1 April 2009
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is forecasting a 50 per cent drop in mortgage brokers from 30,000 in 2007 to just 15,000 by the end of 2009.
UK retirees could be missing out on up to £56.6m of retirement income each year by not buy- ing an enhanced annuity, according to LV=.
Abbey is considering paying advisers for selling current accounts and other non-advised products alongside mortgages.
The Association of British Insurers is seeking to make money market funds clearer and safer for investors with proposals for a new fund sector.
The Association of British Insurers is consulting on proposals for a new fund sector to help consumers choose the right money market fund to invest in.
The Association of British Insurers has welcomed the G20 agreements reached in London yesterday.
Merrill Lynch global fund manager survey data for March indicated a sharp upturn in investor sentiment. The poll showed managers at their most bullish on the prospects for economic growth since December 2005.
Living Time has sent personalised video messages to the top 200 adviser firms calling for them to back its Offer More Options campaign.
Aegon is planning potential launches in the UK equity income and UK long/short sector.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers and Prudential UK have launched a joint study into income and wealth in retirement.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has warned that the FSA's new outcome-focused regime could lead to "Henry VIII-style" supervision.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings and the heads of a number of large IFA firms have signed up to Living Time's offer more options campaign.
Just Retirement chief executive Mike Fuller has joined Annuity Direct director Stuart Bayliss in his criticisms of life offices' single-tied annuity deals.
Ascentric is urging more advisers to carry out regular due diligence on the platforms they use to make sure they are fit for purpose.
Lipper’s monthly retail fund review has identified the Asia Pacific excluding Japan and Global Emerging Markets (Gem) as the best performing Investment Management Association (IMA) sectors in March.
I am writing this from a busy investment conference in snatched moments between presentations given by various groups seeking to shed some light on the last 12 months.
Axa is to withdraw initial commission from its corporate pension products as it moves to a fee-based model.
Axa is closing its Aldgate office in London on Wednesday and Thursday this week amid concerns over the G20 protests. Applications or correspondence that needs to be received by Friday must be sent to its Bristol address.
The FTSE 100 has fallen below 4,000 as fresh fears over toxic assets spark a sell-off in the banking sector.
Barclays Global InvestorsiShares MSCI Emerging Markets SmallCap
Barclays Global InvestorsiShares MSCI GCC Countries ex-Saudi Arabia
Barclays is appealing to the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the Competition Commissions decision to ban point of sale PPI.
Baring Asset ManagementMulti-Asset Fund
Baring Asset ManagementBaring Global Agriculture Fund
Baring Asset Management has brought out a retail multi-asset fund that aims to beat inflation with a lower risk than pure equity funds.
There is an alternative to Paul Lothian's suggestion of a reduction in the level of protection to help the PPF balance its books (Money Marketing, February 12).
Providers and advisers have tipped bespoke structured products for growth as investors seek out flexible products to capitalise on a market bounce.
BlackRock has launched a European absolute alpha fund under the management of Vincent Devlin.
Blue Sky Asset ManagementSmart Income Plan
Advisers have raised concerns over the amount of cash pouring into UK corporate bond funds after some have almost doubled.
Former Bradford & Bingley chief executive Steven Crawshaw elected to receive a pension lump sum of £412,500 and a reduced pension of £105,318 a year. B&B has revealed mortgage write-offs of over £500m in its annual results.
Abbey’s proposals to bundle mortgage deals with other products like current accounts have been greeted with cautious optimism by brokers.
In future, will you be more cautious on advising clients into funds investing in illiquid assets?Yes 63%No 37%
Stamp duty should be temporarily banned in this year’s Budget in an attempt to stimulate the housing market, says John Charcol’s Ray Boulger
Ethical investment has proved popular with many members of the public. After the recent debacle in the markets occasioned by the lack of ethics in investment banking, the topic of ethics is on everyone's lips.
Bupa Individual Protection is enhancing its critical illness product by making a number of key changes.
Businesses welcomed the last minute U-turn by Chancellor Alistair Darling in which he deferred a 5 per cent increase in business rates, reducing it to 2 per cent instead.
