M&S Money Credit Card Holder Margaret Claxton Is Celebrating After Winning A Caribbean Cruise

M&S Money has announced the name of the lucky customer who has won the latest M&S Money prize draw to win a Caribbean cruise.

Retired Margaret Claxton, of Heswall, The Wirral, will set sail on the P&O cruise ship Ventura after scooping the top prize in the competition organised by M&S Money.

The prize follows a competition in which anyone using an M&S Credit Card at M&Sstores or on the M&S website between 2nd April and 1st June 2008 was entered into a draw to win the cruise. Mrs Claxton used her card at the M&S store in Chester.

Margaret said: “I’ve never won anything like this – it’s amazing. I can’t wait to enjoy my first cruise with a close friend. It will be lovely to soak up the sun.”

This draw is just one of a series of competitions for M&S credit card customers and comes in addition to earning Marks & Spencer points and 0% interest on all shopping everywhere for six months from account opening.

The competitions are scheduled to continue at M&S Money, with the company currently offering their cardholders the chance to win one million M&S points worth £10,000. Cardholders are automatically entered into the prize draw upon purchase of financial services from Marks & Spencer. The offer ends on 29th October.

M&S Money was voted best credit card provider in the Your Money Awards 2008, which recognise excellence in online & direct service provision. The accolade means that M&S Money has won the award three years in a row.

About M&S Money:
M&S Money (originally called Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top-ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers insurance for homes, cars, travel, pets and weddings, as well as loans, savings and investments.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations with over 9,500 offices in 85 countries and territories. The business continues to operate under the M&S Money brand, with an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

The company employs 1,200 staff at its headquarters in Chester, delivering personal financial services to its customers, reflecting the core values of Marks & Spencer – quality, value, service, innovation and trust.

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M&S Money Has Announced A Brand New 0 Per Cent Offer Exclusive To New Credit Card Customers

M&S Money, the financial services division of Marks & Spencer, has announced an exclusive offer on its credit cards for new customers.

The offer, which began at the start of September, provides new M&S Money credit card holders with 0% interest on all shopping for ten months from the account opening and 0% interest for six months on balance transfers made within six months of the account opening.

New M&S Money Credit Card customers will also benefit from earning M&S points with every use of the card as well as well as no cash advance fee and 55 days interest free when buying M&S Travel Money with the card.

Brendan Cook, M&S Money Chief Executive said, “This new card means that M&S are now one of the few providers in the market to be offering excellent 0% deals on both purchases and balance transfers. This card not only has a competitive APR but also benefits from the M&S Loyalty Scheme, making it one of the most attractive credit cards in the market.

“Additionally, whilst a number of other providers have recently been raising their interest rates and shortening their 0% offers, we’re delighted to be bucking this trend – at a time when consumers will appreciate this the most.”

The credit card offer from M&S Money also allows customers to conveniently manage their account online, with additional security from Spend Safe fraud protection. M&S Money has also guaranteed savings of 8% on holidays with the exclusive travel club.

About M&S Money:
M&S Money (originally called Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second-largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers insurance for homes, cars, travel, pets and weddings, as well as loans, savings and investments.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations with over 9,500 offices in 85 countries and territories. The business continues to operate under the M&S Money brand, with an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

The company employs 1,200 staff at its headquarters in Chester, delivering personal financial services to its customers, reflecting the core values of Marks & Spencer – quality, value, service, innovation and trust.

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Debt Advisers Direct Have Emphasised The Importance Of Joining A Pension Scheme As A Means Of Securing An Income And Staying Out Of Debt When It Comes To Retirement

Responding to a recent report regarding the growing pensions divide in the UK, Debt Advisers Direct (http://www.debtadvisersdirect.co.uk) advised workers to ensure they are planning well financially for the future, and warned anyone approaching retirement with debts to take action as soon as possible.

The report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a growing gap in pensions contributions between the public and private sectors. Private sector membership of final-salary pension schemes – in which companies pay a percentage of the employee’s final salary throughout retirement – fell from 3 million in 2006 to 2.7 million in 2007.

Instead, many private sector employers are opting for money purchase schemes, in which workers pay into a retirement fund which is usually invested in the stock market. When the employee retires, the fund is used to buy an annuity – a financial product that provides an income for the rest of their life. The size of the pension depends on how well the retirement fund performs and on the annuity rates available at retirement.

The public sector, on the other hand, showed a rise from 5.1 million to 5.2 million members of final-salary pension schemes last year.

The statistics highlight a clear difference between the two types of pension. The ONS report shows that on final-salary schemes, workers paid an average of 4.9 per cent and employers 15.6 per cent of the worker’s salary in the last year. For money purchase schemes, workers paid an average of 2.7 per cent and employers 6.5 per cent.

Many experts agree that workers should save at least 10% per cent of their total income to ensure an adequate income throughout retirement.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct said: “The findings highlight two important things: firstly, the need for workers to save adequately for their future, and secondly, the importance of being on the right pension scheme.

“The statistics show that final-salary schemes contribute over 20 per cent of the worker’s salary, whereas money purchase schemes contribute just over 9 per cent. It’s better than having no pension at all, but workers should consider whether a money purchase scheme will cover them fully for retirement.

“Most people do not usually associate retirement with debt, but in fact statistics show that increasing numbers of people are now retiring with debts to their name, or falling into debt because their pension doesn’t cover their outgoings.

“Our advice to people with debt problems is to seek expert debt advice as soon as possible, before they get too close to retirement age. There may a number of debt solutions that could help them clear their debts, and in general, the sooner they act, the more options they’ll have – as they approach retirement age, they may find they simply no longer have access to certain debt solutions.”

