13 May 2009
Fund of hedge funds manager 3A has invested 10 per cent of its Altin fund in new equity long/short and global macro positions.
Private equity firm 3i has revealed a £47m writedown on its holding in Bestinvest.
Around 85,000 people across financial services will need to undertake further study to reach the level-four requirements set under the RDR, says the IFP.
Nine out of 10 Sipp investors believe they can outperform professional fund managers, according to research by Barclays Stockbrokers.
Recession, continuing depression in the property market and deflation/inflation threats are all causing us to reconsider our attitude to money.
AscentricAscentric Pension Account
I refer to the news story headed, Beaumont sets up sale and rentback firm (Money Marketing, May 7) and the observation made by Dean Mirfin that: "There is still great concern that people could be in a position where they have to decide about sale and rentback very quickly while in a very difficult situation."
Industry experts say split-caps could return to the fore as high earners look to shield themselves from the high income tax sting unleashed in the Budget.
Aberdeen is to acquire Credit Suisse’s multi-manager business, Money Marketing can reveal.
Premier Network Group is going into administration amid claims from appointed reps that it owes them renewal commission and proc fees. PNG closed to new business on February 16.
Despite the equity rally which began in March, investors remain divided on the direction of the stockmarkets in 2009.
Research from Pinsent Masons law firm has found that 65 per cent of senior executives who work in distribution do not believe that consumers will be better off when the Retail Distribution Review changes come in.
Aegon has posted an £18m pre-tax loss across the group in the first quarter.
An atomised approach to regulation, with a number of industry regulators reporting to a college of supervisors, could prove beneficial, says the Association of Independent Financial Advisers.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers is calling for the "law of agency" to apply under the retail distribution review, with regulatory dividends for advisers who act on behalf of their clients.
AIG Life is paying out £100m, or just over 5 per cent, to investors in its protected recovery fund on June 6.
Advisers have expressed relief that annuity rates finally seem to be stabilising after months of cuts by providers.
Arc Capital & Income has established a structured product which allows investors to make money if house prices rise or fall over the next six years.
The Advertising Standards Authority has launched a formal investigation into NatWest's MoneySense adverts, focusing on its claims of "impartiality".
Openwork has appointed former Legal & General director Kate Avery as a non-executive director.
Aviva is launching a standalone Sipp in the summer, coinciding with the relaunch of its wrap to new business.
Aviva claims it is not stepping on IFAs' toes by chasing 1.4 million "orphan" clients and building up an in-house distribution channel in anticipation of the RDR slashing adviser numbers.
Axa Distribution Services has announced the appointment of Mark Wilkinson as head of financial planning.
Axa has launched a pooled Sipp to allow families or business partners to invest together.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King and chairman Sir John Parker have used their annual report to raise concerns once again over the Bank’s lack of power to trigger the Special Resolution Regime.
The FTSE 100 opened at 4,468 with equities pushing higher on the back of robust earnings announcements.
Barclays has confirmed it has received a number of expressions of interest from third parties over the sale of its asset management division Barclays Global Investors.
The FTSE 100 opened higher this morning at 4,385 and continued to fare well on the back of gains made in the banking sector.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has warned that a culture of blame will not help the mortgage industry.
Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves will be retiring later this year after eight years in the role. He will be succeeded by non-executive director Ian Brimecome.
Do you think banks are capable of delivering impartial money guidance?No 88%Yes 12%
The UK buy-to-let market continued to struggle in the first quarter of 2009 as funding restrictions and falling house prices took hold, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
UK buy-to-let delinquencies on mortgage backed securities increased significantly during Q1 2009, according to Moody's Investors Service.
Cavendish Asset Management is launching five new equity funds.
Cavendish Asset Management has announced the launch of five equity funds.
IFA Clarkson Hill has posted a £669,000 pre-tax loss for the 17 months to December 31 2008 due to “extreme economic conditions.”
