Tag Archives: Financial Statements

NS&I Reveal Findings Of Families, Finance And The Future Report

NS&I’s ‘Families, Finance and the Future’ report has shown that before having children, Britons believe you should have an income of at least £25,000 per annum to ensure financial security, while 20% of those surveyed said that they would seriously consider not having children because the cost of having them nowadays is so high.

The NS&I report, Families, Finance and the Future, was written by the Future Foundation and commissioned by NS&I. The report was produced by a combination of desk research and original survey work. Figures taken from a nationally representative sample of 1,049 adults aged 16+. Other sources the report used include the British Household Panel Survey, the ONS, Eurobarometer, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and previous surveys conducted by the Future Foundation.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said people should be financially secure before starting a family, while 78% agreed that the standard of living was an influencing factor when deciding on how many children to have. Just 26% of Britons believe that money shouldn’t be a consideration when deciding to start a family.

Tim Mack, NS&I Savings Spokesman, said: “Starting a family is always going to be much more than a purely economic decision, though for some the financial requirement is clearly an income of £25,000 per year. Britons are also considering their financial future when deciding on the number of children they will have.”

More than one in ten respondents (12%) thought that those thinking of starting a family should be earning between £40,000 and £70,000 before having children, while a similar number (13%) believed that they didn’t need anything as they would always be able to get by. Men were more likely to suggest a bigger financial cushion than women – £27,000 per year, compared to just £23,000 for women – while people without children gave much higher estimates, saying people should be earning at least£30,000.

As well as looking at the situation for individuals, the report also argues that finances and families are linked on a larger, macroeconomic, level.

Barry Clark, Account Director at the Future Foundation, said: “Baby booms tend to follow economic booms and the reverse is true too. Our data suggests that over the past 60 years, GDP growth and the change in birth rates in the UK have been closely linked, so we expect that the coming years will show more than ever that finances and families are related on both a personal and national economic scale.”

The primary consideration influences on the number of children people decide to have appeared to be common:

78% – standard of living they can give their children
73% – meeting the cost of raising their children
51% – size of the house they can afford to raise their family in
39% – education they can make sure their children receive

It is evident that perceived affluence has an effect on the birth rate. In fact, Future Foundation research and the British Household Panel Survey both have shown that in European countries where more people have an income that is either in line with or above their financial expectations, families bear more children.

Barry Clark added: “The highest earners would seem less likely to have larger families owing to the demands of, and devotion to, their careers, or a sharper awareness of just how much children cost to raise.”

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NS&I Has Announced Changes To The Way Customers Can Invest In Its Fixed Rate Bonds

From the end of October, the products will only be available directly from NS&I (by freephone, online or by post) and no longer available through the Post Office.

NS&I and the Post Office have jointly agreed to this change, which is in part a reflection of the development of the Post Office’s own brand of savings products. These include Post Office Growth Bonds – a very similar range of fixed rate savings bonds to the two NS&I products. The decision also reflects NS&I’s desire to develop its direct sales channels.

The Post Office will continue to offer a wide range of other NS&I savings products – including Premium Bonds and Savings Certificates – which can be purchased over the counter.

Existing NS&I Guaranteed Growth Bond and Guaranteed Income Bond customers will not notice any change as all post-sale servicing and support is already carried out directly through NS&I.

Peter Cornish, Director of Customer Offer, NS&I, said: “We are committed to making our products as straightforward as possible and ensuring that customers understand where they are investing their money. The changes we have jointly agreed with the Post Office will do just that. Our Guaranteed Income Bonds and Guaranteed Growth Bonds will continue to offer customers a simple and straightforward saving opportunity.”

“The Post Office is our key distribution partner and we recognise it is a familiar option for many savers looking to invest with NS&I. Therefore, a wide range of our savings products will continue to be available over the counter in Post Office branches.”

Gary Hockey-Morley, Post Office Limited marketing director, said: “NS&I savings products will continue to be a key part of the ever expanding range of value for money financial services available at Post Office branches. We look forward to continuing our long standing partnership with NS&I well into the future, through providing easy access to a wide range of their savings products through our 12,000 branches which lie at the heart of communities across the UK.”

