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OFT and Competition Commission likely to merge

Robert Peston | 14:43 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

Unless you run a big, takeover-hungry company or you're a competition lawyer, what follows probably may not interest you a great deal, though in theory it's relevant to your future prosperity.

I've discovered that a merger of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission - the two British regulatory bodies charged with promoting competition and biffing anti-competitive behaviour - is on the cards.

In fact, the merger of the OFT and CC would have been announced by the previous government last autumn. But just as it was about to be unveiled, the then Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, got cold feet and persuaded the previous chancellor, Alistair Darling, to call the whole thing off.

My understanding is that the coalition government is likely to revive the nuptials of OFT and CC.

And the point of doing so would be to eliminate duplication between the two organisations and streamline the two-stage process of determining the competitive impact of proposed takeovers, or market structures or assorted business practices.

In theory, at a time when all public-sector bodies are under pressure to make substantial savings, crunching together the OFT and CC to make them more efficient would appear to make sense.

However for reasons that are unclear to me, many competition lawyers don't seem to think it's a good idea.

I don't suppose their wariness could be related somehow to the magnitude of the fees they can earn from the current twin-headed hydra of competition assessment, regulation and enforcement.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Robert,

    This is good news, should avoid duplication of effort and should pool resources to focus regulators effort. In our mixed economy good strong but relevant regulation is needed to counter-balance market excesses. Much the same benefits will arise from putting the FSA under BoE,

    Thanks,
    Sean

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course there is potential for synergy but they are different with the OFT with an across the board remit to look after the interest of consumers whereas CC has a much more narrow field and not solely looking after the interests of consumers. It is the waning of consumer power that is evident whether it is due to a small number of players or the practices and soft dishonesty of companies like Ryanair or general trading techniques of concealing the true cost of a product like prices from etc. What do they mean by merging - I suspect it could water down the effectiveness and scope of fair trading. Perhaps a carefully designed dual but distinctive identity sharing back office functions may satisfy everybody.

  • Comment number 3.

    Not knowing enough to pass any constructive comment I merely observe one of the first acts of the "Deutche Bundesrat" after the NAZIs took control was to outlaw Company takeovers.
    It is (for very different reasons I imagine)a policy that still claims attention in the present Corridors of Power in Berlin

  • Comment number 4.

    Surely we need more Competition Commissions, not less - where would all the competion go if there was only one Competition Commission? This merger should be refered to the Monopolies Commission.

  • Comment number 5.

    seems like sense for me, thanks for the heads up rp.

  • Comment number 6.

    Surely there aren't lawyers around who think about self interest and fees when they give an opinion !!! God forbid :-)

  • Comment number 7.

    Maybe there are economies and maybe this will speed up the processing of mergers (though I doubt it) but don't forget market studies/investigations and enforcing the Competition Act 1998. The real problem is that the OFT has proved itself anal in clinging to things which should have been passed to the CC, and neither institution has actually proved successful in beating out cartels and anti-competitive practices and making decisions which survive appeal. The real issues are leadership and culture.
    It's easy for your correspondent to sneer at lawyers but some of us want to make this system work and current situation is dysfunctional, expensive and slow.

  • Comment number 8.

    How does merging 2 failing regulators make them better?

    Is it the same priciple that merging 2 failing airlines makes them better?

    What about 2 failing banks - does merging them make the better?

    Ooohhh - it's such a tough world out there when you're swimming in contradicitons

  • Comment number 9.

    1. At 3:04pm on 16 Sep 2010, Sam_From_Hendon wrote:

    "This is good news, should avoid duplication of effort and should pool resources to focus regulators effort. In our mixed economy good strong but relevant regulation is needed to counter-balance market excesses. Much the same benefits will arise from putting the FSA under BoE,"

    ...but why are we (the taxpayer) having to pay for regulation of a market from which private profits are taken?
    Surely the free market self regulates these market excesses....or was last decades theory?

    This is like outsourcing - why bother handing the work to someone else when you then spend more time and effort managing them?

