Category Archives: News

What’s Happening In the Cryptocurrency World: South Korea Ban & More

What’s Happening In the Cryptocurrency World: South Korea Ban & More

Cryptocurrencies have become an overnight sensation. Bitcoin almost hit $20,000 in December 2017 after opening the year (Jan 2017) at $980. The price rally caught a lot of attention in 2017 resulting in numerous ICO’s (IPOs for Cryptocurrencies). There are now 1300+ Cryptocurrencies with more being released every day. Considering Cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by tangible assets like Gold, there have been concerns that they are capable of destabilising the entire financial system. Many financial experts have been on record stating that the Cryptocurrency bubble will burst. Others had speculated government and regulator intervention despite most cryptocurrency creators saying that would be out of the question.

We can’t say the bubble has burst yet although the price of Bitcoin (the most popular cryptocurrency) has been dropping in 2018. One Bitcoin costs approximately $12,466 as of January 17th, 2017. We are also starting to see government intervention with South Korea leading the way.

Developments

On January 11th, 2018, police raided Bithumb and Coinone offices, the two largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea on suspicion of tax evasion. On the same day, South Korea Justice Minister Park Sang-ki made a statement implying that the government was going to ban all trading activities taking place on domestic crypto asset exchanges.

South Korea has one of the biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market in Asia accounting for approximately 20% of the world’s global Bitcoin transactions. In fact, many Koreans have sizable portions of their money/savings in cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the country lacks good high-yield investment opportunities for ordinary citizens. A recent survey indicated that 30% of all salaried workers have invested in Cryptocurrencies.

News over the looming cryptocurrency ban spread like wildfire tumbling the price of Bitcoin. The price hasn’t recovered since despite reassurances from the South Korean government via a statement released on 15th January 2018 suggesting that the said cryptocurrency crackdown wasn’t imminent. The South Korean government through the Government policy Coordination office has tried to backtrack from recent comments by the Justice Minister as well as recent government action. However, many are convinced the current developments signify a looming clampdown.

This is because the government hasn’t ruled out intervention or a complete ban. The most recent statement suggests that the government is waiting to consult widely and coordinate options before arriving at a decision. As of now, the government hasn’t offered much relief to its citizens as well as many others who have invested in Bitcoin considering the effects of the remarks made by the Justice Minister on January 11th, 2018.

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time the South Korean government is displaying hostility towards Cryptocurrencies. On 28th December 2018, the government issued a warning stating that virtual currencies can’t play the role of actual currency. The warning also relayed concerns that excess volatility could cause massive losses. The latest statement suggests that some South Korean government officials and organizations don’t agree on how to handle the cryptocurrency boom. South Korea already banned ICOs in December 2017 as well as anonymous crypto trading accounts over criminal concerns. Popular exchange, Youbit, has also filed for bankruptcy after a hacking incident saw the exchange lose $35 million worth of Bitcoin.

China ban

South Korea is not the only Asian country facing a complete cryptocurrency ban. Senior government and banking officials have been on record calling for a total ban. Back in September 2017, Chinese regulators banned ICOs and introduced other stringent measures such as ordering domestic exchanges to halt all crypto-to-fiat trading services. Since then, major exchanges have shifted to over-the-counter as well as global crypto-to-crypto trading.

Many crypto skeptics in China have argued that the current measures aren’t enough given crypto trading services are still available for residents. China is a perfect example of how a cryptocurrency trading ban can fail. As soon as the Chinese authorities pounced on domestic exchanges to stop trading, most relocated overseas. Traders resorted to using trading applications such as telegram to trade directly or over-the-counter without an intermediary.

Reports indicate that Chinese authorities and senior banking officials such as Pan Gongsheng, China’s Central Bank Vice Governor are working on a framework that will allow local and central authorities to investigate as well as block all domestic and foreign platforms that support cryptocurrency trading.

