the year.”

With timely debt advice, however, many of those potential repossessions needn’t happen at all. In a video on the BBC’s website, Judge Stephen Gold (Kingston-upon-Thames County Court) states: “The big message which I think needs to be screamed from the rooftops of the County Courts is this: that if you get into difficulty with your mortgage, don’t bury your head in the sand. Engage with the lenders. Pay what you can.”

“For unsecured debts,” the Gregory Pennington spokesperson continues, “the principle is essentially the same. When people contact us for debt advice, we stress that simply talking to a lender – whether they do it themselves or we do it on their behalf – can often produce results. A lender might agree to accept lower payments, for example, or to reduce the interest rate on a loan. It’s in the lender’s interest to arrive at an arrangement which the borrower can afford, so the money can be repaid as soon as realistically possible.

“Before they grant any concessions, of course, most lenders will want to see that the borrower is doing their utmost to order their finances and repay the debt. So the debt advice we provide goes a long way beyond ‘Talk to your lender’: we help people with all sorts of financial issues, from improving their budgeting skills to understanding their rights and responsibilities in relation to different kinds of debt.”

“If the individual’s situation has reached the point where debt advice simply isn’t enough, we can help them choose the debt solution that offers the best way out of debt. Depending on their circumstances, that could be a debt management plan, in which we talk to their unsecured lenders on their behalf, negotiating changes to their repayment terms so they can clear their debt at a rate they can afford.”

In cases where debt management isn’t appropriate, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or Trust Deed could be the answer: helping people reduce their monthly debt payments, these debt solutions can free up the money they need for mortgages payments, food bills and other essential living costs.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, and no debt solution is ‘better’ than another – it’s a question of which is the most appropriate for that particular person under those particular circumstances. As always, the most important thing is for them to seek debt advice as soon as possible, before any further financial problems restrict the range of options open to them.”

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Joslin Rowe Recruitment Reports Banks Recruiting In High Volumes For Senior Business Unit Controllers Within Commodities

Pockets of high volume product control recruitment still exist within the City, despite wider doom and gloom. In particular, senior business unit control jobs within commodities are increasing.

Simeon Hall, a senior consultant in the Joslin Rowe senior accountancy and finance recruitment division, stated: “Commodities is one of the fastest growing product areas of the moment. As credit is down, commodities is up. A number of investment banks are rapidly expanding their desks, whilst others are effectively starting up a commodities division from scratch. This means excellent opportunities for senior product/business unit controllers.”

According to Joslin Rowe research, the commodities product control jobs on the market will appeal to those professionals looking for senior accountancy jobs, who are keen to shape the future of a new division and develop, from scratch, the product control infrastructure.

“These product control positions are highly desirable,” stated Hall, “You’re not inheriting the status quo and instead can implement new ideas with the support of strong resources, as banks pump money into the commodities arena. All the banks are keen to get the very top people on board to set up or expand their offering.”

This keenness is translating into the finance jobs recruitment process. Joslin Rowe‘s product control recruitment desk has seen the times to hire within commodities slashed by around 30% in comparison to product control jobs in other areas, such as equities. Salaries are also strong for those moving within the market. Senior product controllers are typically securing around 10-15% more – a big premium when most other remuneration packages are rising in small increments because of the credit crunch. In fact, according to Hall, recent salary jumps for the most in demand product controllers have been from £65,000 to £75,000, with a £10,000 sign-on bonus on top.

Hall also points to excellent career progression. “It’s really a chance to write your own job spec and an opportunity to rocket up the career ladder. In these start up divisions progression will revolve around success – not just dead man’s shoes. One of the most desirable aspects of these commodities product control jobs are their exposure to the front office. Being able to move out of business unit control and into a front office desk job is much more likely.

About Joslin Rowe
Established in 1982, Joslin Rowe is one of the leading UK financial services recruitment firms in the UK and Ireland. In April 2006, international staffing services company Vedior (headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) raised its stake in Joslin Rowe’s parent company, The Blomfield Group, from 18% to 70%. Joslin Rowe recruits for banking HR jobs across London, Edinburgh and Glasgow including long-term contracts, temporary and permanent roles.

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Hays Insurance Reports London Staffing Trends Conflict With Recent Layoffs By Insurance Companies

The specialist insurance division of Hays recruitment consultancy in London has announced that despite general trends in the job market, it has experienced a record month in July for introductions of permanent candidates into the insurance marketplace.

