12 November 2008
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has called for the Government to review the implications of a High Court ruling this week that affirmed a mortgage lender's right to put a property up for sale without a court order. The ruling by Mr Justice Briggs was in a case brought after GMAC-RFC appointed a receiver to auction a buy-to-let property when the borrower went into arrears.
The ABI/FSA online pension calculator has not been running for two months and neither the FSA nor ABI can say when it will be operating again. ABI spokesman Jon French says the ABI is looking to fix the calculator as soon as possible but he is unable to give a specific timescale.
More than 1.5 milion people are planning to stop making pension contributions because of the looming recession, according to Axa.
Money currently owed to creditors in County Court Judgments across the UK stands at £779m for the third quarter of 2008 - with more people less willing to meet their financial responsibilities.
1st – The Exchange has recorded a 19 per cent increase in new business applications submitted via its Exweb portal service between October 2007 to October this year.
Bright Grey research has revealed 85 per cent of advisers place business protection with a provider based on price.
Hargreaves Lansdown is no stranger to expressing views which some others see as controversial, most recently in our comments on structured products which are mostly hopeless, yet sold to thousands.
Last week’s changes to the FSA's Treating Customers Fairly initiative have met with a cynical industry response with many suggesting they are designed to avoid a showdown with advisers.
FSA fines in the first 10 months of 2008 have nearly quadrupled the total figure for 2007, jumping from £5.3m to £20.5m, according to analysis by BDO Stoy Hayward.
Abbey, Lloyds TSB and Alliance & Leicester have led the way in bringing back tracker mortgages after last week's 1.5 per cent cut in bank base rate.
The Association of British Insurers’ Institutional Voting Information Service has put the Barclays forthcoming capital-raising vote on red alert.
Association of British Insurers director general Stephen Haddrill has claimed Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s plan to cut taxes will increase the pension savings gap.
Just Retirement has issued a number of guidelines on unsecured pensions and annuities for advisers to use when consulting with clients on retirement income options.
Advisers are snapping up first-time buyer leads in the hope of increasing their level of long-term business, reveals Leadbay managing director Grant Stevens.
Advisers spend an average of 32 days a year chasing and checking information from providers, according to Sesame's latest provider service index.
AIG Life has unveiled a conditional exit plan to allow investors in the enhanced fund to withdraw their investments if the auction price for assets reaches a certain threshold.
In the 12 months following the introduction of Mifid the FSA has issued 4,114 pages of regulation information to firms, much of which is “unjustifiable”, according to Apcims.
AWD Chase De Vere is to offload its at-retirement and mortgage and loan arms as it commits to wealth management and consulting operations in the UK.
Axa has launched its Elevate platform to the whole market and introduced a pension investment account to the proposition.
Axa has signed an exclusive tie-in with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks to offer investment and protection products.
Bradford & Bingley chairman Richard Pym has told MPs that the buy-to-let market is closed.
The Building Societies Association says the recent Government bailout of several big high street banks is unfair on mutuals and their members.
Banks will have a tough time adapting to the FSA's new regulatory regime which could open them up to new misselling claims, says law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.
Mortgage rates have finally fallen thanks to a combination of the Bank of England's base rate cut helping to bring down Libor and some arm-twisting from Number 10.
Brewin Dolphin has announced that its Scottish division, Bell Lawrie, is to adopt the Brewin Dolphin name from March 2009.
IFA Bestinvest has appointed Mike Neumann as director of investment management and Gordon Hull as head of distribution.
The Government's move to allow patients to pay privately for drugs not normally available on the NHS is an opportunity for advisers to promote alternative uses for critical-illness cover, says Bright Grey.
Is the UK Government right to be taking "a long hard look" at the relationship between itself and the Isle of Man?Yes 25%No 75%
In the wake of BT slashing more than 10,000 jobs, it has announced plans to boost its pension scheme.
It is no exaggeration to say that the seismic shocks of the last two months have pushed the public's trust in financial institutions to the limit. But the economic crisis also presents advisers with the opportunity to actually build the trust of their clients.
The U.K. buy-to-let residential mortgage loan sector will soon begin to underperform compared with the overall mortgage market, according to Standard & Poor's.
Rent on residential properties fell for the first time in five years as supply of empty properties boomed.
Capita Financial Software has announced a restructure which will see Webline founder Paul Holland become non-executive chairman and Quay founder Mitchell Philpott exit the firm.
Life companies that are helping international advisers earn over 10 per cent commission from bond sales are damaging the offshore industry as well as their onshore brands, says a leading offshore adviser.
