1 October 2008
Technology solutions provider 1st – The Exchange has unveiled its plans to offer comparative term quotes service direct to an intermediaries BlackBerry.
Standard Life's latest savings and investment index shows that consumers are still alarmingly misguided when it comes to saving for their retirement.
Research by Axa reveals eight million women working in Britain have no form of protection despite having financial commitments.
Alliance & Leicester has been fined £7m and agreed to pay redress to customers for PPI misselling.
The FSA's decision to temporarily ban the short-selling of certain stocks caught the City by surprise. The ban, imposed with immediate effect from September 18, prohibits the "active creation or increase of net short positions" in over 30 quoted financial companies until January 16, 2009. Investors are also required to disclose positions greater than 0.25 per cent of the ordinary share capital of the affected firms.
Aegon is to merge its individual and corporate life and pension arms.
Aegon says that a small number of clients that invested in GuestInvest hotel rooms through its Sipp could be affected by the company filing for administration.
AIG Life UK has promised to send out sufficient information to enable investors in its enhanced fund to make an informed decision on whether to remain invested in the fund or redeem their investments.
AIG chairman and chief executive officer Edward Liddy has announced Alico, the subsidiary that encompasses AIG Life UK, is up for sale.
Alexander Forbes Annuity Bureau has announced that annuities have been unaffected by the credit crunch.
Allianz SE has invested £1.42bn in The Hartford Financial Services Group.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has welcomed Conservative leader David Cameron’s call for “sound money”.
Ansbacher chief investment officer Mike Hollings has questioned Fidelity's Anthony Bolton for “calling the bottom of the market”.
Arch Financial Products, the investment manager, has bought a 48 percent stake in offshore IFA firm Financial Partners Group.
Mortgageforce has revealed that Bradford & Bingley could be calling on them to place its existing borrowers when they reach the end of their deal.
Barclay’s chief executive John Varley says the bank has not requested capital from the Government following a late night meeting with Chancellor Alistair Darling.
Bestinvest chief executive Andrew Barnes has left the firm after two years.
The British Chambers of Commerce quarterly economic survey has suggested the UK is in a “worsening recession”.
Protection provider Bright Grey is launching an online calculator to help advisers work out a client’s lifestyle costs then demonstrate how much protection they can afford.
Do you agree with the Government's decision to nationalise Bradford & Bingley?
Mortgage brokers have raised concerns over the future placing of Bradford & Bingley's buy-to-let customers and fear that a funding drought will affect the whole market.
Most of us can probably remember the time when we finally grew up financially or rather when it seemed to us at the time that we had finally grown up, whereas in fact we have remained childishly ignorant about money matters all our lives.
Payment protection insurance has conjured up industry reaction yet again with consumer body Which? calling on the Financial Services Authority for reform, and the FSA itself announcing its plans to increase its intervention into the sale of PPI.
Financial Services Consumer Panel chairman Lord Lipsey says the 35,000 guarantee on deposits should apply to each brand rather than each bank.
David Cameron has pledged to fix the UK economy with “sound money” and a limit to Government spending.
Conservative leader David Cameron has called for cross-party co-operation to tackle the financial crisis and avoid the "political wrangling" that saw the US bailout fail.
Cameron’s 'attack dog' Chris Grayling - as he is fondly known by his rivals - barely even bared his teeth at this year's Conservative conference in Birmingham.
IFA Cavanagh Group saw profits increase by 23 per cent to £1.078m in the six months to June 30 from £875,000 in the same period last year.
The Chancellor Alistair Darling has repeated the Government’s pledge to do “whatever it takes” to restore financial stability.
Advisers are split over whether or not people working in the banking sector have left it too late to buy insurance cover, with some fearing that cherry-picking is imminent.
A City official warned there could have been an economic depression if the US government had not bailed out AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Leading IFA John Fox has called for the imminent clarification on the definition of Sipps, following the Government’s changes to protected rights today.
Over the last few years, the prices of most asset classes have risen strongly and a major factor behind this has been the availability of cheap money. This continued to be the case until about a year ago. Almost all assets rose whereas their performance would normally have diverged to a greater extent. This process was driven by strong flows of liquidity into markets.
Wrap a panacea or a gimmick? To answer this question, we first have to ask ourselves, what is the role of an IFA? If the answer to that question is to sell a client a product based on charges alone to suit the here and now and then move on to the next client, then wrap is just another sales gimmick with a short lifespan.
PI insurer Collegiate Management Services has warned that recent problems with Lehman Brothers-backed structured products could see PI increases.