    May as well just run it all yourself - that would be much more efficient.

  • Comment number 10.

    "In theory, at a time when all pubic-sector bodies are under pressure to make substantial savings, crunching together the OFT and CC to make them more efficient would appear to make sense."

    In theory?
    Appear to make sense?

    Seems like this is another deception RP. Sure it will make the bottom line cheaper - but at a cost to the consumer.

    It's another one of those 'free choices' - you either pay for the dual bodies as a taxpayer - or you'll pay for the single (and less effective) body as a consumer.

    My choice is to pay for neither - now when will I be presented with that one in this wonderful world of freedom of choice?

  • Comment number 11.

    Robert

    This is a dangerous precedent - the display of logic and right minded thinking from a UK Government!

    I work for a private sector company which is known for it's acquisitions and have spent a good part of the last 3 years managing our response to one OFT or CC enquiry or another.

    Most of the last year has been spent on the CC enquiry into our industry as a whole - thousands of man hours have been spent producing data and answering questions, with no specific point of reference or point to the investigation. Normal life has ground to a halt for many in the company.

    And for what? What is the point?

    Personally I'd go further. At the moment the OFT and CC actively go looking for problems to investigate and can launch a full scale, multi-million pound enquiry into an industry apparently on a whim. What a waste.

    It would be much better to scrap both and create an "Office of Business Competition" to which concerned businesses, customers, MPs or other do-gooders can complain when they encounter anti-competitive behaviour or a company is over agressive in its acquisitions. They can then investigate and rectify the situation.

    Surely that would be much more cost efficient in these troubled times?

  • Comment number 12.

    #9 WOTW: I do not often agree with you but this time you are right. Merging 2 failing organisations together simply makes one large failing organisation.

    However, I am not convinced that they are failing although they could definitely do better. Strangely USA is much better at dealing with anti-competition (or anti-trust as they call it). I suspect that much of the problem is that the legislation is either too vague or targeted wrongly.

    I do think that merging the two together is wrong though. It means the same organisation is responsible for investigating and enforcing anti-competition rules. That is a bit like making the police also responsible as judge, jury and executioner

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks, Robert. It's a dull business, but someone's got to do it.

    Credit where credit is due!

  • Comment number 14.

    There is nothing to really complain about here. It should work reasonably well.

    That said, I'd like to see this new organisation whatever it's called to take much more interest in issue that are pertinent to the "national interest" and ensure takeovers in particular are genuinely in our interest and are aligned with the general political attitude of the country.

    So - for example - any attempt by an overseas state owned or part state owned or politically driven company to acquire any UK company - public or private - will be automatically rejected.


  • Comment number 15.

    Waste of time. Both of them.
    In the past I have written and spoken to both of them.
    Researched and quoted sections of the Enterprise Act to them.
    If it suits their masters to allow spanish practices to go on then who are they to say stop? "Growth is what matters."
    For what they are worth they might as well be shut down. Both of them.
    Kneelie Kroes department is useless too.

  • Comment number 16.

    My word! What a complicated problem this is.

    Two quangos created to address what amounts to the same basic issue - consumer welfare.

    "What on earth can we do? We need some management consultants. We need you know who".

    Aaarrrggghhhh!



  • Comment number 17.


    I have, in the past, been involved in merger submissions to regulators and three points are worth breasing in mind.

    First, eggchaser1977 is absolutely right about the cost and the time consumed by the process.

    Second, the assessment of a merger is far from a precise science. It turns on the definition of the product market (what other products compete with those of the merging companies) and the geographical market (in what area is the competition taking place). this all sounds logical and it is lent a furhter, spurious scientific validity by the SNIPP test. In this the regluatory authority imagines a small increase in the price of the merged companies products and asks themselves would consumers switch to other products and/or travel elsewhere in sufficient numbers to make the increase unsustainable? This is such an imprecise test that a regulator can arrive at almost any market definition they choose. (How long is a piece of string? Snipp!)

