11 June 2008
Alliance & LeicesterThree Year Fixed Fee Saver
Barclays, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland are each thought to have agreed to provide £20m of sub-underwriting to the Bradford & Bingley rights issue after discussions with the FSA amid concerns the rights issue could fail.
Emerging markets seem to have received more attention recently, due in no small part to their strong performance, but overall allocation remains lighter than perhaps it should be.
The Treasury is advertising for an independent valuer to assess any compensation that may be due to Northern Rock shareholders after its nationalisation in February. Closing date for applications is July 4.
Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
Alliance & LeicesterFive-Year Fixed Rate
Many Association of British Insurers' members are confused that the body tasked with representing their views has come out saying something quite the opposite.
An Isle of Wight IFA is facing eight charges of obtaining by deception and false accounting after a former business partner in an offshore prop-erty investment company reported him to the police.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has today announced the appointment of Andrew Strange to the new position of policy director.
The Alternative Investment Management Association has called on the FSA to reconsider a number of positions in a bid to create a regulatory environment for FAIFs.
Lehman Brothers International has produced an ingenious new plan called the kick-out perfor-mance plan which pays out 19.5 per cent for each year that the plan is active.
Alliance & LeicesterTwo-Year Base Rate Tracker
Alliance & LeicesterTwo-Year Base Rate Tracker
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries says the FSA has confirmed it will not be introducing new regulation regarding disclosure requirements.
This year's PIMS conference was a strange mixture of optimism and pessimism. Overall, IFAs are happy with what is happening in regulation. There may even be signs that the top-enders - chartered and certified planners - are coming round to the idea of RDR Mark II. They did, of course, approve of RDR mark one but one planner on board the Arcadia last week said they had decided, on reflection, that the first version was too harsh and would have driven too many advisers - and not necessarily ...
Aegon Asset Management is most commonly associated with bonds but its equity and ethical funds are also getting a lot of attention. The firm was recently named by Lipper as best overall group in the large UK equity category and its UK growth fund and UK ethical funds both scooped their sectors in the recent Money Observer awards.
APC Underwriting has set up APC Alliance, a network that enables mortgage brokers and IFAs to place insurance for commercial clients. APC Alliance says introducers can get a quote within an hour.
Arc Capital & IncomeArc Fixed Income Plan 6
Wrap firm Ascentric is hiring two new business development managers. John Braybrook and Ian Beardow will provide IFA support across Wales and the South.
Ascentric has added Stenham Asset Management and MFS Investment Management to its list of fund managers.
Ascentric has appointed two new IFA-facing staff with further recruits to join in the coming months.
AWD Chase de Vere will appoint 30 IFAs to its offices in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.
Axa Investment Management has bought a 50 per cent stake in Korea's seventh-biggest asset manager, Kyobo ITMC.
Schroders' multi-manager team is increasing exposure to equities and switching out of gilts in favour of corporate bonds.
SVM Asset ManagementSVM Balanced Managed Fund
Barclays Wealth has widened its emerging markets optimiser investment with the launch of an Eastern European option.
Barclays has confirmed that it is looking at issuing new equity by selling shares.
Barclays WealthDefined Returns Plan - Issue Y8 Annual Kick-Out
Housebuilder Barratt Developments saw its shares fall 42 per cent yesterday as the liquidity squeeze continues to hit the building sector.
This week has seen two big names in the mortgage market reappear, proving that there is still life in the UK mortgage sector yet.
I have, over the last few months, noticed some carping over the performance of Bill Mott's PSigma income fund.
BlackRock is to replace Axa Framlington as manager of Throgmorton investment trust.
Following last month's rebalancing of the Adviser Fund Indices, the £1bn BlackRock UK absolute alpha fund has hit the top spot in terms of number of occurrences.
The FSA has banned four mortgage brokers and fined another in the last week as part of its crackdown on mortgage fraud.
Premier Mortgage Service managing director John Malone says brokers have increased their market share among major lenders this year despite the credit crunch and dual-pricing.
The Building Societies Association will be recruiting seven additional members of staff to its team in the second half of 2008 in a bid to expand its representation.
British businesses are increasingly pessimistic about how they will fare in the coming year, according to Lloyds TSB.
Pink Home LoansBank of Ireland Mortgages Three-Year Fixed Buy-to-Let
Canada Life International has expended its range of tax planning products with the launch of the dimensions preference discounted trust plan.
Canada Life has established four risk-graded portfolio funds based on the most popular risk profiles of its investment planner tool.
