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The mortgage mole

Get-out clause Many words no doubt spring to the minds of brokers when describing the Financial Services Authority, but flexible is probably not one of them.

So Mole was surprised to hear William Amos, head of retail enforcement at the FSA, laud the regulator’s flexibility at its Financial Crime Conference last week.

After announcing the second change in 24 hours to be made to the conference programme, Amos quipped he was merely demonstrating the FSA’s flexibility.

But Mole wonders if the last-minute schedule change was an attempt by the regulator to give Amos time to escape the seminar theatre after the FSA’s latest round of broker bashing.

ami banned The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries’ views of the mortgage market have been labelled many things over the years, but its outspoken ways have now led to its website being classed under the category of ’philosophy and political advocacy’ and banned by the powers that be at Mortgage Strategy.

They obviously feel the AMI website is inappropriate viewing.

Mole will keep his eye firmly on AMI director Robert Sinclair over the coming weeks to see if he is indeed planning to launch a new religion or stage a coup.

But Mole suspects the industry guru would face an uphill struggle gaining a mass following for a philosophy based on the Mortgage Market Review.

Rally round Mike Johnson, a mortgage adviser from Epping, has recruited friends to take part in the Street Safari End 2 End rally. Team Shining Wits will be driving their banger from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland to raise money for Macmillan Cancer. To sponsor Mike, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, please visit



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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.


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