    Finally, some years ago I read an internal study by the European Commission on the effect of their merger decisions. Not surprisingly, they concluded that these had been beneficial: but in all but one of the cases cited there was no evidence of a net benefit or a reduction in prices as a result. It was all done on the hypothetical basis that "if we had not acted things would have got worse". Strangely, in the one case where the data suggested a reduction in prices to the consumer the conclusion was that the decision had not worked. (???)

    I'm all for regulation and regulators ensuring effective competition. But this is not achieved by giving bureaucrats unfettered powers to intervene in markets, without reference to an external authority (in my opinino this should be the Court), and on the premise that if we don't intervene things will get worse.

  • Comment number 18.

    Don't we need competition between our commissions?

    Doesn't having two prevent a monopoly in the market?

    How exciting...we'll be having state run shops next.

    Where is WOTW?

  • Comment number 19.

    Sam_From_Hendon wrote:

    This is good news, should avoid duplication of effort and should pool resources to focus regulators effort. Much the same benefits will arise from putting the FSA under BoE,

    9. At 4:07pm on 16 Sep 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    ...but why are we (the taxpayer) having to pay for regulation of a market from which private profits are taken?
    ---------------------------------------------

    I probably shouldn't bother wasting my time seeing as it WOTW but..............this is another of those myths that you perpetuate. It doesn't matter how many time you repeat it your version of events will not become true by repetition. The FSA, FOS, FSCS etc levy regulated FIRMS with an invoice (not the taxpayer). You can find the rates here:
    http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Fees/calculator/index.shtml

    No doubt the irony of calling the BBC and our politicians liars is lost on your and your buddy Javagirl who spead misinformation as well at every attempt to support your own view of the world.

  • Comment number 20.

    I understand that your role is to comment on the larger picture, but since when has competition born ant relationship to unfair trading? As a humble consumer my conerns are with the inaapropriate actions of unflawful/malpractice activities by those who sell me goods. Now this may in part be exampled by the cartel activities of larger suppliers, which would then fall within the remit of both organisations, however, in the main I am more concerned with the person/organisation misselling items, or terms and conditions that are not sustainable.

    The drive, seemingly supported by yourself and increasingly by your supposedly unbiased employers, to fix a foreseen gap in government finances at an ever increasing rate, hides the fact that a huge number of consumers will find it increasingly difficult to obtain support concerning traders. As with the FSA, who supported a range of consumers against the mortgage providers for misselling endowment mortgages, insurance companies for misselling payment protection schemes, etc, etc, its proposed merger with the BoE whose remit to control inflation through monetary policy. For the sake of a few shekels the boy George and devious Dave, now along with "I agree" Nick and vanishing Vince, are removing a swathe of personal protection by incorporating the existing protective systems within an umbrella of macro-interests. Those dealing with the nitty gritty will be overwhelmed by the grander scheme, and thus not operate.

    Surely, as a supposed representative of unbiased reporting some notion of the downside to many of this present governments actions require pronouncement rather than the "that will save money" approach we seem to have undertaken of late. Moderate this comment away should you wish, but my understanding of unbiased reporting is the analysis of alternatives, not a hoorah.

  • Comment number 21.

    19. At 5:35pm on 16 Sep 2010, MrManj wrote:

    "I probably shouldn't bother wasting my time seeing as it WOTW but..............this is another of those myths that you perpetuate. It doesn't matter how many time you repeat it your version of events will not become true by repetition. The FSA, FOS, FSCS etc levy regulated FIRMS with an invoice (not the taxpayer). You can find the rates here:
    http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Fees/calculator/index.shtml

    No doubt the irony of calling the BBC and our politicians liars is lost on your and your buddy Javagirl who spead misinformation as well at every attempt to support your own view of the world."

    So taxpayers don't pay for the monopolies and mergers commision or the OFT then?

    http://www.oft.gov.uk/about-the-oft/partnership-working/partnership-working-info/trading-standards/

    ...and where does the funding for the FSA and the BoE come from? - thin air? - or perhaps the profits extracted from the consumer - who also is the taxpayer - or didn't you realise?

