SKQ A publication from 11issue
SKQ issue 11 | 2
• Richard discusses the old story of ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!’
• Mark Burgess from Orca discusses cybercrime and the importance of password managers
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• Kunle looks back at previous volatile times and considers the importance of budgeting
The days are getting shorter….so don’t forget to put your clocks back on October 30th.
As always, the SK Team is here for you.
In this issue:
The SK Team have enjoyed the summer and ventured to some amazing places; the Greek Islands, Spain, Albania and Florida to name a few. We also all got together for our quarterly team social at The Mount Vineyard. Did you know Kent has the same soil as the champagne region in France? The sparkling red was a ﬁrm favourite amongst the team.
• Q & A with Tarik Lu i, Area Manager for a luxury fashion brand
04CONTENTS Outlook from Kunle 07 If It Sounds Too Good To Be True... 08 Q&A with Tarik Lu i 10 Mark Burgess - Cyber security, how to reduce risks 12 Client Focus Groups, what have they been up to? 14 Get to Know Kunle 15 SK Invest Podcast SKQ issue 11 | 3
I was loving life, working in Holborn, the Kings Road and Covent Garden. But guess what I forgot to do? What I call the 9th Wonder of the World…
Summer. And what a summer it has been! Holidays. Cancellations. Deferred holidays. Heatwaves. Strikes. Sport. We won a football competition. Wow!
Oh, I wish I had done an income and expenditures chart.
As ever, who knows what lies ahead. These are still uncertain times. For some, the prospect of rising interest rates is unknown territory. This, combined with rising inﬂation and volatile stock markets can all be pretty daunting.
I had put enough money aside to go to Bournemouth Polytechnic.
Earlier this summer, I reﬂected on one of my most volatile periods.
In tough times, it pays to take control of your ﬁnances
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It was during the summer of 1988. I started my ﬁrst ever job at Reiss on £90 per week.
Oh, I wish I hadn’t run out of money. And yet in 1991, I did. Those were tough times for me.
How did I survive?
I can’t control the rise in interest rates, nor the rising cost of inﬂation.
I have worked hard to get properly ﬁnancially organised. Now I’m older, I have checked that my levels of life assurance and critical illness cover are suﬃcient. I have updated my will and lasting powers of attorney. I have also updated my Essential Plan to make it easier for my executors to manage my estate.
It helps to have a plan…and stick to it
It does help to have a plan. It also helps to stick to the plan. Plans do work.
I made some changes.
When I went on to join the Financial Services profession in 1995, I was self-employed and my income was irregular. To help budget my outgoings I created two accounts. Firstly, a fun account, where all my monthly income was paid into. I then calculated my monthly expenditure for all bills, including savings and investment plans and then set up a standing order for the total amount, which was sent to my second account –my bills account. All of my direct debits and standing orders came out of this account. What was le in my fun account was mine to spend.
Errors of the fools can be lessons for the wise. And I hope those of you just oﬀ to uni or starting out in the world of work will learn something from the errors I made.
Was it easy to adhere to? Of course not. I was in my mid-20s and I liked to spend money. However, I stuck to this approach and it worked. In fact, it still remains in place today.
I can, however, take control over my spending habits and try to make sure I continue to have more money at the end of the month rather than no money at the end of the month. That is why I believe that budgeting is the 9th Wonder of the World.
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Early investors did indeed receive such a return, but only from the redistributed investments from other investors. This house of cards ﬁnally collapsed when more and more investors demanded their capital and were rebuﬀed. Ponzi was jailed and saw out his days in poverty in Rio de Janeiro. Ponzi’s name long outlasted him as a byword for ﬁnancial scams and illegal pyramid schemes to this day are o en referred to as ‘a Ponzi Scheme’.
But it is worth remembering that these more o en than not turn out to be ‘pyramid schemes’, or ‘multi-level marketing schemes’. For the uninitiated, these are (mainly) fraudulent enterprises where an attractive return on investment, well in excess of the market norm, is promoted or promised in exchange for a lump sum or sometimes a regular payment.
Why I am telling you all this? Well, it’s a gentle reminder that if you’re attracted to a potentially high yielding investment proposition, seek the opinion of trusted family and friends (and of course your friendly IFA). Ensure you do thorough due diligence on the company or individual promoting the scheme, and of course ask yourself ‘Is this too good...’ Well you get the idea.
