All animals are created equal, but some are more 'equal' than others

The title of todays post is of course from George Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ and in it the Pigs used this rationale to place themselves above the rest of society, the Pigs wanted one set of rules for themselves and another set for everybody else. And in the end the Pigs reigned supreme, the behavior of the Pigs was amiable in the early days, but it wasn’t long before there true colours came out.

Finance of course is a separate matter but I think that George Orwell struck on a common chord in his view of Socialism because when we see any sector of business society start to treat others less ‘equally’ it is reminiscent of how the Pigs fared, and the fact that although in the short term the Pigs might have the upper hand, that ultimately they end up on the table as pork chops.

I have the misfortune of seeing imbalance starting to creep into brokerage, in the UK it has started already, Halifax, Nationwide, and Cheltenham & …

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How to fix city traffic for a tenner

There were articles in the papers over the weekends about Dublin City Councils plans for banning private vehicles altogether from O’Connell St., Dame St., College Green, and Westmoreland St. in order to create a ‘Bus Gate’. The cars will then be directed over temporary steel bridges at Macken St. & Hawkins St. or Marlborough St. There will then be 350 extra buses (and one can only assume 350 people to drive them).

Buses and Taxis are proposed to be allowed to use the Port Tunnel at a reduced rate as well. The Sunday Biz Post stated that the strategy is to increase the percentage of people using buses from 20% to 80% and passengers from 148 million to 200 million (yes I tried working the maths on that one and couldn’t figure it out either! I suspect it must be a type-o in the SBP).

Steel bridges, messing with the use of roads that all tax payers pay for and as if we didn’t have enough of a one way disaster already? So my proposed contribution is to fix all …

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A time for brokers to stand up for themselves.

Personal Touch Financial Services in the U.K. is going to put up a ‘Rogues Gallery’ on their website in order to criticise lenders who are directly undercutting the broker market. What is starting to surface in the UK is a price structure that embraces the ‘Direct Model’ rather than the ‘Independent Model’, what this means is that banks would rather have people call directly into their branch or ring them on their 1850-McCallCentre line rather than see a market that is dominated by independent advice. One of the main reasons is that they can juice Joe Public even more.

Recently Ulster Bank withdrew completely so that it can ‘cross-sell customers other high-margin products, like credit cards and overdrafts’ [quote sourced from Independent.ie]. It would be fair comment that if they got the mortgage via a broker they would probably not get the chance cross sell these products, and this is therefore the main reason for any bank to leave the broker market or to try and compete with brokers using such …

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How to beat a recession. Simple ways to avoid the pinch.

I think the point has been reached, certainly from public sentiment, where we are seeing more negative news than positive news, the see-saw has well and truly tilted, good news seems to be brushed over to focus instead on the financial equivalents of four car pile-ups on the M50. The money market stops to stare and the slowdown of the on-lookers causes everything else to back up.

One thing I might ask, is in that case, then why stay on the proverbial M50? In today’s post we’ll look at some simple ways to beat a recession and reduce costs so that you can keep a good standard of living and even profit from a downturn. Some is simple common sense, some might be about things you haven’t considered.

1. Stop driving: Oil prices have risen and they don’t look likely to fall any time soon, I am a cyclist myself, and sometimes people look at me funny when as Operations Manager of a financial house I turn up to meetings in a high-vis jacket, and admittedly sometimes I feel out …

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Why Brokers will prosper and why one reporter is full of 'Dan White'

Recently banks have been increasing the rates they charge clients and stating that they will (for the near future) concentrate on their existing clients in order to generate income for their shareholders. They have also (in tranches) cut brokers commissions, many opting to for a punishing 50% reduction (not so nice when you are on the receiving end may I add!). So now banks will make a higher margin on the money they lend, and juice the deal even more because now they don’t have to pay brokers as much, and brokers place over half of the residential homeloans in Ireland.

Some lenders have gone so far as to leave the mortgage intermediary market. The papers are touting that ‘Brokerage is an endangered species’, that we will face the same fate as travel agents. I would say that this couldn’t be farther from the truth and in today’s post we will look at the proposition of the direct model versus brokerage and why brokers will not only thrive but they will also increase market share whilst doing so.