Customers can invest between £500 and £1 million in total in an NS&I fixed term bond, with guaranteed rates of interest. NS&I’s Guaranteed Income Bond offers customers the opportunity to receive their interest as a monthly income, whilst the interest earned on NS&I’s Guaranteed Growth Bonds is credited to the Bond annually.

NS&I’s fixed rate bonds are available in terms of one, two, three and five years. The two-year term was launched in July 2009 and is only available directly from NS&I.

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NS&I Unveils The First Live Vegetable Plot At BBC Good Food Shows

NS&I (National Savings and Investments), one of the UK’s largest savings organisations, is delighted to be working with Matthew Biggs to encourage ‘growing your own’ at this year’s BBC Good Food Show events.

Visitors to this year’s events in Glasgow (SECC, 30 October – 1 November), London (Olympia, 13 – 15 November) and Birmingham (NEC, 25 – 29 November) are encouraged to stop by the ‘Grow Your Own Food with NS&I’ vegetable plot. The plot will be tended to by Gardeners’ Question Time expert Matthew Biggs, who will be on hand to offer visitors helpful hints and tips on growing fruit and vegetables.

Matthew Biggs commented: “I am delighted to be working on the ‘Grow Your Own Food with NS&I’ feature. I’m looking forward to speaking to visitors at this year’s events, offering advice on how they can make the most of growing their own fruit and veg.”

He added: “Growing your own is the perfect way to cut down your shopping bill, as a bumper crop of ingredients such as tomatoes or rocket, can be grown easily for the small cost of a packet of seeds. It’s also fun for the family and a great way to enjoy fresh food with the finest flavour long after you’ve planted the first seed.”

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest savings accounts providers with almost 27 million customers and over £96 billion invested. It is best known for premium bonds, but also offers a Direct ISA, guaranteed growth bondsguaranteed equity bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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National Savings And Investments Is Increasing The ISA Allowance On Both Its Direct ISA And Cash ISA For Its Over 50s Customers

The revised allowance will come into effect from 6 October 2009. This change will enable existing Direct ISA and Cash ISA customers who will be 50 years or over on the 5 April 2010 to deposit up to £5100 into their ISA in the current tax year. From 6 April 2010 more than 400,000 of NS&I’s Direct ISA and more than 231,000 Cash ISA savers will be eligible for the higher allowance.

These changes reflect the Chancellor’s announcement in his 2009 Budget which stated that cash ISA customers aged 50 years or over should have an increase to their tax-free ISA allowance, increasing the maximum investment from £3600 to £5100 from 6 October.

The interest rate paid on NS&I’s Direct ISA is currently 2.50%, and 0.5% per annum on its Cash ISA.  John Prout, Director of Customer Sales and Retention at NS&I, said: “We have contacted the 365,000 of our ISA customers who will be 50 years or over on the 5 April 2010 to let them know that they can make use of their higher allowance from 6 October. They can do this by calling NS&I on our new freephone number, 0500 007 007.

At NS&I we pride ourselves on being straightforward in both our communications and our savings bond range. We urge all of our eligible ISA customers to take full advantage of the increased allowance available to them.”

NS&I has changed its general enquiries number. Customers will now need to call the freephone number 0500 007 007 to contact NS&I directly. The former chargeable enquiries number, 0845 964 5000, will continue to operate but customers may incur a charge from their provider. NS&I’s sales line will continue to operate through 0500 500 000.

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NS&I Finds The Luckiest Premium Bonds Regions

NS&I has released a list of the luckiest regions for winning Premium Bonds prizes showing that those firstly in the South West, and then in the East Midlands, win more Premium Bonds prizes of £1000 or more, than the rest of the UK. Ranking as third luckiest was Wales, while the North East of England emerged as the least lucky of all the regions.

Sally Swait, Premium Bonds manager at NS&I, commented: “Each month ERNIE randomly generates the winning Premium Bonds numbers from his home in Blackpool, where all eligible Bonds – regardless of their age – have an equal chance of winning.

