1 July 2009
Abbey For IntermediariesTwo Year Tracker
Thames River co-head of multi-manager Robert Burdett says there is 70 per cent chance that the market has bottomed out.
As advisers, we all spend time with clients helping them establish their attitudes to risk and educating them to the potential ramifications of this for long-term investment performance. Somewhat ironically, risk management processes and procedures should also be front of mind now for advisers themselves, ensuring the correct procedures are taken to reduce risk in their businesses.
Abbey For IntermediariesFirst Time Buyer 4 Year Fixed
The Association of British Insurers is proposing that total permanent disability be removed from all critical illness policies by 2010.
Multi-managers are more focused on absolute returns as an indication of performance since the credit crunch, according to Swip.
The FSA announced today that Adam Phillips has been appointed chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel.
An adviser has slammed Aviva for sending his client a cash-in value for their property investment without informing them of the deferment period.
Advisers have criticised the methodology used by the FSA to estimate retail distribution review costs, warning that they may have been heavily under-estimated.
Aegon has launched an investment and retirement planning tool to help advisers in their financial planning.
Aegon has set up a new company to sell annuities directly to consumers.
Some 56 per cent of members of the Association of Investment Companies reduced their exposure to cash and fixed interest in the first five months of the year.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings is disappointed that the basic advice category is exempt from QCF level-four qualifications and adviser charging rules.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has been awarded Trade Body of the Year at the annual Public Affairs News Awards.
Alliance & LeicesterTwo-Year Fixed Rate Remortgage
Advisers of clients invested in the CF Arch Cru fund range may have their commission payments frozen with the suspension of fee payments by the funds’ depositaries BNY Mellon and HSBC.
Armstrong Investment Managers has hired Simon Ellis as a consultant to drive its business strategy.
Ascentric is to power the Montpelier Pensions Administration Services Sipp on its platform.
Axa Winterthur Wealth ManagementAxa Sterling Corporate Bond Fund
Baillie Gifford has made its greater china fund available to IFAs following its launch for institutional investors last November.
The Treasury's White Paper on banking reform is expected to contain some form of product regulation that will tie in with restricted advice.
The automatic enrolment of employees in 2012 marches on. A consultation on the process has just completed and further draft regulations are expected in autumn, two of which are of particular note.
Perception Support chief executive Phil Billingham is joining Threesixty and transferring his client base to the support services firms.
British banker Sir Win Bischoff is tipped to take over as the next chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, according to press reports.
Blue Sky Asset Management is offering technical training sessions at two forthcoming Personal Finance Society investment strategy conferences.
Bluefin has made seven support staff at its London office redundant, Money Marketing understands.
Technology provider Bravura Solutions has signed a five-year transfer agency deal with JP Morgan Chase Bank.
You could argue that I am at least a year too late in looking at a global currency fund, as currency movements have become increasingly important to investment of late. My apologies but I had not felt there was much on the market worth highlighting. That seems to have changed with the launch of an offshore global managed currency fund from Schroders.
Liberal Democrats Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable's early day motion calling for the Government to pay compensation for Equitable Life victims has received 300 signatures from cross-party MPs.
Rumours of a rift between the FSA and a disgruntled Financial Ombudsman Service's Walter Merricks have been running strong for a while now so it was no great surprise when news broke that Merricks is leaving the FOS.
Conservative leader David Cameron has today promised to cut the number of quangos in a bid to reduce public spending.
Capita Self Invested Pensions has warned staff that 520 jobs are at risk in its Salisbury and Mumbai operations.
M&G managing director global sales Jonathan Willcocks has questioned the demand for absolute return funds.
The Committee of European Insurance Supervisors has issued further information on the Framework Directive including additional detail on the calculation of insurance liabilities, the standard formula solvency requirements and eligibility of capital.
The CII is urging members to provide input on how they see the evolution of continuing professional development.
Consumer champion Martin Lewis has warned that banning commission payments could leave many consumers without access to independent advice.
The regulator has laid down plans for a ban on commission and factoring arrangements with product providers.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is calling for the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority to be scrapped.
Consumer confidence in the UK economy is rising, the latest Association of British Insurers quarterly savings and protection survey reveals.
The Financial Services Consumer Panel says 44 per cent of borrowers do not seek advice when they face difficulties paying their mortgage.
Changes in the payment protection insurance market have been a long time coming but the present period of flux is welcome and has created massive opportunities for IFAs.
Curtis Banks is the latest provider to enter the Sipp and SSAS markets.
Default funds are the topic of conversation in pension circles with the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority scrutinising this crucial issue ahead of the 2012 launch.
What do you think about life offices creating direct salesforces or distributing via alternative channels when they have previously distributed exclusively via the IFA market?
