The ghosts of the latest past will hang over a critical election at the annual general meeting of the Christchurch Memorial Returned and Services Association (Christchurch RSA) this weekend.
Current president Dennis Mardle, who is also the association’s treasurer, is standing again and is being challenged by current executive member and former president Jim Lilley. Former executive member Craig Cormack is standing for vice-president.
Lilley and Cormack were on the RSA executive when it got into trouble in about 2018/19 after its Trenches bar and restaurant in Armagh St got into strife.
Christchurch RSA Holdings, which ran the hospitality wing of the RSA, went into liquidation in January 2020 owing about $2 million.
A financial report prepared by Mardle for the AGM suggests Lilley and Cormack, who were directors of Christchurch RSA Holdings when it was liquidated, should not be elected to influential positions due to their financial inexperience.
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The $5.8m Trenches bar, restaurant and function centre opened in 2015 and closed four years later.
Lilley said he had nothing to be ashamed of and was the first executive member who started asking questions about the failing business.
“I can hold my head up high. I worked my arse off and stayed on to clean up the mess.”
The report by Mardle, who became president in 2020, says the accounts were in a “mess” before the 2019/20 year and “staff were having nightmares” about them.
The association was now in a much better position, with about $720,000 in term deposit and $57,000 in the bank. The RSA’s Museum and Support Trust had $1.2m on term deposit, and the trust board had $100,000 in the bank.
“It is my greatest regret that in my time as treasurer I was unable to keep the building in the hands of the association,” he said in the report.
“However, when we look back at the pandemic and the consequences that has had for hospitality businesses in Christchurch, we can be thankful we dodged what could have been an even worse situation.”
Mardle recommended appointing “external people” to bring necessary skills to the association.
“Younger, business savvy, former service men and women” should be brought in to help construct an association for the future, he said in the report.
“It would be foolhardy in the extreme to rely on an executive committee made up of those who had lacked the necessary skills to turn the association around from the position it was in when I came on board in 2019, to try and take this association into the future.
“It was Einstein who said, ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’.”
James Emejo in Abuja
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) yesterday said it has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the Guidelines on Accessing Retirement Savings Account (RSA) balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgages by RSA holders.
The commission said the approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014), which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgages.
PenCom, in a statement, therefore, urged interested RSA holders to contact their PFAs for more information and guidance.
The guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
According to the commission, interested RSA holders (applicants) must among other things have an offer Letter for the property duly signed by the property owner and Checked by the mortgage lender.
The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
It further stipulated that a contributor under the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application.
RSA holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible, according to the guidelines.
Also, married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
In addition, RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise while application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.
The maximum amount to be withdrawn shall be 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as at the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It said where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, RSA holders may utilise the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
PenCom further clarified that to qualify as a Mortgage Lender for this purpose, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and have a valid Pension Clearance Certificate (PCC).
Pension contributors in active employment can now pay for equity contribution for mortgage from the balance of their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).
PenCom, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Abdulkadir Dahiru, in Lagos on Friday, said the policy specified in the new guidelines of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) would be implemented with immediate effect.
The commission said the approval was in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014), which allowed RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance toward payment of equity for residential mortgage.
The statement said the guidelines covered pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed persons.
“Interested RSA holders (applicants) must have an Offer Letter for the property duly signed by the property owner and Checked by the Mortgage Lender.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months, equivalent to five years.
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) is also eligible, provided he or she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his or her application,” the statement said.
According to the commission, RSA holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
The statement said married couples, who were RSA holders, were eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
The commission said RSA holders, who registered before July 1, 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture.
The statement said application for equity contribution for residential mortgage should be forwarded in person and not by proxy.
The commission said the maximum amount to be withdrawn shall be 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as at the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
“Where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, RSA holders may utilise the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any),” the statement said.
It added that to qualify as a mortgage lender for this purpose, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
The statement said: “the commission shall publish names of the eligible mortgage lenders on its website.
“The commission, hereby, invites interested RSA holders to contact their PFAs for more information and guidance. (NAN)
Rochester Software Associates (RSA), provider of production print workflow software solutions for in-plant print centers, commercial printers, and PSPs announces that it will be showcasing the rewards of workflow automation that customers can experience with its latest releases in booth N631 at the PRINTING United Expo being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on October 19-21, 2022.
RSA’s latest production print workflow software releases benefit digital print shops of all types and sizes with features that provide the rewards of increased efficiency, productivity, and time and cost savings. These releases of RSA’s Web to Print, output management, prepress and VDP solutions offer these benefits:
Sales Director, Ben Parker stated, “Marketplace forces are increasingly necessitating print production automation to survive and thrive. Print providers that recognize the imperative to automate workflow and use solutions like RSA’s will be rewarded with the benefits that automation provides to keep their print operations competitive."
Print providers can learn more about how the releases “crack the code” to productivity, get their first reward by booking a show meeting or demo, and have a chance to win prizes up to $500 in RSA’s N631 show booth at: https://bit.ly/3Uq9cya
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Printing Impressions. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of the staff of Printing Impressions.
Research which was conducted by Censuswide among 207 brokers on behalf of RSA last month, has revealed that 93% of brokers believe underinsurance poses a major threat to UK businesses during economic unrest.
RSA’s Broker Pulse found more than half of brokers surveyed have seen clients change policies as a result of the energy crisis and 60% of brokers cite economic uncertainty as their client’s most common concern.
In addition, 47% of brokers are seeing changes or cancellations made to insurance cover. High wage demands were also highlighted as a key issue for the businesses they cover.Types of cover reduced
In attempts to cut costs, according to RSA, personal accident insurance is the most
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My house suffered substantial damage in Storm Arwen last November and it has been an ongoing battle with my insurer, RSA, to get it repaired. The programme of repairs has still not been approved and damage from water leaks is worsening.
