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 In his Budget yesterday UK Chancellor George Osborne responded positively to calls from the London Stock Exchange and abolished stamp duty on shares of companies listed on growth markets including the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and the ISDX Growth Market. The Stock Exchange, financial institutions, and business organisations have long argued that removing stamp duty […]

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Chinese Walls are an ethical rather than physical barrier between different divisions of a financial (or other) institution to avoid conflict of interest. For example a Chinese Wall is said to exist between the corporate-advisory area and the brokering department of a financial services firm to separate those giving corporate advice on takeovers from those […]

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Consumers can now access free credit reports showing publicly held information on their borrowings, repayments history and financial relationships with other people without getting tied in to ongoing “insurance” or “advisory” services which come at a fee. Currently Experian and Equifax – the two main credit reference agencies – offer “free” reports but these come […]

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Captive Insurance Companies have long been used by many prominent companies to manage their insurance risks. In its simplest form, a captive is a wholly owned subsidiary created to provide insurance to its non-insurance parent company and or other group companies. They are essentially a form of self-insurance whereby the insurer is owned wholly by […]

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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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In an attempt to deal with the looming pension crisis and the failure of people to make provision for their retirement, the UK Governments has introduced legislation that will require all employers to auto-enrol their staff in a qualifying workplace pension scheme. The rationale behind the legislation is that it seems that currently many employees […]

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The National Employment Savings Trust (“Nest”) is the UK Government’s pension scheme introduced following the Pensions Commission’s 2005 report and is intended to encourage people to save for retirement. In fact it isn’t a new scheme, just a rebranding of the Personal Accounts Scheme which has been in operation for some time. The real difference […]

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Keen readers of this blog will have noticed several articles over the last 18 months regarding changes to the tax treatment of holiday lettings. The first of these was UK Budget Bombshell for Second Home Owners (April 2009). This article highlighted a proposal hidden away in the small print of Alistair Darling’s 2009 Budget. This […]

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Government Ministers are drawing up plans to replace the existing means-tested and contribution-based system with a new flat-rate pension to replace the current basic state pension, the second state pension and pension credits. The proposals are that from 2015 every person will be entitled to a pension of £140 a week. This is a significant […]

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We live in momentous times. Everything is changing – and a lot faster than you think. The old rules no longer apply. The institutions and traditions you take for granted are faltering. In fact, beneath the surface of what appears on the daily TV news is a much more disturbing story – one which you […]

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Following the unseemly debacle surrounding Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury (and some of us remember similar issues many years ago in the Guinness/Distillerstakeover) the Takeover Panel have launched a review into certain aspects of the regulations concerning takeovers and have invited comments. Here are mine. Any changes to the Takeover Code must ensure that the UK […]

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The Financial Reporting Council (“FRC”) published The UK Stewardship Code yesterday. The declared purpose of the Code is “to enhance the quality of engagement between institutional investors and companies to help improve long-term returns to shareholders and the efficient exercise of governance responsibilities”. The FRC sees the UK Stewardship Code as complementary to the UK […]

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Since I first raised this issue in April of last year (see UK Budget Bombshell for Second Home Owners) I have had occasion to return to the subject several times. To recap, as part of the 2009 Budget, measures were slipped into the small print of the budget by the then Government to withdraw the […]

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The Enterprise Investment Scheme offers generous income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to investors in certain companies. These reliefs are available to “qualifying individuals” who subscribe for “eligible shares” in “qualifying companies” undertaking “a qualifying business activity”. Simple, isn’t it? The purpose behind the scheme is to encourage investment in start up companies and […]

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Yesterday, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published a revised version of the UK Corporate Governance Code (formerly the Combined Code). This new edition of “the Code” takes effect for financial years beginning on or after the 29th June 2010. The Code applies to all companies with a Premium Listing on the London Stock Exchange including […]

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I was talking to an Independent Financial Advisor a couple of days ago and in conversation asked him how he was getting on winding up the estate of a mutual client who died about 18 months ago. “Fine”, he said, “but it looks like we have paid too much Inheritance Tax on the house” – […]

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Beware Malicious Keyloggers

Published on February 3, 2010 by in All Articles, Investing

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Cybercrime is endemic and whilst most people now know not to respond to emails asking for personal information or passwords few are aware of the dangers of “keyloggers”. What is a keylogger? A keylogger is a small piece of software which captures all of the keystrokes you make on your keyboard. Originally these programs were designed […]

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The Combined Code on Corporate Governance  * is published by the Financial Reporting Council and applies to all UK incorporated companies (and some foreign companies) listed on the UK Stock Exchange. The most recent (2008) version of the Code combines the Cadbury and Greenbury reports on corporate governance, the Turnbull Report on Internal Control (revised […]

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The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is to introduce “premium” and “standard” listings from April next year. At first glance, the changes being introduced to listings on the LSE might appear little more than cosmetic, with the existing categories of “primary” and “secondary” listings set to be replaced with “premium” and “standard” listings. But closer examination […]

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The British Business Angels Association (“BBAA”) is a trade association representing UK business angel networks, associates and affiliates. Business Angels invest in business startup companies. These are the same sorts of business that venture capitalists invest in but Angels invest their own money, unlike venture capitalists, who manage the pooled money of others in a […]

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