Standard Chartered has warned that the FSA's proposed counter- cyclical changes to capital adequacy could lead to a "wretched" system of money hoarding.
Cardif Pinnacle InvestmentsGuaranteed Bond
Chartwell Group has chosen Ascentric to provide its soon to launch Investor Centre platform.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has backed a campaign aimed at getting better protection for tenants who face eviction because their landlord is repossessed.
This week, I move away from the stockmarket, which at least for the time being is showing signs of life. Now is the time to look once again at the commercial property market. Some of you may know that I have been outspoken in my negative view on this market for quite a few years.
Conforto Financial Management has raised almost £1m from existing and new investors to finance organic growth at the firm and possible new acquisitions.
Relationship breakdown can be a traumatic experience whenever it happens. In the current economic climate, when resources are already under strain, conflict over the division of the assets or the arrangements for any children through adversarial court proceedings only makes life more difficult.
The reasons behind the FSA's desire for IFA businesses to be better capitalised, for advisers to be better qualified and for initial commission to be consigned to history have already been commented on widely in the press. Implementation of these measures, in line with last year's retail distribution review, will undoubtedly help to professionalise and raise the esteem of the IFA industry.
The Co-operative Financial Services’ banking arm has posted a 70 per cent profit rise in underlying profits to £85.6m for 2008 from 50.4m in 2007.
Earlier this week, Aifa director general Chris Cummings warned the FSA’s recent change in regulatory focus could lead to Henry VIII-style supervision from the regulator.
Increasing investor demand for transparent counterparty disclosure may drive changes for the structured product industry, according to Bestinvest.
The FSA and the life offices caught up in the Lautro debacle have a long month ahead of them while they wait for the High Court to consider the appeal against naming those involved.
Cru founder Jon Maguire is calling on the FSA to allow the firm to restructure its £400m Oeic range after claiming Capita would not sanction the move.
Arch’s fair value estimate for one of the Guernsey-listed cell companies under its funds is currently 30 per cent below its last published net asset value, Money Marketing has learnt.
Cru’s new investor committee is to consider whether there has been any regulatory breach by ARCH or Capita.
Cru has invited IFAs to a meeting next Monday to discuss the future of the ARCH cru fund range.
In the next two months, the FSA will set its adviser fees for 2009/10, prompting many directly authorised mortgage brokers to re-evaluate whether to continue to go it alone or sign up to a network.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has scaled back the 5 per cent rise in business rates due today to 2 per cent for this year.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has warned that financial services regulation must not impinge on competition and innovation.
Defined-contribution pension assets have lost 25 per cent of their value, or £140bn, since the start of the credit crunch, according to Aon Consulting.
Just Retirement has confirmed that talks are ongoing about a possible offer for the group.
The FSA may delay its strengthening liquidity standards consultation paper until Q4. It was due to release a feedback statement in April with rules implemented by October 2009 but BDO Hoy Stayward says it is now likely the rules will only be implemented "well into 2010".
It is quite a common event for parents or grandparents to put money aside for new born or young children. Some go further and specifically set aside funds to pay for further education in the expectation that the child will attend university. The question is what is the best method of holding investments for up to 18 years?
Duet Group, a London-based alternative asset manager, has launched an Africa fund after its purchase of the assets in New Star’s Heart of Africa.
Employees delaying pension saving until personal accounts come into force in 2012 could reduce their final pension pot by £175,000, warns Fidelity International.
Problems over counterparty disclosure could be resolved with the forthcoming review of the EU prospectus directive, according to NDFA.
Exclusive Connections has increased the proc fees and product ranges for its newly acquired M2000 mortgage club.
Stronger enforcement of existing taxes and anti-avoidance measures are likely to be a central focus in the forthcoming Budget, according to tax specialist Baker Tilly.
There has been much talk about the FSA's recent performance, coupled with calls for reform. It has even been suggested that the FSA should be dismantled or abolished.
The number of live mortgage products has increased for the first time in eight months, according to Mortgage Brain.
