Blog Archive

Page 34

Any fool can make things complicated, it requires a genius to make things simple, or something to that effect said E.F Schumacher.  As layer upon layer of complexity is added to spice up a story, be used as spin or just remind us that common sense isn’t so common, it’s a reasonable adage to be reminded of in seemingly complicated times.

Another complex story to get an update is Alice in Wonderland. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll, Maths Don at Oxford, writer of mathematics books and author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass has been translated to film again.

As the finance lending marketplace is increasingly competitive, it’s no news that, tightening up of lending criteria is an affect. The complexity of finding appropriate funds can evoke many responses including the feeling of falling down a long dark hole. It’s very understandable to feel alone when the fall is long and the bottom opens into a world of curious characters and, in fiscal terms, the metaphors don’t stop there as the world of money and business can be confusing, frightening, unfriendly, chaotic, nonsense and madness.

Alice’s adventure begins because she is curious.

Without asking questions she follows the white rabbit, falling down the rabbit hole only to find herself alone with her curiosity in the confusing Wonderland. Instructed to drink from a bottle she shrinks, told to eat cake she grows, is given a mushroom to eat but no advice how to eat it; too small, too big. She talks to a mouse who’s frightened by what she’s telling him and is left holding the Duchesses baby which turns out to be a pig. Cheshire Cat asks questions then disappears and the smoking blue caterpillar repetitiously states, “Who are you?” With plenty of chairs at the Mad Hatters tea party she’s told there’s no room. When offered wine she is given tea and with his watch limited to telling the day of the month, the Hatter and his friend perpetually move around the table to new cups instead of washing the used ones. The gardeners paint the (planted by mistake) white roses red, in the hope that The Queen won’t notice and give out her “Off with their heads”.

And so the story continues until Alice realises it’s a dream.

Just as time is central to Carroll’s story as it is with finance. The Hatter’s unusual watch is unusual in that it has days on the face as; “it’s always six o’clock and tea-time” (we wish), but time and timing is essential in placing finance; especially if ‘growing up’ is the objective. Alice asked for help in the strange world of conflict, but never got any: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” …. That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

Notes you might want, incidentally, whilst writing this, we discovered that Mad Hatter is a CEO or other major executive who is not trusted and whose ability to lead is being questioned and the 10/6 sign on the Hat of the Hatter is it`s value not his worth and, ironically, the rabbit fence around Antony, the location for much of Burton’s movie, had to be removed during filming.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Medical Sector

For those in or contemplating Medical sector businesses, we now have 100% commercial mortgages designed specifically for your market expansion, consolidation or purchase. For other businesses looking to similar plans we have a range of products of up to 100%  loan facility.


Interest Rates

Although the  Office of National Statistics had recently revealed that inflation has increased to 2.9% , it was surprising to see the recent reaction of Skipton Building Society being the first to break rank and increase its Standard Variable Rate (SVR); causing disconcertion for its mortgage holders.  Another followed; Nationwide is to increase their SVR on its mortgages by up to 0.5% from 1 February. Inevitably others will follow suit.


Rateable Values

Every 5 years the generic Rateable Value  (RV) of all licensed, leisure and commercial property is reviewed. April 2010 is the date for the latest RVs and have been released from Valuations Office Agency (VOA).  Initial read through shows that there will be many reductions, however pubs have risen by 23% and hotels by up to 33%.  The Uniform Business Rate, which, when multiplied by the RV calculates Rates Payable, will also change.  Large and small properties will go down to 41.4p/£ and 40.7p/£ respectively.  Transitional Relief will continue to be applied.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Lots of choice would seem to be a good thing but if, according to Sheena Iyengar  and Mark Lepper’s   experiment, involving jam tasting in California, it would seem that it makes people less happy and showed that lots of choice makes people less likely to choose anything.

Iyenger and Lepper offered either 6, or 24, varieties of jam at a tasting in a supermarket. The tasters were offered a discount voucher to buy the jam. The big display attracted more customers but fewer buyers. The lesser display made more sales; statistically 4,000%  better as only 3% of the 24 choice used their vouchers whilst 30% of the 6 choice used theirs.

So, what of choice?  This experiment involved the same product with more choice amongst that product  – which is different from offering entirely different products.

They experimented again with displays of chocolates. Participants were offered to choose one chocolate to eat from either six or thirty options. Those choosing from the lesser amount were more satisfied and more likely to purchase chocolates again. Illustrating that dissatisfaction is likely more prevalent when choice is larger.

 The Executive Summary of Financial Capability: A Behavioural Economics Perspective  states many interesting things and includes lots of such experiments.

To which market is limiting choice directed at, and how limited does choice become before there is no choice? 

(Image  and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Free as a Bird

As businesses operate from one business cycle to another any economic uncertainty results in change and, as business models change, reorganization occurs which can further fuel economic uncertainty. Enter the Freelancer, the person who doesn’t want, to or can’t risk being, the employee that is laid off.

