All posts by Mark Scott

About Mark Scott

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited. He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Jobs That Risk Being Rendered Useless by Technology in The Future

Jobs That Risk Being Rendered Useless by Technology in The Future

As much as technology has made life easier, it has destroyed countless jobs in the process. Although this is one of the most notable cons of technology, let’s not forget the jobs that have been created by technology in the past few decades. Nevertheless, we can’t help but think of jobs that might be rendered useless by technology. To avoid being a victim of technology in a few years or decades to come, here are the top jobs that stand to be obsolete in the future.

1. Driving jobs

Self-driving cars are already here with us. This automatically puts driving jobs at risk in the future. Although it may take decades for self-drive cars to fill every city in the world, driving jobs are expected to be taken over by computers. Many companies have already invested in self-driving technology today like Tesla Motors and Google. Tesla Motors, for instance, is already working on self-driving trucks. If Tesla succeeds, this will mean fewer jobs for truck drivers. There are however many hurdles stopping self-driving from becoming a reality soon. The technology is however here with us and it poses risks to people who drive for a living.

2. Research-related legal jobs

IBM has already developed an artificial intelligence system (Watson supercomputer) capable of doing legal research. The computer is capable of searching through millions of case files in seconds and identify data points which lawyers can use in court. The system was rolled out in 2016 and is in use in several law firms today. In the future, such systems are expected to help experienced lawyers perform more in-depth research reducing the number of research-related legal jobs.

3. Surveyors

Significant advancements have been made in surveying technology. For instance, robotic total stations have allowed surveyors to do more in less time. Although surveyors are still in demand for jobs which have not been automated yet i.e. reviewing sites and certifying boundary lines, the demand for surveyors is expected to reduce.

4. Bank teller jobs

Bank teller jobs have been at risk since ATMs became popular in the 1970s. The jobs have however been safe due to the banking expansion that has taken place over the past few decades globally. Online and mobile banking has however introduced fresh fears. People no longer need to visit banks to transact. Banks are slowly closing down branches as people prefer online and mobile banking over traditional over-the-counter transactions.

5. Newspaper journalism jobs

Online publications and blogs have been challenging the traditional newspaper industry for several years now. People no longer buy newspapers like before since they can get the same information online for free. Advertisers have noticed this and turned their attention to online marketing. The number of people paying for newspaper ads is reducing yet this revenue has been used to pay newspaper journalists for a long time. Online journalism has taken over and what’s more interesting today is, many people are practicing journalism online without proper qualifications. If you are yearning for a career in journalism, you need to think online or electronic media as opposed to print media.

6. Insurance underwriter

In the past, insurance underwriters used to evaluate applications, risk and appropriate premiums individuals seeking cover would pay for manually. Today, most insurance companies are using algorithms to determine eligibility and premium rates. The demand for insurance underwriters is slowly reducing.

7. Cashiers

There are self-checkout kiosks today that are taking up cashier jobs. Coupled with electronic payments, the demand for cashiers will reduce in the future. Furthermore, most retail industry stakeholders see technology as a means of reducing overheads and theft that takes place at checkout points. Customers have also become increasingly comfortable using self-checkout kiosks because they are faster.

8 Translators

Translators also risk being rendered jobless by translation applications in the future. People no longer need a person who speaks or reads a different language to understand different languages. There are Smartphone apps that can translate written as well as verbal language real-time and what’s more interesting is, translation apps are becoming more accurate. They have also reduced the time it takes to translate and the awkwardness of using an intermediary to talk to someone who speaks another language.

Summary

Technology has come with many benefits and some cons. Many people risk being rendered jobless in the future with the ongoing technological advancements. People are also more open to using technology today more than ever, and this is bound to continue in the future. Considering technology can’t be stopped, it is important for people who face the highest risk of being rendered jobless to retrain and gain new skills to take up jobs with more security before it is too late.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

The Fastest Way to Pay up Short Term Loans

The Fastest Way to Pay up Short Term Loans

Living in debt can be very stressful. You have to make sacrifices to meet your debt obligations or face serious consequences like getting a bad credit rating, losing an asset, taking up more debt, etc. It gets worse when you live in a country like the UK where the standard of living keeps rising yet wages have stagnated forcing most people into debt. The current debt situation in the UK is alarming given the fact that the number of insolvent individuals (young people between 18 and 34 years) has increased drastically by 31% over the past year alone according to the Insolvency Service. Debt is apparently a problem so how do you get out of debt, especially short-term debt?

