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SEPTEMBER 2011 ISSUE 7


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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Welcome from Patrick & Gordon

Welcome to the latest Edition of the FT News Hopefully many of you have managed to take some summer holidays and have managed to enjoy the brief sunshine with family and friends. It has already been such a busy year and we are now well into the second Quarter. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work so far.

Patrick

Waldron

Gordon Gourlay Introduction Patrick Waldron Gordon Gourlay Email: ft@firstrate.co.uk Editorial team: Rebecca Reid Lee Dale Michele Walsh Emma Smith Issue 7 September 2011 The FT News is published quarterly

Data Classification: Amber - Internal

You should all be aware from the intranet update on how we performed in the first Quarter of the year. Despite continued pressure due to the travel market conditions not improving as quickly as anticipated and causing challenges for the P&L performance, good management of margins combined with outstanding marketing campaigns and new initiatives have meant that YTD PBT is £49.8m - £0.5m behind at the end of August. The great news is that our new TMC Plus card has been selling really well since launch; there were more than 80,000 sales in 12 weeks against an annual target of 115,000, and the card has been used over 183k times in 145 countries by the end of July. Well done to everyone involved in the project to launch this. International Payments has also been going from strength to strength, performing at 263% versus Q1 10/11. Following a slow start at the beginning of the year, Wholesale trading has gained momentum and profits for June exceeded budget. As well as the wealth of experience on the team, continued developments to this business are ensuring its position as a global expert. In spite of some challenges with hitting all of our sales targets in POFS we are ahead of profits target YTD at the end of August by £2.1m. There have been some really good news stories so far this year for POFS… Although Savings started the year with some issues around competitiveness of products they are now back on track with re-pricing, and have reached the significant achievement of a book of £14bn. Focus on the retention and maturities programme is key for the following few months. Lending is performing strongly, with Personal Loans ahead of its target. Credit cards performance is now improving with the new sales process fully rolled out in Crown branches, and application packs being made available in STEP and WH Smith branches; after initial delays it looks as though the forecast for the year is back on target. We are also seeing very good interaction with key shareholders; this has also been documented in the case of our relationship to our partners in POL by a pledge to our ‘Ways of working’. You can read more about this on page 4. It always pleases us not only to look at what people are achieving within their work lives, but the commitment they bring to the social and charity side of the business. There are so many of you who give so much of your time for worthy causes and we commend all your efforts. We truly believe that this dedication improves everyone’s working life and is important to the charities we are raising money for. In POFS there was great effort put into a boat party trip down the Thames with a tasty barbeque and of course, lots of dancing. First Rate held a very successful Family Day at Chessington World of Adventures, with over 250 people attending. It was a fantastic day with the weather holding up for everyone to enjoy the rides or get their face painted! There is more information on what you’ve all been getting up to in the rest of the magazine, so hopefully the stories will help inspire you to continue the great social and charitable efforts within POFS and FRES. This is likely to be the last joint POFS and FRES FT magazine, although separate communications will continue in both businesses. We would like to re-iterate that if any of you have any outstanding queries then please feel free to discuss with us, or send through any feedback to internalcommunications@firstrate.co.uk Regards,

Patrick and Gordon


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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Contents

7 19 Savings

from Th e People ’s Post Of fice

®

Turn yo piggy b ur a into a nk cash co w

postoffic e.co.uk

with ou r range o award-winning f saving s accoun ts Trusted Saving Best Saving s Provider & s Accoun for Consis t tency of Rates

Pick up a

Best High Street Saving s Retaile r

Best Fixed Rate Accoun t Retaile r

14

Best Fixed Rate Bond Provid er

leaflet or ask a m ember of staf

Post Office is registe Limited is an appointed red in Engla London representati EC1V 9HQ. nd & Wales ve of Bank Post Office (No. 07022 of Irelan 885), and the d Post Office Bow Bells House (UK) plc which JUL11 is autho ,1 logo are (549611071 rised and registered Bread Street, 2B) trade marks London EC4M regulated by the 9BE. of Post Office Limite Post Office Financial Servic Limited es Autho d. is registe rity. red in Engla Bank of Irelan d UK is nd and a Wales. Registered trading name No. 21545 of Bank of Ireland 40. Regist ered office: (UK) plc which 148 Old Street,

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CONTENTS 2 ■ Welcome From Patrick and Gordon 3 ■ Contents 4 ■ Ways of Working Travel Money Card Plus

12 ■ Your News Found Your Sea Legs Yet? 13 ■ Your News Mexican Food Review

5 ■ Product News What is Project Polo?

