12 January 2005
As the bonus season for with-profits policies gets under way, battered investors can expect little joy. Further cuts are predicted both by actuaries and IFAs, with Axa already announcing that bonuses on its Equity & Law policies will be halved from 2 per cent to 1 per cent.
Pension simplification could see the market for self-invested personal pensions open up to two million people, according to research by consultancy Jardine Lloyd Thompson.
Payouts are set to fall further in the upcoming with-profits bonus season.
Invesco Perpetual head of US equities Ian Brady has taken over the running of the company's fund of funds from company chief executive Bob Yerbury.
The first president of the newly merged Personal Finance Society insists it will not be a reincarnation of various parts of the LIA and Sofa, and says his aim is to ensure the 25,000 combined members feel comfortable with the change.
Norwich & PeterboroughFive Year FTB Fixed Rate
Financial services outsourcing provider Huntswood Outsourcing has appointed Pension Protection Fund chairman Lawrence Churchill as a non-executive director.
Last-minute changes to the Finance Act will allow continued defined-benefit accrual for scheme members with pension funds over 1.5m opting for enhanced protection.
Chelsea Building SocietyProspect 2 Year Fixed Rate
The chief executive and director of regulatory risk at Burns Anderson have resigned from the 400-RI Bristol-based network.
We never seem to learn from experience.The Bank of England's November mortgage approvals for house purchases shows a 10year low and everybody is interpreting this as a sign of a calamitous drop in property prices.
Clerical Medical is setting up a professional indemnity consultancy service in association with independent business consultancy IFA Mentor to help advisers with their professional indemnity requirements.
I have received a letter from my pension company along with several leaflets saying I should stop contracting out. What do you think?
Corporate bond fund managers believe demand for lower-risk investments will boost the market in 2005.
After a week and a half out of the office enlivened only by the usual range of novelty underwear from my loving relatives, received while sitting round a dead tree, it is good to be back.
I am becoming concerned about the language used to announce the first deals between financial advisers and product providers in the new depolarised world of financial services.
DWS has unveiled the DWS ratebuster, an Oeic that has been designed to offer a higher return than bank and building society accounts with the attraction of capital protection.
A Cardiff IFA claiming to specialise in socially responsible investment has gone bust, leaving investors facing losses totalling over 900,000.
The F&C Asset Manage-ment multi-manager team is targeting Europe and has steered clear of the US.
Only one of Fidelity's own funds made the top 10 best sellers on the firm's FundsNetwork platform in 2004, down from five the previous year.
The with-profits bond has taken its fair share of criticism but negative publicity for the product stepped up a notch recently after Bradford & Bingley was hit with a fine for widespread misselling both of with-profits and precipice bonds.
GartmoreGartmore Cautious Managed Fund, Gartmore Portfolio fund range
Aegon UK's IFA firm Origen has appointed Charcol head of London office Wayne Gibbs as its head of mortgages to complete its executive management team.
The Government looks set to enjoy a 412m windfall from taxpayers handing in inaccurate or late self-assessment forms, says IFA Promotion.
Property prices will fall by 2 per cent this year, forecasts Halifax.
The events of Boxing Day morning in Asia brought a disaster of unimaginable proportions which has directly touched the lives of countless people in Asia and around the world.
Hargreaves Lansdown has appointed a new head of UK equities as part of an increased focus on stockbroking as a key growth area.
Cavendish Asset Management fund manager Tim Roberts says Aim now presents some attractive options for investors, particularly in the light of tax breaks, and outlines effective strategies to get the best out of the junior market.
An IFA is handing over its clients to a neighbouring firm after the business fell apart because of a fraud by one of its advisers.
IFAs will not reduce commission levels to fit in with the FSA's market averages, according to research from Aifa.
IFAs are being warned about the dangers of failing to diversify VCT investments and ignoring performance.
I am about to embark on four weeks of roadshows with Clerical Medical to talk on the depolarised market and the opportunities for advisers over the next few years.
General insurance regulation could give income-protection sales a significant boost at the expense of critical-illness cover, says Bright Grey products director Roger Edwards.
Organised criminal gangs are placing bogus staff in financial firms to carry out fraud.
You will all be fixing your first meetings of the year with clients and wondering how to guide them over the year ahead.
Two of my colleagues, Stephen Richards and Gavin Jones, recently presented a paper to the actuarial profession on the financial aspects of longevity risk. The paper was very well received. One key theme was the oft-unappreciated risks in defined-benefit pension schemes.
The winners will be distributors which invest margin improvements wisely.
Jupiter Unit Trust Managers has take on a new fund manager and a business develoment director.The asset manager has taken on fomer Cazenove fund manager Simon Somerville to lead its assault on Asian markets.Meanwhile, former chief executive of Invesco Europe Tristan Hillgarth has been appointed to the newly created position of group business development director.Jupiter celebrated its 20th birthday this week.