The interaction between the Financial Ombudsman Service and FSA has been blamed for creating confusion on issues like treating customers fairly.
Financial Services Consumer Panel chairman Lord Lipsey has called it a “national disgrace” that the Government will not guarantee all bank deposits.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper has urged that current market turmoil should not provoke a move to rules-based regulation while admitting that regulators need to understand risks better.
The supply of credit on secured households has been reduced by more than lenders predicted in the last quarter.
How must consumers be feeling about the financial services sector right now? At a time when our industry has been devoting so much energy and resources to increasing consumer understanding and confidence in financial services, we can only speculate about how much of that work has been eroded by recent events.
Nearly 500 UK retail funds are running with less than £10m in assets, research from Money Marketing has found. The survey, in conjunction with Financial Express, raises questions over how profitable it is for fund firms at a time when the credit crunch is pushing profit margins to the limit.
Dame Carol Black talks workplace wellness, financial incentives and stress-testing products for employers
Ministers may have steered her away from fiscal incentives, but Dame Carol Black's report into workplace wellbeing is now being taken forward by Government. John Greenwood finds out more
Chancellor Alistair Darling may announce Treasury plans to take shareholdings in the biggest high street banks if the financial markets worsen today.
Architas Multi-Manager has brought in Dawn Kendall as head of product development and investment strategy.
Barclays Wealth director Colin Dickie has challenged other structured product providers to reveal the underlying counterparty rather than simply stating it is a firm rated A by an agency.
Two funds for the price of one this week. Allianz RCM Bric stars and Aberdeen emerging markets inhabit a similar space. The latter has come in for criticism over the last few years because despite making excellent returns, it has lagged behind its peer group. Yet if you understand Hugh Young's investment style, this was to be expected. Needless to say, over the last few months, it has outshone the rest of the global emerging markets sector.
European Union leaders have issued a joint statement reasserting their commitment to a coordinated response to the financial crisis.
European Union finance ministers have agreed to lift depositor protection to a minimum of 50,000 Euros or £38,900.
Investor rights group Deminor is launching legal action on behalf of people who have lost money through Lehman Brothers-backed structured products.
Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager Ben Yearsley says the departure of New Star select opportunities manager Patrick Evershed will not surprise the market.
Lloyds TSB former chief executive Brian Pittman says he is sure that the deal between his former bank and HBOS will go through.
The former chairman of the FSA Howard Davies has urged the Government to take 10 - 20 per cent stakes in banks prevent them from having to be fully nationalised at a later stage
F&C Investments has appointed Oliver Sonnbichler as a fund manager within its multi-manager team.
Only a year ago, there appeared to be attractive investment opportunities in a myriad of sectors and locations. Global economic growth was strong, interest rates were low, debt was readily available and the equity market bull run was in its fourth year.
Federation of Small Businesses head of policy Andrew Cave has warned that the move to principles-based regulation is creating problems for firms.
Fidelity International has called for companies with DC pension schemes to act now to review whether their default fund is up to the job of getting investors ready for retirement.
Fitch has placed several ratings for the Hartford Financial Services Group on negative outlook due to exposure to “troubled credits”.
The multi-nationalisation of Belgium bank Fortis has had no impact on its UK offering, says Fortis Life UK managing director Martin Werth.
Belgium bank Fortis has taken sole shareholding position of Artemis, increasing its 67.1 per cent stake in the business.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has announced plans to name and shame financial firms with poor complaint-handling statistics.
Firms must ensure they give consumers suitable advice about transferring built-up National Insurance rebates into self-invested personal pensions, says the FSA.
The FSA has increased the compensation limit for bank deposits from £35,000 up to a total of £50,000 for individual customer claims from October 7.
Deposit-taking firms will need to stump up more than £450m in Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies next year following Bradford & Bingley’s collapse, compared to the £5m they contributed this year.
The FTSE 100 crawled over the 5,000 mark this morning following the early approval of the second bail-out plan in the US.
The FTSE 100 index has fallen 7.85 per cent today, closing at 4,589, a low last seen in September 2004.
GE Money has become the first UK lender to be sanctioned by the FSA for its lending processes after being hit with a £1.12m fine.
The German government announced yesterday that it would guarantee all private savings accounts, worth approximately £390bn, in order to increase confidence in the financial system.
GMAC-RFC has revealed that it is looking for a lender to take up the remaining £1bn of mortgages rejected by Bradford & Bingley last week.
Goldsmith Williams has launched GW Lifetime to cater for the needs of the equity release market.
AIG Life UK is now up for sale as AIG scrambles to raise funds to repay its £35bn loan from the Fed.What this means for UK investors remains, as with many things in the current climate, unclear.