David Carr, Regional Manager for London at Hays Insurance, said: “Whilst many commentators are saying there is a slowdown in activity within the insurance industry, we haven’t seen this to be the case. We put this rise in recruitment down to a re-prioritisation of the roles that insurance companies are hiring for. They are hiring more staff in roles where people are either protecting or generating revenue. Although our clients are being more cautious than ever when making decisions on recruitment there are some very good jobs out there at the moment that would suit ambitious jobseekers.“

Roland Seddon, Regional Director at Hays Senior Finance, commented, “Over the last two months we have seen a sharp increase in demand for senior level candidates in the Insurance sector, and over 20% of our role registrations in 2007/08 have been in the last 8 weeks.”

Hays Insurance has recently filled some high profile roles in the capital, including senior positions within a Big 4 consultancy firm, senior underwriter jobs within global insurers and director roles in specialist insurers and brokers. In fact, given the current Hays Recruitment figures on the state of the market, the insurance sector appears to possibly be benefiting from the present credit crunch.

Carr observed: “We have also noticed a vast increase in temporary and contract placements for experienced qualified individuals, which has highlighted the importance of the senior interim market during such uncertain times – and illustrates the value that the industry is placing on experienced people that can come in and offer something different.”

Hays Insurance is a subdivision of Hays Plc, the FTSE 250 Company which employs 7,753 staff operating from 376 offices in 27 countries across 17 specialisms. Hays Plc placed circa 68,000 candidates into permanent jobs and paid circa 46,000 temporary workers weekly during the year ending June 07.

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Debt Solutions Company Debt Advisers Direct Have Warned That There May Be Tougher Times Ahead, And Advise People To Make Sure They Are Protected

Responding to the news that average bank balances are down by 5% compared to last year, a spokesperson for debt solutions company Debt Advisers Direct said that this is a clear sign that the credit crunch and fast-rising inflation is starting to truly affect consumers.

HSBC reported that average balances of its 8.2million customer accounts had fallen by 5% in the first six months of 2008, as rising costs of living and inflation at a 16-year high puts increasing pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes.

The Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson commented: “This is one of the first clear signs that people are feeling the pressure of the credit crunch, even if 5% is a relatively small figure.

“It’s been said many times that the impact of the credit crunch would take a while to filter through, and it would appear that time has come. Prices and living costs have reached the point where they are beginning to have a clear effect on bank balances – and that should be taken as a warning that it’s time to act.”

The spokesperson continued that while many people may not feel they have been significantly affected by inflation just yet, many leading economists have suggested the worst is yet to come.

“Economists have been predicting a more severe downturn for some time, and while that hasn’t happened yet, there are clear signs that the economy as a whole is slowing down,” he said. “This is likely to lead to further cuts in disposable incomes, especially with the sharp rises in gas and electricity prices due to come in shortly.”

HSBC had also suggested that some of the reduction in disposable incomes might be due to more people transferring money into savings accounts. In reaction to this, the Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson commented: “It would be reassuring to think that a large part of the lower disposable incomes is due to savings – and some of it probably is – but research suggests that most people do not save enough money for their future.

“Saving will become increasingly important in the next few months. Just a few hundred pounds put aside can be a useful financial buffer when money gets really tight.

“Of course, there are some people whose income simply does not stretch far enough once all their living costs are taken into consideration – particularly people struggling with debt – and those people are most at risk.”

The spokesperson added that for anyone who finds themselves struggling with debt, or thinks they might be about to, it’s essential that they seek professional debt advice as soon as possible.

“There are several solutions out there for people who find themselves struggling with debt,” he said. “For people with multiple debts who are getting by but want to simplify their finances, a debt consolidation loan could help.

“Debt consolidation loans involve combining all your existing debts into one, meaning you pay only one lender instead of many, and you may be able to reduce your monthly payments this way. However, you are likely to pay more in the long run if you do reschedule payments.

“Debt consolidation is a good way of freeing up extra funds each month – which could be crucial if the economy does hit hard times.”

He continued that even for those with unmanageable debt problems, there is help available. “For more severe debts, a debt management plan or an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) might be more suitable. Both can reduce your monthly payments in line with what you can afford.

“Before making any decisions, though, you should always contact an expert debt adviser. They will talk you through your situation and decide which debt solution is appropriate for you.”