Brokers have called the floor in fixed-rate mortgages as gilt yields reacted to the Government's first auction failure in nearly a decade.
Fortis Life UK has recorded £2.7m in new annual premiums since its launch in July last year.
Consumers are increasingly suffering “dismal” treatment from financial businesses when they complain about a product or service, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The FSA has banned Worcestershire financial adviser Norman Mark McCance for quality, suitability of advice and compliance failings at his firm, Penn Financial Services Unlimited.
Morgan Stanley has called on the FSA to provide solid guidance on the EU prospectus directive rules and the legal consequences of disclosing the identity of counterparties to advisers.
The FSA has called on banks to be more realistic in their expectations of investment performance and behave more like utility companies in mapping returns against risk.
The FSA is warning fund managers to consider the liquidity of underlying investments after recent fund suspensions.
The FSA has fined share traders Winterflood more than £4m after market abuse at a Financial Services and Markets Tribunal.
The FSA has won its case before the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal to ban Alternative Solutions chief executive officer Milan Vukelic from working in the financial services industry.
The FTSE 100 opened lower today at 4,111 after closing 4 per cent higher on Thursday at 4,125 as G20 hysteria subsided.
The FTSE 100 has closed 4 per cent higher at 4,125.
The FTSE 100 has closed below 4,000 after mining stocks reined back the index from earlier gains made in the banking sector.
The FTSE 100 started the month lower at 3,923 down from its previous close of 3,926 with equities unable to maintain the rally enjoyed in Tuesday’s session.
Brevan Howard's FTSE 250-listed fund of hedge funds BH global has reported that its discount to net asset value has narrowed from 30 per cent to 10 per cent at the end of last year.
Treasury Economic Secretary Ian Pearson has been accused of launching an "extraordinary attack" on the public administration select committee over the Equitable Life debacle.
G20 leaders agreed to a $1tn fiscal package in a bid to stimulate global economic growth at the one-day summit yesterday.
The End is Nigh. Judging by some of the conversations we have been having with practitioners over the past few weeks, the perfect storm of the crunch, recession and changes due to the retail distribution implementation programme is hitting home hard.
I spent last week gazing out over the North Sea, counting the ships in and out of Felixstowe Docks. That there are fewer of them is clear. World trade has been strangled by the double whammy of poorer consumers in the West and a lack of credit to finance inventories. It appears to be rapid de-stocking that has caused the very sharp downturn in global economic activity.
Investors in gilt funds were well rewarded in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to an annual review of the fixed interest sector from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Fund Services.
Societe Generale Asset Management has completed the sale of its UK arm to GLG Partners.
MPs have accused the Government of failing to spot that Northern Rock's arrears' levels were understated before taking the bank into public ownership.
Hargreaves Lansdown has removed the Rathbone income fund and added M&G's strategic bond fund to its Wealth 150 list.
Henderson is to acquire New Star Asset Management for £8m less than the figure previously stated.
Henderson’s recommended £107m cash offer for New Star has been declared wholly unconditional by its shareholders.
The High Court will take over a month to decide whether the FSA's appeal to avoid naming the Lautro 19 has been successful.
M&G bond manager Richard Woolnough believes the housing market could lead the turn-round in financials but it will take time.
HSBC Bank has unveiled its plans to integrate 1st - The Exchange’s Exweb system into its point of sale system from October.
HSBC has refused to rule out extending its mortgage products to the adviser market if its seven-month trial with John Charcol proves successful.
North of England IFA coalition IFAlliance is looking to treble its member firm base over the next few years.
The Investment Management Association (IMA) is considering changing the definition of the Money Market sector.
At this morning's launch of the Income Protection Task Force's white paper, the ABI was attacked for failing to show up, with one member branding the trade body's absence "embarrassing".
Blue Sky Asset Management has taken a new approach to the provision of income and capital protection with the launch of its smart income plan.
Insight Investment has set up a new equity income fund managed by Tim Rees and Richard Lloyd targeting an annual yield of 8 per cent.