It is however clear that a complete ban on cryptocurrency anywhere in the world will be easier said than done. Cryptocurrencies are designed to be free of centralized authority. Their decentralized nature is the main reason why they have become popular globally. Majority of the global population has lost trust in Fiat currency given its obvious shortfalls such as susceptibility to manipulation.

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.

Banks Issuing Debt at Fastest Rate in 8 Years While Household Debts Soars

Banks Issuing Debt at Fastest Rate in 8 Years While Household Debts Soars

According to the latest Bank of England data, net new issuance of commercial paper and bonds stood at £17.5 billion in November 2017. This statistic shows that November 2017 was the busiest month for UK businesses and banks since October 2009.

Debt markets have been growing at the fastest rate in eight years, and what’s more, bankers expect the trend to continue in 2018. From January to November 2017, UK businesses and banks raised a net £50 billion which was the yearly level since September 2010.

According to Davis Marks, a debt capital banker at JPMorgan, UK banks are expected to be more active in capital markets this year (2018) than they were in 2017. UK banks must, however, refinance existing debt as well as build additional capital to meet the 2022 regulatory requirement deadline.

Labour analysts have been on record warning over rising household debt. According to John McDonnell, the level of unsecured borrowing in Britain may hit record levels very soon. According to remarks he made in December 2017, McDonnell stresses a need for more decisive action from the government in 2018 regarding debt since the UK has already seen a debt crisis with payday loans where payday loan companies were making astronomical profits from people’s financial problems.

Analysts have predicted that the level of unsecured loans per household in the UK will exceed £15,000 in 2018 and could easily surpass £19,000 by 2022 if adequate action isn’t taken.

Million of Britons starting 2018 in debt

The latest National Debtline statistics indicate that 7.9 million Britons are likely to start 2018 with debt accumulated during the Christmas season. The debt advice charity estimates a record 16% of Britons will face difficulties meeting their financial obligations in January 2018 compared to 11% last year. This statistics clearly shows that people will be worse off this year than last year, but all is not lost.

The FCA has new rules in place that require UK lenders to prompt borrowers to repay debt faster. Lenders are also obligated to intervene early in cases of repayment difficulties. For instance, they can cancel interest and/or waive charges accumulated on short-term debt like credit card loans for customers who are in debt persistently.

Quick measures/steps to get out of debt in 2018

In case you are already in debt in January 2018, there are some measures you can take by yourself to repay the debt before more is done by the government and regulators to deal with the increasing rate of household debt. It doesn’t really matter if you took out a short term loan such as a payday loan that you didn’t need. It’s time to take action.

Step 1: List all your debt

If you have more than one loan to repay, you should start by listing all your debt. It may appear obvious; however, most people who take many short-term loans don’t know how many loans they service in a month among other important details such as interest amount and additional fees. A simple exercise such as listing current loans can help you assess affordability accurately preventing you from taking up more loans.

Step 2: Repay the most costly loans first

Step 1 should help you identify expensive debt. Repay such debt first to reduce the total time you take repaying especially if you make more than minimum repayments. Observing this step will also help you reduce the total charges incurred.

Step 3: Halt savings/investments for a while

It’s always prudent to save and invest after getting rid of debt especially if it is short-term debt which accumulates hefty charges in fees and interest. Instead of saving and investing every month, as usual, use the money to offset your debt. However, don’t forget to continue saving/investing once you are debt-free.

Step 4: Consider debt management strategies

If you accumulated a lot of debt during the festive season that may not be repayable easily/faster/comfortably using your monthly savings, you can consider consolidating the debt which is simply; combining many debts into one manageable debt. Many lenders offer this option. You can also visit a financial professional to advise you accordingly given debt consolidation has some risks that must be understood beforehand to avoid more debt problems.

Lastly, don’t get into debt again. If you must take a payday loan or any other type of short term loan, use the loan amount for the intended purposes. Loans should never be misused. Never take loans simply because they are available. You should also take a loan you can afford comfortably.

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.

