13 August 2008
Money Marketing has launched a podcast service on its website featuring a three-part interview with outgoing Aegon pensions development director Stewart Ritchie. It can be found at www.money marketing.co.uk/podcast
Baring Emerging Europe investment trust has appointed Jonathan Woollett as a non-executive director. Woollett joined in July from the European Bank of Reconstruction in London.
The FSA has pledged to intensify its crackdown on mortgage fraud after handing out a £100,000 fine and banning two advisers, bringing the total banned this year to 19.
One quarter of UK estate agents say the Chancellor’s indecision regarding stamp duty has led to sales falling through.
Forty-two per cent of 50 to 65 year-olds say they have no clear idea of what income they will have in retirement, according to research by Aegon.
Nearly a third of advisers do not use a client management system, a survey by Bankhall has found.
Alliance & Leicester staff are set for a £1000 bonus if the Santander buyout is completed.
Alliance & Leicester has pleaded to its shareholders to vote in favour of a Santander buyout.
Intrinsic adviser Nick McEntee says his perspective on the world has changed following his experiences on a three-month tour of duty with the army in Afghanistan.
Financial advisers plan to shift from initial commission to trail and fee-based remuneration over the next three years, according to research from Skandia.
Advisers are looking increasingly at providing the discretionary management of client assets, says Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen.
American International Group plummeted to a loss of £2.68bn in the second quarter of this year after a profit of £2.19bn for the same period in 2007.
Alliance Trust has appointed Katherine Garrett-Cox as chief executive.
The association of private client investment managers and stockbrokers has urged the government to simplify capital gains tax rules in order to stop penalising long term shareholders.
It is now possible to invest in the Middle East through a Standard & Poor's AA-rated fund owned by Mashreqbank, domiciled in Bahrain, which is more strictly regulated than elsewhere in the Middle East.
Arch Financial Products is launching a new residential fund to capitalise on falling house prices.
The Australian government has modified the administration of its temporary residents' superannuation policy, clearing up some of the confusion over pension transfers.
Bradford & Bingley has appointed Richard Pym as chief executive and announced that shareholders have only bought up 27.8 per cent of shares in its £400m rights issue.
Big banks claim to be dominating net new lending in the mortgage market.
Baring Asset Management has appointed Rod Aldridge as head of UK retail sales.
Prestbury chief executive Lee Birkett has written to shareholders pleading with them to vote against the removal of himself and his mother, finance director Lynne Birkett, at next week's extraordinary general meeting.
Property investment company Braemar Group is launching a pan-European solar fund.
Bright Grey has unveiled its plans to introduce tele-interviewing to help gather medical evidence directly from its clients.
Bright Grey is confident that business will bounce back after its half-year results revealed a 12 per cent drop in new business volume.
The Building Societies' Association has recruited Association of Home Information Pack Providers deputy director-general Paul Broadhead as head of mortgage policy.
Is the FSA right to attack specialist lenders for their arrears management standards?
Businesses' confidence in their trading prospects has slipped to a new low, the Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets Business Barometer has found.
Family members who give up work to care for relatives may be missing out on PPI, warns British Insurance managing director Simon Burgess.
Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham's 2,800-page report on Equitable Life may accuse Government regulators of "a decade of failure" but sadly we are still unclear about who will be compensated and by how much. Policyholders have been warned that as many as half may get no compensation at all.
Chief executive of cru, Stuart Anderson, has left the company after differences with chairman Jon Maguire over the future strategy of the business.
Last week, I took a look at the seemingly now unfashionable interest in possession trust. These trusts were very much in the news in the aftermath of the 2006 Budget when the inheritance tax relevant property provisions were extended to all lifetime trusts other than bare trusts and trusts for the disabled. From that point on, most new trusts developed by the financial services sector that are not bare trusts have been discretionary trusts - by definition, trusts without an interest in ...
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has attacked the FSA's presentation of its reviews into the mortgage market as "ambiguous, unfair and confusing".
Prestbury shareholders have accused chief executive Lee Birkett and his mother finance director Lynne Birkett of presiding over "huge value destruction" of the network, poor corporate governance, conflicts of interest and excessive remuneration.
A retired IFA couple say they could lose their house to pay compensation to former clients and cannot defend themselves against the Financial Ombudsman Service as their files have been lost.
