All posts by: SCG

Top tips for credit repair after bankruptcy

The common belief that a credit report ruined by filing for bankruptcy cannot be corrected is nothing but a myth. It is true that the negative impact of bankruptcy on a credit report is severe; however, that does not mean that the damage caused cannot be corrected. All you will need to get the best out of the tips that will be given in this post is a little patience and discipline.

These few tips will help guide your credit report back up. It may be slow but it will be consistent:

  • Ensure that your bankruptcy is accurately displayed on your credit report: Most people feel removing their bankruptcy from their credit report is the best way to revive their credit. However, showing delinquencies and outstanding balances on your credit report is a better alternative. Make sure that the accounts that were discharged due to bankruptcy reflect the $0 balance on your credit report. Creditors reporting damaging account info after bankruptcy is not a new thing. Hence, it is crucial that you crosscheck your credit report frequently. Doing this may a cost you few bucks after some months but it is worth the investment. Do not be afraid to report debt discharges that are reported as active on your credit report. See more tips about this here.
  • Make sure that you always pay accounts that are not bankrupt as soon as possible: Some of your accounts will be exempted from bankruptcy. An example is student loans. This type of account cannot be discharged. Active accounts will always have an impact on your credit score. Hence, the need to ensure that loans or debts are unfailingly paid on the agreed date. Also pay attention to accounts that are not reflected on your credit report. In most cases, this error will be corrected and if you have unpaid loans, your credit score will be affected also. What you want to achieve is let creditors know that you are moving on and your bankruptcy days are gone.
  • Runaway from credit repair firms: A lot of firms will send you tons of emails claiming that they can help you remove bankruptcy from your report. There is a possibility that you might have come across their ads too. The truth is that most of the things that these firms can legally do for you, you can do on your own. All they will do is file a dispute for you and this service is not free. The worst part is that these filings have little or no effect on your credit report.
  • Secure new credit: Getting new credit after filing for bankruptcy is challenging. However, it is one of the most important things to do to turn your credit report around. A few credit cards may permit applicants that have filed bankruptcy to apply for new credits. They do this with the understanding that you cannot legally file for another bankruptcy for 7 years.

You should do your best to avoid jumping from job to job. This may not affect your credit score directly, however, lenders will want to take a peek into your daily life. Hopping between jobs will only make them reluctant to grant you new credit.

Six ways to relax at work

Work is often going to be one of the most stressful places to be in your life. A little bit of stress can be good, click here to find out ways of how to manage it.

Keep reading to learn six ways to relax when you’re at work.

1. Daydream a little

Let your mind wander a bit. Daydreaming is an effective method of stimulating your creative juices, but it’s also a successful way of relieving stress. Do you have a ‘happy place’ in your memory or imagination? If so, then go there. Or, remember an event in life that made you feel joyous calm. Come up with your own mental place, and feel free to choose a look all its own, complete with smells and sounds. You can even add people and imaginary creatures. If it’s in your imagination, it’s all yours, and you can retreat there when you have to.

2. Breathe deeply

At some point, someone has told you to just take a deep breath. Believe it or not, there’s science backing this up. Full, deep breathing, when done steadily, boosts the oxygen levels in your blood. You can do this to clear your mind and replenish your brain and other parts of your body with a fresh supply of clean oxygen. It’s also something that releases unwanted toxins in your body, like carbon dioxide.

3. Smile everywhere you go

There are probably plenty of times that you just don’t feel like smiling. However, even when you fake a smile, you are going to actually feel better and more refreshed? There are also advantages of smiling in terms of building up healthy relationships with those around you. Smile at your bosses, your co-workers, your clients, and anyone else around you. Remember to smile at yourself, but most important, be sure to occasionally laugh at yourself.

4. Keep things clean

Clear the clutter in your work area of anything that isn’t either work-related or necessary to keep your work environment clean. A neat and tidy area helps you concentrate on your work, while also improving your mood. Just remember that de-cluttering and organisation never end.

5. Practice positive thinking

Never take anything too seriously. Nearly anything has a solution or answer, and most of the things worrying you aren’t actually as serious as they look. If something stresses or irritates you, just ask yourself if it’s going to matter in an hour? What about next month? The rest of your life? If it’s only going to last a few weeks or less, don’t worry about it. Let the small stuff be.

