Travel tips

If you’re escaping for some Winter sun or planning a trip next year, here are five useful things to remember …


1. Always buy the right cover for you

Don’t just look at the price of travel insurance. Make sure you buy cover that has all the protection you’ll need – such as covering any activities you might be doing, or any medical conditions you have. If you don’t, and something goes wrong, you might end up having to shoulder the cost. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has some helpful advice about choosing the right cover here.


2. Don’t leave it too late

It is best to book your travel insurance policy at the same time as you book your holiday – so you’ve got a policy in place in case your circumstances change and you need to cancel your trip.


3. Don’t pay the price for drinking too much

Alcohol exclusions are a common feature of travel insurance. While you’re not expected to avoid alcohol completely, it is worth bearing in mind your claim may be turned down if it’s linked to excessive drinking. There are an increasing number of reports on this in the media and you can read more in the Financial Ombudsman Service newsletter.


4. Check it’s safe to travel

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office gives official advice about whether it’s safe to travel in different countries and regions. Also check what your travel insurance says about things like natural disasters and political unrest.


5. Keep your insurer in the loop

Make sure you always carry your insurer’s contact details with you. If something goes wrong, contact your insurer as soon as possible – they should be able to tell you what’s covered and advise you what to do next. If you go ahead without checking first, you might end up having to pay out yourself.


At TL Dallas many of the Household and Business policies we arrange include good quality Travel Insurance, or we can arrange stand alone cover. Please contact your local office for more information.


Source: Financial Ombudsman newsletter, 2018


Avoiding Trade Credit Fraud

It can be difficult to identify a potential fraud but there are some warning signs to look out for that can assist in avoiding and certainly reducing the negative impact this can have on a business.

Losses due to fraud are not generally covered by Credit Insurance policies meaning your Insurer is not liable for this loss. However, there are some exceptional cases where we know underwriters have accepted liability, so having a policy may have added benefits!

The TL Dallas Group of companies and the insurers we place cover with are seeing significant increases in the number of fraud overdues or claims being reported by clients. In particular, ‘assumed identity’ fraud cases – this is when a third party assumes the identity of well established creditworthy businesses.

CEO fraud is the impersonation of a company’s CEO or high-ranking officer to try and trick an employee into transferring money. Unfortunately, as it is subsequently discovered, these payments have gone to the fraudsters account.

Currently, the main sectors affected are Food & Drink, IT and Construction. However, all sectors are being targeted.

Some points to be wary of include:


  • Confirm the issued share capital stated in the Company’s accounts are consistent with the annual returns
  • Be wary of a Company that submits accounts shortly after its financial year end or a dormant company suddenly becoming active
  • Be wary of Companies filing above and beyond its filing requirements. Remember a ‘small company’ is required to submit abbreviated accounts to Companies House and ‘micro-entities’ are required to submit simpler accounts that meet minimum statutory requirements
  • Compare accounts to other Companies within the same industry and be wary of Companies that have filed accounts which appear ‘too good to be true’. lf the accounts are audited, check if they’re registered using
  • Conflicting trade sectors – eg. Companies House states ‘wholesale of food + beverages’, but their website/status report states manufacture of metal
  • Check the Directors do not have any association to failed companies or high volume of newly incorporated companies as this can be a warning sign
  • Frequent or sudden change/s in shareholders/directors or registered office can also be a warning sign


  • An unsolicited enquiry with a short/urgent delivery deadline – the potential new customer will be persistent and put you under pressure to open an account. There will be an unusually short period between first contact, order and delivery date.
  • No landline telephone number provided – only a mobile number. Calls are usually not answered but go to voicemail and then your call is returned. If a landline is provided, when you call it’s been disconnected or just rings out.
  • Mirror imaging of existing genuine email and website addresses. They are usually very similar to the company they are impersonating, however there will be subtle differences, i.e.:
    • Genuine company website address –
    • Fraudulent company –
  • Professional looking website but with little functionality. The website will look OK, but basic and light on any details, landline telephone number etc.
  • Verify the website using Whois-Search –
  • Be cautious with trade references and check them thoroughly – some recent cases we have seen have highlighted the trade references given were fraudulent and that associates, were also involved in the fraud.
  • The buyer is generally not interested in price with little or no negotiation – why would they be if they are not going to pay you!
  • Buyer requests to collect goods themselves from your premises/warehouse, often in a private car or unmarked vehicle
  • Being asked to deliver goods to a different company or an unknown third party
  • Buyer changing delivery address at short notice – use Google Maps or Royal Mail postcode and address finder to verify addresses
  • Potential customer is overly ready to supply information – trade references and accounts/managements accounts are available without being asked
  • Confirm that the supplied VAT and bank details are genuine


Be wary of last minute requests, from your existing customers, if they do not follow their usual established trading pattern – check the details out further and call your usual contact and confirm changes in writing.

Further useful information can be found here.


If you would like to discuss Credit Insurance, please call 01274 465 522 or 01324 717 466. Alternatively, email your details to and a member of the team will be in touch.


Pensions – Get the date right and stay on target

Most over-45s are not making plans to match their hopes for the future, according to recent research *.

The vast majority (86%) of those aged 45 or over are already dreaming about escaping their working life for retirement, but only 8% of the same age group have recently checked the retirement date on their pension plans to make sure they are still in line with their plans.

