The cheques are in the post!

Savers with the Presbyterian Mutual Society will be watching for the arrival of their post with special interest today since it will contain a cheque from the Administrator returning money to them. After waiting for 2 years and 10 months, those with under £20,000 will get all of their money back, and those with larger savings will receive at least 77% of their savings. It’s a day for thanksgiving and rejoicing.

Special thanks to everyone who has made this return of money possible. I know that there has been a considerable expenditure of energy in recent days on the part of the Administrator, Arthur Boyd, and his team, as well as the officials at DETI, who have had the responsibility for tying up all the loose ends of the deal. But they have made it happen, and we are so grateful.

There are two aspects of the arrangement that are of interest to those who have not received all of their money back. One is the rate of interest that the PMS will have to pay on the £175 million loan from the Government. There are some indications that this could be at a lower rate than that on which many of the calculations were based. Simple arithmetic shows that a 1% reduction in the interest rate would mean that PMS would have to re-pay £1.75m less in the first year of borrowing. Overall that would create more favourable conditions for the PMS, and for those who are eager to get access to the remainder of their funds.

The other area of interest is the actual percentage required from those who opted to make an additional deferment. Individuals and congregations were given the option of leaving an additional 5% or 10% of their funds in the PMS so that smaller savers could get all of their money back. I hear that the response to that appeal has been so good that the actual amounts may be less than half of that which larger savers were prepared to defer. That is a tremendous response and shows that there is a reservoir of generosity and compassion within PCI in spite of the PMS debacle.

It would be good if, on this day of thanksgiving, those who are in receipt of PMS cheques remembered the really needy people in our world and considered sending a thank offering to Tearfund or Christian Aid.

20 Replies to “The cheques are in the post!”

  1. I agree that PMS Savers should now consider “really needy people”. People like those starving to death in the Horn of Africa famine.

    Only an anonymous serial poster, on another forum, whose posting name suggests that they are from the Ards Penninsular, would sneer at such an appropriate suggestion.

  2. Thanks Stafford for sticking with the campaign when you could quite easily have walked away. We really do appreciate the effort that you have put in to bring about this day.

  3. Thank you Dr Carson for all your hard work. The most nonsensical posting which I have seen in the last three years is the one from Angus. A ponzi scheme is fraudulent – there is no evidence whatsoever of fraud in the PMS saga. If Angus is alleging fraud, he had better be very careful.

  4. Very many thanks Dr Carson for your help and encouragment in getting savers with the PMS equal treatment with those in Northern Rock, RBS, the Icelandic banks etc.
    Equal treatment, albeit it late, that all citizens of all backgrounds in the UK expect as their birthright.

  5. Dear Dr Carson on behalf of my elderly mother and father thank you for your tireless efforts on their behalf. This has taken a great out of them, but today the cloud lifted for my family.

    As a solicitor can I say that you should consider removing Angus’s comment above if only to protect yourself as the publisher of this blog.

    God bless.

  6. Stafford, all of the PMS savers are in your debt for the committment you have shown to this as the public face of PCI.
    Thanks is due to you and to Isobel Whyte, Ian McGimpsey and Lord John McFall to name but a few.

  7. hi Stafford
    can we talk more about money in our churches and hear a lotmore teaching about the subject in sermons?

    We as followers of Jesus need to wrestle with stuff like this.

    If it’s right to store up treasures on earth,
    or if some of members in church are being greedy with money,
    if we should place our money in institutions or banks that use the money for funding wars or projects that are anti Christian?
    And thats just scratching the surface.

    My personal feeling is that we find far too much of our personal security in money and trust it too look after us (and our loved ones) far more than Christ. Yet I could probably count on my left hand the number of times I’ve heard a sermon on the subject

  8. Dear Dr. Carson, as a personal saver and a church treasurer, I just want to say thank you for all your help in this matter. It would have been so easy for you to have bowed out at the end of your moderatorial year. God bless you for sticking with it (and us).

  9. It is very much appreciated the dedication that Dr Carson has shown in helping to solve the PMS problem. This I feel will have a beneficial effect to the Presbyterian Church.It will put more money in peoples pockets and in turn they may be more generous to need such as the situation in Africa.It will take time to cure the hurt.
    Thanks also to Isobel Whyte,Ian Mc Gimpsey, Lord John Mc Faul and all the others that have helped so much.

  10. Dear Dr Carson, Just want to thank you for all your work in helping us to get back our money. You really took it on board and we appreciate all your work etc.