14 ■ Charity Lions Clubs International Zone “E” & FRES Stockholm Marathon

6 ■ IT IT Tips & Tricks User Satisfaction Survey - Baseline IT Services

15 ■ Charity London to Paris, Paris to Geneva, Geneva to Nice

7 ■ Savings Savings Update

16 ■ Your News POFS Donation Scheme IT Football Team

8 ■ TCF and Financial Regulation Finnancial Regulation

17 ■ Fun Facts Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You...

9 ■ HR/L&D HR Update Wellstock - 3 Days of Health and Wellbeing

18 ■ Your News 60 seconds with... Ten Years Service Celebrations

10 ■ Authentic Leadership - Honesty, Integrity and Openness

19 ■ Competition / Gourmet Corner Travel Quiz Mike’s Champion Chilli

11 ■ Your News Chessington Family Day

20 ■ Your News Congratulations to... Welcome aboard...

If you would like to contribute to the next edition of the FT News please contact internalcommunications@firstrate.co.uk or a member of the editorial team.’


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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‘Ways of Working’

One of the key successes in business is ensuring good relationships between colleagues, shareholders and stakeholders. This is especially important in joint ventures. We acknowledge that we have not always been able to forge good relationships with our shareholders, however we feel that this has been improving in recent times. As new directors have come to work at POL we thought that it would be a good opportunity to share our ambitions for POFS and FRES and establish what we think would be the best way to work in order to realise these ambitions. Out of a workshop held at director level, we jointly produced the following eight working principles:

Ways of Working Respect each other as equals (i.e. we all have an equal and valid opinion and voice) 1

We design and execute from the customer and the network (in this order) 2

Clarify, appreciate and acknowledge each other’s expertise 3

Aligned objectives between us (‘I can’t win if you lose’) 4

Transparent conversations (nothing hidden), and willingness to offer / accept engagement and challenge from others 5

Seek to align processes (in respect to each other’s commitments) 6

Once decisions are made, we need to make sure they are clear across 3 parties, and then stay consistent with them in our communication with our teams 7

8

Back each other when that person is not in the

room We encourage all of you to adopt these ‘ways of working’ and consider the collaborative approach needed to drive POFS and FRES forward.

Travel Money Card Plus Paul Moss After a successful pilot period the travel Money Card Plus launched in circa 3,000 Post Office and has flown off the shelves. In just 6 weeks we have sold in excess 40,000 cards and have seen the card used in an amazing 126 different countries around the world including some rather unusual destinations, including Nicaragua, the People’s Democratic republic of Lao, Madagascar and Palestine.

Oliver Mallins

The Travel Money Card Plus is a prepaid MasterCard card and is available in 3 currencies, Euro, US Dollars and Sterling.

It offers the best servicing options in the market with a full self-servicing website, SMS balance checks and top up as well as a 24 hour contact centre. The network has really got behind the product with 91% of our sales coming through branches with the top branch (St John’s Crown branch in Leeds) selling an amazing 282 cards. I would like to thank everyone involved in this fantastic project for the successful launch of TMC Plus.


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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Product News

What is Project Polo? Marco Hughes

Project Polo is an exciting evolution of the Globe Programme. Globe initiated in 2007 but was placed on hold in early 2010 and the new Polo work stream is concentrating on scoping, developing and delivering the current account proposition part of Globe. The Current Accounts and Personal Lending team are passionate about the prospect of launching a current account business in the Post Office. We believe it could fundamentally change the nature of banking in the UK and really unlock the potential of financial services in the Post Office across the whole product range. HOW DID PROJECT POLO COME ABOUT? In March 2011, the team performed a full review of the UK Current Account market and a reassessment of the Globe business case to provide an up-to-date view of the potential opportunity to the POFS Board. The Board recommended that a smaller project should be set up to revisit the launch of a Current Account independent of the rest of the Globe deliverables (such as a banking sub-brand). And in doing so, Project Polo was underway.... Since then the Polo project team has been focusing on scoping the deliverables required across all three organisations in order to launch a Current Account

proposition, potentially in 2012. Key POL team members include Martin Moran, John Willcock and Penny Slatter and Bank is represented by Liam McLoughlin, Conor Aherne and Quentin Teggin. Our belief is that a current account proposition is vital to achieve the POFS aim to be a “genuine alternative to the high street banks” and the product will provide a valuable contribution to the business, meet our customers’ needs and increase cross-product take up and overall retention for POFS. The market data available is strongly supportive of a Post Office current account as a whole. Encouragingly for POFS, when looking at crossproduct holding of current

account holders, the warm/hot cross-sell product prospects are predominantly already available within the POFS suite, with benefit anticipated in particular for Savings, Credit Cards and Insurances.

The team will be busy on the proposition development process in the coming weeks and months. Should you require any more information on this Project you are welcome to contact Rob Pearce, Bridi Hughes or Marco Hughes in POFS.


