In this week’s article, we’ll be looking back over the month of September to bring you the latest in pawnbroking, financial and gold news. With the headlines dominated by political issues both in the UK and abroad, it can be easy to miss out on other current events – read on for a snippet of what’s been happening in the industry this month.
Early Budget Announced
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has recently announced that 2018’s Autumn Budget will be moved forward, so as not to clash with Brexit negotiations. Rather than being held in late November or early December, as is usual, this year’s Budget will be held on 29th October 2018.
The Autumn Budget is a yearly occurrence, where the Chancellor sets out the government’s economic plans for the coming financial year. It usually includes information on taxes, the funding of public services, and changes in policy. This year’s Autumn Budget is particularly significant, as it’s the last one before the UK officially splits from the EU on 29th March 2019.
UK Bank Customers Lose £500m to Scammers
This month it was revealed that scammers have stolen more than £500m from UK banking customers in the first half of 2018 alone. This shocking statistic shows that bank fraud is unfortunately very common, and it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant. Of this figure, £145m has been taken by scammers through ‘authorised payment’ scams, where the victim is tricked into authorising a payment to another account. The remaining £358m was taken without the knowledge or consent of the account holder.
Banking scams can be surprisingly sophisticated and can occasionally catch out even the most savvy customers. The Money Advice Service has this useful guide on ‘How to spot and avoid bank scams’ if you are unsure about what to look out for.
Giant Gold Rocks Discovered in Australia
Beta Hunt mine in Western Australia has been thrust into the spotlight this month, due to its amazing gold discovery. Primarily a nickel mining operation, miners at Beta Hunt were shocked to discover a large gold deposit at their site, which has enabled them to extract huge quantities of the precious metal. Just 2g of gold is usually extracted from a single tonne of rock, but this mining operation is managing to extract 2,200g per tonne, which has been described as ‘exceedingly rare and very exciting.’
Additionally, two huge gold-encrusted quartz rocks have been found at the site – the heaviest of which is 95kg and is said to contain around 2,400 ounces of gold. The rocks are set to go to auction as collectors items and could fetch millions of pounds each.
The Pink Legacy Diamond – A Secret No Longer
An incredible vivid pink diamond is being put up for auction by Christie’s next month, named the Pink Legacy. Once owned by the Oppenheimer family (who used to own De Beers, the famed diamond company), the Pink Legacy was unknown to the world and has remained a close secret until now. The rectangular-cut stone is the largest pink diamond to go up for auction at Christie’s, and comes in at an incredible 18.96 carats. The estimate given by Christie’s is $30-$50million, but a bidding war may see the Pink Legacy fetch even more than this. We’ll be keeping an eye on the auction, which is set to be held in Geneva on 13th November 2018.
Royal’s Jewellery Rules Revealed
Royal expert Myka Meier revealed this month there are a number of rules surrounding the jewellery which may be worn by female members of the Royal Family, such as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Although the Royals have a huge range of family jewellery to choose from and would likely be permitted to borrow special pieces from the world’s top jewellery houses, they aren’t allowed to wear certain pieces during the day. According to Meier, female Royals are prohibited from wearing diamonds during the day, and may only wear them after 6pm. This rule does not apply to their wedding jewellery and is in place to ensure they don’t come across too ‘flashy’.
In the day, you're likely to see Kate and Meghan wearing pearls, plain precious metal pieces, sapphires and other gemstones. The jewellery they wear will have been picked out with help from a team and will often be tailored to the event or engagement they’re attending.
H&T Group Announce Shareholder’s Dividend
H&T Group have recently announced a shareholder’s dividend, which will be paid on Friday 5th October 2018. Individuals holding stock in H&T Group on or before 6th September 2018 will receive a dividend yield of 1.39%. H&T Group was floated on the stock market in 2006 under ‘HAT’, and shareholders include investment companies, H&T directors and staff members.
In Other News…
Collapse of Lehman Brothers – 10 Year Anniversary
Many will remember when the recession hit in 2008, especially as the effects of the economic downturn are still being felt by many people. Many would argue that the recession was caused by a wide range of factors, but the event which started the ball rolling and caused international financial chaos was the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, who filed for bankruptcy on 15th September 2008 – a whole decade ago. It remains the biggest bankruptcy filing in US history, as Lehman Brothers held over $600billion in assets.
Lehman Brothers was a Wall Street bank which provided mortgage funding, among other financial services, and is now described as a ‘real estate hedge fund disguised as an investment bank.’ By 2008, they had assets of $680billion, yet this was only supported by $22.5billion in capital. This meant a huge black hole in their finances, which ultimately caused their demise and subsequent economic woes.
Thankfully, the financial industry has learned a lesson from this catastrophic event, and these days there are more rules and regulations in place to prevent issues like this from happening again. The Financial Conduct Authority for example, oversees all money lending in the UK and has strict policies in place so customers – and economies – are protected.