Insight InvestmentUK Equity Income Booster Fund
Extreme market conditions have led Insight Investment's multi-asset team to establish Stop Think, an automatic review system for investments which fall or rise beyond expectations.
The market consistent embedded value reporting principles could be altered after the body that designed them claimed they could prove "misleading" in the current market.
Mortgage Intelligence has secured an exclusive 20-year fixed-rate mortgage with Stroud & Swindon's intermediary arm In The Loop.
Investec Asset ManagementGSF Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund
Investec Asset Management has created the GSF investment grade corporate bond fund by changing the name and objective of its dollar denominated high income bond fund.
The Isle of Man has avoided being listed on the G20 tax haven black list.
The Income Protection Task Force has published its second white paper outlining a number of proposals designed to improve the sale of income protection.
Aegon Asset Management director of retail fund sales and marketing Jon Bennett says an inspirational economics teacher set him on the path to financial services.
JPMorgan Asset ManagementUS Equity Income Fund
Now is the time to have a rethink about the advantages of family income benefit and increase the use of this undersold product. Why? Because not only is it often best advice for a client wanting to protect their family but it is also even more suitable during these tough times due to interest rates being so low.
KeydataExtra Income Plan 26
Legal & General has launched an online point-of-sale business system enabling advisers to manage their own cases end to end.
First State Investments is to launch a Latin America fund, targeting UK and European wholesale and institutional investors. It will be managed by Jonathan Asante and Millar Mathieson with Alan Nesbit as deputy fund manager.
Lincoln Financial Group insists it has no plans to put up prices on the guarantees offered on its i2 Live product or reduce the maximum equity.
The newsflow from Liontrust in the first half of the year has been raising many eyebrows in the investment industry, given its reputation as one of the more stable investment management businesses in the UK.
Liontrust chief executive Nigel Legge has suggested that the investment processes of outgoing star managers Jeremy Lang and William Pattisson are outdated and predicts that their replacements will outshine them.
Lloyds Banking Group has seen 65 per cent take-up of its bond offer aimed at swapping £7.5bn of bonds for higher quality debt to improve its balance sheet.
London & ColonialOffshore Open Bond
Longbow Capital, the healthcare venture investor has launched a Sipp venture fund.
Australian financial services firm Macquarie has launched its wrap account into the UK market with one client live and 11 more to join over the next few months.
Fund of hedge fund managers expect the use of managed accounts to increase but some are concerned that this could lead to problems in the future.
Insurers are in limbo at the moment after the body that designed the Market Consistent Embedded Value reporting standard announced the principles could be changed.
When a new boss takes the helm at the newspaper you write for, a journalist has two instinctive thoughts: "Will I get the chop?" This is followed shortly afterwards by: "Can I screw a pay rise out of him?"
Meteor Capital Holdings has linked up with actuarial consultancy firm Intersolve to launch a 3-month notice deposit plan.
Money Wise Financial Advisers has acquired Cambridge-based IFA firm Lee & Co.
Treasury select committee MPs have criticised the quality of advice given by IFAs in the run-up to the Icelandic bank failures.
MPs have told the Treasury it should have ordered a full audit of the FSA by the National Audit Office.
Nationwide has revealed a "surprise bounce" in its latest House price Index as prices rose by 0.9 per cent in March.
Nationwide has taken control of Dunfermline Building Society's £2.3bn retail deposits, £1.02bn residential loan book and 34 branches. It is not taking over the social housing portfolio or equity-release book.
NDFADefined Income Plan March 09
Network Data has informed its appointed representatives that it is unable to set a date by which it expects to pay missing commissions.
Home of Choice has hit out at mortgage clubs for pushing quantity over quality mortgage business during the economic downturn.
Mortgage networks' reluctance to promote equity release is stifling growth in the sector, specialists have claimed.
There has been somewhat of a stabilisation in European equities over the last month. In early March, markets dipped to a level 58 per cent below the 2007 high. Since then, they have bounced by 14.5 per cent and stand today around 6.5 per cent higher than one month ago.
Nevsky fund co-manager Martin Taylor is still cautious on markets despite the rally of the past few weeks.