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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IT

IT Tips & Tricks – Office Communicator, have you set your conference PIN yet? Adam Jacobs

With Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 R2, you must have a PIN to join a conference as an authenticated caller when dialing in from a phone. Do one of the following: In a browser window Address bar, type the address of the Dial-in Conference Information page provided by your administrator. For example, https:// frocsr2web.frts.local/dialin. 1.1

Within Communicator 1.2 click the down arrow located next to a small blue icon (top left corner of the main Communicator screen) then Tools, Dial-in Conferencing Settings….

On the home page, under Personal Conference Information, click Sign In. 2

Click Language, click your preferred language from the list, and then click Sign In. 3

On the Create or Change PIN page, click PIN, type a number that meets the PIN requirements, click Confirm PIN, and then retype your new PIN. 4

5

When you are finished, click Save.

User Satisfaction Survey - Baseline IT Services

Congratulations to Catherine Connor who is now the proud owner of a 2GB iPod Shuffle!

Catherine was chosen at random after completing a quarterly IT Service Desk and IT Services Satisfaction Survey to scoop the prize. There will be another lucky winner for the current quarter (July – September) drawn on the 3rd October, so visit the IT Intranet page and let us know what you think of IT for your chance to win… We’d like to thank everyone who took time to complete our survey, your

feedback is key in driving the success of our Service Desk and IT Services.


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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Savings

Savings

from The Peop le’s

Post Office

®

postoffice.co.uk

Savings Update Amelia Gini

POFS savings have a successful history of retaining funds and growing the relationship we have with our customers. We have over £4bn of bonds which mature every year and we retain a high proportion of those funds year on year. Some of our customers have been investing in bonds with us over several years.

We are now taking this experience and applying it to our Online Saver product. Online Saver launched 23 August 2010 and we are coming up to the anniversary of the product and will start to see customers coming to the end of their initial 12 month introductory bonus rate. From 23 August 2011 customers

Turn your piggy bank into a cash cow with our awardw range of saving inning s accounts Trusted Savings Provider & Best Savings Account for Consisten cy of Rates

Best High Street Savings Retailer

Pick up a leaflet or

Best Fixed Rate Account Retailer

ask a member

Best Fixed Rate Bond Provider

of staff

Post Office Limited is an appointe d representative is registered in England & Wales of Bank of Ireland (No. 0702288 London EC1V 5), Bow Bells House, (UK) plc which is authorised 9HQ. Post Office and regulated and the Post Office 1 Bread Street, by the Financial London EC4M logo are registere Services Authority 9BE. d trade marks . Bank of Ireland of Post Office Limited. Post Office Limited is registere UK is a trading JUL11 (549611 d in England and name of Bank 0712B) Wales. Registere of Ireland (UK) d No. 2154540 plc which . Registered office: 148 Old Street,

PL6541

will begin to shift to the Online Saver underlying rate.

customer to our customers from this month.

As we have been successful growing the Online Saver book over the last year, we have come up with a number of retention initiatives that are designed to reward our valued customers and strengthen the savings relationship we have with them. We will look to start this process and will be communicating the benefits of the Online Saver product and of being a Post Office Savings

We are confident that we will match the success we have had in retention to date in the savings book and will deliver on the retention targets we have set for our Online Saver products this year.


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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TCF

Financial Regulation Andrea Sadler

A new approach to financial regulation – keeping you updated on forthcoming changes

In June 2010 the government announced new regulatory arrangements for the future. These include the creation of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which will apply a new approach to consumer protection (currently expected to be established by end of 2012). The FCA will build on, and develop further, the FSA’s revised conduct strategy which was launched in 2010.

In March 2010 the FSA adopted a radical new approach to regulating firms conduct with their customers which is more intrusive with the aim of intervening earlier in the product life cycle to try to prevent detriment before it occurs (consumer loss due to breaches of our Principles and other rules).

This new strategy consists of the following elements:Comprehensive risk analysis and research to identify earlier the sources and nature of risks to consumers; Sector-wide intervention to change incentives in the markets where necessary (either in a pre-emptive manner or where other interventions have failed); Intervention earlier in the value chain, in scrutinising products and ensuring firms embed robust product governance arrangements; Using intensive supervision in firms to identify and mitigate emerging risks to consumers;

more aggressive use of enforcement tools to create credible deterrence in firms; Improvement of the framework and delivery of redress to consumers For more information on TCF and for updates on FSA/FCA changes and announcements please refer to the TCF Intranet Page which is accessed via the following link:- http://intranet/ departments/operations&IT/ TCF-TreatingCustomersFairly


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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HR/L&D

HR Update Clair Hodgson

It has been a busy few months for the HR team. On top of our day-to-day work across POFS & FRES, we have held the Wellstock events in 3 sites, organised by Lee, which received excellent feedback from those who attended. Recruitment activity has been high, especially in our Operations area, supported by Rebecca, and latterly Anneka both of whom have worked

hard to ensure vacancies are filled. Oliver met all the line managers across the businesses to discuss their team’s development plans and is now in the process of finalising the learning & development calendar. All of the development plans are entered onto iPlan by Lesley, on top of her normal workload ensuring that the operational side of HR runs smoothly. Sam

has been back with us on a temporary basis supporting on our project work.

small group of line managers already and more details will follow shortly.