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The Sooner People Seek Professional Help In Managing Their Debts, The More Likely They’ll Be To Avoid Serious Debt

A survey by debt management company indicates that today’s economic troubles may be encouraging people in debt to keep a closer eye on their finances.

Only 6% of those questioned saw their debt as unmanageable. Yet a full 35% of respondents who considered their debt manageable also declared they were unhappy with their financial situation.

A spokesperson from the debt management company commented: “In many ways, that 35% figure is actually a positive sign. It means people who aren’t actually struggling with debt are nonetheless aware that their finances could be better. They’re thinking beyond the present and considering the impact their debts could have on them in the future.”

That awareness is, in itself, a form of protection against financial problems in the future. “We always remind people that the sooner they seek professional help managing their debts, the more likely they’ll be to avoid serious debt altogether. Keeping a close eye on their finances is obviously key to this, as it enables them to take action at the first signs of trouble – and taking action in time can make all the difference between needing to make a few short-term lifestyle changes and being forced to live on a shoestring budget for a number of years.

“Perhaps this is one ‘silver lining’ to all the negative economic news we’re hearing these days. In good times, it’s tempting to assume that the good times will keep up. It’s human nature to focus on enjoying today when there’s no perceived threat of tomorrow being any different. But hearing all those gloomy predictions tends to make people think more about the future.”

No-one, however, has solved their financial problems by dwelling on them: “There’s little point in someone just worrying about their debts unless they take it a step further, making the necessary lifestyle changes and talking to a debt specialist about improving their financial situation.”

For people who do this before their debt becomes unmanageable, it may simply be a matter of cutting back on a few luxuries. “Nobody likes economising, but a few minutes with a calculator and pencil can prove beyond all doubt why it’s worth the effort. Exactly how they do it is up to the individual: some choose to reduce their spending to a bare minimum for a short time; others prefer to sacrifice just a few luxuries every month, even though this means their debt will take longer to clear.”

The important thing is to address their debts sooner, rather than later – while it’s still relatively easy to do: “Even if someone can comfortably manage their monthly debt repayments today, there are plenty of reasons to clear their debts at the earliest opportunity. Avoiding interest charges might be the most obvious reason, but interest isn’t the biggest threat: even small debts can rapidly escalate out of control if their situation takes a turn for the worse. If they lose their job, for example, finding that extra money every month might be all but impossible.”

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The Recent Boom In The Rental Market Reflects The Continuing Difficulty For Homeowners Trying To Sell, And May Even Prolong The Problems In The Housing Market, Says Think Money.

Financial solutions company Think Money ( have warned that a recent boom in properties put up for rent may indicate further trouble in the housing market towards the end of 2008 and going into 2009.

Recent findings by RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) have shown a significant surge in the number of homeowners being forced to put their homes up for rent rather than selling, because many homeowners believe that “becoming a landlord is a better option than selling in the current climate”.

Faced with increasing mortgage costs and a very slow housing market, many homeowners are finding it more financially viable to put their own homes up for rent, while at the same time renting cheaper accommodation for themselves – effectively making a ‘profit’ each month, which helps towards their own costs.

The survey also indicated that many would-be homeowners are currently forced to stay in the rental market, as the UK economy experiences 70% fewer mortgage approvals than this time last year.

Melanie Taylor, Head of Corporate Relations for Think Money, commented that the RICS’ findings reflect a continuing downturn in the housing market, despite recent suggestions that mortgages are becoming more freely available.

“The news that several lenders have been dropping their interest rates raised some optimism for the housing market,” she says, “but these statistics from the RICS give a less positive picture.

“It’s true that interest rates are coming down for prime mortgages, but for the majority of consumers, getting onto the housing ladder is still proving difficult.

“For those already on the housing ladder, it’s getting off it that’s proving difficult. The lack of activity in the market continues to be a real problem for those looking to sell – which is forcing many to put their homes up for rent while they wait for the housing market to recover.”

Mrs Taylor also added that the boom in the rental market could have a knock-on effect on the mortgage market. “Even though the number of homes for sale is getting smaller, the decreased demand for mortgages means that the fall in house prices is being sustained,” she says.

“Only when mortgage lenders begin to relax their lending criteria are we likely to see this situation change.”

