Tag Archives: bankers

Halifax Bank of Scotland Caught Out In A Deliberate Lie About Legal Requirements!

The lying Halifax Bank of ScotlandThere has been a real step change in the general populace’s view of banks and bankers since the millennium. Prior to that most of us knew who our bank manager was. He was usually a thirty or forty-something with a lot of banking and business experience who would try to keep you or your business upon a sensible path. You could trust them to be consistent and behave responsibly.

Today, you don’t have bank managers, they are relationship managers, graduates in their twenties with absolutely no commercial or business experience. Continue reading

Halifax Bank of Scotland Pisses Off Access Saver Customers

The Bank of Scotland just wrote to us and, interestingly the writer was a Mr Chris Money – talk about putting someone into a job that is going to put everyone’s backs up with a name like that! Mr Money at Halifax Bank of Scotland, part of the Lloyds Banking groupI wonder if it is a fictitious name just for cosmetic purposes, but, if so, it could have been better chosen.

We have an Access Saver Account into which we deposit a monthly sum to cover all the cats’ injections and any illnesses etc. We started it a couple of years ago when Tesco suddenly increased the price of all their pet insurances. Paying into our own pet insurance fund meant that everything would be covered. They don’t tell you the most common cost, pet dentistry, is not covered in pet insurance and you always have to pay the first fifty pounds or so and no annual MOT or injections are covered either. Anyway, with five cats we put £20 a month each into this Access Saver Account and it has built up to just over £2,000 so could now cover quite serious problems if they arose.

So why did the bank write to us? Continue reading

Banks, Bankers & Executive Pay

I have been watching recent events with great interest. The Libor matter is difficult to understand and follow, but almost everything else is straightforward.

So, Libor first. It is quite obvious that there has been collusion between banks in fiddling the interest rate to their own advantage. Within hours of this becoming public the bankers are trying to pin the blame on government. Whether ministers or civil servants were involved is a total red herring. What the banks did was possibly illegal and definitely immoral.

Bob Diamond and other CEOs say that they were not aware of what was happening, yet it had been going on since 2009. These guys, with their multi-million pound salaries and even larger bonuses are supposed to be running the banks. Of course you don’t micromanage everything, that is why you delegate.

So these incompetent, cheating captains of banking did not properly delegate.

Whoever was fiddling the rates must have been someone’s responsibility. Why did he/she not stop it and report it upwards? The chain of command is there for just such eventualities and, in today’s world of unfair dismissal, no one is going to get dismissed for a single mistake, but where it involves the corruption of the system as outlined here, there should be a whole raft of dismissals and, hopefully, prosecutions too. I fear we will get neither and those who have fallen on their swords have spent the last several years building up reserves for themselves equivalent to multiple lottery wins. How good of them to resign and live the rest of their lives in luxury. Chance would be a fine thing.

So, executive pay. How did it get to this state? We all know, expect and probably don’t object to CEOs earning a lot of money, but it is the differential which seems to have gone mad. These guys seem to just vote themselves whatever figure they pluck out of the sky.

A consultant surgeon earns around £120k. Would we object to someone running a 10,000 person business earning double or treble or even quadruple that amount? Probably not if he/she did a great job, but that is not close to the £3,000,000 per annum being paid to these guys. It is silly money and also often linked to millions in extra bonuses and share options. OBSCENE is the only word.

So who will replace Bob Diamond? Someone currently earning 200k? So why not pay him 500k? Why offer millions? It does not make sense. They are playing with shareholders’ and clients’ money in setting these remuneration packages.

How does someone become a Bob Diamond? They are only ordinary guys who have a talent for performing well, but the difference between his ability and also-rans abilities are probably only marginal.

Somehow, executive pay must be capped and Britain should lead the way.

The NatWest saga: well this is just incompetence. When introducing a new or updated computer system what do you and I do? Unless we’re stupid we set up a restore point. So why did these idiots at the bank not set up a restore point.

Then all inputs and outputs are in their own individual files and, with storage costs could be kept for years, separate from the balances. That is how it is done. It means you can go back to the restore point and start again, adding in all the inputs and outputs after the system has been corrected.

Yes banks are big and yes, they have large numbers of customers and millions of transactions, but input and output files are always manageable. They are only data lists and should be independent of any account balances. That is the WHOLE idea!

Somewhere, someone installed that update without taking the precaution of ensuring the system was backed up and could be reinstated. There is no excuse for this and any CEO earning millions of pounds should be tearing heads off the incompetent idiots who allowed all of this to happen.