Russia to Legalise Crypto Trading on Approved Exchanges

Russia to Legalise Crypto Trading on Approved Exchanges

Back in October 2017, Russia moved to ban cryptocurrency trading by blocking access to cryptocurrency exchange websites. The move followed comments by Sergei Shvetsov, Russia’s first Central Bank Deputy Governor terming cryptocurrency exchanges as dubious.

The ban came after China’s assault on Cryptocurrencies. China banned Initial Coin Offers popularly known as ICOs in September 2017. ICOs are fundraising schemes for Cryptocurrencies (similar to IPOs for stocks).

Russia has held a long-standing position of treating non-state money as ”illegal” but was warming up to Cryptocurrencies before the abrupt assault on cryptocurrency exchange websites. The October 2017 actions were influenced by the Finance Ministry’s statement in September 2017 stating Cryptocurrencies would face regulation like securities but exchanges would have to go.

New draft bill

Since October 2017, Russia seems to have softened its stand on Cryptocurrencies A draft bill has been proposed to legalise cryptocurrency trading on approved exchanges. According to the Deputy Finance Minister, Alexei Moiseev, the finance ministry supports the proposed bill.

The Ministry of Finance has developed a list of approved trading platforms following the presentation of the draft bill on 28th December 2017. Russia now wants to support cryptocurrency trading on official exchanges after taking a firm stand against exchanges back in October. According to Moiseev, Russia, through the finance ministry wants to set some limits. Moiseev supports Cryptocurrency trading on official exchanges and states that the new bill is meant to make the cryptocurrency landscape more stable in Russia.

The proposed legislation has been termed refreshing given Russia’s attitude towards crypto regulation which was somewhat foreboding just recently. In August 2017, Moiseev claimed it was impossible to prove that Cryptocurrencies weren’t pyramid schemes and the Russian government was going to do whatever was necessary to allow qualified investors only in the crypto space.

Background of the draft bill

The current draft bill was initially conceptualized in April 2017 when the Russian government originally decided that it was important to regulate cryptocurrency by law. The first draft was to be reviewed in six months. According to Elina Sidorenko, Moscow State of IR (International Relations) professor who was among the group responsible for drafting the new cryptocurrency regulation, the bill was delayed for several reasons the most notable being conflicting ideas on the purpose/s the new laws should serve.

According to lawmakers like Anatoly Aksakov, the proposed bill could have been signed before January 2018. However, there was yet another delay. The Kremlin published five official orders regulating some aspects of cryptocurrency in October 2017. Lawmakers finally met on 28th December to discuss the draft bill. According to the latest media reports from TASS and RIA, Aksakov claims the latest draft on allowing crypto trading on approved exchanges will most likely be signed into law before March 2018.

Aksakov supports the slow action of the Russian government claiming it is better for the government to act slowly than hastily. Aksakov claims that the government must consider the people who buy Cryptocurrencies and end up being deceived. Such people must be given a chance to trade cryptocurrency legally with all the government protection possible.

On 11th January 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin went on record stating that the Russian government must be responsible for any difficulty the Russian people get into if the proposed cryptocurrency regulation isn’t enough. This statement alluded to the fact that Putin supports a ”slow but sure process”. It, therefore, won’t be a surprise if the current bill takes longer than expected to become law.

Although Russia’s change of heart on Cryptocurrencies has been welcomed by many, some skeptics claim the government wants to centralize Cryptocurrencies by imposing certain exchanges on the public. This in itself defies the whole idea behind Cryptocurrencies. The main reason why people choose Cryptocurrencies over state-issued currency (FIAT currency) is simple; a single entity can’t manipulate cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies also offer unmatched anonymity allowing holders to transact undetected. This has obvious tax benefits. Many argue that trading on government-approved exchanges will eliminate anonymity benefits and expose crypto users in Russia to the problems that have been affecting government-issued currency for decades. Furthermore, there is no clear framework on how exchanges will be approved i.e., regulatory requirements and if those regulations will be fair.

Those supporting government intervention claim it will reduce instances of rogue exchanges out to steal virtual currency, but it is impossible to ignore the centralisation issue.

