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Everything posted by DrBob

  1. You should be fine. Birmingham Midshires is part of HBOS, so if they go down, plenty of others will be going down with you! (i.e. the govt/BoE will have to intervene to help out) Mind you, for a large amounts of savings, it would seem sensible to spread your savings over a few different banks. This thread prompted me to look a bit further into Yorkshire Building Society, where I have some savings. I was surprised to find that this horrible organisation is a subsidiary of YBS: Accord Mortgages "specialises in lending to people affected by county court judgements, bankruptcy and repossessions. “There are five different levels of credit adversity and the LTV available will depend on the credit rating of the applicant,” explains Rob Watson of Accord Mortgages. “However, we do accept maintenance payments with a solicitor’s letter as proof.” Yuck!
  2. CPDOs Rated AAA May Risk Default, CreditSights Says Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206...&refer=home http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWPHoWei3zOc&refer=home' rel="external nofollow">Credit derivatives awarded the top ratings by Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's may be as vulnerable to default as high-risk, high-yield bonds, according to independent research firm CreditSights Inc. Constant proportion debt obligations, known as CPDOs, use credit-default swaps to speculate that a group of companies with investment-grade ratings will repay their debt. An increase in credit rating cuts for investment-grade companies may cause losses that CPDOs would struggle to recoup, CreditSights said in a report entitled "Distressed CPDOs: We're Doomed!'' "If you assume defaults and downgrades come in bunches rather than being evenly spaced out, CPDOs' default rates are more what you would expect for low junk ratings than for AAA,'' David Watts, a CreditSights analyst in London, said in a telephone interview yesterday. Prices of CPDOs dropped to as little as 70 percent of face value last month. This might seem esoteric, but it sounds like there has been wholesale misselling of credit derivatives, and irregularities (fraud?) in the rating of these products. I presume that mathematical modelling had suggested these 'CPDOs' were water-tight, but how can you defend giving a cast-iron AAA credit rating to a model that has never been tested in the 'real world'? The credit crunch is running and running - this will be a slow & painful experience.
  3. This link has been posted on here before, but in case anyone wants to check it out, there are graphs of historical UK LIBOR rates here: http://www.swap-rates.com/UKLibor_extended.html
  4. And most brokers should be covered by the FSCS, which will protect most of your first £33k...
  5. Yes - I think you can transfer your ISAs: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/isa/transfer-isa.htm You should contact your current ISA provider for a transfer form. FYI, you might want to go for a 'self-select' stocks & shares ISA. This way you can invest in investment trusts (which are quicker & easier to trade than unit trusts) and exchange-traded funds as wells as shares. Gives you more flexibility IMHO.
  6. I'd say that wheat is not a good investment, but like other commodities, it may be a useful hedge against inflation (and a good way to diversify your portfolio). Stocks are surely the best investment for the long term, what with dividends and all. I'll be looking at cash-rich blue-chip companies once I think the market shake-out has finished (in a few months' time).
  7. There's no need to bet - it was Barclays: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busi...icle2358155.ece But next time, the BoE won't be so keen on the publicity! http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9004b03a-5728-11...00779fd2ac.html
  8. In case the last two days' flurry of optimistic data (mortgage lending up, '+0.6% adjusted' Nationwide HPI figure, stock market rebound) have convinced you that the worst is over, here's an update on the credit crunch: Swap rates are still rising - does this suggest the banks still don't trust each other? http://www.swap-rates.com/UKSwap_extended.html The AAA-rated CDOs have recovered from their lows last month, but lower-rated securities are still trading at 30-50% of book value: http://www.markit.com/information/affiliations/abx Meanwhile, does anyone here know who borrowed that £1.6bn yet? The BoE want it kept quiet: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9004b03a-5728-11...00779fd2ac.html
  9. Thanks, tbatst2000! I didn't know what the connection between the banks and their SIVs and SPVs was - doesn't surprise me that they're essentially an accounting trick. Great post & very coherent!
  10. Surely this is because Home Depot just announced they'd sold their supply business (albeit at a reduced price): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/business...ml?ref=business
  11. Here's food for thought for over-leveraged BTLers reading their papers over breakfast...
  12. Don't joke about it! Wednesday's Telegraph: Bush warns of Iran 'nuclear holocaust' Last Updated: 12:21am BST 29/08/2007 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml...28/wbush128.xml http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/28/wbush128.xml' rel="external nofollow">George W Bush used his most inflammatory language so far towards Iran's Islamic regime , warning that letting Teheran acquire atomic weapons risked putting the Middle East "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust". In a speech to US war veterans designed to shore up support for the unpopular war in Iraq and his policy in the Middle East, he said that Iran posed a danger to the whole world by pursuing nuclear weapons and supporting Islamic extremists in other countries. The president told the American Legion's annual convention in Reno, Nevada that he had "authorized our military commanders" to confront "Iran's murderous activities". He added: "We will confront this danger before it is too late".