We recently met as a team to review the activity we have planned for the rest of 2011/12. In response to manager’s feedback and changes in employment law we will be running a range of workshops during the autumn addressing Manager’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD). These CPD workshops will look at Employment Law, Performance Management and Recruitment. We have started designing this with a

Finally, we are planning a project looking at our organisational culture and employee engagement for later in the year. It is in the very early design stages at the moment and I look forward to sharing more information about it later in the autumn.

Wellstock - 3 Days of Health and Wellbeing Lee Dale

THE ACTS In line with our commitment to promoting health and wellbeing, 3 Wellstock events were held across FRES and POFS during May and June. Activities included free reflexology, free introductory sessions for chair massage virgins and high energy workshops from EnergiseYou, cholesterol and blood pressure testing from New Leaf Health Ltd. We also had representatives from LA Fitness who provided information about local gyms and measured BMI and AXA ICAS, who were on hand to give advice in connection with our Employee Assistance Programme. WHAT FESTIVAL-GOERS THOUGHT..... Feedback regarding the events has been fantastic, with many of you stating that you would like to see similar events in the future... “I really enjoyed the Tai Chi as it was a new experience for me and the leader was great.”

“It was great to make people aware of their health and well being.” “I did really enjoy the reflexology, the health checks and the presentation on how to keep your energy levels up.” “The Nutrition lunch was a good incentive to eat more healthily, because even though much of the dietary advice is common knowledge, the talk made you consider how you could action improvements.” “A similar event in the future would be good to measure the success of actions taken to get healthier/fitter.” “It has definitely got me thinking about a few things and trying to make some changes – so hopefully my health will benefit.” “I just wanted to say having the Tai Chi session was inspirational and I know a lot of us would love to make that part of our extracurricular activities”

“I think it’s an inspired idea to run Wellstock and I feel genuinely quite fortunate to work at a Company that puts thought and planning into the health and wellbeing of their staff” THE WINNERS In recognition of the time people had taken to think about their health, all participants in the event were entered into a prize draw. The lucky winners were awarded with One4All Gift Cards or Fitbug pedometers. NOMINATIONS OF FUTURE ACTS If you have any ideas about particular activities that you would like to see featured at our next festival then please email Internal Communications with your suggestions and ideas. What the photo gallery tells us.............

If you want any information regarding the above or are interested in getting involved with our project work, please drop me a line.


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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Authentic Leadership – Honesty, Integrity and Openness Lynne Kelly

“Why should anyone be led by you?”. This was the opening challenge posed by René Carayol, at the recent London Business Forum Event. He worked with world leaders including Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and Richard Branson.

“It’s not what we say, it’s what we do and how we do it”. Leaders define the culture of a company. An authentic culture is more powerful than strategy “the culture within an organisation can make that organisation truly unique, anyone can copy a

strategy”. It wasn’t “I have a strategy” that empowered and inspired Martin Luther King’s audience, but “I have a dream”. Strategies and numbers, he insisted, don’t have an emotional connection, leaders do”.

Clinton and Richard Branson are not perfect but they understand what they’re good at and surround themselves with people who “balance out [their] weaknesses”. They are brave enough to hire people who are better than them.

In the traditional world, a good product or service coupled with a good management team was sufficient to ensure success. Today, they are no longer enough. Business transformation has become pivotal in the battle to keep afloat. Apple, Google and ASDA are strong businesses and celebrate success, have non-hierarchical structures, are customer-centric and empower their employees. These companies are successful because they focused on personalities not structures.

Organisations can get out of shape in the good times. Authentic leaders ask awkward and uncomfortable questions to ensure that this does not happen. They encourage and empower their teams to do the same. Without authenticity how will the true potential and talents of a new generation of leaders be nurtured and secured?

The best leaders energise people towards their vision. Bill

I left the event asking myself “Why anyone should be led by me?” We all need to ask that question on a regular basis...


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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Your News

Chessington Family Day Kim Rathor

Dylan Jacobs

point of view myself and Laura and the kids had a fantastic time at Chessington and everything seemed to go so smoothly. The marquee was great, the food delicious, the attractions great fun (for some!) and even the weather was great. Both on the day and at work today, the feedback has been terrific and it was clear at the park that everyone was really enjoying themselves.”

Ashna Bhosale

“I know a huge amount of work goes into making all of the above happen and I thank you all for the efforts that you have put in.”

