I have long previously decided that the sole purpose of most financial institutions is to rip off the public. However, a residual sense of romance allows me to toy with the idea that although the senior management are filth there are staff who do not share the corporate view.
I opened a current account with Halifax plc about twenty-six years ago and was really impressed at how efficient it was. There came a phase getting on for ten years ago when the admin got into a bit of a muddle. I was really impressed by the single-minded efforts of the management to bring problems under control. I was granted a £10,000 overdraft facility and accepted it given that the interest charged on the account seemed fair compensation for the turnover I put through.
And, then, about eight weeks ago Halifax plc started to debit interest not monthly in arrears but on a daily basis which is a damn nuisance as far as I am concerned since one can never instantly glance at one’s online statement to see that it reconciles with one’s cash book. So that was the end of the use of the overdraft facility.
However, I took the trouble to write to the manager of the Strand branch at which I had opened my account in c. 1992 asking that he explain matters. There has been no reply. And last week I got a circular letter from Halifax plc’s world headquarters explaining that the rate of interest is 1p for each £7 borrowed per day. It doesn’t sound much. But it is in fact getting on for 50% p.a. I expect some lawyer thinks this is clever. Well, I don’t.
I offer a titchy bit more on Sage (LON:SGE) – there is a long way to go. But the fundamental problem is that SGE’s software, which has been such a walloping success over the years, now has competition from Microsoft, Xero and Intuit. Accountants tend to be loyal to the devil they know but….
Tangible net liabilities are minus £1 billion and the capitalisation is £8 billion. That’s a big gap.
Sillies still hard at work: yesterday’s Sunday Times reported that Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, a major provider of pensions, are pulling out of backing Bruce Ritchie’s Residential Land on account of Bruce’s role in promoting the Presidents Dinner. What promoting such a dinner has to do with Caisse’s objectives I have no idea: do you?