Productivity in Surrey above national average 3 Practical help to build up export links 4 Two awards for online shirt-making firm 5 Awards can galvanise team spirit and help firms stand out in a crowded marketplace 6
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A Steady-as-you-go budget After the initial excitement after Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget on March 19, businesses in Surrey have had a chance to reflect on what it actually means for the county’s economy By Tim Harris
email@example.com THE Budget 2014 may not benefit Surrey businesses are much as first thought, firms in the county have said. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced his Budget to the House of Commons on March 19, putting his weight behind businesses. He said Investment Allowance (AIA) will be doubled to £500,000, and extended until the end of 2015, with 99.8% of businesses getting a 100% investment allowance. However, despite this, it has been suggested SMEs – which make up a significant chunk of Surrey’s business community – will not see much benefit. Stephen Hemmings, corporate tax director at Menzies LLP, which has offices in Woking and Leatherhead, said: “It is questionable how much of an impact the doubling of the AIA will have on SMEs. “An increase in the AIA, an allowance that provides 100% tax relief for qualifying capital expenditure, is to be welcomed. “However, it is unlikely that this increase to £500,000 will be useful to many small and medium businesses, as they tend not to invest at these levels.” Mr Osborne also announced energy costs will be
Chancellor George Osborne with the famous briefcase.
cut and the rate of the R&D tax credit for loss-making small businesses will go up from 11% to 14.5%. This is something that Mr Hemmings, of Menzies, was upbeat about, adding: “This credit can be claimed in relation to tax losses generated from the expenditure on innovation. “It applies to small and medium enterprises, typically in the earlier stages of their business where investment levels are high and cash flow can be tight. “This increase is therefore an unexpected bonus for a number of growing businesses.” The Chancellor announced the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme to help fund start-ups will be made permanent. He also said the lending available to businesses for exporting will be doubled to £3 billion, with interest rates charged on that lending cut by a third. “When we say ‘we’re going to get Britain investing’, when we say ‘we’re going to back growth around the country’ – we mean it,” Mr Osborne declared. “We need our businesses to export more, build more, invest more and manufacture more. “I want the message to go out that we are backing our exporters – so that wherever you are around the world you
can’t fail to see: Made in Britain.” Antonio Falco, Surrey regional chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses has described this Budget as ‘steady-as-you-go’ for business, and reminded firms there is still much to do. Mr Falco said: “All small businesses need to be bold and brave in 2014. “The Chancellor set the pace towards some progress but there is still more to be done to get the economy and public finances back on track.” Many in the business community do remain positive that the Budget 2014 is good news for firms. West Clandon businessman Andrew Leigh, chief executive of salmon producer John Ross Jr, said: “I welcome the Chancellor’s decision to double the amount of lending available to businesses for export to £3 billion. “There is a huge premium attached to the ‘Made in Britain’ label. The Budget will be a boon to businesses looking for help in communicating this message across the globe and with an export programme that’s backed by UK plc then there is no reason why 2015 should not be a good year for UK businesses.” Finally, Mr Osborne’s confirmation that the Help to Buy equity loan scheme for the rest of the decade was widely welcomed.
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My first job Nearly half of British workers are considering moving jobs this year, according to the accreditation firm Investors in People (IIP). Research revealed that 47% of workers might move because of work dissatisfaction and increased confidence in the job market. A quarter of workers described themselves as unhappy in their jobs and almost as many say that if the economic situation had been better a year ago, they would have looked to move sooner. Almost half said bad management is a leading cause of their unhappiness at work, and more than a third feel their skills and talent would be better valued elsewhere. IIP has developed an online tool to compare a company’s standard as an employer, with other businesses.
Tessa Marchington is founder and managing director of Music in Offices and is also a cofounder and director of the Surrey Hills International Music Festival
A HINDHEAD based social media and digital agency has won a national award. Orbital Media was crowned ‘Best Campaign in Digital and Social Media’ at the Over the Counter awards. The winning entry was for one of the company’s clients, Sudocrem, and involved the development and promotion of the world's first virtual treasure hunt application. “The competition was tough and was entered into by some of the UK’s most iconic OTC brands such as Lemsip and Benadryl,” A spokesman for Orbital Media said. “However in the end, the judges felt that the Orbital Media’s entry was a ‘simple yet highly-effective digital campaign for Sudocrem’.”
What was your first job? I grew up in Effingham and my first job was working in the kitchens of the local pub, the Sir Douglas Haig. Around the same time I also worked in the Effingham Golf Club and Watsons Bakery.