FRES hosted another successful Family day out at Chessington, with more than 250 people attending. Overall the day was a hit with lots of fun had by all and attendees were even lucky to be blessed with good weather! Events like this are very important they allow employees to relax with their families as well as having fun with colleagues in an out of work environment. Many thanks to the business for making this happen.

“It will be remembered fondly by my two eldest children as it was the first time they had taken a ride on a serious roller coaster (Vampire Ride)!”

Aliza Ahmed

“My daughter aged 8 said it was “Awesome” after she screamed the whole way round!” My son aged 5 said “I don’t know what all the fuss was about there was a couple of dips and that was about it...it wasn’t scary at all”  

Here are some of the comments received:

Thabi, Tafela and Tashi Liswaniso

“Many thanks for Saturday, the family really enjoyed the day, having two 4 year old boys running around was a distraction!” “We had a terrific time. The face painting was a big hit and my kids woke up in the morning asking can they go on the flying elephants again today!” “Just a short note to thank you for organising the Family Day on Saturday. From my

Nathan Jacobs

Vampire Ride

Toby Robinson


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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Your News

Found Your Sea Legs Yet? Anya Daved A great time was had by all at the POFS Summer Boat Party on the 23rd June. After a couple of showers at the end of the afternoon, the skies soon cleared and everyone warmed to the Jamaican-themed food and fun.

The evening was a great success, combining our summertime gathering with sad farewells to Kate Vandenberg and Vince Mulholland. The waters were choppy and so were the dance moves! Check out the photos below...


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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Your News

Mexican Food Review… Piers Newson-Smith and Bhavin Bhuptani Eastcheap Court has been hit by Mexican fever. Every week, literally tonnes of people flock to one of the many, well, two, top notch local Mexican establishments for their fix of guac and tac. It can be a pretty stressful decision choosing where to go. Get it right and you’ll be in spicy heaven, but get it wrong and your burrito could flop disappointingly, dribbling bland salsa and sour cream all over your keyboard. Not sure where to go? Well fret no more. Piers and Bav have gone all Michael Winner so you don’t have to. They consumed a heart-attack inducing volume of food in one lunch time from Tortilla in Leadenhall Market and Mas Burritos on Byward Street to give you the lowdown:

THE QUEUE Mas Buritos wins hands down; with a door to lard time of less than 2 minutes, and free nachos and salsa on the counter. Piers ate 17. Tortilla is an altogether different experience, more reminiscent of waiting for cabbage in communist era Russia than a joyful excursion for tasty Central American treats. There’s no free nachos to distract you from the allpervading noise of the puffy red-faced insurance brokers who have been let out of the Lloyds Building for 30 minutes for lunch. WINNER: MAS BURRITOS

SERVICE Mas Burritos triumphs again! Fast, polite and audible; even when sailing into uncharted culinary waters (pineapples in a taco!), you are made to feel in safe hands. Ordering in Tortilla on the other hand is a bit like arguing with an angry school dinner lady. Both of us seemed to enrage them by asking more than once for the difference between Pinto and Black Beans, even though their already muttered answer was drowned out by the cacophony of oafish customers clogging up the line. WINNER: MAS BURRITOS

FOOD If Mas Burritos was a car, it would probably be a Ford Mondeo with a few additional extras. It serves up perfectly functional Mexican fare but lacks a certain “No sé lo que”. That said, it has a better range of fillings. Eating at Tortilla is like dying and going to food heaven. Assuming of course that your food heaven eschews Michelin stars for stodgy fare. The chicken has a piquant tang that sets it apart, whilst you can almost taste the sizzle in the veggie option. Bav was also very excited about the range of beer in Tortilla. WINNER: TORTILLA

PRICE Tortilla: A chicken burrito is £5.95 Mas Burritos: A chicken burrito is around £5.50, but they have a 10% off offer on if you pick up a menu off the pile next to the till, so it’s really £4.95. Or one new English pound cheaper. WINNER: MAS BURRITOS Overall, the food is better in Tortilla, but by the time you get to eat it, you’ll be so full of rage that it would take more than a burrito to calm you down again. So go to Mas Burritos, make sure that you shovel as many free nachos into your face as you can in the queue! Mexican fever continues as Mike French shares his secret chill con carne recipe recently made famous in the ‘chill cook off’! (Page 19)


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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Charity