The Council of Mortgage Lenders says it will reconsider what it considers to now be a “pessimistic” figure of 75,000 repossessions in 2009.
The commodity boom does not appear to be over and some believe that the falls in the autumn were simply a breather before entering round two of the bull run. Lately, the price of industrial metals has been creeping back up while recovery has been seen in numerous commodity-related stocks.
I have got a with-profits endowment that has been performing poorly of late. Should I surrender it?
As an adviser in this age of great enlightenment of the RDR, transparency, CAR , TCF, it is a shock to be swiftly transported back to the 1970s when asking for an open market option from the Cooperative Insurance Company which just seems to want to hang on to the money to the bitter end.
Complaint handling features highly on the FSA's list of priorities under its treating customers fairly review. The FSA has made it clear it will focus supervisory efforts on identifying firms that have failed to establish appropriate complaint-handling standards.
Coventry Building Society3.99% Three-Year Fixed
Coventry Building Society4.49% Five-Year Fixed
Will the Budget announcement of a 50 per cent tax rate for earnings over £150,000 see an increase in interest in offshore bonds?
Companies which pay dividends face having to contribute to the firm's pension scheme under new rules set out by the Pensions Regulator last week.
The FSA's calls for "a radical overhaul" of individuals conducting governance within financial companies should be restricted to the banking sector, says Beachcroft Regulatory Consulting managing director Richard Hobbs.
Almost a quarter of adults would downsize or release equity from their property to fund their retirement, according to research from Friends Provident.
Last time out, I suggested here that retail financial services regulation should be wound down and the money saved be spent educating consumers.
Evaluate Technologies has acquired mortgageLinked, Network Data’s mortgage sourcing business.
F&C has unveiled proposals to merge eight of its funds into other portfolios run by the asset manager.
The news that Marks & Spencer has dropped its differential pricing on bigger bras got me thinking, after all, the idea of prices based on the item and not its contents (build contents that is) takes me to the most important part of the move to fees.
Fidelity FundsNetwork has revamped the platform's website and launched a range of new fund tools.
Fidelity UK special situations manager Sanjeev Shah believes that the market is likely to see a correction in the next few weeks.
First State hardly fits the usual boutique template as the fund management arm of the huge Commonwealth Bank of Australia but it meets many of the criteria for its UK operation, even slimming down a comprehensive fund range in 2003 to focus on its Asia and emerging market expertise.
First State InvestmentsGlobal Emerging Markets Sustainability Fund
First State InvestmentsLatin America Fund
Former chief executive of Arc group Christopher Rowe has retired.
Former New Star chief investment officer Alan Miller has unveiled his new business venture that he says will look to revolutionize the private client wealth management industry.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews believes Aviva’s claim that IFA numbers will halve as a result of the retail distribution review is “far too exaggerated”.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews has hit out at the life sector for its “insatiable” appetite for new business in recent years.
Friends Provident has managed to restructure £322m worth of debt to strengthen the quality of its capital.
The FSA has fined Morgan Stanley £1.4 million for trader mismarking which led the firm to make a $120m negative adjustment in June 2008.
The FSA has closed its investigation into Clive Cowdery and several other Resolution directors and will not be taking disciplinary action.
The FSA is considering introducing on-site assessments of advisers' competence as an alternative to exams under the retail distribution review, according to the Institute of Financial Planning.
The FSA has closed a department and sent 10 staff home after a probable case of swine flu at its Canary Wharf offices in London.
FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner says the regulator is yet to decide whether it will restrict loan to value and loan to income limits as part of its regulation of mortgage products.
Four adviser firms have been referred to the FSA's enforcement division over pension switching advice.
The FTSE opened at 4,326 today, with many of the UK banks and miners extending losses extending from the previous session.
The FTSE 100 opened at 4,431 today but slipped in morning trades with banks falling hard.
Diversification with judgment is the key to building multi-asset portfolios that work, according to Octopus Investments.