Last week saw the long-feared RDR consultation paper make its appearance, the excellent annual protection review and, on a personal note, I succeeded Evan Owen as chairman of the IFA Defence Union. What's more, the redoubtable Andy Milburn of Munich Re fame, christened me "Dizzee", this in reference to East End rapper Dizzee Rascal and his recent chart-topper, "Bonkers".
The Department for Communities and Local Government has been criticised for offering just £1.5m for free legal advice to the 65,000 homeowners facing repossession this year, equating to just £23 per person.
After receiving a substantial inheritance I approached my existing IFA for some advice on how to invest the money. I have used this adviser in the past for mortgage and life insurance advice but when it comes to investment advice I am less confident in their recommendations. Should I seek a second opinion?
The financial services industry has welcomed the FSA's decision to accelerate consultation on the Professional Standards Board, which could see it gain statutory powers three years earlier than planned.
Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt are to merge to create the world's biggest employee benefits consultancy. The new firm is to be called Towers Watson & Co, with Watson Wyatt chief executive John Haley becoming chief executive and Towers Perrin chief executive Mark Mactus becoming president.
Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves has been tipped to stand as an MP at the next general election in an attempt to force the Government to accept the Ombudsman's findings into the collapse of the life office.
F&C Asset Management will become independent today with the demerger of Friend’s Provident’s stake in the firm.
The FSA has confirmed that Qualifications and Credit Framework level 4 examination standards will be required for all IFAs, with assessment and/or testing as alternatives to examinations.
As an M&A adviser in the IFA sector I am often asked by chief executives of IFA firms, "What should I do to make my company look attractive to a buyer?" The answer is perhaps best considered in light of how buyers value IFA businesses, as those chief executives who get to grips with buyer valuation are in a good position to consider how best to adjust their business model.
Friends Provident is developing a new individual Sipp to tie in with its corporate platform plans.
The FSA has announced an operational restructure which will include the creation of an international division and the merging of the retail and wholesale supervision teams.
The FSA has banned Hornchurch-based mortgage broker Abdul Karim for submitting a mortgage application for himself that was based on false information about his income.
The FSA has today published plans to increase fines by up to 300 per cent through the creation of a more “consistent and transparent framework” for calculating financial penalties.
The FSA has fined insurance broker AIF Limited director Richard Holmes £20,020 for control failings in relation to an appointed representative firm.
The FSA has hinted that mortgage brokers may have to become approved persons as it looks to reassess mortgage regulation.
It is heartening to read that the survey commissioned by Sesame concluded that 97 per cent of clients are happy with their IFA and, God bless him, Chris Cummings says that we need the Government and the regulator to build on this level of trust and increase consumer access to independent advice. We surely do.
Protection experts have attacked FSA plans to scrutinise investment advisers selling protection after the RDR ban on commission.
The FSA is coming under pressure to clarify its position on phoenixing after the Money Portal transfer of assets and management to Honister Capital.
The Financial Services Skills Council has announced the resignation of chief executive Teresa Sayers and the appointment of Simon Ellis to lead an independent review of its future strategy.
The FTSE 100 opened higher this morning at 4,202 but struggled to make significant headway.
Gilts are something people run to in times of trouble, so it comes as no surprise this sector has been popular in the past year, although not so much of late. In January the sector was the fourth most popular in terms of retail inflows, according to statistics from the IMA.
GLG has proposed a series of mergers and closures across a number of its UK and fixed-interest funds.
The Mortgage WorksOne Year Tracker Buy-To-Let
Rob Hain and Andrew Williams swapped top roles at the UK's largest fund house for a small start-up three years ago, wanting to build their business from the ground up.
The Government has agreed to increase the maximum annual contribution allowed under its anti-forestalling measures from £20,000 to £30,000 a year, in the interim period before the pension changes come into effect.
Hargreaves Lansdown says it is reviewing whether to maintain its independent tag as a result of RDR proposals. It says no significant threats, retrospective changes or other costs have been seen as a result of the draft proposals since the bulk of its Vantage business is execution-only.
Last week, Fitch revealed that as much as 15 per cent of prime mortgages in the UK are now in negative equity.
HSBC Global Asset ManagementCapital Protected Plan Isa 16
Ignis Asset Management has terminated its joint multi-manager venture with Maia and is bringing all assets and funds in-house.
IMA chairman Robert Jenkins has hit out at the European Union’s proposals for the regulation of the alternatives industry.
Intelligent Pensions has raised concerns over insurers setting up direct annuity businesses, arguing retirees may struggle to select the best retirement option without advice.
Investec Asset ManagementAmerican Fund - Class A GDP Hedged Share Class
JO Hambro Capital Management is to re-brand its private client business following the appointment of Andy Steel as chief executive.