“The last year has seen the South West region receive the greatest luck in having their numbers come up, though all other regions were not without their own significant wins. As the numbers are generated randomly each month, we may very well see a change in the rankings of the luckiest regions in the UK next year.”

NS&I also discovered that there are currently more than 599,000 unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes across the UK, worth over £35 million.

The good news is that there is no time limit for claiming prizes. Premium Bonds results can be found by using the Premium Bonds draw prize checker or writing in to NS&I.

Premium Bonds are an investment where, instead of interest payments, investors have the chance to win tax-free prizes. They were officially launched by Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his 1956 budget.

At the end of June 2009, more than 23 million people had a total of over £40 billion invested in Premium Bonds. There are currently more than one million tax-free prizes from £25 to £1 million being won each month.

Calculations for the luckiest regions data is based on the total value of prizes (£1000 and more) won by counties with at least 100,000 Premium Bond holdings. Information is for the period July 2008 – June 2009.

The current Premium Bonds prize fund rate is 1.0% tax-free. The current odds of each £1 Bond number winning any prize are 36,000 to 1, so with average luck, an investor with £30,000 in Premium Bonds could win 10 tax-free prizes a year.

All Premium Bonds prizes are free of UK Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax!

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Saxo Bank, The Online Specialist In Trading And Investment, Maintains Profitability In First Half Of 2009

Saxo Bank, the online specialist in trading and investment, has reported its half year results showing that clients’ collateral deposits and assets under management in total exceeded DKK 25 billion and, in a very difficult year, profit before tax reached DKK 55 million.

Saxo Bank, The Online Specialist In Trading And Investment, Maintains Profitability In First Half Of 2009

Operating costs increased primarily due to new office openings, product launches, as well as contributions to the Danish State Guarantee Scheme and with unchanged income, profit before tax declined from the same period in 2008.

– Pre-tax profits of DKK 55 million (DKK 162 million).
– Operating income of DKK 969 million (DKK 969 million).
– EBITDA of DKK 128 million (DKK 221 million).
– Clients’ collateral deposits increased to more than DKK 11 billion (DKK 8 billion).
– Assets under management in the Asset Management department exceeded DKK 14 billion (DKK 0).
– The solvency ratio for Saxo Bank Group was 18.9% (10.1%).

In a joint statement, Saxo Bank co-CEOs and co-founders, Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen, commented: “We did expect 2009 to be a difficult year. However, the results reassure us that we took the right decision when we chose to steer the Bank into a new phase based on a more flexible structure before the financial crisis took hold. We also find it encouraging that the Bank managed to strengthen and optimise its entire value chain, product offering and geographical footprint during what were six very challenging months for the financial markets as a whole. And, equally importantly is of course, that our new Asset Management department got off to a good start with DKK 14 billion in assets under management, a number that since has grown to DKK 16 billion”.

During the first half of 2009, Saxo Bank introduced a number of enhancements to its award-winning online trading platform, the most significant of which were related to Commodity CFD’s and FX options. In addition to a broader product offering, the Bank widened its geographical footprint and established its presence in Milan, Madrid and Prague, and acquired two Dutch broker houses and a Tokyo-based provider of FX services. In May, Saxo Bank became the first Danish bank to receive regulatory approval to operate a regional office in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

About Saxo Bank
Saxo Bank is an online trading and investment specialist, enabling Forex Trading for clients, CFDs, Stocks, Futures, Options and other derivatives, as well as providing portfolio management via SaxoWebTrader and SaxoTrader, the leading online trading platforms.

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St Peter Port Capital Limited, An AIM Listed Investment Company Announces Its Preliminary Results For Its Second Year Of Investment

St Peter Port Capital Limited (the “Company” or “St Peter Port”), the AIM listed investment company whose aim is to generate value by investing predominantly in growth companies shortly before an initial public offering (“IPO”) or other exit event, announces its preliminary results for its second year of investment..