As long as the individual acts in time, a debt management plan or debt consolidationloan could simplify their finances and reduce their monthly outgoings by spreading out debt repayments over a longer period of time (although, in general, the longer the repayment terms, the more they are likely to pay in interest).

For people with debts of around £15,000 or more, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) may be more suitable. An IVA is a legally-binding agreement between an individual and their creditors, in which they repay only what they can afford over a period of (normally) five years. Once the IVA is successfully completed, the remaining debt is written off.

Lasting for a specified time period, an IVA can be a particularly suitable debt solution for people approaching a deadline such as retirement. However, IVAs do represent a substantial financial commitment and can require homeowners to free up some equity. As with any debt solution, an IVA should never be entered into until the borrower has discussed all the alternatives – and the pros and cons of each – with a professional debt adviser.

Debtadvisersdirect.co.uk helps people with financial difficulties, providing free advice and tailor-made debt solutions.

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The High Energy Environment At The Junior Achievement Of Orange County’s 5th Annual Stock Market Challenge Gives Young Participants A Real World Understanding Of The Financial Markets

The Newport Beach Marriott will be transformed into Wall Street as Junior Achievement (JA) of Orange County hosts the 5th Annual Stock Market Challenge. This fast paced evening of trading excitement will help raise money for JA’s economic education programs and provide high school participants with a hands-on financial education.

Maria Hall-Brown from KOCE will be the emcee as high school students from Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, and Santa Ana to learn about the stock market by being part of a competing stock trading team.

Vince Shorb, founder of the National Youth Financial Educators Council and a Junior Achievement Board of Directors member, states “With the recent volatility of our financial markets it is vitally important that today’s youth are empowered with a deeper understanding of how the stock market operates.”

Major supporters of JA’s Stock Market Challenge are Wescom Credit Union – Presenting Sponsor, Wells Fargo – Opening Bell Sponsor, 3M – Closing Bell Sponsor, Comerica – Dinner Sponsor, Sam’s Club – Media Sponsor, Grant Thornton, LLP – Marketing Sponsor, and Best Buy – Prize Sponsor. Some of the participating companies are: Citizen Business Bank, Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Irwin Union Bank, Mendoza Berger & Company LLP, Mullin TBG, Orange County Board of Education, ClearLight Partners, LLC, US Bank, and Washington Mutual, Bank of the West and Ross Equipment and Process Solutions Co.

JA Worldwide is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. For more information on Junior Achievement programs contact Christine Shewbridge, President of JA of Orange County at (949) 515-1998. http://orangecounty.ja.org

The National Youth Financial Educators Council empowers today’s youth with real world financial education and entrepreneurship skills through edu-tainment products and events that are designed specifically for young adults. http://www.NYFEC.org

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New Research From LV= Reveals That Parents Spend A Staggering £233 Billion Supporting Their Adult Children

New research from insurance, pensions and investments group LV= reveals that parents spend a staggering £233 billion* on supporting their adult children (children aged 18 years or over), and are foregoing their own financial freedom to support their children.

The LV study, which was carried out amongst adults aged 40+ years who have children 18+ years, found that 94% of parents continue to contribute financially towards education and other major purchases such as houses and cars, plus living expenses, once their children have reached ‘adulthood’.

Over half of all parents surveyed (55%) admitted to helping their adult children with general living costs, indicating that the ‘credit crunch’ and rising living costs are impacting on the finances of adult children.

Nigel Snell, Communications Director at LV=, said: “Parents certainly like to financially contribute, if they can, towards large purchases for their adult children, such as weddings and deposits for first homes. However, it seems that the current economic climate is impacting on day-to-day finances. Parents are the hardest hit, with a large proportion admitting that they are helping to cover their children’s living expenses, as well as meeting their own financial commitments.”

One quarter (23%) of parents aged between 40 and 49 years still have children aged over 25 years old living with them, indicating that despite falling house prices, adult children are not in a hurry to leave the nest, and may not be able to afford to either.

According to the research, it is not just their own children that parents are paying for either. Of those parents with grandchildren, 79% reported supporting both their children and grandchildren.

Almost half of all parents aged 70 years or older (45%) are still helping their children financially. Despite generally being retired and living on a reduced income, 55% of these parents state that they help their children because they feel it is their responsibility as a parent, and 42% stated that they support their children ‘because they can afford to’.

In contrast, less than one third (29%) of the parents questioned said that they had received financial help from their own parents after they had left school. Now, 62% of parents say they help their adult children because ‘they need the assistance’ and 17% of parents say that their adult child actually asks them for financial support.

Nigel Snell concluded: “Our study shows that parents can no longer expect their children to pay their own way once they have flown the nest. More than ever it’s true to say that having children means signing up to a lifetime financial commitment.

“Many parents will have had to put some plans on hold to manage the costs associated with raising a family, and once their children are old enough, parents should begin to encourage their own children to make small provisions, so that the financial burden can be reduced and parents can enjoy more financial freedom in retirement.”

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It`s Important Than Ever That Consumers Consider Their Options Before Taking Out Any New Credit, Say Debt Consolidation Experts Debtadvisersdirect.Co.Uk

Commenting on recent changes to the credit market, debt consolidation experts DebtAdvisersDirect.com reminded consumers in debt of the need to think carefully about the lending options open to them. In particular, they stressed the importance of calculating the long-term impact, not just the short-term appeal, of various types of credit on offer.