Canada Life InternationalDimensions Preference Discounted Trust Plan
Tax Briefs managing director Danby Bloch told PIMS delegates that investors can make substantial capital gains tax savings by using the Enterprise Investment Scheme carryback facility.
Sir Bryan Carsberg has today recommended in the Carsberg Review of Residential Property that a regulatory body is established to regulate letting agencies.
This week the two leading investment firms in the UK announced major changes to their teams, with one bringing a new name in and another replacing one on the way out.
Mortgage expert Mark Chilton is warning that arrears and repossessions in the UK housing market next year will be worse than in the early 1990s.
Close Ventures has poured £1.35m into energy performance certificate provider Vibrant Energy Surveys.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders is introducing new standards for industry professionals who act for lenders on newly-built property transactions.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has written to Chancellor Alistair Darling outlining the actions being taken by lenders to minimise the effects of the credit crunch on borrowers.
Advisers can use a combination of a guarantor mortgage and an offshore trust to sidestep inheritance tax, according to Fortress Management Services.
The Association of British Insurers and the Investment Management Association have written to Work and Pensions Minister James Purnell for clarification about the annual contribution limit for personal accounts.
The Court of Appeal has rejected a recent County Court judgement which declared it unfair for advisers to pay a Financial Ombudsman Service case fee if they were found innocent.
We have enjoyed a fantastically profitable run from our "energy" theme in recent months but we have called time on this bet and taken profits.
The future of Norwich Union’s Lifetime wrap could be decided in weeks, Money Marketing understands.
A meeting in Bristol may spell the end of the Kilminster Financial Management network, which could go into liquidation next month.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier has rounded on Skandia Investment Management following its decision to replace Aberdeen's Hugh Young on its global best ideas fund.
Elizabeth I got upset about the problems caused by shoddy wording of legal documents, when she was adjudicating over a dispute over whether "months" should be taken to mean calendar or lunar ones. "There must be no room for ambiguity", she said. "Ye must say exactly what ye means."
Dawnay Day QuantumProtected Commodities Accelerator X
Dawnay Day QuantumProtected Commodities Dynamo II
You can do anything with figures to put a gloss on a situation or to make something look stupid. For example, even if Derby County had got 28 points a win, they would still have been relegated.
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers US Dollar Money Market ETF
Discontent among with-profits policyholders over the performance of their investments is increasing, according to the annual survey by Managing Partners Limited.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings has warned that banks must not be allowed to use different terminology to dodge some of the implications of the retail distribution review.
Standard Life was downgraded to a sell last week by a Deutsche Bank analyst who called it one of the most exposed stocks in a deteriorating UK economy. The analyst's note warned of "continuing start-up losses on the wrap platform".
Former Dragons' Den investor James Caan told a PIMS audience that there is a lack of "intrapreneurship" in British business.
As many got their sea legs on board PIMS, I headed for Italy and the EFPA conference, where I was speaking.
Invesco Perpetual has established a European fund that aims for income and growth by investing in equities and fixed interest securities.
F&C has bolstered its multi-manager team with the appointment of Paul Carne as a fund manager.
New Star chief economist Simon Ward says a deterioration in company liquidity is likely to prevent the MPC from hiking rates this summer.
A leading economist has slammed the US Federal Reserve's tactics of pumping liquidity into the money markets and its partial bailout of Bear Stearns.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of fixed rate mortgages with fees above £750 since the credit crunch took hold, says Moneyexpert.com.
Axa chief executive Paul Evans epitomises those who really are reluctant to change and prefer instead to defend their vested interests.
Sanlam has consolidated its UK businesses under the Sanlam UK label for reporting purposes. It owns Merchant Investors Assurance and Sanlam Multi Manager International, has majority stakes in IFA Buckles Holdings and investment firm Principal Holdings as well as minority stakes in Intrinsic, Nucleus and Punter Southhall Group.
FSA research has revealed that around half of adviser firms are failing treating customers fairly rules in the way that they draft contract terms for clients.
It seems almost incredible that people like the chief executive of Axa Sun Life are still trying to fudge the basic and fundamental criteria that differentiate salespeople, that is, tied and multi-tied agents of a provider or of a small selection of providers, from true advisers.
The FSA has asked the HIgh Court to wind up landbanking company UKLI for operating as an illegal collective investment scheme.
The FSA has appointed Jeremy Bennett, David Smith and Simon Stockwell as senior advisers in the wholesale and institutional business unit.