Lions Clubs International Zone “E” & FRES Sunil Patel

Over 450 Disadvantaged children, adults and their carers gathered for a fun packed afternoon at the Metropolitan Police Sports Ground in Bushey on Sunday 5th June. The 2nd Annual Service Activity Fun Day event was organised by the Lions, Lionesses and Leos of Zone “E” (District 105A) under the Chairmanship of Sunil Patel, of First Rate Exchange Services Ltd. The guests were given a food pack along with water, juice and fruit on arrival and were then entertained by various artists including a DJ, Brazilian Dancers, Bollywood Dancers, Live Band, Pinky the Clown and Dance Tutor. There were various games, all free, available for the guests which included Bouncy Castle, Tea Cup Ride, Stocks to mention a few as well as Face Painting, Nail Painting and Henna artists. The Sumo Wrestling also went a treat

Stockholm Marathon Pauline McLoughlin Stockholm Marathon – Amazing city, amazing marathon and amazing people who sponsored me…. I ran the Stockholm marathon back in May for a pretty cool charity and in memory for my little nephew Oísín. The charity is truly wonderful and is called Rainbow trust, they look after terminally ill children and their families. Stockholm really is an amazing and breath-taking city, with people who are so friendly and always helpful; I would highly recommend a visit!! The race -

But it was a cool feeling to run into the Stockholm Olympic stadium, see the Irish flag being waved at the finish line and feel like an athlete falling over the line 4hrs 30min! Thanks so much to everyone who sponsored me… I hit my target of £1,000 in donations, and POFS matched £500 of this raising this total to £1,500. I even got a promise of a box of Barry’s Tea bags (although still waiting for the tea bags Mike!!!)

with the kids who had plenty of energy and enthusiasm. The committee with over 30 members had meeting every month over the 10 months period to organise the event of this magnitude, which was a huge success. All of the sponsors, donors, entertainers, non-Lion volunteers and the venue itself really helped to make this day a success as well as a very welcome generous donation of £500 from First Rate Exchange Services Ltd, which added to the £3,300 already raised, lead to a total of £3,800


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

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Charity

London to Paris, Paris to Geneva, Geneva to Nice Michael Jenkins

1086.12 miles London to Paris, Paris to Geneva, 84 hours, 3 minutes and 1 second of cycling… 62,056ft of climbing… 80,670 Calories burnt in the process… 39x Croissants consumed… 2x New Chains 1x near miss with cow                                                                         … and of course, no good bike ride is complete without a puncture! All stats aside I’d just like to say a massive thank you on behalf of the Meningitis Research foundation to those that have donated, either through buying refurbished IT equipment or pledges. We’ve raised a massive £10,380.33 (£12,345.64 including Gift Aid) so far and couldn’t have done it without your help!

Donations to the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) help pay for the following: ■ £1 - 100 Symptoms Cards ■ £5 - 1 school or university information pack ■ £10 - 1 hour of in-depth support ■ £25 - 1 hour of a typical research project ■ £100 - 20 information packs for GP surgeries and health professionals ■ £250 - Funding for our 24 hour helpline for half a day Unfortunately my pledge form has gone missing from the IT area in Hounslow, so if anyone had pledged or has an outstanding donation for a laptop or desktop, I no longer have any means of knowing who you were, so please get in touch if you still wish to support the MRF! Many thanks again for all your donations and support www.londontonicemrf.co.uk Yours in lycra, Michael Jenkins


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

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Your News

POFS Donation Scheme Piers Newson-Smith It’s been a summer of disappointing TV schedules, mixed weather and interminable nappy-changing duties at home, so I needed something to take my mind off it all. The pub is all well and good, but I can’t take the hangovers anymore, so I stumbled across the radical idea of doing something healthy instead.  Not one to do things by halves, I signed up for three big endurance events in the space of three months; the London Marathon in April, the Blenheim Triathlon in June and the London Triathlon in July.

I figured that out I was bound to injure myself at some stage, but I cleared the first hazard with aplomb, telling my wife how much I planned to be out and about training without coming to any major harm. As soon as I knuckled down to the actual training though, things started to go awry.  Two weeks into the marathon training schedule, I was told that I had shin splits and a potential stress fracture, and that I shouldn’t do running training and couldn’t possibly do a marathon.  Well, as my dear old dad always says, “stuff that!”.  My visions of hours spend running down the mean streets

IT Football Team Adam White

In an attempt to dispel the myth that the IT team leaves the office to sit at home coding or playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, an office five-a-side football team was set up. After being let loose on the football field they showed that not only can they kick a ball around in real life and not just in FIFA 12, but they can do it pretty well. Having won their

first couple of games they are confident that with the skills of Bhavin Chohan and the pace of Michael Jenkins they will start to dominate the league. If anyone else would be keen in having a kick around there’s plenty of room on the subs bench for anyone who wants to join on a Wednesday evening – get in touch with Adam White.