6. Use a stress ball

A stress ball might also be known as a squeeze ball or stress-relief ball. Whatever you call it, it’s a softball that you can roll, squeeze, and even throw. Never underestimate the impact that these actions can have in releasing tension in your mind and body. Your brain gets happy signals, even over your unhappy mood, which will soon improve.

Everyone gets stressed at one point or another, but it’s crucial to realise that everyone has to handle their daily stress.

An introduction to Forex trading

Trading in Forex offers some of the best trading opportunities in the global financial landscape, and due to the liquidity of this market, participants can benefit from the tight spreads that are available.

Just like any other market, the way you choose to trade Forex will highly depend on your understanding of the market, the information you gain from research and analysis, and the specific objectives of your trading approach.

To make smart and informed trades, you must understand the factors that move the currency market, how it moves, its correlation to other markets that impact it as well as the key events and trends that trigger price movement.

We’ve compiled several ideas, trading strategies, and recommendations to assist you to build a thorough trading plan as you begin your journey in trading Forex.

Comprehending market correlation

Forex markets are swayed by several multi-dimensional influences and since currencies are fundamental in conducting global trade, executing financial transactions, and economic relations, there are several interlinked market correlations between Forex prices and different associated markets.

These interrelationships are based on the specific currency you select to buy or sell as various economies have different strengths. For instance, the value of the Australian dollar (AUD) and Canadian dollar (CAD) are heavily driven by commodity prices in their respective countries since a huge portion of their GDP is derived from mining activities as well as natural resources. In the same vein, the US dollar is highly linked to events on Wall Street, as this market contributes to and supports a high amount of revenue and growth.

Certainly, the effectiveness of your trading strategy will be highly influenced by your understanding of market correlations. Ensure that you conduct extensive research and put the effort in discerning why and how movements in other markets could affect your FX trades.

Speak to Forex Racer for expert advice.

Day trading

Due to a large number of global transactions in the FX market, and their respective sensitivity to different market correlations and events, there are plenty of opportunities for short term trades.

A Day Trading tactic may fit your approach to Forex trading if you focus on taking advantage of volatile markets in the short term – for several hours instead of some months or weeks.

Most of the time, day traders identify the prevailing market trend and read the current sentiment and then take an aligned trade position up to when resistance or support is hit. They exit their position once their profit target is achieved or when their stop loss is triggered.

Day trading is a very demanding Forex trading strategy and needs a deep understanding of your selected market and the corresponding correlations, adequate time to respond to the rapidly changing market, and a robust risk management framework to protect your capital.

If you settle on Day trading ensure that you utilise the best risk management systems such as Guaranteed Stop Losses to limit your exposure to volatility if the market moves against your position.

Taking advantage of resistance and support

A top trading approach for engaging in Forex trading is also a very straightforward one, understanding the main support and resistance levels in the market you’ve selected. Since currencies are relatively stable unless there is a major event, their prices move up and down within a certain range. Therefore, reaching a downside or upside target leads to a pause.

So what is support and resistance and how can they improve your Forex trading?

A support level is simply the lower price level at which a currency’s decline stops or its downward trend pauses or buying volume spikes up again. On the contrary, the resistance price level is the upper price point where the market sees the currency as overvalued which implies that there is the probability of a sell-off in the coming days or weeks.

The support and resistance levels can be used as part of your trading strategy to help you determine suitable prices to open or close positions.

We have several tools that you can apply to help you determine key resistance and support levels in a specific FX market. You can make use of price action indicators such as RSI, MACD, Bollinger Bands, introduce your preferred indicators, or utilize our drawing tools to identify key price levels to track.

Also, it may be valuable to create a modifiable Forex Watchlist to enable you to monitor several price movements in different FX pairs that you are keen on or that could affect the overall performance of your trading plan. These will help you better predict price movements in the underlying market.

Choosing the services to outsource in your start-up

Establishing a new company is exhilarating, but also fraught with challenges for the budding entrepreneur.

One of the key issues that new business owners face is what parts of their business they should outsource and which they should keep in-house. In the early stages companies often spend a lot of money on unnecessary services and solutions that leach money from their already stretched budgets. With this in mind, here are some top tips on how you can decide what parts of your organisation you should outsource and which you can undertake in-house.