    Mis-information indeed - maybe you need to consider a bit harder before you try to suggest that regulation comes at no cost to the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 22.

    WOTW:

    "My choice is to pay for neither - now when will I be presented with that one in this wonderful world of freedom of choice?"

    I suppose you could drop off the grid and live without exposure to tax? Or you could emigrate to a country that annoys you less? (I am thinking of the latter quite seriously myself).

    I don't think "freedom of choice" means that your ideal result is always an option. That would be a farcical definition. It just means there is more than one option.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great idea.

    Anything to promote simplicity, reduce the chance for lawyers to promote delay and obfuscation and earn ridiculous fees.

    But could the OFT + CC please get real with the market share levels that are permissable here in the UK before take-overs are disallowed???

    So many ridiculous distorting take-overs are allowed that end up screwing both customers and employees (.... and shareholders as well of course in the majority of cases!) and only enriching the managers, and agents of the deals... those wonderful investment banks.

    If the default hurdle rate allowable in your average market now is deemed to be around 30%?...... then the new OFT + CC should immediately reduce it to 15%. And for all financial services markets (... that's banks of course and all other 'money product' markets) it should be even less - 10% - given their link to the currency system.

    This doesn't mean companies can't ever attain large market share positions of course, and make themselves huge amounts of money. They can certainly do that by "investing in new product development and organic growth", otherwise known as running their businesses properly in the interests of their shareholders.

    Yes, we definitely need to do this..... make life a bit more difficult for large businesses to dominate, monopolise, and conspire together to fix prices and for sure the SME sector in the UK will be set free to produce unbelievable economic growth.

    At the same time of course, if we removed tax relief on debt, then larger companies' easier access to debt instruments (than small companies) would not be so advantageous either.

    George Osborne.... are you listening?

  • Comment number 24.

    So, people who are supposed to understand consumer Law, now have to be experts at company law ?

    Or is it People who were supposed to be experts at Company law now having to be experts at consumer law ?

    No, its half the people having to be slightly knowledgeable at both subjects.........

    If they didn't perform well before, things are hardly going to get better.

  • Comment number 25.

    I support capitalism. Do I think there should be no regulation? Well no. Does that mean capitalism is wrong? No. I love cricket but you need umpires still.

    WOTW and his ilk are arguing against a position not being defended. I would love to argue against his position (and by argue I don't mean a rant and links to wikipedia) but of course he won't tell us what it is! He also refused to take my bet even though I let him define the terms.

    Ok, I'll admit it - a revolution is coming to Hendon but not the end of capitalism - hyper-inflation in Germany didn't rid it of capitalism and in fact it's the largest economy in Europe now, the collapse of Rome didn't usher in the end of capitalism, in fact it's one of the largest economies in Europe now, beheading the King didn't make France etc. etc. No, the revolution coming to Hendon is a taste revolution as a new Krispy Kreme is opening!

    As you know, I no longer live in the UK so you ask why I care? Well I still have business interests there so societal collapse will harm their value no? OK, I don't pay UK tax but neither does your underclass and besides I never used your state schools or NHS hospitals.

    WOTW has admitted he works in a bank. Warren Buffet said that you don't profit when you sell but when you buy. Many individuals, myself included, have filled our boots during the recession - in fact it's easier to make money in a recession than during a boom. Is it any wonder that WOTW is talking the market down. Very clever.

  • Comment number 26.

