10 June 2009
Keydata Investment Services went into administration this week after a tax bill of at least £5m led the firm to be declared insolvent.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has confirmed that there are currently 30 bidders interested in buying Keydata and adds that it hopes to sell the firm by next week.
As the company that pioneered scheme pensions for individuals within a Sipp, we were interested to read Andy Bell's view in Money Marketing that it could be made redundant by future changes to alternatively secured pension rules.
Abbey has written to 8,000 flexible mortgage account holders to tell them their drawdown funds are being slashed. Within the details of Abbey's flexible account mortgage, the lender can revalue a property quarterly and readjust the drawdown facility. If it deems that a house has lost value, it can reduce the available funds' pot in the offset loan, regardless of what has been invested by the borrower.
Senior executives of the private equity team at Aberdeen Asset Management have led a management buy-out to form a new private equity business, Maven Capital Partners.
The Association of British Insurers has warned regulators and governments against a "lazy adoption of banking rules" to other areas of financial services.
An adviser has hit out at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ decision to suspend income payments to Keydata investors.
Advisers voting with their feet could be the best way to force providers to focus on re-registration, says the regulator.
Advisers are being urged to move borrowers over to fixed rate mortgages now before rates move up.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has today announced the launch of its business transition programme, developed to help firms meet the demands of the retail distribution review.
Aifa small firms representative Harry Katz wants advisers to contact him if they have had their agencies cancelled by life offices.
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The American Treasury announced today that it had given its approval to 10 banks to pay back $68 billion (£41.8 billion) of money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp).
Investment Management Association chief executive Richard Saunders says the Anglo Saxon model of finance and regulation is not the cause of the credit crisis.
Aviva says it is reviewing the script used by call centre staff to determine whether or not a client uses an IFA after an adviser complained it had poached a client.
Around 250,000 Aviva policyholders may not get their information packs before roadshows the firm is running on the reattribution of its inherited estate.
Axa Investment Management says it has lost faith in rating agencies' abilities to assess asset-backed securities.
Axa Insurance has announced it is to axe 560 jobs over the next few months following a strategic review.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia is planning to make a bid for Insight Investment Management’s third-party funds business, according to a report in The Sunday Times.
The FTSE 100 opened at 4,330 today and after a rollercoaster ride morning managed to hold onto gains in afternoon trades.
Blackrock has agreed to purchase investment management business Barclays Global Investors from Barclays for £4bn in cash and a 19.9 per cent stake in the new business.
Barclays is in talks with BlackRock over a deal for the sale of its iShares and Barclays Global Investors business.
A career working with statistics seems logical for the son of a maths teacher. Prudential managing director for retail life and pensions Barry O'Dwyer says his father, a maths teacher and headmaster of the local school in County Galway, had him doing sums at a very early age.
The British Bankers’ Association has written to the FSA with concerns that its response to the banking crisis will not achieve a balance between financial stability and banks’ support for the broader economy.
Will the grass be greener for IFAs if the Tories come into power? Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is claiming it will.
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Bank of England chair of the Court of Directors Sir David Lees has appointed himself and three non-executive directors of the Bank as members of the Financial Stability Committee.
A third of equity-release referrals came from advisers over the first quarter of 2009, according to Hodge Lifetime.
Henderson New Star director of UK property Marcus Langlands Pearse believes we are either at or nearing the bottom of the property market.
Schroders fund manager Andy Brough has doubled his stake in Liontrust to almost 30 per cent, according to The Independent.
Bupa has appointed former Unum managing director Lawrence Churchill to its board.
The business protection gap has reached £1.1tn, according to research by Legal & General.
The Institute of Financial Planning wants the FSA to ban firms from calling themselves financial planners unless a quarter of their board have reached QCF level six, equivalent to a degree IFP chief executive Nick Cann says only firms that have at least a quarter of board members or partners qualified to QCF level six and over half of their advisers certified or chartered should be allowed to use the title.
Capita is to shut its Enabler platform to new business, Money Marketing can reveal.
Capita managing director of wealth and distribution services Graham Coxell is leaving the technology firm in July.
Invesco Perpetual income and higher-income fund man-ager Neil Woodford has reasserted his view that an economic recovery is still three to four years away.
I may enjoy the odd childish joke every now and again but the last time I checked, and correct me if I am wrong, I am still an adult.