The Competition Commission has proposed a ban on point of sale payment protection insurance as part of its attempt to increase competition in the PPI market.
The Chancellor Alistair Darling is to deliver his pre-Budget report on Monday 24 November.
When considering anything other than purely mundane tax or financial planning, most clients would obviously like certainty that what is being planned will succeed. This is even more desirable where the transaction has high financial value or cost.
The Consulting Consortium has launched a treating customers fairly diagnostic tool to help advisers measure their progress against the six FSA consumer outcomes.
Canada Life is urging advisers to encourage their clients to reconsider their protection position following the changes introduced under the Welfare Reform.
Up to 5,000 jobs are at risk in the IFA sector and 16 per cent of IFA directors will be over retirement age next year, according to Plimsoll.
Industry costs to pay for the FSA's continued refusal to name the Lautro 19 will rise further after the regulator launched a High Court appeal.
Entrepreneur Clive Cowdery is reported to be considering a bid for Clerical Medical.
The anticipated spike in Sipp business due to the recent legislative changes to protected rights has not materialised because of the credit crisis.
High-street lenders have come under fire for raising tracker rates in anticipation of last week's sharp fall in the base rate.
Key Retirement Solutions says advisers should not see equity release simply as a "quick fix" to their businesses during the economic downturn.
Chancellor Alistair Darling is co-chairing two Government-industry groups to focus on the long-term strength of the UK's insurance and asset management industries. The first will be co-chaired with Aviva chief executive Andrew Moss, and the second with IMA chairman Robert Jenkins.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has shot down the dissenting Scottish bankers’ claims for a rival HBOS bid.
Alan Lakey, my colleague here at Money Marketing, is an indefatigable researcher. Either that or it was a quick Google of my name that led him a few months ago to "out" me in this paper as a former trade union activist within the NHS.
Fay Goddard of the PFS stated in her article (Money Marketing, November 6) that there is confusion about level-four qualifications.
The two dissident Scottish bankers who are trying to scupper the HBOS merger with Lloyds TSB have used the latest shareholder letter as fuel for their campaign.
Direct Life & Pension has announced it is teaming up with Darlington Building Society to offer branch staff access to its LifeQuote Plus system.
An independent payment protection insurance provider has criticised insurers for excluding financial service employees from unemployment cover.
With defined benefit schemes going the way of the dodo, it is good to hear the Government listening to the demands of employers before they become completely extinct.
The November rebalancing shows advisers continuing to remain cautious, moving out of emerging markets and reducing commodities, property and high-yield allocation.
HSBC Asset Management ex-head of marketing Alison Savage has teamed up with financial journalist Kira Nickerson to offer IFAs and fund firms an investment writing marketing resource.
The amount of money being saved into UK pension funds could jump by 30 per cent if people were allowed to dip into their funds in an emergency, according to the Pensions Policy Institute.
New research from Mercer reveals employers’ concerns surrounding meeting employees’ expectations around retirement planning.
The Kaupthing Edge internet bank allowed around 2,300 existing customers to continue transferring cash internally through the website after it went into administration last month.
Two lenders have returned to the network sector with the launch of two separate prime fixed exclusives.
Exeter Friendly Society is launching its Health Cover for Me plan to the whole of market on Saturday after completing a successful pilot run with IFAs.
Former FSA chairman Howard Davies has told MPs he believes Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham's Equitable Life report is flawed.
Thousands of adviser firms have been given a seven-day extension to submit RMAR reports after glitches in the FSA's Gabriel filing system.
Satisfying the FSA over its TCF requirements begins with training staff and then ensuring the principles filter down into everyday business, say Morse management consultants Mark Lester and Karen Bond.
The US Federal Government has abandoned plans to use the $700bn Troubled Asset Relief Programme fund to buy up ‘toxic’ mortgage assets.
With just about every structured product under the sun coming in for various degrees of slating, it seems that Robert Reid's modus operandi when considering new products of any sort is more pertinent than ever. If he cannot gain a full understanding of said product within 10 minutes, then the literature pack gets chucked in the bin. I plan to follow suit from now on.
The distress suffered by financial markets following the near-collapse of the world's banking system and the realisation that the economy is unlikely to escape a painful slowdown have provided an ideal environment for government bonds. Unsurprisingly in today's hostile climate, capital preservation and safe-haven investing remain dominant themes in asset allocation decisions, and these strategies have been responsible for a dramatic flight to safety.