It doesn’t matter if you have payday loan debt or credit card debt. The tips/steps discussed below should work for all (if not most) types of short-term debt.

1. List all your debt

Debt repayment becomes a problem when you have more than one loan so, start by listing all the short-term debt you have from the largest to the smallest. It may seem obvious, but most people can’t tell you how many short term loans they service every month. This is understandable considering you can take multiple credit cards today, a payday loan, overdraft, small personal loan all at the same time. To ensure you don’t leave anything out, look for your monthly income statements and follow all deductions to ensure you don’t miss anything. The listing should include all important information, i.e., loan amount, interest amount, etc.

2. Identify the most expensive debt

After listing all your debt, you will be able to identify the most expensive debt. You should prioritise repayment from the most to the least expensive. Most people do the opposite for psychological reasons, but this shouldn’t be the case. The cost of the debt should be your utmost concern if you want to repay the debt fast and effectively.

3. Pay more than minimum

Once you have a clear picture of the debt you have, it’s time to start making repayments. To repay your debt in the fastest way possible, you must make sacrifices and pay more than the minimum payments every month. Besides repaying your debt in the shortest time possible, you will also save money on interest repayments. However, find out if you are liable to any prepayment penalties or charges before you get started. Some lenders discourage early repayment, so it’s important to find out where each lender stands.

4. Consider stopping your monthly savings/investment

To pay more than minimum every month, you need more money. For short term debt, it may not be practical to make lifestyle changes. Furthermore, these changes may not have a significant impact. You can stop your monthly savings/investment every month and channel this money to debt repayment. This option is great because it is easily accessible and doesn’t attract penalties. Furthermore, there is no need to continue saving when you have expensive short-term debt. Savings should resume after you have cleared such debt.

5. Consolidate

If you have a substantial amount of expensive debt that can’t be covered effectively by your monthly savings, you can consider options like debt consolidation. This option allows you to merge all your debt into one debt making it more manageable and cheaper. There are however shortfalls to consolidating debt. For instance, you need to be very disciplined since this debt repayment method works only when you meet your repayment obligations to the letter. It may also be a bit expensive when paying up debt in a short time.

NB: Although the above information is bound to help you clear your short-term debt in the fastest and most cost-effective way, it is worth noting that there are exceptions. For instance, it might not be prudent to settle the most expensive debt first because of penalties that may be charged for early repayment. Furthermore, you need to decide what is more important to you, i.e., settling the debt in the fastest way possible or settling all your debt regardless of how long it takes.

Lastly, you need to make some critical financial decisions going forward to avoid finding yourself in the same situation. For instance, you need to prepare and stick to your budget and avoid spending habits that cause you to borrow excessively. You should also seek professional help if you feel you can’t make significant progress on your own.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

6 Non-Financial Habits That Affect Your Finances

6 Non-Financial Habits That Affect Your Finances

You don’t need to misappropriate your finances to find yourself in financial problems. Many factors affect your finances indirectly. Most of these factors revolve around habits. In fact, your habits more so, non-financial habits play a crucial role in your finances. Forget about impulse buying and exceeding credit card limits for a second.

Below are the main non-financial habits that make/break your finances.

1. Planning – You need to be a good planner to get ahead financially.

The rich aren’t just good planners financially but in every aspect of their life. A good planner knows how to manage their time well. Good planners also avoid habits like procrastination which are among the leading causes of failure in life. Planners also have more clarity and direction in life. They are better placed to achieve non-financial goals which contribute to success. If you want to be financially free, start by planning every aspect of your life including your leisure. You will be startled by the amount of money you will start making/saving in the process.

2. Healthy living – Adopting a healthy lifestyle also has a big impact on your finances.

Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet can save you a lot of money considering most health problems are lifestyle-related. Eating right and exercising daily can save you multiple trips to the doctor and pharmacy. Although most people think living a healthy lifestyle is expensive, it is possible to cut costs and save a substantial amount of money. For instance, you don’t need to buy organic vegetables and fruits from an organic grocery shop. You can set up your own kitchen garden with a little money. You can also keep fit without paying for expensive gym membership. You can walk or cycle to work every day and keep fit while saving transport costs. Contrary to popular belief, healthy living is cheaper as long as you plan well.