Advisers are losing faith in the ability of the retail distribution review to create a more professional retail financial services market, according to research by the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Advisers and clients were caught off guard last Monday with the impromptu announcement from the FSA that it had successfully applied for Keydata to be placed in administration on the grounds of insolvency.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings has hit out at IFA Promotion over the way it communicates with other trade bodies and the lack of an IFA response to the NatWest advice adverts.
The Financial Services Consumer Panel has called for the FSA to publish information on how well companies are performing and to take over regulation of consumer credit from the Office of Fair Trading.
Over recent months, much has been made of the review done by Lord Turner with regard to the banking industry. However, just on the horizon is the publication of the review of the state of corporate governance within the financial services industry by Sir David Walker.
Conditions in credit markets have improved noticeably in recent months, with signs of stability returning. Risk assets have rallied as sentiment has recovered while economic data has taken a less negative tone with both equity market volatility and inter-bank lending rates returning to pre-Lehman levels.
Skandia Investment Group head of UK marketing Frank Blighe died recently aged 51 after a short illness.
It is a current obsession of mine - for which I make no apologies - that while protection remains the poor relation of our industry, it ought to be the bedrock. If you are unconvinced this is the case, then you are simply not paying attention.
It is clear from the announcements by Aviva and Legal & General that they have realised IFAs are no longer their willing salesforce and have decided to relaunch/grow their own tied salesforces. This is just the last breath of a dying breed that cannot realise the world has moved on without them.
Emerging markets represent around 75 per cent of the global land mass and over 80 per cent of the world's population. One in every five people in the world is Chinese and one in six is Indian.
Bright Grey and Scottish Provident propositions director Roger Edwards says that both the Royal London intermediary protection brands will be retained following a management merger.
eMoneyfacts Savings Club has revealed that Newcastle Building Society has been added to its panel of savings providers.
ETF Securities has appointed Mark Weeks as chief executive of its ETF platform, ETF Exchange.
Fidelity International is developing a new optional service which will be compliant with adviser charging.
The downturn is forcing UK consumers to neglect long-term considerations such as retirement saving in favour of short-term survival strategies.
I am a deferred member of a final-salary scheme. I am 52 years old and the normal retirement age is 60. The scheme has been in the news recently as there is a sizeable deficit. Should I worry and what are my options?
Neutec Pharma finance director Andrew King and two lawyers, Michael Mcfall and Andrew Rimmington, faced eight counts of insider dealing in the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.
Fitch has downgraded Legal & General Assurance Society's insurer financial strength rating to AA- from AA and assigned the firm a negative outlook.
Fitch Ratings has downgraded West Bromwich Building Society's individual rating and placed it on negative ratings watch.
Total fines handed out by the FSA in the last financial year soared by 514 per cent to a record 27.3m from 5.3m.
Every spring bank holiday weekend, the skies over the Thames Estuary come alive with the sights and sounds of high-speed jets and breathtaking display teams as the Southend Festival of Air entertains the 100,000 or so that flock to the town to be enthralled and entertained.
Commercial law firm Beachcroft says a focus by compliance officers on approving financial advertising campaigns by reference only to the FSA handbook means "devastating risks" are being overlooked.
Focus Solutions Group has seen a rise in pre-tax profits of 27 per cent for 2008/09, reaching £1.78m, up from £1.4m the previous year.
Alternative investment manager Insch Capital Management believes fund of hedge fund managers are moving towards managed accounts because investors are looking for greater transparency and liquidity than funds can provide.
Foresight have been appointed to run Keydata’s income VCTs 1 and 2.
Former Insight multi-asset co-heads Patrick Armstrong and Dr. Ana Cukic Armstrong have launched a new multi-asset business.
Fortis Holding chief executive Karel De Boeck is confirmed to be leaving the Belgian insurance group and resigning from the board.
Three conmen who defrauded five Aviva directors out of hundreds of thousands of pounds have been jailed at Southwark Crown Court.
The FSA has banned another mortgage broker for fraudulent mortgage activity and severe control failures.
The FSA has banned its fourth mortgage broker in six weeks for fraudulent mortgage activities.
He asked delegates: "Given that what the bulk of what platforms do is to drive efficiencies and support services that advisers provide the customers, why is it that cost of wraps are charged directly to the customer rather then being an overhead to the advisory firm?