The latest stock-market turmoil has inevitably led to the introduction of market value reductions on surrender of with- profits policies and that has equally inevitably led to ill-informed consumer press comment about investors being penalised by insurance companies.
Outgoing Personal Finance Society president Robert Reid has warned that adviser businesses relying solely on assets under management could be hit by losses of 30-40 per cent this year.
Skipton Financial Services has appointed ex-AWD Moneyextra managing director Mark Fleet as its managing director. Fleet replaces Simon Holt who left the advisory arm of Skipton Building Society in June.
Former Origen head of retirement planning Nick Flynn has set up a new retirement specialist IFA business with ex-Origen employees.
Asset manager Foresight Group has opened a new office in Italy to supportits new European Solar fund.
The originator of a sophisticated boiler room scam has been ordered by a court to repay £200,000 or face further time in jail.
Friends Provident is expected to make numerous redundancies in the wake of its announcement to combine its Manchester head office with its Spring Gardens office.
The FSA has banned Peter King and his firm New Forest Mortgage Company Ltd for knowingly submitting applications for fraudulent life assurance policies.
The FSA has fined former British ambassador to Peru and the former executive chairman of mining company Monterrico Metals Plc Richard Ralph £117,691.41 for market abuse.
Firms that fail their treating customers fairly visit in the run-up to the December deadline will not automatically face enforcement action, says the FSA.
A former mortgage broker has been given an 18 month suspended sentence for giving misleading information when applying to be an approved person.
The FSA says it is to accelerate the full integration of its Treating Customers Fairly initiative into its main supervisory work.
Looking back at the recent regulation of the banking industry, the obvious question is whether a tighter watch on operations could have prevented the current crisis and whether a dose of tough love is now required to aid a swift recovery.
AWD Chase de Vere Wealth Management’s pension mis-selling could have been identified years ago had the regulator handled the firm’s previous mergers adequately, according to compliance consultant Adam Samuel.
The FSA has vowed to crack down on mortgage firms that close down and immediately resurrect themselves in an attempt to avoid debts.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme says it has paid £0.25bn in compensation to UK Icesave customers in the last week.
Cofunds is under pressure to review its decision to stop paying fees to fund managers re-registering Isa and Pep funds on the platform.
Total net sales of funds of funds halved to £529m in the third quarter of this year from £1.1bn in the second quarter.
Gartmore is planning to streamline its multi-manager fund range with the launch of an absolute return fund at the end of November.
The equity release market is in the process of a long term and fairly profound change at the moment. Or at least it hopes it is.
The Scottish bankers trying to scupper the HBOS/Lloyds TSB merger have been given short shrift from major HBOS shareholders.
A hedge fund that made billions in hedging against the US sub-prime mortgage crash has bought Edeus. Elliott Associates, based in New York, has bought the firm's assets to set up Exact, a mortgage asset servicing company.
HM Revenue and Customs have made changes to the taxation of chargeable event gains arising under a life assurance policy held subject to a bare trust.
Our business began in 1982 as a mortgage arranger. We decided to become an IFA to offer independent advice to our clients on mortgages, life, investment and pension products.
The FSA has fined AWD Chase de Vere Wealth Management £1.12m for pension misselling and ordered it to pay "substantial" compensation to clients.
Getting a bad reaction to an idea does not always mean that the idea is not good.
IFA persistency levels for life and pensions business proved better than those of single-tied advisers last year, according to the FSA’s 2008 persistency survey.
Ignis Asset Management launches today formed by the merger of fund houses Resolution and Axial Investment management.
Inflation dropped to 4.5 per cent in October, down from 5.2 per cent in September, a larger than expected drop.
The FSA has warned that some insurers are still falling short in their risk management procedures.
Sales of investment bonds have plunged 64 per cent in the past year according to the Association of British Insurers’ Q3 long-term business sales figures.
New Star head of fixed income James Gledhill says investors may well find better bond opportunities in the investment-grade sector rather than through high-yield bonds.
Investors wishing to exit the AIG Life enhanced fund on December 15 would be likely to lose around 12 per cent of their total investment compared to the value before it was frozen, according to an independent valuation.
Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK says his meeting with Lord Chancellor Jack Straw to discuss relations between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom was positive and reassuring.
JLT Benefit Solutions is offering an expanded annuity service which it hopes will persuade more people to exercise the open market option.
Pension Corporation has secured investment from JP Morgan and launched a second-round of fundraising to raise £300-400m.
Analysts believe a life office such as Legal & General, Aviva or Prudential could swoop on Just Retirement following news that the company has received expressions of interest.