The Government has proposed a register of private English landlords as part of its review of the private rented sector.
Hargreaves Lansdown has added the Neptune US opportunities fund to its Wealth 150 range.
Readers may recall the exchange last autumn between Harry Katz and Hartford Life's Michael Rudge on the subject of those high-commission-paying variable annuities that had already earned themselves a bad name in the US.
I am trying not to take this personally but here am I trying to stimulate a debate about whether or not we have of late been enjoying a bear market rally - one that will run out of steam and hit new lows - or the start of a new bull market and apparently there is no debate to be had at all.
Leading mortgage brokers have slammed the Council of Mortgage Lenders' "hypocritical" attack on intermediaries as the FSA suggests that proc fees may be scrapped in favour of adviser charging.
IFA Promotion has hit out at Capital Asset Management's claims that the IFA label is "tarnished" and says that this does not reflect consumer views.
The Investment Management Association says the current market structure is preventing direct retail participation in the corporate bond market.
Lost amid the furore over the tax on higher-earners' pensions is the news that pensioners of all wealth groups will actually see their income fall as Britain slips into deflation.
European Financial Solutions has bought Mortgage Intelligence and plans to merge the firm with its existing network, Mortgage Next.
Intrinsic Financial Services has posted a £3.6m pre-tax loss for 2008, but grew adviser numbers by 22 per cent and acquired Mint network for £1.9m in February last year.
Many years ago, while still in short trousers, the job I wanted most in the world was to be a magician. It was a fairly short-lived career ambition, sitting somewhere between cowboy and astronaut in terms of my rapidly changing vocational aspirations at the time.
Jupiter’s multi-manager head John Chatfeild-Roberts has ventured further into Asia and the emerging markets space in a bid to take advantage of what he believes will be a sustained market rally.
Largemortgageloans.com is now offering the first private bank products of £1m or more via Trigold Crystal.
The FSA is to investigate how Lehman-backed structured products were marketed to consumers under the "wider implications" process.
Lehman Brothers is seeking court permission to look into whether it was adequately compensated by Barclays for its brokerage unit, according to Reuters.
Lifesearch has set up a consumer-facing website designed to help consumers understand their protection needs without full advice.
Last week, I considered proposals for a 50 per cent income tax rate, the restriction of higher-rate tax relief on pension contributions for those with a taxable income of over £150,000 and the removal of personal allowances for those with an income exceeding £100,000.
Lloyds Banking Group is axing another 625 jobs in an overhaul of its wholesale banking division.
Lloyds Banking Group chairman Sir Victor Blank is stepping down from his post.
The FTSE 100 opened at 4,332 this morning with miners and commodities holding back strong gains.
Lloyds Banking Group is set to offer shareholders up to £4bn in preference shares in a deal underwritten by the Government.
We are in the midst of the most severe recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. This follows a long period of excess, where companies and individual consumers became increasingly leveraged. Of particular concern are the mortgage loans made to people who do not have sufficient income to repay these loans (the "sub-prime" loans).
LV= has launched a new marketing toolkit to help IFAs advise clients on equity release.
M&G Investments has taken in a record £2.5bn in total net inflows for the first quarter of 2009.
Given the economic downturn and the difficulties facing the mortgage market I have been particularly focused on strategic development.
Training to be a vet is not the most conventional route into financial services but Hornbuckle Mitchell's marketing director Mary Stewart began her working life caring for animals. After four years as a vet, she decided to try her hand at sales and marketing as she had always been interested in business so she joined Mars to promote a range of prescription foods for cats and dogs to vets.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews says the introduction of personal accounts offers a good opportunity to provide automatic life cover for savers.
Fidelity European fund manager Tim McCarron is looking to switch his fund to a more defensive stance despite the upturn in markets.
UK life assurers will not have to adopt the new market consistent embedded value accounting standard until 2011.