3. Reading – Reading is another great non-financial habit that affects your finances.

Developing a reading habit is a great way to get financial education. Most people have a hard time becoming financially independent because they are not financially literate. Reading is a great way to learn everything you need to know to improve your finances. The internet has a lot of useful information about money, investments, budgeting, planning, self-discipline, etc. You don’t have to pay a financial adviser to become a good financial planner or investor. Furthermore, reading is a cheap hobby/habit. You can get books for free from your local library. The internet also has affordable books with priceless information that will help you improve your finances directly and indirectly. Avid readers never stop learning about finances and other crucial subjects.

4. Optimism/pessimism – Your attitude about life in general has a significant effect on your finances.

Optimists tend to be more successful in life because they don’t treat challenges as permanent setbacks but important lessons. To be successful in life, you need to have a positive outlook on everything including money. Optimism can be defined as a habit since pessimism comes naturally to many people who face challenges in life. To become successful, you have to believe you have what it takes first and trust the process regardless of the hurdles you find on your way. It’s impossible to work hard when you are a pessimist. Pessimists also have a hard time identifying and seizing opportunities in life.

5. Getting up early – Most successful people are early-risers.

Almost everyone who is someone today attributes this habit to their success. So, why is getting up early a good habit? Well, first and foremost, early-risers have enough time to read, plan their day, exercise and do many other things that have a direct/indirect effect on their finances. Furthermore, most people are more productive in the morning. You are bound to get more things done in the morning than late at night. Most people prefer a head start than trying to catch up. This is precisely why getting up early is such a great habit.

6. Resting – You need to have enough sleep to be productive (at least 6 hours of sleep every day).

Resting also gives you time to think and forge better plans. Fatigue/stress is also a cause for many health problems today. Considering everyone seems to be in a hurry today, resting is another great non-financial habit that has a positive effect on your finances.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

9 Great Ways to Save Money in a Fancy Restaurant

9 Great Ways to Save Money in a Fancy Restaurant

The UK is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Although fine dining experiences bring great pleasure to many, they can be prohibitively expensive if you don’t know how to find great deals. This article is for people who love fancy restaurants and bargains. Here are some great tips to help you save on your next fine dining experience.

1. Use deal websites

The internet is a great place to find deals. You can use websites like Groupon to find great fine dining discounts in the UK. Contrary to popular belief, fancy restaurants also offer great deals through deal websites, so it doesn’t hurt to go online and see what your favourite restaurant is offering. Deal websites are easy to use. You just need to visit the site and search for fancy restaurants near you. Alternatively, you can subscribe for updates to get notifications in your inbox when there are deals that might interest you.

2. Attend restaurant soft opens

New restaurants always have launches packed with great deals. Attending a fancy restaurant soft open is a great way to enjoy fine dining experiences at a bargain since prices are usually subsidised to attract customers. You can even dine for free in dry runs where the kitchen and waiting staff practice food preparation and serving before the official open. This tip is great as long as you have your ears on the ground. You need to keep tabs with the expansion strategy of your favourite restaurant to utilise this tip effectively.

3. Attend restaurant weeks/restaurant festivals

Many cities in the UK including London have special restaurant events such as restaurant weeks where participating restaurants offer amazing deals such as fixed prices (”bottomless meals”) among other incentives to walk-in customers. You just need to find out when the next restaurant event is happening near you to save money dining in a fancy restaurant.

4. Dine during lunch hour

Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing the time you visit a restaurant. Most fine dining restaurants in the UK and around the world have cheaper lunch menus. Although lunch menus may miss some offerings, you are assured of scoring a great meal at a bargain when you fine dine during lunch hours and not dinner time.

5. Avoid alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are usually overpriced in fancy restaurants so avoid alcohol at all costs if you wish to save some money. Ideally, you should focus on the unique food and have drinks elsewhere, later. If you have to take alcohol in a fancy restaurant, ask for the drinks menu first and then choose accordingly.