The Ministry of Justice has revealed that home repossession orders have risen Q2 2008.
cru chief executive Stuart Anderson has left the firm following differences with chairman Jon Maguire over the future strategy of the business.
Advisers have rallied behind Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier after a row developed between himself and cru chairman Jon Maguire.
It is 10 years since Daniel Godfrey took over as director general of the Association of Investment Companies. In the world of investment trusts, this may not seem like a long time, after all, the first one, Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, was established in 1868, and the trade body, the Association of Investment Trust Companies was set up in 1932. But in terms of a career, 10 years is a considerable length of time, particularly given the challenges that investment trusts have faced ...
As I was preparing to write this column, I suddenly found myself wading through a succession of One Year of the Credit Crunch stories. Some pieces were informative, others entertaining, a few were truly outstanding.
Investment trusts are offering cheap investment opportunities for investors amid current market volatility, says JPMorgan Asset Management.
Trust is the foundation of the relationship between the consumer and financial institutions. People see financial decisions as high risk due to the complexity of the products and the importance they play in people's lives.
Will the Treasury's recent proposals to change the tax regime for UK- authorised funds effectively remove the advantage of offshore investing for UK-domiciled investors?
The Bank of England has conceeded that there is no hope of a economic bounce back in 2008.
The Government is being called on to cut the red tape on inheritance tax to help widowed clients who want to use their deceased spouse's nil-rate band.
Northern Rock has launched a new mortgage range including a highly competitive two-year flexible fixed rate from 5.89 per cent.
The FSA is to delay publishing feedback on the RDR discussion paper until November.
An adviser has hit out at IFA Promotion, claiming it discriminates against advisers who do not hold qualifications higher than FPC.
Canada Life International has launched five funds with Fortis Investments which incorporate a lifecycle feature allowing them to rebalance from equities to fixed income as the maturity date approaches.
Positive Solutions chief executive Jim Reeve says potential flotation costs for his firm were behind the PosSol/Origen combined £2m losses for the first six months of this year.
Fortis UK chief executive Barry Smith has unveiled plans to increase the number of IFAs distributing the firm's Real Life Cover plan.
Franklin Templeton Investments has added Sterling-priced distributor status share classes to its Franklin Mena fund.
Friends Provident is adding two features to its online proposition to ensure members get the most from their pension scheme.
Friends Provident says it is determined to ride out the economic turmoil despite profits falling by 20 per cent in the first half of this year.
Tax specialist adviser The Fry Group has become the 55th company to join the Nucleus wrap.
The FSA has fined the UK operations of Credit Suisse £5.6m for failing to properly supervise a structured product group in its investment banking division.
The FSA has been granted a permanent injunction preventing Treadstone Corporation Limited from illegally promoting and selling shares to UK investors.
The FSA is warning that at least ten “recovery firms” are targeting a scam at investors who bought shares through Pacific Continental Securities Ltd.
Alistair Mackay, director of Lighthouse Group subsidiary Financial Services Advice and Support is to retire at the end of the year. Executive director Andrew Snowball will work alongside fellow co-founder Alan Pinkerton to form the management team.
Fidelity FundsNetwork will accept applications for clients who wish to transfer protected rights into Sipps from mid-September.
HBOS is to scrap The Mortgage Business brand as part of a streamlining process that is likely to lead to up to 325 job losses.
This is a one-off, as I do not intend conducting a protracted correspondence via the letters page. Nonetheless I am compelled to write, having read Nic Cicutti's column (Money Marketing, August 7) which he kindly devoted to me.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says the housing market may have reached its floor. Only 1 per cent of surveyors reported a house price rise in July, the same as in June.
Intermediaries' share of the mortgage market is holding up despite concerns that dual-pricing would dent business.
Forty-nine per cent of IFAs expect the market for variable annuities or pension products with unit-linked guarantees to grow over the next year according to research by MetLife Europe.
The ifs School of Finance has confirmed that their new diploma for financial advisers will cost £500.
The Investment Management Association is blaming the credit crunch on a wave on imprudent lending brought about by the availability of cheap money and made worse by institutions packaging and selling their debts.
The Association of British Insurers has revealed a 26 per cent drop in investment bond business during Q2 2008 compared to the same period last year, due in part to the Government's capital gains tax changes.
Funds of funds represented nearly half of total net retail fund sales in the second quarter of this year.