“As with any financial issue,” a DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk spokesperson remarked, “it’s imperative to research the different options thoroughly before making any firm decisions. The pros and cons of each debt solution might not be immediately obvious, so it’s highly inadvisable for anyone to commit themselves without consulting an expert beforehand.”

In recent history, the availability of credit has led many to see debt consolidation loans as a good way of regaining control of their finances. However, the credit crunch has – by definition – restricted the number of ways in which consumers can consolidate their debts.

A recent press release by comparison site uSwitch provides some figures: over the last year, the overall amount issued in unsecured loans has dropped by £283 million per quarter, while gross credit card lending has grown by an average of £179 million per quarter.

“This is a disturbing trend,” the Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson continued. “People clearly need access to credit, whether they’re using it to consolidate their debts or to finance new projects and purchases. Yet the way in which they access that credit can make an enormous difference to their financial stability.

“One reason people turn to their credit cards is the sheer simplicity – rather than arranging a new loan, they can simply access the credit that’s already available on their credit card. However, the high interest rates that come with some cards can rapidly turn relatively small debts into much larger ones.

“At the same time, the low monthly repayments that most credit cards require (another factor which might add to the perceived desirability of borrowing in this way) can also have a dramatic impact on a borrower’s long-term finances – any online calculator can easily demonstrate the advantages of repaying a debt as fast as realistically possible, whether it’s a credit card debt, a debt consolidation loan, or any other kind of credit.”

In the uSwitch press release, Simeon Linstead, head of personal finance at uSwitch.com, stated “…it seems consumers are turning to credit card providers for extra cash. Whilst it’s good news that people can still access extra money if they need it, this is not a sustainable solution for the problem.”

For many, a professional debt consolidation loan would be a much more appropriate way to bring their finances in order. Often coming with much lower interest rates than credit cards, loans can also offer the peace of mind that comes with fixed monthly payments over a specified repayment term.

“Even in the midst of the credit crunch,” the Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson concluded, “debt consolidation loans are still very much available. Whatever their debt problems, many borrowers still stand a good chance of getting the debt consolidation loan they need – as long as they approach a lender who specialises in helping people in their situation.”

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RMS Networks (RMS) And World Capital Markets (WCM) Form A New Company For Strategic Advertising, Promotion, Research And Technology

RMS is the leading Internet-based, digital media and marketing agency that develops, manages and delivers the most relevant video advertising segments to millions of consumers daily. RMS has served the nation’s most respected and recognizable brands, including AutoNation, Blockbuster, Subway, Accenture and Advance Auto Parts.

WCM is the premier resource for private companies that want to go public, raise capital, or present themselves more effectively to interested parties

The new company being formed by RMS and WCM will promote effective capital raising techniques through rich advertising, metrics, non-traditional advertising outlets and Internet-based social networks. The name of this new entity will be announced in the near future.

Clients of the new company will gain market visibility designed to secure private investments or to take their company public through an initial public offering or reverse merger by targeting strategic audiences through addressable marketing services and campaigns. RMS President and Founder, Jason M. Kates, said: “The RMS platform offers an extremely powerful tool for these companies, one that is especially timely given the current state of the financial markets. Teaming with WCM will bring the power of digital media and targeted social investing to our clients, thereby enhancing the reach and impact of their marketing and investor relations efforts.”

About RMS Networks Inc.
RMS is the leading internet-based, digital media and marketing agency that develops, manages and delivers the most relevant video advertising segments to millions of consumers daily. Through rVue®, RMS’ proprietary addressable advertising technology, high-traffic venues and consumers can access HD video content, create playlists and dramatically enhance the shopping experience. From its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, FL., RMS has served the nation’s most respected and recognizable brands including AutoNation, Blockbuster, Subway, Accenture and Advance Auto Parts – all with a simple proposition: Where ROI meets awareness. That’s RMS. Learn more atwww.rmsnetworks.com.

About World Capital Markets, Inc.
WCM is the premier resource for private companies that want to go public, raise capital, or present themselves more effectively to interested parties. WCM’s program combines an ever-expanding Internet social network dedicated to investments, acquisitions, divestitures and financings with world-class support for our clients’ capital-raising programs. WCM’s value-added services include experienced consulting, cutting-edge media technology, expert public relations, legal and audit resources – a comprehensive program unique in the industry. WCM is dedicated to creating a community of people who make key investment decisions and then present our client companies to them in a way that is both compelling and persuasive.

WCM’s Chairman and CEO, Richard J. Sullivan, is an entrepreneurial pioneer. He served as Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Solutions, where he executed a technology rollup involving 42 acquisitions that succeeded in increasing the company’s share price from $2.50 to a peak of $18 per share. During Sullivan’s decade-long tenure as Chairman and CEO, Applied Digital was one of the highest volume traded stocks on NASDAQ. Sullivan also served as Chairman and CEO of Digital Angel Corporation and led the effort to spin off VeriChip Corporation. In 1970, he was a founding member of the management team of Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc., which listed at $7.50 per share and was sold to Schlumberger N.V. in 1980 at $65 per share.

WCM’s Chairman and CEO, Richard J. Sullivan, commented: “We’re extremely pleased to join forces with RMS. Working together, we’ll be able to accelerate investment and growth opportunities for a wide range of financially solid private and public companies. Our approach builds on the successful growth strategies we have executed in the past. RMS’ innovative digital capabilities and cutting-edge technologies will be of enormous benefit to our clients.”