KeydataDynamic Growth Plan 11
Legal & General has established the protected capital and growth plan 2, a FTSE 100 linked guaranteed equity bond that provides a full capital return plus s minimum level of growth after six years.
Lawrence House Fund Managers is promoting its new multi-manager funds to IFAs by providing a more personal touch than it believes bigger investment houses can offer.
Lawrence House Fund ManagersLawrence House Balanced Managed Fund
Leeds & Holbeck10 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
Occupational pension schemes will have to pay double their current Opra levies after the new Pensions Regulator comes in on April 6.
Liverpool Victoria has reaffirmed its guarantee that the maturity value of mortgage endowment policies will be at least equal to the death benefit.
Thomsons Online Benefits has negotiated a management buyout from its IFA parent company AWD.
Mortgage ExpressMax 130 Two Year Discount
Mortgage firms could be missing out on a lucrative sector with over 600 firms yet to apply for general insurance regulation, says the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries.
2005 will mark the 17th anniversary of the Financial Services Act. Seventeen years ago, the concept of multiple managers being available within a single product was barely heard of.
Calibre Home Solutions is relaunching MortgageSure, its mortgage payment protection insurance product, with improved rates and a no-claims bonus.
Norwich Union is pressing the FSA to develop a code of conduct for no-win no-fee endowment chasers.
Octopus Asset Management is looking to raise up to 30m for its eclipse 2 venture capital trust.
Stamp duty is a major obstacle for a quarter of first-time buyers, according to research by Alliance & Leicester Mortgages.
When looking to protect tax-free cash, it should be remembered that clients will want the greatest investment flexibility available in 2006 at a competitive cost. This exposes the weakness of transferring to a self-invested section 32 policy now.
Careful selection of the right section 32 policy will provide the solution for many clients who are members of occupational pension schemes and are looking to protect their accrued tax-free cash entitlement after A-Day.
The National Association of Pension Funds has told the Government that the Pension Protection Fund will only have sufficient funding to pay for 100 pensioners claiming the scheme's full benefits.
Pinder Fry & Benjamin has established a capital guaranteed fund that gives exposure to the FTSE Hedge Directional Index. This is made up of 20 hedge funds which use a range of strategies.
The Pep and Isa Managers Association has got accreditation from the Securities & Investment Institute to deliver investment administration qualification educational modules.
Pinder Fry and BenjaminPFB Guaranteed FTSE Hedge Index Fund
Declining service standards from life and pension providers are costing IFAs over 200m a year, according to research by insurance technology specialist FIS Software.
Financial services distribution firm Prestbury is planning to rebrand its three divisions - Moneybrain, Solution Network and LoansUK - under the corporate name.
FSA director of enforcement Andrew Procter has quit to join Deutsche Bank.
Product providers are particularly poor at identifying clients' needs when designing new products, according to research for Money Marketing by PIMS.
Industry with-profits bond sales have fallen dramatically from 15bn in 2000 to just over 1bn in 2004.
Purely Mortgages has appointed James Mayne as compliance director.
Quester Capital ManagementQuester 5 VCT
This being the start of a new year, I thought it might be useful to review the progress of certain key pension issues.
Clerical Medical, Axa Equity & Law and Ecclesiastical Insurance have all slashed their annual with-profits bonuses by half to kick off the bonus declaration season.
Confidence in lifetime mortgages has nearly doubled since regulation, according to research from Prudential.
The Inland Revenue has been accused of holding up the development of hundreds of new funds because of delays to tax proposals.
The menu payment system will help build trust between intermediaries and clients by imp-roving transparency of remuneration, says Scottish Life.
The ghost of self-certification could be ready to haunt lend-ers, brokers and the regulator again as an outspoken MP raises concerns over possible fraudulent applications.
Skandia has brought out the Skandia Sipp, a self-invested personal pension that allows for investments in Skandias multi-manager funds and all other Inland Revenue permitted investments including commercial property.
Skipton Building SocietyBuy-To-Let Discount
A member of the FSA practitioner panel is warning that increased regulatory costs could have a drastic effect on the UK's international competitiveness.
How can you justify selling a product that has been the subject of an 18-month investigation by regulators? How do you convince a client that despite 194m compensation for investors, split caps are still a good deal?
Aberdeen Asset Management plunged to a 87.6m loss as it paid the price of the FSA split-cap investigation.
Former Sofa chairman Brian Steeples has been appointed as the first president of the Personal Finance Society.
Do you think the misselling of with-profits bonds is widespread?
Having interrupted my series of articles on the use of property in inheritance tax planning to examine points of interest in the pre-Budget report, it is now time to return to my original topic.
Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen faces some challenging decisions in his first months in charge with the firm set to determine the future of the Scottish Equitable brand and its role in the stakeholder market.
The Conservatives have unveiled plans for a lifetime savings account, extending taxfree limits for Isas and giving employees access to financial advice.
Bestinvest life and pensions director and well known industry commentator John Turton has left the group after eight years with the Leeds-based firm.