  13. I keep seeing new-builds advertised as a "secure, gated community". Perhaps this is what they mean!
  14. ...so go for the NS & I inflation-linked bonds. They're tax-free and pay interest of RPI plus 1.35% IIRC. You can get at your money any time, but if you withdraw within the first 12 months you sacrifice the interest.
  15. String him along for a while ("we're thinking about it") whilst you find another place. Then give him the minimum necessary notice!
  16. Hope you've had a great holiday, nohpc! I also hope you didn't pick up a copy of today's Sunday Star Times on your way back to Auckland: Market hits crisis point By TIM HUNTER - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 26 August 2007 http://www.stuff.co.nz/4178674a13.html http://www.stuff.co.nz/4178674a13.html' rel="external nofollow">As finance company strife intensifies, industry insiders say the damage to investor confidence is so great the debenture market will never recover. "The days of finance companies borrowing from debenture investors at 9%, lending it out at 18%, and keeping the difference for themselves, are over," said a market source." The public had "wised up the hard way," he said. "Debentures are not an appropriate funding structure for the types of risks being taken by many of these finance companies." Particularly at risk were lenders on property development, where cash flows were sparse and unpredictable. On Friday a sixth finance company, Propertyfinance group, revealed it was in difficulties as it struggled to raise money to fund its lending activities. The revelation came after the NZX wrote to all listed finance companies seeking assurance that the market was fully informed. The company's shares were suspended until it can sort out its funding problem. Propertyfinance's troubles follow the collapse of five finance companies Nathans, Bridgecorp, Provincial, Bay of Plenty Finance and National Finance 2000. Chairman Barney Sundstrom said there was a sea change in the market: "(There's an) inability to sell some of our rated mortgage bonds into the institutional market, which a week to 10 days ago wasn't a problem. The market's dried up." Propertyfinance, primarily a provider of higher risk "sub-prime" mortgages, has raised around $86 million from the public through debenture stock. The collapse of NZ finance companies is particularly unpleasant as there's no Financial Services Compensation Scheme equivalent - investors lose all their money without recourse. Horrible.
  17. And this is where globalisation fails... Any lender who actually knew the area would have viewed Thamesmead properties with deep suspicion. Thamesmead is the estate where parts of Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange were filmed. It's a marvel of failed 1960's architecture and social engineering. Because the whole estate is built on flood-prone marshes, there is no accommodation at ground level, just a maze of theft-prone car parks. The homes are all raised on stilts which means the 'streets' are joined by narrow raised concrete walkways. It's a muggers' paradise. Having worked there for a couple of months I found it scary even during the day!
  18. Sachsen LB please, not Sachen. I thought this post was about some trendy German online bank (Sachen = 'things'; Sachsen = Saxony). Sieht schlecht aus, ebenfalls...
  19. I say buy, buy, buy! Sounds like they're young and fertile. Perhaps they could pop some sprogs and put the kids to work cleaning chimneys or pick-pocketing? That'd help pay the mortgage...
  20. Yeah but no but yeah but... Can anyone remember a day in the last year when the Independent didn't have a hysterical front page? Remember - the job of newspapers is to sell newspapers, not to report accurate news. These stock-market doom-mongering headlines are counterproductive. Joe Bloggs will read them, feel a bit nervous and then read the following day that stock markets have bounced back and think the panic is over. The bigger picture is that in the UK house price fundamentals are screwed: affordability is low, rental yields are low, credit is tightening, interest rates are rising, disposable income is falling. A bad day on the stock market is not going to convince the hapless first-time buyer not to 'stretch themselves' to buy that grotty 2-bed ex council place in an 'up and coming' area.
  21. Northern Rock share price 8% down this morning already. At 632p/share from a high of >1200p/share in February. Ouch!
  22. Countrywide Plunges on Downgrade, Bankruptcy Fear Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:01 AM BST136 http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articl...53338-OISBN.XML http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=bankingFinancial&storyID=2007-08-16T050056Z_01_N15253338_RTRIDST_0_SP_PAGE_012-N15253338-OISBN.XML' rel="external nofollow">Countrywide Financial Corp. shares sank 13 percent, their biggest one-day decline since the 1987 stock market crash, on fears the largest U.S. mortgage lender could face bankruptcy as liquidity worsens. "If enough financial pressure is placed on Countrywide or if the market loses confidence in its ability to function properly, then the model can break, leading to an effective insolvency," Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Kenneth Bruce wrote. "If liquidations occur in a weak market, then it is possible for Countrywide to go bankrupt." And remember - this is the largest mortgage lender in the US! Scary...
  23. Agreed. Mum's always know best. Mind you, my Mum's thinking of using these drops as a stock buying opportunity...
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