Business December 29, 2014
The private equity dealmaker is now playing defensive after not been able to turn round City Link. Probably, the 2,760 workers may be saved from losing jobs at the parcel delivery business with the taxpayers picking up the redundancy bill over next few days.
Every possible way was explored to save the company that collapsed on Christmas Eve, says Jon Moulton, founder of City Link’s owner Better Capital.
Talking to FT Jon added he lost his own money too in several million pounds.
As the company is now insolvent, the employees will be referred to government’s statutory redundancy payments scheme, said administrator Ernst & Young. In such circumstances this type of arrangement is believed to be standard.
Meanwhile, general secretary of RMT union speaks in a different tone. Mick Cash said such situation has happened due to the state of industry in Britain today. Writing to the administrators last night he urged to hold off issuing the redundancy notices as talks with business secretary Vince Cable is still to take place who had earlier agreed in meeting the unions in new year.
Apart from all these, on Monday morning the City Link employees have announced holding up demonstration outside the depot in Glasgow.
RMT has mentioned a figure of 2,000 employees losing jobs this week, but Ernst & Young declines on the number as substantial redundancies would be taking place in next few days under which some of the staff will be retained for up to three months.Read more
Business December 2, 2014
On Monday it was announced that RealtyWealth.com have launched the very first commercial real estate crowdfunding platform focused entirely on U.S STNL (Single Tenant Net Lease) investments.
The platform has been invented with the intention of giving investors the opportunity to invest in corporate approved, institutional standard, long-term lease properties from some of the world’s most illustrious and recognised credit rated tenants such as McDonalds, Walmart, Walgreens and Starbucks. Accredited investors both in the United States and countries such as the United Kingdom, India, China, South Africa and the U.S’ neighbour Canada have been specifically targeted for the use of this new platform.
Furthermore, RealtyWealth is the first portal that offers a flow of realty investments to investors across the globe that are looking for the assurances, stability and yields that US real estate assets provide. Over recent years, Chinese investors in particular have been active in the US commercial property market, resulting in a major jump in investments between 2012 and 2013. Real analytics have predicted that investments can reach as much as $10 billion when then statistics for 2014 are revealed.
The crowdfunding market has seen significant development over the past six months, further justifying the introduction of RealtyWealth.com, who are looking to reap the rewards of greater interest from owners, investors, developers and intermediaries. RealtyWealth.com will have been buoyed by the success of competitors such as Real Estate Tech Startups who have raised over $700 million since 2012. Fellow peer sites Fundraise and Realty Mogul have also seen success come their way, which both boasting Series A valuations of over $100 million.
Key marketing relationships with international consumer sites such as Juwai.com, who are the most established investment portal for US & UK properties in China, will allow RealtyWealth to take advantage of the foreign investor wave, and form further partnership in South Africa, North America, South America and India.
The co-founder and president of Strategic Business development at RealtyWealth, Sam Vogel, speaking on the role of the company stated, “RealtyWealth.com operates as an aggregator of local and foreign investors typically seeking stable US-based Real Estate Investments.”
Speaking about the benefits of the portal, Vogel claimed, “These STNL products offer long-term, corporate-backed, passive income with an inflation and currency hedge to our investors.”
STNL as well as NNN (Triple Net Lease) investments provide security and investments that consist of long term leases which are guaranteed and approved by a corporate tenant. The responsibilities held by a corporate tenant are monumental, and these include responsibilities over insurance, maintenance and all incidentals including taxes. There are a number of leases however that have rental increases over time as they attempt to keep up-to-date with inflating prices, allowing investors to write off any depreciation of the property has against tax.
Family Offices, Hedge Funds, REITS and UHNW for years and years have been taking advantage of these investments, but there are still a low number of investors who know the main merits of real estate investments, with less than 10% of the 8.7 million accredited investors knowing the advantages that are to be gained from it.
“Compare investing in Starbucks stock at 1.6% dividend with the market risk involved versus acquiring a corporate backed Starbucks lease and achieving returns of 6 to 7% unlevered,” said RealtyWealth’s co-founder and chief executive, Bryan Smith, speaking on NNN investments.
This unique and innovative platform will allow investors from all corners of the globe to go online and make investments, follow portfolios, review properties, review states and analyse earnings and tax information.Read more
On the 30th of June of this year new laws were put in place to give UK employees the legal right to request flexible working hours. Britain’s more successful and larger businesses have yet to be greatly affected by the new legislation, but for the small and medium sized businesses, the impact could drastically affect employee workload and routine.