6. Consider regular menus over specials

Special meals aren’t usually the best priced. Fancy restaurants spend a lot of time and special ingredients coming up with specials. Although specials are meant to offer unique meals, they are also used to maximize profits per plate on simple ingredients or food that needs to be cleared out. So, ”don’t buy the hype”.

7. Ask for deals, gift cards,…

Fancy restaurants offer deals to those who ask. You can ask for gift cards online or in person if you want to treat a special person to a birthday dinner, anniversary dinner, etc. Fancy restaurants have deals for special occasions so don’t be afraid to ask. You can also go as far as asking your waiter for the best value meal/s, wine, etc. You can pay less for wine with a ripped label or a damaged top. Fancy restaurants care a lot about presentation so asking for the ”bin end list” is a great way to enjoy significant savings.

8. Split meals or skip appetisers and desert

You don’t have to take the full course meal. Fancy restaurants are guilty of serving you more food than you can consume. If the restaurant serves big portions, you can split appetizers and dessert with a companion. But don’t forget to ask since some restaurants charge extra for splitting menu items. Alternatively, you can skip appetisers and desert if the offering is nothing out of the norm. For instance, you can have some ice cream and cake when you get back home. Appetisers and desert are usually costly in fine dining establishments. You can save over 30% by taking the main meal only.

9. Apply for a reward credit card

Lastly, there are many credit card plans in the UK today that offer cash backs or points on purchases. You can get one specifically designed for dining purchases and save money as you eat in expensive restaurants in your area.

You can ”have your cake and eat it” if you use the above tips before enjoying your next fine dining experience. There are many ways to save in a fancy restaurant. Choose any one or more of the above tips.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

FCA Warning: Are Young People In The UK Borrowing Too Much?

FCA Warning: Are Young People In The UK Borrowing Too Much?

In a recent ”Money Matters” interview with BBC, the C.E.O. of the FCA, Andrew Bailey expressed concerns about growing debt among young people aged between 18 and 34 years in the UK. His concerns came as the number of insolvent individuals in the 18 to 34 age bracket increased by 31% between years 2015 and 2016, according to the Insolvency Service.

The latest Insolvency Service statistics show that seaside towns in Wales and England have the worst debt levels among the youth in the UK. The towns that are worst hit include; Scarborough, Torbay, and the Isle of Wight.

The FCA is currently focusing on sustainable, affordable credit, i.e., reducing high-cost payday loans and long-term credit card debt. In his interview, Bailey warned that there is an increasing number of young UK citizens taking out credit cards and payday loans among other short-term credit loans to cater for basic living expenses.

Although Bailey goes ahead to state that the current debt levels haven’t reached a critical level from a macroeconomic standpoint, there are serious concerns about why debt levels are increasing among young people. Bailey attributes this new disturbing trend to a generational shift in patterns of wealth and income. He doesn’t view this trend as reckless borrowing per se, but an indication of the current basic living standards.

Bailey feels basic living costs have increased drastically over the decades forcing the young generation to borrow more to meet essential living costs. He points out specifics like the high cost of rental houses as well as poor/lack of income growth as the main causes of the debt problem. Today’s youth also have lower asset ownership levels which is a different generational experience from decades ago.

Bailey also attributes the current debt levels among the youth to an increase in ”unsecured lending” ranging from credit cards and overdrafts to car loan and personal loans. According to the latest Bank of England statistics, consumer debt now stands at over £200 billion and increasing drastically at 10% every year. Savings are also decreasing due to low interest rates and higher cost of living.

Other sentiments

According to Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Leader, the current debt problem among young people in the UK is attributed to the conservatives’ failure to implement their manifesto pledge on creating better laws for people facing financial difficulties. Cable claims the pledge to offer legal protection ranging from interest to charges and bailiffs for 6 weeks to individuals in distress because of debt will go a long way to solve the debt problem in the UK.

Jonathan Reynolds who is the Treasury’s shadow economic secretary finds a lot of human tragedy in the UK debt story. According to him, the youth don’t have a choice. Labour suggests there should be a cap on charges on other forms of short-term debt in line with the payday loan cap. According to Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, there is a need for special focus on credit card debt which has spiralled out of control. McDonnell has plans to help over 3 million people in the UK who are currently paying more than they should in interest payments.