Over half surveyed (56%) do not have a clear idea of when they want to retire and only 10% have worked out how much income they will need when they decide to stop working. The study reveals it doesn’t get much clearer as you go up the generations, less than a fifth (17%) of those aged between 55-64 have recently checked to see if the retirement date on their pension policy is still fitting with their plans.



If the date you plan to retire changes, or you simply want to take some of your pension without stopping work, it is important to tell your pension company. Otherwise you many not receive information and support about your pending retirement at the most helpful times, as they will be basing this on outof-date plans.


Some investment options will start to move your pension savings into lower risk investments as you get closer to retirement. If you don’t have the right retirement date on your plan, you could be moving into these investments at the wrong time. ie. move too early and you could potentially miss out on investment returns, but move too late and you could be exposing your life savings to unnecessary risk.


The size of pension pot you need to build up to maintain your lifestyle when you retire will depend on when you plan to do so.


If you’re planning to buy an annuity at retirement to guarantee an income for the rest of your life, the amount of income you get will depend on the size of your pot and annuity rates at that time. If you prefer to use your pension saving more flexibly, you can keep your money invested and take it as and when you need to. You’re then responsible for making sure your life savings last as long as you need them to.


Reviewing your retirement date regularly, particularly as you get older and closer to retiring, is to be recommended and most pension plans these days enable you to revise your retirement date whenever you choose.

For some these decisions can seem daunting. At TL Dallas we are committed to helping our clients make the most of their money. Whatever your financial needs and objectives, we can help you achieve your goals, while ensuring that you are comfortable with the risks involved.

If you would like to discuss your pension, or any other financial situation, please get in touch on 01274 465557 or email

It will only take a few minutes, with no obligation on your part, but it could end up giving you real security and peace of mind.

*research carried out online for Standard Life by Opinium (November 2017)


The importance of due diligence

Due diligence is a term given to the process of assessing a company before you invest in it. Unless you count “spray and pray” as an investment strategy, due diligence is of critical importance to investors in driving portfolio returns. The difficult question is, how to conduct due diligence properly but at reasonable cost?

The Par Equity Model

Par Equity is a venture capital firm founded by people with a range of business backgrounds. Early on, we decided that involving business angels in our investment model would be a good thing. In our experience, business angels bring many desirable qualities – understanding of businesses, sector experience, contacts, willingness to become involved operationally and, of course, investment appetite. In short, it’s a force multiplier for the core investment team and it really helps with technical and commercial due diligence.

These experienced business people come into their own during the origination and evaluation stages of investment. Par Equity benefits from the breadth of experience and insights they offer – as do investors in our EIS fund. Of course, most venture capital firms have access to specialist expertise. The crucial difference is that our investor network puts its money where its mouth is.

The Nature of Diligence

We divide due diligence, into financial, legal, technical and commercial. On the plus side, early-stage companies tend to be uncomplicated from a financial perspective. Legal diligence, although usually fairly straightforward, is important. We generally do that towards the end of the investment process. Technical and commercial due diligence present greater challenges, because this is where specialist knowledge really counts.

The nature of technical due diligence varies from company to company, but typically involves understanding what the technology does, how developed it is, what technical challenges remain in bringing it to market or refining it for broader distribution, how robust it is and, perhaps most importantly, how protectable it is. The strategy around protecting intellectual property is a critical factor.

Commercial diligence involves understanding a company’s business model and value proposition, its target markets, how the management team are going to access those target markets, and the competitive landscape they will face in doing so. It’s also relevant to informing a view on where the most likely routes to exit lie. An exit, where investors sell their shares, is after all the ultimate objective.

The Costs of Diligence

Assuming that robust assessment of a potential investment is not optional, the problem is that due diligence tends to be a costly process.

Internalising the skills and experience by hiring the necessary talent into the investment team builds costs that must be recovered through investment management fees and can result in a narrow investment focus. Renting the necessary skills and experience from consultants when you need it reduces the investment manager’s overheads, but there are still fees that need to be paid by someone – generally the investee company. This is cash that would otherwise be used to build that company’s business.

Par Equity’s approach of using angel investors as part of its investment model is a creative solution to these problems and, because the angels are investing their own money, their interests are aligned with those of investors in Par Equity’s EIS fund.

Article supplied by Par Equity

For more information on Par Equity please contact


TL Dallas offer due diligence services – providing insurance and risk due diligence services for investors, banks, lead advisors, NXDs and corporate clients relating to mergers, acquisitions, disposals and re-financing transactions.

For further information in this area please contact Bernard Dunn on 0141 204 0300 or email


What Keeps Directors Awake at Night?

Earlier this year, we partnered with Brodies LLP to discuss ‘What Keeps Directors Awake at Night?’ examining the roles, responsibilities and potential liabilities which face directors and senior staff in today’s ever-changing business environment.

Topics covered included:

  • Directors & Officers – responsibilities and liabilities
  • The Companies Act
  • Corporate Homicide & Manslaughter
  • Health & Safety prosecutions
  • Cyber threats


You can listen to the webinar here and for further details please contact:

Tim Mackenzie, TL Dallas on 0131 322 2632 or email

Laura McMillan, Brodies LLP on 0141 245 6748 or email