A new mobile coffee business service has been launched in Guildford. The Cafe2U van, driven by Ian Esslemont, of Woking, will visit companies in Guildford, announcing its arrival with the theme tune to The Godfather. The van serves snacks and hot drinks which can be supplemented with syrup shots. Promotions are run each month and loyalty cards are available with the tenth hot drink free. To request a visit by the Cafe2U van to your office, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you get from there to where you are today? I got where I am today through a lot of hard work, saying yes to almost everything and by always making sure I had fun along the way. I have always had the philosophy of ‘do now, think later’ – this approach has always served me really well. I am impulsive and driven and really enjoy working with a lot of like-minded people towards a shared goal. I’m lucky that I have
The latest index from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows growing numbers of small firms want to create new positions. The survey of almost 3,000 businesses showed 15% wish to take on more staff in the coming quarter and 11% increased staff in the last three months. This marks the third consecutive quarter of job creation in small firms and provides yet more signs that confidence in the economy is returning. Almost two thirds of small firms expect to grow in the next 12 months, and one in four plans to increase the amount they invest in their business. A quarter of firms expect to see an increase in export activity.
built my career around my hobby and what I love, so I am very happy to be so involved in the industry. What has your career so far taught you? My career has taught me that we all have choices and that you can create your own path. As long as you maintain a very high standard in everything you do, carry out projects with integrity and continually rethink how you can bring in new energy, then doors do open. I have also learnt the importance of having to continually think about how business should change and grow. I know that music can make positive difference to people’s lives which is very
Tessa Marchington. Photo: Adam Woolfitt
rewarding. It’s obviously important to believe in what you are doing and try and create something that’s better or offering something different to similar businesses. What does the future hold? The future for me is like an open book at the moment. For the next few years I am happy growing Music
in Offices, developing the Surrey Hills festival and ensuring we continue to attract the best possible musicians to perform each year. I think I will always be working in the arts. I have a few projects I would like to develop in the future with bigger organisations. I am also very much enjoying being a mum.
Scaling Brecon Beacons to raise cash for young people Editorial Director Marnie Wilson Group Deputy Editor Mark Miseldine Business Reporter Tim Harris Commercial Manager Amanda Ducas Regional Sales Manager Ian Bresman
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WORKERS from a Leatherhead house-building firm recently tackled the Welsh mountains to raise thousands for charity. The team from Taylor Wimpey South West Thames’ Leatherhead office, in Barnett Wood Lane, scaled the peaks of the Brecon Beacons as part of the charity trek, raising £3,000 for the Youth Adventure Trust. They were joined by Taylor Wimpey staff from across the country to take part in the Brecon 10 Peaks Challenge, on March 8, tasked with climbing the Welsh national park’s 10 highest mountains – all within 10 hours.
While thick fog and gusts of 40mph wind meant some of the peaks were deemed too dangerous to attempt, the group still managed to cover a distance of 26.6km and climb a total height of 1,480m. The team from Leatherhead were Adam Lelliott, Paul Slingo, Kirsty Miller, Ben Connop, Alex Bridges, Paul McBride, Chris Scanes, along with former Leatherhead colleagues Chris Allison and Dan Di Bella. They made up two of the 45 Taylor Wimpey teams who took part in the event. Paul McBride, senior technical manager for Taylor
Wimpey South West Thames, said: “Everyone really enjoyed the day and we all felt pretty good when we crossed the finish line – in spite of the last climb, which was really tough.” The Youth Adventure Trust provides adventure camps and day activities for disadvantaged children. The overall event raised a total of around £126,000 for the charity. David Hempleman Adams, founder president of the Youth Adventure Trust, said: “We do not receive any support from statutory sources so are completely dependent on voluntary donations to
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Some of the team from Taylor Wimpey Leatherhead who tackled the Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks Challenge.
carry out our important work. “We are immensely grateful to Taylor Wimpey for sponsoring the Brecon 10 Peaks Challenge and to all of its employees for their dedication to training and fundraising which has resulted in a massive £126,000 being raised for our work. “They can be very proud of this achievement which will give many young people the chance to take part in our programme, fulfil their potential and lead positive lives in the future.” For more information visit www.youthadventuretrust. org.uk.
