Millennials Reject Workplace Pension Opt Out

Millennials have embraced the new automatic enrolment in a workplace pension, according to research by Royal London. A survey found that 71% of Millennials decided not to opt out of the plan. A further 8% initially opted out but then returned to their workplace plan.

The news may ease fears that younger people do not see pension saving as important. Three quarters of Millennials said they would increase their pension payments automatically in line with a pay rise, while 40% plan to increase pension payments next year.

However, almost one third (28%) of Millennials do not know how much is being paid into their pension pot. More than half (57%) say they know they should be saving more towards retirement.

The ratio of contributions made by employees and employers also impacted on Millennials’ willingness to save. Around three quarters (74%) said they would continue to contribute 2% if their employer gave 3%; but if contributions rose to 8% with employees paying 5% and employers paying 3%, that figure dropped to two thirds (62%).

However, if employees and employers both gave 4% then 76% of Millennials would be willing to save on those terms.

Jamie Clark, Pensions Business Development Manager at Royal London said: “Providers, employers and financial advisers all have a duty to ensure employees are engaged in their future pension planning as soon as possible and fully understand the consequences of opting out of their workplace pension.”

The government is in the process of reviewing the automatic enrolment programme, in a bid to increase the number of people saving into a workplace pension. Royal London has recommended that contributions should be more than 8% of salary.

Reasons to Update a Printer Driver

If you think your printer is working less effectively than it did when you first purchased it, you may have a printer driver issue.  In fact, there are many issues that could occur with your printer over time, with some of the most common being due to software updates not being regularly completed.

One software that you should update regularly is the printer driver within your machine. This is the element that allows the computer operating system to communicate to the printer. Without it, the machine may not be able to print items that you’re adding to the queue.

In this guide, we’ve shared reasons why you should update a printer driver, along with the step-by-step guide that you can use to update the component:

Why are updates important?

When it comes to updating the machinery in your office, the printer driver is crucial. If it’s not done regularly or when an update is released, you could experience the following issues:

Printer disconnection

One of the most common issues that could occur with a printer driver that hasn’t been updated, is that the printer becomes disconnected from the computer operating system. If the driver is corrupted, missing or damaged, it would limit the connection and not allow files being sent from your device, to be printed.

Bugs or issues with the model

Another issue that could occur with your printer could be bugs. For example, issues may arise as a result of using a particular layout or font within the document, causing it to print incorrectly. However, updating the printer driver can flatten out these problems and reduce the amount of down-time that the model has.

Crashing devices

Because the printer driver’s main job is to allow the printer to communicate with your computer operating system, you may find that either device crashes when you’re attempting to send files. A key sign of an out-of-date driver, you should update it as soon as possible.

Updating the software

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to updating your printer driver. Due to each manufacturer building their printer differently, you may need to refer to your manufacturer’s handbook to find the best method to update the component.

However, some manufacturers offer online support to help you update the driver. For example, with a model such as the CLP-680DW Samsung laser printer, you can use the manufacturer’s website to locate the correct Samsung printer driver for the model. Alternatively, you could contact Samsung printer support for further assistance.

There’s also the option to renew your printer software manually using Windows Update. Offered by Microsoft as a service for Windows components, the printer driver will be automatically updated when the new software is being used.

Hopefully, you understand why it’s so important to regularly complete a printer driver update whenever the manufacturer releases new software. Remember that it could be the main reason behind an ineffective machine, so always update the driver before investigating any other issues.

How Teddy Sagi is taking on the UK

Teddy Sagi is on a bit of a spending spree. Earlier this year, the Playtech billionaire paid a massive £400 million for Camden Stables Market. Just a few weeks back, he poured another £90 million into the iconic Camden Lock Market.
Camden Lock

London Calling

He is only just getting started though. An Israeli national, Sagi is based in Tel Aviv but leads the sort of jet-setting life that you would expect of a billionaire bachelor. However, his acquisition of prime land in North London, coupled with a number of recent listings on the London Stock Exchange, have led many to wonder whether the British capital may play a larger role in Sagi’s future business plans.

teddysagiplaytech

It certainly seems that way. Playtech itself has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2006, and is now listed as a FTSE 250 company. Over the past few years, Sagi himself has spearheaded two high profile IPOs on the London Stock Exchange: SafeCharge International Group plc and Crossrider Ltd.