St Peter Port Capital Limited

Highlights

• 36 investee companies at year end

• realised to date, £22.5m in cash f r o m investee companies, generating a gain on investment of 39%

• following the year end, a further £5.67m invested in five companies, two of which are new to the portfolio

• NAV of 105.6p per share, up 3.1% over the year

• profit of £877,000 (2008: £3.69m), eps of 1.2p (2008: 4.9p)

Bob Morton, Chairman of St Peter Port, said:
“I am pleased to report that the Company has weathered the storm and maintained the net a s s e t value of the portfolio. We believe that many of the companies within the portfolio have considerable upside potential in a portfolio of high risk/high reward companies.”

Tim Childs, Chief Executive of St Peter Port Investment Management Limited, said:
“As at the 14 July 2009, we had £16.6m to invest in new opportunities and follow-on investments. Competition is limited and we are therefore being offered these on attractive terms.”

St Peter Port Capital Limited floated on AIM on 16 April 2007, raising £75m in new equity. The Company is a Guernsey registered closed-ended investment company. The Company’s objective is to achieve returns f r o m the uplift on or shortly after IPO, but the exit f r o m the investment could also be a trade sale. The universe for investment is principally companies across a broad range of sectors and geography expecting to conduct an IPO or achieve a trade sale or other liquidity event in the months after the Company’s investment. However, in current conditions, it may also include companies which are already public whose value is not properly recognised by stock markets. The initial focus is on companies targeting UK, US and Commonwealth stock markets although pre-IPO companies looking to float on other exchanges will also be considered. The Company appointed St Peter Port Investment Management Limited, a joint venture between Broughton Investments Group Limited (“Broughton”), a company in which Tim Childs is interested, and Shore Capital Limited (“Shore Capital”), the absolute return fund management specialist which currently manages approximately £1.4 billion, to act as its investment manager (“the Investment Manager”).

Learn more about Shore Capital :
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Puma Hotels:Shore Capital

Chairman’s Statement

Introduction

Although our second year of investment was a year of unprecedented difficulty for financial markets around the world, I am pleased to report that the Company has weathered this storm well. It has maintained the net a s s e t value of its portfolio which includes a number of companies with considerable upside potential.

Investment Environment and Portfolio Composition

St Peter Port was relatively fully invested at the start of 2008/9, having invested most of the funds raised at flotation in the previous year. A number of companies in which we had invested were coming to market shortly or otherwise close to a liquidity event such as a trade sale. The portfolio accumulated in the first year was weighted its towards three sectors: oil and gas exploration and production; mining and resources and renewable energy/clean technology, reflecting suitable opportunities which had been identified for St Peter Port’s strategy. At the start of 2008/9 St Peter Port held stakes in 41 companies.

During the earlier part of 2008/9, commodity prices remained high, giving rise to a number of flotations and other exit opportunities. Wherever possible, as described in the report below, the Investment Manager took full advantage of these to release cash. Over the same period the Company redeemed nearly all its hedge fund holdings other than one much reduced holding in a third party fund of funds which has staged redemption arrangements. However, after the banking crisis became extreme in September 2008 the opportunities for achieving exits vanished and only began tentatively to return since the year end.

Given the extent of the turmoil in financial markets, and its impact on the global economy, the Company refrained f r o m making any further investments in the second half of 2008/9. This reflected the conditions for a number of months in which markets – were unable to find any sort of equilibrium.

Investments and Realisations during the Year

During the first half of 2008/9, the Company invested a further £14.9m in nine companies, two of the investments being follow-ons. The focus of these investments shifted f r o m a possible exit through flotation to investments where there was a credible expectation of a liquidity event in any form within a relatively short period, such as a trade sale or repayment of a loan.

To date the Company has realised over £22.5 million through disposals (over £22 million in 2008/9), generating a gain on investment of 39 per cent. This was largely derived f r o m six investments which were wholly or substantially realised during the year and one other which was partially realised.

Share Buy-Back

Shortly before the year end the Company bought back 1.95m of its own shares at 30p per share. These shares are currently being held in treasury. As discussed below, the effect of this buy-back was to enhance net a s s e t value per share.

Basis of Valuation for Financial Results

Determining the Company’s financial results for the year is an exercise largely dependent on an assessment of the fair value of each investment held. Where investments are now quoted, there is an external basis for determining fair value and we have valued holdings at the bid price of the shares. Where this is not available IFRS rules require us to select a fair value.

