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Saturday April 13th, 2024 

News Archive - December 2013

Merry Blooming Xmas


I have always enjoyed quizzes (I still cherish my trophy for winning the school Mastermind competition at age 11). It’s a shame that pub quizzes have been blighted by smartphones and the instant access to info that we all now benefit from.
Anyway, here is a quiz in case you are at a loose end as Christmas approaches. If you want to cheat then there’s not much I can do to stop you.
It’s mainly for fun, but if you email your answers to me at I will award a nice prize to the person who gets them ALL correct. In the event of a tie, I will draw the winner from a hat. Answers to arrive by Friday 20 December. UPDATE well there were NO winners of the quiz! So the huge enormous prize will roll over to next year. Answers are below!

  1. Which US actor appeared in the comedy movie ‘Caddyshack’ as well as the slightly less comedic ‘Natural Born Killers’? Rodney Dangerfield
  2. Who appeared in Macclesfield (and Stoke) on 26 January 1963? The Beatles
  3. Which building in Macclesfield was designed by the architect who created the tower housing Big Ben?   St Albans Church  
  4. Which commonly used UK cooking ingredient is made from fermented anchovies?  Worcestershire Sauce
  5. What’s the name of the scale used to measure the heat of chillies? The Scoville scale
  6. Which moderately successful business was set up by Sergey and Larry in 1998? Google
  7. What company links Battlestar Galactica and Moby Dick? Starbucks - both had characters called Starbuck
  8. What’s the name of the mindblowingly strong cocktail invented by Douglas Adams in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books? The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
  9. Does James Bond prefer coffee or tea? Coffee - he hates tea and refers to it as 'mud'.
  10.  Other than Macclesfield, which UK town has the nickname ‘Treacle Town’? Nuneaton

Good Luck!


Annuity market reform?


Yet more annuity bashing in the press! This time as a result of a report from the Financial Services Consumer Panel (never heard of them). The information and findings of the report which you can view here are quite fair, but as usual it is twisted, sensationalised and dumbed down for publication in the newspapers.

To summarise the report -

People buying an annuity are invariably better off buying it from a company other than the one that their pension fund is already with.

Pensions and annuity options are complex, and this leads to a lot of confusion when consumers try to make a comparison for themselves. There is also a lack of clarity over how much is being taken from their pension pot as a fee or commission by the company arranging the annuity.

For some people, an annuity is not the best option but there is a lot of complexity involved which is not easliy explained without full discussion with someone who knows what they are talking about.

''Non advice' online annuity services have become very popular, but conversely they can often be more expensive for the consumer than an advised service.

Consumers might be unaware that they get less consumer protection if they use a non-advised service.

My feelings on the report are as follows:

Pensions and pension options are always going to be complicated. I personally don't think it is an area that lends itself to 'self service' or non-advised action by consumers. It is a one-off decision which cannot be reversed.

Sadly, consumers try to do this for themselves because they don't trust financial companies or advisers. As a result, they are giving up a lot of the consumer protection that they get by taking regulated advice.

So - please see an independent adviser to discuss your options prior to making a decision. The cost of regulated advice is repaid by peace of mind and potentially by a better retirement income than you would otherwise have had.

Call Mulberry Financial for an appointment.

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The material here is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for individual investment decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decisions. Mulberry Financial Ltd does not accept any liability for any loss suffered by any user as a result of any such decision.
The information is based on our understanding of current HMRC rules and practices (as at the news article date) which are always subject to change. Taxation and trust advice and Cash ISAs are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This site is aimed at UK residents only.
Please remember that the prices of shares and other investments can fall sharply. You may not get back the money you originally invested. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future.

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