Amigo Loans’ James Benamor Banks £3 Million Pay Day
James Benamor, the founder of highly criticized sub-prime lender Amigo Loans has enjoyed a very wealthy start to 2020. The self-confessed former petty criminal who was born Rachid James Benamor, the son of Tunisian immigrants, has banked for himself a £2.9m dividend payout despite being a difficult year a difficult year for Amigo Loans and James Benamor.
Having previously left the board, Benamor, who owns 61% of the company through his vehicle Richmond Group, made a spectacular comeback at the end of the year, returning to the board, and prompting Chief Hamish Paton, chairman Stephan Wilcke and pay committee chairperson Clare Salmon to depart from the troubled lender.
This is a year which saw the Amigo Loans share price more than half, profit warnings, a massive spike in customer complaints and heightened fears of a regulatory crackdown. Yet, despite all this, profits at his holding company inched higher to £70.8m in the year to the end of last March, from £66.9m the year before. The dividend payout was a result of those figures, although 2020 results will most likely tell a different story.
Customer complaints have soared throughout the last 12 months, with more and more disgruntled clients winning cases against Amigo Loans and receiving an Amigo Loans refund. By the end of November 2019, Amigo Loans there were 222,800 borrowers, up 34,000 from the same time last year. However, complaints about Amigo Loans more than doubled in the same period with the to the Financial Ombudsman Service ruling in favour for 59% of the complaints, forcing the Bournemouth based loans company to set aside £10.4m to cover refunds, compensation claims and customer payouts.
The company has also come under heavy criticism from members of parliament. Wes Streeting, a former member of the Treasury select committee and Labour MP for Ilford North, said: “I think it’s worrying that people are turning to short-term, high-interest lenders in greater numbers, but also that the number of complaints is rising. These complaints suggest the problem is not going away. It’s something that needs looking at urgently by the committee.” Meanwhile, Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow said: “These legal loan sharks are trapping people in debt and need to be cracked down on.”
As the complaints and regulatory headwinds around the sub-prime lender gather momentum, the £2.9m dividend payout enjoyed by Benamor may will be his last. Despite Amigo’s loan book standing at £730.7m in December, up 8.8 per cent on the year, approximately £54m of Amigo’s loans were at least 31 days overdue at the end of Q3 in 2019, up from £33m a year ago, which means further complications for the UK’s largest sub-prime lender. Watch this space.
The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Social Skills in Business
Effective communication and strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace. One factor that can greatly influence these qualities is emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ. EQ refers to the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Research has shown that individuals with high levels of EQ are better equipped to handle stress, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others (Chamorro-Premuzic & Sanger, 2016).
Research has consistently shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important predictor of job performance and success in the workplace. EQ is comprised of a set of skills that allow individuals to recognize, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In addition, individuals with high EQ are better able to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate complex social situations. As a result, they are often viewed as effective leaders and collaborators, and are more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals.
In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated the significant impact that EQ has on job performance and success. For example, one study of 85 upper-level managers found that those with higher EQ scores were rated as more effective leaders by their subordinates (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Another study of 151 employees found that those with higher EQ were more likely to be promoted within their organization over a five-year period (Carmeli, Brueller, & Dutton, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of EQ in the workplace and suggest that developing these skills can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and organizations.
According to a study conducted by TalentSmart, a leading provider of EQ assessments, EQ is responsible for 58% of success in all job types (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In contrast, IQ only accounts for about 4% of success in the workplace. This suggests that EQ is a crucial skill set for individuals in any professional field. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be developed and honed over time with practice and awareness.
There are several key components of EQ that are particularly important for success in the workplace. These include:
Self-Regulation: This refers to your capacity to recognize and control your emotions. Sometimes treating them when they arise may be necessary. Understanding how to manage your anger is essential. However, it can also cover how to control the feelings you’ll experience.
Self-Awareness: This implies recognizing and understanding your own feelings. Do noisy places make you nervous? Do other people talking over you make you angry? Knowing these truths about yourself shows that you are working on your self-awareness. Being conscious of yourself is necessary for this phase, which can be more complex than it sounds.
Socialization: This category focuses on your capacity to manage social interactions and direct relationships. It doesn’t entail dominating others but knowing how to work with others to achieve your goals. This could entail presenting your ideas to coworkers, leading a team, or resolving a personal disagreement.
Motivation: Strong motivators include external forces like money, status, or suffering. Internal motivation, however, plays a significant role in Goleman’s concept. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to control your cause and initiate or continue initiatives of your own volition rather than in response to external demands.
Empathy: It’s equally critical to be sensitive to others’ feelings. This may entail learning to identify different emotional states in individuals — for example, can you tell the difference between someone at ease and someone anxious? — but it also requires comprehension of how other people may react to their current situation. Empathy is one of the essential traits in business and business leadership.
A thought leader in this space, Michael Ventura has built a career advising organizations on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. In his book, Applied Empathy, Ventura highlights the value of empathy in business and provides strategies for developing and applying this skill set. With two decades of experience as a leader, facilitator, and educator, Ventura’s work has made impact in with prestigious institutions such as Princeton University and the United Nations as well as corporate clients such as Google and Nike.
Through his work, Ventura advises leaders to focus on the development of EQ in order to help individuals improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, ultimately leading to greater success in the workplace. Experts like Ventura continue to support the growing body of research on the value of EQ in business, and the evidence that organizations who invest in the EQ of their teams help to create a more empathetic and successful professional environment.
And it’s worth noting that EQ isn’t just important for individual success in the workplace, but also for overall organizational success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that EQ was a better predictor of success than IQ or technical skills in the workplace, and that teams with higher levels of EQ tend to be more effective and productive (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 1999). By cultivating a culture of empathy and emotional intelligence, organizations can improve their overall performance and create a more positive work environment for their employees.
In conclusion, emotional intelligence is a crucial component of success in the workplace, and individuals and organizations alike should prioritize the development of these skills. The ones that do not only develop a leading edge in their category, but also become a meaningful place to work for their teams. And in today’s rapidly changing talent landscape, the retention of highly capable, emotionally intelligent leaders is one of the greatest keys to unlocking success.
Boyatzis, R. E., Goleman, D., & Rhee, K. S. (1999). Clustering competence in emotional intelligence: Insights from the emotional competence inventory (ECI). In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 343-362). Jossey-Bass.
Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Sanger, M. N. (2016). Does employee happiness matter? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3(2), 168-191.
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