of London may have gone up in smoke, but I made up for it with seemingly never-ending sessions on the cross-trainer, as sartorially elegant as is possible whilst clad in Lycra and huffing and puffing like a warthog at a trough full of truffles. When it came to the big day, I got around in 4 hours and 15 minutes or so; a good 40 minutes slower than I had originally wanted, but I was still pretty proud, bearing in mind that I hadn’t been able to do any running training! Once I was back on my feet, I added cycling and swimming into the mix and got going on training for the two triathlons.  I got round each of them quicker than I had planned and now have three shiny medals to show for my handiwork at home.   And what’s more, I’ve earned the right to

knock exercise on the head and go to seed, I’ll plan to take the next few months’ one pie at a time and see how fat I can get. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me, and also to POFS for the matched donation scheme. I raised £635 in donations, and POFS matched £500 of this, which is a phenomenal benefit and brought the total up to £1,135.  The money has been split between The Princess Alice Hospice and Prostate Action, and both have been in touch to express their gratitude. 


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

17

Fun Facts

Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You… We asked a random selection of employees to come forward and confess to a hidden talent, interesting hobby or an unusual personal WHO fact that few people at work know about… OU ARE Y Can you match the fact to the person?

?

Answers are on page 20 I can use a mace (it’s the stick that drum majorettes throw/twirl etc) and have my national colours for adjudicating drum majorettes. 1

2 I am an “adrenaline junkie” – I have climbed mountains, abseiled off of city centre office blocks (twice), and done a tandem free fall parachute jump from 10000 feet, driven around Silverstone in a Ferrari, and completed a 3 lap “race” in a classic car at Donnington. My hobby is driving and maintaining a classic MG Midget. 3

4

I used to live in the same house as Dizzee Rascal.

I was a 2005 Calendar Girl for Breast Cancer Awareness....I was Miss April! 5

I have been in a full colour photograph on the front page of the Daily Telegraph (1995), I have been on Channel 4’s ‘Devils Advocate’ (1996), I have been on Question Time (2001) and  I was also a magazine columnist for 10 issues as the ‘opinionated git’ in a magazine called ‘Snoop’ (1998). 6

I was on Capital radio (travel news) - my car caught fire as I was going to go through the Blackwall Tunnel. 7

When I was 10 years old I fell off a ladder and broke both my arms. Both arms were in plaster cast and I was unable to do anything without assistance for 8 weeks (need I say more). 8

I was a film extra in “Tommy” with The Who. My role was to invade the stage during The Pinball Wizard scene and steal bits of kit from John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey and of course Elton John!! Surprisingly, I didn’t get an Oscar nomination!

A

H

B

I

C

J

D

K

E

L

F

M

G

N

9

When I was younger I used to do Fire Breathing as a hobby… 10

I am a sometime guest lecturer in Strategy at Cass Business school where I teach my own published academic work. 11

In high school I was first in Athletics and Gymnastics for my age group. Unfortunately, for my final year we moved to a different city and the new school I attended did not have any Physical Education program due to the building being renovated. Had I stayed at my old school, I may have been on the National Olympic Team along two other alumni - one competed in Gymnastics and the other on the Women’s Basketball Team in the Montreal Olympics. 12

My unusual talent is that I’m sort of ambidextrous – I can play racket sports with either hand for example, I used to be able to write with either hand but lost that skill with all the typing. 13

I collect giraffes (Cuddly, Pot, wood etc!) & my favourite hobby is camping. 14


ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

18

Your News

10 Years of Service Celebrations Lyes Ali-Yahia

60

CASH CENTRE

SECONDS WITH...

A buffet lunch was arranged for the team at Shepperton, to celebrate 10 years service for four members of the original start up team. Amy Mahal, Updesh Joshi, Lyes Ali-Yahia, and Matt Oman were all presented with a gift and some reminiscing by Lynne Kelly, they were also thanked for their hard work, loyalty, and their patience in those early days.

Michelle Zhang Tell us something interesting about yourself which your work colleagues may not know about you? Trained professionally (half day school half day swim) for my city’s junior swimming team, competed in different competitions until 15 Tell us an embarrassing fact about yourself? I can quite easily get goosebumps‌ What makes you laugh? Mock the week When was the last time you cried? Seeing my mum come through the airport gate when she visited me for the first time in 9 years since I have been in the UK

What is your favourite memory from school? Doing a student rep speech in front of 2000+ Who is your favourite band or singer?? The Black Eyed Peas / Eason Chan (HK singer) What is your favourite book/poem? The girl with the dragon tattoo What sports or hobbies do you pursue? Swimming, jogging How would you describe yourself in one word? Positive


FT NEWS ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2011

19

Competition and Gourmet Corner

TRAVEL QUIZ David White Another legendary quiz from our very own Quiz Master, David White. The following 8 questions all relate to popular holiday and travel destinations around the world. Take the first letter of each of the 8 answers, and re-arrange them to form a word associated with going on holiday. Good luck!