More recent examples include those promoted by Bernie Madoﬀ and a lesser known scheme called PIPs PureInvestor, created by a British ex-pat, Bryan Marsden based in Malaysia, which promoted a guaranteed 2% daily return on investment. Marsden was eventually jailed for money laundering and served a ﬁve year sentence. If you’d like to know more, I’d recommend Owen Platt’s ‘Just Numbers on a Screen’, which details how a seemingly sophisticated operation resulted in losses of an estimated 200,000 investors and which bore all the hallmarks of an online cult.
The latest economic outlook according to leading thinktank – The National Institute of Economic and Social Research – is for retail prices inﬂation to reach at least 17% before the end of the year. The Institute’s deputy director is quoted as saying there will be “no respite” for British households and businesses from “astronomical inﬂation” in the short term, and interest rates of about 3% will be needed to bring it down. Furthermore, he says average household incomes “would fall by a record 2.5% this year” leaving millions to rely on savings and credit to supplement incomes. And this was supposed to be a light-hearted piece!
Cautionary tales abound, the most notorious of which was the scheme promoted by Charles Ponzi in the early 1920s. Ponzi hit upon a money making idea that, initially, was entirely legitimate, using ﬂuctuating foreign exchange rates to arbitrage US postal coupons. However, he went one step too far by setting up a company which oﬀered a guaranteed 50% return to investors a er just 90 days, based on the underlying proﬁts made from his postal coupons enterprise.
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We’ve known for a while that a relatively benign period of steady growth, low interest rates and low inﬂation is probably behind us for now. The real life consequences are reﬂected in shopping baskets, at the petrol pumps and of course, our massively increased utility bills. Living in such increasingly diﬃcult conditions, it’s little wonder that we can be more vulnerable to the overtures made by those with a seemingly compelling business proposition or investment idea.
What's your favourite quote?
Tarik and Kunle have been friends for the best part of 15 years, with a shared love of fashion, music and social mobility. Here, Tarik tells us how working as a club and events promoter in his youth stood him in good stead for life in the world of high end fashion.
Would it have been important for you to have learnt about personal ﬁnance at school? 100%. I may have made more sensible choices as a younger man.
How did you learn to deal with people?
I love working with people. No two days are the same and it’s so exciting and rewarding to see and support my teams deliver amazing experiences to our clients.
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How do you deal with disappointment? You can’t change yesterday, let go, learn and move on. It all happened for a reason.
I guess growing up and working in clubs and events, I was able to meet people from all backgrounds and you would have to deal with lots of diﬀerent personalities, some more challenging than others, especially when alcohol is involved. Then working in my current role having interaction with all types of clients from VIPs to someone who has saved all year for that one purchase, it’s being able to adapt to meet expectations. Also, in my role I need to coach my teams and always look for ways to help them develop. In doing so, again you’re dealing with people at diﬀerent stages of their development and need to manage their expectations in a way that they will respond well to.
Tell us a bit more about what you do.
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By Muhammed Ali “I don’t count my sit ups. I only start counting when it starts to hurt because they’re the only ones that count.”
I’m an Area Manager for a British luxury fashion brand and am responsible for our UK and European Outlet business, as well as our top performing concessions across the UK. My role is really there as a support function for our store leaders and teams and I act as the bridge between retail and corporate. I work on strategy and planning team development, collaborating with third party partners and ensuring everything we do delivers amazing experiences in store, building relations for the future.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
What tips would you have for anyone starting a career? Be yourself, believe in yourself and trust yourself.
What would you now like to have known that you didn’t know before? I have learnt more in life as a father than as a man and through my children I’m still learning every day, it doesn’t stop. But to answer your question, the value of patience.
What was your ﬁrst job? My ﬁrst ever job was working outside clubs and outdoor events in North and East London, handing out ﬂyers and sticking posters to walls. That was super fun and got me loads of free entries.
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The initial contact will invariably look like it comes from a trusted source and unfortunately, no single piece of technology can protect you from a phishing attack.
Whatever system or service you use, passwords are a must. It's essential not to use anything that can be linked to you personally. Don't use family names, places of birth or pet names. Attackers, in some instances, build a picture of you and will know your place of birth, pet's name or other pertinent information from social media and the internet using a technique known as social engineering.