Joanna Elson, the C.E.O. of Money Advice Trust agrees with Andrew Bailey’s sentiments. Elson states that although the current debt levels among the youth may not be severe to the economy, the trend has a critical effect on an individual level. Elson stresses the importance of debt advice but recognises the fact that very few young people are seeking financial advice when they find themselves in financial problems.

FCA intervention

The FCA is currently looking at some practices as well as forms of high-cost debt which are the main contributors to the UK debt problem. Although a lot has been done to regulate payday loans among other short-term loans in the recent past, the FCA boss would love to see increased focus on sustainable, affordable credit provision. The FCA has also turned its attention to the rent-to-own industry which charges high interest for ”white goods” like washing machines.

The FCA clampdown on payday loan lenders which started in 2015 brought sanity to a troubled industry. Payday loan charges are now capped. Borrowers don’t need to worry about affordability as long as they choose a reputable payday lender. Furthermore, there has been reduced over-dependence on payday loans according to Treasury select committee member, Kit Malthouse.

The next step is making the payday loan rules an industry standard. The FCA boss has stressed the importance of sustainable credit in society and offered assurances on maintaining a close eye on high-cost lending going forward.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

How Mobile Providers are Ripping You Off: Smartphone Money Saving Tips

How Mobile Providers are Ripping You Off: Smartphone Money Saving Tips

According to a recent Deloitte survey, Smartphone penetration rates now stand at approximately 80% in the UK. Smartphones have become incredibly popular in the UK and the world at large because they offer more communication options, endless applications, unlimited web browsing capabilities, unmatched entertainment and so much more compared to traditional mobile phones.

It is, however, worth noting that these added advantages come at a cost. Furthermore, there is a general consensus that mobile providers do very little to help their customers manage costs. Given the high cost of living and stagnant income growth in the UK, it’s important to find ways of cutting costs and saving to avoid over-dependence on payday loans among other types of short-term loans. Here’s how your mobile provider is ripping you off and what you can do;

1. Unlimited plans which aren’t unlimited

Smartphone users love unlimited data plans especially when data usage is concerned. In a world where live streaming rules, unlimited plans are highly sought after. What most Smartphone users fail to realise is; most unlimited plans have hidden limits which make them limited. For instance, unlimited data usually comes with speed and/or device limits if you exceed a certain limit. Mobile providers do maximize profits without causing congestion in their networks. To avoid paying for an unlimited plan which is not really unlimited, it’s important to do your own research before jumping on any unlimited plans that come your way.

2. Too much/too little insurance

Smartphone purchases via mobile providers usually cover repairs and replacements resulting from damage. There are however limits to this coverage. In most cases, you have to part with more money to insure your phone adequately against the most common Smartphone risks. In simpler terms, the insurance coverage you get when you buy a phone from your mobile provider is very basic.

On the contrary, mobile providers are also guilty of selling too much insurance to Smartphone buyers. You should check what is covered in your warranty, free insurance plan, and credit card plan (if you have any) when you buy your Smartphone to avoid incurring unnecessary costs. Mobile providers make money from selling Smartphones insurance, so research for a cover that serves you well instead of taking what is on offer. It’s also important to consider the fact that you may already have coverage.

3. Hidden contract terms

Mobile providers are also guilty of hiding contract terms, yet these details are crucial for controlling monthly Smartphone expenses regardless of the type of plan you have. You can find contract term details in your mobile provider’s website. It is important to read the terms yourself and seek clarification if needed as opposed to relying on what a mobile provider salesperson tells you. Mobile providers usually hide crucial information on upgrade fees, international roaming fees, overage fees and many other fees/conditions in lengthy contracts yet this information is vital for controlling cost. So, take time and read your contract to the letter.

4. Unauthorised/unnecessary text charges

Some mobile plans come with unlimited texting while others charge you a fee for every text sent. Others also charge for promotional texts received. It is important to avoid replying to unsolicited text which are promotional in nature. Such texts come in many forms i.e. as questions requiring an answer. You should avoid replying to such texts and anything you have not subscribed to. It’s also important to understand the texting limits of unlimited plans. You should also consider using free texting/messaging services today like Whatsapp or Facebook messenger to reduce your texting costs significantly. Such services are usually free if you have a Wi-Fi connection.