Jubilee Financial Products has launched a new structured product which optimises investor ‘entry level’ during the first three months.
Jupiter has confirmed that Nick Hinds is to leave the firm today.
Only six struggling homeowners were helped by the Government's mortgage rescue scheme from January to May this year, Department for Communities and Local Government figures reveal. The scheme offers a Government mortgage to rent option or shared-equity option to avoid repossession.
Keydata says that a clause in its contract with SLS Capital put in place by David Elias legally allowed his firm to delay making quarterly income payments by up to 90 days.
Ninety six per cent of the Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man depositors action group want a complete removal of PricewaterhouseCoopers as liquidator.
Legal & General is considering a sale of all or part of its asset management arm, according to reports.
Legal & General has extended its annuity solutions service to offer enhanced annuities directly to consumers as well as its postcode product.
Legal & General says its new underwriting criteria will speed up applications for life insurance and critical illness cover.
Only 5 per cent of IFAs would vote for Labour if a general election was held tomorrow.
Leadbay is testing a private medical insurance lead-generation service for advisers.
Conservative MP Ed Vaizey has accused the Treasury of “washing its hands” of the investors who lost millions of pounds in structured products backed by Lehman Brothers following the bank’s collapse last year.
Lighthouse Group has today announced the launch of a specialist advice service to assist its advisers on pension issues.
Macquarie Group has blamed the global economy for its 52 per cent drop in post-tax profits for the year ending May 2009.
PMS managing director John Malone is understood to be furious after not being consulted on Sesame's proposed acquisition of Bankhall and is thought to be planning to leave the firm.
First Secretary of State for Business Lord Mandelson has proposed a new consumer advocate should be established to handle collective disputes relating to consumer credit agreements
With a global banking crisis more or less averted, it is time to look at solving another puzzle before the housing and mortgage market can recover.
Martin Currie has promoted Alan Porter to co-manager of its global and global alpha retail products.
Wealth manager Master Adviser IFA has selected Ascentric as its chosen wrap platform.
Medicals Direct Group has acquired the medical support business of Capita Insurance Services.
Chief ombudsman Walter Merricks is to step down from his role at the Financial Ombudsman Service after 10 years in the post.
Money Marketing will be twittering from the Treasury Select Committee evidence session on mortgage arrears this morning.
Fund of hedge fund manager Moonraker Fund Management says it prefers to invest in small funds where the biggest investor is the fund manager.
Moral issues present a barrier to sales of life settlement funds despite record earnings in recent months.
Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Growth Plan 7
The second quarter of 2009 saw a strong recovery in risk assets as fears of systemic failure in the financial system gave way to hopes that economic recovery is imminent.
City minister Lord Myners says he has concerns over lenders levying excessive arrears charges onto consumers.
It has emerged that Neptune Investment Management compensated investors in three of its funds earlier this year after mispricing them.
Former Insight Investment multi-managers Patrick Armstrong, Ana Cukic Armstrong and Toby Hayes are launching Ucits III multi-asset funds and a qualified investor fund range for their new venture, Armstrong Investment Management.
Nick Prettejohn is to step down from his position as chief executive of Prudential UK and Europe in September this year.
Financial services research firms NMG and H2B are merging from July 1.
The FSA will be extra-vigilant when policing the new independent and restricted advice categories after RDR, warns director of retail policy and conduct risk Dan Waters.
Northern Rock has revealed its capital ratios are below the regulatory minimum.
Wrap provider Novia has criticised the FSA for failing to highlight the need for more platforms to unbundle their prices for advisers and their clients in its RDR consultation paper.
The Octopus enhanced discounted gift solution combines the immediate tax benefits of a discounted gift trust with 100 per cent IHT relief after two years through the existing Octopus secure inheritance tax service.
Octopus InvestmentsEnhanced Discounted Gift Solution
Hopefully, by the time you read this, the top-line analyses of the RDR will have worn away and we can look forward to some serious engagement with the detail in the paper.
Former Towergate Financial Services chairman Patrick Snowball has been appointed chief executive of Australian insurance giant Suncorp.
The trouble with most decisions made by those who have gained political power and, almost by definition, have lost touch with reality as a result, is the resultant law of unintended consequences.
Auto-enrolment into pension schemes could result in 200,000 job losses, a study by the University of Warwick has found.
IFA consolidation vehicle Perspective Financial Group has bought its eighth firm, McGregors Wealth Management.
Politicians will be judged on their commitment to workplace pensions reform at the next election, according to the Association of Consulting Actuaries.
Positive Solutions is calling on the Financial Services Authority to launch a consumer awareness campaign highlighting the benefits of the RDR.
Despite an uncertain economy, a growing feeling that we might be over the worst of the financial crisis has led to improved sentiment in investment-grade corporate bond markets.