The FSA says building societies must re-examine their risk management and business models in the areas of liquidity, wholesale funding and lending to ensure they are aligned. It has launched a consultation on additional guidance to ensure societies which diversify their business model have the necessary risk management systems and skills.
Spread-betting firm Echelon Wealth Management went into default last week, raising concerns among intermediaries that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy for investment advisers may rise.
The FTSE 100 opened at 4,461 today and remained relatively flat with news of Barclay’s deal with BlackRock unable to spark a strong rally.
The FTSE opened lower today at 4,427 despite reports from the Confederation of British Industry predicting a shorter and less severe recession than feared.
Gartmore says its multi-manager absolute return fund is up by about 5.74 per cent since launch last October and attributes its positive performance to diversification within the portfolio.
Corporate governance has shown "no real improvement" over the last two decades and continues to pose a problem globally, says Templeton's Dr Mark Mobius.
Elderly Britons may be forced to pay a £12,000 ‘inheritance levy’ to help fund old age care, according to reports.
UK gilt yields have continued to rise this week as more lenders prepare to increase their fixed rate mortgages.Yesterday, Nationwide was one of the first to up its rates on prime fixed rate deals. How long before the days of low-fixed deals are over?
Group risk benefits have long been among the least trumpeted financial incentives offered by employers. That looks about to change as trade body Group Risk Development (Grid) starts a programme of proactive public relations activity for the first time.
Nicola Horlick has threatened a hostile takeover of the Bramdean Alternatives fund after her company’s bid was rejected by the board.
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Almost 60 per cent of IFAs fear regulatory backlash over their asset allocation decisions in the wake of recent stockmarket volatility, new research from MetLife Europe shows.
Macquarie head of financial planning John Baxter predicts a resurgence of IFAs as a result of changing market conditions.
IN Partnership has made a pre-tax profit of £303,794 for the year ended December 31, 2008, compared to a profit of £369,591 for the 18 months to the end of 2007.
The Consumer Price Index fell once again to 2.2 per cent in May, according to the Office of National Statistics.
At least I know what I won't be writing about this week. I fear I may have mentioned a Bristol-based firm of advisers a shade too often of late - and while two columns in a row might reasonably be dismissed as coincidence, three looks like the journalistic equivalent of stalking.
James Hay has added a series of Artemis and Scottish Widows funds to its wrap and Sipp platform.
Jubilee Financial Products has launched a range of new products which it says deliver similar benefits to previous Keydata offerings.
Jupiter is to launch a Japan select Sicav for Simon Somerville in early July.
While in Washington, I met up with Money Marketing's former news editor Corey Boles. Corey is now with Dow Jones and is their man at the Congress.
The FSA has appointed Ken Hogg to replace Sarah Wilson as insurance sector director at the regulator.
Legal & General Mortgage Club will now offer commercial loans to both appointed representatives of its network and to directly authorised brokers.
Landsbanki Guernsey depositors are urging the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to support attempts to recover 100 per cent of savers money frozen with Landsbanki Guernsey.
Several leading mortgage lenders have countered claims made by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association that appointed representatives are offering a better quality service than directly authorised advisers after a PMS investigation.
The Government is putting together proposals to reduce the burden of care in retirement with a £12,000 voluntary levy one of the solutions being floated.
Mortgage Intelligence will now offer Lighthouse Group IFAs a mortgage help desk and enhanced procuration fees.
Liontrust has announced the appointment of former Gartmore managing director Adrian Collins as non-executive director and deputy chairman.
Liontrust has revealed that its funds under management have fallen 60 per cent in the last financial year to March 31, 2009, with assets falling a further £700m since.
Living Time is reducing the minimum term on its income plan from five years to three years in a bid to make the product more flexible.
Lloyds Banking Group will bec-ome the first UK state-aided bank to start repaying its £4bn Government stake.
Advisers have welcomed news that Lloyds Banking Group will maintain a multi-brand strategy with a choice of intermediary brands.
Annuity transfers took an average eight days longer in 2008 compared with 2007 despite the ABI initiative to speed them up, according to a new survey.
A market correction in emerging market equities of up to 20 per cent is possible in the coming months but the longer-term trend is upwards.
M&G's cautious multi-asset fund is rebuilding the defensive assets it sold earlier in the year and reducing exposure to funds which invest in high beta and cyclical stocks.
