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Financial exclusion in the UK. What can be done to help? - 27th January 2017

This week I went to the formal launch of the CSFI report on "Reaching the poor:  the intractable nature of financial exclusion in the UK".  This highlights shocking figures on financial exclusion:

The rise of global asset allocation - 20th January 2017

Since the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States, investors have woken up to the fact that it makes sense to reduce risk by investing in a range of overseas markets in a number of different currencies. This is particularly true in the UK, where the FTSE100 index has done reasonably well post Brexit as most of the top 100 earn revenues in foreign currencies, whilst the more domestically oriented FT All Share index has done much worse.

The Help-to-Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme comes to the end of its successful life - 2nd January 2017

Personal finance initiatives that are both successful and which exceed expectations are a rare breed but we can certainly classify the government’s Help-to-Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme, which ends on 7th January, as being one of these.

The FTSE-100 finishes 2016 at an all-time high and 14.4% up on the year - great news, provided your ‘home’ currency is sterling - 30th December 2016

In a year of political turbulence, dominated by the unexpected Brexit vote in the UK in June and Donald Trump’s surprise triumph in the US presidential election in November, the FTSE-100 has had a stellar year. The benchmark index finished 2016 at an all-time closing high of 7142.8, up 14.4% from the end of 2015. The degree to which this is good news for investors hinges, though, on what their ‘home’ currency is.

Home ownership in the UK is both falling and overstated - 27th December 2016

Figures in recent years have shown the proportion of households living in owner-occupied properties has fallen from a peak of 71% in 2003 to 64% currently. According to the Resolution Foundation, a ‘think-tank’ focussing on the issues faced by the economically deprived, this data markedly overstates the number of people in the UK who are actually owner-occupiers.

Payment scams – have the banks been let off the hook? - 16th December 2016

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has called for banks to do more to prevent scams where people are tricked into transferring money to fraudsters. But it has fallen short of requiring banks to compensate the victims. In making its recommendations the PSR was responding to a ‘super-complaint’ made by the consumer organisation Which?

Focus group work on financial education for young adults yields surprising findings - 8th December 2016

The True Potential PUFin Centre has just started a major project, supported by the Chartered Accountants Livery Company, to bring bespoke personal finance education to 16 to 18 year olds. To help inform the project I have been gathering findings from focus groups - principally Year 13 school students, who talked about their financial concerns, and those in their early-20s, who related their financial experiences in their late teens and early 20s. Some of the results surprised me.

The Bank of England warns about the growth in unsecured household debt - 2nd December 2016

When launching the Bank of England’s latest Stability Report on 30th November the Governor, Mark Carney, took the opportunity to voice concerns about the rate of growth of unsecured household debt. The warning comes within days of the publication of data showing borrowing on credit cards at an all-time high, having risen by £571m over the past month.

The pace of growth of unsecured household debt is now running at its fastest pace for 11 years. After the 2007/08 financial crisis this form of debt actually shrank. But now it is growing at an annual rate of 7.2%.

Investing in LISAs may seem like a ‘no-brainer’ - but be alive to the rules - 21st November 2016

From next April those aged between 18 and 40 years will be eligible to open up Lifetime Individual Savings Accounts – or LISAs – to save towards the purchase of a first property or to provide funds in later life, from the age of 60. Each year up until the age of 50, up to £4000 can be invested in a Cash or Stocks & Shares LISA with the government providing a 25% bonus on the amount placed into the account.

At what cost Christmas: Is Social Marketing the answer? - 16th November 2016

With the Christmas festivities fast approaching, as you head to the attic to unpack the tinsel and festive lights, give a little thought to the cost of Christmas.

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