5. No cash on trade-ins

Mobile providers pay in credit as opposed to cash for old phones. They also tend to take longer compared to private options such as dedicated buyback companies which give cash instantly or send it within a few days. Furthermore, they tend to offer lower payouts for trade-ins (approximately 30% less) for old cell phones compared to buyback companies. It’s, therefore, better to sell your old phone through buyback companies when you are looking for an upgrade if you want to get the best value.

You stand to enjoy substantial savings and avoid reliance on short term loans by understanding how mobile providers rip off their clients. You can save £100 + pounds every year by understanding the terms of your mobile plan/contract and choosing insurance plans carefully. Avoiding texts and mobile provider trade-ins can also go a long way in reducing the money you spend on your Smartphone.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

House Prices - Biggest Fall in a Decade, Why?

House Prices – Biggest Fall in a Decade, Why?

Britain’s housing market is valued at approximately £7 trillion. Just recently London real estate prices experienced the biggest drop in 10 years. The recent drop came in the wake of Theresa May’s efforts to deal with criticism over ever-increasing prices and lack of housing. In case you are wondering what the recent fall means in regards to employment, investment, housing consumption, government deficit, etc. here’s what you need to know.

The ”Greater fool” mechanism

London’s real-estate prices have been fuelled by what is known as the ”greater fool” mechanism. Although London’s real estate buyers have known that property prices were ridiculously high for a long time, they continued to buy counting on the
fact that they would sell the property at a profit to a ”greater fool”. This phenomenon has been displayed in many instances the most notable being the free markets crisis. Although the ”greater fool” mechanism works, the upward usually reverses violently if the prices show the slightest indications of a fall. This happens when property investors start trying to sell in a hurry before property prices fall further. In the ”greater fool” mechanisms, property values which have been built over decades can collapse in months, and the slum is based purely on expectation.

London relies heavily on international property investors who view property as a commodity which can be sold readily for the sole purpose of maximising profit. International property investors accounted for approximately 82% of London’s property activity back in 2013. The ”greater fool” mechanism is a real threat in London now that the expectations are set.

Housing consumption and the Wealth Effect

Although real-estate prices in London are subject to the ”greater fool” mechanism, it’s important to note that most properties belong to households, mostly families who don’t need to sell. Nevertheless, a fall in property prices means that pension funds, as well as investment bonds, will suffer since they rely heavily on the property market to generate returns.

It’s also important to understand the Wealth Effect. Economists have shown that there is a strong relationship between spending behaviour and perceived real estate wealth. What this means is; property owners feel more financially secure if they believe their property is worth more. As a result, such property owners spend more and save less. This is evident given the number of people willing to subsidise their retirement using property generated wealth.

Considering 64% of England’s homes are occupied by owners, the negative effects of the wealth effect are dire if households start spending less. The Wealth Effect is crucial in most developed countries more so the UK which is heavily dependent on ever-increasing consumer spending for growth. A small drop in the value of homes/properties in the UK would result in a catastrophic loss of wealth. With the housing prices experiencing the biggest drop in 10 years, things don’t look good for UK households.

Ripple effects (Trade deficit and foreign direct investment)

The falling housing prices come with additional problems for the UK. Britain has been having a trade deficit for over two decades now. The effects of the deficit haven’t been dire since Britain has been enjoying hundreds of billions of pounds as foreign direct investment channelled to the property market over the same period. In a nutshell, the trade deficit has been manageable.

According to Bank of England statistics, over 50% of all commercial real estate deals since 2013 have been done by overseas companies. Since international investors expect a fall in prices, foreign direct investment inflows may slow down or stop soon. Britain may also see a sharp decline as foreign property investors choose to sell property instead of holding when there is a clear expectation of a decline.

A drop in foreign direct investment in the long-term will have a negative effect on the UK GDP and trade deficit. Britain will no longer have a cushion against its longstanding trade deficit when foreigners stop buying property. Britain’s credit rating would also fall which would, in turn, make UK government debt more expensive to refinance. When this happens, the UK government may be forced to tax its citizens more to handle an increasing deficit. Increased taxation would cause other effects such as increased unemployment.