New Star has closed its heart of Africa fund after selling the assets to an unnamed purchaser.
New Star UK growth and select opportunities manager Trevor Green is to join Henderson at the completion of the proposed merger.
Credit Suisse UK mid-250 fund manager Justin Jordan believes we are only halfway through a surge of rights issues in the UK market.
Norwich Union Life is set to cut 1100 jobs by the end of the year in a bid to improve efficiency.
Norwich Union has reaffirmed its support of the payment of initial commission on group personal pension schemes.
Norwich Union Healthcare has introduced an electronic application and teleinterviewing process to its income protection solutions product.
Norwich Union is set to withdraw the inflation-proof guarantee on its with-profits bond from April 17.
Norwich Union has leapfrogged Prudential in equity-release sales volumes with total revenues for 2008 up by 15 per cent at £249m from £217m in the previous year.
A retirement adviser to US president Barack Obama believes the UK's personal accounts pension scheme will deliver an inclusive system with significant benefits.
The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development has taken all four countries from its tax haven blacklist.
The Office of Fair Trading has overturned an appeal from Foxtons and will go ahead with proceedings against what it deems are unfair clauses in its contracts.
Openwork and Octopus Investments have launched a distribution fund under the Omnis Investments brand.
Omnis Investments has added to its multi-manager range with the launch of a multi-asset distribution fund.
Owen James has launched its third IFA performance benchmark, an annual survey identifying the key value drivers of adviser business models.
Hugh Osmond’s Pearl Group has deferred making a £33m interest payment on £500m worth of bonds.
New Star European fund manager Richard Pease is to join Henderson with the rest of the firm's European team.
It seems that someone with common sense has taken an effective role within the FSA, as I read with great pleasure of its decision to cease accruals to the FSA's defined-benefit pension scheme - albeit this will not take place until March 31, 2010.
The Personal Finance Society will host its annual conference in London on November 25 - 26, chaired by Seven Investment Management director Justin Urquhart Stewart.
Pink Home LoansAbbey For Intermediaries 3.99% Two-Year Fixed
PKF has warned that HM Revenue & Customs new guidance on rules for non-UK domiciled individuals could potentially mislead some taxpayers.
PMS has launched a new partnership with conveyancing service provider London & European.
Police were called to Network Data's headquarters last week after 11 of the firm's appointed representatives went to deliver demands for alleged unpaid commission.
In markets such as today, funds of funds managers are leaning on experienced managers as the best able to produce returns, with older names accounting for well over half of their portfolios these days.
Spring is my favourite season. The first warm rays of sunshine and the profusion of colour from the spring flowers lift my spirits - and people smile more. So, while in a springtime mood, I want to take a more optimistic view of the world of financial services and talk about something positive.
Positive Solutions has called for the FSA to crack down on stockbrokers' business models to avoid further defaults amid rising Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies for investment advisers.
FSA chairman Lord Turner has said in his review that lenders will be forced to hold more capital in the future to avoid a repeat of the banking crisis. Some experts predict that consumers will bear the cost of this move through higher mortgage rates.
Last week, I focused on the importance and potentially strong commercial benefit in adopting a "provocation-based" approach to doing business with existing clients and to acquiring new clients - of the right type.
PrudentialIncome Choice Annuity
PSigma’s James Abate is bullish on US equities for 2009 and believes the S&P 500 could be up by over 20 per cent by the year end.
The Royal Bank of Scotland will axe up to 9,000 jobs over the next two years, half of those in the UK.
Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Philip Hampton has revealed that the bank will be cutting further jobs on top of the 2,700 already announced.
RBS Intermediary Partners is launching a range of mortgages with a maximum loan to value of 90 per cent.
The retail distribution review will help improve IFA understanding of structured products, according to Helm Godfrey managing director Bruce Wilson.
Rathbones boasts one of the oldest brands in financial services, originally founded in 1742 as a Liverpool timber and shipping merchant.
Insight Investment says its risk management team is crucial to running its multi-asset funds, particularly when pricing structured products in volatile markets.
