Brits abroad are prey for poor advice


It must be the warm weather that brings them out. It’s February and 15 degrees in Switzerland, bright sunshine and not a cloud in sight. And the phone’s ringing.

It’s yet another cold call, the fifth this week, from one of the earnest young Britons hired in droves by the usually greedy, often desperate financial services organisations that reside in lightly-regulated financial markets around the world.

Wherever you find Britons working abroad, you’re sure to find a cluster of these financial outfits, mostly managed by oleaginous shysters who couldn’t hack it in London, and staffed by ingenues with barely a grasp of finance know-how beyond the obligatory in-house crash-course in hard-selling. Continue reading

Kayak cross: “bright future” for wildwater canoeing – ICF

Canoeing currently has just two Olympic disciplines – slalom and sprint racing – but a third emerging sport is capturing public attention and offers an insight into how the sport’s future on the world stage might evolve.

Speaking at the World Wildwater Canoeing Championships in the remote Swiss mountain town of Muotathal, Jose Perurena, President of the International Canoe Federation, said he saw the development of kayak cross as a particularly exciting sign of how the sport is innovating.

“Look at what young people are doing in other sports, it’s about seeing head-to-head racing, amid much excitement and pace. Skiing has added ski cross to its Olympic repertoire with great success, I see kayak cross as an equally exciting development for wildwater canoeing,” Perurena said. Continue reading

Why online estate agents aren’t worth it

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Imagine you’re buying a house, you see an ideal place on a leading property portal and then make an appointment to view with the estate agent.

If you’re dealing with one of the 10,500 or so members of the National Association of Estate Agents then the chances are you’ll speak to a real person in a real office who’s knows the vendor and has a personal stake in getting the property seen by as many people as possible. If you don’t, well, you’ll take your chances… Continue reading

What did you do in the great financial crash, grandad?

Reuters European HQ in Canary Wharf London, pictured in 2006
I remember asking my grandfather what he’d done in the Second World War and his answer held me spellbound.

Whether tales of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 that more or less kicked off ten years ago today will similarly capture children’s imagination in years to come seems unlikely, even though its lessons are arguably not too much less significant for future generations.

Why? Because failing to learn the lessons of the past bodes ill for an ever more integrated global financial system and world economy, and that means his, your, my – our wealth and prosperity. Continue reading

Surf – the story behind Australia’s 1,000m kayaking success

Australia has won eight Olympic medals in 1,000m kayak racing. It owes much of that success to another sport altogether – surf life saving.

surfskiBased on the training regime developed by beach lifeguard services across the country, surf ski racing has become an established pathway for paddlers to progress to kayak racing on the Olympic stage.

Sprint kayaking isn’t the only Olympic sport to have benefited from the size and strength of surf lifesaving – at the London Games in 2012 more than 60 Australian athletes in the country’s swimming, water polo, rowing and kayaking teams declared a background in competitive surf lifesaving. Continue reading