Labour peer and former deputy chairman of the Competition Commission Baroness Kingsmill has expressed "extreme concern" over Lloyds TSB's takeover of HBOS.
The High Court of Justice, the FSA and the Bank of Spain have given Banco Santander the green light to takeover fallen bank Alliance & Leicester.
Iceland’s Financial Services Authority has halted trading in banking stocks ahead of an expected government announcement.
The Icelandic Government has taken over Landsbanki with immediate effect leading to Icesave stopping depositors from taking out funds.
More than a fifth of IFAs believe their main Sipp provider will not be ready to accept protected rights when the new powers come in to play this week.
Ifs School of Finance has unveiled its plans to offer a qualification in long term care after Britain’s leading political parties described it as an area requiring attention during this year’s conference party season.
The long-awaited Crosby report into funding the mortgage market has been delayed again.
Sixty-eight per cent of consumers prefer to use the web to research life insurance policies, according to a survey by Global Reviews.
Criminal lawyer Joseph Hill is forming a lobby group of investors in AIG Life's enhanced fund, with a class action against AIG Life and four private banks that recommended the product on the cards.
How can we get more clients to take out income protection? One would be hard pushed to find an IFA who does not believe in the benefits of IP but it is not hard to find an adviser who struggles to sell it. Poor awareness, complicated processes, high rates and the complexities of products and underwriting all result in low numbers of sales.
Economic secretary to the Treasury Kitty Ussher is moving to the DWP to become a parliamentary undersecretary.
Conservative shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling expects the Government to bury its head in the sand over the impact of means-testing on personal accounts.
Bradford & Bingley was part-nationalised this week after the Government and the FSA decided that it could not fund itself as a bank.
The CEO of Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld, admitted he took more than £172m in pay and bonuses from the bank since 2000.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has admitted it has given up trying to predict house price movements in 2008.
We are living in strange times. The world financial crisis continues its rollercoaster course and talk of recession and even depression abounds.
Liontrust fund manager Jer-emy Lang believes that there will be numerous stock opportunities as the market endures a difficult economic environment over the next 12 months.
The whirlwind in global financial markets has obviously been a huge challenge for Living Time along with advisers and their clients, testing not only the strength of demand for our products but our relationships with the IFAs who recommend our plans.
Conservative shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond has urged banks to learn from Lloyds TSB - a race-winning "tortoise" compared with the failed hares of the banking sector.
Mortgage and investment intermediaries believe the Lloyds TSB HBoS deal will go ahead despite stock market concerns about the deal. But brokers want to see an end to the continuing uncertainty.
Protection provider LV= has unveiled its plans to draft in a team of specialists to front its new large case service for advisers dealing with high net worth clients.
M&G, one of the largest shareholders of Lloyds TSB and HBOS, has announced it will back the Lloyds takeover on its current terms.
On July 24, Money Marketing Online incorrectly reported that Mr Malcolm Calvert of IFA firm Buckland Harvester Ltd was being prosecuted for 12 counts of insider trading by the FSA.
Peter Mandelson is set to return to the cabinet as Secretary of State for Business, according to reports.
The mortgage industry or, at least the distribution side of it, believes that Bradford & Bingley had to be nationalised.
Meteor Asset Management says it is close to securing a new counterparty for four structured products originally earmarked for Lehman Brothers.
Meteor Asset Management has written to advisers and clients telling them that direct investments backed by solvent Lehman subsidiaries or with third parties are “probably fully recoverable" although it stresses this situation may well change.
MGM Advantage has appointed Mark Joannes as its commercial actuary in its Designs for Retirement team.
"Global" was the buzzword that Labour ministers and on-message MPs were shoehorning into every conference speech, fringe event and journalist briefing at last week's party conference.
Some 79 per cent of advisers are more wary about recommending structured products due to concern over Lehman-backed investments, according to a moneymarketing.co.uk straw poll.
The proposed Money Guidance scheme is causing confusion in the industry with only one fifth of people saying they would sign up for it, according to results of an Association of Independent Financial Advisers’ survey.
Tony Yousefian, chief investment officer and founder of OPM Fund Management, which was started in 2003, manages a variety of multi-asset funds. Tony has had a first-class career, ending up as a director of Smith & Pinching Portfolio Management before founding OPM.
New Zealand-based pensions transfer service Offshore Pension Services is looking to launch a new scheme enabling individuals residing outside the UK to transfer their UK-registered pension scheme anywhere in the world.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has laid the blame for the current financial crisis at the door of City bankers.
