Weather and injury permitting, at 1pm on Monday, Sir Andy Murray will start the defence of his Wimbledon crown in front of a capacity crowd, a huge global TV audience and a team of chair and line umpires. Given the huge prize money now on offer, it is rather surprising to learn that most umpires have a day job that does not involve being on a tennis court. There are umpires who work as medical doctors, university professors, priests or NASA engineers. Wimbledon's chief umpire is a Chartered Surveyor!! Anyone can take the test to become an umpire, but only those with some specific qualities pass. Eyesight is obviously important. Umpires must have 20/20 vision, corrected or uncorrected. Important too is having a loud voice and great timing, and of course you would need to know the rules…and there are plenty of those. The US Tennis Association has released its rule guide, with 230 pages of guidance such as what to do if a player grunts too loudly or injures their opponent, and where a player should place their towel! The job of an umpire is also not without its dangers. Earlier this year, Arnaud Gabas ended up in hospital after Canadian player Denis Shapovalov struck him with a ball and fractured a bone under his left eye. If this clip still hasn't put you off, then get applying here. But if picking up a racket is more your thing, this training guide will certainly help.

A year has now passed since the UK voted to leave the EU. Over the last 373 or so days we have seen political drama, with one Prime Minster resigning and another losing the majority she sought to increase. But what has the Brexit vote meant for the UK property investment market? A weakened pound has seen overseas investors continue to pile into the market. In fact, according to CBRE, they accounted for 80% of all London office investment transactions in Q1 2017. For the UK property funds it has been twelve months of mixed fortunes, starting of course with the temporary gating of seven large retail funds. A year on, the UK open-ended property funds are, on average, about 13% smaller than they were, with the Aberdeen UK Property Fund shrinking the most (by about £1bn). In recent months capital flows have stabilised, with the latest data from the Investment Association showing that fund flows into property are broadly neutral (+£69m in April 2017). With a still circa 400 basis point yield gap between the risk-free rate and average property yields, surely the property funds should be attracting more money than this?

Did you join in the humble cash machine's birthday celebrations on Tuesday? Well, it was a big milestone, being 50 years since the world’s first ATM was installed at Barclays in Enfield. The original cash machine was designed by John Adrian Shepherd-Barron who came up with the idea of a machine dispensing cash, rather than chocolate bars, while in his bath. Today there are three million ATMs worldwide, with four million expected by 2020. That's hardly surprising given that an ATM is installed somewhere in the world every three minutes! Despite newer technologies, the ATM remains the most popular way for us to manage our day-to-day finances. A staggering £175 billion was withdrawn from UK ATMs in 2016. But as contactless and mobile payments increasingly become the norm, will ATMs become a quaint relic of yesterday’s technology? Not if what’s currently going on China is anything to go by. Chinese ATMs can now carry out 100 different functions including paying bills, making charity donations and paying taxes, as well as buying lottery tickets, sports tickets, transport tickets and stamps. All very intriguing but does that mean more bad news lies ahead for the British High Street?

 

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