Productivity rises above national average Surrey workers contribute more to national economy per hour worked than anywhere outside London By Tim Harris
firstname.lastname@example.org SURREY is one of the most productive areas in the country, recent figures have shown. The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealed Surrey has one of the highest productivity rates in the UK, at 18.3% above the UK average, in 2012. Productivity is seen as a key indicator of economic growth. The ONS has compared each region to the UK average based on its nominal gross
value added (GVA), or value of goods and services produced in an area, per hours worked. The statistics show that Surrey workers have contributed more to the national economy per hour worked than anywhere outside London. The news comes as no surprise to members of the Surrey business community, explained Dr Malcolm Parry, director of Surrey Research Park. “Surrey is clearly an important driver in the national
economy,” he said. “At the heart of this is Guildford which is not only a cross roads of east-to-west and north-tosouth links, but also the centre of a technology cluster. “Factors that are important include the presence in the county of a diversity of companies ranging from the a substantial number of European HQs of many multinationals right down to a substantial number of SMEs and micro-companies. “Alongside the presence of these companies the county has a prodigious skills base
because of high educational attainment levels, supports one of the highest R&D spends in the UK and has a substantial number of entrepreneurs that drive innovation. “Of course these are figures which would be the envy of many countries let alone regions. “What is true however, is that to maintain this contribution to the economy there needs to be more investment in infrastructure to maintain the affordability of housing for the young talent who need to
grow the economy, and in transport.” Chris Cairns, partner at Alliotts accountants in Guildford, said he has seen first-hand evidence of a rise in productivity. He said: “Over the last four or five months we have seen a real increase in the levels of productivity of our Surreybased clients which is in turn driving profitability increases, increasing confidence and higher recruitment levels. “This is also combined with more activity in the corporate finance sector as more clients
look to grow by acquisition in the South East, which is seen by many as the backbone of the UK economy, and a credible alternative to London.” Surrey County Council has put its weight behind helping the Surrey economy through several growth-boosting schemes. These include filling nearly 540 apprenticeships within a year, high-speed broadband access and pledging to ensure 60% of its spending on goods and services is with local firms. The county council’s deputy leader Peter Martin was in
high spirits about the ONS numbers. “These figures demonstrate that Surrey packs one of the country’s biggest economic punches thanks to the dedication of our hard-working residents,” he said. “The county council is committed to taking an active role in supporting the county’s economy, helping it to grow and generate more jobs. That means working with businesses to promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship and giving people the skills they need to succeed.”
Paragon software offers solutions for global logistics A SOFTWARE firm brought together global logistics representatives for a leading food supplier last month in Dorking. The three-day conference was held at Wotton House Hotel, in Dorking, and was organised Martin Brower UK. It focused on how distributors can get the most from Paragon Software Systems’ routing and scheduling solutions, and reviewed new functionality from forthcoming software updates. Representatives from Martin Brower, HAVI Logistics and Golden State Foods travelled from France, Brazil, the US, Asia Pacific and Central Europe to take part. William Salter, managing director of Paragon, said: “We were delighted to welcome representatives from all over the world who came together to learn from each other and from our experienced team. “The aim of the conference was twofold. Firstly, it provided an opportunity for the distributors to share with each other their experiences with the Paragon solution, how they use it and how it benefits their distribution operations. “Secondly, it would enable
all these distributors to adopt best practices globally.” In North America, Martin Brower’s distribution centres use Paragon for the daily routing of deliveries of frozen, chilled and ambient goods, and packaging, cleaning products and ancillaries to more than 6,000 customers. Peter Holdsworth, head of scheduling at Martin Brower UK, said: “The Paragon global conference brought together the best Paragon – transportation ‘super users’ from seven different countries around the world. “The sharing of global deployments, operations, daily route optimisation and ongoing collaborations will enhance the knowledge of all the group, improve efficiencies while reducing our carbon footprint and raise our skillset to a truly world class level.” HAVI Logistics uses Paragon in 10 countries across Europe, as well as in China. Each distributor uses Paragon’s routing and scheduling software in different ways, and some have adopted Fleet Controller, which links routing and scheduling with vehicle tracking.
Paragon Software Systems hosted a conference at Wotton House Hotel.
Haslemere Travel drives charity night
Sue Heady, PR representative for Klum Hotel, auction winner Simon Davies, and Gemma Antrobus, managing director, Haslemere Travel.