IFA firm Conforto Financial Management has appointed Adam Osper as senior wealth adviser and Will Myers as a new graduate trainee.
Offshore pensions provider Panthera has attacked Revenue & Customs for adding a disclaimer to the department's latest approved Qrops list.
Advisers who are keen to work in the retirement income market can now access a series of in-depth papers focusing on the rapid changes taking place and future business potential.
Just Retirement’s chief operating officer Patrick Gale has announced his resignation from the firm with immediate effect.
The Prime Minister is expected to confirm former Gartmore chairman Paul Myners in the newly-created role of Minister for the City.
Paul Myners is to leave his position as chairman of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority in order to take up his new role as financial services secretary.
Pearl is writing to 50,000 of its with-profits pension policyholders to gauge their views on possible changes that could increase their current fund value and potentially lead to a higher pension in retirement.
I was pleased to be reminded of a set of rules that are all to easy to forget when markets prove as tricky as they have been. Originally laid down by Merrill Lynch's Bob Farrell and styled as Ten Market Rules to Remember, they were designed as a guide to wise investing. Recently, the economics team at Merrill revisited these rules with the intention of applying them to current market circumstances.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor are to meet Bank of England governor Mervyn King and FSA chairman Lord Turner this afternoon but have denied it is an emergency meeting.
If I was one of the 140,000 employees of HBOS and Lloyds TSB, I would go and buy whatever forms of income and payment protection insurance those banks offer as soon as possible.
The PPF is waiting for more information from Lehman Brothers' pension scheme trustees to assess whether it will fall on the scheme having applied last week.
The Pension Protection fund has announced that its levy will remain stable for 2009/2010.
Advisers have been warned that they must "Y-proof" their businesses before 2015 to cater to the next generation of consumers.
Bob Reynolds looks at how offshore financial centres are looking to private trust companies
Next year, April 5 will not only mark the end of the tax year and the start of a new cycle of financial planning but will also mark the last date that clients are able to register their pre-A-Day (pre-April 5, 2006) pension funds for enhanced or primary protection. Therefore, with the cut- off point to register for enhanced or primary protection looming, advisers must take action now if their clients are to benefit from these opportunities.
The debate between active and passive management has a long history but recent turmoil in financial markets has tested the merits of both strategies to their limits.
Advisers want investment firms to focus on rationalising their fund ranges rather than look for new niche products to offer the market.
You're probably sick to death by now of reading about the flaws and pitfalls of the new personal accounts regime - already three years in the making, and still another four to go until it actually comes into being. But it's a subject that I've rarely touched on in this column over the past couple of years, and I've decided it's time for me to add my tuppence worth into the mix.
Which? caused a storm in the equity release world last week when it released a report recommending that equity release products should only be used as a last resort.
Resolution Asset Management has appointed Tim Sweeting as head of alternatives.
More awareness is needed of the importance of managing money in the first 10 years of retirement to be financially sound in the later years, says Life Trust.
Resolution Asset Management has appointed Neil Richardson as deputy head of UK equities.
Lighthouse says huge opportunities exist for IFAs to service existing and new clients confused by current market conditions.
Pensions minister Mike O’Brien has been given an energy brief and is to be replaced at the Department for Work and Pensions by former transport minister Rosie Winterton.
Online protection provider Progress is boosting its critical illness offering by enhancing its product to include 40 illnesses.
At the end of one of the most tumultuous weeks we have experienced in financial markets, the Financial Times' Lex column stated on Friday September 19 that investors today are "more concerned about a return of capital than a return on capital".
I would like to send my children to private school. Have you any suggestions on how I can calculate how much money I will need and give me some ideas as to how I should fund the fees?
Schroders head of UK equities Richard Buxton says there are plenty of opportunities in the market for UK investors provided that they stay patient.
Insurance provider Scottish Provident has reduced the number of critical illness claims declined for non-disclosure to just 1.9 per cent during the first half of 2008.
The US Senate has finally accepted the Treasury’s $700bn toxic mortgage bailout with a vote due in the lower house, the House of Representatives tomorrow.
Sheriar Bradbury was never destined to remain an employee of someone else's company. As a child, he moved around the UK with his family as they pursued different business ideas and he grew up with no notion of employment.
In simple terms, the criminal offence of insider dealing is the buying of shares on the basis of confidential information not yet released to the market at large that is highly likely to result in a significant increase in the value of those shares once it has been released.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th US president, is best remembered for his steadfast refusal to interfere in markets. He presided over real growth in US prosperity although this was ended after his influence had waned, by the great depression.
