The Anonymous Widower

Was Gordon Brown Partially Responsible For Labour’s Defeat In The 2019 General Election?

When automatic enrolment into pensions came in, I was very much in favour, as I feel everybody should have a pension.

There is a section called Automatic Enrolment in the Wikipedia entry called Pensions in the United Kingdom.

If you read the section, this is the last paragraph.

Between the introduction of auto enrolment and April 2016, “the overall proportion of eligible employees saving into a workplace pension increased from 55% to 78%” with the largest increases found in the private sector.

Consider.

  • When I started work in the 1960s, the average man and the few women on the factory floor weren’t very well educated. But now, they are much more likely to have a few good qualifications.
  • Most too will be computer-savvy to a level, that would have been unimaginable to their forerunners in the 1960s.
  • Newpapers too, from the Sun and the Mirror to the Times, \guardian, Telegraph and FT, now offer easy-to-read financial advice to help everyone manage their money better.

Many working people today have a pension, that although some didn’t want it, they probably feel could be a help in retirement.

So did Labour’s reckless or ambitious spending plans, frighten many of their traditional supporters?

They certainly frightened me!

Would the election result have been different, if Gordon Brown  hadn’t started the modern pension with the Pensions Act of 2008 and had left well enough alone?

As my quote said earlier in 2016, just over three-quarters of eligible employees are saving into a workplace pension.

Some may have been subscribing for over ten years now and they will feel protective of that amount pf money!

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Finance | , , , | 2 Comments

Call For Bank of England Executive To Quit Over Security Breach

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

A former member of the Bank of England has called for the resignation of its chief operating officer after it emerged an audio feed of sensitive information had been leaked to traders.his is the introductory paragraph.

In any form of speculation or betting, information is key and I would suspect, that some have made a lot of money, with this information.

Betting, is full of stories, where information has been used to advantage.

In one, well-known punters, had access to the team sheet of a famous football club before the players.

So I’m not surprised at the shenanigans at the Bank of England.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Sport, World | , , | Leave a comment

BlackRock Renewables Fund Hits USD 1bn In 1st Close

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renewables Now.

Wikipedia says this about BlackRock.

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest asset managers with $6.84 trillion in assets under management as of August 2019.

The company has been very successful over the years and although there have been controversies about their investments in fossil fuels, their move into renewables and energy storage must be significant.

If you are managing money for organisations like pension funds and insurance companies, you must be prudent, as otherwise little pensioners and the insured won’t get paid.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment

Will Business Trust Ultra-Marxist Labour?

This is a paragraph from an article in today’s copy of the Times, which is entitled Labour’s Big Call Has BT Hanging By A Wire.

Only two weeks ago Mr Jansen, 52, had dismissed the threat of Labour nationalisation, saying that BT was “not on the list” and taking comfort from comments from John McDonnell over the summer and made personally. Labour’s shadow chancellor had said in an interview in July that there were “no tricks up my sleeve” and that the “limit of our ambition” was taking the power networks, Royal Mail, rail and water companies into state ownership.

It appears John MacDonnell has either changed his mind, or was doing something rather devious.

Will business at any level from the smallest corner shop to the largest FTSE 500 company ever trust what this ultra-Marxist Labour party says?

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Business, Computing, Finance, World | , , , , , | 6 Comments

How To Return A Wallet Or Purse

There’s an interesting little tale in The Times today, which is entitled Penny Trail Leads To Missing Wallet.

A guy fpund a wallet. In it were some valuable cards, so the finder sent a penny to the account on the debit card he found.

He did this four times in total and used the reference field to say he’d got the wallet and give his mobile number.

The owner got in contact and all was sorted out.

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Finance, News | | Leave a comment

Does This Bank Launder Money?

I always associate Tide with a brand of washing powder.

So does the bank of the same name launder money?

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

BHP Investor Revolt Over Links To Fossil Fuel Lobby

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

BHP is facing a shareholder revolt after influential investors urged the giant miner to suspend membership of contentious trade groups that lobby for the fossil fuels industry.

So who are these revolting investors?

Greenpeace with a couple of shares and a lot of placards!

No!

They are Standard Life Aberdeen and Aviva, who are two of the biggest financial beasts in the City of London, with support from the Church of England.

It’ll be an interesting Annual General Meeting next week!

October 10, 2019 Posted by | Business, Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

Does Anybody Know Of An On-Line Bank Account, Where You Can Annotate The Statement?

I have looked at several on-line bank accounts and none offers me a feature I want.

I check my statement every morning, as this is one of the best ways to guard against fraud.

  • If there is an unexpected transaction, you spot it early.
  • If banks used AI to classify your access, then it might be possible for them to flag-up possible illegal access.

So what feature is missing?

Imagine if against each line in the statement, there was the ability to add extra data.

Two fields come to mind.

  • A comment.
  • A costcode, such as Gas, Electricity, StatePension etc.

You could also add fields of your own, like say CustomerNumber, SupplierNumber or InvoiceNumber.

The bank statement would show the extra data, when you displayed or printed the statement.

I would use it every day!

But it would also allow you to total values against against any cosde field between two dates.

If you used standard costcodes and other fields, the bank could even calculate your accounts.

I first talked about such a system with an accountant in the 1970s, where you would have entered the cost code on a cheque or bank deposit.

Banks! bGrrrr! \They haven’t changed their mindset since the 1870s! Or should that be the 1570s?

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Finance | | 1 Comment

Is This A Massive Endorsement For The City Of London?

This Google Map is dominated by the new Goldman Sachs building in the City of London.

Make what you want of the building and its significance for the City.

But is it an endorsement of a strong future or a monument to a glorious past?