The new company will have a strategic relationship with Accretive Exit Capital Partners, Boston, MA, and West Palm Beach, Fl., www.Accretiveexit.com, a liquidity producing secondary investment firm, whose investment strategy targets a diversified pool of late-stage growth companies from vintage 1999-2003 buyout funds. The two companies will explore innovative ways to expand the new company in the future.

Regarding the licensing of rVue®, WCM and RMS have signed a definitive agreement to offer the platform on a worldwide, exclusive basis. rVue® is RMS’ proprietary digital content and advertising platform that connects advertising agencies with digital destinations such as digital signage, mobile and web outlets.

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Dubai International Capital has appointed David Smoot as Managing Director of DIC private equity

Dubai International Capital LLC, the international investment arm of Dubai Holding, announced that it has appointed David Smoot as Managing Director of Private Equity. David will be based in Dubai and report to Sylvain Denis, Chief Executive Officer of DIC Private Equity.

David, aged 38, joins Dubai International Capital from Morgan Stanley Private Equity, where he was a member of the investment committee who led portfolio investments and helped to build a 35-person team located in New York and London. Key transactions include the acquisition of Tops Markets from Royal Ahold and the firm’s co-investment with JLL Partners in the acquisition of McKechnie Aerospace.

David has a 14-year track record in investment banking and private equity, of which 11 years were spent with Morgan Stanley. Before co founding the Private Equity Group he was Managing Director of Financial Sponsors at Morgan Stanley, where he advised clients including Bain Capital, Blackstone, First Reserve and Warburg Pincus on M&A, IPOs, debt and equity financings. Before joining Morgan Stanley, David spent three years at Salomon Brothers where he specialised in energy and chemicals investment banking.

Sylvain Denis, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai International Capital Private Equity said, “David has exceptional experience and relationships in the private equity field as well as expertise in building a best-in- class team. I look forward to working with him on the development of our growth strategy for DIC’s business in North America.”

David Smoot, Managing Director, DIC Private Equity commented, “Since its launch in 2004, DIC has made outstanding progress in building a profitable business that manages combined assets in excess of $12 billion. DIC’s Private Equity division has established a strong reputation as a specialist in European secondary buyouts and I look forward to working with Sylvain to expand the portfolio in North America.”

David Smoot’s appointment as the managing director of DIC private equity comes shortly after DIC and its CEO, Sameer Al Ansari, was named MENA Private Equity Firm of the Year in the 6th annual Awards for Excellence in Private Equity Europe 2008, organised by Dow Jones Private Equity News.

About Dubai International Capital:
Established in 2004, DIC is an international investment company focused on both private equity and public equity, with its current CEO being Sameer Al Ansari. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai Holding, DIC manages an international portfolio of diverse assets that provide its stakeholders with value growth, diversification, and strategic investments. Assets under management total over US$12 billion.

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According To The Latest Annual Barclaycard Business Travel Survey Cost Conscious Businesses Travellers Are Driving Budget Airline Sales

According to the latest annual Barclaycard Business Travel Survey, increasingly cost conscious UK business travellers are opting for no-frills airlines over traditional carries as they seek to maintain current levels of business travel in a bid to grow their businesses. Rail travel has also increased with a quarter of respondents (26%) claiming to have travelled by rail more than in previous years.

The newly released Barclaycard Business Travel Survey, now in its 12th year, canvasses the views of more than 3,000 business travellers across the country, building a comprehensive picture of the UK’s business traveller, gauging views on business travel and travel behaviour.

These current Barclaycard results show that 64% of business travellers have flown internationally on business in the last 12 months with 12% of respondents claiming to have flown on an international flight more than 11 times. This breaks down to an average of eight international flights per traveller in 2007. Domestic flights are less popular however, with only 43% claiming to have flown domestically in the last year. On average the business traveller takes six domestic flights a year. Only a few (4%) flew more than twenty times internationally (4%), while 5% flew more than ten times
domestically.

While British Airways remains the most used airline for business travel (28%) both easyJet (ranked 2nd) and Ryanair (ranked 3rd) have increased their market share. British Airways has for the seventh year running retained its status as the business traveller’s favourite business travel airline as voted by almost a third (28%) of the business travellers surveyed.

When selecting a class of travel, 44% of respondents cited cost as the overriding purchasing decision factor, with 17% claiming class is dictated by company policy, 12% by length of flight and only 7% down to personal preference. Despite the heavy investment of some airlines in premium economy products, standard economy is the most popular class with more than half (55%) of respondents claiming to use it the most often, an increase of nine percentage points from last year’s survey.

Denise Leleux, Director of Commercial Cards, Barclaycard Business said: “Our latest survey shows that business travel numbers continue to climb as businesses seek economic growth however travellers appear to be downshifting to economy class travel as they attempt to maximize increasingly pressured business travel budgets. “

The 12th annual Barclaycard Business Travel Survey was conducted in December 2007, amongst a nationwide sample of Barclaycard Business commercial card holders. A total of 3397 respondents (CEOs, chairmen, company directors, managers and executives) provided their thoughts on all aspects of business travel including airlines and hotels preferences to online bookings. Keeping in line with key public interests and new industry developments, this year saw the introduction of a new subject area, the environment, and also the continuation of two topics introduced in last year’s survey – security and advanced travel technology.

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Identity Check Providers Will Tackle Deceased Fraud Head On

Tracesmart Ltd, leading providers of identity fraud prevention tools and data cleansing services, have today announced that they are the first company to be approved to receive UK death registration information (DRI) as part of the General Register Office’s (GRO) disclosure of death registration information (DDRI) scheme. The DRI will be stored in Tracesmart’s secure data facility and employed in the firm’s range of services which allow their customers to conduct comprehensive identity checks to aid in the prevention of impersonation of the deceased (IOD) fraud – a rapidly growing form of identity fraud.