HASLEMERE Travel has raised nearly £12,000 for the Prince’s Trust by donating two holidays at charity auctions. During a fundraiser in London held by the trust and attended by the likes of Joanna Lumley and Rob Brydon, a live auction saw one of the prizes fetch £9,500 for the cause. The trip for a safari holiday in Tanzania for two people was donated by the Haslemere-based agency in association with tour operator Abercrombie and Kent. A second prize was given at the Prince’s Trust ‘Handbags and Gladrags’
event, organised by the Women’s Leadership Group, which saw a three-night trip for two people to the Klum Hotel in St Moritz raise £2,200. Gemma Antrobus, managing director of Haslemere Travel, who attended the glittering Handbags and Gladrags event, said: “We were truly delighted that our two prizes raised so much money for such a worthy cause. “Having been actively involved with an apprenticeship scheme, we know from experience what a difference it can make to young people to have support at a young
age in the workplace and we hugely admire the achievements of The Prince’s Trust. “We now look forward to organising two amazing, luxury holidays for the two generous bidders in the coming year.” Tara Leathers, director of fundraising at The Prince’s Trust, said: “This year we aim to help 58,000 young people to overcome challenges such as long-term unemployment, poverty and homelessness. “The money raised at these events will make a huge difference to our work and give thousands of vulnerable young people the chance of a better future.”
Service to help build up export links Practical support available to help firms export for the first time or expand existing activities Export Surrey will help Surrey businesses to prosper in overseas markets. Here in Surrey, we are keen to work with local and regional decision-makers – including local councils, LEPs, individual companies, other business groups and the voluntary sector – to take pragmatic steps forward on promoting the benefits of international trade to business.
Surrey Chambers of Commerce, along with Surrey Connects, are working together to promote the benefits of international trade and exporting. We have launched a new service – Export Surrey – with the aim to actively promote the business benefits that trading overseas can bring. The service will link local businesses with practical
support to help them export for the first time or expand existing activities into new countries. As part of the accredited Chamber of Commerce network, Surrey Chambers see our role as a lead ‘front door’ for export promotion and advice and Export Surrey will play a leading position in facilitating international commerce by strengthening
companies’ export potential. We will be working closely with The Overseas Business Networks Initiative, which is an innovative partnership between the UK government and the private sector. The £8 million initiative is led by British Chambers of Commerce, UK Trade and Investment and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and comprises of a network
that spans 41 countries across the world. International trade expert Mark Baulch has been appointed to help South East exporters reach high growth markets and he will work with chambers in the South East to connect firms with an accredited network of overseas business centres and support services. Sarah Butcher will be joining us on
the international trade team at the chamber, with sole responsibility to advocate the opportunities available to organisations thinking about taking their business into new markets overseas. Louise Punter, chief executive of Surrey Chambers, said: “Sarah working with Mark will play a vital role in building a global network of support for businesses in the
Surrey. They already export all kinds of goods and services from commercial marine to IT systems. Firms will now be seeking to increase trade as the economy improves at home and abroad and the chamber network here and overseas is ideally placed to help them.” For more information about Export Surrey call 01483 735548.
Businesses can benefit from Growth Vouchers BUSINESSES in Surrey could be eligible for Growth Vouchers. You could be eligible for up to £2,000 to help your business grow. The Growth Vouchers Programme has been launched by the government, delivered by Enterprise First in Surrey and we are hoping that many local businesses will benefit from it.
The programme aims to build key evidence about the impact of strategic advice and help when provided to growing businesses and will inform future government policy. Businesses that apply to the programme will receive faceto-face assessments of their business and the chance of a voucher worth up to £2,000. The number of businesses
to apply has already surpassed the 1,000 mark, with more than half a million pounds worth of vouchers already allocated. Vouchers can be used to subsidise taking on expert advice in one of five areas: finance, recruitment, leadership and management, marketing and understanding digital technology.
The good news for local experts is that you can sign up and add your services to the marketplace and apply to become a Growth Voucher adviser to support other Surrey businesses looking to grow. For more information about the scheme visit the website www.gov.uk/applygrowth-vouchers.
Put yourself in frame for award
Members Networking Evening, The Manor House, Godalming. Members free, non-members £30.
Chamber Connections Surrey Heath Breakfast, Camberley Theatre, Camberley. Members £10, non-members £20.
Open 18 Hole Stableford Golf Competition for the Presidents Cup at Foxhills Golf Club, Foxhills Club & Resort, Ottershaw. Members £67.50, non-members £85.
Chamber Connections Elmbridge Breakfast The Hilton Hotel, Weybridge. Members £10, non-members £20.
Chamber Connections Redhill and Reigate Breakfast, Reigate Hill Golf Club, Redhill. Members £10, non-members £20.
O’Brien Contractors Ltd winner of Business of the Year at the Chamber Awards 2013.