Regulation watch

Sagi’s financial ties to the UK are obvious, but his long-term connections to London are perhaps more apparent in his commitment to following the UK’s increasingly strict gaming legislation and regulations. Recent laws, such as the US’ Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, have forced companies as Playtech to launch new brands or make adjustments to their business plans in order to obtain their operating licences. Sagi has made every effort to be at the forefront of the UK’s gambling regulation.

As a result, Playtech is now ready to launch a slew of new products on the regulated UK market, which are set to raise Sagi’s profile in the UK even further.

One upcoming venture is Titanbet Casino, a new Playtech-developed brand which has been specifically created for the regulated market in UK. Although the site does not yet have its licence in the UK, it is expected to happen in the very near future.

Global Domination

After this, who knows? The latest rumours suggest that Sagi is harbouring an interest in the UK football scene – football in particular. According to multiple sources, he is said to be considering a takeover bid on the English Championship football team Reading FC.

Meanwhile, market watchers are watching Sagi for hints as to his next move. In September, Playtech announced the £8 million acquisition of Aristocrat Lotteries, suggesting an expansion into the video lottery terminal (VLT) marketplace.

And then of course, there is the small matter of those 12.5 acres of prime real estate in Camden. While it is likely that Sagi will continue to maintain the existing market set-up, the possibilities are endless. City centre mansion, or gaming headquarters? Sagi is nothing if not innovative, and the world will be watching as his domination of the UK continues.

US Federal Reserve bank and tapering: what does it mean?

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Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, introduced ‘tapering’ during the conclusion of the two-day meeting when each arm of the Federal Reserve bank met this week. However, not many people understand the meaning or usage of the word in this instance, so here is a brief description.

During the financial crisis in mid-2008, the Federal Reserve, or the Fed, cut interest rates to nearly zero percent in an attempt to stimulate the economy; however, unemployment continued to remain high. So the question was: How does the Federal Reserve continue to stimulate the economy without cutting interest rates?

The answer was to pump money into the economy directly by using quantitative easing.

The Fed launched its third round of quantitative easing in late 2012, when it began purchasing long-term US Treasuries and Mortgage backed securities (government debt and mortgage bonds) in order to cut borrowing costs and force cash back into the system. Tapering is the process of slowing or lowering these purchases.

According to BBC Business news, this Wednesday the Fed announced that it was tapering, or scaling back, those purchases from $85 billion dollars a month down to $75 billion dollars a month.

Managing partner at Landcolt Capital, Todd Schoenberger, noted, ‘A ten Billion dollar change won’t be missed. It won’t impact the economy. A change this small is almost like it had done nothing at all.’

Further tapering is dependent upon how the economy responds. But why Now?

The decision to taper is an indicator that the Fed believes the United States economy is gaining strength. Recent data shows that economic growth increased its pace 3.6% in the third quarter, and unemployment fell to 7% percent, which is a five-year low.

The S&P 500 closed at a record-high this past Wednesday, largely due to the Federal Reserve’s decision.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones rose 1.8 percent. Europe followed the United States’ lead and the CAC-40 in France closed 1.6 percent higher, and the FTSE 100 closed up a full 1.4%.

 

Keep up-to-date with what’s happening on the financial markets: http://www.ig.com/uk/market-news-and-analysis

 

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The 4 Surprises About Mortgage Applications That Most People Don’t Know About

If you haven’t applied for a mortgage before, you probably don’t realise that the application packet can be more than 100 pages. With this many pages, it can often be hard to skim through every little word to understand what everything means. Since you’re dealing with a lot of money, it’s important that you know about any surprise that may come out to bite you and potentially kill the deal.

A Valuation Kills the Deal

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will want to know what the home is worth. In order to get this number, they will have to order a valuation to get a fair market value. If the value comes back lower than your offer, the buyer will either have to cough up the difference or scrap the deal.