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.

Parents are Now Using Loans and Credit Cards to Pay Childcare Costs

Parents are Now Using Loans and Credit Cards to Pay Childcare Costs

Parents in the UK, specifically Northern Ireland are spending more than £6,000 per child, per year in nursery fees today. The latest statistics show that childcare costs for children under five years stand at £117 and parents are being forced to work less or take loans to be able to cope with childcare costs. More than half of all Northern Ireland parents say they rely on other family members and grandparents to help them with childcare issues.

What’s more is the £6,000 annual childcare cost per child, which represents approximately 25% of the standard salary of a Northern Ireland worker, can increase drastically to more than £8,000 for many parents per part-time place. According to a recent Belfast Telegraph interview involving two mothers, Alison Bingham from Belfast and Jennifer Burns from Glengormley, exorbitant childcare costs have made it impossible for the two mothers to consider having more children considering they now spend approximately £10,000 and £15,500 each, respectively. Alison and Jennifer have two children each.

Killick & Co. Survey

The most recent Killick & Co. annual childcare cost survey showed that more than 42% of mothers surveyed in Northern Ireland indicated a significant rise in childcare costs over the last two years. The Killick & Co. Survey also showed that 50% of those polled had reduced their work-hours by a day every week in the past 5 years due to childcare costs and a further 25% have cut down working hours by two days every week.

Besides affecting working hours, hefty childcare fees (which now take up to 33% of the total household income) are influencing most parents’ position on having more children. According to Svenja Keller, Wealth Planing head at Killik and Co., the findings show how people’s lifestyles have been forced to change because of family. For instance, women are being forced to work less than men.

Also, more Northern Ireland parents (over 61%) now rely on extended family members to assist with childcare. According to Keller, grandparents now bare the biggest burden of helping with childcare tasks as parents cope with childcare costs and work-life balance. Data from the survey shows that Northern Ireland childcare costs stand at £6,084 annually, per child compared to £5,044 and £5,772 in Scotland and Wales respectively.

Aoife Hamilton, the Employers For Childcare Policy & Information manager agrees with Keller’s sentiments that childcare costs have become burden on families. According to Hamilton, the childcare bill has surpassed the rent, mortgage, food, and energy bill, a trend which is shocking and needs immediate attention especially when 25% of parents are turning to credit cards, borrowing from friends and family or even taking out payday loans to cater for childcare expenses.

According to Hamilton, the effect isn’t just financial. Employers For Childcare research shows that childcare costs are influencing working patterns causing many parents to leave work and limit their career opportunities which is, in turn, contributing to stress and the overall well-being of many families.

Employers For Childcare has a family benefit advice service for working parents (Free helpline: 0800 028 3008) who want to get work or those keen on maximising their income/managing childcare costs. In 2017, the benefit advice service conducted 6,542 personalised calculations.

Case study one: East Belfast Couple: 40-year old Alison Bingham and 38-year old Engineer husband

The couple has two children, Anna aged 4.5 years and Hayley aged 2.5 years.

Alison and Richard earn a combined £75,000 per year and spend £9,984 on childcare. According to Alison, the couple uses both formal and informal childcare services. Hayley attends formal childcare 3-full days a week while Anna is there three times every week on part time basis. Their grandparents help out 2 days every week. Alison and her husband can’t afford to cut back working days so they have to foot the childcare bill. Things are however better, according to Alison since the total childcare cost last year was £13,500 given both children were in nursery three days a week. Besides cost, the constant drop-offs and pick-ups are stressful. Having more children is not an option.

Case study two: Glengormley couple; Health service admin Jennifer Burns, 39 years and civil servant husband Christopher 35 years

The couple has two children, Alex aged 5 years and Jake aged 2. The couple has an annual combined salary of £38,000. £15,500 goes to yearly childcare costs. Alex is in nursery 5 days every week (part-time) while Jake is there 5 days a week full-time. According to Jennifer, the couple gets tax credits which cater for approximately 52% of their total childcare costs but the remaining £600 that must be paid every month is higher than the couple’s mortgage.