For more information about forthcoming events visit www.surrey-chambers.co.uk
From local standout to national champion – celebrate Surrey business on a national level. Following on from the excitement of the Surrey Advertiser’s Toast of Surrey Awards 2014, businesses now have the opportunity to put themselves in the running again and enter this year’s British Chambers of Commerce Chamber Awards 2014, which are now open for entry. The business awards recognise and reward excellence
and each year organisations of all sizes and from all sectors compete for the coveted titles and prizes on offer. The award categories are Small Business of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, Best use of Technology to Improve Business Performance, Young Person in Business Award, Achievement in International Business, The Sustainability Award, Commitment to People Development, Entrepreneur of the Year and
Excellence in Innovation. Surrey Chambers has urged businesses to enter the British Chambers awards as we believe Surrey business successes need to be shouted about and we can compete with any area in the country. The awards are open for entry until June 27, and the winners will be announced on September 22. This will be followed by a gala awards dinner on November 27. For more details visit www. chamberawards.co.uk.
Be part of the network - find out how Surrey Chambers of Commerce membership can help your business at www.surrey-chambers.co.uk
Double award for online shirt-makers
Company is Most Loved in Guildford AN online business in Guildford has been recognised with two local awards. Online shirt-making company Finicky has received two accolades in the recent Best of Guildford awards, when it was named Most Loved Company in Guildford, and also Most Loved Tailor in England. David Buisson, managing director of the business, which operates mainly in
Guildford, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for my small company which will help us greatly as we look to increase our market awareness. “We are a very young company striving to succeed in the cut-throat fashion industry. This was an outstanding achievement by all staff. “Each of the team knows and appreciates the importance of
customer service, especially considering that each shirt is unique and is created to the individual design and measurements of the customer. “This award not only recognises the hard working efforts of Team Finicky but also its growing customer base who love what the company does.” For more information visit www.finickyshirts.com.
Sally Castro Gouveia from Best of Guildford with David Buisson from Finicky.
Julie Kapsalis, Director of Business Development at Guildford College.
Guildford College team builds on its business relationships Guildford College has set up a new hub office at the Surrey Research Park to build on its relationships with businesses across the region. It’s part of an ongoing process to understand the needs of local employers and provide relevant and bespoke training via its commercial arm, Services to Business. Julie Kapsalis, Director of Business Development, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the ever expanding business at the Surrey Research Park and to help companies with their training requirements.” Based in the Surrey Technology Centre, the team host monthly networking events taking the form of ‘Bitesized workshops’. Covering a different topic each month, such as Investing in Great Customer Service and Operating Successfully in a Global Market, they are delivered by key industry guest speakers and have been designed to introduce local companies to some of the employers that the college has already engaged with in order to share the positive impact
that skills development has had on their business. The college also delivers one-day Leadership and Management courses. They are a popular choice for local employers and are delivered by practising professionals in three areas: n organisational development courses,for senior managers seeking to enhance their skills to improve the growth of their businesses n management development, aimed at new and experienced managers to improve managerial skills towards greater business effectiveness n the personal development strand enhances individual skills that will contribute to greater organisational efficiency. The gold standard in project management, PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) courses are also available at Foundation and Practitioner Level. Guildford College Group’s Services to Business Team can be contacted on 01483 448530 or to find out more go to www.servicestobusiness. net.
Awards can galvanise team spirit Firms need to stand out in a crowded marketplace – entering local and national business awards is one way to do this, says the chief executive of Surrey Connects
The 2014 Toast of Surrey Awards.
SURREY RESIDENTS CLAIMING JOB SEEKERS ALLOWANCE (JSA) 13,000 12,000 11,000
Surrey Connects chief executive Mark Pearson.
in February, down from 8,105 the month before. Mr Pearson had referred to the January figure as a ‘seasonal fluctuation’, and said it was positive to see the figure falling once again. “Obviously the overall trend in the last 12 months is still downwards,” said Mr Pearson. “But we cannot be complacent, we need to make sure every opportunity is given to people to get back into work. “We obviously want more people to come off the claimant register, and I would always encourage people to look at self-employment and starting their own business up.”
Unemployment update AFTER last month’s unusual rise in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), the figure has dropped again this month. The Surrey Connects Surrey Economic Prospects for March revealed there were 8,078 (1.1%) claimants
ALL CLAIMANTS OF WORKING AGE
Fig 1 percentages denote the ratio of all Surrey residents of working age who claim JSA. Fig 2 shows the percentage of all Surrey claimants (as seen in Fig 1) who do so for 6 months or more. Fig 3 percentages denote the ratio of residents of working age in each Surrey district/borough who claim JSA.
Percentages denote the ratio of all claimants in that given data range who are aged 24 or under.
