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  1. I have an ex Friends Life with profits investment bond now under the ownership of Aviva. This was transferred to me by my mother. Over the past three years I have made a number of successful partial withdrawals on the policy without issue. This all changed when in early September of this year, I submitted another partial encashment for £3000. After not receiving the money within 10 days I contacted Aviva and was told that due to a technical issue sufficient units could not be cancelled to action a payout. Therefore, the process was delayed. To exacerbate, the issue, I had a building project which was underway and tradesman and materials need to be covered. Towards the end of September I decided to encash and cancel the whole policy. I was reliably assured that this would not be hindered by ‘the technical issue as it was a full encashment. I submitted a claim for a full encashment for £28000. Once again, after 10 days I still had not received my funds I contacted Aviva. This time it was claimed that I needed to submit certified copies of my passport and bank statement despite Aviva having paid out in the past from the policy to my bank account, Aviva suddenly needed to check my documents. I had these stamped by the bank on Friday 12th October and sent them off. On Friday 19th October, I was assured that all was fine and that the payment was on the way. Having not heard further I again phoned on Wednesday 24th October only to be told that actually the payment was delayed again as they needed on the verification documents, the contact details of the person at the bank who stamped the documents. I would therefore have to resubmit new verification documents again. Even at that stage I felt that the handling of the matter was unacceptable especially with different customer agents giving confusing and contradictory assurances and information. However, I resubmitted new verification documents this time stamped with contact details of the person verifying them. On Wednesday 31st October, I was informed that the documents had now been verified and payment would now be authorised the next day and sent out. On Tuesday 6th November I phoned Aviva again to check on the progress of this payment. I was told that the payment had just been authorised but it would be with me in “3-5 working days” By Tuesday 13th November I still had not received any money I contact Aviva, yet again. I was informed that the payment was definitely on the way and I should contact my bank to see if it was coming through. On Friday 16th November, Aviva finally admitted that there may be a problem and that my money could be missing. My bank told me not to worry and that they could trace it if given a payment reference number. Despite requesting this on both Friday and today, the Aviva/Friends Life call centre have been extremely reluctant to furnish me with this simple information which would help Barclays easily trace the money. Today it is Monday 19th November and a payment that I was due to originally receive on September 15th is still delayed with no one seemingly knowing where it is. Any suggestions would be most appreciated as I have lost all faith in the ex-Friends life branch of Aviva and am starting to suspect there has been a misappropriation of funds. Two weeks ago, I was offered and given £100 compensation for the stress and inconvenience caused by the initial delays but I think any objective person would agree that in the circumstances, £100 is extremely paltry compensation. In short, you have to remember that the original request was submitted in early September. We are now in late November and I still have not received any of the money from the policy (apart from the £100 compensation!) Also, I needed that money to pay bills and tradesmen as soon as possible. The two-month payment delay has led to me having to resort instead to credit cards to pay for my £50000 renovation project as the builders became fed up with my excuses as to why their labour and materials had still not been paid for. The cost of this interest has been astronomical. This has been so stressful, but I believe I can’t take this to the financial ombudsman until Aviva close the matter (?) so any suggestions would be very much welcome.
  2. Telephone and broadband provider Talktalk saw profits more than halve following a hack attack on its systems last October. Profits fell to £14m compared with £32m a year earlier. That fall is partly due to the costs of last year's serious cyber attack, which cost the company £42m. TalkTalk confirmed that 95,000 customers had left the ISP in direct response to the cyber attack. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36273449 This is a huge wake-up call for every company that stores customer details. If they don't take security seriously, it will cost them dearly.