Advisers and analysts alike have suggested that we could be in the midst of a with-profits comeback as life offices such as Prudential and Legal & General reported a boom in bond sales in their interim results.
Royal London has named David Kneeshaw as chief executive of the combined Scottish Life International and Scottish Provident International businesses. Kneeshaw is currently chief executive of Scottish Life International.
Key Retirement Solutions has appointed Terry Pritchard as managing director of key partnerships.
Legal & General Property has appointed Paul Edwards as director of its board.
Legal & General has sent out over 9,000 sales aids to help advisers diversify into the family protection market.
Lead generator Leadbay has unveiled its plans to launch a pilot scheme offering life insurance leads from September.
The Liberal Democrats have been criticised over claims that auctions provide the best indicator of house prices.
Woolwich has attributed the huge increase in its share of new mortgage business to its focus on long-term products.
LV= Asset Management has launched four new Oeic sub-funds through LighthouseCapital.
Economic news might seem relentlessly negative in the West but many emerging economies are still enjoying strong growth. The Middle East and North Africa are among the fastest-growing areas and have benefited from surging oil prices. Demand for energy is likely to remain high as countries such as China turn themselves into industrial powerhouses, so we expect the resource-rich Mena economies to continue to receive this windfall for many years.
The Metropolitan Police Authority has appointed Affinity Connect to provide retirement and resettlement courses and independent financial advice to its staff for the next five years.
Adviser Philip Milton has written to FSA chief executive Hector Sants calling on him to do more to tackle problems associated with short-selling.
Money Portal has appointed Barrie and Hibbert to provide strategic asset allocations in line with the client risk profiles identified by the advice firm.
The big news that emerged last week was Credit Suisse’s supervisory failings and subsequent fine, which I’m sure did little in the way of improving consumer trust in the banks.
Mortgage Brain has revealed a new Debt Consolidator Calculator as a part of its new sourcing system, Mortgage Brain 6.70.
Mortgage rates have begun to drop in the face of the biggest housing price fall since 1983, according to the Halifax.
MortgageStream is urging brokers to ensure they are taking steps towards meeting the December treating customers fairly deadline.
M&G has appointed Louise Nash to its UK small-cap team from the small-cap desk at Cazenove.
New Star has moved its £682m international property fund from an offer to bid price.
This week saw the demise of The Mortgage Business, HBoS' packager lender, an unsurprising indication for many of how precarious the mortgage packager market has become.
Legal & General is urging people to consider the impact that having a critical illness could have on their ability to save into their pension.
Novia has unveiled the pricing structure for its wrap ahead of its autumn launch.
Research by Norwich Union has found 48 per cent of adults aged between 35 and 44 still expect financial support from their parents.
Money Marketing stated last week that Norwich Union provides back-office support to the Nucleus wrap. We are happy to clarify that Nucleus' back-office support is provided by Scottish Friendly, the firm that Norwich Union has agreed to outsource its wrap proposition to.
Legitimate investors could be caught in the HM Revenue and Customs' clampdown on offshore tax evasion, warns accountancy firm Grant Thornton.
Old Mutual Asset Managers has appointed Mark Allpress as head of UK retail sales. He joins from BNY Mellon.
Advisers have rallied behind Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier after a spat developed between himself and cru chairman Jon Maguire.
The Income Protection Task Force believes its is one step closer to changing the sale and distribution of IP.
Aegon UK finance director Mark Laidlaw says strong new business figures have helped the firm to cope with the recent market volatility.
The Pension Protection Fund estimates that schemes faced a total £80.1bn shortfall at the end of July compared with £63.1bn in June. It is more than double the £34bn estimate a year ago.
Britannia building society has posted a profit dip of 40% in the first half of 2008 mainly thanks to losses from its specialist intermediary lender Platform.
Positive Solutions is offering a range of conveyancing deals allowing IFAs to earn up to £200 from referrals. The partnerships are with IFA Conveyancing, Bluetrust Conveyancing and Halifax Convey- ancing Service.
The protection industry finally appears to be turning the corner and focusing on designing and marketing products that appeal not only to providers but also to consumers and advisers.
Aegon and Standard Life have refused to rule out a move to postcode-priced annuities following Prudential's decision to adopt the model last week.
Prudential has appointed the former chief executive of Man Group Harvey McGarth as chairman.
PSigma Investment Management is to launch a balanced fund of funds product to add to its multi-asset Wealth Management Solutions suite.