Think about the expertise you already have

The first thing you need to think about is the team you already have and the skills they can bring to your business. Start-ups often have a small workforce, but it’s important that you speak with every member of your team to make sure you’re completely aware of the skills that they have and can make an informed decision about what you need to outsource. When you know what each team member is capable of, you can see whether or not you need to outsource a task or if someone in your current workforce is able to undertake it for you.

Consider the services your business will be renowned for

Many businesses specialise in one service, such as graphic design or engineering, but there’s more to running a company than just offering a great service. If your team doesn’t have enough business experience to run a great firm, but can provide a quality service, then consider outsourcing aspects like accounting, admin and IT support to ensure your company runs smoothly and is able to offer clients the services they need.

Work out the costs of bringing tasks in-house

Often companies outsource tasks because they don’t believe that it would be cost-effective to bring them in-house, but before you make your decision it’s important that you review the pros and cons of outsourcing vs bringing new expertise into your business. This includes exploring the costs of each option, particularly as your firm grows. The more you use a solution, the cheaper and easier it will be to bring it in-house, so make a thorough review of the situation before you make a definite choice.

Review the businesses on offer too

Another key factor that’s often overlooked when considering whether or not to outsource tasks in a start-up is what options you have. Some service providers don’t offer a high-quality, reliable service, whereas others, one great example being Ideal Cleaning, are renowned for providing the support that organisations can rely on. Explore all the options on offer for every service you’re considering outsourcing before you decide what you want to outsource and which tasks you and your team can undertake yourselves.

During the early stages of any new business there will be a lot of trial and error, with some experiments working out and other failing. The important thing is to always review your options before you make a decision. These tips will help you to make the best possible choices for your new business.

How to pay overseas staff without the stress

The decision to run a business overseas is not an easy decision to make. However, this is a new day and age. The world has been brought closer together thanks to the internet and technology. If all or a portion of your business operations are taking place abroad, you likely have legitimate concerns about getting everyone paid. Wanting a paycheck for work performed is something everyone has in common.

Given the likelihood you are dealing with employees, freelancers, contractors and even vendors, you just as likely have concerns about getting everyone paid timely and efficiently. The discussion below is going to centre on how to keep your support staff happy overseas with a minimum of stress and effort.

The Gig-economy

Have you ever heard the term a “Gig-economy?” As indicated above, the business world is a lot more fluid than it used to be. In years gone past, businesses relied heavily on employees. That requires paying wagers, offering benefits and exhibiting a bit of control over their activities. Thanks to the internet, employment has become less relevant. Business owners now prefer to use temporary human resources that can get the job done while relying mostly on themselves to do so. This revolutionary way of doing business is referred to as a gig-economy.

With more businesses interacting with people overseas, the maintaining of employees no longer makes sense. Even in the US, telecommuting has changed the relationship between businesses and their workers. The biggest issue business owners face when they work with nontraditional human resources is making sure everyone gets paid timely.

Eliminating the stress of paying human resources abroad

As a business owner who conducts business operations overseas, you likely find yourself in a situation where you have contractors and freelancers handling a lot of your business activities abroad. They might be in different countries with different currencies, which requires you to figure out how to get them paid with a minimum of stress.

The good news is the same technology that makes it easier to conduct business overseas is the same technology that makes it easy to pay people abroad. Many of the top payment options you have at your disposal have far-reaching capabilities that offer you a lot of flexibility. Take a look at a couple of the current payment options you have at your disposal to pay your human resources abroad.

Traditional payment options

Some traditions never fade away. If you should so choose, you do have the option of sending direct deposits and wire transfers to pay people right from your bank account. Of course, it requires the recipients also have bank accounts. That’s where this option might not be as viable as you would expect. The reality is you will encounter a lot of contractors and freelancers who prefer to do business on a cash basis. As long as you know what to expect, you’ll soon learn you have some easy and efficient ways to meet their needs.

By the way, it’s still possible to exchange money through credit cards. In late 2017, MasterCard actually introduced its Assemble financial platform that made it easy and affordable to send money back and forth.

Money transfer services

Money transfer services have been around for decades. However, what’s new is how easy it is to send money in an instant from anywhere at any time. With an international money sending app, you could pay all of your contractors and freelancers within minutes in their own currencies.