Frankly, of course, nothing any  of us say or do is going to improve the banks attitude to their customers, that they are just statistics and not real people.

Thanks, banks!

Fairness – the wealthy government ministers don’t understand

When it was discussed that the 50p tax rate should be dropped, the argument put forward was that it hardly brought in any revenue so its adverse effect on entrepreneurship meant that it should be dropped.

This demonstrates an absolute misunderstanding of fairness. It really doesn’t matter how little revenue such a tax generates, the element of fairness is that people earning six figure salaries are paying a larger amount into our country’s community coffers. It is seen to be fair.

It has been said that if we try to tax huge bonuses, the people will move out of the UK. Perhaps some will, but there is always new talent rising out of the masses and if they want to throw over jobs which pay huge bonuses and think they can do better in Germany or Brazil, frankly we should let them go. If the UK leads the way, others will follow.

Entrepreneurs who build businesses worth mega-millions will have had to risk their own money and, often, had to stake their homes to succeed. I have no problem with the Dyson’s of this world earning millions upon millions each year. Dyson, Gates and others have thrown their all into building their empires and we all know that enough businesses have failed over the years leaving similar geniuses bankrupt. It is the risk that makes it fair that they should benefit from their achievements. I know from experience. We were on the verge of great things when it all went wrong in 1990 recession and we almost lost everything. The luck of the draw, really.

BUT, when a salaried employee at, say a bank or supermarket chain, is paid two or three million a year it really is obscene. The heads of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Royal Bank of Scotland etc. have never risked any of their own resources in building the businesses for their shareholders! Yes, they should get a fair and proper salary, perhaps it could be half a million a year, but surely not an amount larger than some of the largest lottery wins every single year that they stay in their jobs. Even when RBS was going great guns, what gave Fred the shred the right to a pension pot that would pay him about a million a year for the rest of his life? Somehow he even managed to retain that pension pot when he bankrupt the company. HE LOST NOTHING!

The big shareholders, the people who look after pension funds should be stopping these huge salaries. The trouble is that the type of person who represents, say Norwich Union, at the Tesco AGM is also on a megabuck salary. These guys are voting themselves an upward spiral of income beyond all common sense.

Government has the ability to stop these spiralling salaries using the tax system. Salaries between £100k and £200k should be taxed, as now, at 50p, but then it needs to accelerate. If your company wants to pay you a million a year, then it will be taxed at 75p, two million at 85p, three million at 95p and so on. The companies would soon stop the escallation.

Remember that this is salaries and does not hurt the entrepreneur who will probably get most of his income from dividends. The Dyson’s, Sugar’s and other successful entrepreneurs of the country can earn their millions … and good luck to them.

Does this mean all the best people will leave and take jobs elsewhere? Many will, but it is a fact of life that every chief executive of a large organisation has a whole team of top and middle managers just dying for the opportunity to step into his shoes. Give it a year or two and the whole thing will have evened out.

We need to ask whether Fred the Shred was an irreplaceable genius or whether he just appeared to be the best of the bunch when he rose to the top. Believe me, if he had been hit by a bus the week he became chief exec of RBS, someone else would have stepped into the job. Also look at Tesco. What an incredible job the CEO did building it the last few years, but what happened in 2011? So, what a surprise, Clarke was not infallible, so why was he paid as if he was? Others, great retailers, coming from within the company or from other companies could have stepped in and, perhaps, done even better. There is ALWAYS someone to step into the boss’s shoes, ALWAYS!

Am I advocating some sort of communism? Of course not, I am asking for a government of this country to not just give lip service to fairness, but to actually take action to achieve it. The escalating tax system need not be introduced in a single measure, but could build up over say two or three years.

Frankly, the people more interested in personal greed will leave the country. See how they do overseas. Do we really care as long as people who deserve the promotion end up with good salaries over several hundred thousand a year by stepping up into their shoes? It takes a genius to build their own business, it just needs skill and ingenuity to run a large corporation.

The tax system will also, of course, stop the obscene bonuses in the city. The edge will be taken off a one million pound trader’s bonus if 70 or 80% of it is going to disappear in tax!

The problem in this country currently is that there is no sensible socialist party. There is the current labour party who are not only scared to be so radical, but also incapable of grasping the opportunity to jump on the fairness bandwagon, and then the radical socialist groups who, frankly, would be a disaster if ever they got any power.

We need a new social democrat party and there is no one out there to deliver it?

What can you do? If you think some of what I say is on the right track then please share this post with as many people as you can. Social networks have great power – just look at the middle east. Can it cause a new political party, The Fair Party, to be formed? Please share if you even hope it can.