The Home Office estimate that identity fraud currently costs the UK economy over £1.7 billion a year, so to help tackle this ever growing crime recent legislation includes provisions to combat IOD fraud. Under the Police and Justice Act 2006 and the Local Electoral Administration and Registrations Services (Scotland) Act 2006 the Registrars General for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been granted the power to release DRI to assist in the ‘prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences’. In light of this the DDRI scheme was launched on 16th January 2008 to support the fight against IOD fraud. Administered on behalf of the three Registrars General by the GRO for England & Wales, the DDRI scheme provides successful applicants with an electronic file of deaths registered in the UK on a weekly basis – this will ensure that fraudsters can be quickly identified and dealt with before they can do any fiscal or emotional damage.

Tracesmart will be utilising the DRI in their electronic identity verification and mortality screening services which are employed by a host of different industries as Michael Trezise, Managing Director of Tracesmart, explains, “The majority of businesses can be affected by impersonation of the deceased fraud and as such we provide a variety of services which allow companies to protect themselves and consumers from this threat. Whether it is a solicitors firm conducting identity checks as part of their anti-money laundering obligations or a credit card company carrying out know your customer due diligence, our clients can rest assured that our services will remain in the vanguard of fraud prevention – a fact that is reinforced by our being the first company to be approved by the GRO and our active acquisition of new data.”

Prior to being approved by the GRO, Tracesmart had to fulfil a variety of stringent prerequisites and underwent a full security audit of their site and storage systems. The GRO implemented these measures to ensure that the DRI is only accessed by appropriate persons and organisations for the purposes prescribed by law. The release of DRI is also welcomed by the UK’s fraud prevention service – CIFAS – as their Head of Communications, Kate Beddington-Brown notes, “IOD fraud is unspeakably cruel, adding immeasurably to the grief of bereaved individuals at the worst possible time. The emotional harm and financial strain that it can add to the sadness of bereavement is unimaginable. Having campaigned for years for reform that would put an end to IOD fraud, CIFAS was delighted when the Registrars General responded to the problem by working together to provide a practicable solution. Now that their hard work is finally coming to fruition, we welcome this announcement and are confident that this will help to stamp out IOD fraud once and for all.”

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The Government’s ‘Energy Package’ May Help Some People Stay Warm This Winter, But It Is Not Enough To Address The Immediate Financial Problems Caused By High Energy Prices

Responding to the government’s ‘£1 billion energy package’, debt consolidation experts Debt Advisers Direct reminded consumers of recent comments by leading charities Help the Aged and the National Housing Federation.

Despite enabling households ‘to take advantage of help that could save them over £300 every year on their energy bills’, the package met with a lukewarm reception: “Individual changes which have been flagged by the Prime Minister are sensible and move in the right direction,” said Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser at Help the Aged. “However, they are too little, too modest and will take too long to address the urgent plight of many pensioners today.”

The energy package includes:
· Free loft and cavity wall insulation for some; half-price insulation for others.
· Increased Cold Weather Payments (paid during particularly cold periods) from £8.50 to £25 per week.
· An increased Winter Fuel Payment (either £50 or £100 more).
· Potentially discounted tariffs by the end of the year for ‘around 600,000’ customers, many of whom will have a price freeze this winter

“The measures announced by Gordon Brown may provide some help, but must be seen in context,” a spokesperson for DebtAdvisersdirect.com commented. “The average annual energy bill is widely expected to be more than £1,400 next year – more than twice what it was in 2005. While everyone appreciates the importance of long-term improvements to energy efficiency, recent price increases of up to 35% have left many with immediate financial problems.”

To quote from The Press Association website: ‘Soaring energy bills will push one in 10 households into debt with their fuel supplier by the end of next year, experts have warned. The National Housing Federation said hikes in the cost of gas and electricity would force many low-income families to have to choose between heating their homes or eating this winter.’

The right debt solution, however, could help borrowers afford both. “Part of the problem today is the sheer number of price rises we’ve seen in the past year,” said theDebtAdvisersDirect.com spokesperson. “Not just energy prices, but others such as food, rent and petrol.”

“People with credit commitments can be hit particularly hard by this – even after they’ve paid their rent / mortgage, food, fuel, etc, they still need to find the money to service their ongoing unsecured debt repayments. In many cases, this is simply impossible, and reducing those monthly debt payments is the only way forward. This is where debt consolidation can make a big difference.”

debt consolidation loan is a simple idea. By consolidating multiple unsecured debts into a single, large debt, borrowers can reduce the amount they’re paying each month: “Their monthly repayments may have seemed reasonable when they first took out credit, but the recent increases in basic living costs have dramatically reduced the average consumer’s disposable income.”

Debt consolidation gives borrowers a chance to re-assess their finances and the speed at which they can pay off their debt by calculating how much they can afford to put towards their debts in today’s economic environment. “As with any debt solution, a debt consolidation loan comes with both pros and cons, so it’s vital to seek professional debt advice before making a decision.”

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Falling sales of new cars are another indicator that today’s economic troubles are affecting people in every part of British society

Dropping sales of new cars should serve as a reminder that economic downturns can affect everyone, whatever their socioeconomic status, said debt management company GregoryPennington.com.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that the number of new cars registered in August 2008 was down 18.6 per cent compared with August 2007. August is usually a quiet month for new car sales, but this year saw the worst August for new car sales since 1966 – just 63,225 registrations.

