11 May 2005
Do we need multi-manager funds and are they really the panacea for those wishing to entrust their monies to investment houses?
Abbey has been forced to apologise to Abacus Assurance Financial for threatening FSA action against the broker for the return of money that it had incorrectly paid to another company.
Aberdeen Asset Managers has appointed Devan Kaloo as head of global emerging market equities based in London.
Merrill Lynch is introducing what it claims is the first long/short fund with hedge fund characteristics.
IFAs have a growing opportunity to advise clients living abroad as increasing numbers of Britons are deciding to live overseas, says the Association of International Life Offices.
Looking back at the 1999 report establishing Aifa, it is interesting to note the enthusiasm and optimism about the extent to which technological developments were thought likely to revolutionise the way that people do business.
Philip Scott looks at rise and fall of the giant UK All Companies sector.
Borrowers have been encouraged to move between mortgage deals but now lenders face the problem of encouraging them to stay. Mortgage Intelligence managing director Sally Laker looks at how lenders are approaching the challenge of client retention
Old Mutuals early stage discussions with Skandia looking at a total buyout of the firm will have no immediate effect on Bankhall, Skandias UK-based IFA support business.
Banks and lenders are making huge profits from payment protection insurance and mortgage payment protection des-pite the plans being flagged up as areas of concern by the FSA.
In 1999, I invested 100,000 in with- profits bonds because I wanted a regular flow of income and the prospect of some capital growth without too much investment risk. I already had some with-profits endowment policies which seemed to have done well. I thought I had done the right thing at the time but now I am not so sure. Should I cash them in and invest elsewhere?
Network IFAs should demand a bespoke payment menu if they want to make it clear that their firm is cheaper than their network's average rates, says Master Adviser chief executive Doug Brodie.
Aegon head of business media Adrian Camm-idge is undertaking a gruelling 1,300-mile bike ride across France to raise money for a local cancer charity.
Topically, I should be reviewing the first six months of FSA regulation which passed over the bank holiday. Instead, I am going to focus on the cost impact of the Victorian approach that the majority of lenders are burdening the industry with, perhaps appropriate at a time when MG Rover collapses due to years of failing to move with the times.
The appointment of David Blunkett as Work and Pensions Secretary has increased the likelihood of compulsion, according to leading figures in the industry.
The Bournemouth Philharmonic will play Prokofiev's Peter and The Wolf in May to support the Financial Services Charitable Foundation/Money Marketing tsunami appeal.
I am typing this while gazing across green fields dotted with sheep and hares. Yes, I am one of those irritating freelancers who's fled the rat race for the slower pace of life in the farmers' belt in Suffolk. And, to be quite frank, I miss you all.
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director Chris Cummings says he is confident that an announcement will be made "very soon" by the FSA on mortgage intermediaries pay- ing their regulatory fees by instalments.
The thorny issue of endowment misselling has been stirred up again after IFA Defence Union chief Evan Owen called for a suspension of all misselling cases against IFAs while the confusion caused by Lautro projections is resolved.
A smaller majority may dent Labour's plans to expand the nation's housing stock but the market's focus remains firmly fixed on first-time buyers, the economy and home information packs.
Client fund size is the main barrier to recommending drawdown to clients, according to a GE Life survey conducted in association with Money Marketing.
It almost seems like a case of another day another pensions minister under Tony Blair's Government. Former Home Sec-retary and Education Secretary David Blunkett is the new Work and Pensions Secre-tary. He replaces Alan Johnson, who had been making the right noises about pension reform although admittedly without completing any major initiatives.
Homeowners released 1.5bn of equity out of their homes to boost their pensions last year, and more would consider doing so if the process were less complicated.
I entirely agree with the comments of Harry Katz and Alan Parkinson regarding John Ellis and the Personal Finance Society.
The investment industry says the re-election of Labour will not make much difference to equity markets but is encouraging the Government to address the savings gap.
Equity release still threatens to become a misselling scandal, according to Nationwide chief executive Philip Williamson, who is ruling out a launch of a release product by the society in the short term.
Standard Life marketing technical manager John Lawson shows how taking out an executive pension plan before A-Day can bring big knock-on benefits.
As one of the people referred to by Filip Slipaczek in his letter last week, I find his comments are typical of the pomposity and portentousness shown by some ex-Sofa members about lesser-qualified advisers.
I have an abiding memory of Ian Botham marching up the pavilion steps at Lords after bagging a pair in the famous 1981 Ashes series. You could hear a pin drop as, in a show of disgust, the MCC members turned up their noses and blanked him. It was as though they were saying: "Look here, Botham, your maverick manner and cavalier ways aren't cricket, old boy."
Schroders chief economist Keith Wade analyses the implications of the latest rate rise in the US and looks at investment opportunities around the globe.
Our panel discuss whether recent hikes in fund charges can be justified and predict where value will come from in the next 12 months.
Freedom Lending is setting up a sub-prime mortgage range that rewards adverse-credit borrowers with records with lower rates for making payments on time.