Mrs Taylor continued that in the current market, renting out your home can be a viable option for freeing up extra funds, but warned that the responsibility of becoming a landlord is not to be taken lightly. “As long as you are willing to make a temporary compromise on your living conditions, you can significantly cut down your outgoings each month, which could help you financially and enable you to save up for when the housing market recovers.

“But it’s important to remember the responsibilities of being a landlord. In particular, if anything goes wrong, you are responsible for the costs,” she says. “So make sure you aware of the risks if you’re considering taking this step.”

Think Money ( are a financial solutions company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. The company specialises in a range of financial services, including mortgages, loans, debt help and advice (including debt management plans, IVAs, and debt consolidation).

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The Credit Crunch Has Caused A Lot Of People To Look For New Ways To Save Money, One Is Not Taking Car Insurance

The credit crunch has led brought economising to the for front of many British drivers mind – we are all keen to save money – and car owners in particular are feeling the strain with rising petrol prices and the new Vehicle Excise Duty levels next year which could see some paying up to £2001 more on family saloons. But drivers trying to save money by not taking out car insurance are cost-cutting to a foolhardy extreme, warns RIAS.

Apart from the fact that driving without insurance is against the law in the UK, and those found guilty of it could get themselves a criminal record, it also costs other car drivers more than half a billion pounds per year, according to the Motor Insurers Bureau. This equates to around £30 extra on every premium, effectively being subsidized by the fully insured user.

“There is no question that driving without insurance is both unlawful and ill-advised,” says RIAS Managing Director Janet Connor. “If you are worried about the cost of insurance, it is worth talking to your insurance provider to check whether there are any savings to be made. At RIAS, for example, we specialise in finding tailored insurance solutions for the over 50s, who can often benefit from cheaper premiums because of low mileage, or because their cars are parked off-road or kept in a garage. We advise customers to ensure they ask about discounts and flexible payment plans when they call us for a quote.”

While efforts are being taken by the relevant law enforcement authorities many believe it is society’s collective responsibility to help fight this nuisance and that neighbours, friends and family should not look the other way if we know of drivers that are evading car insurance.

Evading Car Insurance – the facts:

* Last year, around 160 deaths and 23,000 injuries were caused in road accidents involving uninsured drivers.

* Claims made against drivers without insurance can be complicated forthe victim to process.

* Throughout 2007, the British police seized over 150,000 uninsured vehicles – that’s one vehicle every three minutes.

* Number plate recognition technology and better link ups between police and insurance companies is facilitating police in the fight against unisured veichles.

1Source: The AA 2Research from the Motor Investigation Bureau, Report: The Road Ahead, Issue 15, 2007

*Call RIAS for a quote on your car insurance to see if we can save you money: 0800 052 5250

All services including house insurance can be purchased online.

Janet Connor, Managing Director of RIAS is available for further comment and interview. To arrange an interview with, or photography of, Janet, please call Simon Robinson on 07976 329823 or e-mail

About RIAS

* RIAS was founded in 1992 and is a specialist provider of insurance products for the over 50s age group

* RIAS negotiates with a panel of insurers to secure competitive, value for money products

* RIAS has over 970,000 customers and currently employs over 1,200 people across two locations – Bournemouth and Belfast

* In July 2007 RIAS’ home insurance contents and buildings policies received four ‘Best Buy’ awards from Which? magazine

* In December 2007 RIAS won the ‘Personal Lines Broker of the year” award at the Insurance Times awards

RIAS is part of Fortis (Insurance UK), a leading provider of award-winning personal and commercial lines insurance solutions in the UK and the 2007 British Insurance Awards ‘General Insurer of the Year’. The insurer’s successful customer-centric strategy has been founded on aligning its activities to how customers want to buy insurance, combined with delivering high quality products, manufactured at costs better than market norms.

Fortis’s unique multi-distribution capability enables it to deliver products face-to-face, by phone (inbound and outbound), over the Internet and via SMS technology. Aligning its business activities with its partners’ general insurance strategies enables Fortis to offer end-to-end white label capabilities in product development, marketing, campaign management, sales, fulfilment and claims – providing a seamless integration with partner brands.

Insuring in excess of 6.7 million customers and working with a range of partners, Fortis is recognised for delivering consistent and high-quality customer experiences. It employs 2,901 people as of 31/12/07 with a head office based in Eastleigh and others in Belfast, Bournemouth, Gloucester, Haywards Heath, Redditch, and Stoke-on-Trent. In 2007, its profit before tax and interest (excluding impact of weather related events) was £92.2 million and its GWP was 757.8 million.