You Get to Choose the Loan

Many future applicants often think that they have to sign up for a mortgage the bank throws their way. Thankfully, this isn’t the case. When you apply for a loan, you’re going to want to choose the mortgage that fits your budget and lifestyle. Almost all lenders now have a repayment mortgage calculator which you can use to work out your repayments. Some of the most common types of mortgage include: fixed rate, tracker, discount and offset. Make sure that you explore every option to know their advantages and disadvantages.

Tougher Financial Standards

In the past, when the economy was booming, applying for a mortgage couldn’t have been easier. As the economy started to tank, many banks started applying stricter guidelines.

Today, banks are looking for a higher credit score, a larger deposit and a credible work history that can be verified. One of the biggest reasons mortgages get declined is because the buyer either has a poor credit score or can’t come up with a large enough deposit.

Generally, as long as you have a high credit score, a 20 percent deposit and you’ve been working with a job for more than two years, you should have a great chance at getting an approval letter from the bank.

Rates Can Rise

The loan rate you see on your application today doesn’t mean you’re going to be paying that for life. Some interest rates, such as a tracker mortgage, can increase with the current market conditions. While it may be tempting to be lured to the lower interest rates in the beginning, keep in mind that this rate can raise in the future, potentially costing you thousands in interest.

When you apply for a mortgage, don’t sign any paperwork until you understand what you’re getting yourself into. It’s also important that you know the important questions to ask lenders, so that you can make the right decision. If you don’t feel comfortable with the process, consider hiring a professional to help guide you along with the process.

Printing solutions for every department

The way that people work has changed immeasurably over the past decade, thanks in large part to the emergence of technology such as cloud computing.

It means that employees are increasingly able to work remotely and are no longer limited to the office. Even though they may be miles away, they’re always connected.

Staying in touch on the move

Employees no longer expect to have to come into the office to send emails, print documents and write proposals. The advent of mobile hardware, whether that is a laptop, phone or tablet device, means staff can work no matter where they are.

Problems arise when businesses don’t keep pace with the latest technology. A solid IT infrastructure should make people’s jobs both quicker and easier, and ultimately put a company ahead of the competition.

Companies need to decide what technology their employees need

Businesses need to consider how their employees work and what kind of technology will fit their needs. Sales people, for instance, are likely to need mobile devices to access emails while they’re on the move. They may be doing sales pitches, attending meetings and going to trade fairs, and in any one of these scenarios they need to be remotely connected to the office.

Clients will often want print-outs of presentations and this is where cloud printing comes into its own.

A file is sent securely over the web and as long as the printer the document is being sent to is connected to the cloud, it’s as easy as selecting file/print. It really is simple; as long as you have an internet connection, you can print.

In another scenario, there may be employees who will need to take hard-copy documents to a meeting. Rather than waiting to get into the office, they can be printed on the commute into work from a mobile device to the office printer, ready to pick up on arrival.

Printing from phones

There are plenty of scenarios where employees will want to print from their phone. If a member of staff is in the car and remembers that they need some documents printed out for a meeting, for example. As long as the device they’re printing to is e-print enabled, it’s simply a case of downloading an app to allow printing from their mobile.

Digital printing

Marketing departments can make use of digital printers which will allow them to produce high-quality artwork for flyers, posters, direct-mail pieces, case studies and brochures.

It makes sense to bring digital printing capabilities in-house as in the long-run it is much cheaper to produce artwork from the office, rather than relying on a third-party company. It also means there’s no waiting around and if it doesn’t look right first time, it can be amended and re-printed immediately.

Artwork often has to be produced to tight timescales and missing a mail-out deadline because the company used for printing didn’t deliver can be immensely frustrating, not to mention costly. If a company has all the technology in-house, the only stress is getting the finished product to the post office on time.

So, there really are print solutions for all scenarios and to match every department’s needs. Getting this part of the business right can make a really big difference to the big picture.

Companies such as Kyocera that produce document solutions are worth taking a look at as they may be able to provide a complete printing solution.

Coastal Communities Fund extended

The UK government has announced that its Coastal Communities Fund is increasing. The five per cent rise in capital will extend the pot to £29 million and it will now continue until 2016.

Launched in 2012, the fund is designed to improve the economic viability of the country’s seaside towns and villages, especially those that are much in need of regeneration.

The Centre for Social Justice think tank has conducted research that backs this up, revealing recently that seaside towns are not making any progress and therefore are suffering from “severe social breakdown”.