The FSA says the timescale to conform with the retail distribution review will depend on the final shape of the regulations.
The FSA has fined Woolworths Group plc £350,000 for failing to immediately disclose information concerning its share price to the market.
The FSA has fined Merchant Securities Group Limited £77,000 for not adequately protecting its customers from the risk of identity fraud.
The FSA has launched new disclosure requirements to prevent market abuse through short selling positions in companies conducting rights issues.
Just Retirement has appointed ex-Sesame chief executive Patrick Gale as chief operating officer.
The Government is to grant corporate landlords an allowance for energy-saving improvements made to their properties.
Economic Secretary and City Minister Kitty Usher has announced a new International Centre for Financial Regulation, an independent, industry-led project which will officially launch at the end of the year.
The CBI expects next year's GDP growth to reach a 17 year low.
A couple of weeks ago, a firm I have dealt with before decided that it wanted to offer its staff a series of free "educational lectures", in company time, on a wide range of one-off topics.
Over half of all funds with annual management charges of 1.75 per cent or more have underperformed in the past three years.
The Way GroupWay MA Cautious Portfolio Fund
An IFA is hoping to represent the interests of 4,500 people who invested £69m in the landbanking firm put into administration last week.
IFA Promotion is calling on the FSA to stamp out misleading financial services advertising through sponsored links on internet search engines.
The Investment Management Association believes Europe should not delay its introduction of single market reforms despite a rejection from Ireland on the European treaty.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King has written to Chancellor Alistair Darling after Office for National Statistics figures show inflation hit 3.3 per cent last month, far above the 2 per cent target.
The Bank of England's monetary policy committee held base rate at 5 per cent last week amid inflation concerns.
Ingenious Asset Management is increasing its efforts get on the IFA radar but says it is steering clear of marketing-led multi-manager fund launches.
Ingenious Asset ManagementUK Equity Fund
The Compliance Co-operative is set to offer a tailored framework of compliance to mortgage, loan and general insurance intermediary firms, according to founding company Insynergi.
Invesco Perpetual UK growth and UK aggressive fund manager Ed Burke is stepping down from day-to-day fund management to take early retirement.
Invesco PerpetualEuropean High Income Fund
Cazenove head of multi-manager Marcus Brookes says the FSA must ensure retail investors have appropriate guidance if they are given full access to hedge funds.
Readers may recall Edwina Currie's faux pas that all eggs had potential to carry salmonella, after which much of the nation stopped buying eggs. The story lends itself to today's mortgage market and the experiences of four lenders are worth looking at for signs of abdominal angst.
JO Hambro Capital Management is appointing Nudgem Richyal to co-manage its new global and EAFE strategies.
John Charcol has hit out at Abbey for introducing a non-refundable booking fee of £150 on its mortgage range and warns that more lenders may follow.
JPMorgan Asset ManagementJPM Emerging Markets Infrastructure Equity Fund
Jupiter Asset Management has established a bond fund that can invest anywhere within global fixed interest markets to find the best opportunities.
Kensington has told staff today that up to 75 jobs could be at risk of redundancy.
IFA Investment SolutionsAll-Weather Kick-Out Plan
The Kilminster Financial Management network looks set to go into liquidation.
New Star chief economist Simon Ward believes Bank of England governor Mervyn King could have to write a letter to the Chancellor next week over inflation.
Old Mutual extra income fund manager Leonard Klahr is to retire next March. He will be replaced by Michael Gifford who becomes joint manager at the end of June.
NationwideTwo-Year Fixed With Fee
Lenders are planning to increase their debt management resources after a rise in mortgage arrears.
Lenders look set to increase their debt management resources following a a surge in the number of borrowers in arrears.
Lending volumes increased by 8 per cent in April, to £26.1bn from £24.1bn in March, although activity remains weaker than a year ago, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Last week, I looked at offshore trusts and the tax treatment of income arising under them and remitted from them when the settlor is a UK-resident non-UK domiciliary. I would now like to look at the matter of trust gains and how the new legislation relevant for non-domiciliaries operates.
Premier Mortgage Service managing director John Malone says he stands by the statements made by his firm and six other major mortgage distributors in an open letter in April.
Is it treating customers fairly when mortgage lenders price tracker rates at very high levels because of the current high levels of Libor? Isn't the whole point of tracker rates that they reflect the Bank of England's base rate rather than the lenders' discounted variable rates? Which lenders were quick to put mortgage rates up when rates went up but slow to reduce them when they travelled lower?