Premium brands, according to The Times, ‘were among the hardest hit, with Aston Martin suffering a 67 per cent drop to just 19 cars sold’. Land Rover sales dropped 58 per cent, and Jaguar sales 41 per cent.

“This kind of news challenges an often-held assumption that the impact of economic turbulence is more likely to felt among lower-income individuals,” said a spokesperson for the debt management company. “Even less-expensive new cars, while not ‘luxury’ products, tend to be purchased by people who enjoy a reasonably comfortable standard of living.”

Following, as they do, the news about declining sales in other market segments, the SMMT figures are a stark reminder of the decreasing spending power of the population as a whole. According to a report from comparison site uSwitch, the average UK household is £2,500 worse off than last year.

“While it’s good to see people taking sensible steps to reduce their non-essential spending,” the spokesperson for the debt management company continued, “that reduced spending will clearly have an effect on the health of British industry – in this case, the car industry.”

Furthermore, the savings people make are often ‘swallowed up’ by rises in essential bills, such as food and utilities. By definition, these bills can only be reduced up to a certain point.

Under certain circumstances, however, there may be ways to reduce monthly payments to secured and/or unsecured debts.

“Homeowners may find there are ways their mortgage provider could help them service their mortgage debt during a difficult period. Even temporary concessions can make all the difference to a household struggling to keep up with mounting bills, shrinking income, or both.”

Nonetheless, any change to the way they repay their mortgage can have a substantial impact on the borrower’s long-term finances. It may make more sense to look into the various forms of debt help which can could free up the necessary money by reducing their payments to unsecured debts.

Many people enlist a debt management company to negotiate with their unsecured creditors on their behalf: “Unsecured creditors may be willing to take a flexible approach to repayment agreements if this is the best way for the individual to repay the debt as soon as realistically possible.”

A debt management company will talk to each of their client’s creditors, explaining how their financial situation has changed, and negotiating concessions: “They may agree to accept lower payments, for example, freeze interest and / or waive charges, helping the borrower bring their expenditure back in line with their income.”

“Debt management is by no means the only option. Nor is it always the most appropriate – many people with financial problems could benefit more from a debt consolidation loan or IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), either of which could help them reduce their monthly expenses, freeing up the money they need for essential bills. The important thing is to seek professional debt advice sooner, rather than later.”

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Simple tips military families should consider when selecting a bank or financial institution

For most families, choosing a banking institution can be a very involved process even in the best of economic times. But mix in the challenges of military life, tough economic conditions, and a lack of consumer trust in many different industries, and doing so can become a daunting challenge.

To help make the process easier, Pioneer Services has developed a free article for military families on how to comprehensively, effectively, and quickly choose a bank or credit union. Covering what fees to look for, convenience and service, the article also provides links to regulatory and ratings agencies for easy reference.

“Military families move around a lot, and even those who have used the same bank for years should make sure they get the best deal,” said Joe Freeman, Chief Operations Officer of Pioneer Services, the Military Banking Division of MidCountry Bank. “Add in that the banking industry is facing some tough challenges, and then trust also becomes a factor. We decided to provide our service members some easy-to-use information on what to look for when picking a financial institution, as well as give them resources so they can fully trust whichever one they choose.”

The free article, and more than 30 others on a variety of personal finance topics, can be read at PioneerServices.com.

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, provides responsible financial services and education to members of the Armed Forces that enhance their quality of life and financial independence. For more than 20 years, Pioneer Services has been a leader in military lending. They offer the protection and security of a personal loan with the speed and flexibility service members need. Through a network of offices and on the Internet, Pioneer Services offers loans, financial education programs, and supports military families and communities through a variety of partnerships, programs, and sponsorships.

For more information, visit PioneerServices.com. For loan information, visit PioneerMilitaryLoans.com.

 

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As both consumer spending and saving slump, debt management company Gregory Pennington have said that the full extent of financial trouble in the UK is beginning to show

Debt management company Gregory Pennington have commented that the recent cuts in consumer spending and saving is a clear sign of the way the credit crunch and rapid inflation is forcing consumers to change their spending habits, and have advised consumers to do what they can to stay out of debt in the coming months.

As reported in The Guardian, spending and saving in the UK have taken a big hit in recent months. Following years of “debt-fuelled spending”, consumers are now being forced to reassess the ways they spend their disposable income. Just a few of the measurable effects include:

· New car sales at their lowest levels since 1966
· The number of people putting money into a personal pension fell by 1 million to 7 million over the last year
· Household savings are at their lowest since the 1950s, at an average of 1.1% of income in August 2008.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington said: “These figures paint a worrying picture for the economy, confirming many people’s fears about the extent of the problems we are currently facing.

“In a more stable economy, we would expect to see one of two things: spending going up and saving going down, or saving going up with spending going down. The two normally run opposite to each other. But due to the rapid rise in costs of living, we are actually seeing both go down, because people are increasingly being left with no money to do either.

“This is a dangerous situation – usually, we would advise consumers to make sure they are saving plenty to use as a ‘financial buffer’, should things get particularly tight. But the simple fact of the matter is that many people don’t have the money to do so.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson warned that the problems in the economy mean many people could be in danger of falling into debt in the near future: “Many people are finding that the financial commitments they made a year ago or more are becoming less and less affordable, particularly in the housing market,” he said. “Rising food, energy and transport costs have hit most of us hard, and while they continue to rise, more people are at risk of their outgoings exceeding their income. Once people fall into debt in this way, it often isn’t long before interest builds up and the debt can become unmanageable.

