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DON’T RISK IT ALL WITH NON-COMPLIANCE

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By Paul Sleath, CEO at PEO Worldwide

 

Did you know non-compliance costs more than twice the cost of maintaining or meeting compliance requirements?

Yet, companies continue to overlook proper compliance procedures, choosing to ‘wing it’ or do it on a shoestring budget instead.

We get it. Today’s business owners have a multitude of priorities to juggle, top of which is turning a profit and growing. When you’re focusing on driving success, compliance can easily fall by the wayside.

But success is of little consequence if a government entity dissolves your company because you failed to comply with certain legal requirements.

Keeping on top of regulations

In the corporate world, compliance involves adhering to a wide range of laws and standards designed to protect your employees, customers and other stakeholders — and generally making sure you “do the right thing”.

No matter what industry or type of business you work in, compliance is a big deal. But when you’re looking to expand your operations into markets all over the world, it’s an entirely different ballgame.

As you grow and move into new jurisdictions, you’ll encounter a whole host of new regulations — from tax returns and statutory filing to international employment rules about payroll — and face much higher compliance costs than operating solely in one location.

Many countries require that filings and contracts are made in the local language and change their regulations frequently. Without a contact on the ground, it can be difficult to keep up. Each country will also have its own authorities and governing bodies to deal with.

For example, in the US, you have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to contend with while companies operating in the UK will need to comply with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) standards.

 

Compliance across borders

The point is, no two countries are the same, and when you’re trying to operate across multiple locations, things can get messy.

Late filing in Denmark could lead to your company being dissolved within a few months. In Serbia, the tax regulations are so confusing that many companies have taken to paying extra tax where they have no liability just to ensure they don’t get stung with any penalties.

If you’re expanding into Spain, it’s worth knowing that terminating employee contracts is notoriously tricky, and you’ll have to budget for a severance fee (which equates to 33 days of salary per employment year).

In Singapore, you’ll be responsible for sending the monthly payment (including both yours and the employee’s respective contributions) to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) — a key pillar of the country’s social security system. This payment has to be sent by the 14th of the following month.

A couple of notable points to bear in mind if you’re expanding into Germany is that employees can only be leased for a maximum of 18 months. After this, you must hire them permanently or let them go. Chain leasing is also prohibited, meaning the company holding the licence must contract directly with the party receiving the labour.

And if you’re global expansion journey is taking you down under to Australia, you’ll need to pay a Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) if you’re providing certain benefits to your employees — even if a third party provides them.

Without this knowledge of local regulations, you quickly (albeit unintentionally) run the risk of non-compliance and find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

So, what could happen if you don’t comply?

There’s no way around it, if you fall foul of compliance, you’ll end up paying for it — one way or another.

Penalties come in multiple forms. The most common penalties for non-compliance are fines, which may be levied against the company or individual directors.

However, one of the most financially damaging events a company faces is having their products blocked at the border or being forced to destroy merchandise due to compliance issues. In some cases, non-compliance can even result in the mandatory closure of ALL operations within that country or imprisonment of the directors.

Even if your organisation is not given an actual penalty, the inconvenience and costs of righting the mistake, damage to the company’s reputation and possible loss of contracts could prove disastrous.

But the highest cost of non-compliance is business disruption. When found to be non-compliant, you may be forced to implement changes before business can resume, which can have a knock-on effect on other areas of your organisation.

Whether you’re looking for a PEO in the UK, US, Spain or Singapore, compliance should be your top priority. So, it’s worth seeking the help of a Global PEO with local knowledge of your chosen country to ensure you always remain on the right side of international employment laws.

That’s where we come in. At PEO Worldwide, we ensure you remain compliant at all times by taking full responsibility for hiring, contracts, employee benefits, payroll and termination if needed. To find out more about our global employment services, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

 

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HIDDEN COSTS WHEN INVESTING… AND HOW NOT TO GET HIT

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By Annie Charalambous, Head of Communications at ETX Capital

 

According to recent figures, Brits plan to increase their investments by almost a fifth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – with Gen-Z traders most keen to jump on the markets.

But are those looking to boost their profits paying over the odds without realising? A recent study claims UK investors often pay up to six times more in fees than advertised, costing some traders up to tens of thousands of pounds long-term.

ETX Capital is committed to shining a light on common hidden fees that can trip up new traders. Here’s how you can avoid feeling the pinch.

 

Taxing times

New traders are often unaware that profits made on their stocks and shares are subject to tax, in the same way they pay tax on salary earnings.

If your investment earnings are over £12,300 in a single year, you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax. This will either be 10 or 20 percent, depending on your annual income tax band.

However, married couples can ‘pool’ their tax-free allowance – meaning they can collectively earn up to £24,600 in trading profits each year without contributing Capital Gains Tax.

Some alternative savings vehicles also offer a larger tax-free allowance. For example, you can stash up to £20,000 each year in an ISA and earn interest on your cash.

For those looking to diversify their portfolio, many gold and silver coins are also exempt from Capital Gains Tax as they are technically legal British currency.

 

Commission costs

As with any commercial service, fund managers and platform providers that help traders set up and manage their investments will charge fees for their service.