Industry experts are divided over whether the battered property sector is beginning to stabilise and could offer an attractive income story for investors in the low interest rate environment.
RBS Intermediary Partners3 Year Fixed Shared Equity
RBS Intermediary Partners has launched three shared equity mortgage products exclusively for intermediaries.
Sector to be split between independent advice, restricted advice and non-advised sales. Restricted advice will include single- and multi-tied advisers who will have to reach QCF level four along with independent advisers.
Last week's RDR consultation paper is a step in the right direction but some important questions remain.
The latest RDR consultation paper has split the sector into independent advice, restricted advice and non-advised sales and introduced a new definition of independence.
With the 2007 and 2008 Pension Acts on the statute books, it is tempting to think the pension reform agenda is done and dusted but several pieces of the jigsaw still need to be put in place.
Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid is calling on the Government to exempt people on the brink of taking pension benefits from anti-forestalling measures under changes to pension tax relief.
HM Revenue & Customs has launched a consultation paper into a code of practice on tax for banks. The code hopes to minimise tax avoidance, since big businesses such as banks will have a clear understanding of expected behaviour from tax authorities.
Last week's publication of the retail distribution review was not directly relevant to mortgages. However, there will likely be some sort of read across to the sector in due course. Implementation of the RDR is not scheduled until 2012 and it has been years in the making. It is therefore highly improbable that any similar changes to mortgage regulation will take place for at least three years, especially seeing as the implications of the forthcoming European Commission mortgage directive ...
Royal London Asset Management has changed the name of its UK strategic growth trust to Royal London UK mid-cap growth trust in order to more accurately reflect its investment objectives.
Robert Graves has been appointed to head of technical services at Rowanmoor Pensions, where he will be responsible for the overall technical services within the business.
The Financial Services Skills Council has appointed Simon Ellis to conduct an independent strategic review of its future role and strategy. following the decision by the Government and Devolved Administrations to extend the FSSC's existing licence.
Chandos Rose founder Philip Rose is taking a back seat at the firm to set up an Alpine chalet rental business.
Bankhall is positive about the offer made by Sesame for the business and says the combined entity will enhance the services available to IFAs.
Sesame has warned that the FSA's plans to allow oral assessments for QCF level four will not do enough to recognise advisers' skills.
Sesame is in talks with Skandia over the potential acquisition of Bankhall and PMS.
The Serious Fraud Office has been called in regarding over £100m of potentially missing assets associated with a number of Keydata plans.
Conservative shadow Chancellor George Osborne is being investigated by the parliamentary standards watchdog over his mortgage allowances.
Skandia has called on the FSA to go further in its disclosure requirements for restricted advice.
Skandia has been named as an official sponsor of the European Senior Golf Tour’s 2009 Senior Open Championship.
Skipton and Newcastle building societies have both denied reports that they are in talks over a potential takeover deal.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has placed its 'BBB-/A-3' long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings on F&C Asset Management PLC on CreditWatch with negative implications.
Standard Life has abandoned its plans to replace its £200 non-core Sipp charge with a flat £240 fee.
Especially in the years of burgeoning residential property and investment values, inherit-ance tax was a hot topic.
Tesco is a potential bidder for state-owned bank Northern Rock.
Unless you were on a different planet last week or took a holiday and missed all the fuss, the final FSA retail distribution review consultation paper was published.
OK, I give up - where's it hidden? I know it has to be in there someplace but I've had a good old rummage around and I can't seem to find it anywhere.
It seemed to me for a while last week that the long-awaited (by some) pullback in share prices had begun.
After numerous probes by the FSA, The Pensions Advisory Service is now flagging up issues regarding the suitability of advice around self-invested personal pensions.
The ABI's statement of best practice for critical illness cover consultation paper has finally been published and its proposal to scrap total permanent disability has created intense industry debate.
FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner has dismissed reports of a rift between himself and Bank of England governor Mervyn King.
FSA chairman Lord Turner says he wishes he'd been more radical in his Turner Report on pensions and said there were arguments for raising the state pension age to 70.
UBS Wealth Management has closed its Brighton office and transferred clients to London base after two investment managers left the firm.
Wheb Asset Management, a specialist investor in sustainable investments that was formed last year, has introduced the IM Wheb sustainability fund.
On last week's RDR consultation paper publication It is very heartening to see the FSA tackling at last the menu of industry failings, in particular, the comm-ission issue, which has been the intermediaries' Achilles heel for so long.
Work-based assessment will be permitted as an alternative to exams for advisers to reach qualifications credit framework level four.
The Zurich international portfolio bond is designed to provide flexibility, a wide investment choice and transparency for high-net-worth UK investors.
Zurich Financial ServicesGuaranteed Account 3
ZurichInternational Portfolio Bond