Saturday, 24 December 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011 Posted by Jake 1 comment Labels:
Posted by Jake on Saturday, December 24, 2011 with 1 comment | Labels:

We present the Ripped-Off Britons Quiz.

With forty multiple-choice questions on the rip-offs of the year, we aim to provide half an hour of fun and provoke half a pint of bile. 

Use the quiz at your next party or social gathering, or in a lesson at school. 

In this post the questions are given in a form that is easy for you to print off or display on your computer screen for all to see. We also provide the answers in a separate post - >>>>click here<<<<.

Those that rip us off are confident that we will not hold it against them. Not because we forgive, but because we forget. Their scams make the news for a couple of days, and then fade away. From banks to energy companies to political parties, they all let us down with total predictability and total impunity.

In the words of Adam Smith, the great icon of capitalism,
"The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence."

Our forty questions will help the participants in the quiz remember the frauds and negligences we ripped-off Britons have suffered. With links to our stories, giving the details behind the rip-offs. 

1) The UK Government says it is up to shareholders to control excessive pay in companies. Who was the controlling shareholder in Royal Bank of Scotland who demanded that bonuses must be constrained in the year after the banking crash, but was given the two fingered salute by the RBS board of directors?
a)      Warren Buffet
b)      Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
c)      The UK Government

2) What is the average monthly pension paid by ‘gold plated’ public sector pensions?
a)      More than £2,000 per month
b)      More than £1,000 per month
c)      More than £500 per month
d)      Less than £500 per month

a)      £350
b)      £550
c)      £850

4) In 2007 the Financial Services Sector paid just over £12 billion in corporation tax. How much did savers loose by not moving their money when banks quietly dropped interest rates on current accounts?
a)      £100 million
b)      £1 billion
c)      £12 billion

5) When Eric Daniels, the former CEO of Lloyds Banking Group under whose leadership the share price collapsed by over 85%, left his job in March 2011, how much did the Lloyds executive compensation committee demand from him in compensation for his cock-up?
a)      £1 million, to compensate employees who were laid off to reduce expenses.
b)      £10 million, to give some aid to pensioners who had lost most of their savings invested in the bank’s shares.

6) In 1975 an MP’s salary was £5,750. If it had risen in line with RPI inflation, in 2007 it would have been £34,800.  What was an MP’s actual salary in 2007?
a)      £34,800
b)      £40,350
c)      £50,870
d)      £60,675

7) In 1975 an MP’s expense allowance was £3,200. If this had risen in line with RPI inflation, in 2007 it would have been £19,367. What was an MP’s actual allowance in 2007?
a)      £19,367
b)      £30,420
c)      £55,890
d)      £90,505

8) The Financial Services sector demands weak regulation – i.e. a free hand to do the naughty things they do – because they contribute so much in tax. What percentage of the UK’s total tax revenue is paid in corporation tax by financial services companies?
a)      50%
b)      25%
c)      5%
d)      2%

9) Consumer protection law specifies that Advertisers do not have to make sure they aren’t misleading every single consumer when they make promises in adverts and write contracts. It is not unreasonable if a few people get the wrong end of the stick, as a certain artistic licence and room for metaphor and comic exaggeration make for more amusing adverts. What percentage of the population can advertisers get away with misleading under this law?
a)      5%
b)      10%
c)      25%
d)      50%

a)      16%
b)      26%
c)      36%
d)      46%

11) What percentage of consumers say they actually read the ‘terms and conditions’ when they sign contracts to buy goods and services?
a)      89%
b)      67%
c)      45%
d)      23%

12) In December 2011 the FSA fined HSBC £10.5 million for selling investment products that take 5 year to mature to people who didn’t have 5 years to live. According to the FSA, “unsuitable sales had been made to 87% of customers involving these types of investments”. How big was the fine compared to HSBC’s ill gotten gains?
a)      Ten times as much
b)      Five times as much
c)      Equal to the amount pinched
d)      Less than half the misappropriated money

13) Accountancy companies do a great deal of tax planning for their wealthy clients – i.e. tax avoidance (dodging, in common parlance). In evidence to the US Senate a senior tax professional stated how big the fines were in relation to the fees ‘earned’ from the dodges by the accountants.  Was this
e)      Ten times as much
f)        Five times as much
g)      Equal to the ill-gotten fees
h)      Less than 50% of the fees paid for dodgy services
i)        Less than 15% of the money raked in by the accountants

14) The Office of Fair Trading won a succession of courtroom battles against the banks for their extortionate unauthorised overdraft charges of upto 800,000%. The OFT lost the final battle in the Supreme Court.  Was this because the Supreme Court judges decided
a)      The charges were actually fair

15) Each year banks advertise their latest Cash ISA offers at attractive rates which typically drop to 0.1% at the end of the first year. The Office of Fair Trading “did not think it appropriate to require Cash ISA providers to transfer consumers to identical accounts with higher interest rates automatically." If you invested your full ISA allowance each year from 1999, and were paid the average savings account interest rate throughout that period you would have earned £11,739 interest. What percentage of this interest would you have lost if the bank dropped the rate to 0.1% at the end of the first year for each investment?
a)      14%
b)      34%
c)      64%
d)      84%

16) A prudent young person decides to put £1,000 into a fund and keep it there for 40 years, so they can spend it when they retire. If they got an annual 6% return (the typical assumption made by accountants) after 40 years they would have about £10,300. What would their fund actually be worth if they were paying an annual management charge of 2% over those 40 years?
a)      £9,200
b)      £7,300
c)      £4,600