The cost of such services tends to be more affordable that a wire transfers, though you would need to deal with currency conversion rates. All your recipients would need to do is walk into any affiliated money transfer service office where they would be permitted to pick up cash. The only requirement they would have to abide by is having the appropriate transaction number and the proper personal identification.

Welcome to the new business world. Heading into the future, business people such as yourself can look forward to a business infrastructure that’s going to make it extremely easy for you to do business anywhere in the world from your living room at home. For now, you can eliminate the stress of paying people abroad by putting into place all the payment options you’ll need to complete transactions with the press of a button.

Christie & Co announces completion of the sale of Oak Tree Lodge located in Clevedon, North Somerset

This established and reputable care home represented an outstanding opportunity for an experienced operator in the care sector. The business traded with a good mix of self-funded and local authority funded clients and has an excellent reputation locally. The property has 34 client bedrooms arranged over three floors, set in an imposing Victorian detached house enjoying an elevated position with outstanding views.

Owned by our clients for over 15 years and run as a family business, they took the difficult decision to sell so that they could enjoy their retirement. The family successfully built up a profitable operation, running this care home with an enviable reputation for delivering excellent quality care, highly regarded in the local area. The owners Richard and Sue Pike commented: “We would like to thank all our staff, residents, families and friends for their support over the years. We wish Deian the very best at Oaktree Lodge”

Oak Tree Lodge Care Home has been acquired by Manor Community. Deian Glyn, one of the company’s directors, commented ‘The acquisition of Oak Tree Lodge was a natural fit for us. We were struck by the high quality of care provided at the home and we look forward to continuing the person-centred care provided by the long-standing team there.”

Oliver McCarthy, business agent (Care) at Christie & Co, handled the sale and commented, ‘We are delighted to be a part of Deian & Sophie’s impressive journey, and we wish them all the very best at Oak Tree Lodge Care Home and we hope that Richard and Sue enjoy their well-earned retirement!”

“The market for care homes in south west is stronger than it has been for many years and we continue to see an abundance of well-funded buyers seeking opportunities in the region.”

Oak Tree Lodge was sold off market for an undisclosed price.

ThinCats announces the departure of chief development officer

Damon Walford

ThinCats a leading alternative lender to mid-sized businesses today announces the departure of Damon Walford, chief development officer.

Since joining ThinCats in July 2016 Damon has helped ThinCats develop a market leading proposition, relaunch its brand and establish a nationwide origination team. The value of ThinCats’ loan book increased fourfold during this period with annual growth in loan origination averaging 80% per year over the last three years. In August 2019 the total value of loans arranged by ThinCats’ surpassed the £500m milestone.

Damon’s responsibilities for origination will pass to Mike Hackett, ThinCats head of sales, who has over 20 years’ experience raising capital for small and medium sized businesses in senior corporate banking roles at RBS and Santander. Damon’s other responsibilities will be absorbed by the ThinCats’ leadership team.

Damon said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in taking ThinCats from a niche P2P lender to a mainstream alternative funder of the mid-sized businesses that play a key part in driving the UK’s economic growth.

“ThinCats is in a great position to build from here and I am confident that they will gain further traction within the corporate finance, accounting and private equity finance communities. I am looking forward to my next challenge.”

Amany Attia, chief executive, ThinCats: “Damon has been instrumental in helping ThinCats become a genuine funding alternative to the banks for many mid-sized businesses across the UK. I would like to thank Damon for his contribution to so many areas of the business over the last three and a half years.

“Damon leaves us well placed to capitalise on the increasing appetite from institutional investors to allocate more of their investments to business loans, which will enable more businesses to look beyond their banks for better funding solutions. We wish Damon well in his future endeavours.”

Christmas comes early as Pluto Finance closes over £100m in the first week of December

Christmas came early to Pluto Finance’s borrowers this year, as the specialist lender made over £100m of new loans in the first week of December. The Pluto Finance team closed a record-breaking level of development and bridge lending early on in the festive season.

Loans last week include development funding for office to residential schemes in Buckinghamshire and Essex, development exit bridge in Bracknell and an acquisition bridge for a Leeds office building.

Speaking on behalf of Pluto Finance, Mario Ioannides said, “Whilst most of our competitors are already lost in the fog of Christmas lunches and arguing over who will get the Savills salmon this year, the Pluto team have once again knuckled down and delivered a large volume of complicated financing to extremely tight deadlines. I am particularly proud that over £90m of these loans have been to repeat Pluto borrowers, recognising the excellent customer service, pricing and flexibility that Pluto offer.”