The FSA is to clamp down on phoenix firms amid pressure from IFAs and trade bodies angered by increased Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies.
The FSA is still finding widespread evidence of poor advice in the IFA market, according to managing director retail markets Clive Briault.
The FSA is understood to be looking at restructuring funding blocks for FSCS fees following criticism that some sectors have been paying too much.
GartmoreGartmore Fledgling Trust
Gartmore has added the M&G capital fund to four multi-manager funds to increase UK large-cap exposure through a fund which it describes as "benchmark-aware but not benchmark-constrained".
The impact of Marconi's share price collapse highlights the effect that a single stock can have on a fund manager's performance.
Increasing numbers of life companies are reporting that as much as 70 per cent of their new business for certain products is being originated electronically.
The FSA is sweeping into the MPPI market to look at lenders' prices and practices.
Todays Queens speech will include plans to regulate the home reversion side of the equity release market.
Hornbuckle Mitchell is set to become a public limited company by the end of the month, with a view to listing on Aim next year.
Sounds like fun in store at the Jersey-based Active Asset Management property investment fund AGMs.
IFAs have been reacting to news that Old Mutual is in talks to stage a total buyout of Skandia.
As a member of the Personal Finance Society and one of its regional volunteers, I am very concerned that some members of the society seem to think it a good idea to conduct a discussion with the society through the pages of Money Marketing.
The general election is over and soon the daily ritual of clearing a path through the numerous election publicat- ions which seem to fall through the letterbox every time you are not looking will seem like a dim and distant memory.
The UK market faces another interest rate rise before the rate cycle hits its peak, stifling equity returns, warns Invesco Perpetual head of investment trusts Andrew Watkins.
Getting the asset allocation right is far more important to investment performance than stockpicking.
IFA Timothy James & Partners has bought CW Financial Consultants, the financial services arm of Citroen Wells Chartered Accountants, for 1.2m.
Since 2003, when New Star took over the running of its property trust, it has grown from around 135m to well over 480m, despite not being eligible for Isas.
Legal & General has established a fourth issue of the protected capital and growth plan 2, a FTSE 100 linked guaranteed equity bond that provides a full capital return plus a minimum level of growth after six years.
The Legal & General accelerated growth investment plan 2 is a guaranteed equity bond which offers geared exposure to the FTSE 100 index over a six-year term.
Technology has become too complex for IFAs and they should leave it to specialist firms, Positive Solutions marketing manager Daniel Harrison told delegates at Money Marketing Live.
Legal & GeneralProtected Capital & Growth Plan 4
First-time sellers are set to be targeted with products from Halifax, Birmingham Midshires and Abbey through deals with Premier Mortgage Services.
The FSA's regulations have undoubtedly been a major burden on those operating in the lifetime mortgage sector. This is endorsed by many product providers as well as our own experience.
Lime, the Tenet Groups insurance and mortgage specialist arm is improving its general insurance proposition by introducing a GI introducer facility.
The tumbling profits of estate agents and housebuilders are a warning that the mortgage industry should change the way it targets the market, according to Premier Mortgage Management managing director John Malone.
Man InvestmentsMGS Diversified Opportunities
Advisers could quadruple their profits after depolarisation if they make clear what part of the advice market they are in, but they risk misselling if they do not make it clear, says Millfield chief executive Paul Tebbutt.
Henderson Global Investors director of multi-manager John Husselbee is to leave the group in June as the firm sets out plans to revamp its fund of fund business significantly.
Mellon Global Investments has added the Mellon emerging markets debt portfolio to its Dublin-domiciled Mellon Global Funds range.
Origen chief executive Gareth Marr is warning that the new payment menu system means that independent advice can only be offered face to face rather than over the phone or electronically.
Merrill Lynch Investment ManagersMerrill Lynch UK Absolute Alpha Fund
Millfield Group is setting up a mortgage club this week, with development director Steve Cox leading the new venture.
Mortgage Express4.99% Fixed Rate Buy-to-Let
A few financial services firms are finally turning to offering products suitable for Muslims.
Many investment funds are a rip-off, with hidden charges often bringing the total expense ratio to double the stated annual management fee, claims Newton private client director Harry Morgan.
An editor whose professional opinions I have always respected once advised me that, when writing a column, one should never return to the same subject three times in a row.
Assureweb's new managing director is a soul music DJ who has been through the financial services grapevine and is now hoping to make sweet wrap music.
Northern Rock - 2 Year Stepped Flexi Fixed (With Fee)
Norwich UnionNorwich Manager of Manager Income Fund
The Office of Fair Trading says it will not decide on Aifa's appeal against market averages in the payment menu until after the June deadline.
Old Mutual Asset ManagersUK Mid and Small Cap Hedge Fund
Old Mutual is in early stage talks with Skandia about buying its UK business.
Skipton Building Society chief executive John Goodfellow forecasts that the cost of PI insurance could lead to the extinction of mortgage networks within the next 12 months.
The failure of Perpetual income and growth investment trust's bid for Securities Trust of Scotland was mainly due to the apathy of elderly and entrenched shareholders, says Invesco Perpetual.