The Isle of Man Government has questioned Budget changes to the UK tax regime, claiming they will displace the resident non-domiciled population.
The Isle of Man Government says Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander IoM depositors should start to receive compensation payments from August.
Quantum Asset Management is the latest group to close its doors to business.
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall has cautioned that "legislation solves nothing" and called for better self-regulation with industry secondments to the FSA.
Metlife and Co-operative Financial Services are the latest product providers to sign up to the Association of British Insurers' annuity transfer initiative.
Midas Capital's balanced growth and balanced income funds appear to have turned a corner following last year's poor run.
Moody’s has put West Bromwich’s bank financial strength on stable rating after its capital rescue last week.
GMAC-RFC is offering to wipe thousands off borrowers’ mortgage debts if they remortgage elsewhere.
The Bank of England has appointed US political macro-economist Dr Adam Posen to the Monetary Policy Committee.
Norwich & Peterbrough has written to advisers to inform them that its intermediary arm, Astra Mortgages, has been closed to new business.
The National Association of Pension Funds has written to MPs to urge them to rethink the pension tax changes announced in the Budget, saying they will negatively impact pension savings.
NDFA has withdrawn its interest to buy Keydata Investment Services.
Prudential says it has no plans to grow its direct salesforce or target IFA customers in response to retail distribution review changes.
It seems to me that whenever we have a Budget, whatever the tax changes, the life insurance industry declares the solution is to "do an insurance bond". I bet you a pound to a penny that whatever changes we see in 2010 the answer to the problem will be to "do an insurance bond".
The decisions by Barclays and BP to scrap their final-salary pension schemes could be the beginning of the end of the top-quality schemes in the private sector.
Openwork has announced a new partnership with Citri, a Newcastle-based directly authorised national mortgage firm.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has now received over 40 expression of interest for Keydata's business and is "confident" it will be sold next week.
Le Beau Visage managing director Peter Le Beau has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list for service to the insurance industry and to charity.
The Labour meltdown in the local and European elections should have sharpened people's minds on the potential make-up of the next Government and its intentions for financial services.
Money market funds have quickly become big business amid recent economic turmoil and Prime Rate Capital Management has enjoyed 600m-plus inflows in little more than a year.
Keydata Investment Services made a pre-tax profit of only £1,400 for the year ended September 30, 2008 compared with a profit of £988,270 the previous year.
Prudential is to offer a cautious growth fund as part of its PruFund range.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has revealed that there are more Keydata products which may not comply with Isa regualtions.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has shortlisted firms in the race for Keydata business to “a handful”.
With scorching weather predicted over the coming months and signs that the worst of the house-price falls may be behind us, the outlook for the housing market is more positive than it has been in a while.
The run in equity markets in recent weeks is constantly being called into question but with good reason. Is the bear market and the recession that was expected to last for years really over this quickly? Advising in such a scenario can be more difficult than it was at the start of the credit crisis. Investors have been burnt - so should they trust this turn-round? But if they don't and the rally turns into a sustained bull market, the rises they are missing out on will hurt. Either way, ...
It is an unfortunate fact of current business life that more than a few businesses are making losses. This has been recognised by the Government in its extension of the loss carry-back rules. These will permit businesses to carry back trading losses for up to three years to claim back tax paid.
Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks have signed up to use The Retirement Adviser's annuity advice service for their newly launched IFA arm.
I have been an IFA for 25 years and I still get endowment complaints for business written over 15 years ago via ambulance-chasing companies.
Advisers and product providers believe that Keydata being placed into administration should not create a repeat of the Lehman Brothers' structured product debacle as assets are likely to be ringfenced.
In the wake of the global economy's almost complete halt at the end of last year, macroeconomic data is now showing signs of improvement. In recent months, global stock markets posted some of the strongest rallies on record. The consensus view has rapidly shifted to a strong economic recovery and fears over deflation have been cast aside.
Advisers have questioned the accuracy of risk profiling tools and statistical modelling, saying they can be unreliable.
The FSA has confirmed that sales advisers will require the same higher level of qualifications as IFAs under the retail distribution review.
Basic-rate taxpayers could be caught in "a savage tax trap" as a result of Budget proposals to scrap the income tax personal allowance.