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“The Profit-Taker Equalizer For The Underdog” Reveals A Proven Strategy To Grow Rich – Especially For Late Starters

A top-ten best-selling financial author of John Wiley & Sons, New York, is raving mad. John Wiley & Sons is one of the largest and oldest publishers in the world, and the home of such early celebrated authors as Edgar Allan Poe (Tales), James Fenimore Cooper (The Deerslayer), Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and Herman Melville (Moby Dick).

An inspired Wiley editor, Stephen Kippur, guided The Profit-Taker to the status of a listed international best-seller. Now he is president of John Wiley & Sons, publishers.

A richly deserved American success story. Why is the international best-seller’s sequel being given away?

The author/inventor, Professor Don Abrams and legendary Professor Smarba, Professor Emeritus of Finance are protesting against those who are igniting the free fall of the middle-class poor. The culprits? Those who are fuelling the fire of inflationary prices… from oil to food to textbooks to tuition. Not to mention these scrooge-like ‘credit card interest’ plunderers who constantly pursue our unfortunate victims. This is the naked truth. But truth without action is dead.

Do Abrams and Smarba have a solution? Yes! Unequivocally.

“We don’t have turkeys to hand out, but it has to start somewhere. We recognize the debt we owe for the thunderous acclaim of the first book. To that end, we wish to set an example by being credible and responsible to our book-buying public. We have a reader friendly offer as a remedy. We wish to give back. It makes good marketing sense. It’s good for the middle-class poor and for everyone.”

So for the first time ever, the revolutionary and pre-published sequel to the international best-seller is being given away. Over seven years of work in its creation. Given away. Exactly so. Free! The follow-up, “The Profit-Taker Equalizer for the Underdog: Grow from Middle-Class Poor to ‘Zero Debt’ to Rich in One Year”, is yours – with love.

During these troubled times of risky ventures and banking woes, the financial duo wish to unleash their refreshing, uplifting and unique concept… unencumbered by any cost to the reader, without any strings attached. Simply click on and download the complete full-length manuscript copy of their ‘news breaking book’.

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Young People Starting University In 2008 Will Have To Live With Their Parents To Save Money

According to a new report from Lloyds TSB Student banking* more than one in four young people starting university this year will have to live with their parents to save money. This represents a 4% dip from 2007’s high of 31%, and a 5% increase when compared to numbers for 2006.

A third of the 130,000** young people who will find themselves staying with their parents while they study say that they will not be able to afford to go to university unless they live at home, while 82% agree that living at home is a great way to save money. One in four said that living at home is an effective tool for managing their debt. However, 62% of those who are planning to stay at home admitted that if money wasn’t an issue, they would prefer to fly the nest sooner.

Young people put their student finances high on the list of university concerns. 26% were worried about managing money while they are at university, while 13% admitted that this is the first time that they will be setting a budget and holding the purse strings.

Economic uncertainty and the prospect of increasing university fees are taking their toll, with 65% of students saying it will be difficult to afford university if the cost of living continues to rise and 38% saying that soon the cost of going to university will outweigh the benefits of going at all.

For the 66% of students-to-be who are planning to live away from home, 62% think that the financial implications are worth it for gaining their independence, while a quarter have no choice as they want to study at a far-away institution. Just 5% will be expecting their parents to foot the bill for their studies and 11% believe that they will be able to set a budget and make their finances work.

The main reasons for choosing to live away from home are to be closer to their university (74%), to gain independence (66%) and for the social life (56%), with 22% admitting that they are itching to fly the nest.

Catherine McGrath, director of current accounts, Lloyds TSB, commented: “Going to university isn’t just about getting good grades, it also has to make financial sense.

“However, university is also a great time to spread your wings and get a little life experience. By making the time now for some financial planning and careful budgeting, cash-strapped students should be able to enjoy further education without worrying unduly about making ends meet.”

The survey also revealed that many young people are making difficult choices in order to balance the books at university. 34% admitted that they will be taking more than one job over the summer break to build up their capital, while a quarter will have to hold down a job during term time to make ends meet. 15% will rely on work during the holidays to help boost their bank balance, while 8% said that they would prefer to rely on loans and an overdraft in order to focus on their studies.

About Lloyds TSB Student banking
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.