The FSA is set to investigate the way that mortgage payment protection insurance is sold.
Dean Mirfin Business development director, Key Retirement Solutions.
Borrowing in euro looks cheap at the moment so Charcol's decision to launch a euro mortgage is a timely one.
Property in pensions is likely to be the next big industry misselling scandal as Sipps hit the mainstream, warns Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford.
The article on endowment-chasers in the April 28 issue of Money Marketing must have brought much satisfaction to honest and reputable IFAs who have had the misfortune to have dealt with claims' companies.
The PI market is softening and fears that multi-tied advisers will struggle to get cover are evaporating, says PYV chief executive Neil Pointon.
Mortgage regulation has done a disservice to consumers by restricting innovation and leading to the withdrawal of some mortgage products, says new Building Societies Association chairman and Nationwide chief executive Philip Williamson.
There is no doubt in my mind that the FSA should declare who on its staff are members of the Freemasonry.
The equity-release market is awash with new products, players and speculation about the huge potential for growth, with recent entries from Norwich Union and future moves from the likes of Bristol & West and Prudential.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's post-election reshuffle has seen a consolidation of Brownites at the Treasury with the top Department for Work and Pensions posts filled by Blair supporters.
Resolution Life is teaming up with Aegon-owned Origen to provide independent advice to the three million customers within its Phoenix Life closed book portfolio.
At Direct Life we measure everything, not just because we can but because it helps us to run our business using hard facts. We capture application progress timings for every event that can occur during the progress of a customer's application, from the point when the quote was first performed to the policy being issued and beyond.
Last week, I reverted to my childhood by buying a spanking new drum kit. For stress release, the drums have no equal and, with the potential bonus of forming a rhythm section with Lucian Camp, this was a purchase with no regrets. I had forgotten how good it felt to play the drums. I wish the clock could be turned back in this sector, too.
Royal & SunAlliance has reported a 95 per cent increase in operating profits to 160m in the first quarter 2005.
SchrodersSchroder US Small & Mid Cap Fund
Scottish Equitable is the first provider to sign a distribution agreement with Lighthouse Group's retirement division.
Scottish Equitable is introducing a range of group and individual Sandler and Sandler-friendly pension products next month.
The Scottish Widows guaranteed investment bond is a five-year FTSE 100-linked guaranteed equity bond.
Service is a two-way street and advisers need to focus on improving their communications with providers, says Legal & General group product and corporate director John Pollock.
With the FSA regulating lifetime mortgages, brokers might wonder where that leaves Ship, which has acted as a self-regulating body since formation in 1991.
SkandiaProtecetd Portfolio Invsetment
Lifetime giving can reduce inheritance tax. But most people do not want to give, cannot give or, if they want to give, have to contend with three possible barriers - capital gains tax, the gift with reservation provisions and pre-owned assets tax. CGT rarely gets a mention but is an important factor for planners.
Merrill Lynch Investment ManagersMerrill Lynch UK Absolute Alpha Fund
Carl Stick tells Philip Scott how long-term thinking is the secret to the success of the 476m Rathbone income fund.
Not content with enlightening us about the delights of the Hainault Sunrise, a new cocktail based on the unique and beautiful colouring of the Essex dawn, those kindly folk at Polhill have sent the Diary all the ingredients to make said tipple - vodka, bacardi, grenadine, orange juice, a dash of sugar and a twist of lemon.
Investors can effectively insure against breaking the lifetime allowance by taking out an executive pension plan ahead of A-Day, according to Standard Life marketing technical manager John Lawson.
Following the introduction of the Trustee Act 2000 in England and Wales on February 1, 2001, trustees of charitable trusts who did not have wide investment abilities were granted increased statutory powers.
The FSA has warned that its treating customers fairly initiative will target small firms and IFAs from next month.
Lifetime Group managing director Derek Noone shows how to maximise the value of an IFA's business.
There is agreement among both providers and advisers that real consumer needs revolve around protecting themselves and their dependants from the consequences of death, involuntary unemployment or long-term inability to earn an income.
Technology providers need to cut out the geekspeak and help reluctant users.
Liverpool-based fund company Midas Capital expects increased IFA interest in its funds since they attained three-year track records.
The equity-release market is now 25 times its size a decade ago, with a total value of just under 4bn and over 83,000 lifetime mortgages. More than 15,000 lifetime mortgages - equity-release loans for older homeowners - worth 693m were advanced in the second half of 2004, according to research by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Skandia's UK life business is the jewel in the group's Nordic crown, says Cazalet Consulting supremo Ned Cazalet.The South African financial services group has confirmed it is in talks with Skandia about acquiring the business but has not yet made a formal offer.
Education and public awareness are vital to dispel disillusion over pensions.
The annuity market could collapse within 10 years because providers will not be able to meet demand, independent pensions adviser to the Government Ros Altmann warned adv- isers at Money Marketing Live last week.
The Woolwich is offering a range of new mortgages tailored to first-time buyers.