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The European Commission recently proposed an EU-wide financial transaction tax (FTT) on a range of transactions to which a financial institution is a party. In simple terms every time a bank, stockbroker, insurance company, pension fund, financial leasing company, special purpose vehicle, collective investment scheme or holding company buys or sells stocks, shares, bonds or […]

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It’s over a year now since I pointed out that it is actually in the best interest of the British taxpayer for banks (or any other business) to pay large bonuses to their staff. It isn’t hard to see why this should be so and so I’m rather surprised that neither the media nor Government […]

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Is offshore banking legal? This is a question often asked these days, as various nations seek to clamp down on offshore tax havens and offshore banking. And while such banking may raise eyebrows in certain quarters, or invite disapproving comments from politicians seeking to balance budgets and maximise tax revenue, the fact is banking offshore […]

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Despite all his tough talk when he was in opposition as the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, since becoming Business Secretary in the Coalition Government Vince Cable has been singularly unable to get banks and building societies to open their wallets and start lending to businesses or individuals. There is no doubt that Dr Cable is […]

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In recent weeks the term Sovereign Debt has been bandied about by the media leaving many people puzzled as what it actually is. What it isn’t is money owed by a King or Queen of a country – Republics do have Sovereign Debt; you don’t need a Monarch! Joking aside, in simple terms Sovereign Debt […]

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I’ve suddenly had a lot of people contact me to ask the above question regarding the tax free ISA (Individual Savings Account) products that are available to UK taxpayers. This is probably due to changes that came in last month. If you don’t know what an ISA is then have a look at this earlier article. […]

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On his 2008 Presidential campaign trail, Barack Obama made his hostility toward “offshore” jurisdictions very clear: “There’s a building in the Cayman Islands that houses supposedly 12,000 U.S.-based corporations. That’s either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world, and we know which one it is.” I know that […]

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In what may be seen as a final act of desperation by a morally, legally and financially bankrupt UK government, the Treasury, having failed to “crack down” on what it sees as tax avoidance by banks (the UK courts don’t agree with HMRC) has now come out with a “Voluntary Code”. Not only is this daft […]

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The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 is the Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that created the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as a regulator for insurance, investment business and banking. This was the Act by which Gordon Brown removed responsibility for regulating the banking industry from the Bank of England, a decision that […]

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The FSA Handbook sets out all the FSA’s rules made under powers given to the FSA by the Financial Services and Markets Act as well as rules based on this and other Acts. It is legally binding. The Handbook is updated almost daily and anyone involved in the financial industry is well advised to check […]

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In the context of UK regulations a qualified investor (“QI”) is one who falls within the definition contained in Section 86(7) of the Financial Services and Markets Act (“FSMA”) and who is listed on the Qualified Investor Register (“QIR”) maintained by the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”). The Financial Services Authority maintains a register of QIs, […]

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Established in 1990, the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) is the only truly global hedge fund association. It represents all practitioners in the alternative investment management industry – including hedge fund managers, prime brokers, legal and accounting services and fund administrators. The association centres it activities on education, regulation, policy development and in the establishment […]

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For many years UK taxpayers benefitted greatly by transferring (settling) their assets in offshore trusts, but increasing ant-avoidance legislation has led people to believe that there is no point in using an offshore trust any more. Whilst it is true that the tax advantages are no longer as good and they once were the fact […]

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Official figures release today show that there have been massive increases in both personal and business bankruptcies as the credit crunch continues to bite. The lack of working capital, usually provided by bank overdrafts or secured lending together with the problems of obtaining credit insurance have been blamed for a 98% increase in companies going […]

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Despite the Prime Minister hailing it as a success, it emerged over the weekend that only about £12 Million of the £1 Billion government loan guarantee scheme has actually been lent to companies. Last week Gordon Brown sought to defend the government’s record on helping business by repeatedly citing the £1bn loan guarantee scheme as […]

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The Bank for International Settlements is an organisation that fosters co-operation between central banks and other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability. It provides facilities for international financial operations and acts as agent or trustee in international financial settlements. Its banking services are available exclusively to central banks (such as the Bank of […]

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Robert Peston, the BBC’s business editor, is coming under fire for his many “scoops” which according to critics helped fuel the flames of the banking crisis and led to the collapse of Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley and HBOS. Before joining the BBC in 2006 Peston was a successful journailist working for the Financial Times, […]

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In respect of the “City Code”, a bid required under Rule 9, basically where: the bidder and any persons acting in concert acquire shares carrying 30% or more of the voting rights of a target; or if a bidder, together with any concert parties, holding not less than 30% but not more than 50% of […]

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Accountants come in all shapes and sizes, both good and bad. To many people they are a necessary evil but a good accountant can add value to your business and help you sleep at night. But how do you find the right one for you? The first step is to accept that you need an […]

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Taking out a pension does not guarantee you a comfortable retirement. You have to pay enough into it to make it worth while. How much you need to pay in will depend on what type of pension scheme you are a member of and also whether you are self-employed or not. You can pay as […]

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