A study conducted by YouGov on behalf of Citrix has suggested that before the law came to fruition, 43% of SMB decision makers supported the legislation, with 21% believing that it wouldn’t benefit their business in any way.
Minster’s suggested that flexible working hours would allow employees to focus equally on both their job and their responsibilities at home, which should result in more people staying in long-term employment. Employers are now forced to deal with all requests for flexible working hours in a ‘reasonable manner’, but are still allowed to reject the request if they have good reason to do so. By not cooperating with the employee who placed the request in a reasonable manner then the employer is in danger of being taken to an employment tribunal, which could have major repercussions for the business.
Age is a major benefactor in the contrasting results in the survey, with 68% of people between the age of 25 and 34 supporting the new legislation. Perhaps this proves that the split opinion on the new law may not be an employer/employee conflict, but instead it may be a clash in generations. Older employees and employers may be unwilling to accept change as they would have not be exposed to such freedoms earlier on in their career and it will disrupt a routine they have been used to for years.
Stepping away from the age debate, 23% of employers believe that trust issues between employees and higher management will arise in the long-term due to the uncertainty employers will have over their employee’s working commitments and whether the same amount of focus will be maintained with flexible hours.
There are figures that eliminate that argument however, as a survey conducted by Chess Media Group state that 85% of employees who have been successful with their requests have reported that their work productivity has increased, raising the argument that the added freedom to an employee’s working week allows more time for recuperation which ultimately revitalises them to perform more efficiently from a working perspective. 77% of the employees in the survey stated that they were more satisfied with their job with a fellow 68% stating that they were happier in their role. These statistics may read well for employers, but in the long term it is likely to encourage other employees to follow suit and could eventually lead to flexible working hours being normality, rather than the traditional 9-5 working day.
Employee happiness was key to the introduction of the law, so with statistics backing up the increased number of happy employees within the workplace, employers of SMBs will have to look into ways of adjusting their employee plan to fit the current rulings.
Infographic by GoToMeeting.co.uk
With more than a third of new marriages beginning online, it’s safe to say that the internet is changing the face of dating – for the better.
More and more people are connecting with potential partners through the web, with statistics showing that individuals who meet their significant other online have happier, more fulfilled relationships than those who meet offline.
UK web based acquisition company Navci Ltd has announced its acquisition of online dating site Date Hero, which aims to unite gamer men and women from across the world.
Daniel Leahy, Managing Director of Navci Ltd, said: “Gaming is renowned as a solitary pastime but it needn’t be – Date Hero allows likeminded gamers to connect, share experiences and maybe even find love as they bond over a shared love of video games.”
According to figures, the average gamer is 34 years old and spends approximately 8 hours a week indulging their passion for console or computer games. While many 30-somethings work full-time jobs and have little time to look for love, websites like Date Hero make it easy to combine the endeavour with a gaming hobby.
Date Hero has a growing base of more than 200,000 members and Navci Ltd hopes to extend this figure further. Mr Leahy added: “This acquisition is a fantastic opportunity to break into the online dating market and also the growing gaming community; Navci Ltd long-term plan is to invest in growing markets like these.”
Notes for editors:
The German government and NGOs are overwhelmed. Following serious failings on both the part of the German government and other countries in respect of the current Ebola crisis, the question is whether it is already too late to stop a pandemic. For a country as rich as Germany, the current level of assistance – mere tens of millions – is nothing short of disgraceful or even shameful. The aid provided corresponds to just 0.05% of Germany’s GDP. The initiative announced by the Defence Minister may be a ray of hope, with several thousand German volunteers (both from the armed forces and reservists) already having responded to her call. This deserves a great deal of respect.
However, it is not possible to describe the assistance provided by Germany to the African countries affected as even remotely appropriate or effective – and that’s without going into irritating side issues such as transport planes that were unfit for purpose and amateurish flight planning. The fact that Germany only managed to deliver aid to west Africa on 3 October 2014 is the result of a string of personal and political failures. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that the German government seems to have completely misjudged the humanitarian, social and economic risks posed by an Ebola pandemic (including for its own country), or has simply shown too little empathy for the people suffering and dying in Africa. Various NGOs have long been pleading for an appropriate German response – sadly to no avail.