    You don't have to run a big, takeover-hungry company or be a competition lawyer to be interested in this stuff. You just have to have an over-developed sense of curiosity.
    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Competition Commission (CC) have published the joint Merger Assessment Guidelines. I perused the Merger Assessment Guidelines at the Competition Commission website.
    John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive, said: "The new joint guidelines represent a modern, flexible approach to applying tried and trusted principles, drawing on seven years of experience since the Enterprise Act came into effect."
    CC Chairman, Peter Freeman said: "I welcome this successful collaboration between the OFT and the CC."
    The OFT was and remains the UK's combined competition and consumer authority. In relation to merger activity, it is the FIRST phase review body. Where necessary, it refers any relevant mergers to the CC for further investigation at SECOND phase.
    The CC remains an independent public body, which carries out investigations into mergers, markets, and the regulated industries.
    If it’s good enough for Peter Freeman and John Fingleton, it’s good enough for me.
    I tried to read the Competition Law related to this merger to see if I could see the concerns of the competition lawyers.
    Sadly, I was over my head and lost my curiosity.
    There is a small reward for its return.

  • Comment number 27.

    Prudeboy:

    Neelie Kroes is no longer the Commissioner responsible for Competition - she now does Digital Agenda. It is Joaquin Almunia who is now in charge of DG COMP.

  • Comment number 28.

    'And the point of doing so would be to eliminate duplication between the two organisations and streamline the two-stage process of determining the competitive impact of proposed takeovers, or market structures or assorted business practices.'

    ........................

    Let's hope that the 'doing so' does not result in the duplication of their elimination of each other as either/both of these useless quangos have been as much use to Joe Public and the British consumer as the proverbial chocolate fireguard as being scared witless of 'vested interests'.

    So we now have e.g.

    - the BBC and Sky with very little competition in the sector

    - an oligopoly of supermarkets with a strngle hold on British retailing and sucking in imports from all over the world and keeping British workers on the dole.

    - an oligopoly of British banks with a splendid array of golden troughs for exceutive bonus skimming

    As for making them more efficient? How about making them for once actually do something useful like e.g. properly overseeing a bank merger involving a bank poisoned with bad and incalculable debt?

  • Comment number 29.

    12. At 4:42pm on 16 Sep 2010, Justin150 wrote:
    #9 WOTW: I do not often agree with you but this time you are right. Merging 2 failing organisations together simply makes one large failing organisation.

    However, I am not convinced that they are failing although they could definitely do better. Strangely USA is much better at dealing with anti-competition (or anti-trust as they call it). I suspect that much of the problem is that the legislation is either too vague or targeted wrongly.

    I do think that merging the two together is wrong though. It means the same organisation is responsible for investigating and enforcing anti-competition rules. That is a bit like making the police also responsible as judge, jury and executioner
    >>>>>
    Justin and WOTW - I am a bit mystified by your attitude. What is the alternative to merging the two failing organisations - set up a third to do their job properly? Failure is often due to poor leadership at the top and if they are merging, then presumably everyone (I hope) has to apply for their jobs or be made redundant. So there is actually some point in merging them. Anyway the headcount will be lower so some savings there (after whatver payoffs have been doled out of course). If they are already failing, what is the downside of merging them - even if they are no more better what have you lost.

  • Comment number 30.

    Would these be the organisations that didn't stop Gordon p*****g my savings up against a wall when he persuaded a Mr Daniels and a mate to take on the toxic waste that was formerly known as HBOS?

  • Comment number 31.

    [Note: this post assumes Robert reads the posts - but hey only 30 odd to date - so I can hope]

    Robert - you set the news agenda with the last post.

    I do hope you continue to follow the BSkyB story. News International is just very very good at what it does and I want the BBC to go on to bigger ad better things. In my ideal world the BBC keeps them "honest" (in the trying hard sense of the word).

    If I were Murdoch(s) I would recognise that and cosy up. Bit like the way they approached China.

    Thats when you really have to worry - when Murdoch(s) are being nice to you.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    15. At 4:52pm on 16 Sep 2010, prudeboy wrote:
    Waste of time. Both of them.


    Agreed. Or worse. When the regulator fails to protect the public, the effect is to promote the interests of the perpetrator. Because the perpetrator has an additional layer of bureaucracy to hide behind.

    For example, if some bank charges have been proved illegal countless times, and the regulator fails to act on it, then banks effectively have carte blanche to overcharge.