There were some notable events last week, of which the transition of General Motors from world's largest carmaker to world's largest bankruptcy was just one. Inevitably, GM was dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average - the bellwether for Wall Street. So was Citigroup. How are the mighty fallen.
On a recent trip to Devon, I stayed in a small and rather delightful hotel run by an ex-City currency trader. One increasingly comes across ex-City or ex-financial services folk who have left the industry for one reason or another.
SimplyBiz is opening up its New Model Business Academy to non-members from today.
Former HM Treasury managing director of finance and industry Sir James Sassoon has been appointed the new chairman of the ifs School of Finance.
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Solvency II, the new regulatory regime for insurance companies across the European Economic Area, was approved by the EU parliament on April 22 and ratified by Ecofin on May 5. The regime is scheduled to come into force on October 31, 2012.
The annual global asset-backed securities two-day conference was held recently. Last year, Cannes, the year before it was Barcelona, and this year the Hilton on Edgware Road.
Spencer-Churchill Miller Private, the new wealth management organisation co-founded by former New Star CIO Alan Miller has appointed Simeon Downes as senior investment analyst.
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Standard Life is looking at targeting consumers directly with its platform.
Templeton's emerging markets group chairman Dr. Mark Mobius has been increasing exposure to Russia in the emerging markets investment trust and is looking at investing in Iraq for the frontier funds.
Congratulations to the winners of the Ignis/ Money Marketing stick cricket competition for May. All players are entered into a weekly and monthly draw, with weekly winners receiving a cricket bat signed by Middlesex players, including England captain Andrew Strauss.
Sun Life Financial has acquired the UK operations of Lincoln National Corporation in a deal worth almost £200m, Money Marketing can reveal.
Having established an independent wealth management company, it was, in my opinion, mandatory that we sought the maximum efficiencies in terms of client asset recording and monitoring. The back-office function of an advisory firm can be - and too often is - a huge burden, both in terms of costs and operation. Look at the profiles of many firms and you will see what I mean. It is not uncommon to see staff numbers in the teens for a firm with perhaps three or four business-writers. This, ...
The Bank of England last week signalled its intention to continue with its £125bn quantitative easing strategy.
Quantum Asset Management has transferred the management of its UK absolute income fund to Thames River Capital.
The first half of 2009 has not been the most promising of starts for the British public when it comes to matters both financial or health-related.
Revelations regarding a letter sent by the Chairman of the joint committee on human rights to Lord Myners about the 15-year long stop shine a timely light on the issue.
The Hartford has become the first US life assurer to take public funds, according to the Financial Times.
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Why does the unit trust industry manage to transfer funds in five working days almost without fail, while insurers choose to stall annuity transfers for as long as five months with blatant disregard for their customers?
Some things don't change. British tennis players do not win grand slams, it rains on bank holidays and too many insurers take an eternity to move a pension fund to set up an annuity. Hargreaves Lansdown has commissioned research with Partnership Assurance to review the time it has taken ceding insurance companies to release funds during the last four years.
The Conservatives may allow investors to take the majority of their pension fund as cash after securing a minimum income with an annuity.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne claims that the party's economic policies will present a big opportunity for IFAs.
Skandia global best ideas is set to reach its three-year anniversary this week, having fallen by 7.7 per cent since launch.
Towergate Financial Services has scaled back plans to rapidly build a national network of IFAs and has been folded into a division of Towergate Partnership Limited.
Variable annuity sales rose by 7 per cent to £340m in the first quarter of the year compared with the final quarter of 2008, according to Watson Wyatt.
Virgin Money is reviewing online literature for its climate change Isa after advisers have claimed it does not set realistic expectations for consumers.
FSA staff being paid £20m in bonuses The FSA bonus payments are paid on the basis of revenue inward, predominantly fines levied. On this basis, the FSA have done very well indeed, hence the payments. In every other respect, the FSA has failed miserably. Mike Yeatman
West Bromwich building society has revealed loses of £48.8m before tax after a last minute capital rescue.
West Bromwich is working to put together a £182m rescue package in the run up to the publication of its year end results.
Former Treasury Chief Secretary Yvette Cooper has replaced James Purnell as Work and Pensions Secretary after he quit the Cabinet last week. Angela Eagle has taken over as pensions minister from Rosie Winterton, who has only had the brief since October 2008, when she took over from Mike O'Brien.