Royal London is merging the management teams of its protection businesses Bright Grey and Scottish Provident.
Employers can reap cost savings from pension salary sacrifice in under a year if the employee pension contributions are in excess of £500,000 per annum, according to Watson Wyatt.
Société Générale Asset Management (SGAM) has completed the sale of its asset management business to GLG Partners, the group announced this morning.
I work for a pretty generous employer and am told I have a decent package of flexible benefits. I am not sure whether I am making the most of it though. I am a higher-rate taxpayer and am married with two kids. What should I be doing?
Shareholders of the F&C commercial property trust are to vote on the continuation of the company.
Naturally, I would never dream of contradicting the good, good people of Fidelity or indeed other less fervent preachers of the gospel that, when it comes to investing, it is time in - rather than timing - the market that counts.
SimplyBiz Mortgages is offering free Mortgage Brain software to all its member firms, throughout 2009.
SkandiaProtected Portfolio Investment - Global Vista Fund
Skandia paid out 89 per cent of critical illness claims in 2008, totalling £24m in payouts.
Skandia’s Pricewatch tool has recorded over 10,000 visits in its first eight weeks, prompting Skandia to fast track future developments on the comparison proposition.
Sesame whole-heartedly supports the march towards higher professional standards but we must remain conscious of the need to improve consumer access to advice.
Standard Life head of platform sales Nick Blake is leaving the firm to join Vanguard.
Standard Life Investments has launched a new European equity income fund.
Standard Life has reduced the remuneration package for its executive directors.
For years, many people considered the payment of the state pension as an insignificant bonus, a small addition to a decent pension from an employer's occupational pension scheme or a top-up to a personal pension for the self-employed. For low-earners, however, many of whom have not been in pensionable employment, the state pension has often been their sole income, their financial lifeline in retirement.
Stellar Asset ManagementThe First Stellar Forestry Fund
Suffolk Life is considering launching a cheaper version of its self-invested personal pension to compete with firms such as Standard Life and Sipp Centre.
Structured product providers have urged IFAs to lobby fund supermarkets to switch to an open architecture model to allow the products on their platforms.
SVM Asset ManagementUK Absolute Alpha Fund
Swiss Re is to cut its workforce by 10 per cent in a bid to strengthen its capital position.
Funds of funds specialist T. Bailey has recruited Philippa Gee to head up its marketing and communications team.
Aegon Scottish Equitable has become the latest third-way annuity provider to raise the price of its guarantees.
Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen has criticised the FSA for failing to do more under the retail distribution review to widen access to financial advice.
Fidelity fund guru Anthony Bolton has published a new book covering his 30-plus years in fund management.
The Treasury is set to release a white paper this month drawing together the recommendations made for regulatory reform in the Turner Review, the G20 and other bodies of work.
Mortgage sourcing system Trigold is set to merge with Crystal, the provider of the Momentum online point-of-sale platform.
The Treasury Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the international dimension of the banking crisis.
MPs in the Treasury Select Committee have reportedly called for embattled City Minister Lord Myners to resign after new evidence was submitted about Sir Fred Goodwin's pension.
Inflation and deflation are back on the agenda - this month, both at the same time. The prospect of different indices pointing in different ways will present novel and complex challenges for IFAs and consumers.
Assets held on UK wrap platforms are set to more than triple over the next five years to over £300bn, according to financial advice consultancy firm Navigant Consulting.
Unum has established an income protection plan for teachers in the public sector which takes into account local authority sick pay arrangements.
UnumTeachers’ Income Replacement Plan
Watson Wyatt has appointed Martin Pike as global director of insurance and financial services consulting practice, effective as of July 1 when the current director, Philip Brook, retires.
New Star international property fund manager and head of global property Stuart Webster will not be joining Henderson at the conclusion of the merger.
Online adviser training website WizardLearning.com and financial adviser search engine Rubii.co.uk are launching a new consumer guide to financial planning qualifications.
Zurich is urging advisers to carry out immediate pension reviews in light of the financial downturn rather than waiting for the next scheduled review.