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Like every good security plan, you need to layer up your defences. You can't just rely on a single action to protect you. You need to make use of the tools that are available and understand the risks.
If you’d like to ﬁnd out more, take a look at the government's Cyber Security Breaches Survey conducted in 2021. The report highlights the risk phishing brings to all organisations, not least because some 83% of reported attacks and breaches were initially by way of phishing. This brings into focus just how important it is to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your business.
One area that has become a signiﬁcant threat is ‘phishing’. For those who aren't entirely up to speed on phishing, the target is usually an individual at home or at their place of work and the intent is to steal sensitive data, such as login or bank details.
Over the last two years, I'm sure you'll agree that how we conduct our daily lives has changed. Not just at home, but in our working lives too. O ne thing that has come to light is how cyber security is becoming more and more challenging. So, what do we need to do to protect ourselves?
During this period we've seen an increase in targeted attacks on both companies and individuals. And yet, the importance of cyber security is still not ﬁltering through - we’ve had to help several companies that were le wide open to data breaches because solid cyber security policies and processes simply weren't implemented.
So, what can you do?
Cyber security – how to reduce risks
Google Authenticator and Microso Authenticator are two well-known examples. It's relatively simple to set up, and they provide smartphone apps to make things easier for you. You can turn on the service, scan the barcode in the app and hey presto, you're all set. MFA will challenge you to authenticate once you've entered your password, and you're required to conﬁrm it's you within the application.
It's important to understand that any business or individual could be targeted, and using the tools at hand to better protect yourself will reduce the risk of a breach or hack.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
The beauty of a password manager is that you can set and forget your passwords for services. There's no need to remember them, re-use any and certainly no need to write them down.
This enables the attacker to make a targeted attack using personal, emotive messages. The ultimate objective is to ﬁnd out your login details, passwords or bank details, and in many cases, it's very realistic.
As mentioned, passwords alone aren't enough. Should you fall for a phishing attack, the hacker has access to your account and can then reset the password, set the recovery email address to something other than your email and then it becomes tough to get things straight.
MARK BURGESS orca.co.ukDirector
If, like me, you've got a list of passwords as long as your arm, you may want to consider a password manager. A good example is LastPass, and it's a secure password vault where you can store your passwords for services.
One ﬁnal thing to mention is educating yourself on the types of threats out there and how to spot apparent attempts to trick you. You don't need to study for a cyber security qualiﬁcation to be better prepared, but you can get more of an idea of keeping yourself safe. There are loads of great free resources available, and The National Cyber Security Centre has provided a helpful free top tips for staﬀ training course. It's aimed at businesses, but it's valuable for anyone.
You create a master password, using the guidelines suggested earlier, install the extension into your browser, and when you visit a service, it'll auto-complete the login details. The service is encrypted to protect the password information, and you can also safeguard your account using MFA.
A good example of a password is three random words, a number and a symbol, making it at least 12 characters long. For example, it could BoatSunshineIsland22@be - it's a mix of random words, upper case letters, numbers, symbols and 12 characters. And importantly, don't re-use the password across services. If you get compromised, they may be able to access other services using the same password.
If it's not you, you can decline the attempt because your password has been compromised. You can then reset it straight away with no harm done.
We always recommend using MFA wherever available. Most providers now let you add a secondary authentication method to verify it's you accessing the system or service. Banks have had this for a while with old-style card readers, but some larger technology companies have applications to handle this.
SECURITYCYBER SKQ issue 11 | 11
Amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic, I was working part-time as a key worker in preparation to start university. In the upcoming academic year, I will enter my third and final year at Cambridge studying Economics. Currently, I am interning at Morgan Stanley as a Leveraged Finance (LevFin) Summer Analyst. My biggest highlight has been reaching the finals of he IBD-GCM Football tournament with the LevFin team. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with members of the desk and watching how great teamwork transferred over to the sport.atching how great teamwork transferred over to the sport.
Back in June 2020, we held client focus groups which provided us with great feedback on our documentation and online presence.
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CLIENT FOCUS GROUPS
We asked them what they were doing when we last spoke to them and caught up with them to see what they are up to now.
One of the groups was made up of younger people who were mainly linked to either the EY Foundation* or the Haberdashers’**.