By boosting the economic potential of these important regions, there is real scope for big-time investors to use services like PropertySales and pump cash into commercial properties, which will ensure that any developments that take place do so with a lasting legacy in mind.

“The fund will support around 5,000 jobs and has created hundreds of opportunities for local apprentices in new charitable, entrepreneurial or social enterprise schemes,” commented Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.

“Growing marine revenues from the Crown Estate have allowed us to increase the fund by five per cent and I urge projects to get their bids ready for round three when it opens next year.”

Recent figures from the office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that there is a lot of work to be done and therefore a considerable amount of potential for commercial investment, be it hotels for sale or retail outlets.

For example, the ONS stated that 25 of the 31 “large” English seaside towns have above average levels of deprivation. This includes places like Clacton, Skegness, Hastings and Blackpool.

In restoring seaside towns and villages to their former glorious selves and bringing them fully into the 21st century, the government expects to see more business opportunities emerge, for local employment to see significant growth and for local people to benefit professionally and personally.

The Coastal Communities Fund requires tenders to outline a detailed regeneration plan, and projects have to show how they will meet a commons set of goals. One of the key criteria that has to be met is showing how “coastal communities are better able to use their assets (physical, natural, social, economic and cultural) to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs”.

Some of the activities supported involve maintaining and developing tourist infrastructure; creating new workplaces that help to support and grow local economies; improving small-scale and sustainable transport initiatives; and investing in social enterprises that make better use of local assets.

“Many seaside towns have particular challenges and the Coastal Communities Fund is another way we’re helping them tap into new business opportunities, creating jobs and new skills that will benefit the whole community,” explained Greg Clark, financial secretary to the Treasury.

“Through measures like the Coastal Communities Fund, City Deals and work with Local Enterprise Partnerships we’re putting civic leaders, residents, local businesses and civil society organisations in the driving seat; helping seaside towns around the country strengthen their local economy.”

 

How businesses can learn promotional strategies from tourist boards

Companies are constantly looking for new ways to improve image and will often employ a wide range of different marketing strategies at any one time to keep things fresh. Email marketing and direct mail are two of the most common methods that can be used to entice new and keep current customers. However, there is no hard and fast way to go about painting your brand in a positive light and firms can often learn as much from other companies and rivals as they can glean from their own marketing efforts.

Tourist boards are brilliant at depicting the location they are promoting as a perfect holiday destination, and some of their tactics can be mirrored in any form of business. They can paint a picture of the area’s best features, which in turn brings in revenue, so why not try to use some of the same approaches?

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Tourist boards have never been afraid to experiment in other countries in order to gain as much exposure as possible. For instance, last November, the agency Curb Media worked on behalf of the Swiss tourist board to install large blocks of ice around London to promote winter tourism in the Central European country.

Ice blocks were put in busy places such as Canary Wharf, Broadgate’s Fulcrum sculpture, Westfield Shopping Centre and St Pancras Station. Each one depicted Swiss glaciers and represented one of the five ski regions of the country. In addition, there were 75 Swiss flag cards surrounding each block and anyone that freed a card from the melting ice had an opportunity to win a winter holiday to Switzerland.

Get your brand message right

Whatever types of marketing method you use, it is the message that you must get absolutely spot on if you are to get people onside. This means that companies – just as tourist boards do – need to promote the most important details of the services the company provides and what they can expect from you. Tourist boards aim to show off the different activities that visitors can take part in while on holiday in that country, and so firms should show the services that they would provide to any potential customer. You should be attempting to provide an image of the products and services that help to make you an industry leader in your sector.

Companies should brainstorm the different things that help to make their services stand out against their rivals and show these off in marketing communications.

Highlight your best features

Some tourist boards will have millions to spend every year on marketing methods to paint their area in a positive light. Think about how much money it would cost Visit California for their recurring TV adverts that feature scores of big-name celebrities telling viewers about the joys of a holiday in the US state. Indeed, people such as Rob Lowe and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have appeared in the adverts.

While your company may not have the budget that Visit California does, it is vitally important that you highlight the features that make your brand great. In marketing communications, paint a portrait of your firm in the best possible light. Companies can also paint their products in a positive light by offering out promotional items such as polo shirts. 4imprint has a wide range such items to choose from.