Skandia research has shown that advisers are moving away from initial commission to recurring income streams.
Controversy caused by the retail distribution review interim report over who should be entitled or, indeed, required to give advice has stirred old memories.
Advisers with expat clients are often unaware of the estate planning strategies required in the international domain under UK domicile legislation, says Standard Life.
I read with interest your comments at a conference fringe meeting, reported in Money Marketing, to the effect that state intervention is needed to prevent excessive lending and the practice of "selling people mortgages that they clearly could not afford".
Former Government pension adviser Alan Pickering has warned that state provision remains the weak link in the pension system.
Much to the annoyance of my family, I have spent the weekend watching the Ryder Cup. Even as I write this article, I am enjoying the thrills and spills of the singles on Sunday night.
Incredibly, there are no longer any major investment banks in the US. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and many more are sure to go as the financial services industry learns to live without the money that it used to have.
Last week Money Marketing attempted to get a little closer to understanding the cause of the latest structured products debacle rather than finger-pointing and focusing on the symptoms of the problem.
The FSA has fined TBO Investments Limited £28,000 for failing to clearly document the explanations it gave to clients concerning the risks of their transactions.
Technology firms will have a huge part to play when the RDR is introduced, says Assureweb chief executive officer Andrew Simon.
Thames River has announced the appointment of FSA senior manager Graeme Pollok as compliance and risk manager.
The performance of Japanese equities is set to overtake emerging markets and commodities in 2009, predicts Thames River Capital's Gary Potter.
Defensive is a word being bandied about by a lot of investment people in these crazy market days but the definition appears about as changeable as what classifies a value or growth stock.
Simple is often the best, a phrase that could hardly apply to some of the financial products now displaying terminal problems.
The Hartford Financial Services Group has announced that it has debt and equity exposure of £143m in Lehman Brothers and £8.5m in AIG as at September 16.
The Hartford has announced that it expects a net loss for the third quarter of approximately £1.25bn.
Removing yes/no questions from insurance application forms could help reduce non-disclosure, says Financial Ombudsman Service ombudsman Melissa Collett.
Smaller mortgage lenders have been watching the emergence of the super-bank these last few weeks but will they perish under their imposing shadows?
Axa-owned IFA Thinc Group is moving its 100 multi-tie national advisers to a whole-of-market proposition by the end of this year.
Over one in three UK companies are considering moving offshore due to the burden of corporation tax, according to a BDO Stoy Hayward research.
Up to a third of IFAs firms will disappear as a result of increasing regulation, says Bradbury Hamilton managing director Sheriar Bradbury.
Threadneedle has appointed Nick Ring as global head of product.
Advisers are warning that attempts by the Association of British Insurers to undermine the sales/advice split outlined in the retail distribution review could result in increased levels of misselling.
Conservative shadow minister for the Treasury Mark Hoban has urged the Government to end the confusion on structured products.
Using technology as an integral part of the financial advice process is still startlingly limited compared with many other industries. At a time when motor mechanics and gas fitters usually start by firing up their diagnostic software before starting maintenance, it frankly scares me that most advisers think the right tools for their job are a printed report, pad of paper and a pen.
Industry experts says it is time to scrap big T and little T and establish a single definition of tele-underwriting to comply with treating customers fairly.
The FTSE 100 suffered further declines today as UK banks dragged the index lower to 4,579.
Eleven of the UK’s leading health insurers have united to form a fraud intelligence system to support the Health Insurance Counter Fraud Group’s fight against healthcare fraud.
The Conservatives have argued that London could gain a competitive advantage over the US as a financial centre if the temptation to over-regulate is avoided.
Insurance providers will turn their back on income protection if advisers fail to improve their understanding of the product, warns Direct Life and Pensions key account man-ager Phil Jeynes.
Which? has come under fire for its negative portrayal of the equity release market which one adviser claims could drive elderly homeowners towards dangerous alternatives.
Christmas is still some way away but for Lloyds TSB it came 12 weeks early this year and CEO Eric Daniels must still be pinching himself about the $12bn deal. Whether preliminary discussions began six weeks ago or not, what is not in doubt is that Lloyds emerges from this as a credit crunch winner and regrettably some HBOS staff may emerge as blameless victims.
No-one is expecting the bloodbath on Wall Street to leave them unaffected, but its ramifications will affect different parts of the corporate advisory community in different ways, says John Greenwood
Zurich Financial Services Group has appointed former AIG chief underwriter Philip Wilson as its chief underwriting officer for global life.
Zurich has published its latest tax handbook which explains the UK tax landscape and the latest changes following the Finance Act.