 The fields in which freelancing occurs vary greatly as do the skills necessary to survive in business, therefore we thought we’d introduce a freelancer who illustrates (literally) the creative use of the diversification business model for freelancing. Clive Byers is one of Britain’s leading bird artists  but his skills are further extended to maintain his focus of self-employment.

Defining the often blurry lines of art isn’t a problem for Clive. His abilities are recognised as artist, photographer and specialist illustrator. Known for his ability to seek out the important minute details in natural history and, from his extensive experience in the field as Environmental Surveyor, he’s a true expert in bird identification.

Both expressive art and illustrating  demand fine observation from the artist but, as anyone with even the slightest interest in natural history will be aware, accuracy is imperative for the field. A skill that shouldn’t be underestimated, for both a changing world and the world of business.  Skill combined with expert knowledge are two elements that make Clive stand out, add his business being both service and product based he naturally illustrates that his success as a freelancer is his diversification business model.

He just put his wings to the test……

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

A recent game of Trivial Pursuit and a newspaper article  (which incidentally has some very interesting comments attached) prompted the question, how did the Roman Empire manage to decline when they had so much at their disposal?

From our limited understanding, we’d believed that Roman society was built on its strengths of lateral thinking and being organised, which was supported by a bloodlust and the odd war. A seemingly strong society, so what brought the changes?

The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization is a recent addition to our bookshelf, in which Bryan Ward Perkins  makes comparisons about our current economic climate with that of the post-Roman Empire’s. It appears that it might in Perkin’s viewpoint, of material terms, be the weakened economy through lack of economic growth; necessarily  sustained through trade and investment.

Disconnection or connections?  Their decadence and corruption from within, or attacks from outside?  With examples of industry, such as pottery shrinking, coins disappearing and secure trading routes becoming dangerous, he may have a point.

It would seem that we’re back to balancing out the order and chaos.

(Image credit: Seier+Seier+Seier  Article credit: Copyright SUF)

From the unpredictable comes pattern and structure and, in the case of The Secret Life of Chaos, lots of psychedelic footage explaining how we got here.  What a stunning programme, showing, from a universe of dust came intelligent life, order from chaos.

Chaos Theory can be applied to all sorts of things from weather to the spread of disease, even for predicting trends in the stock market.  A mathematical concept illustrating random results from standard equations; with the theory that, even though events can appear to be unrelated, small occurrences affect outcome.

Do you see where this is going?

 Chaos follows in the wake of many situations and illustrates the confusion given off with chance happenings. Finance markets use Chaos in a different way; following a specific pattern and then allowing for changes in the variables.

Do you see where this is going?

With political and economic variables taken into account, determinations using Chaos theory in the finance markets are made with fluctuating information. The prediction is what could happen, given all the information available; including what has happened.

Do you see where this is going?

Although far from being scientists or traders, we take ‘chaotic behavior’ into account when determining our customers and clients solutions. We don’t have a theory other than self-organisation is feasible even when it might appear impossible. Understanding confusion stops the chaos: Order from Chaos.

(Image and Article  credit: Copyright SUF)


Credit, as distinct from money, is generally perceived as being the function of Banks and according to consumer campaigners Which?  in their focused campaign `Britain Needs Better Banks  almost two thirds of those questioned would be on the `hate it’  side, if the Banking System were the equivalent of Marmite.


Consumers depend on banking services and as Banks include: Retail Banks, Investment Banks, Insurance Companies, Building Societies, Private Banks and new or merger ones, that’s a lot of employees as part of the financial services industry.  All necessary as part of the economic recovery. 

Suggesting little optimism, Consensus Economics  forecasts growth from a high of 2 per cent to a low of 0.7 per cent. That’s, compared with other nations,  following a sluggish recovery.

So, `love it or hate it’  every little helps.

(Image credit: Mai Le  Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.

The difference between weather and climate  was much in the news this weekend. Complicated weather measurements are the information  that climate scientists need for their predictions whilst the climate of our economy is measured by its economic indicators .

Whether purchase or letting, depending upon the climate of finance, the environment responds and currently it appears to be those who can step-up to the property market and those who can’t; a Two-Tier system. As first-time buyers are becoming less able to get onto the housing market, the middle and top-end buyers are those remaining able to move around, therefore, it stands to reason, that a two-tier housing market is inevitable unless there is some support or change in the environment of home purchase. The lack of finance for first time buyers means that many can still not afford to climb onto the first rung of the ‘property ladder’ and nasty practice such as Gazumping  can be an indicator that the environment is changing.

For those at the start of home purchase it is going to get worse before it gets better,  by which we mean that although the availability of funding is likely to be deemed as more accessible, the criteria necessary to obtain such funding will become stricter. During the climate of excess borrowing some accessed finance to which, at that time, seemed achievable to repay but in the current environment has proved that a long term view hadn’t unfortunately been taken.

We used to feel out on the fringe with our attitude towards the environmental impact of climate change and the environment of finance, however, we stand firm in the belief that climate change can be an opportune and significant time for long term trends and attitudes to be changed in all areas of our lives.

(Image and Article Credit: Copyright SUF)

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