According to the couple, working part-time isn’t an option. If it were not for tax credits, Jennifer admits she would be forced to work part-time. She agonises having to pay ninety pounds more than she earns per month so that someone else can look after her children when she is at work. Having more children is also unthinkable for this couple considering the increasing childcare costs and the fact that Jennifer hasn’t had a pay hike in 8 years.

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.

Brave: What is it? Is it The Safest & Fastest Web Browser Today? Everything You Need to Know

Brave: What is it? Is it The Safest & Fastest Web Browser Today? Everything You Need to Know

Brief history: Brave.com

Brave.com is arguably the safest, fastest and newest web browser available today. The browser has several developers the most notable being Brendan Eich, a renowned American technologist who happens to be the creator of JavaScript and co-founder of the Mozilla Corporation, Mozilla project, and Mozilla foundation. Brendan Eich is the Co-founder & CEO of Brave Software, the software company that developed Brave. Brave Software was founded on 28th May 2015 by Brendan and Brian Bondy.

Background: How did Brave come to be?

Eich initially announced Brave on 20th January 2016. The browser aimed to offer a safer and better web browser experience. Eich wanted to provide an alternative to the typical system of providing free content to web users supported by ad revenue generated by publishers and content creators on the internet. Eich saw an underlying threat arising from the growing conflict between internet users and advertisers i.e. advertisers have increasingly enjoyed incentives to collect as well as store detailed personal information about internet users for them to create more effective ads yet internet users have become increasingly averse to the collection/storage of their personal information as well as their activities online.

Brave claims to remove intrusive internet ads and block website trackers. The browser also claims to boost online privacy by restricting data sharing with advertising customers. These claims have been supported overwhelmingly by tech product review sites like CNet and TechWorld earning the browser the title of the best secure browser available today. There have also been a few sceptics such as technology News Company Ars Technica which doesn’t find Brave’s advertising policy favourable.

Publisher contributions

Brave publishers are rewarded via a system known as Brave payments. Brave uses this system to compensate for ad blocking/substitution. The system allows users to set a budget they are willing to donate (to the sites they visit). Brave then calculates a % assigned to each site via an algorithm and publishers receive a transfer in cryptocurrency if they choose to join the system. Ars Technica has been very critical of this policy although publishers are at will to participate and users make critical decisions on ad revenue.

Operating system/release information

The browser supports all the major operating systems i.e., Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and macOS. Brave is written in three programming languages namely; C, C++, and JavaScript. Brave’s stable release on Windows, Linux, and macOS took place on 13th January 2018. The iOS and Android stable release took place on 13th and 14th December respectively.

Funding

Brave Software raised money from private investors, angel investors and leading venture capital companies. The most notable funding came from Pantera Capital, Propel Venture Partners, Foundation Capital, Digital Currency Group and FF Angel. Initial seed money amounted to $7 million ($2.5m from private investors and $4.5m from angel investors and leading venture capital firms).

Brave’s mission

Brave is branded as a web browser with users’ interests at heart. According to the founders, the web browser is on a brave mission to fix the internet by giving internet users a; safer, better and faster browsing experience, something which has been missing for decades.

Brave also offers a new and unique way of supporting content creators via an attention-based rewards ecosystem. Brave is also on a mission to change how people think about the internet. The browser is open source and built by tech professionals who are privacy-focused and performance-oriented.

Top benefits of using brave web browser

There are several incentives for switching to Brave; They include;

• Block ads and trackers: You have the power to block ads and trackers which have made it impossible to browse safely through the web. Brave protects your privacy online.

• Browse faster: Brave is 2-8 times faster than regular browsers on mobile, two times faster than regular browsers on desktop. Brave is able to offer faster speeds because of blocking ads/trackers.

• Save money: Brave promises as $23 per month saving in data charges incurred downloading ads and trackers.