Banks and life insurance companies are the least trusted of financial institutions, while advisers and brokers are the most highly trusted, according to research from Nottingham University.
Over the last few years, the spotlight on Emerging Europe has been stolen by Russia. Once the 2008 presidential elections were out of the way, the market became a consensus overweight.
Rathbones is looking at mov- ing its £49m income and growth fund into the UK equ- ity income sector.
Only around 4 per cent of funds with a three-year track record have been in the top quartile in each of the past three years and just 16 per cent have consistently beaten their respective sector average.
Demand for rented accommodation in July increased by 76 per cent on last year, according to figures from estate agent Your Move.
Home repossessions have leapt by nearly 50 per cent in the first half of this year.
Axa's UK & Ireland business posted a 14 per cent increase in profits to £183m for the first half of 2008 from £160m for the same period in 2007.
Gartmore Investment Management has hired Dominic Rossi as chief investment officer.
Saffron Building Society has set up an intermediary, Saffron Mortgage Brokers, which is independent and ringfenced from the society.
There is little doubt in my mind that brand awareness works for asset-gathering.
It seems that my recent letter triggered an adverse response from some of your readers and I trust you will allow me to reply to the various comments made as my purpose is to unify IFAs, not alienate them.
SimplyBiz has revealed its mortgage club has signed up almost 200 firms in 2008.
AJ Bell says Sipp applications were up by 62 per cent in June compared with the same month last year.
Skandia International has added eight new funds from Franklin Templeton and JF to its offshore range.
Standard Life International’s international bond sales have hit £593m, with sales for the first six months of 2008 totaling £270m. This compares with sales of £284m for the whole of 2007.
A North-east financial adviser who specialised in the small business sector has admit- ted charges of theft, cheque forgery and deception at a court hearing.
Mortgage brokers have been in the FSA's firing line, with fines and bans being handed out for a variety of regulatory failings. Now specialist lenders are firmly in the regulator's sights.
Standard Life has made its mutual fundsupermarket FundZone available to its group and retail Sipps.
Standard Life's profits leapt by 51 per cent to £534m in the first half of this year from £353m in 2007.
Stroud & Swindon Building Society predicts that it could be offering credit-repair mortgages in 12 months as it reveals its online intermediary arm.
Stroud & Swindon Building Society has increased its focus on stand-alone protection policies in a bid to defy the mortgage slowdown, reveals its head of marketing David Rodney.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership has appointed Dr. Ed Trevillion as head of property research.
The conflict between Russia and Georgia will only have a short-term impact on the Russian market despite its recent fall of a third, according to Templeton.
The Association of British Insurers has appointed Huw Evans as its director of corporate affairs.
Some advisers believe that Norwich Union with-profits policyholders should not hold out for windfalls from the reattribution process but should move their cash now.
Perhaps the biggest nail in the coffin of life companies has been the tarnishing of the with-profits concept.
The final nail has yet to be hammered in the final-salary coffin but it is getting closer by the day. The revelation that pension scheme deficits of £41bn have reappeared will trigger more closures.
I have recently heard about a service called life planning which is being offered by some financial planners. Can you please explain to me what it is and how it differs from ordinary financial advice?
The FSA has delayed the RDR consultation by one month to November to allow new managing director Jon Pain time to get up to speed.
There is too much dependency on rebroking existing group income protection schemes, says Canada Life head of group IP Colin Micklewright.
Taking an active interest now in the Government's pension reform proposals may succeed in changing the direction of the policy for the better.
Towry Law has been appointed by Camelot to offer financial planning to National Lottery winners.
For some years now, I have delivered a lecture on the wealth management industry to a group of college students from America. Last week, a couple of dozen of them listened to my opinions on where wealth management was heading and why it was such a dynamic industry.
International expatriate insurance specialist William Russell has launched an international health insurance service for corporates.
The RDR debate rages on but some issues seem to be stuck in muddy waters.
Leading advisers have warned that advisers must be able to justify the sale of high-commission with-profits bonds as evidence suggests sales are rising substantially.
The retail distribution review is shaking up the industry and prompting advisers and providers to rethink the financial landscape from the point of view of the client.
Zurich has been a com-pany that, when it came to e-commerce, delivered a great deal less than could be reasonably expected of such a global financial services provider.
Zurich has unveiled its plans to enhance its protection proposition to provide customers with greater choice and flexibility.