With the recent hires of bridging specialists Simon Chapman and Chris Scott, Pluto Finance is looking forward to increasing bridge lending in 2020, as well as continuing to provide development finance at rates starting at 3.95%.

HMRC issue official warning as fraudsters up the ante in the run up to the Self-Assessment deadline

HMRC has issued an official warning to millions of self-employed people throughout the UK to remain extra vigilant in the run up to the Self-Assessment deadline on 31st January 2020.

Statistics revealed by HMRC shows there has been almost 900,000 reports of suspicious contact over the last year – ranging from phone scams, social media scams, and bogus tax rebates which made up two thirds of all reports.

What should I look out for when it comes to fraudsters?

Fraudsters and scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target their victims which are often very convincing, particularly around this time of year. So, what should you look out for?

Ask yourself:

Am I being asked for personal details such as my PIN, password or bank details? HMRC and other organisations such as banks will never contact you and ask for personal details such as these. Whilst they may ask for information such as the first line of your address, or your date of birth, you should never be asked to divulge secure personal information.

Was I expecting a message? Whether it be a call, text or email, first consider if you were expecting to receive a message, particularly from this recipient. Then consider the contents of the message. Is someone offering you a refund? Are there attachments or links? Does the senders email look like a legitimate domain? A level of scepticism will help protect you against fraudsters.

How have I been contacted, and what have I been contacted about? A text message, an email, or a phone call about a tax rebate with simple instructions about how to claim your money? If you are entitled to a tax rebate, HMRC will always communicate via letter. Under no circumstances will any other method of communication be used.

You should also be aware of copycat phishers, where fake websites are created that are almost identical to the verified domain. Also be aware of heavy-handed tactics, such as threats of arrest or imprisonment if immediate payment isn’t received.

What should I do if I think I am being targeted by scammers?

HMRC has a dedicated customer protection team which targets scammers – simply forward details of any suspected scams to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, or forward suspected scam texts to 60599 and they will investigate further.

We advise that everyone remains vigilant, not just those submitting Self Assessments. If you would like any further advice about protecting yourself against fraudsters, please get in touch with your usual contact or click here to send an enquiry, which will be directed to our team of in house experts.

SmartWater secures £14m new funding from Santander

SmartWater Ltd, the award-winning forensic technology company based in Telford, has secured £14m in new funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial in support of the group’s working capital requirements and the acquisition of Perimeter Intruder Detection (PID) Systems Limited.

SmartWater scientists have patented a new system of liquid traceability that uses a robust form of encrypted ‘microdata’, with water being the application medium. The company is the world’s largest security provider of forensic taggants (uniquely encoded materials or chemistries that are virtually impossible to duplicate) used in the protection of national critical infrastructures and corporate assets. They have a rapidly expanding footprint in the manufacturing sector, where the liquid based ‘microdata’ is used to establish the production information of safety critical components, even years after they have been installed.

The acquisition of PID further enhances SmartWater’s security proposition on vacant, vulnerable or hazardous sites. Founded in 2007, PID’s product is a cost efficient smart-tech (‘robotised’) alternative to manned guarding of industrial sites, with in-house alarm monitoring centre. The units are portable and rapidly deployable, from a nationwide depot network, with video data capturing and sharing (IoT-enabled) over mobile network, offering both time-lapsed and AI capabilities. A team of former police and military personnel operate 24/7 in PID’s alarm receiving centre control room in Prestwick, Scotland, monitoring and creating incident reports when alarms are activated and, if necessary, deploying their rapid reaction security teams.

Phil Cleary, CEO & founder of SmartWater, said: “This acquisition is totally aligned with our current operational activity, protecting the key assets and infrastructure of our commercials clients. Working with the team at Santander has been like a breath of fresh air, as their understanding of the needs of rapidly growing business likes ours, bodes well for our future, particularly as we move to further expand our international footprint.”

Navin Dabasia, structured finance director Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Both SmartWater and PID have demonstrated a track record of success and growth in their own rights, and the combination of the two business will further enhance the Company’s position in the private security market. We are delighted that Santander, which is focused on helping customers to grow, has been able to support SmartWater with this acquisition and we look forward to building a long-term relationship with them.”