Notes to editors
* Online research conducted July 2008 amongst 1,000 UK 17-25 year olds who plan to start university in autumn 2008
** UCAS states receipt of 481,784 applications for university autumn 2008. 27% of those surveyed planned to live at home while they study. 481,784 x 27% = 130,082

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Check Gallery Promotes The Beauty Of Nature While Expanding Its Check Collection With The Release Of The “Zen Garden” Design

Known for being environmentally friendly and inspiring a love for nature, Check Gallery is always adding new check designs to enhance its collection. The “Zen Garden” design fits right into the current assortment. By portraying the beauty of some of nature’s finest flowers, this new design will encourage consumers to be more aware of their natural environments.

On August 11, 2008, Check Gallery released the new “Zen Garden” check design through its website, In four rotating scenes, a white background displays exotic Asian vegetation on these personal checks. Bamboos, Asian water lilies, bonsai trees, and bauhinia trees are all featured in vivid colors and intricate detail. The address labels illustrate these plants against a background of blue with a green border; the personal contact cards present the vivid, purple Asian water lily; and the checkbook cover portrays the beautiful pink flowers of the bauhinia tree as they cascade from the branches.

Check Gallery promotes the well-being and beauty of nature. The addition of the new “Zen Garden” check design will once again introduce the magnificence of our surroundings and encourage people to protect them.

About Check Gallery:
Since its creation in 1993, Check Gallery has prided itself on being an environmentally friendly company. By printing all of its products on recycled paper, Check Gallery proves its love and respect for nature. Each and every design offered by the company fits uniquely into this theme. Visit the site today and see which nature-friendly design fits your interests!

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Prepaid Credit Card Market Expected To Rise £4.5billion By 2010 In Light Of The UK Credit Crunch

As the credit crunch hits the UK,, leading online comparison site, announces that prepaid credit cards are no longer just for people who have bad credit histories, and could be the answer to those who are looking for the functionality of a credit card but want to avoid the risk of debt.

“A prepaid credit card offers a simple, effective and safe way of paying. You top up the card with money and then use it to pay for goods, safe in the knowledge that you can never go overdrawn or into debt,” explained Phil Alcock, credit card expert at

There are currently about 2.3 million prepaid credit card holders in the UK, and this figure appears set to keep on rising as people realise the benefits of a prepaid card – by 2010, the prepaid credit card market is estimated to be worth around £4billion with more than 7 million prepaid card holders*.

Because prepaid credit cards offer the same functionality as a credit card but without the risk, they have generally been associated with people who have bad credit histories and who have found it difficult to get a normal credit card. Although prepaid credit cards still offer this valuable service, they are increasingly being used by people who could easily get a standard credit card but choose prepaid for their flexibility and convenience.

Prepaid credit cards are a good method for making online payment, this is because the only money that is at risk is what is loaded onto the card. The Optimum Prepaid Master Card has been specifically aimed at people concerned about the security of online spending.

Anthony Graham, Marketing Director at 360money, the prepaid network behind Optimum, commented, “People are increasingly worried their banking details might fall into the wrong hands when they purchase online, and with good reason. Optimum allows people to enjoy all benefits of shopping online without having to fear of fraudsters accessing their banking details.”

Prepaid credit cards are also a very good budgeting tool – users can pick their limit, load it onto the card and that becomes their budget. It is for this reason that they have become very popular with parents who want to give their children financial independence but limit their spending power.

“Parents looking for a way to educate their children to be responsible with their money find that prepaid cards provide an excellent teaching method because they give the child the chance to be independent and even purchase goods online, but there is a strict budget in place. This can be handy for everyday life, or perhaps if a child is going on a school trip where they need cash,” said Mr Alcock.

Prepaid cards, which can be used all over the world, have also seen a hike in popularity as families begin to use them on holidays abroad to keep their holiday spending in check.

The currently available prepaid credit cards are also highly convenient as they can be topped up at designated retailers, online, in banks, via BACs and then spent in store, online, at cash points and anywhere in the world with the Maestro acceptance mark.

About Fair Investment, is an independent online finance portal, providing comparison tools, including a free prepaid credit card comparison service, personal finance news, reviews and information on a wide range of financial products and services, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, loans, savings and investments.

Fair Investment Company is a leading internet player that sees 400,000 unique users per month, sells over £5 billion worth of mortgage enquiries and is a Hitwise 100 Banks and Financial Institutions site.

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