  3. Hi all. I'm new here but I'm hoping that I can get a little information as it seems a bit of a grey area. I recently had my benefit stopped for housing and council tax benefit as after being requested for my company accounts for last year I did so and have been told that because the profits are above £16,000 (the threshold), I am not entitled to any benefit. Is this right? I ask because this money isn't mine, it's the company of which I am a director of. Hoping for some facts please as I'm still building my business hence the profit that was retained in there. Many thanks in advance. Dom
  4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2870900/Councils-raking-parking-profits.html
  5. Royal Bank of Scotland has reported its best quarterly result in more than a year with a pre-tax profit of £826m and said it expects the goverment to be able to start selling its stake it the lender by the middle of next year or even earlier. The profit for the first three months of the year compares to a £1.5bn loss in the same period in 2012 and a £2.2bn loss in the final quarter of last year, largely as a result of a fall in impairments in losses from RBS's "bad bank". Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, said the results showed work turning around the performance of the taxpayer-backed lender was "nearing completion". “These results show pleasing progress in delivering a strong and valuable RBS for all our stakeholders. We expect to substantially complete the bank’s restructuring phase during 2014," said Mr Hester. He said the bank was seeing the "start of a pick-up in loan demand" and RBS had a "strong surplus of funds ready and available to fully support economic recovery". Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman, said in a video statement that he expected the government to start selling shares from the middle of 2014 - or maybe earlier "depending on the government". Mr Hester said there had not been any recent discussion about the privatisation with the authorities, but added that any sale would be "terrific for the country". Losses form impairments - or bad loans - fell by 26pc to £1bn from £1.5bn in the final three monhts on the last year. It has now seen a 79pc reduction in non-core assets since it began restructuring in the wake of the financial crisis. Core lending to small and medium sized businesses rose 1pc from the fourth quarter to to £34bn. UK residential mortgage lending remained broadly stable at £110.2bn. Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10034885/RBS-sees-government-stake-sale-next-year-as-it-posts-quarterly-profits-of-826m.html
  6. Lloyd's of London posted a pre-tax profit of £2.77bn last year after claims fell on account of fewer natural disasters. The return to the black follows the "costliest year on record" for natural catastrophes in 2011, which led to Lloyds posting a loss of £516m for that year, the insurer said in its annual results. With earthquakes in Japan, floods in Thailand and Australia and Hurricane Irene hitting the US, 2011 was the second most expensive on record for the insurance sector. However, 2012 proved easier overall on the insurance industry than 2011. Lloyd’s paid £10.1bn in claims in last year, down from £12.9bn in 2011. Claims included $2.2bn (£1.4bn) from Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Carribean and US last year and was the third-most costly natural disaster on record according to Munich Re, becoming one of the largest claims in the 325-year history of the insurer. Lloyd’s central fund, which pays claims if an insurer fails, rose 4.1pc to £2.5bn. More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/insurance/9956266/Lloyds-profits-jump-to-2.77bn-on-fewer-catastrophes.html
  7. The major UK banks saw a 45% rise in core profits in 2012, but that hike was wiped out by a mix of regulation and their own mistakes, a KPMG report says. Its performance report looks at Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Standard Chartered. It says the banks' combined core profits last year were £31.5bn. But this was eliminated by the "cost of past mistakes and increased creditworthiness of their own debt", the audit firm's report says. "Dire" This development meant that the major banks actually saw their statutory profits slump 40% on the previous year, at £11.7bn, KPMG added. The banks, it says, were hit by PPI costs of £7.4bn - up from £5.7bn in 2011. In addition, there were other fines and penalties from regulators and "redress provisions" of £4.7bn, and a £12.8bn accounting hit for losses caused by the revaluation of "own debt'", "reflecting the credit markets' more positive view on bank issuers and interest rate movements". "Banks had a better performance year in 2012 but their improved core profits were eaten up by fines and other exceptional items, leaving them down on 2011," said Bill Michael of KPMG. He added: "In terms of their reputations, 2012 was a dire year. This is why it is so important for them to address cultural and ethical perceptions and issues. Restoring customer trust is critical." 'Essential function' However the report does acknowledge the improvement in core performance from the banks, and says it is due to two main factors. Better credit performance has meant that impairment (bad loan) charges have continued to fall with continued low interest rates enabling the majority of customers to pay their mortgages and even reduce their credit exposures. And stronger investment banking results have meant that revenues were generally up, especially in rates businesses, helped in large part by more positive sentiment surrounding the future of the eurozone. But the report also points out that current events in Cyprus show that such sentiment can be transitory, "Overall, banks have made progress," said Mr Michael. "They have strengthened their balance sheets and made strides to bolster their capital. "They are becoming better able to carry out their essential function of providing support to businesses and promoting economic growth. However, the necessary changes to address conduct and behavioural failings will have a significant cost." More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21916653