It is mostly thanks to the President of the United States that many countries now seem to have got their act together. This is the first time ever that the UN Security Council has declared a disease a threat to world peace. The United Nations now estimate that a budget of some 1 billion US dollars is required to effectively combat the epidemic. In the view of Papmehl Management Consulting, this is probably only the amount required to deliver an appropriate emergency response. If Ebola ends up spreading around the world like wildfire, even 10 billion US dollars will probably only be a drop in the ocean. The UN resolution was backed by 130 member states, which in itself could cause problems from the beginning.
This is because the situation requires a highly intelligent, creative and interdisciplinary approach to crisis management (and not convoluted voting procedures). We will not be able to overcome the challenges of today (or tomorrow) with the crisis management instruments of yesterday. In terms of Germany, direct dialogue has revealed that neither the Federal Government nor the Defence Minster nor NGOs (such as Médecins Sans Frontières) have appreciated the following:
Whilst medical and humanitarian assistance are vital, they represent only one side of the coin. Also required is professional, wide-ranging and creative communication on the ground. This should include, for example, general information on the Ebola epidemic, concrete hygiene recommendations and specific guidelines on what to do. It should be accompanied by measures such as short checklists with the most important steps to take. In other words, everything people need to do to limit the spread of Ebola, i.e. the responsible behaviours they can adopt. People in West Africa urgently need professional training and information to help them reach the goals outlined. Furthermore, the same people have to be persuaded and motivated to train and inform others in their local area.
The taskforce approach taken in Liberia is a huge step in the right direction, i.e. the one described here. The main aim is to implement tried-and-tested instruments such as the train-the-trainer approach in West Africa. In the experience of Papmehl Management Consulting, it is necessary to educate at least 5 – 15% of the population in this way. Otherwise, it seems unlikely that the train-the-trainer approach can be successfully implemented, which would also result in the intended goals not being attained. For a country like Sierra Leone alone, this means a huge number of people have to be educated – at least 280,000. It is possible, however, to accompany the initiative with intelligent communication concepts (Internet, Facebook, TV, radio, print, etc.) Due to the state of the information infrastructure in Africa, it may be worth considering traditional but effective approaches, such as market criers (from the Middle Ages). After all, the idea is to find simple and effective solutions on the ground. In addition, curfews (or similar measures) should be imposed in affected areas. Curfews are a pragmatic and highly effective solution, and have already been used in Sierra Leone (passed by Presidential decree).
According to a current Lancaster University study, the likelihood of an Ebola case in Great Britain within the next three weeks stands at 50%. In France, the risk is as high as 75%. However, we do possibly have the first ebola cases in the EU (France, Macedonia, Spain). Nevertheless, the risk of the disease spreading rapidly within the EU is, at least for now, under control; if we can trust statements of the Government. West Africa is home to many Indians and people of Indian descent. Were an infected Indian to travel back home (or to another highly populous region) and infect others on the plane or on the ground (say in an Indian slum), then it would be too late to stop a worldwide pandemic. It is the view of Papmehl Management Consulting that the resulting catastrophe will be of nothing less than biblical proportions. It is currently not even possible to foresee the humanitarian, social and economic impacts of such a catastrophe. As Germans, we will then be left wondering why we responded in such a hesitant, unprofessional and stingy manner.
Exhibition’s that are arranged to bring together numerous organisations from the same sector and place them all under one roof is what is commonly known as a trade fair.
These particular events are great places for people to create working relationships and are a perfect platform to network. Direct contact in person between suppliers and customers can the put the wheels of the working relationship in motion. Trade shows and exhibitions are constantly increasing in popularity around the world and it isn’t unexpected that businesses pay great attention to ensuring that their messages are delivered in the correct manner.
As an organisation that works with businesses all over Europe who attend these trade shows RollUpBanner.com were delighted to announce that they have worked on a roll up banner for Ericsson LG. They printed, designed and dispatched a popup exhibition display in addition to working closely with the client that is located in Canada.
Whilst they worked with their client, they had to ensure that extremely tight deadlines were met and plenty of care went into the details behind the build and design of the display. Time constraints meant that their internal design team and manufacturing team having to coordinate even more effectively.
The delivery of the display was perfect and they expressed their joy at being given the opportunity of working on such a satisfying project with the eventual outcome being a display high in resolution and engaging in its impact. The graphics on large banners and displays needed to be done in an organised and professional manner. The reason behind this is that with these large displays there is more often not the presence of joins. If done to a high quality, these joins would only be visible under a microscope.
This particular banner for Ericsson LG was completed with a satin over laminate which was used to add greater saturation of colour which added the protection that would then help minimise any glare from inside the exhibition hall in Amsterdam, where it was delivered.
In the same exhibition, RollUpBanner.com presented another piece of work for the sister company of Ericsson which is based in Belfast, Ireland. They had a collection of larger pop exhibition stands which were home to many fantastic looking pop up banners.Read more
Business September 17, 2014
The United Kingdom have certainly left there imprint in Brussels with the appointment of Lord Jonathan Hill as the chief of financial services in the European Commission.
The appointment, which has somewhat been well known since July of this year, is still considered rather unexpected considering fact that the former leader of the House of Lords is a relatively unknown figure outside of Westminster. There were a number of former senior ministers that were tipped for a nomination, including Lord Howard and Andrew Lansley, but instead it was Lord Hill who was given the nod and now the his position of EU commissioner has been confirmed.
His new post will be a huge boost for the UK, after Prime Minister David Cameron had originally feared that New European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Hill’s new boss, would discard his nomination, after Cameron opposed Juncker’s stand for election earlier this year.
David Cameron, who was in Scotland campaigning against Scottish Independence, spoke about the importance of the appointment for the United Kingdom by stating, “I think that is a great piece of news because 40 per cent of Europe’s financial services industry is in the United Kingdom.” He also said it would also be very beneficial to have someone working “right at the heart of the European Commission”, as it would help make sure that the financial service industry in Britain could continue to get stronger and stronger.
Lord Hill expressed his honour at the appointment and welcomed the responsibility that comes with running a majorly powerful new department within the European Commission and he believes that this department will eventually reshape this significantly important sector within the European economy. With revenues rising all the time, as David Hennah wrote for MISYS, it is incredibly important for Hill to start his new reign as efficiently as possible.
Hill, speaking on his targets for his new post stated, “Nothing is more important in the years ahead than creating the right conditions for jobs and growth, and I look forward to playing my part in that task and in building a stronger Europe.”
Hill is under oath to not take any demands from any government and that he should act solely in the interests of the European Union, and not the United Kingdom.Read more
Business September 16, 2014
The UK’s leading Video Conferencing Integrator, VideoCentric, announced today that they have the capability to demonstrate the entire Cisco SX Series range, including the Cisco SX10, SX20 and SX80 video collaboration endpoints. This has been fully integrated into their multi-vendor video demonstration suite and customers can now easily compare each system against each of their comparable competitor endpoints in an entirely unbiased and live environment.
The VideoCentric HQ facilities in Berkshire have hosted fully collaborative demonstrations that have been expanded to include each of the SX series endpoints next to one of every other mainstream video conferencing system, desktop video client and mobile video client integrated into each of the world’s leading Video Communication Network system and Unified Communications Platforms.
The new Cisco SpeakerTrack 60 dual camera tracking system has been installed on the Cisco TelePresence SX80, which automatically tracks the most active people in the meeting and will zoom in on them when necessary. The company is also able to demonstrate the SX80 in two other ways, firstly, controlled using Cisco’s new Touch-10 LCD panel which is supplied as standard with the SX80 and secondly, using AMX’s latest panoramic control unit for larger rooms which VideoCentric’s in-house programming experts design and program multiple external devices that also need to be controlled.
Emily Shimell, speaking about the exhibition stated, “We are really excited to now be able to demonstrate the full Cisco SX Series at our premises.” She then went further on to say, “The SX20, since its release in 2011 has always proved to be a huge hit with customers looking for the highest quality video collaboration experience for meeting spaces and boardrooms, but now the SX80 also provides for those customers needing even higher integration capabilities, and the SX10 providing for customers with smaller spaces and lower budgets.”
The facilities include Polycom Real Presence and the virtualised UVC platform from Lifesize as well as the Cisco video network components. Each endpoint & infrastructure platform is then integrated with both Microsoft Lync 2010 and 2013, and then is directly demonstratable with different technologies including Pexip, BlueJeans and Vidyo.