Lighthouse Group has announced the appointment of Alex Scott-Barrett as a non-executive director, effective immediately.
Lloyds TSB has linked up with Northern Rock for a three-year deal for borrowers coming to the end of fixed-rate mortgages.
LV=Mortgage & Lifestyle Protection
LV= Asset Management has recruited Richard Falle as its new principal European equity fund manager.
IFAs routinely assist their clients to fill out proposal forms but there are particular dangers in relation to insurance products. What are the risks and what can the IFA do to avoid them becoming a reality?
Meteor Asset ManagementProperty Income Plan
Meteor Asset ManagementProperty Recovery Bond
Meteor Asset ManagementProperty Income Plan
MetLifeMetLife Aggressive Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Balanced Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Cautious Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Conservative Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Defensive Index Portfolio
Midlands-based IFA The Premier Group plans to recruit 15 to 20 extra consultants by the end of the year to diversify its business.
Pundits continue to put out confusing messages about the state of the market and the outlook for the future.
Money Partners is limiting direct access to its product range to a panel of twenty introducer partners as part of its new distribution strategy.
The Association of British Insurers has extended the moratorium enabling consumers to take out substantial amounts of insurance without having to disclose adverse results of predictive genetic tests has been extended to 2014.
Nearly half of financial services firms are planning to increase their outsourcing of operations, a survey by the Management Consultancies Association has found.
MPs are less likely to perceive the financial services sector as professional compared to other occupations, according to research conducted by the Chartered Insurance Institute.
NationwideTwo Year Fixed Rate No Fee
NationwideTwo Year Fixed Rate Remortgage - No Fee
Nationwide has confirmed it will offer a My Choice HomeBuy shared equity product from June 10. This is the Government's shared equity scheme launched on April 1 to replace the Open Market HomeBuy scheme.
NDFARegular Fixed Income Plan June 08
Cazalet Consulting principal Ned Cazalet has attacked the Government's plans for pension personal accounts, claiming that if a product provider launched the scheme, it would be "fined to Kingdom Come" by the FSA.
A property investor has launched an online mortgage service with plans to create more than 40 jobs in the next 12 months.
New StarIndian Equity Fund
New Star has appointed Trevor Green to take on the management of the equity sleeve of its £460m managed distribution fund.
New Star has teamed up with Tata Mauritius, part of Indian asset management group Tata Asset Management, to expand its retail emerging markets range with the Indian equity fund.
BDO Stoy Hayward Asset Management believes its macro approach to asset allocation and focus on niche markets has helped the Fitzwilliam growth fund of hedge funds achieve top spot in a report aimed at pension funds.
The rapid shrinkage of Northern Rock’s mortgage book could significantly worsen the impact of the wider credit crisis, according to New Star chief economist Simon Ward.
The Office of Fair Trading has launched a market study into Scottish property factoring.
The Smaller Businesses Practitioner Panel has warned that the retail distribution review may force some small firms out of business and push up regulatory fees.
Adviser firms have been told to increase their use of paraplanners and support staff to become more profitable.
Private equity firm Cinven has bought the majority holding in impaired annuity and long-term care provider Partnership Assurance in a deal that values the company at around £160m.
People are more likely to face financial difficulties in retirement if they have never sought independent financial advice, according to research by MGM Advantage.
Pink Home LoansAbbey for Intermediaries Five-Year Fixed
Pink Home LoansBank of Ireland Mortgages Three Year Fixed Buy-to-Let
Premier Mortgage Service has appointed former Edeus commercial director Martin Reynolds as corporate manager.
The Competition Commission's proposed crackdown on sales of payment protection insurance could destroy the market and leave consumers without protection, warns the Association of British Insurers.
Premier Asset ManagementGlobal Diversified Strategic Risk Fund
Premier Asset Management has established a global absolute return fund for its new recruit, Michael Jennings.
For those mere mortals who have heard Ned Cazalet give a talk, brains hurting as they strain to follow his ideas, it would be quite possible to believe he is a words and ideas man. He is that, of course, but don't forget that his reputation and influence rely on his ability with numbers.
Consumers are being hammered by the effects of big increases in the price of oil. kate mallord assesses whether there are further rises already in the pipeline or if a rise in production and fall in demand next year will bring some respite
Amid the relief at the RDR interim paper, one potential problem remains. It is clear that advisers are going to have to get more qualifications to around the level of the old AFPC.
