February 16, 2007

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mte launches ‘Golden Transaction’ competition

November 28, 2006


The Mortgage Trading Exchange (mte), in association with Mortgage Strategy, has launched a nationwide competition where a trip for two to New York can be won for the intermediary who processes the 500,000th transaction via the platform. At present, the mte, the industry’s only true common trading platform has processed over 450,000 transactions since its launch. By looking at future transaction forecasts, analysts at mte predict that the 500,000th transaction will be processed at some point in January. To mark such a land mark figure, the mte has decided to run a competition where a long weekend for two in New York can be won, including flights, accommodation and £500 spending money, by the intermediary who processes the ‘Golden Transaction’ – be it a KFI, AIP or Full Application. Mark Lofthouse, CEO of the Mortgage Trading Exchange, comments, “With the widespread adoption and rapidly growing use of the mte and a weekend for two in New York up for grabs, we’re expecting ‘mte transaction fever’ to hit the mortgage industry over the next few weeks.  “Current forecasts show that the ‘Golden Transaction’ will be processed during January but we’ve seen transaction levels increase at a rate of knots over the last couple of months so it could happen sooner.” “There will be regular updates on transaction numbers”, adds Mark, “but my advice to those who fancy a trip to New York next year is to make sure that the mte is used from now on when submitting KFIs, AIPs, and Full Applications.”  Over the last six months the mte has seen a 121% increase in mortgage transactions. With its market coverage via 27 lenders and packagers, the platform is being used to process over £35 billion worth of mortgages per year (circa 15-20 per cent of all mortgages placed by intermediaries in the

Heroin on the NHS for Drug Addicts, but Alzheimer Sufferers are Refused Vital Drugs

November 28, 2006


Drug addicts are receiving courses of heroin costing £15,000 a year, whilst Alzheimer patients are being denied life-prolonging treatments. Medical staff are even injecting the drug into the arms of the addicts, many of whom are serial criminals. At present, £6million is spent on the 400 hardcore addicts. This would pay for treatment for almost 6,600 Alzheimer victims for a year. Worse still, the police have made the incredible demand that free heroin should be made available to all 200,000 addicts in the
UK. The bill for this would be £3billion. A senior officer said that it would be cheaper over time, because the average heroin addict commits around £45,000 worth of crime each year to finance their habit.
  Comments welcome.

The BMI Myth

November 26, 2006


 What do David Morgan, Brad Pitt and Daniel Craig have in common? Perfectly honed, toned bodies – that’s what. Except if you rely on the most widely used measurement of fatness, the body mass index (BMI), which classifies this collection of supremely fit-looking individuals as either overweight or obese. Devised by Belgian statistician Adolphe Qutelet, the BMI has been used to define weight for more than 100 years. Part of its appeal is its simplicity of calculation: weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared – someone with a BMI of less than 18.5 is considered underweight, between 18.5 and 24.9 is ‘normal’, 25 to 29 is ‘overweight’ and 30 or greater is clinically diagnosed as obese. The measurement however, does not take into account body composition – whether or not excess weight is fat or muscle.  Measurement of your waist is probably more accurate and easier to understand. Having a waist measurement of more than 88cm (35 inches) in women, and 102cm (40 inches) in men, indicates the highest risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease. For better gauges on fitness levels and advice on keeping in shape – for life – keep an eye out for ‘beyourbest’ a book by David Morgan, to be published by Virgin in February 2007. www.beyourbest-davidmorgan.com

Born Talkers

November 26, 2006


Dr Luan Brizendine says in her book, The Female Mind, that women talk almost three times as much as men, uttering 20,000 words a day – compared to an average man, who speaks 7,000. The disparity, apparently, is caused by differences in the male and female brain. Maybe. She also  states that the sex hormone, testosterone responsible for moulding the male brain in the womb, shrinks the areas responsible for communication, emotion and memory – meaning that men gossip less and struggle to express their emotions. A mans brain power is focused on sex, and they think about it every 52 seconds. We (women) apparently only think about it once a day. Also, the more we talk, the more we trigger a flood of chemicals which give us a rush similar to that felt by herion addicts on a high. I would love to meet Dr Brizendine, a self confessed ‘feminist’, whatever one of those is, and obviously an experienced heroin user.

Cambridge to Appoint Financier

November 25, 2006

Cambridge University is to appoint a City financier to lead a new team of in-house investment professionals to manage its endowment fund: a move never taken before by a
British University. Nick Cavalla, chief investment officer of Man Global Strategies, will take on the pioneering role of CIO of Cambridge’s £1.2bn fund in April. 
Cambridge is richer than most UK Universities. Its investments total £4.1bn, although two-thirds of this is held by 31 autonomous colleges managing their own money in their own way. Despite its wealth,Cambridge University, like others including Oxford, struggles with funding shortfalls. Observers say that by recruiting a professional chief investment officer and establishing an in-house office to select external managers for the fund, Cambridge has stolen a march on Oxford.


Real Media Training

November 23, 2006

Let’s be frank. The likelihood of any of us being interviewed by a grumpy Jeremy Paxman is pretty remote. However, facing a hostile journalist with the scent of a decent story in their nostrils would make most of us break out in a sweat – hot studio lights or not. And, when we get nervous we make fundamental errors. In business those errors can be costly – lost business, reputation damage, unhappy customers, angry shareholders, humiliated staff. Oh yes, and feeling like a complete prat. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Performing perfectly well in front of the media is a skill. And like riding a bike or swimming, it is a skill that most of us can learn. Most PR companies offer media training as part of their services. Most of the time that training is bought in. There’s nothing wrong with that. Most PR folk are not ex journalists and don’t know the tricks and techniques that journalists like to use. For example, what is a ‘biased assumption’ and how would you deal with it? Or, what is the significance of this… ‘And finally, just one more question…’? The flip side is that other PR people have a journlism background and can help the media training selection immeasurably. They know the questions to ask – because they have been there and done that. By all means, ask your PR company to help you find a media training course, but before letting them loose ask what they really know about the journalists craft – you might be surprised.