  8. Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch reported disappointing fourth quarter profits on Thursday, as the sub-prime mortgage crisis that unravelled more than five years ago continued to hinder two of the country's biggest lenders. Citigroup, the third-biggest US bank by assets, reported earnings of $1.2bn (£750m) in the final three months of the year, or 38 cents per share. That compares with $933m in the same period a year earlier. Excluding one-off factors, related to restructuring and accounting for outstanding debt, the bank earned 69 cents per share, well below the 97 cents per share analysts had expected. In his first set of quarterly results since taking over the role of chief executive from Vikram Pandit in October, Michael Corbat said the environment remained "challenging" and that the bank continued to deal with "legacy issues". "It will take some time to work through the challenges of the current environment but realizing our core earnings potential, as well as improving our returns on assets and tangible equity, are critical goals going forward," he said in a statement. Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9808807/Citigroup-and-Bank-of-America-profits-hit-as-mortgage-clean-up-continues.html
  9. Annual profits have rocketed by 246% at the debt purchaser Idem Capital following £115.4m of investment in consumer debt portfolios. Operating profits at Idem hit £26.3m for 2012, up from £7.6m the previous year, after investment in debt portfolios during the year rose to £115.4m from £22.7m. In a results statement the firm, which is a subsidiary of mortgage firm the Paragon Group of Companies, said further portfolio investments were being considered after four deals with Royal Bank of Scotland and MBNA in the last 12 months. Richard Woodman, managing director of Idem Capital, told Credit Today the results reflected the progress of three of these deals plus smaller deals the firm did in 2011. Idem Capital’s last deal with MBNA is too recent to be fully reflected in today’s results, but the progress of the other deals means Idem Capital currently accounts for 28% of the overall Group’s profits. He said a strong flow of portfolios were still coming through at the moment, and the firm would look at making more large-scale purchases next year. Woodman also hinted at a possible refinancing for Idem Capital, which currently funds portfolio purchases through cash generated in both the secured and unsecured operations of the Group. “At the moment we do not use any leverage (to fund portfolio purchases) but that might change on individual trades,” he said. “For larger individual deals putting bilateral leverage in place is increasingly attractive. We may look at raising debt at an Idem Capital level or via a special-purpose vehicle, or continue using our own cash. These are all good options.” Woodman added that more debt purchase deals were possible before the end of this year due to the buoyancy of the market, but could not say what the scale of any deals is likely to be. Meanwhile Idem’s sister firms, Moorgate Loan Servicing and Arden Credit Management, agreed four new servicing contracts with Idem’s co-investment partners during the year. This included Moorgate Loan Servicing taking on the servicing of 149,000 accounts across four portfolios, meaning that 49.9% of accounts under management by the Group are being managed on behalf of third parties. The firm’s strong performance in debt purchase contributed to underlying profits of £32.6m for the Group’s consumer finance division, up from £13.8m the previous year. Link: http://www.credittoday.co.uk/article/14590/online-news/profits-up-246-at-idem-capital
  10. Three of Britain’s biggest banks will this week admit that billions of pounds of profits have been wiped out by rising claims for mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI). Third quarter results by Lloyds Banking Group, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays are expected to show that despite advances of the past three months, the banks have been pushed in to the red by the mounting PPI scandal. Lloyds may have to set aside as much as £2bn against PPI claims pushing its total losses to more than £6bn. Barclays has raised it provisions by £700m. RBS, which is reporting its first results since exiting the Government’s asset protection scheme, is forecast by some analysts to break even this quarter. However the bank is expected to set an extra £500m against PPI and as much as £200m for mis-selling interest rate swaps to small businesses, which will cause it to report an overall loss. The cost of the PPI scandal to the British banking industry is pushing above £10bn. Barclays, which is expected to unveil an overall loss of £100m, is planning to axe the salaries of its leading investment bankers in response both to the results and the demand for a less excessive culture. More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9639400/Banks-to-admit-profits-have-been-wiped-out-by-PPI-costs.html
  11. The Co-operative Group has reported a sharp fall in profits due to bad business loans and what it describes as a "competitive" food market. Underlying operating profit for the first half year was £174m, down 34% on the £264m the group made a year ago. Total sales rose slightly to £6.56bn. Like-for-like food sales, which strip out the impact of new and closed stores, fell 1.2%. The group said it was confident sales would improve in the second half. More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19355912
  12. british gas (now there is a misnomer if i have ever heard one..they are actually a french owned company) profits have risen by 23% in the last quarter, yet they are now saying that gas prices will have to rise again for the winter period! is it not now time for uk govt. to consider the renationalisation of all the utilities companies in the uk today. it is pretty obvious that we are now being bled dry by these companies, as prices rise year on year, all in the interest of shareholders and multinational companies. i do fear for our security of supply, and whether people can continue to absorb these hikes in prices that are year on year being put on us the paying customer. it is not like we actually have a choice, most of the big companies are very close to each other in price, and actually changing supplier can sometimes be more hassle than it is worth. we need in this country energy suppliers who are not totally reliant on making huge profits but are run by the people for the people
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