Policy issues

The recent fall in housing prices has created a need for new policies to reduce Britain’s property addiction. There is also need to boost confidence in this single asset class considering it accounts for approximately two-thirds of Britain’s wealth. Theresa May’s efforts to push for more affordable housing are a step in the right direction although it has been politically challenging trying to push for such policies. The effects of targeting the UK real estate market are huge currently. Theresa May risks scaring away investors and triggering the ripple effects discussed above. Considering Brexit has introduced many risks, Britain may face a long period of economic stagnation.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Data Protection Laws Set to Tighten in the UK

Data Protection Laws Set to Tighten in the UK

The British government has proposed a data protection bill meant to give the British people more power and control over how their personal data is used. The bill proposes a number of changes to the current data protection laws the most notable being; easier access to all data held by companies, increased ability to withdraw access as well as the ability to request data deletion.

The regulation which will bring GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) into UK law is set to be in effect in less than a year according to Matt Hancock, the UK Digital Minister behind the proposed bill. Hancock states that the new data protection laws will offer the UK a more dynamic and robust set of data laws. In a statement issued by Hancock, ”UK citizens will have more control over how their data is used. The proposed data laws will also prepare UK citizens for Brexit.”

The new regulation has caused concern in organizations across the UK given the fines applicable are easier to issue and more damaging to companies which fail to comply. For instance, fines could amount to 4% of a company’s total global turnover which could easily lead to the downfall of many companies in the event of serve fines. Currently, data protection fines can’t exceed £500,000.

Data protection incidents

Data breaches in the UK have increased in the recent past. Hundreds of thousands of UK citizens have been left exposed by data breaches in the past. A notable example is the data breach that hit UK’s leading payday loan lender Wonga. The incident affected approximately 245,000 Wonga customers in the UK and 25,000 in Poland.

The Wonga data breach happened in March 2017. Wonga, however, waited until April 2017 to notify its clients after establishing the extent of the breach. The incident saw Wonga customer’s names, addresses, phone numbers, bank a/c and sort code numbers stolen. Wonga has suffered another data breach back in 2012/13. The identity theft incident saw Wonga customers lose £3 million after scammers made over 19,000 fraudulent payday loan applications.

UK telecom company TalkTalk has also been a victim of a data breach. In October 2015, TalkTalk systems were hacked compromising customer information belonging to 157,000 customers. The company was fined £400,000 which was far from substantial according to many people. The importance of better data protection laws can’t, therefore, be ignored. With the new laws, firms must be more vigilant in protecting customer’s data or face serious repercussions. Research from Veritas indicates that only 9% of companies in the UK have appropriate data protection practices in place today even with the ongoing regulatory changes.

Repercussions/effects

With the proposed data protection laws set to take effect in less than a year, it is important for organizations to take all the necessary steps in the right direction.

Information Technology

Organizations using cloud and automation technology already will find it easier to cope with the new data protection laws. When GDPR comes into effect, all organizations handling personal data belonging to UK citizens will have to comply. The first step towards compliance is getting the right IT systems in place. Safeguards must also be built into all processes from the beginning to the end.

Data migration

Organizations may also be forced to move data. According to Peter Godden, Vice President of EMEA at Zerto, businesses may be required to move critical data in/out of Britain to comply with the new regulations. Many companies stand to struggle to move critical data across various systems without experiencing problems like downtime. Good businesses continuity plans are crucial going forward for companies keen on avoiding data migration problems.

Data storage

The new data protection laws will also introduce data storage challenges. According to Matthew Bryars, CEO of Aeriandi, ”many companies have not considered the impact of GDPR on data storage processes such as storage of customer calls done to improve customer service. The new laws give customers an express right to demand for their personal call information/data to be erased. The laws are also more stringent on backup and storage of voice call data. Businesses must develop the capacity and ability to store and retrieve customer call data faster on request.”

Nexsan COO, Geoff Barrall also shares the same sentiments. According to him, ”CIO’s must evaluate their current IT infrastructure and create purpose-built secure data storage environments to be able to meet the new data protection laws. Barrall stresses the need for either cloud-based or on-site storage customer data storage solutions as long as they are flexible, agile and secure.”

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.