  11. Dr Carson Thank you very much or all the efforts you and your team have put in,succeeding now in a full or part refund for all savers. I don’t know if PCI award medals but each of you deserves one. My wife and I really appreciate those efforts. Once again many thanks.

  12. Dr Carson Thank you for your dedication and hard work on behalf of PMS
    savers. A very welcome cheque received yesterday, thank you.

  13. I’m afraid I have to agree with the person posting above who raised concerns over the likely liability of the NI/British taxpayer.

    I would also agree however with the post by ‘Wallace H’ suggesting that the remaining post by ‘Angus’ be deleted – I am also a member of Wallace’s profession.

    A key part of Christian teaching is self-responsibility and taking responsibility for one’s actions. The people who invested in the PMS made an investment decision with that decision being to invest in a fund outside of the government’s financial protection framework. The fact that many of the savers did not know that the PMS was outside of this framework is irrelevant – the information could have been discovered. It could and indeed should have been discovered if people where taking due care over their investment activity. After all, much has been written about the devastating impact of the collapse of the PMS on many savers – if the consequences of making a poor investment were so likely to be so significant then surely it is logical to ask why savers made little effort to examine the nature of their investment?

    I would ask why, in these tough economic times, the public should be asked to act as guarantors over a poorly made, but freely, made choice? The NI budget is tight and tax funds are primarily used to help the most vulnerable in our society. Those are people who would not have the funds to make such an investment in the PMS so why should they help to pay for other people’s poor decision making? Again, it comes down to taking responsibility for one’s actions.

    I see that no-one has tackled the previous poster’s points and I would ask that Dr Carson do so.

    In my experience many ‘Christian’ people are socially and fiscally conservative and do not support social democratic initiatives nor indeed do they support an ethical level of taxation. It therefore smacks of double standards that people see it as being ‘right’ to take so much from the taxpayer when, I would guess, they vote for parties or possess a politically ideology that is in favour of minimal taxation. Their usual argument is that ‘charity’ should step in to help people. Why then not rely on this charity and the church to help out with the PMS debacle?

    I would appreciate construction – and respectful – debate on the points I have raised, points I believe are shared by a large number of people in Ulster.

  14. Maybe Tom should also ask questions of people in his own profession who were Directors in the PMS.

    If Tom is indeed, a lawyer, he will know that the Courts, for one, judge different people according to what it would be reasonably expected for them to know. There are always relevant factors to take into account when judging what people should and ought to know. Examples of these factors would include age, wealth and occupation.

  15. I don’t believe that on any legal tests which I’m aware of (and I am indeed a lawyer) the investigation which I would expect people to make would be found to be anything other than what would be expected of an average person. And might I add that if you were a lawyer you would know that the classic tests for knowledge are what a reasonable person would know (age, wealth etc are discounted) or what they should know. People’s behaviour is judged against a hypothetical person…

    Even if your point was correct what about people like Dr Carson? If you regard him as being someone who should not be regarded as having to take responsibility for a failure to investigate then WHO should be regarded as being capable of being responsible?

    Once again there has been no attempt to address the substantive point?

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your campaign to get the taxpayer to bail-out everyone else who lost out in the recession. My home lost about a third of it’s value for example, why shouldn’t people like me get a hand-out based on your arguments?

  16. Tom, if you are a lawyer you are not a very good one. First of all you talk about an average person, then a reasonable person and finally a hypothetical person! Your thinking is confused and your posting poorly drafted. Maybe you should read up on the Law Commission’s tests for capacity which would be very relevant to an an elderly person who placed their savings in the PMS.

    You seem to have a problem with Stafford Carson. Why don’t you contact him personally, identify yourself to him and discuss your arguments with him man to man?

  17. Well, I was trying to convey the general legal position using a range of comparable terms – it is a person who makes ‘reasonable’ decisions, who has ‘average’ characteristics and who is judged against a ‘hypothetical’ standard. Get it?

    Exactly how is my thinking confused? Please cite the exact parts of my argument you disagree with and stop trying to obscure the debate by personal criticism or focusing on semantics.

    I’m not sure capacity is relevant – whether investors had the legal capacity to enter into the contract with PMS is a separate issue and is one which surely doesn’t apply to the majority of investors. Unless of course you can explain why it’s relevant?

  18. I shall not post here again since I don’t wish to drawn into side arguments and personal criticism. My points are set out above. On the other hand however I’m glad that people’s future is secure – my one gripe was that such help is not being available to all who suffered as a result of the credit crunch – equally without blame.

    And no, I have nothing against Dr Carson. I only raised my issue here because I assumed he would respond. However, I accept that for him the issue may well be closed and that this page is not the most appropriate forum.

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