19.9% Feb 2014
Feb 2014 Data source: Nomis Courtesy of Surrey Connects
CLAIMANTS BY DISTRICT OR BOROUGH FEB 2014
ST SOUTH AEGAE AVER
CLAIMANTS AGED 24 AND UNDER
The proportion of claimants aged 24 and under is currently showing a downward trend across the county
FEWER JSA CLAIMANTS IN SURREY
The number of JSA claimants continues to show annual decrease, as the figure for February 2013 was 11,593 (1.6%). The JSA claimant rate in Surrey also remains lower than that of the South East (1.9%) and Great Britain (3.0%). Spelthorne is currently the area with the highest percentage of residents claiming JSA, at 1.5% in February. It was followed by Reigate & Banstead, which had a claimant rate of 1.3%. Waverley is still the area with the lowest percentage of JSA claimants, at 0.8% in February. The claimant rate in Guildford has stayed at 1.0%.
The figures show a drop in people claiming for longer than six months, however because the overall number of claimants, shown left, has fallen by so much this is recorded as a proportional rise.
RAISING the profile of a business is absolutely essential in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market, the chief executive of Surrey Connects has said. Mark Pearson, chief executive of the Surrey economydriving organisation, said a way to achieve this for companies is by entering both local and national business awards. “In today’s sometimes crowded marketplace, businesses need to show themselves to be different, and show a personal side to their business,” he said. “I think it is really important for local companies to make sure they are entering both local and national business awards. “We have obviously had a number of business awards recently. We have had the Surrey Advertiser’s Toast of Surrey Awards, the Surrey Heath Business Awards, and the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. “I would always really encourage local businesses to take a real interest in local marketing activities, and to think a little bit differently. “It is about understanding your marketplace, and understanding your niche. “It is a firm having a real understanding and a real passion for what it is doing, which enables them to
ensure they go out and win new business.” Using the Toast of Surrey Awards as an example, Mr Pearson said business awards were a great way to get all staff from a company involved in something to be proud of, galvanising team spirit. He said: “It is confidence improvement, confidence in a company and belief in its own product. It is about a general drive and a thrust, which is important. “At Toast of Surrey it was not just the managing director going up on stage, the really great bit for me is when an MD doesn’t go up, but the people doing the work go instead. That is really good, to be celebrated like that. “For the Toast of Surrey Awards there were some excellent companies coming forward, and a different range of companies coming forward.” Mr Pearson added that business awards are important in focusing and buoying companies going into the next 12 months.
...OF WHOM CLAIM JSA FOR 6 MONTHS OR OVER
By Tim Harris
SURREY AVERAG E
REIGATE & BANSTEAD
EPSOM & EWELL
Keeping an eye on the markets
Market signs aligning for a potential spring correction? By Phillip Scott
Head of advisory stockbroking at Simple Investments
Philip Scott of Simple Investments. This report was written by Philip Scott, Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments on 1/04/14 when the FTSE 100 was trading at 6640.
As measured by indices, the past month has seen a general flatlining of the US market and a degree of weakness in the UK. I do wonder if the US market might now be running out of steam: Company valuations look full, macroeconomic and corporate updates are mixed and stimulus withdrawal will continue. US interest rate rises are also a ‘matter of time’, according to Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve’s new chairman. I am detecting a sense of complacency in the market, which is a tad concerning. For example, the potential economic implications of an escalation of Russian tensions seem to have been at large ignored, as do the possible financial consequences of tighter monetary policy. The ongoing ‘risk on sentiment’ looks now to be a sign of (over)confidence and a
correction lower may loom. While many are trying to understand how hawkish (pro-stimulus withdrawal) or dovish (accommodative) Yellen’s maiden statement was, I am not sure this matters a great deal in terms of near term market direction. Five years of upwardly mobile share prices and rock bottom rates has passed and a pause, at least, seems logical. Share dealing volumes day-to-day are lightening. I am also mindful of the relative ‘cheapness’ of the emerging market regions in contrast, which are starting to look like compelling (contrarian) investment options medium to longer term. Any capital shift out of developed back in the direction of developing markets would put additional pressure on western markets. To conclude, I understand that straightforward cash weightings on portfolios managed by many leading investment houses are on the rise. I am not scaremongering for the end of the Bull