2

One of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic coastlines, this popular tourist destination in Italy includes the resort of Positano. 1

Almost completely destroyed by an earthquake and fire in 1906, this city became the centre of the hippie movement in the 1960’s and is home to the only mobile national monument in the USA. 2

Gary Lineker’s brother 3 opened the first of his chain of bars here, and you can also take a cable car to the top of Spain’s highest mountain. Known as the rose red city, and one of the world’s greatest examples of rock cut architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was successfully defended by Lawrence of Arabia in 1917 against Turkish forces. 4

8

A very old street in York with overhanging timberframed buildings dating back to the 14th century. 5

Home to one of the original seven wonders of the world, this Greek island was used for filming the outdoor scenes of The Guns of Navarone. 6

This village in Bavaria has hosted a Passion Play every 10 years for over 370 years to celebrate their escape from the Bubonic Plague in the 1630’s 7

Made famous by Ernest Hemingway, this Spanish city is famous for its annual bull run. 8

Submit your answer (you don’t need to include all 8 answers in your email!) via email to internal. communications@firstrate.co.uk with the winning entry to be drawn on the 16th September The winner will receive a £30 one4all gift card which can be used at a number of stores

Mike’s Champion Chilli From the kitchen of Mike French Mike French shares his secret chill con carne recipe recently made famous in the ‘chill cook off’! PREPARATION AND COOKING TIMES Ready in 1 hour 30 minutes

METHOD

INGREDIENTS

Step 2: Put some oil in a pan on a medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onions and cook for a few minutes until softened.

■ 1 x large onion ■ 1 x red pepper ■ Garlic (2 or 3 cloves) ■ 1 x teaspoon chilli powder ■ 1 x teaspoon smoked paprika ■ 1 x teaspoon cayenne pepper ■ 1 x teaspoon ground cumin ■ 500g minced beef ■ 2 x can chopped tomatoes ■ Tomato purée ■ 1 x teaspoon sugar ■ 1 x can red kidney beans

Step 1: Dice the onion and chop up the pepper and garlic.

Step 3: Add the red pepper, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin. Stir and cook for a few more minutes. Step 4: Turn the heat up and add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for a few minutes until the mince is brown.

Step 5: Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and a good squirt of tomato puree and stir well. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Step 6: Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add to the pot. Simmer for a further 30 – 45 minutes without the lid. Step 7: Season during this final cooking stage and add a bit more chilli, paprika and cayenne if more heat is required.


ISSUE 6 | SEPTEMBER 2011 FT NEWS

20

Your News CONGRATULATIONS TO:

GETTING TO KNOW YOU, GETTING TO KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU ANSWERS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

E Lynn Roth B Steve Greenwood I Jonathan Bennett C Brendan Kearns N Bev Hopper F Asish Joshi H Angela Petch

8. L Kim White (Lazarow) 9. J David Thomas 10. A Che Symth 11. K Gerry Barett 12. D Albert Chesnel 13. M Michael Gibbon 14. G Alison Barber

HOWARD AMBLER AND HIS PARTNER RACHEL on the birth of their son Alexander Edward who was born on the 15th July 7.09 am weighing 7lb 10oz.

CHRIS RYDE AND HIS PARTNER MELANIE on the birth of Jack Ryde who arrived at 3am on Saturday morning a 10lb bundle of joy.

JEAN AND BEN RANSOM on the birth of Will Benjamin Ransom who was born at 05:48am on Thursday 11th August, weighing 7lbs 11oz.

PRAVIN BOPPURI AND HIS WIFE on the birth of their son Aiden who was born on the 28th July.

REBECCA RAYNOR on the birth of her daughter Emily who was born on 30th April weighing 6lb6oz.

ANGELA WONG who joined POFS as a Finance Business Partner – Insurance on the 8th August

ANDREW ALDEN who joined POFS as a Product Marketing Manager – Lending on the 27th July

RODDIE LENMAN who joined POFS as a MI Development Operative on the 18th July

NICOLE KEMP who joined POFS as Cross Sell & Retention Manager on the 6th June

SEUN AKINDE who joined POFS as a Project Manager on the 3rd August

SUZANNE LEWSLEY who joined POFS as a Product Marketing Manager on the 27th July

FERDINANDO OSITA who joined FRES as a Fraud Prevention Officer on the 20th June

ROB CLARKSON who joined POFS as the Director of Insurances on the 1st June

TIM ROBINSON who joined POFS as a consultant for insurances on the 1st August

BEVERLEY TURNER who joined POFS as a consultant for insurances on the 25th July

BABUSHA ABDULRAHMAN who joined POFS as a MI Development Operative on the 15th June

MIKE SCOTT who joined POFS as the new POFS Director of Finance on the 26th April

WELCOME ABOARD

FT News  

FT News - Issue 7 - September 2011

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