    Regulators are far too cosy with the perps.

  • Comment number 34.

    I just watched your documentary on the super rich. Well done. Keep representing decency--we need people like you.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    @23 Lindsay "hyper-inflation in Germany didn't rid it of capitalism and in fact it's the largest economy in Europe now..."

    Hyper-inflation in Germany did indeed get rid of capitalism as we now understand it. That, with the Great Depression destabilised the Weimar Republic and let the Nazis in. If in favour with the Nazis, privately owned firms profited greatly from the centrally planned system, the huge program of rearmament and public works, from the confiscation of Jewish and other assets and eventually from forced labour; but it wasn't even the travesty of "free" market capitalism that we have in the West today. Economically, the system was a mixture of crony capitalism and state socialism, with freedom nowhere to be seen.

    What restored capitalism to Germany was defeat in WWII, and huge investment via the Marshall Plan. Also, although conditions were terrible to start with, the fact that so much had been destroyed helped them in the long run, as nearly all plant and machinery had to be new. In the post-war period, pre-war British factories were often competing with post-War German ones. And British manufacturing suffered from lack of adequate investment from at least 1925 onwards. This was because of the victory of finance over the real economy in Churchill's disastrous budget of that year.

    The economic failure of Germany was predicted by Keynes in "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" (1919). The consequences of Churchill's Budget were accurately predicted in various of Keynes' essays culminating in "The Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill" (1925).

  • Comment number 37.

    Robert,
    Is this part of the New Capitalism you spoke of previously.
    Just to remind us all Vince said people would be angry. We are even more so now!
    And Davey Boy was concerned about ethics and well being! Through people out of work and then whinge about couch potatoes!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yqWWUMnN6c
    So will these changes be ethical, fairer and improve our well-being?

    Or are we really facing the reality of our delusional economic model:
    Prof Steve Keen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0YC2PLnWRA

  • Comment number 38.

    8, Writings,

    I agree merging them with achieve NOTHING. It is also true that these organisation fundamentally have no purpose, Rupert Murdoch's monopoly is evidence of that!

  • Comment number 39.

    @DevilsAdvocate wrote:
    "Would these be the organisations that didn't stop Gordon p*****g my savings up against a wall when he persuaded a Mr Daniels and a mate to take on the toxic waste that was formerly known as HBOS?"

    No. The OFT's investigation found that the Lloyds/HBOS merger would be anti-competitive and it decided to refer it to the CC. It was over-ruled by Peter Mandelson.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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  • Comment number 44.

    36. At 00:45am on 17 Sep 2010, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    "@23 Lindsay "hyper-inflation in Germany didn't rid it of capitalism and in fact it's the largest economy in Europe now..."

    Hyper-inflation in Germany did indeed get rid of capitalism as we now understand it. That, with the Great Depression destabilised the Weimar Republic and let the Nazis in. "

    Oh you cannot teach Lindsay about history.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    makes sense ... as long as there are cost synergies....

    The last governemnt set up Ofcom in 2003, formed from the merger of 14 legacy regulators and, you guessed it, it cost a lot more the original 14...

    just look at their output... hundreds and hundreds of pages of self-justification... all translated into Welsh.
    AND YOU WONDER WHY WE ARE SO DEEPLY INDEBTED.

  • Comment number 47.

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  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

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  • Comment number 50.

    Those purporting that the OFT has no purpose or is failing may wish to peruse its last Annual Report, which demonstrated - among other things - savings to consumers estimated at approximately seven times its cost. http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2010/84-10

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

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  • Comment number 53.

    @lindsay from hendon

    This discussion is going nowhere. I have my opinions and you have yours. Time will tell which is correct.

    Parting shot though, my achievements have been hard fought, I'm proud of them. My skills are practical and self taught. So far you have tried to impress with your BTL empire so I'm guessing your achievement looks better on paper than mine.

    I will just point this out. Any mug can borrow money, it's what got us into this mess. None of it is yours until you've paid the piper.

