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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, December 12, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Rise of 'closet borrowers' who hide debts from their partners
An estimated 11 million people are not telling their partners or family the truth about their borrowing. This secrecy poses a risk to both their relationships and finances, warns the Debt Advisory Centre (DAC). One in ten of these "closet borrowers" owes more than £10,000. The DAC warns that keeping debt secret makes it impossible for households to manage their budgets, and borrowing through credit cards and payday lenders increases the risk. Londoners are the "most duplicitous", with nearly one in three hiding the true scale of their borrowing. But their neighbours in the wider south east were either more open with their families - or less honest to survey takers - with only 16 per cent admitting that they had secret debts. Younger borrowers keep more secrets than older, with around third of those between 25 and 44 holding hidden debt. TELEGRAPH

Lloyds fined record £28m for mis-selling: 100,000 may get compensation
The Financial Conduct Authority said that incentive schemes created a failure in its sales process between 2010 and 2012 where staff across the group's high street brands - Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland and Halifax - were put under pressure to hit targets to avoid being demoted. It said such incentive plans "can create a culture of mis-selling". The products included critical illness, income protection, life cover and "expenses on death" cover. Investments included personal investment plans, Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) and Open Ended Investment Companies (Oeics). The regulator said the banks persuaded customers to take out more protection cover than they needed. It could also be that customers were urged to invest in funds when this wasn't suitable for them. Salespeople got commissions as high as £1,600. TELEGRAPH

RBS fined $100m by US for deliberate Iran sanctions violations
The Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined $100m (£61m, 73m euros) by US regulators for deliberately violating US sanctions against Iran, Sudan, Burma, and Cuba. The settlement follows from a 2010 internal investigation by RBS into its historical US dollar payment processes and controls. The violations took place between 2005-09. Bank procedures removed location information on payments made to US financial institutions from countries like Iran and Cuba. RBS employees in the UK "received written instructions containing a step-by-step guide on how to create and route U.S. dollar payment messages involving sanctioned entities through the United States to avoid detection". In total, more than 3,500 transactions, totalling approximately $523m, were routed through New York banks in violation of US sanctions. BBC NEWS

Ofcom says TV payday loan adverts have risen sharply to 400,000 a year
Television viewers were exposed to nearly 400,000 payday loan adverts last year, according to the regulator, Ofcom. In 2011 there were 243,000 such adverts, increasing to 397,000 in 2012, a rise of 64%. On average, each adult viewer saw 152 such adverts in 2012, while children watched 70. Labour has already called for all such adverts to be banned during children's TV programmes. BBC NEWS

ONS figures show families spending more on heating and maintaining homes, with those on lower incomes cutting spending on food
The Office for National Statistics said a decline in disposable income since the banking crash had tightened the financial screw on the average household, which had £489 to spend in 2012, compared with £526.40 in 2006 after accounting for inflation. The ONS said the harsh winters of 2011 and 2012 were also likely to have played a part in driving up energy bills. For the lowest-income families the jump in costs meant they spent 25% of their income on housing, compared with 9% among the richest households. Overall, the richest 10% of homes spent an average of £1,065.60 a week and the poorest 10% spent £189.30 a week. Some of Britain's biggest retailers said the continuing squeeze on family budgets meant they were braced for a difficult Christmas. GUARDIAN

Fleeced by the pension sharks: Middlemen make a fortune duping elderly savers
Elderly savers are being stripped of thousands of pounds by middlemen when they retire, a report claims today. They are handing big chunks of their pension pots to insurers, brokers and financial advisers for transfer services they assumed were free. Losses on a £100,000 fund can be as high as £6,000. Every year, more than 400,000 retirees turn their pension pots into an income for life – an annuity – in a business worth £12billion. In four out of 15 cases examined by the consumer panel, firms claimed there was no charge. However, the pensioners were charged between £1,500 and £3,350 for moving their £100,000 pot. DAILY MAIL

MPs' pay: Politicians criticise 'inappropriate' 11% rise
Plans to award MPs an 11% pay rise have been criticised across Westminster, with one minister describing them as "utterly incomprehensible". Parliamentary watchdog Ipsa is set to recommend a rise of £7,600 to £74,000, to come in after the 2015 election. MPs currently earn a basic salary of £66,396 but the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is expected says that their pay has fallen behind in recent years and a substantial "one-off" rise is justified. Conservative defence secretary Philip Hammond said he would not personally be accepting the pay increase, saying "Whatever the rights and wrongs of whether MPs' pay is too high, too low, comparable to other people, at a time when we are asking people across the public sector - nurses, doctors, teachers - to accept pay restraint, members of Parliament have to be seen to be leading the way." BBC NEWS

Almost twice as many men get full £107 basic state pension as women, despite push to improve retirement income
Office of National Statistics figures show that as of September 2012, 80 per cent of men were getting the full basic state pension of £107.45-a-week, compared to just 46 per cent of women. This represents a fall from the 87 per cent and 48 per cent respectively who were entitled to the full amount in Autumn 2010, which was just after a rule change designed to ensure that more people can get the maximum. The ONS puts the still-high gap between men and women down to the fact women are more likely to have broken work histories or part-time work patterns and so didn't build up the full state pension entitlement. DAILY MAIL

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