Market necessarily but do I hear ‘Sell in May and go away’? Maybe. Turning to the UK, in view of a subdued consumer price index (CPI) inflation data update last week, analysts are putting back the time for when an interest rate rise will come here at home. The potential implications of tightening policy are also apparent; there is an obvious risk to the housing market and consumer behaviour in general, which could negatively impact our economy. A current school of thought actually believes rates need to rise now as the UK is becoming too borrowed again. In addition, extending further the period of record low rates may result in a need for rapid increases in rates (in time), which itself would prove destabilising at best. Who would want to be a central banker ? The market is expecting action (likely in the form of an interest rate cut) from the European Central Bank imminently, with inflation at a
five-year low. Contrarian investors continue to accumulate in this region, as they appear to be doing in the emerging markets space. China is also believed to be considering stimulus responses as economic contraction metrics continue. Market specific comment Adding a degree of further anxiety is the onset of regulatory reviews. The recent Budget dealt a blow for life insurers active in the annuity provision area, with a change in the rules governing pensions. Steep price falls in many blue chip players have ensued. This has been followed by a double whammy regulator review of all investment policies sold since 1970, investigating the possible mistreatment of loyal policyholders at the expense of prioritising new customers. An energy sector regulatory review, better late than never, may also yield interesting conclusions; the possibility that the Big Six suppliers are operating as a cartel has
fuelled the view that these may be forced to split themselves up. It is probably good advice to avoid investing in either area for now and the situation is a timely reminder that nowhere is completely safe in the market. RSA Insurance (90p) is looking interesting, now raising money to strengthen its balance sheet with disaster management expert Stephen Hester at the helm. Judging from the share price action, the City seems to have given the company the thumbs-up for recovery potential, as does activist investor Cevian Capital, now holding 7.29% of the stock. Keep an eye on mid cap IDB (interdealer broker) Tullett Prebon (285p). A 30% slide in the price since January looks excessive. Operational challenges are clear but a 6% dividend yield compensates for the risk, in my view, for this perennial takeover target now looking cheap versus sector peer ICAP. Sponsor’s feature
TWM has flexible HR service for local business The employment team at TWM Solicitors prides itself on its ability to provide flexible solutions to local employers, enabling them to deal with any employment issues in a cost-effective way that works for them. TWM has a number of options that are proving popular, including the following. n Ad hoc or retainer Traditionally, solicitors have charged for their work using an hourly rate and this may still be appropriate for those requiring advice only occasionally. For businesses requiring regular advice on employment issues, we offer a retainer service, enabling advice to be obtained each month for a reduced fixed monthly, quarterly or annual fee. This provides the opportunity to call, and run things past us or seek reassurance, without being concerned about costs. We can tailor our retainers to suit all businesses depending on requirement, whether customers require half an hour’s worth of time, a month, or five hours per month; there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
works with the lawyers in the TWM employment team, clients can be assured of a smooth transition to the legal side of things, if necessary.
Patrick Stewart of TWM.
n HR support A lawyer is not needed to intervene every time an employment-related matter arises. We understand that managing employees is not all about dealing with disputes but about managing employees on a day-to-day basis. To assist, we can offer HR support through our HR consultant Karen Beard. Karen provides assistance on an ad hoc basis with particular projects such as disciplinary and grievance procedures and implementing appraisals systems or can be available on a more regular basis to support the HR function of a business. As Karen
n Insurance Many of our employer clients like the security of an insurance policy but prefer to use the services of a lawyer they already know. To provide this service, TWM is now on the panel of AXA. The insurance policy can be purchased through our local insurance broker. n Health and safety Employers who might find themselves falling short of the requirements imposed upon them by health and safety legislation, often do so at a significant financial cost. Employers can be liable for significant fines and directors can face criminal charges in certain circumstances, not to mention exposing themselves to liability for personal injury claims. We offer assistance as to how risks can reduced, on an ad-hoc or retainer basis. Contact Patrick Stewart at patrick.stewart@twmsolicit ors.com or call him at TWM on 01483 752700.
