At the start of the week, I was full of joie de vivre and by the end, there were signs of hopeful anticipation. However, in between, I was plunged into the depths of despair.It was the week of the Building Societies’ Association conference in Manchester but that was not the cause of my depression, nor was it the most important event. I am an Arsenal fan. Football was on my mind throughout the week and what took place in the Stade de France cast a cloud over everything else that happened. To gauge its importance, I even turn down the chance of an evening of food and drinks with building society PRs and other hacks just to go home and watch the game. Such freebie bashes rarely occur on your doorstep when you live outside London. That is why it was so good to have the BSA conference in Man-chester’s International Convention Centre. Mind you, there did seem to be an obvious link with the Mortgage Business Expo in the G-Mex centre next door, which no one exploited. Indeed, no one at either event seemed to know anything about the other one. One of the bugbears of personal finance journalists is the case study. When you find one that seems to work, you feel you have hit pay dirt. When there are signs they are going wrong, it is a catastrophe. The week hardly gets off to a good start when I hear that a case study for the Telegraph had been awkward when contacted by the photographer and is asking what financial inducement there is for him to take part. To make matters worse, in my haste to get everyone involved, I mistakenly send the email to Charlton Athletic supporter Ben Rogof of Polar Capital Technology investment trust instead of Ben Robinson of New Star (a Spurs supporter). Oh the joys of the internet, where every last little error is exposed for all the world to see. Just how much computers have come to dominate our lives was demonstrated by the bank of machines available to journalists in the press room at the BSA conference. It was not so many years ago when you were hard pressed to find a phone you could use to file copy at such events. Mind you, I am getting long in the tooth. I have a couple of drinks with Market Harborough chief exec Philip Dearing. It is the first time I have seen him in some 12 years. In the intervening period, the whole of the financial services industry has changed drastically, as he reveals by telling me that nearly 40 per cent of his society’s overall business now has some internet connection. There is also a session on internet selling at the BSA conference although my attention is drawn to a discussion about ageism, where most of the commentators seem to be close to retirement age, whatever that might be. But the conference gives me a great chance to catch up with friends and contacts such as Alan Oliver of Nationwide (a Chelsea fan), Alison Rolls of Norwich & Peterborough (a Norwich City supporter with a Chelsea fan for a husband) and Rachel Blackmore of the BSA (whose other half supports West Ham). Also managed to squeeze in a meeting with the Co-op’s Dave Smith (a long-term Stoke supporter). He talks about the need for England supporters to check their insurance if travelling to the World Cup in Germany. He even manages to mention motor, travel and breakdown cover in the same breath. Frankly, I am becoming more pessimistic about England’s chances. Then comes the good news that Thierry Henry is planning on staying at Arsenal. The case study problem was also sorted out. Not such a bad week after all. Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Paul McMillan, email: email@example.com or telephone: 020 7970 4776
A survey by the Institute of Financial Services reveals that brokers are asking more questions about equity-release training than any other subject.
Universal and Newcastle Building Societies will merge at the end of the year. The enlarged society will remain a mutual and will be named Newcastle Building Society.?Under the merger, current Newcastle chief executive Colin Seccombe will be CEO of the enlarged company. Universal chief executive Kevin Robinson will be appointed director of integration, a non […]
The FSA’s principle-based regulation regime is unlikely to work in retail financial services, says former FSA managing director Carol Sergeant. Sergeant, who was John Tiner’s main rival for the job of FSA chief executive and is now Lloyds TSB chief risk director, told the Building Societies’ Association conference in Manchester last week that a prin-ciple-based […]
I was on holiday when the first shockwave hit the markets last week.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” said supermodel Kate Moss, who is not often credited for her insights into policy making. Perhaps she should be. In politics, as in matters of diet, the course of action that is the best over the long term is often not the most desirable course of action in the short term. Add the instant gratification of the democratic electoral cycle and, instead of good policy making, you sometimes get the equivalent to a midnight binge in front of the fridge.
The value of an investment and any income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Forecasts and past performance are not a guide to future performance. Some information and statistical data herein has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable but in no way are warranted by us as to their accuracy or completeness. These are Neptune’s views and as such this document is deemed to be impartial research. We do not undertake to advise you of any change to our views.
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