• Save time: Brave’s speeds are bound to save the average internet users hundreds of hours of precious time every year. The browser goes as far as tracking the time users save which is approximately 5 seconds loading time per page on both desktop and mobile.

• Avoid infections: Brave blocks ads/trackers which reduces your chances of getting malware, spyware and ransomware attacks. Brave also has HTTPS upgrades which translate to more encrypted connections.

Brave is worth a try given the current security and privacy concerns online. In 2016 alone, malware, spyware and ransomware infections increased by a record 132%. Brave promises to deal with this problem and many others, once and for all. What’s more is the browser is by Brendan Eich a renowned technologist who also happens to be behind Mozilla, one of the most popular web browsers in use today.

If you use credit cards online, apply for loans online such as payday loans or perform other sensitive transactions online, you need the safest web browser you can get.

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.

Risk Management Basics for Successful Investing

Risk Management Basics for Successful Investing

Introduction to risk management

Risk management is important on a business and individual level. You need to assess the risks of getting into certain investments for you to be able to choose the best investments. Risk management can be defined as the process of reducing risk. The process begins with identifying possible risks before evaluating and using available resources to monitor as well as minimise those risks.

A risk arises from uncertainty. Accidents, natural disasters, death and similar eventualities are good examples of risks. Risk management is concerned with identifying dire risks and using appropriate tools to deal with those risks. A risk prioritization process is used to identify those risks capable of causing great loss or have a higher probability of occurrence. The likelihood of an occurrence and impact of risk are the two most important factors in risk management. For instance, extensive risk management is required when the impact of risk and likelihood of occurrence is high. The opposite is true. It’s also crucial to note that risk management is an ongoing process that starts with assessment then proceeds with evaluation, management and measurement of risk before repeating the process again.

Risk source

As the name suggests, risk source is simply, the source of a risk which can either be internal or external. External risk sources are sources beyond our control. Internal risk sources are risk sources which can be controlled or managed to a certain extent. A perfect example of an external risk source is bad weather or natural calamities. We don’t have any control over such risks. Risks such as fire are internal in nature since we have a certain level of control. For instance, you can fireproof your home or business to reduce losses in case of a fire. Once you identify possible risks in any given scenario, it is time to assess those risks to identify the likelihood of occurrence followed by a risk management plan and implementation characterised by security controls/mechanisms for controlling risk.

It is worth noting that there are risks that may be present but hard to identify. A good example is a perpetual inefficiency in a company’s production process that accumulates over time translating to operational risk. Managing risk for successful investingYou must invest to gain financial independence. However, it is impossible to eliminate investment risk. You can use some investment strategies to manage investment risk which stops many people from investing like they should.

There are two main types of investment risks namely systemic risks which are risks affecting the economy and non-systemic risks which are risks affecting a company or small part of an economy. Below are important strategies to consider when managing risk.

1. Prudent asset allocation

You should include different asset classes in your investment portfolio to protect yourself against risks affecting particular asset classes. Prudent asset allocation also increases your probability of getting satisfactory returns even if one or more asset classes /investments don’t yield any returns or drops in value. Ideally, you are supposed to invest in many different asset classes, i.e. bonds, stocks, real estate, etc. as opposed to concentrating on one asset class.

2. Diversification

Diversification is similar in some ways to prudent asset allocation. The main difference is you can diversify in one asset class. For instance, instead of buying one company stock, you can buy many stocks in different categories to reduce overexposure. A perfect example would be dividing up your money and buying energy stocks, agriculture stocks, technology stocks instead of buying one stock with the same amount of money.

3. Hedging

You can also hedge to reduce investment risks. Hedging involves buying a security for the sole purpose of offsetting potential losses arising from other investments. Taking insurance is a form of hedging. It is, however, worth noting that this risk management strategy adds to the overall cost of investing which can erode returns. Hedging is also speculative in nature so it’s essential to use this strategy with caution. Ideally, you need to do thorough research to use this risk management strategy effectively.