Friends take the attitude out of the art gallery world By Kitty Dann
email@example.com TWO women are proving that business and friendship can mix, as their Esher gallery goes from strength to strength. Alison Ramsay, from Cobham, and Emma Riley, from Claygate, met 12 years ago when attending antenatal classes run by the National Childbirth Trust. Now their gallery, The Art Agency in High Street, is more than two years old, and the pair have expanded their portfolio by offering classes on-site. Before having children, both women had jobs in the city, Emma working for the Financial Times as a product manager and Alison working in HR for a London firm. Afterwards, they wanted to be ‘more local’, Emma said, explaining how the idea was born. “It was about five years ago and Alison had always thought of doing something
like having an art gallery whereas I have an art background, having studied history of art. “Originally a cousin who is a sculptor asked me to help
‘It was a really scary thing signing the lease... like you are playing shop.’ Alison Ramsay, The Art Agency set up an exhibition.” The duo set up the exhibition in Teddington at the Landmark Arts Centre, but instead of just one, they managed to round up 20 artists and displayed around 200 pieces of artwork. “It was quite an undertaking,” Emma said, “We hung it all in one day, it was quite ambitious. It went well and we thought we should try and get a space on the high street.” Alison said: “We are a gallery but we started up as a
pop-up gallery. We were popping up for a weekend to start with. “We decided to be brave and landed on the high street in October 2011.” When they first moved in the space looked ‘grim’, Alison said, and took a lot of imagination to get started. The gallery now hosts regular meet-the-artist sessions, which are friendly affairs where everyone can ask questions. Emma and Alison have also branched out by offering several different classes onsite, including workshops on watercolour, print making and life drawing. “Our first event was a life drawing class with a nice man playing the violin. It went down a storm. “There was a lot of discussion on proportion as he went around the room,” Alison said. She added: “We both have a good sense of humour. It was a really scary thing signing the lease, initially you felt
Emma Riley and Alison Ramsay at The Art Agency, in Esher.
like you are playing shop. We work around our kids but are flexible when we can be. A few years ago we would be amazed if someone said ‘you will be on Esher High Street.’” Emma said the gallery offers a real mixture of artwork to suit everybody. She said: “We get approached most days by artists
and have to sift through a lot of them. We have to keep looking, really look at art fairs, other galleries, websites. “Now we have quite a good portfolio of artists. “You don’t have to come in and buy a piece of art that costs £700,” she added. “You can come in here
and buy a print for your partner that costs £30.” The business has its challenges, but Emma said the hardest thing, initially, is ‘getting people through the door.’ She said: “People are intimidated by art galleries – they think we are going to be snooty arty people and only sell things that cost about
£3,000. As regards women going back to business, that has been relatively easy. “We are lucky, we have done it virtually on our doorsteps.” For details of forthcoming events at The Art Agency, email emma@artagency. co.uk or visit www.theart agency.co.uk.
to do my own thing. It was a mistake. I just came terribly unstuck. For whatever reason, being self-employed or creating my own business has been a complete financial disaster for me. People have great ideas, myself included, but the struggle is making it happen.”
Mr Gorniok has attended countless networking events and has even considered a change of career and retraining but he stressed that business is his passion, and he does not want to do anything else. n For anyone unemployed
and seeking information on looking for work, visit the government’s job finding page at www.gov.uk/browse/working/finding-job. For information on business networking events in Surrey visit www.surreychambers.co.uk.
Unemployed for four years since his last £50,000 role DESPITE the ever-improving state of the Surrey economy as the county steers out of recession, some people are still struggling to make inroads into business. There is much talk in Surrey about the creation of jobs and employment opportunities, but the reality has been much harder for former marketing worker Casper Gorniok, of Normandy, who has been job hunting for 46 months. Mr Gorniok, 44, worked for many years in the business community, but after one thing or another – including trying and failing twice to start up his own business – he has found himself at a loose end, proving it might not be so easy after all. “I’m continuing to go through the most incredibly challenging period of my career,” he said. “I’m now 46 months without paid work. Up until January 2010 I was earning £50,000, plus executive benefits, in a senior marketing role. “I know I’m not alone. There’s a hidden army of people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s who are also struggling,
both in terms of career and financially, and need to work, in Surrey and all over the UK. “I am trying to emphasise that the media is talking about the 16 to 24-year-olds. It is a challenge for people who have got 10, 15 or 20 years’ work experience. “I am now really struggling to work out what is a logical next step.” After university, Mr Gorniok started his career working for Heinz USA in 1993, beginning a 17-year journey working with bluechip businesses and SMEs – predominantly in the food and drink sector. Finally, after a temporary contract with Del Monte, which tied up in May 2010, Mr Gorniok was left jobless. Since becoming unemployed, Mr Gorniok has made more than 20,000 job applications and secured some interviews, but with no joy. He believes roles are being filled internally, going on hold, or companies are keen to poach from their competitors. Mr Gorniok also has a mild disability – he was born with hydrocephalus, a build-up of
Businessman Casper Gorniok has been unemployed for 46 months. Picture: Pete Gardner. (Ref: SA140773)
fluid in the brain – which he fears may have harmed his chances in interviews. Despite widespread encouragement for new startups in the Surrey business scene, Mr Gorniok said both attempts to start his own business ended in tears.
The first was a franchise running a web design and SEO/PPC consultancy, and his second attempt to start up an enterprise, an SMEfocused business consultancy, also fell through. He explained: “In 2004 I made my first foray into trying
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