Lloyds TSB Bank and Bank of Scotland fined total of GBP28m by FCA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that certain Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) firms did not properly control higher risk features in financial incentive schemes for their staff, which resulted in advisers selling products to customers that they did not need or want in order to maintain or increase their salaries and earn bonuses.

The FCA, a regulatory body for the financial services industry in the UK, revealed on Wednesday that it has fined Lloyds TSB Bank plc GBP16,407,343 and Bank of Scotland plc GBP11,631,501, a total of GBP28,038,844 and the largest ever fine imposed by the FCA, for failing to ensure that their systems and controls were sufficient to mitigate risks in staff incentive schemes. Branches of Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland and Halifax (part of Bank of Scotland) were affected by the failings.

Lloyds incentive schemes reportedly led to a serious risk that sales staff were pressurised to meet targets to receive a bonus or avoid demotion, which resulted in customers being sold financial products that they did not need or require. For example, a Lloyds TSB adviser on a mid-level salary who failed to reach 90% of their target over a period of 9 months could have their base annual salary reduced from GBP33,706 to GBP25,927. If an advisor was demoted by two levels, their base pay would drop to GBP18,189, which would have equated to nearly half their salary being cut. One adviser is said to have sold protection products to himself, his wife and a colleague to prevent himself from being demoted.

The FCA added that the fine was also increased by 10% because the previous regulator, the FSA, had warned about the use of poorly managed incentive schemes over several years. Also, a previous disciplinary record, including an FSA fine on Lloyds TSB Bank plc for the unsuitable sale of bonds in 2003, was caused in part by the general pressure to meet sales targets. However an early stage settlement has been agreed, which means the firms qualified for a 20% discount. Without this discount the fines would have amounted to GBP35,048,556.

Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, stated:

“The findings do not make pleasant reading. Financial incentive schemes are an important indicator of what management values and a key influence on the culture of the organisation, so they must be designed with the customer at the heart. The review of incentive schemes that we published last year makes it quite clear that this is something to which we expect all firms to adhere. “Customers have a right to expect better from our leading financial institutions and we expect firms to put customers first – but firms will never be able to do this if they incentivise their staff to do the opposite.

“Both Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland have made substantial changes, and the reviews of sales and the redress now being made should right many of these wrongs.”

Why retirement living is replacing care homes

When people think of retirement, the old approach of care homes is not often met positively. Retirement living, on the other hand, has a much more positive image attached to it – and it’s easy to see why.

Retirement living offers many benefits and advantages that simply outmatch care homes – the key reason why they are overtaking the older method and becoming more and more popular across the country. If you haven’t already considered either your own or your parents retirement, these benefits should help show you why this new approach is the much better way to go.

Independent space

Living this way gives you your own home, not just a room. There is something to be said for being able to get up and walk around freely in the private comfort of your own sanctuary. With houses for sale at McCarthy and Stone specialising in these types of property for prospective pensioners, this is a very easy reality to get hold of.

The difference between this and your own home is practicality. These apartments and buildings are found in suitable areas with additional services and everything else you may need. A typical home could be anywhere and, more often than not, simply unsuited for the role. The few tweaks that retirement living homes provide makes all the difference.

Everything you need

Even if you can’t immediately see it, retired living has all the services offered by care homes – only without sacrificing space or freedom. Assisted living doesn’t need to restrict you to one room in a complex, as you can easily have your own home with as much or as little care as you need.

In other words, this lets you retain freedom and independence as much as possible, only being assisted when you need it, rather than being constantly restricted. Likewise, going to places that specialise in retirement homes means security and safety are also taken care of, as these are natural concerns that anyone looks for in a new home at any age.

The point here is that you get the help you need without being undermined or patronised. An estimated 1.3 million elderly people are cognitively impaired or disabled in England and Wales and for them this support is vital.

Choice

Finally, all of these points add up to the one simple fact – choice. With such a home, you can go out or stay in when you want, do what pleases you and generally look after yourself. When you live near others, you also have the option to socialise as much or as little as you desire. In other words, it’s your life and retirement living ensures that is how it stays.