    Filling in a btl mortgage agreement and jumping on a boomtime bandwagon is not my idea of a skill set.

    Regards from soon to be IMF land.

  • Comment number 54.

    35. At 00:40am on 17 Sep 2010, copperDolomite wrote:
    32. At 10:56pm on 16 Sep 2010, szjon wrote:

    Isn't it good to know that just by breathing you represent such a frightening prospect to the silver spoons!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Don't really approve of posters getting into spats and personal insults but the creative thinking and writing of this one attracts my attention and admiration!

  • Comment number 55.

    53. At 10:53pm on 17 Sep 2010, szjon

    Well all my achievements have been hard fought too but I clearly have won more than you. I don't just have rental properties (I leveraged the properties to invest the money elsewhere - this is clever investing - I believe we are in this mess because people defaulted, I haven't) I also have a string of businesses. Never mind, you never appear to understand what you've read anyway. I can see why your parents beat you, no telling this lad!

    Good luck in IMF land! I think I'll winter in the Bahamas this year.

  • Comment number 56.

    55. At 11:01pm on 18 Sep 2010, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:
    I can see why your parents beat you, no telling this lad!

    Good luck in IMF land! I think I'll winter in the Bahamas this year.


    That's enough. You've crossed into cruely. Stop and apologise Lindsay.

  • Comment number 57.

    No skin off my nose, no apology required.

    Mortgaged properties you say you have equity in, yet you've leveraged against them to invest in businesses. Sounds like i've heard this pattern of 'clever' investing before.

    I know why my parent beat me too, you are right. I never listened, some folks just aren't worth listening to. How very perceptive of you.

    Now, must dash, enjoy the Bahamas, unfortunatly I've run out of buiscuits so I shan't be feeding you further. Was nice to show your true colours though.

    Toodeloo.

  • Comment number 58.

    Trip, trap, trip, trap.

    I've had a bit of time to think, Sod it, my partner just brought me a packet of custard creams, thought I might as well share.

    For me you have just begun the revolution. Let me explain.

    I've followed your posts since you appeared with your antagonistic veiwpoint and I figured you were some 14 year old sitting at home looking for a laugh. I'm frankly shocked that you appear to be the real deal.

    I'd like to shed some light on the child abuse you mock so readily, maybe you really don't get it, I'm not talking about a slap or two, I'm talking hands trapped in a black and decker workmate and whipped with a riding crop till I bled, I'm talking broken bones and being forced to sleep in an uninsulated attic in the highland winter. I mean real TORTURE and degradation. It's difficult when you are 9 to understand why someone you consider family would take you by the wrist and elbow and break your arm over their knee. It's easy to understand as an adult.

    So mock on fella, I've dealt with worse than you can imagine and I'm still smiling.

    You know what I did today? I spent the day in the rain helping my friend fix his car. Felt good to help someone, took 5 hours but he is now on the road again. What did I get out of it? Just thanks.

    You see Lindsey, isn't it strange how from two such differing childhoods one of us turned out to be so nasty and one so nice. I must be the richest man in the world, all the pain the world could throw at me is (hopefully) behind me. I have a feeling yours is yet to come. I sympathise. Truly.

    It's so easy to be led onto a path you believe is right and then have it bite you on the bottom. I think interest rates will be your downfall. I suggest get out now and all the best but I doubt you'll take that.

    As for beginning the revolution, your comment didn't hurt me. I have thick skin, but it did make me think of what I promised I would provide for my children, stability, love, skills and opportunity.

    I can provide that at home and then set them free to what? None of the above. So, time I got to changing that for the better, I'll be getting out more now and getting a few things done to get the ball rolling, time to get my printer to work and start spreading the word. I have a few other ideas too.

    I thank you for this, such a throw away comment aimed to cause pain has in fact inspired me to stop thinking and start doing. See you around and all the best, I mean that, I think you need all the help you can get. Be happy you had a hand in starting something and if you happen to feel the least bit guilty about mocking the abuse of children maybe you could donate some of your money to a charity like I do, there are many who get worse than I did daily.