“We advise anyone who finds themselves falling into debt, or anyone who thinks they are about to, to contact an expert debt adviser as soon as possible. There are a range of debt solutions available to suit various situations, including debt management plans, debt consolidation loans and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements).”

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Gregory Pennington Have Advised Consumers To Take Active Care Of Their Finances And Warned That Prices May Continue To Rise Even If Overall Inflation Slows

Responding to a recent report suggesting food prices have risen by over 10% in the past year, debt management company Gregory Pennington (www.gregorypennington.com) have advised consumers to take active care of their finances, and to seek debt help if outgoings become unmanageable.

The report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that the sharp rises in wholesale costs in the past year have been passed on to consumers, with fresh produce price rises surging as high as 11.9% between August 2007 and 2008.

Many analysts have suggested that this was the reason behind the Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates at 5 per cent for the fifth consecutive month – where previously a drop was expected to help stabilise the economy – in a bid to avoid a recession.

A Gregory Pennington spokesperson commented that this decision spells further uncertainty for the economy. “The Bank of England are in a tricky situation: raising interest rates would help to bring down inflation, but it could be extremely damaging to the housing market. Likewise, lowering interest rates would help the housing market, but could mean inflation rises further.

“The Bank of England have been hoping that inflation will come down naturally – possibly due to a fall in oil prices – in which case they could safely lower interest rates. But as things stand, any change in interest rates could damage the economy in one way or another, so the safe option is to leave rates as they are.”

The spokesperson went on to explain that problems with rising inflation, particularly food prices, look set to continue – even once the Bank of England change their base rate. “Since interest rates are expected to fall, inflation may well continue for some time, since there will be less incentive to save,” she said. “The thinking behind it is that lower interest rates will kick-start the housing and credit markets, which some economists believe is the underlying cause of instability in the economy. Once that is rectified, inflation may begin to slow.

“But food prices are heavily affected by external factors, such as prices in the country of origin – so even if overall inflation begins to slow, we may see food prices continue to rise for some time yet.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson advised consumers to continue taking preventative measures to minimise the impact of rising food prices. “Compromise is key. People should consider what their essential costs are, and budget accordingly. Then consider saving as much as possible of what is left over.

“There is an ongoing danger that as prices get higher, more and more people will see their disposable income diminished, and in some cases, outgoings may begin to exceed their income. If it gets to that point, it’s time to seek debt help from a professional debt adviser.

“There are a number of debt solutions available that could help to reduce monthly payments for people in need of help with debt. A debt management plan or debt consolidation loan, for example, can allow monthly payments to be rescheduled over a longer period of time than the original debts, making each payment smaller,” he said. “But be aware that this could result in paying more interest in the long run.”

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Co-Operative Bank Has Shown That Despite Fears Over Rising Inflation Most People Will Not Be Curbing On Their Holiday Spending This Year

At the start of summer holidays, as many people begin their travels abroad to sunnier climes, new research* by The Co-operative Bank Credit Cards has shown that despite fears over rising inflation most people (53%) will not be curbing on their holiday spending 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%), next 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 highlights that this year over than three quarters of people (77%) are planning to pay for at least part of their holiday 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 people with access to a large amount of benefits when travelling 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.”

More 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.

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Revolution Credit Solutions Inc. Offers Free Service To Victims Of Scam Credit Repair Companies

Revolution Credit Solutions Inc. Has offered its service Pro Bono to victims of Scam Credit Repair Companies. All the consumer must do to receive this Pro Bono service is provide revolution credit Solutions with proof that they filed a complaint with the FTC. Credit Repair companies are regulated by the CROA which is enforced by the FTC. Revolution hopes that by offering this Pro Bono service to consumers that have been taken advantage of more people will come forward that have been scammed. For more information go to the company website at http://www.revolutioncreditsolutions.comcontact us section and in the comments box put the word victim in and someone will get right back to you. Or you may call the Company at 1-888-852-0005

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The Latest Joslin Rowe Research Shows Investment Management Firms Resist Credit Crunch And Continue To Recruit

According to new research from Joslin Rowe, a City recruitment consultancy, whilst the investment banking sector has been hit hard by the credit crunch, investment management firms have suffered less from market volatility.

The figures from the latest Joslin Rowe research shows that despite the difficult financial climate, there are still a number of pockets of hiring, particularly within performance analysis jobs.

“There’s been a real surge in performance measurement jobs and there just aren’t enough job seekers in the market to satisfy demand”, commented Ms Jalpa Chandarana, manager of the Joslin Rowe investment management job recruitment division, “For every 10 performance analysis jobs on the market, there are just 2 candidates.”

According to the research, the demand for performance analysts is having a positive impact on the length of the recruitment process, salaries on offer and progression opportunities. The premium for a performance analyst to move jobs is, on average, at least £5,000 more which is exceptionally competitive.

Ms Chandarana explained, “This is a big rise. Most employers in other sectors just can’t offer this and even within the investment management world, which is doing comparatively well, there still needs to be some caution – so salaries are remaining steady. So it’s clear just how in demand candidates are for performance analysis jobs, if this is the increase on offer.”

Hiring time is also much faster across performance analysis jobs than within other finance jobs and investment management roles at around 2-3 weeks rather than 4-5 weeks. Investment managers are also keen to tempt new jobs seekers to their firms with better than usual career progression prospects – particularly moves from performance analysis into more front office positions.

“Moving from a performance analysis job to the front office is usually very tricky. Investment managers realise this so are trying to build clearer progression plans between the two areas to tempt people on board”, Chandarana confirmed.