However, the size of these costs can catch out unsuspecting investors. According to research, commission costs average 1.03 percent in the UK – around double the equivalent fees in the US.

While these costs are unavoidable for those who need support managing their investment funds, it is possible to reduce them. Research investment platforms and fund managers to ensure you find the most cost-effective commissions for your assets.

Alternatively, you may be able to avoid commission if you have the knowledge of the markets and are comfortable with the risk. If so, there are plenty of accessible platforms that will educate you on how to manage your stocks, forex, commodities and more. Although, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay fees to trade on these platforms.

 

Not that Stamp Duty

All stocks bought in the UK valued at £1,000 and over are subject to Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT). At 0.5 percent of the asset price, this can soon add up.

This tax is usually absorbed as part of a total fee charged by a fund manager. However, if you manage your own investments, you’ll need to submit details of your assets to the government in good time to skip late payment fines.

While SDRT marks a relatively small fee compared to the rewards on offer for successful investors, many may still wish to diversify their portfolios to avoid mounting tax bills. A common example is adding corporate bonds, which are exempt from SDRT.

 

Farewell feels

Many budding investors starting their trading journey simply aren’t thinking about what happens when you withdraw funds or transfer them to another platform. And for some, this means getting hit with unexpected ‘exit fees’.

These charges are typically written into the terms and conditions of an investment service and while many platforms and brokers have recently agreed to waive exit fees, there are still plenty leaving traders with a shock when the time comes to withdraw cash.

Exit fees are usually charged as a percentage fee of the withdrawn sum, which can represent a significant cost for longer-term investors.

It’s important to check for exit fees, which may also be referred to as ‘redemption fees’, before signing up for a platform or partnering with a fund manager. And those looking to escape these charges should look for providers that simply don’t apply them in the first place – or at least check the expiry date.

 

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INSURANCE TRENDS 2022

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INSURANCE TRENDS 2022
  1. The Insurance market will continue to grow in maturity based on the richness of solutions by InsurTech

In 2022, we’re going to see a true acceleration in the modernisation of the insurance industry. We’ve already started to see this change this year, but it will continue to grow at a rapid pace because of the amount of competition in the market. Competitors are now able to provide direct value propositions to clients that are much more convenient.

It will be key to modernise full technology stacks to get the value from IoT, data and the cloud. As a result, the rise of InsurTech is going to become the norm, with SaaS based solutions based on APIs put in place to deliver personalisation on a grand scale.

 

  1. The Insurance industry will become cloud native

Many companies are already using cloud as part of their growing infrastructure and this will be even more apparent in 2022.

Many of the newer technology solutions in the market are cloud native and as a result the insurance sector is starting to understand the true value of the cloud. Whether that’s based on accessing the wealth of third-party solutions available, improved efficiencies or cost savings , this trend will not slowdown and we’ll continue to see insurance companies look at solutions to help accelerate cloud migration.

 

  1. In 2022, the insurance industry will start using data managements at scale

Once insurance businesses move their IT infrastructure to the cloud, they will see huge gains from using data platforms.

While there are still many constraints in the sector around data management due to various regulations, the need to have proper solutions to cope with GDPR, cybersecurity and more has never been more vital.

We won’t see an explosion of new technologies, but instead insurance companies deploying current technology at scale and leveraging it to fulfil its true potential.

 

  1. The Insurance industry will continue to connect and work together with other industries

There is a huge role for insurance to play in several different industries and this will continue to increase in 2022.

For example, the automotive industry. Many modern cars have various IoT sensors which collect data on how a car travels. The telematics of the data is embedded in the car, which means data can then be sent back to relevant organisations, such as an insurance company, if an accident was to occur. This technology will only continue to get more sophisticated. AI also has a role to play and this will be driven by insurance as well.

There is also a huge opportunity in the healthcare industry and how the ecosystem of services and devices available can help individuals live a healthy life. As more products enter the market, such as Fit Bits and the Apple Watch, having the right solutions to process the data, store data and ensure its compliant will be key. It will continue to be an explosive market for insurance.

 

  1. The insurance sector will move towards being part of a wider ecosystem which will be API driven and open

With new platforms being created every day all over the world, we are already starting to see the development of micro insurance products that are built in a way that can be plugged into different marketplaces. This is driving product simplicity as well as ensuring focused customer engagement and services.

To take this to the next level, next year we will see the insurance sector take a larger role in this wider technology ecosystem. The focus for insurers will be on getting value from the technology. This requires a better use of APIs and creating partnerships with open architecture.

In Europe this has already started to happen and will become even more prominent in 2022.

 

  1. Throughout 2022, the cryptocurrency world will look completely different

We’re currently going through an evolution of tech ecosystems where insurance organisations are developing them and embedding into them more than ever. Already, we see Insurance players who are building payment mechanism leveraging crypto solutions.

As we move throughout 2022, we expect to see a growth in the alternative ways of making payments. We will start to see smaller players in InsurTech provide instant payments that perhaps are currently inexistant right now.

It will still take time for there to be a global crypto market, but blockchain will continue to provide new opportunities which will impact the insurance industry.

 

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