JP Morgan has slammed Legal & General for plugging annuity business in a benign credit environment.
Shareholders have rejected changes that Legal & General had proposed to its £44m distribution trust.
The new Lloyds Banking Group is starting to take shape although it will not formally exist until January. So far, we know that it has a rather unoriginal name which speaks volumes about where power will lie in the new operation.
Origo is teaming up with Sesame, Norwich Union and Skandia in a bid to combat email compliance risk by piloting an industry-standard secure email service.
Although I agree with the regulator's move to lighter-touch and principle-led compliance, I sometimes miss the old-style heavy-handed compliance regime with thousands of pages of rules and guidance to read. We had so much to read and understand through documents issued, particularly by the Treasury and the FSA. Never a dull moment as the financial services' chattering class discussed the finer points of Mifid and the rewrite of the conduct of business rules.
Living Time’s fixed term annuity quotations are being launched alongside traditional lifetime annuities on the Exchange’s Exweb.
A new group has launched for those IFAs and wealth managers that have set up Oeic funds for their clients.
Stuck in the shadows throughout most of the bull market, it seems that corporate bonds could at last step into the spotlight, with spreads on investment-grade corporate bonds now appearing more attractive than during the dotcom crash.
Chartered accountants McIntyre Hudson is urging the Chancellor to introduce a series of tax breaks for small businesses in the pre-Budget Report.
Moody’s has revealed that it may downgrade Bank of Ireland credit ratings in light of its exposure to UK and Irish downturns.
Network Data has agreed to buy Manchester Building Society's broking subsidiary MBSL in a £2.2m deal.
Network Data is set to reveal redundancies at the end of next week as a result of its merger with Manchester Building Society's broking subsidiary MBSL.
The Investment Management Association and the Performance Category Review Committee are to launch a new property sector, covering both direct and securities funds. The sector will come into force on January 1.
Advisers believe New Star's hidden value may be the next fund to be merged in its UK range.
New Star has renegotiated its banking covenants and is to embark on a further cost cutting regime after revealing a £3.1bn loss in assets under management in the third quarter this year.
The Equitable Life Members' Action Group told MPs that Northern Rock and the banking crisis might have been avoided if the FSA had learned its lessons from Equitable Life.
Northern Rock has launched a 3.99 per cent one-year flexible mortgage as Abbey also launches several competitive deals.
Norwich Union paid out 97 per cent of all critical illness claims during the first half of 2008, averaging just under £72,000 per claim.
The Government could underwrite no negative equity guarnatee on equity release products, accoridng to Norwich Union.
Norwich Union is to repay 34,000 stakeholder pension customers around £11m after an admin error. Clients were overcharged after the Government introduced a charging cap of 1 per cent for all stakeholder pensions in 2001.
Nucleus has promoted Rebecca Christensen to the newly-created role of communications director.
Prudential has appointed Barry O'Dwyer as managing director of retail life and pensions.
Double standards and negligent distribution strategies of product providers in UK offshore jurisdictions risk the corporate reputations of their onshore counterparts and threaten clients around the world.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has come under fire for talking down the pound after saying that Britain is heading for a “collapse of Sterling”.
It has been four years in the planning but this week sees the formal launch of the Elevate wrap under the stewardship of Axa Distribution Services managing director Paul McMahon.
Critics of unit-linked guarantees often underestimate their value in mitigating against longevity risk, claims consultant AKG.
Pensions minister Rosie Winterton has opened a consultation into pension funding changes for defined benefit schemes.
Pension funds are being artificially supported by unusually high corporate bond yields and may turn out to have much bigger liabilities than is being revealed. Deficits are likely to get even wider as equity markets recover. One pension consultant claims that pension deficits among FTSE companies are being underestimated by some £160bn.
Personal Touch Financial Services has launched a paraplanning service.
Do you agree with the opinions voiced by Peter Hargreaves and Kerry Nelson that structured products should not be sold by IFAs?
Recent surveys suggest IFAs are becoming apathetic about the RDR. As attentions over the last few months have been drawn elsewhere, given October's extraordinary events, it wouldn't surprise me if most advisers have done little besides watch with amazement as history unfolded. If this proves one thing, it is that the FSA was mistaken in taking the financial planner category out of the review paper.
Money Portal has chosen Seven Investment Management as its recommended provider for discretionary management.
The salary of the highest-paid Positive Solutions director more than doubled in 2007 to £722,000 from £308,000 in the previous year.
The Pension Protection Fund has proposed using longer-term risk when calculating protection levies for pension schemes in a bid to make bills fairer.