I was in my first year at 6th form studying economics, statistics and geography. Covid-19 had a big impact on my time at college and subsequently cancelled my A-Levels, but that didn’t phase me too much. Since September 2021, I have been working full time on an apprenticeship scheme at PwC in the Audit department and studying towards my ACA qualification. What I have learnt in this time is how different and how much more demanding the whole transition into the corporate world has been versus anything I have ever done before.
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WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN UP TO?
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*The EY Foundation works with disadvantaged young people, employers and social entrepreneurs. It helps young people, regardless of background to realise their ambitions and transition into work, higher education or self-employment. We have been working with the EY Foundation since 2015. www.ey.com/en_uk/people/ey-foundation
**The Haberdashers’ Company is one of the Great 12 Livery Companies with a focus on educational and charitable activities. We have been connected to the Haberdashers since 2012.
During the last year, I began clinical placement for the first time, which I’d say has been my biggest highlight. Although challenging at times, I’ve learnt so much and feel as though I’m beginning to develop my clinical identity as a doctor. It’s also been great seeing patients and learning from them and the doctors at my placement hospital and GP.
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I have gone on to achieve numerous things from passing my driving test to getting two new jobs. However, my highlight would have to be achieving a First Class in BSC Accounting with Industrial Placement Year at The University of Manchester. The rationale behind my degree being the greatest highlight comes from the setbacks, which I endured and persevered through, where I still was able to reach the goal I set for myself when I first joined University.
I was in my first year of medical school at Kings College London. I’m now going into my 4th year of study and working on a research project at Kings College Hospital with Dr James Galloway, one of the consultants there. Both of which I’m very excited about.
In the last four months, I have joined a company called Evolution Money Ltd as a Credit Risk Analyst. Previously, I was working for Studio Retail Ltd for a year and 10 months where I progressed from a ‘Student Placement Credit Analyst’ to ‘Credit Risk Analyst’, whilst finishing my studies at the University of Manchester.
I was previously finishing my industrial placement year as a ‘Credit Risk Intern’ at the Very Group.
I then walked back up the road and did le to the front entrance and saw the police, my Dad, what I then realised was the headmaster and some other gentlemen. That was an interesting journey home for me. Fortunately I was accepted into the school.
Desert Island Albums. The Singular Adventures of The Style Council and anything from Barry White and Bobby Womack.
Last book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Something diﬀerent that people wouldn't know about me.
What makes me feel better?
One that sticks out is doing my school entrance exams for secondary school. I ﬁnished them early and was allowed to leave the classroom. My Dad wasn’t picking me up until later and I thought I’d take a personal tour of the school. As good as that was, there was no one around to talk to. I then bumped into a 3rd year student who was oﬀ to play water polo. He asked if I wanted to watch and I said yes. We walked down Tudor Street to the pool with the team (my new buddies for the a ernoon) and I watched them play in a water polo tournament. I lost track of time and was there until a er 8pm.
Favouite Soap Series from the 80s. Dallas.
I have placed an emphasis on helping youngsters in schools, which is where my involvement in the Haberdashers’ and the EY Foundation comes in. I believe education is a true enabler.
Favoutite Ever TV Programme. ER
I have been a Best Man six times, an usher twice and the father of the bride to a friend.
Catching up with my wife Antoinette a er work with a cup of fresh mint tea (during the week) and on the weekend a walk to the pub for a catch up over a drink. Watching a game of cricket.
Snow Falls on Cedars by David Guterson
Most embarrassing moment at school.
A member of the SK team tells us a bit more about their life, loves and future plans…
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GET TO KNOW: KUNLE
You have a number of pro bono roles. What is the driver behind this? My foster family.
There were plenty of those.
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Visit www.skﬁnancial.net/sk-ideas/#sk-podcasts for the full conversation between Chris and our Client Director David Steppings.
Every quarter we interview our investment partner, Square Mile, asking them questions raised either by our clients, our colleagues or within our community.
For our Autumn podcast we had the pleasure once again of speaking with Chris Fleming, Investment Director at Square Mile.
There's a lot of uncertainty out there and the ﬁnancial markets are no diﬀerent. Chris talks us through behavioural ﬁnance, the psychological impact of investing and what drives people’s investment decisions.
THE SK INVEST PODCAST WITH CHRIS FLEMING INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, SQUARE MILE
Chris has a wealth of knowledge and in this latest podcast we discuss the current economic climate and the rise of inﬂation, interest rates and the energy cap.
SKQ issue 11
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