    Regards

    Jon

  • Comment number 59.

    Black & Decker make brilliant workmates. Very sturdy. A riding whip? Sounds like you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth if your family had horses. Well I worked my way up.

    This friend that you helped fix their car. Would you be able to build a car as WOTW seems to think we'll have to.

    Charity, pah! My taxes go to build prisons don't they?

    Enjoy your one man revolution - let me know how you get on.

  • Comment number 60.

    yes, they are great tools.

    The riding crop was bought for me.

    Yes, i could build a car and have before.

    Yes they do.

    yes, I will.

    I think I've kept you busy long enough. You clearly are a nasty piece of work. I'm back to believing you are a 14 year old. No more buscuits for you, bad troll, naughty troll.

    You are clearly only here to offend and cause emotive issues. Get a life.

  • Comment number 61.

    A 14 year old that understands corporate restructuring? I must be a wizz kid.

    You sound more like a 14 year old planning a one man revolution by buying a printer and printing some things. Wow, good luck with that.

    Grow up and get a job.

    (Nurse, please take anything sharp away from him).

  • Comment number 62.

    Correction point 4.

    you say you pay taxes in the caymans so, no, you don't fund prisons. you don't provide anything useful in britain at all.

  • Comment number 63.

    #62 - you really can't read can you? My UK companies pay UK corporation tax on UK profits (it's the law) although I do minimise this. My UK employees pay UK income tax and NIC (they wouldn't if I didn't employ them, they'd claim benefits) and my UK companies also pay employer's NICs.

    I pay more tax than you do (you've admitted you don't work) so you don't provide anything useful to the UK (in fact you take up valuable housing for someone who would be prepared to work - I don't live in the UK so you can't use the same attack on me).

    I still reckon you deserved it. Perhaps you should have listened?

  • Comment number 64.

    On the subject of reading, maybe you missed this "I work to keep my hand in and to pay the exhorbitant tax on my only luxury." I do work, I work part-time, my partner full time. I also study and bring up the kids, I think that is a fair contribution.

    However, I am willing to bow my head in recognition of your superior intelligence. Clearly i was wrong to think that child abuse was wrong when such bastions of society such as yourself are publicly advocating its use. My god, I must be getting old to have missed that fundamental shift in societal concienceness. I missed the idea too that debt was money and wealth was measured by how much you owed to the bank. Personally I would feel like a manager if I was running a business just to pay a bank but it seems to be the norm now so i guess i could jump on that bandwagon.

    So what do you suggest, borrow as much as possible, buy up some reposessed properties and rent them back to the previous owners? Should I beat my kids before I go to the bank or will it feel better when I get back?

    please advise me, I'm all ears.

  • Comment number 65.

    Now you're listening, good. Yes, borrow as much as you can but be prudent. The highest LTV on my properties is 70% (and that's after a depreciation of value).

    I have the money to pay off the mortgages today if I want to. But I would be missing out on the inflationary decrease of the mortgage and the opportunity cost of investing that money elsewhere. I could pay the mortgage off and save 5% but instead I invested it in gold and made 100%. For your benefit, 100% is more than 5%.

    What's wrong with buying repossed properties and renting them back to the previous owners? They don't live there anymore but want to and you didn't repossess it. All you're doing is taking advantage of the situation. You profit and someone gets someone to live rather than be homeless. The banks take a hit but fortunately they factor that in.

  • Comment number 66.

    Let us hope the merger will result in more successful action, and financial penalties, against the mediocre entitites that typify the UK:

    + Utilities companies
    + Banks
    + Telephone companies
    + Mobile phone providers
    + Supermarkets
    + Insurance and Financial Service companies
    + Car dealers
    + Hotel companies
    + Train companies

    Each of the above in most cases is typified by under performing over paid directors who specilise in delivery poor service to customers.

 

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