Values of our oil and gas and resource stocks are influenced by a number of factors, including company progress, exchange rates and commodity prices. Where we have invested in a mining or petroleum project, when the company receives positive results f r o m drilling geological investigation this should lead to a rise in value. We report in sterling but many of our investments were made in foreign currency. Even where this was not the case, the value of the investment is frequently determined by reference to dollar values rather than sterling. We have also taken account of any pre-defined uplift on a liquidity event; in some cases we have written investments down heavily and in others written them up.

Financial Results

The Company made a profit in the year of £877,000 (2007/8: £3.69m), generating earnings per share of 1.2p (2007/8: 4.9p). Income arose largely f r o m the net gains in fair value of investments of £2.51m (2007/8: £4.57m).

Net a s s e t s at year end were largely unchanged f r o m the previous year at £77.13m (31 March 2008: £76.84m). However, net a s s e t value per share increased by 3.1 per cent to 105.58p (31 March 2008: 102.45p), largely as a result of the share buy-back.

Balance Sheet

As at 31 March 2009, the Company held £54.3m in investments in companies, being equity investments and loan instruments (31 March 2008: £55.9m). Nearly all of the remaining balance sheet was in cash, £22.6m (31 March 2008: £12.5m – including commercial paper), the principal difference being that £8.7m was held in hedge funds at 31 March 2008, which was reduced to £130,000 at the year end.

Activity since the Year End

Since the year end conditions have become more stable and the Company has resumed making new investments, described below in the Investment Manager’s report. Three of these investments are follow-ons into companies in which we were already shareholders and the other two are new investments. The pricing of each of these reflects the depressed market conditions which currently prevail and offer the prospects of significant uplifts on exit.

As a result of these investments since the year end, the Company, as at the 14 July 2009, held £16.6m in cash and available for investment. We therefore have the cash to cherry pick f r o m the best of our existing portfolio and new opportunities at a time when many potential participants are illiquid.

The investment climate has become less volatile and commodity prices have recovered substantially since their lows around the turn of 2008. Competition in our area f r o m other funders is limited. We believe that many of the companies within the portfolio have considerable upside potential in a portfolio of high risk/high reward companies. The Board views the future with confidence.

Bob Morton
Chairman

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National Savings And Investments, The Government-Backed Savings And Investments Provider, Today Announced Its Annual Results For The Year To 31 March 2009 And For The First Quarter Of 2009-10

Highlights for the financial year for year ending 31 March 2009 included net financing of £12.5 billion – against a revised November 2008 forecast of £11 billion (within a range of £2 billion either side) – due to unsolicited savings deposits following the ‘flight to safety’ which began in mid-September last year and making sales of £8.5 billion through premium bonds – an increase of almost £2 billion from the previous year.

The ‘flight to safety’ is now over and NS&I is operating in a more challenging savings environment; however, the focus remains on balancing the interests of savers, the taxpayer and supporting stability in the wider financial services marketplace by maintaining an appropriate competitive position

Jane Platt, NS&I’s chief executive, said: “The global financial crisis, which began last September, meant that demand for our products increased dramatically despite us cancelling all discretionary marketing and led to us delivering £12.5 billion of net financing last year. I’m proud of the way the teams at our operations centres responded to this challenge and helped to ensure we remained open for business and maintained our high customer service standards, in spite of the unsolicited inflows of money.

“As the Bank of England base rate continued to fall rapidly and financial markets remained unusually volatile, we agreed with HM Treasury that NS&I’s Value Add target for 2008-09 would be temporarily suspended and no target set for the coming year. Our decision-making is now driven by the need to maintain a balance between offering a fair rate to our customers, delivering cost-effective finance to Government, and the need to support stability across the wider financial services marketplace by maintaining an appropriate competitive position.”

NS&I’s Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09 were presented to the House of Commons on 15 July 2009, pursuant to section 7 of the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000.

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for premium bonds, but also offers inflation-beating savings accountsguaranteed equity bonds and guaranteed growth bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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