LG, Hexham, Northumberland
You first contacted me in May. By then, you’d spent six months with masonry dropping from a damaged gable, an unstable rear wall, destroyed guttering, damaged window frames and water leaking through electric light fittings from a hole in the roof. A telecoms cable wrenched adrift couldn’t be reattached because of the unsafe brickwork, cutting off the broadband and landline. You, meanwhile, paid for broken windows to be reglazed and waited in vain for a promised refund.
The problem appears to be a familiar one: miscommunication between the companies involved – in this case, the claims management firm appointed by RSA, and the subcontracted surveyors and builders. The claims management firm objected to the builder’s requirement of scaffolding and a skip, without which the works couldn’t proceed. Over the ensuing months you were forced to chase each company, spending hours waiting for calls to be answered or returned.
I contacted RSA on 23 May. Within a day you were told the works had been approved. Scaffolding went up three weeks later, and the £664 you’d spent on replacing the glazing refunded. Repairs were finally completed this month, 10 months after your claim, and you have agreed a compensation payment with RSA.
RSA says: “Our handling of this claim has fallen below the standards our customers expect and those we set ourselves. We are taking steps to learn from the mistakes.”
Another RSA customer, RE of Newmarket, Suffolk and her family, have spent two months without proper running water because of delays replacing a leaking mains pipe under the kitchen. “RSA was alerted in mid July and, since then, we have been turning off our supply at the meter in the street to prevent damage to our house,” she writes. “We only put the water on for brief periods to shower or fill up jugs of drinking water.”
As in LG’s case, it seems that communication failures are to blame. Action spurted forth once a headline loomed, of course. RE was called the same day I made contact, a date for remedial works was offered, and the family was promised a daily disturbance allowance for the time the water supply was compromised.
RSA reached again for its stock response: “The handling of this claim by ourselves and our suppliers has fallen below the high standards we set ourselves and what our customers rightly expect of us. We will be taking steps to learn from the mistakes made.”
Reviews online suggest that this will be a steep learning curve. A new law come into effect in 2017 requiring insurers to settle claims within a “reasonable time”, or the policyholder can sue for damages. However, the Financial Ombudsman is the obvious first step, provided you’ve allowed the insurer eight weeks to respond to a complaint, or received a letter of deadlock from it.
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Local Fine Gael TD, Fergus O’Dowd, has met with the RSA in the d Hotel in Drogheda to seek an urgent resolution in identifying a suitable site for a driver test centre in the town
I have left the RSA in no uncertain terms that any break in continuity of service next February would not be acceptable to the people of Drogheda.
“Countless locations have been turned down over the last 4 years since I first received the original commitment from the then Chief Executive of the RSA that a permanent centre would be delivered in Drogheda.
“The RSA have stated that the main grounds for refusals to date has been that the supporting road network of the identified sites in that they did not satisfy their national testing route criteria.
O’Dowd added “On this basis, I have proposed that the RSA identify an appropriate testing route in the town that satisfies their driver test criteria, the RSA have agreed to the proposal and hope to have a local route identified within 4 weeks.
“Once a route is identified, we will be in a position to narrow down the search proximity, this will be a collective approach and I will be communicating the route with local residents and businesses to help with the search.
“Whilst I’m extremely frustrated by the process to date I welcome the fact that the RSA remain committed to delivering a permanent centre in the town.
“I will continue to engage directly with the RSA, the Office of Public Works and the Council to ensure that we have a solution to this ridiculous situation.”
Norma Venables cuts the cake at the 77th birthday celebration for the Whangārei RSA women's section. Photo / Tania Whyte
The Whangārei RSA women's section has celebrated 77 years of supporting returned soldiers and their families.
Around 70 people - almost all women - attended the event featuring lunch, raffles and a cake-cutting ceremony at the RSA's Hannah St premises on Wednesday.
The Whangārei branch was not the first in the country to boast a women's section, but it started just three years after the sections were established.
Women's sections were officially formed in 1942 - although some had existed earlier under different names - and were originally only for wives and daughters of men who served overseas.
RSA National Women's Association president Diane Wilson said the members were pleased with the number of people who turned out for the event, including former mayor Sheryl Mai.
Wilson, who came from Taupō for the celebration, said the section's role was to support people who have returned from fighting in various conflicts, and their families.
"I think it's still important while we've still got our sons and grandsons serving overseas."
The section was struggling to ensure women who served in the forces were recognised as they have not been in the past, Wilson said.
"I do think we've got a big job to go ahead and identify those ladies whose mothers' and grandmothers' service was never recognised."
The attitude of the RSA to women has changed dramatically in latest decades, Wilson said.
"Forty years ago, I couldn't walk into the RSA unless my husband was with me."
Now, women serve on RSA committees and the attitude of the association's men has changed, Wilson said.
"It's surprising how they have all come on board."
The women's section has also changed with the times and is no longer only open to wives and daughters of servicemen, but everyone.
Wilson said there was a misconception that the RSA was only for returned servicemen and their immediate families, which was not the case and everyone was welcome.
Another task the women's section is also involved in is fundraising for Purple Poppy Day every February 24, for animals that have served in the forces.
"We're actually now seeing more of the purple poppy wreaths on cenotaphs," Wilson said.
She said she was also trying to help members who suffered through long lockdowns and Covid restrictions.
"I look around the room and I can actually see the smiles because they don't have face masks.
"Auckland and Northland took it a lot harder than we did down in Taupō. My job as national president has been to rebuild them."