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The doom and gloom-mongers in the British media, as well as some politicians, are claiming that yesterday’s decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejecting the British government’s challenge to the operation of the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) spells disaster for the City of London. But in the immortal words of Corporal Jones in the […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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The term Venture Capital refers to an investment made in a new or nearly new company either to get it off the ground (known as seed funding) or to provide capital for growth – surprisingly known as growth funding). Venture capital investments are usually made in cash in exchange for shares in the invested company […]

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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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Most people have heard of Gross Domestic Product (sometimes called Gross Domestic Income) or GDP but few have heard of Gross National Product (GNP). To understand GNP you first have to understand GDP and fuller details can be found elsewhere on this site. In actual fact there is no internationally agreed definition of terms like […]

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Investing Offshore can be a very attractive option for the discerning investor who would like to explore other markets, shield his or her investments from potential capital lawsuits, or grow them in a confidential, secure investment not governed by the rules and regulations of their home jurisdiction. Over a year ago I posted an article […]

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A Friendly Society is incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1974 or under the Friendly Societies Act 1992 or any subsequent act replacing or amending these acts. Friendly Societies are voluntary mutual organisations whose main purpose is to financially assist their members, or their members’ families, during sickness, unemployment or retirement and to provide life […]

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One of the most common questions we receive asks for a definition of an open-end fund and a definition of a closed-end fund. An open-end fund is a collective investment scheme that can issue and redeem shares according to market demand. Therefore unlike a closed-end fund, where the number of shares in issue is fixed […]

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Beware the fraudulent activities of a share “bucket shop”.  A Bucket Shop (sometimes called a “boiler room”) is a fraudulent brokerage firm that uses aggressive sales techniques, usually by telephone, to sell stock that the brokerage owns and wants to get rid of. The securities they sell are typically poor investment opportunities, and almost always […]

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Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are designed for people who are members of a company pension scheme but who want to increase the contributions they make in order to boost their retirement income. Average life expectancy is increasing so topping up a company pension with an AVC plan is a good way of helping fund the […]

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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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