4. Rebalancing

This is another risk management strategy ideal when you are already investing. Rebalancing involves periodically selling investments that take up a significant portion of your portfolio. As mentioned above, risk management is an ongoing process. If you assess your investments over time and realise you are overexposed in a certain asset class, it is prudent to rebalance, i.e., sell off a portion of such investments and invest in underperforming assets. Rebalancing is about selling high and buying low. In a nutshell, investing is risky. Luckily there are ways to manage risk which involve understanding the source and nature of risk and taking the necessary steps to manage or reduce those risks.

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.

4 Shocking Truths about Paying For Financial Advice

4 Shocking Truths about Paying For Financial Advice

Before you spend your hard-earned money on anything, especially financial advice, it’s important to understand what you are getting in return. It’s tough trying to invest or make informed financial decisions on your own. Some people don’t have enough knowledge. Others lack the time and passion. That’s where financial advisors come in handy. However, you must know some truths before you pay for financial advice. Here are four shocking truths about paying for financial advice.

1. There is serious conflict of interest

Most people don’t know this, but there are massive conflict of interest issues in the financial advice industry. The reason behind this is simple. Financial advisors receive financial incentives for recommending certain financial products and services. For this reason, the recommendations you receive may not necessarily be the best for you. The conflict of interest factor is huge in the financial advice industry since you (the client) are trying to make money off your money and financial advisors are trying to do the same. Furthermore, you are more attractive (as a client) if you have a higher net worth (more money to invest).However, this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean that all financial advisors care about themselves more than their clients. Some advisors want to see you get the best returns. Unfortunately, most will give you advice based on the amount of commission/s they will earn from you. It is therefore important to understand what’s in it for an advisor before paying and acting on advice. For instance, you should find out if your preferred financial advisor has any affiliations with the financial products/services. In a nutshell, you must be certain you won’t receive biased advice because your advisor will earn a commission or other perks, directly or indirectly.

2. Financial professionals can never substitute personal financial education

Many people who seek financial advice are guilty of relying too much on the advice they get. This shouldn’t be the case. You need to have a basic understanding of what your advisor is doing/telling you to do with your money. Educating yourself constantly also allows you to ask tough questions. You are in a better position to compare returns, analyse risk, identify conflict of interest issues, question advice, etc. if you have basic knowledge and you are open to learning. Unscrupulous financial advisors love clients who have no knowledge or interest in learning about investments. Your chances of getting advice to buy a financial product or service you don’t need are very high if your financial advisor notices you don’t know anything or know very little about investing and you aren’t interested in learning. Financial advisors work best if you are equipped with basic financial knowledge and a genuine learning interest so you still need to learn even if you are paying for financial advice.

3. Most financial advisors fail at helping their clients

This is also shocking but true. The fact is; the people who help you the most and make a lasting difference in your life are those who genuinely care about you. We’ve already talked about conflict of interest above, so it’s easy to determine if most financial advisors really care about their clients. What’s more is; financial advice is just a small part of the equation. Most financial advisors fail because their help stops after giving advice yet many factors come into play after a person has received financial advice. For instance, you need to act which is rather obvious but commonly overlooked. Many financial advisors give their clients direction but fail to give them the passion to act and other important tools like goals. However, let’s not forget the fact that financial advisors aren’t obligated to follow up. Furthermore, they don’t gain much by doing this unless they are working with high net worth individuals. Now you know why high net worth individuals tend to get the best financial advisory services.

4. You don’t need to pay for financial advice

Since you still need to know about personal finance and be open to learning even if you have a financial advisor, do you need to pay for advice? Well, No! You don’t have to pay for financial advice. You can learn everything yourself and be able to make informed financial decisions. The internet is packed with free and useful financial information and resources. Don’t get me wrong though. A financial advisor will save you a lot of time you would have otherwise spent learning about investing, analysing opportunities, etc. Nevertheless, you must be financially literate to become rich!

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.