17) On retirement, you can buy a future proofed ‘index linked’ pension that rises with time or a ‘level’ pension that pays a constant amount for the rest of your life. The ‘index linked’ pension starts at a lower amount, but grows at 3% each year you are alive. How long would it take for the total money paid to you by the ‘indexed’ pension to catch up with the amount paid to you by the ‘level’ pension?
a)      9 years
b)      19 years
c)      29 years

a)      24%
b)      16%
c)      8%

a)      59%
b)      49%
c)      39%
d)      29%

e)      59%
f)        49%
g)      39%
h)      29%
i)        19%

21) MPs tow the party line for many reasons: one is the hope of a top up to their income that comes with one of the political posts in the gift of the PM – in May 2011 there were 119 people in the current parliament holding posts like these.  One of the least of these posts is the “junior whip”. How much does the holder of this junior post get in addition to his normal pay and perks?
a)      £5,000
b)      £10,000
c)      £20,000
d)      £26,624

22) Out of 650 MPs in the UK parliament, how many voted against their party 5 or more times in 100 votes?
a)      325
b)      225
c)      125
d)      32

23) How much would £100 invested in the UK stock market in 1899 be worth 110 years later if you did not reinvest the dividends?
a)      £71
b)      £175
c)      £1,390
d)      £9,129

24) How much would £100 invested in the UK stock market in 1899 be worth 110 years later if you did reinvest the dividends?
a)      £175
b)      £1,390
c)      £1,152,000

a)      The mickey
b)      The dividends
c)      The mickey and the dividends

26) The government is changing the pensions inflation link from being with the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). If RPI and CPI do the same thing in the next 22 years as they did in the last 22 years, what difference will this make to your pension in 2034, 22 years from now?
a)      16% more
b)      6% more
c)      6% less
d)      16% less

27) Banks claim that they “pay for performance” to ensure they keep the best of the best staff who deliver outstanding performance. Lloyds TSB’s 2010 annual report states that bonus share options granted to executives in 2001 would be withdrawn if the total shareholder return was ranked below a certain position in the FTSE100 index.  How low could Lloyds get before this bonus would be lost?
a)      Fifth out of a hundred
b)      tenth out of a hundred
c)      twentieth out of a hundred
d)      fiftieth out of a hundred

28) According to the Economist newspaper, Switzerland is the leading offshore financial centre where foreigners squirrel away their cash on the quiet. Which is the second biggest hidey-hole for foreigners to privately stash their money out of reach of their own country’s taxmen?
a)      Cayman Islands
b)      Luxembourg
c)      Bermuda
d)      Britain

29) There is a great deal of talk about benefits fraud. But many people due benefits fail to claim them. If all benefits claimants took no more and no less than every penny they are entitled to, by how much would the benefits bill change?
a)      Save the taxpayer £1 billion per year
b)      Save the taxpayer £100 million per year
c)      Increase the cost to the taxpayer by £12 billion per year

30) MPs claiming to be overworked and underpaid are in the almost unique position of public servants who are allowed to hold as many other jobs as they like. In November this year Francis Maude suggested that public sector workers should hold a token 15 minute strike instead of the whole day in their protest against pension cuts. How much did Francis Maude get paid for 15 minutes work in one of his ‘other jobs’
a)      £5
b)      £50
c)      £150

31) The Confederation of British Industry is forthright in its defence of big businesses such as banks, in spite of complaints from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that banks are unhelpful and overcharge them. SMEs are allocated 10% of the seats on the CBI’s Chairmen’s Committee which sets CBI policy. What percentage of all private sector employees are employed by small and medium enterprises?
a)      10.8%
b)      24.6%
c)      42.3%
d)      59.8%

32) According to the High Pay Commission, corporate bosses have seen their pay quadruple over the last 10 years, an increase of 300%. In that same period, by what percentage have average earnings increased?
a)      1%
b)      10%
c)      100%

33) Fund managers are paid pots of money. They claim this is because they are so excellent at managing funds. Index tracking funds are effectively the average of the market – what a monkey picking stocks at random is likely to pick. According to Standard & Poor, what percentage of funds actively managed by the clever fund managers beat the index for small cap stocks in a 5 year cycle?
a)      95% beat the monkeys
b)      75% beat the monkeys
c)      45% beat the monkeys
d)      15% beat the monkeys

34) In 2007, just before the banking crisis, UK public sector net debt was just under 40% of GDP. In 2008 the government borrowed money to bail out the banks. What percentage of GDP was the public sector net debt by the end of 2008?
a)      60%
b)      80%
c)      100%
d)      150%

a)      Yes
b)      No

a)     A rabid left wing politician
b)      A bleeding heart liberal
c)      The governor of the Bank of England

37) Who said ''The biggest disappointment of my time at *****  has been the failure of firms, in particular their senior management, to learn the lessons of past mis-selling. Sadly the recent history of the British retail financial services industry is proof of the adage that those who fail to understand the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them.''
d)     A rabid left wing politician
e)      A bleeding heart liberal
f)        The chairman of the FSA

38) Bankers claim to make their profits by being unfeasibly clever. One of their schemes is paying depositors miserable interest rates on their savings and charging borrowers extortionate rates on this same money. In 2006, how much did the banks make from this thuggish tactic?
a)     £41 million
b)     £410 million
c)     £4,100 million

a)     Yes
b)     No

40) There is a continuous bleating from certain quarters that the rich are over-taxed, and that if they were taxed less then even the poorer would be richer. How have taxes on the rich changed in the period since 1979?
a)      Increased by 40%
b)      Stayed about the same
c)      Decreased by 40%

1 comment:

  1. Almost unbelievable, but it's all true! There exists a kind of private taxation system on consumers - that taxation system run by the financial services industry!


Share This

Follow Us

  • Subscribe via Email

Search Us