Markets have adopted a more confident tone in recent weeks but the fragility of investor behaviour has not evaporated.
Prudential has announced that it is reducing final bonus rates on its with-profits policies in response to the sustained downturn across world markets and the continuing poor investment environment.
PruProtect is making several enhancements to its existing product range to take effect from November 16.
Defined-benefit pension liabilities may have been overstated by up to £30bn, says PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The UK Government looks set to launch a co-ordinated crackdown on Qrops after Guernsey tightened its rules on pension transfers.
Accused of being behind the curve in countering the downside risk caused by the turmoil in the financial markets, the monetary policy committee took the bold decision to cut beyond expectations last week and invite speculation as to the true extent of the problems in the UK economy.
Royal Bank of Scotland is reported to be axing up to 3,000 staff across its worldwide operations as the as global recession intensifies in the financial services sector.
I have been told that I need to periodically rebalance my portfolio. Please explain this and indicate how frequently I should carry it out.
The FSA has ordered Abbey Life to change an unfair term in its open market option application forms.
Fears are growing that IFAs will have to pay higher Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies after Moody's downgraded one of Bradford & Bingley's top portfolios.
In an article in the New York Times last month, Warren Buffett laid out his case for buying equities, and American equities in particular. His basic investment premise was to "be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful". As he pointed out, there have been few periods in recent history when markets have been more fearful.
IFA Promotion has voiced concerns about a website which ranks regulated financial advisers according to reviews given by users.
Schroders is to merge Richard Buxton's UK large-cap fund into its UK alpha plus vehicle by the end of the year.
The Scottish bankers who have begun a campaign to derail the Lloyds TSB bid and take over HBOS have launched their own website.
The Government has bowed to industry pres-sure by allowing employers to self-certify that their pension schemes meets the exemption test for personal accounts.
St James’s Place has offered to make a one-off goodwill payment of £6.9m to its clients in the frozen AIG Life enhanced fund proportionate to their investment size.
Towergate Financial chairman Patrick Snowball is confident that the insurance industry can ride out the banking crisis after learning lessons from the last market downturn.
The financial sector has suffered most this year, with the index down by over 30 per cent to October 24 but there is one manager who has bucked the trend - Philip Gibbs (sadly no relation), who manages the Jupiter financial opportunities fund.
Standard Life is extending its estate planning service with the launch of an integrated automated trusts suite on its wrap platform.
In August 2006, my business partner John and myself decided to take the plunge and leave the safety of a private bank and set up our own high-net-worth wealth management business.
Standard Life Wealth has appointed Sarah Mann as a senior client portfolio manager.
Investors should avoid government-influenced bank stocks due to a lack of dividends and an expected exodus of talent, says New Star global financials fund manager Guy de Blonay.
Investor returns this year will come from tracking currency rather than reading the markets, says T Bailey's senior analyst Elliot Farley.
The moves by some life offices to cut final bonuses and reimpose market value reductions on their with-profits funds have been met with disappointment by advisers and investors.
Norwich Union recently decided to withdraw some of the unemployment-only cover that it underwrites for Paymentshield and Select & Protect and the move has brought concerns that unemployment cover will be increasingly difficult to find in a worsening economic climate.
The market troubles have brought a lot of things firmly into focus and the safety of people's investments is now going to be seen as more important than the rate of the return they get.
Towergate Financial is set to step up its aggressive IFA buying spree with at least three more acquisitions planned before Christmas.
Cancer tzar Mike Richards' decision to allow NHS patients to pay for cancer and other drugs not available from the state seems to be the first step towards creating a two-tier system within state provision. It also looks set to lead to rapid product development of top-up insurance plans.
The Tories are calling for tax cuts for businesses that offer jobs to people who have been unemployed for three months or more. Firms would get tax cuts worth £2,500 per head.
The Investment Management Association has told MPs that its members are not prepared to invest in bank reconstructions as they believe institutions have yet to fully write down their exposures to toxic assets.
Treasury Economic Secretary Ian Pearson will be the keynote speaker at Aifa's AGM and annual dinner in London next week.
Scottish Life has withdrawn its Riley bond from the market until further notice.
The US financial compensator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Compensator, has revealed aggressive new plans to help indebted homeowners.
The bunting is down, the hustings are over, the madness is at an end. The US Election has been won and straight away the banking sector in the USA is starting to feel the winds of change.
Witan Investment Services has accidentally double-charged around 2,500 investors who hold Isas through its Wealthbuilder platform.