Expert view

Double up to win

By David Pearl, January 6, 2011

I learned early on in my career that it would be almost impossible to make it big in property on my own. I was good at finding the right stock but finding the cash hasn't always been easy. That hasn't changed. Everybody knows that at the moment, the banks are reluctant to lend in any significant way.

I did my first joint venture when I was 20. I found a property, approached someone I knew to put up the money, bought it, turned it and split the profit - all on a handshake. Imagine.


Poor times for pound

By Ben Amrany, December 29, 2010

Another year has passed and 2010 has certainly been a rocky one for sterling exchange rates. The pound lost significant ground against the majority of major currencies. We saw it fluctuate by around 13.5 per cent against the US Dollar - from around $1.6457 to a low of $1.4227 - and 12 per cent against the Euro - from €1.239 to a low of €1.09. As for the Israeli shekel, it has fluctuated 12.85 per cent, from NIS6.1368 to a low of NIS5.348. In fact, against most of the world's major economies, sterling has weakened - up to a maximum of 15 per cent against the Japanese Yen.


New year, new rules

By Jonathan Morris, December 22, 2010

As we wind down for the festive break, it seems almost rude to mention topics such as "bribery" and "corruption". However, with the new Bribery Act coming into force in April, it is critical that businesses are fully prepared for its implementation. Otherwise, they may find themselves with some unpleasant surprises.

The Bribery Act 2010 provides a complete overhaul of anti-corruption law in the UK by repealing the common law offence of bribery as well as various statutory offences dating as far back as 1889. Instead, we will now have four categories of offences:


Have emerging markets emerged?

By Elissa Bayer, December 16, 2010

At what point will we say that the emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) have arrived?

Clearly, we are besieged with information as to what these countries are doing, who they are trading with and how their middle classes are prospering and buying up luxury goods at a phenomenal rate.

Burberry's recent figures, among others, reflect this and with over 50 shops overseas and more planned, they are one of the great success stories of 2010.


Pensions revealed

By Ros Altmann, December 9, 2010

Have you managed to keep up with the pension reform proposals? With so much going on, I thought it useful to summarise the government's plans.

How much can you contribute to your pension? New limits for pensions tax relief will mean contributions of up to £50,000 a year receiving full tax relief, while the lifetime limit on accumulated pension funds will be cut from £1.8 million to £1.5 million - but anyone already over the limit should be protected. So top-rate tax relief remains an extremely attractive incentive for pension savings.


Keep afloat on the currency waves

By Ben Amrany, November 18, 2010

Anyone thinking of buying an overseas property will know that currency fluctuations can be extremely volatile, making transferring large sums of money very stressful.

From when you initially make an offer on a property to the time of completion, the exchange rate can swing significantly, making that home considerably more expensive than you had budgeted for. This has certainly been the case in recent times against most major currencies.


Tax: not all bad news for small companies

By Harris Frazer, November 12, 2010

Here's an opportunity that small business owners should not miss.

As a director of a small private company you will have worked hard to build your business and provide a quality of life for you and your family, and you would want them to continue to enjoy that security if anything happened to you.

So you may well have life assurance to cover this eventuality.


It's a blame game

By Emily Lew, October 22, 2010

By now we are all used to hearing news of falling house prices, rising unemployment, and deepening recession. And although there have also been recent predictions of economic green shoots, many businesses have suffered as a result of the credit crunch.

But there are some industries that have profited from the market events of the past couple of years. Insolvency practitioners, low-end supermarkets and litigation lawyers are all examples of these.


Confidence is key in the property world

By Jonathan Cantor, October 14, 2010

Whilst there has been an upturn in activity in the UK commercial property sector since mid-2009, there is a view that investor sentiment towards the sector has cooled and we may be heading towards a period of consolidation.

The performance of the property sector has national significance, with it being estimated that nearly half of all commercial investment property is owned for the purpose of providing returns to UK pension funds and other personal saving schemes.


This dip is merely a mid-cycle slowdown

By Paul Mann, October 7, 2010

The st Leger, the 234-year-old horse race run in September, frames that British adage, "sell in May and go away until St Leger's day". This implies that we don't buy equity markets over the summer when volumes are low and prices likely to fall. With the season over and everyone back at their desks, markets are meant to pick up. Not so this year, as the FTSE 100 actually rose approximately 2.75 per cent during this period.