Another area feeling the benefits of increased demand across the investment management industry are business analysis contractor roles. The position of investment management firms in the overall financial services space means it’s an attractive proposition for contractors.

James Guttridge, the head of Joslin Rowe’s interim recruitment offering, explained,“The asset management and global custody clients are a lot busier than banks. Any interim jobs coming in from the banking community are generally project related, whereby the client is conducting preparatory analysis of existing processes or systems to determine whether a project should go ahead – or they have already committed to implementing a new system, and the position is focused on the planning, delivery and post-implementation phases of that new system.”

According to Joslin Rowe, the difference on the investment management side, is that whilst many contractor jobs are again project implementation related, business analyst contractor jobs have also come in that focus more on market research and product development.

“Where organisations are looking to use this time to stabilise and maintain their assets under management, they also see this as a good time to find seek out market opportunities for the future,” explained Guttridge, “Put simply, business analyst contractors and project managers are really in demand.”

About Joslin Rowe
Established in 1982, Joslin Rowe is one of the leading UK banking jobs and financial services recruitment firms and a Randstad company. In 2008, the company won the UK Recruiter award for “Best Secretarial Recruitment Agency”

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Finding Cheap Auto And Home Insurance Should Not Be Difficult At Cheap-Insurance-Rates.Com

Finding Cheap auto insurance should not be difficult. But talk to anyone and they will usually tell you what a pain shopping for insurance is. It’s such a pain that most people will stick with whatever company they’re with, even if they know they’re not getting the best rates, just because finding a new carrier, and getting quotes, is so time consuming and inconvenient. Cheap-Insurance-Rates.com is determined to change that. We think shopping for insurance should be fast, easy and convenient. We think you should be able to enter your information once, and get multiple quotes from multiple carriers. We think insurance companies should be coming to you and competing for your business and that you should be able to view and compare rates from different companies with no obligation and no credit check.

We’re not just about auto insurance either. We think you should have the same options when it comes to Home owners insurance as well. We don’t think you should have to fill out multiple pages of forms, each and every time you want a quote from a new company. Instead, we think you should have one simple, single page form to fill out, quickly and efficiently, right online, to get quotes and offers from a variety of reputable companies.

We’re so committed to these beliefs that we designed our site with the consumer in mind, making it fast and easy for you to get the quotes you want, from multiple prescreened insurance professionals. You enter your information, and we keep it safe and secure, sharing it only with our list of reputable agents who are able to meet your needs and offer you the best deals out there. Shopping for insurance has never been easier, instead of taking all your time making dozens of calls and filling out countless forms, you’ll have companies making you offers, and competing for your business.

Cheap-Insurance-Rates.com can help you meet all of your insurance needs by getting your quotes from insurance brokers for auto insurance, home owners insurance, life insurance, and even help you shop around for competitive rates for individual and family health insurance plans and pet insurance. You provide the information and we match you with prescreened professionals. Cheap Insurance doesn’t mean poor service or lack of options. It means you get the best deals possible, and we do the hard work for you. To find out more about our services, visit us on the web at http://cheap-insurance-rates.comor email sariji@gmail.com.

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Debt Advisers Direct Reminds Consumers That There Is Still Plenty They Can Do To Help Protect Themselves Against Rising Household Costs

As the Government prepare to announce a new scheme that is set to help the millions of households that have fallen into fuel poverty, Debt Advisers Direct (www.debtadvisersdirect.co.uk) have welcomed the scheme, but have reminded consumers that there is still plenty they can do to help protect themselves against rising costs.

Fuel poverty is usually defined as when households are spending more than 10% of their total monthly income on keeping their homes adequately heated. In early 2008 it was estimated that around 4.4 million households in the UK were living in fuel poverty.

And with energy costs jumping up by as much as 30% with some providers, and with others set to follow, the threat of fuel poverty is increasing.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct said: “The rate at which energy prices are rising means that even families who would have previously considered themselves financially comfortable are beginning to feel the strain. Making compromises on other costs has become commonplace.

“Switching providers can help to bring costs down to an extent, but it might not be long before all providers raise their prices, which could mean sacrifices in other areas are needed.

“Ideally, consumers should be trying to put at least a small amount of money aside in a savings account every month. If prices shoot up unexpectedly, savings could be a very helpful financial safety net that could prevent people falling into debt.”

The spokesperson said that the worst hit are lower-income families, who might not have the extra funds available for rising fuel costs. “For those on lower incomes, fuel poverty is a particularly serious matter. There is a choice: turn the heating off, or keep yourself warm and suffer the consequences. We have seen large numbers of people being pushed into debt because of energy costs.”

The spokesperson followed that if consumers do find themselves struggling to balance debts with increasing costs of living, it’s essential that they seek debt advice before the problem grows out of control. “There are a number of debt solutions that are designed to reduce monthly outgoings and simplify finances, which could be a great help in these difficult times.

“It could be a debt management plan, in which a debt adviser works with the owner of the debts and their creditors to work out a new repayment plan, usually resulting in lower monthly payments over a longer period of time.

“For some people, a debt consolidation loan is more effective – a new loan is taken out to pay off the existing debts, after which it is repaid in single monthly payments. Debt consolidation loans can also be set out over a longer period of time, so monthly payments will be lower, although the borrower will usually end up paying more in interest in the long run.”

For more serious debts of £15,000 or over, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) may be more suitable. If you are in debt but are unsure about how to tackle it, contact a debt adviser for further information.

Debt Advisers Direct are a debt management company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. They offer a range of debt advice and solutions, including debt consolidation, debt management plans and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements).

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