Brokers for …

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Why Brokers will prosper and why one reporter is full of ‘Dan White’

Recently banks have been increasing the rates they charge clients and stating that they will (for the near future) concentrate on their existing clients in order to generate income for their shareholders. They have also (in tranches) cut brokers commissions, many opting to for a punishing 50% reduction (not so nice when you are on the receiving end may I add!). So now banks will make a higher margin on the money they lend, and juice the deal even more because now they don’t have to pay brokers as much, and brokers place over half of the residential homeloans in Ireland.

Some lenders have gone so far as to leave the mortgage intermediary market. The papers are touting that ‘Brokerage is an endangered species’, that we will face the same fate as travel agents. I would say that this couldn’t be farther from the truth and in today’s post we will look at the proposition of the direct model versus brokerage and why brokers will not only thrive but they will also increase market share whilst doing so.

Brokers for …

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The 'Carry Trade' or 'Stoozing crack-smoker style'

‘Crack-addict stoozing’ or ‘stoozing on steriods’ is one way to describe the Carry Trade. It’s important at this point to realise that the carry trade knows no boundaries, and it seeps through literally millions of investments, from food to mortgages. What is the ‘Carry Trade’? Simply put it’s kind of like institutional stoozing (see previous post on stoozing). When you stooz you get a credit line of 0% or close to it (normally in the form of a credit card) you borrow all you can on it and put the money on deposit, when the 0% credit runs out you repay the loan and keep the deposit interest you earned. The same thing is being done with Japan, only in the billions, even trillions.

Institutions borrow money from the Bank of Japan at extremely low interest rates (at one point it was 0%!), typically below 1% and then they often leverage this money (borrow using it as collateral) up and invest in anything that might grow, in fact this practice had a lot to do with the worldwide credit crisis …

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The ‘Carry Trade’ or ‘Stoozing crack-smoker style’

‘Crack-addict stoozing’ or ‘stoozing on steriods’ is one way to describe the Carry Trade. It’s important at this point to realise that the carry trade knows no boundaries, and it seeps through literally millions of investments, from food to mortgages. What is the ‘Carry Trade’? Simply put it’s kind of like institutional stoozing (see previous post on stoozing). When you stooz you get a credit line of 0% or close to it (normally in the form of a credit card) you borrow all you can on it and put the money on deposit, when the 0% credit runs out you repay the loan and keep the deposit interest you earned. The same thing is being done with Japan, only in the billions, even trillions.

Institutions borrow money from the Bank of Japan at extremely low interest rates (at one point it was 0%!), typically below 1% and then they often leverage this money (borrow using it as collateral) up and invest in anything that might grow, in fact this practice had a lot to do with the worldwide credit crisis …

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Questions to ask a Mortgage Broker

With the Irish Property Market entering a new phase it will be vital, if you are in the market already or planning to enter it, that you have a few key professionals on side. The people you will ideally work with are a Solicitor, a Broker, and an Estate Agent. In order to separate the wheat from the chaff you should be armed with a few questions. I have to warn you, some of the questions I’m posing here may be interpreted as being ‘rude’ but there are good reasons for asking them and you should mention the reasons you ask if any of the professionals you are speaking to seem to get offended. The best defence in the current market is a good team.

I’ll start with questions to ask a Mortgage Broker because this is the one I know the most about! Over half of the mortgages done in the Irish property market are placed by brokers, and while there are those who are extremely savvy in the area of finance and who don’t need a broker, there …

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Lose your collusion… Irish Banks show just how little they care.

As George Bush once said ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…shame…well you’re not gonna fool me twice’. Banks however have done this and so much more in the last few weeks that how it’s not front page news has me flabbergasted! Are the Irish public meant to really believe the picture we are seeing unfold? Apparently so…..

Let’s look at the picture so far and put it in a time-line, then we can look at that time-line and try to discern if it was sheer co-incidence or opportunism that has lead to the moves in the market.

Tuesday 4th December: Ulsterbank cut brokers income by 50%, no explanation, and done by email. It would be laughable if it were not so serious.

Tuesday 11th December: PermanentTSB announce brokers income will be cut, to be fair they gave a lot of warning, because of the size of PTsb this action kicked off an industrial dispute, nobody cared about ulsterbank but PTsb was a market giant.

Then came the waiting game, to see what the result of the industrial …

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