Location, Location, Location

One property developer once said, these were the three most important things about a property.

This Google Map shows the location with respect to Farringdon station.

The station, which is at the top of map, will be the best connected in Central London as it will be the crossing of Crossrail and Thameslin. That probably won’t be important to some of the employees of Goldman Sachs, but the building apparently has favoured bicycle spaces over car parking.

Note just to the South of Farringdon station, two of the large buildings of Smithfield Market. These two are very much under-used and plans exist to convert part of them into the new Museum of London.

But a lot of the area between Goldman Sachs and Farringdon is under-developed and will the Goldman Sachs decision, lead to more development of offices, hotels and residences in this part of London at the West of the actual City?

Terminal Six At Heathrow And Terminal Three At Gatwick

I often joke, that this area, will become extra terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, with an easy link to the trains to Scotland and the Continent just a short taxi ride, bicycle ride or one stop on the Underground up the road at Kings Cross and St. Pancras.

A Walk From Smithfield To The Goldman Sachs Building

These are some pictures I took on the way.

The New Museum Of London Site

Holborn Viaduct

The Goldman Sachs Building

I’m sure that if I can walk to and from Farringdon station at seventy-two, then a lor of people working in the building will use the railway to get to and from work.

Conclusion

Have Goldman Sachs decided to build their new offices at the Crossroads of the World?

 

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simpler LNER Train Fares Will Make A Single Half The Price Of A Return

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is a paragraph from the article, that explains what is being done.

As part of a trial London North Eastern Railway (LNER) will abolish the £1 price difference for return tickets on some routes and require passengers to buy two singles. It is designed to remove an anomaly whereby singles on some long-distance routes are overpriced in the expectation that most people will buy a return.

I’m all for it, as I often go on a wander around the UK and I’m not sure of the route, that I will take.

A couple of times, I’ve gone up to Scotland on a Sleeper, visited a few places and friends and then turned up in Edinburgh station needing to get home. I don’t generally use an Advance ticket, as I don’t want to be tied to a particular date.

I can think of lots of scenarios, where this new ticketing will be very convenient.

Yesterday, I went to the football in Ipswich.

As I do normally, I bought a zone 6 to Ipswich return to take advantage of my Freedom Pass. Sometimes, a friend brings me back to London, so to be able to buy a single ticket to Ipswich would be very useful.

 

Conclusion

This move by LNER is a good start, but we need a Universal cCntactless Ticketing scheme based on bank cards and mobile devices for the whole of the UK.

As an example, on the short London and Ipswich route, I should be able to use a contactless bank card linked to my Freedom Pass and Senior Railcard, which would automatically charge me for the cheapest fare.

If everybody could get best value Universal Contactless Ticketing with their American Express, Mastercard, Visa or mobile phone, think what the effects would be.

Many Would Not Buy Traditional Tickets

Obviously, if you wanted to buy tickets for a particular train or wanted best value, you could still buy an Advance ticket over the Internet and use it in one of the following ways.

  • As a traditional paper ticket.
  • As a download on your phone, mobile device.

It might also be associated with your bank card.

The Tyranny Of Ticketing Would Be Abolished

Suppose a close relative lived about a hundred miles from where you lived.

Taking a train to visit say your mother, might involve a lot of planning to get a keenly-priced ticket.

If you can just turn up and touch in and out and know the price of the tickets, you will probably be more likely to do the journey by train.

 

Coming back, you would not be limited to a particular train, which could mean cutting a visit short.

More People Would Travel By Train

Contactless travel has certainly boosted the use of public transport in London and it would certainly do the same for the rest of the UK.

More Passengers With Limited Mobility Would Travel

Pensioners are always quick to see a bargain and my generation of pensions are much more tech-savvy than those, who are perhaps ten years older.

Universal Contactless Ticketing will appeal to this large group of travellers.

There Would Be More Train Services And Trains

More passenger would mean that train operating companies would need to run more services and acquire more trains.

Some train operating companies are already obtaining extra trains to increase capacity and frequency.

Many Stations Will Need Updating

Quite a few stations are struggling with current passenger numbers and they are not ready for the increase in passenger numbers, that will surely happen with Universal Contactless Ticketing.

Universal Contactless Ticketing Will Promote Competition Between Train Companies

Suppose you are going from London to Birmingham for a meeting or a leisure activity.

You know because of advertising or past experience, that Chiltern is more comfortable and cheaper, than the faster Virgin.

You might travel up using Chiltern, as you can lay out your paper and give it a good read, but travel back by Virgin, as your want to get home for supper.

Universal Contactless Ticketing will enable the choice of return journey to be made at the last minute.

You might argue that companies like Greater Anglia have no competition.

But in the leisure market, the competition is twofold.

  • The private car.
  • Passengers can spend a day in the countryside or at the coast in places served by other train companies.

If Greater Anglia embraced Universal Contactless Ticketing, travellers would be more likely to use their train services.

Will Train Operating Companies Offer More Special Deals?

In the next couple of years, Greater Anglia have said they will bring in the following new services, amongst others.

  • A third hourly service between London and Norwich via Ipswich.
  • Four direct trains per day between London and Lowestoft.
  • A direct hourly service between Norwich and Stansted.

With Universal Contactless Ticketing, it would be easy to ofer promotional fares or offers to promote these new routes.

Will Fare Prices Go Up Or Down?

London has been able to bring in various cost-saving measures, like the closure of Ticket Offices.

The Mayor has decided to spend all saving and more on a fare freeze. As his decision, was more about politics and winning an election, make of that what you will.

Whether we like it or not, and some politicians on the Left don’t, Universal Contactless Ticketing will happen sooner rather than later.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment