Banking

Why Are Paper Checks Still Favored for B2B Transactions?

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Individuals have long moved away from paper checks thanks to the convenience of digital banking services such as payment wallets and net banking. For average consumers even swiping plastic bank cards seem old school as more and more customers are seen using service such as Apple Pay at checkout counters. When it comes to B2C transactions there are enough reason why the paper check is all but obsolete. Then why do businesses still use checks to pay other businesses? Believe it or not, paper checks are more convenient for businesses. Most business enterprises make hundreds of payments each month and for them, point-to-point systems designed for individuals simply don’t make sense. It’s much easier for them to print checks in bulk and mail them to their vendors and utility companies. If you are wondering why businesses still have their checkbooks around, following are 3 reasons.

It’s More Convenient Than Cash and Credit Card:

While credit cards are great for average customers, they don’t do much for business enterprises. Businesses that need to pay other businesses don’t really get the option to swipe their cards. For using credit cards businesses owners and executives need to physically swipe them on credit card terminals to complete the transaction. The same goes for cash payments. To be able to make payments, business owners need to physically hand out cash bills. This forces them to go to the bank or ATM to withdraw the money and then deliver them in person. Paper checks, on the other hand, are issued by authorized accountants and executives. Unlike cash or credit card, paper checks can be delivered by others without the risk of misuse. They are not only printed in bulk to save time but they are also sent via mail. It takes mere minutes to print a check, seal it inside a window envelope, and get it ready for the mail guy.

Paying Contractors Who Have No Bank Accounts:

A lot of small businesses need to make payments to contractors who don’t have bank accounts. Before checks came along these transactions were done in cash. The reason cash became obsolete is because paper check allowed business owners to maintain a paper trail. Even when making quick payments to people who have accounts, paper checks are the way to go. It’s much easier to whip out the checkbook and write a check than to register the banking details and send out the money using payment wallets and net banking services.



Compatibility with Accounting Software Packages:

One of the major operational challenges of every business is to track the expenses. Most businesses buy high-quality quick books check and print them using the Quickbooks accounting software. This does two things. Firstly, the printing operation is much faster as the accounting software stores the digital copy of the signature and recipient details. The software also stores the invoices received from vendors. Accountants can seamlessly print checks to clear received invoices while keeping a record of the payments made. Now, because most accounting software packages for businesses are compatible with paper checks and not with online transfers and other payment methods, businesses using them have no option but to use business checks to pay for goods and services.

 


Is Nigeria Ready for Digital Banking?

The need for digital banking is felt more intensely in Nigeria with the evident improvement in financial inclusion in the country. Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank or GTBank actually informs us that there are several people in Africa who have chosen to remain “outside the banking system”. GTBank remains one of the leading financial institutions of the country and its CEO opines that financial inclusion is a crucial to the development of an organized society.

The Present Economic Condition of Nigeria

At present, Nigeria is staring at a possible meltdown, but the country has definitely woken up to the concept of digitization of the core national banking strategy – which, of course, has paved the way for improved financial inclusion in the country.

Now, why has it been claimed that Africa’s overall financial inclusion has been given more room to grow? Well Agbaje has a valid pointer to substantiate this claim. He said that even ten years ago, it was hard to find any data related to financial inclusion. Today, however, with the substantial data available, they know which areas need improvement so that the country in general enjoys better access to financial services. While speaking to World Finance, he clarified that the pace of growth isn’t really super fast but definitely steady.

Better Economic Inclusion: Nigeria is Right on Track

Notably, the Central Bank of Nigeria has predicted that the number of adult Nigerians with access to payment services will grow by 70% in the year 2020. There has been a heartening increase in access to credit, savings, pensions and insurance as well. GTBank – realizing that there is much more to be done is ready to harness digital technology in a bid to expand services.

The marked lack of physical access to banks and insufficient understanding of the traditional modes of banking and its products and services are just a few of the reasons behind the widespread financial exclusion in the country. Notably, it is technology which is consistently aiding new age financial institutions to scale these challenges thereby paving the way for improved financial inclusion in the country.

The Role Played by Digi-Banking

GTBank’s Bank 737, for instance, provides banking services to millions of people in Nigeria having mobile devices. The best part is that they are not required to access the internet in order to open an account. Anyone with a registered mobile number (in Nigeria) can open an account, check balance by dialing *737#, transfer funds or buy airtime. This has facilitated financial inclusion in a major way. Bank 737 is backed by USSD technology. It blithely does away with the need for internet banking since steady internet services are hard to find on a consistent basis in the continent. By doing so, it has encouraged the phenomenon of inclusive banking in the country. In future, the economy of the country is sure to reap benefits of this path breaking endeavor from GTBank.

Keny’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer facilities, for instance, have been able to prove that the country is ready to embrace digital banking to facilitate exemplary financial milestones that it (i.e. Kenya) is aiming for. Two-thirds of the country’s population is now using this financial platform.

GTBank is clearly on its way to introduce similar avenues of financial growth in Nigeria.

 


Speed: The Key To Satisfying Customers

Satisfying your customers should be the main thing your business thinks about. Naturally, you’ll be obsessed with profits and making money. But, you’ll only achieve that with satisfied customers!

It may please you to know that the key to keeping your customers happy isn’t something complex. As the title suggests, it’s as simple as speed. If you provide a fast service, you will keep your customers extremely satisfied.

How can you do this? Here are some of the best ideas:

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Accept Multiple Payments

Whether you’re an online business or a traditional brick and mortar company, you can benefit from accepting multiple payments. Customers sometimes don’t have a certain payment type with them, and can only pay in a certain way. So, you need to cater to this and accept all the different payment types. As you can see in this guide, it’s easy to set your company up so it can accept contactless payments like Apple Pay. This enables people to pay for their phone if they forget their wallet. Likewise, online businesses need to accept PayPal. This is perfect in cases where someone doesn’t have their card with them and can’t memorize their details.

What all of this does is speed up the payment process as people can quickly pay via any method possible and aren’t stuck around trying to count change or look for their credit card.

Save Their Details

This is an idea for online businesses and can speed up loads of time. When someone buys something, they need to input all their details. This includes bank info, delivery info, and contact info. It can take a long time and is a pain to do every time you make a purchase. So, speed things up by allowing customers to save their details. They register their email when they buy their first product, and never have to input any details ever again other than their email and password to log into their account. This leads to faster checkout times, and more satisfied customers.

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Next Day Delivery

Customers are most affected by speed when it comes to delivery times. They don’t like waiting for their products to arrive, and you need to ensure they don’t wait longer than needed. So, you should always have a next day delivery option. Even if it costs money, customers won’t care, they just want things quickly. It speeds the whole ordering process up and means someone can order something today and have it in their hands tomorrow. In fact, soon there will be same day delivery, so you need to get on that as well!

If you operate a fast service, you leave your customers waiting less and less. This makes them happier, as they can enjoy your business without it taking too long for them to get what they want. So, if you’re keen to keep your customers as happy as can be, you should turn your attention to the speed at which you provide your service. Increased customer satisfaction will lead to increased revenue!

 

 


Beat The Bank

The bank are not necessarily there to be your enemies. But sometimes, when you are needing a loan, or a mortgage, help with debt, or anything they can offer you, you need to see them that way. You need to do all you can to make them say ‘yes’, because if you don’t, and they say no, you will be left without the money you need. If they say no, it becomes harder to get one next time too, because you have previously been refused. It throws up alarm bells to other lenders. There are certain ways you can beat the bank. Ways in which you can make them lean towards saying yes and giving you the money you need to do what you want. You need to be careful, and approach it with tact. Think that you only really have one shot at it. Don’t just go in thinking they will lend to you. Be prepared. Some of these tips can help you get what you need, but only if you put the right effort in with them. You may have already thought of some of these tips, but the other can be handy. They cover in the main how to best prepare for the meeting and also how to get your credit score where it needs to be to ensure they have faith in you that you’ll pay the money back. Besides, you could get some great ideas from these points that see you get exactly what you need from the bank.

Know Where You Stand

From a financial point of view you need to know exactly where you stand. If you go into the meeting not knowing and they see you don’t really know you’ll look stupid and their faith in you will be rocked. First, you need to know your credit score. You can use this service to find out your credit score and ensure you go into the meeting clued up. With this, you also need to know what kinds of debts you owe. If you do, you can present a better case. Know what your monthly disposable income is and how much you can afford to pay back in loan fees. This will all increase their confidence in you and they will be far more likely to give you what you want. Knowing where you stand from a financial point of view means you won’t have any unrealistic expectations and that you will ask for what you know you can get.

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Do Your Research

Look at the bank you are going to ask for money. Research their lending rates, their acceptance percentage, their interest rates. You may find out their is a bank better suited to what you need. Just because you bank with a certain company doesn’t mean they have to be the ones to give you your loan or mortgage. Shop around for the best chance of finding the best deals. If you go to the bank with your research you will know what questions they are likely to ask you. Check out helpful forums and work out the best answers to their probing questions. Preparation is key, with it you can give yourself the best chance of succeeding. You may even be able to research the manager who will make the decision, this gives you a great advantage in the meeting.

Give A Good Account Of Yourself

You must ensure you give a good account of yourself. Wear a suit, or appropriate business attire. Shake hands, be polite, speak well and always be amicable and professional. Even if they turn you down, keep your cool. You may have another shot in a few months time and you don’t want to ruin your report with the chief lender, because it will automatically make him biased towards saying no. If they refuse thank them and leave. You’ve just gained amazing and valuable experience to take into your next meeting. Be a likeable person and ensure you present yourself in the best way you possibly can. Go in with information at hand. Know all of your facts and figures. Lend yourself an air of believability and it will go a long way. Have the answers to their questions prepared. Do all you can to stack the odds in your favour for the highest chance of them agreeing.

Have An Address

Lots of people have only lived at an address for a few years or so, meaning their credit rating is hurt. You need to have a registered place of living. It lends you back up because it means you can be traced back to your address if you stop repayments or if they need to get in touch with you for something urgent. The length of time matters too, but don’t get too hung up on it. As long as you can be traced to an address it’s fine. This automatically increases your credit score. Remember to always update your address when you move home. It is done through voter registration, so make sure you check this out as it can be a defining factor in your credit score which could dictate whether you secure the loan or not. Again, give yourself the best chances you can of succeeding.

Have A Completed Financial Arrangement

This means you’ve gotten something on finance with credit, saw it through to the end and closed the account. It shows the bank you can manage money well, and can pay money that you have borrowed back. This can be for anything ranging from a laptop to a care. Make sure you have at least one closed account on your credit score. It will increase your credit score too, making you more attractive to lenders. Take out a credit agreement on something small if you have to, just to insure you get a closed account on your score. It is better having this than no credit at all because if you don’t have any credit history the bank will wonder why, and ponder whether lending someone with no experience of paying back money through credit is a good idea. Even if you get something on finance, call the relevant department and then pay it off straight away, it still counts as a closed account and is a necessity in the world of finance.

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Go With A Decent Deposit

If you are borrowing money for a business venture or a mortgage, you should have some capital of your own ready. Save up like crazy before the meeting, and show what money you are willing to put towards it yourself. This will again lend you believability because it shows you don’t mind putting your money where your mouth is for example. Also, the better deposit you have the more money you can technically borrow. If you save a large deposit, you’ll be able to buy a better house. Go in with some savings to show you are committed and eager. It will stand you in good stead when they start looking over your accounts. It shows you can manage your money in such a way that allows you to save. A skill that not everyone has. The amount going out of your accounts in terms of savings will count as disposable income too because you are saving it, not spending, meaning you could end up getting a better deal than you initially hoped for.

Get A Credit Card

Again, you may be thinking why on earth would you do that you need the credit for a home. But having a credit card is hugely beneficial. It means you can build your credit rating to huge heights, similar to having a closed account. It is all very simple too. You just need to apply for a card, get approved, then make low easy payments on it before paying the balance off right away. If you do this, your credit score will go through the roof. Give the credit cards a good look over too. Aim for ones from reputable companies that offer good interest rates. Some of the deals are good and worth checking out, offering cash back on up to twenty percent of your first purchase. Find a credit card that suits you as a person and apply for it. Just remember to pay the amount off as soon you can. If you don’t and miss a payment it will hit your credit score in a negative effect, so make sure you take all precautions to ensure whatever you spend on your card gets paid off as soon as possible. The fact that you can handle a credit card also looks good on your credit rating. It means you can successfully borrow money in small doses and pay it back in time without incurring a penalty. Couple this with a closed finance account is a potent mixture and can see your credit rating see you through the most difficult of meetings. If you go in armed with knowledge, the right attitude and a good credit rating you are off to a good start.


China planning to curb Internet finances

The growing Chinese Internet finance industry has been imposed with strict regulations by the Chinese authorities in line with the alleged fraud in the industry over the recent years. The online peer to peer (P2P) industry in China has over 3800 operators, of which above 1200 such firms are allegedly involved in illicit dealings with customers. Some of these firms have been known to be whisking away with the investors money while many have closed down as per reports by Wangdaizhijia, known to be a source of industry data. The worth of the Chinese Internet finance industry is about 133.1 billion yuan ($21 billion).

Several basic guidelines were issued by the Chinese regulators to the Internet finance industry in what is known to be a 6000 word long document. The guideline specifically seeks to categorize the running models in the Internet finance industry and issuing customized regulations for the models. The industry regulators must take care of this and try to classify several models running in the industry as per the regulations by the Government. In return this will create a clearer picture for the Government and help them get a better hold of the Internet finance firms.

The industry has been categorized into six factors of operations namely Equity crowd funding, Internet loans, Internet insurance, Internet trust and consumer finance, Internet payment and Internet sale of funds. The operation guidelines have made it clear that separate regulatory institutions must be assigned to different categories which would help the authorities to have a better grip on the operations of the industry. As reports suggest, The Peoples Bank of China has been assigned to keep a tab on the mode of payments done online, while the online selling of funds, equity crowd funding will be supervised by China Securities Regulatory Commission and thus help curb illegal trade. Internet security, self regulation of industry has been taken care of in the regulations while confusion still persists about the role of participants in the Internet finance market. All these can be seen as a welcome change as the industry is known to have been involved in a network of illegal trade and negotiations.


How to Protect Your Online Bank Account from Cyberthieves

untitledCyberthieves using an email virus have been raiding British bank accounts, so far stealing 20 million pounds, equivalent to about $31 million, the National Crime Agency disclosed. The virus, known as Dridex, Cridex or Bugat, invades users’ computers by appearing as a document attached to legitimate-looking emails. If users open the document, the virus installs malware that then records login and password details when the victim visits his or her bank’s website. The information gets passed back to the cyberthieves, who use the information to rob the victim’s bank account.

The announcement followed the indictment of one of the thieves in Pennsylvania, where U.S. authorities are cooperating with British and international agencies to disrupt the cybercrime ring, believed to be based in Eastern Europe. No matter where you live, cyberthieves are out there looking for your bank account information. Taking steps to safeguard your data can keep you from becoming their next victim.

Beware of Suspicious Messages & Software

Bank of America recommends several tips to protect yourself from malevolent phishing emails and social media messages such as those using the Dridex virus. Never respond to emails claiming to be urgent messages from financial institutions requesting account information. Forward suspicious emails to your financial provider’s security team. Don’t open attachments or install free software from unknown sources. Be cautious about clicking on links in social media messages that link to questionable sites, even if they seem to come from someone you know. When in doubt, don’t click.

Keep Your Software Security Updated

Keeping your software current provides another important line of security against attacks such as Dridex. Use the latest operating systems and browsers. Make sure you keep your operating system and browser updated with the latest security patches. Use a good antivirus program and set it to update and run scans frequently. Install a firewall for additional protection.

Guard Your Physical Security Environment

Protecting your physical environment is another part of keeping your online accounts safe. Don’t leave passwords lying around where others can see them. Watch out for “shoulder surfers” who try to look over your shoulder when you’re using an ATM machine or filling out a form. Some shoulder surfers use sophisticated methods such as binoculars, hidden cameras, and recording devices. You can read Lifelock’s blog to learn more about how to protect yourself from shoulder surfers.

Protect Your Devices

Your mobile devices represent another target for cyberthieves. The best protection is not storing your bank account information on your mobile device. Your bank may provide apps to help you use your mobile device safely without compromising your information. To protect other personal information that may be associated with your bank account, turn on your device’s screen lock option so that unauthorized users can’t access your data.

Don’t Connect to Insecure Wireless Networks

Connecting to an insecure wireless network is another way you can unknowingly expose information to cyberthieves. Don’t use public networks in high-traffic areas to access your bank account. Set your mobile device to ask your permission before connecting you to unfamiliar local networks. Make sure you’re using encryption.

Be Smart on Social Media

What you post on social media can expose you to cyberthieves. Avoid posting information such as birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Use Strong Passwords

Good password selection can help keep your accounts safe. Chose a password at least eight characters long that includes letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use your Social Security Number as part of your password. Don’t use the same password for your bank account that you use for social media or other sites. PC Magazine suggests using a password manager software program to help you generate strong passwords.

Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

Checking into your accounts frequently will help keep you alert to any suspicious activity. Signing up for automatic notifications from your financial provider will help you stay up-to-date on your account activity.

Log out When You’re Done

Whenever you end a session logging into your bank account, make sure to log out when you’re done. This will help stop session hijackers. Setting your browser to clear your cache when you close it will also help keep your data safe.


Don’t Fall Victim: Understanding & Avoiding Phishing Scams

ScamsOf course you want a million dollars or a job where you can work from home and make $10,000 per week. It is human nature to hope for that big windfall in the form of a gregarious African king or long lost dead, but rich, relative. This is the fundamental premise of the email phishing scam. With one click of a button, not only is our hope of a bucket of newfound money taken from us but the money we already have can follow.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a social engineering method designed to convince the recipient to disclose sensitive information. The ultimate goal is to steal money and digital identities. With enough information, a thief can access bank accounts, order credit cards, and make purchases under your name, leaving you on the hook for the transactions.

How Does It Work?

The typical phishing scam starts with an email or text. The message can either play on greed, offering money for help, or can be a threat that an account is going to be closed if the recipient does not act quickly. Let’s use the latter as an example. There are more than one billion Facebook users, so it would be a safe bet that an email addressed to “Facebook Users” will hit someone with an account. Typically the email tells you that your password needs to be verified. The link will bring you to a page that looks very much like Facebook. It may even be Facebook but with an overlay program that will capture everything that you type, including your password.

Those are the basics but phishing scams are not limited to email. With smartphones connected to Wi-Fi, SMS text messages can work just as well as email for phishing. You receive a text saying, “Who is this?” The natural reaction is to assume that it is someone you know and give them your name. Now the phisher has your name and telephone number which can be used to gain more information.

How To Avoid Phishing

The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission has some simple rules to help people avoid being caught by a phishing attack. If there is any doubt about the authenticity of an email, make a phone call to verify it. This is the best advice for scams using bank or utility company names. Use the number in your contacts, not the one on the email, and call. For places that are not easily called like Facebook, Twitter, or government entities, open a new tab and type the URL directly or do a web search for the organization. This will help you avoid any software that may be attached to the email.

Attacks That Worked

The New York Times recently reported nine of the biggest, successful breaches against large businesses. The most famous of these latest attacks is the one against Sony Pictures that effectively scrubbed the movie “The Interview.” This was a coordinated attack using phishing and malware to access the company’s network, grabbing private emails and exposing sensitive and embarrassing information like pay scales and who dislikes who. If Sony would have been able to close the breach faster by knowing when it was happening, they could have reduced much of the damage


When Banks Don’t Play Fair With Your Money

If you’re like most people, you probably like to think you can trust your bank to help with your finances. All too often, though, we are seeing stories in the news of banks behaving badly.

One such story you may have read about is the Libor rigging scandal. That was when banks were found to be falsely inflating or deflating their rates so they could profit from trades.

That’s certainly bad enough. But a scandal far worse — both in terms of its scale and the affect it has had on individuals — is that of mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI). As a result of the widespread mis-selling that occurred over the course of several decades, many people are looking for?help and advice in claiming back their premiums from mis-sold PPI.?

How This Might Affect You

One of the problems with the whole PPI scandal is that many of its victims aren’t even aware that they are victims. To put it into greater perspective, around 45 millions PPI policies were sold between 1990 and 2010. The premiums for those policies were worth around £44 billion ($67 billion) to the banks.Forex

The reason so many people are unaware they were duped is because one of the many ways in which PPI was routinely mis-sold was to tag it on without the customer’s knowledge. People applying for loans or mortgages were presented with the document to sign, unaware that a checkbox indicating that PPI was required had already been ticked.

The payment for the insurance policy was then added to the finance, which the customer paid on monthly basis without knowing about it. Quite often, the interest alone came to more than the actual PPI itself cost.

Why It’s Important To Claim Soon

Since the scandal exploded into mass awareness in April 2011, banks have already paid out around £25 billion ($38 billion) in refunds and compensation. Not surprisingly, they are keen to introduce a deadline for which claims can be made, which has so far been rejected.

The rejections are looking more and more tenuous as time goes on, though. George Osborne, the UKs chancellor, recently ousted the head man of financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It’s widely known that Mr Osborne is keen to “draw a line” under the whole PPI mess. Ousting the regulator’s chief was the first step in

opening the door to a change of policy there.

While a deadline hasn’t been introduced yet, it’s really only a matter of time before it is.

Double Check Your Finance Agreements

As you read earlier, PPI was often tagged on without the customer’s knowledge or agreement. For this reason alone, it’s important that you double check your finances. If you find PPI that you weren’t previously aware of, there’s a good chance it was mis-sold.

While it’s impossible to say how much money you are entitled to get back, it’s worth keeping in mind that the average payout is around £2,750 (£4,200). If you have more than one policy that was mis-sold, you can claim on each one.

While not so common, there have been a number of refunds that have been in the tens-of-thousands of pounds. So get your paperwork out soon and start double checking.


Managing Exposure for a Dubai Private Bank

Private banking has a long tradition in the international financial world. In Switzerland, private banks have existed since the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The UK concern C. Hoare & Co. has been a viable business since 1672. Modern investors often look to a Dubai private bank to take advantage of this unique financial storage system.

Private Bank Dynamics

Private banks are owned by either an individual or by general partners in a cadre with limited partners. Because private banks are not incorporated, creditors have full rights against the “entirety of the bank’s assets” as well as the entirety of the owners’ assets. Recent increased growth in the private banking industry has resulted in increased participation by those looking to take advantage of this lucrative dynamic. According to a Euromoney report in 2008, global private banking assets rose to USD 7.6 trillion in 2008 from USD 3.3 trillion in 2007.

Exposure Managementindex

Any successful private banking strategy must include a sophisticated risk management system. One of the newest exposure management mechanisms is called the asset liability management (ALS) system. This system refers to the modification of the portfolio management process in order to keep holdings in line with future constraints and financial objectives. ALM has been used extensively and successfully by institutional asset managers, and is now being adapted for use in private banking. Private bankers have a unique perspective of managing their clients’ investment risk, and a study of the ALM adoption process is useful to understanding their disposition toward a new risk management tool.

The Basics of ALM

The essence of liability management entails asset and cash flow management to meet financial specifications in a dynamic, volatile market. Managers work to ensure the gap between performance and goals is mitigated through hedging techniques. Gap reduction results in overall profitability as well as a reduction in exposure.

Surplus Optimization

ALM practitioners often refer to the ALM process as “surplus optimization.” In this context, surplus is defined as the net worth, calculated as the delta between the market value of assets and the present value of the aggregate liabilities. Because it addresses the long-term relationship between assets and liabilities, ALM is considered as a strategic process rather than a tactical one.

ALM Acceptance

A survey administered to private banking professionals shows a positive attitude towards asset liability management. A full 87% of respondents indicated a positive view of the potential benefits of ALM. They viewed ALM as a superior method toward managing long-term liabilities, as compared to traditional and recent risk management strategies. However, those moving toward the implementation stage of ALS realize that it is a comparatively complex system, and that they must work with investors to gain buy-in for this new method of exposure management.

Asset Liability Management in Action

Private banks may serve as intermediaries between clients and their projects which require funding. To supply the funding, banks assume deposits and the associated interest as liabilities. The loan interest from the clients forms the assets. The bank’s net interest margin between the two interest rates is the interest rate sensitivity. A private bank may use derivatives including swaps, swaptions, futures, and options to hedge the volatility of the interest rate sensitivity. Investors in a Dubai private bank should asses the exposure management of their potential institution, and considering choosing one that employs ALM.


What Your Financial Planner Sees

What Your Financial Planner Sees

When you first meet with your financial planner, you can expect to exchange greetings with a professionally attired financial adviser. The adviser wants the responsibility of managing some of your assets in order to map a path to your financial security. The information you share will always be treated confidentially.

Most financial planner begins the process by asking clients to complete a pretty thorough questionnaire.  This questionnaire will paint a good picture of your overall wealth and assets. The way you see this information is different than the way the financial planner interprets the questionnaire.

The financial planner and your assets

The financial planner looks at your assets in terms of risk exposure first and growth potential second. Most of your other financial advisers have a certain field or specialty. That is not the case with financial planners.  They have access to multiple investment types that vary greatly in terms of risk. You may retain a financial planner to plan your estate, to develop a retirement planner and compliment your more volatile investment strategy or to purchase real property in the future.

As soon as your questionnaire is completed, the planner will discuss and define your goals. This exercise helps the planner draw a line from your current investment strategy and holdings to the desired end game. What you see and what the planner sees could be quite different.  The planner is assessing risk exposure, risk appetite, quality of investments, expenses, insurance plans, retirement programs, current income and anything else that impacts you now or in the future.

Bringing the plan to life

The planner takes this information and begins to tie all the pieces together so that you can receive a couple different plans.  Each plan will represent differing investment strategies. These strategies are designed to incorporate the current asset portfolio into a functional plan that accomplishes your long-term goals. You can expect some recommendations about your current holdings and other recommendations about how to move forward.

The successful financial planner may ask permission to speak with your attorney, insurance agent, broker and/or banker. The planner’s goal is to understand every aspect your entire financial portfolio.

After all, you contacted a financial planner because you wanted to make sure your current portfolio coincides with your long-term plan and lifestyle choices. What you may perceive as strengths, the planner may see as short-term investments that are risky.  The planner will not discourage these investments but will allocate a portion of investments to neutralize the risks.

When the planner submits a few plans for your consideration, he will explain the strengths and risks of each plan.  This time it is the clients who should listen and question the projections, the risks and the products. The successful financial planner is a master of risk analysis and risk strategies. On the whole, financial planners are conservative in nature.  Everything the financial planner recommends will be low-risk investments that represent the security you and your estate needs for the future.

Cotswold Financial planning specialise in providing expert financial advice for their customers. For more information, please visit their website: Financial Planning Oxfordshire


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