“We have always strived to provide a comprehensive demonstration facility where each customer can feel comfortable in trying out the full range of solutions available on the market, without any bias from one manufacturer. With every system going through stringent testing with our expert technical & sales team before adding to our suite, customers can be assured that they leave understanding both the benefits and drawbacks of each solution, it’s suitability for their individual organisations requirements and most importantly, how it can be expertly supported for years to come,” Shimell later went on to suggest.Read more
Business September 16, 2014
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and GABRIEL (Gathering Better Regulatory Information Electronically), an online regulatory reporting system for validation, collection and storage of regulatory data. Lombard Risk Management plc (LSE:LRM), known as a leading provider of integrated regulatory reporting and compliance and collateral management solutions for the financial services industry, have announced that they have successfully completed the testing of REPORTER regulatory submissions due to the help from GABRIEL using the regulator’s new taxonomy(V2.1). In August this year, Lombard Risk reported that its regulatory reporting software, REPORTER, had the ability to provide same-time support for multiple versions of the XBRL filing taxonomy. Within the past month, a new version of the taxonomy has been released which takes into consideration the additional reporting requirements, including Asset Encumbrance, and also includes a number of taxonomy adjustments to deal with the inconsistencies that first version were guilty of having. On 11th September, the regulator provided a 2 day window to test submissions with the new taxonomy to GABRIEL. Lombard Risk was fully capable of completing regulatory submissions testing using the new taxonomy. REPORTER users will be able to make their next set of submissions in a different format that is fitting of the FCA’s criteria. Nick Davies the CTO of Lombard Risk stated: “Despite the ever-increasing changes still coming from the regulator around COREP, and the need to support the upcoming FINREP returns for the first time, Lombard Risk has continued to show not only thought leadership with its unique (and currently free to use) XBRL Checker/Validator and XBRL Visualiser, but continues to stay ahead of the competition in the regulatory space by ensuring it was able to test its world-class regulatory products and web offerings using the new 2.1 taxonomy against the limited testing window made available, all helping to ensure customers stay ahead of these challenges.”
Business September 16, 2014
VideoCentric, the leading Video Communications Integrator, is greatly extending its Professional Services with the introduction of new video, voice & data network offerings & providing enterprise customers with mission critical services.
This new comprehensive professional service portfolio is designed to provide customers with a much wider range of integration, support services and design, which includes around the clock global helpdesks, network consultancy & strategy for BYOD, wireless & VoIP and pre-installation surveys, which will be conducted in over 100 countries worldwide.
David Shimell, Managing Director at VideoCentric Ltd. speaking on the new additions said, “With a new specialist services team in place, a global partner services team and major changes rolled out in the past 12 months to improve an already award-winning customer service & maintenance support platform, VideoCentric’s expanded services portfolio comes as a much anticipated offering for our medium and large customers who may need 24/7 mission critical services, multinational coverage, or mass deployment of video at the desktop and on mobile devices. We are able to provide a highly experienced team who understand each area of a network combined, rather than just individual telephony, video or IT network components.”
Telecom’s migration strategy planning for analogue to digital PBX transition including Microsoft Lync & Cisco Call Manager deployment will be part of services that VideoCentric provide, whilst providing the knowledge, services and ongoing support needed to integrate these Unified Communications and telephony platforms with an organisations video communications network. Complete tailored outsourcing services for IT, telecoms, video and a wide range of cloud based subscription services are also included in the portfollio.
Shimell added, “Our continuing mission is to provide a comprehensive market-driven services portfolio inspired by an understanding of our customer’s needs. The new services portfolio offers a significant boost in service capability & versatility for our enterprise and multinational customers, and for customers who would like to design & manage their video, telephony & data networks with a single provider. We are now able to exceed even the most vigorous expectations of our biggest customers.”
VideoCentric Ltd is an award-winning, independent end-to-end solutions integrator of the worlds’ leading video conferencing, fully accredited and provides telepresence and video collaboration solutions and was established in 2001.
VideoCentric install, supply and design on-premise, managed, private, cloud and hybrid video based solutions for businesses from SMB’s to large scale multi-national businesses in both the public and private sector. Some of the solutions that VideoCentric provide include network infrastructure, video endpoints, interactive technologies, full AV roll outs & vertical designed offerings for healthcare,tailor programmed touch panel controllers, oil & gas, manufacturing, financial services, training providers and the construction industry.
Accreditations and relationships have always been held in the highest regard possible for all the world’s leading video collaboration, conferencing and networking manufacturer’s, and continuing training of both sales, technical & product development, and this includes the large investment in up to date demonstration and testing equipment which makes VideoCentric one of the UK’s most knowledgeable and responsible integrators of video conferencing & telepresence equipment and solutions.