Blockchain Technology and Why It Is Here to Stay

Blockchain Technology and Why It Is Here to Stay

Beginner guide to blockchain

Blockchain can be described as an incorruptible digital ledger or record of transactions programmed to record financial transactions as well as everything of value. The brainchild behind this technology is bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Blockchain, however, goes beyond bitcoin or any cryptocurrency for that matter. Blockchain technology has become transformational because of the mere fact that it allows digital information to be distributed as opposed to being copied. Cryptocurrencies are not the only invention using blockchain today which makes it important to understand the basics of the technology. Like the internet, you just need to understand the basics of blockchain to use it/see its value.

Let’s get started.

Blockchain as a distributed database

Blockchain technology works like a distributed database which regularly updates itself, i.e., like a spreadsheet which duplicates itself multiple times across a network and updates itself frequently. Google docs is a great example of blockchain technology where you can update a document you have shared with many people simultaneously. The blockchain database isn’t stored in one location which simply means that records are truly public and easy to verify. Information held on the database is shared and continuously reconciled which offers obvious benefits. For instance, there is no specific center of information that can be corrupt or hacked. The data is also accessible to everyone online.

Before Google docs, people used to send word documents or spreadsheets to one another via mail to make revisions. The problem with this scenario is the back and forth transferring of documents as well as the difficulty in tracking changes. Blockchain has solved this problem introducing two major benefits. First and foremost, blockchain can’t be controlled by one single person or entity. Blockchain also eliminates risks associated with having a single point of failure since blocks of information are identical across the network. Blockchain robustness has been tested and proven. Since the invention of Bitcoin back in 2009, the Bitcoin blockchain has remained operational without any significant disruption.

Blockchain technology properties:

Transparent and incorruptible

The blockchain network has been built to check itself every ten minutes automatically. The network conducts a self-audit reconciling all transactions happening in 10-minute intervals. Every group of transactions occurring in this interval is known as a block. This makes blockchain unmatched in regards to transparency since data is embedded as a whole in the network and it is public. Also, data can’t be corrupted. In theory, the blockchain network can be corrupt by overriding the entire network using a high amount of computing power. In practice, this is impossible. Attempting to take control of a blockchain system such as the Bitcoin blockchain would destroy the value of Bitcoins removing any incentive for such an undertaking. Blockchain technology has solved fundamental problems like manipulation. Fiat currencies are subject to manipulation from central banks and governments. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which utilise blockchain can’t be manipulated by individuals or entities. This is what makes cryptocurrencies so attractive. Many people today have little trust in large corporations and entities because they have betrayed people’s trust in the past.

Decentralisation

Blockchain is decentralised by design. Whatever happens in a blockchain network is a function of the entire network. Blockchain creates a new way of verifying transactions which could render transactional aspects of conventional commerce unnecessary. Stock market trades could soon be in blockchain making them available to all. Blockchain could also be implemented in public record keeping such as land registries. Decentralisation has become a reality and blockchain leading the way.

Enhanced security

By storing data in multiple locations, blockchain has eliminated risks associated with holding data centrally. Blockchain networks don’t have centralised vulnerable points which computer hackers can target. Since internet security is a huge problem today, the world is expected to turn to blockchain technology for solutions. We already have usernames and passwords for protecting our identity as well as assets online. Blockchain uses encryption technology. In cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, for instance, users have public keys which are randomly generated numbers acting as user addresses on the blockchain. You also need a private key which works like a password to get access and send Bitcoins. Blockchain technology utilises private keys to offer access/use of digital assets. However, the private key must be kept safe preferably offline for safekeeping.

Other advantages of blockchain technology

Besides enhancing security and enhancing transparency, blockchain is also cheaper compared to traditional accounting systems. The technology has eliminated the need for middlemen such as banks resulting in lower fees in the case of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain has also reduced transaction time as well as transactional errors. In a nutshell, blockchain technology may be relatively new and complex; however, the technology is here to stay and be applied on all areas that require decentralisation and related benefits.

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.