The term IFA may be tarnished but consumers understand it and it can be reinvigorated by the retail distribution review, says Sifa.
I see that David Curley was amazed by the comments accurately attributed to me (Money Marketing, May 22).
Cazalet Consulting principal Ned Cazalet believes that the FSA will face tough regulatory and legal barriers if it tries to carry through its planned differentiation between sales and advice.
There is no doubt that this has been a challenging period for UK equities, particularly those which invest in smaller companies. Over the year to April 30, the total return for the FTSE 100 was -2 per cent compared with -19.3 per cent for the smaller companies market as measured by the Hoare Govett Smaller Companies index excluding investment trusts.
Advisers and consumers should be concerned at the news that HM Revenue & Customs is trying to reduce the time period for reclaiming overpaid tax from six years to four.
LV= has introduced a mortgage payment protection insurance plan that differs from traditional policies by providing an option for living expenses cover and not restricting the benefit payment period.
Japan has had several false dawns but multi-managers are starting to see some value in the world's second-biggest economy, with the Topix index rising by 12 per cent in April.
M&G global real estate securities fund manager Ben Sanderson has left and will be replaced in the interim by Richard O'Connor who has been at the firm since 2003.
Santander plans to merge James Hay, Cater Allen and Abbey Sharedealing under the Santander Private Banking brand within the next two years.
Scottish Re's international arm has been sold to Pacific Life for £71.2m. The operation, to be rebranded Pacific Life Re, will provide reinsurance to insurance and annuity providers in the UK and Ireland as well as insurers in parts of Asia.
Metlife has established a range of capital-protected funds of funds for investors in its trustee investment plan and investment bond.
Last week we had a lesson on how not to manage a fund-raising exercise from Bradford & Bingley. As the week progressed, worries migrated from the direct effects of the credit crunch to the indirect results. Fears of the consequences of tighter lending conditions, not to mention the effects of higher fuel and food costs on consumers, drove the FTSE back below 6,000.
Wealth management organisations need to transform their business models in order to capitalise on the wealth market in the current economic conditions, according to SEI Investments.
Midas Capital Partners has unveiled its range of seven UK funds following the acquisition of iimiaMitonOptimal in March.
Fidelity International has appointed Prudential managing director of UK retail life and pensions Gary Shaughnessy as UK retail managing director.
Fidelity International has appointed Prudential managing director of UK retail life and pensions Gary Shaughnessy as the group’s new UK retail managing director.
There is a frustrating and muddling array of provider approa-ches to the subject of whether or not an application form for protection requires a signature. It is perhaps the most unnecessarily confusing aspect of completing a client's protection purchase.
Assureweb has promoted Andrew Simon to chief executive as part of a restructure of senior management.
Research suggests that adviser knowledge of the Sipp rules has improved since the start of regulation last April but there are some key areas where confusion remains.
Skandia International has teamed up with Sarasin & Partners to offer its new AgiSar fund.
British investors have largely missed out on one of the world's great bull runs during the last five years - Latin America. Is it too late to invest in the region?
Standard LifeCapital Protected Bond
Standard Life has introduced the capital protected bond, a FTSE 100 linked structured product providing growth at the end of the five-year term.
Former Accord Mortgages managing director Linda Will is to join Stroud & Swindon as sales and marketing director in July.
The average number of transactions per chartered surveyor last month was 17.4, the lowest figure since 1978, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
SVM Asset ManagementSVM Balanced Managed Fund
SVM Asset ManagementSVM Cautious Managed Fund
With Labour trailing in the opinion polls, it is looking a distinct possibility that there could be a Tory Government in the next few years.
The Tax Incentivised Savings Association is calling on the Government to make cash Isas the default option for funds maturing from Saving Gateway accounts.
The Mortgage Partnership has rebranded as Modus Mortgage Network, with 25 appointed representative firms and over 40 RIs.
Skandia Investment Group has appointed Treasury Asia Asset Management to run its 30m Asian mandate for its global best ideas fund.
Trigold and Leadpoint have joined forces so that Trigold users can source new business as well as close the deal directly from the system.
It may be a statement of the obvious that Chris Cummings delivered to delegates at PIMS last week but it is true all the same.
Last month saw the launch of yet another commodities fund, this time from Investec, and another agriculture fund, from Barings. Is the rapid increase in the number of funds in these areas an indication that there is a soft commodities bubble or is there still a convincing argument for long-term investment?