The FSA has banned and fined an Essex mortgage broker £101,279 for submitting a fraudulent application. 1st Point director Gabriel Aramide has also been censured for concealing a fraud conviction when applying to the FSA for approval as a director.
Mortgage Intelligence has become an authorised distributor utility services through the Utility Warehouse Discount Club.
The servicing cost of UK mortgages is now at its lowest levels since 2004, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
An MP has accused HBOS of risking 500 broker jobs after it blocked the sale of Network Data to the Lighthouse Group last week.
The MP expense row has stepped up after the Daily Telegraph reported that a Labour MP claimed 18 months of mortgage repayments for a paid loan.
The Treasury select committee has called on the Government to monitor the effect of the removal of tax relief on pension contributions for high-earners and consider an alternative if it has a negative impact on pension savings.
MPs say that the banking crisis has exposed serious flaws in remuneration practices in the banking sector and have criticised the FSA for not taking the tackling of this issue seriously enough.
NDFADefined Income Plan April 09
Newcastle Intermediary Services is targeting pension cash through the Sipp market as it seeks to make greater inroads in the IFA market.
Ethical funds saw a strong rise in the first quarter of this year with net sales of 45.2m, a significant rise from the previous year's 26.6m, although down from the previous quarter's 54.8mThe latest statistics from the Investment Management Association show that net sales of funds of funds were 378.4m, up by 65 per cent on the previous quarter but significantly lower than the 647.1m seen a year earlier.
The Treasury says the UK's insolvency and regulatory regimes were not fully adapted to deal with the collapse of Lehman Brothers because such an event had not been anticipated by any country. A discussion paper set out the Government's ideas on how to strengthen the UK's ability to deal with the failure of an investment bank in the future.
Novia has made available a raft of structured products from Barclays, Arc and Morgan Stanley on its platform.
Old Broad Street Research (OBRS) has suspended the A rating of Threadneedle's Latin America fund following the announcement that Katy Dobson, the fund manager, has left the group.
Scottish Widows admits that implementing the Association of British Insurers' open market option initiative is not a priority for the firm.
Let's consider the global economic problem in a few statements - low interest rates, lax regulatory control and a proliferation of financial engineering (once referred to as innovation) in the banking industry. Add these together and they have all allowed people and governments to borrow beyond their capacity and for the financial sector to be overvalued relative to loan exposures.
Opinium Research, IFA Promotion and Money Marketing are recruiting IFAs to join a new online research panel called Independent Voice.
Protection advice faces many hurdles over the coming years. Leaving aside the recession, three main issues stand out as challenges which, untackled, will see Swiss Re's often quoted protection gap figure of £2.3 trillion continue to grow with little chance of being reversed.
Network Data chief executive Alex Cotton and head of sales David Blackmore are recruiting appointed representatives to Openwork through their new company, First Affinity.
Aviva and policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode have renegotiated a reattribution deal for the firm's inherited estate which will see payments to policyholders slashed in half.
Hugh Osmond is set to lose up to £200m of his paper fortune as a result of the restructuring of his Pearl Group empire, according to The Sunday Times.
Nic Cicutti's recent article in Money Marketing seemed to question the authority of an Aifa publication and the accuracy of the University of Nottingham trust index on IFAs.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority has drawn up a short list of four suppliers to administer personal accounts.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority has drawn up a shortlist of four suppliers to administer personal accounts.
Paragon has revealed that it has made a profit of more than £15m in the six months ending in March.
Platform providers should opt for a pay-as-you-go charging structure on Sipps to ensure that clients are only charged for the functionality they require, says Scottish Life sales director Jim Smith.
Government pension spokesman Lord McKenzie has refused to rule out reducing the £150,000 threshold at which higher-rate tax relief begins to erode.
Punter Southall Financial Management claims personal accounts are likely to fail.
The Pension Protection Fund has selected Punter Southall as the preferred outsourced caseworker for annuitised schemes that are applying for compensation from the Financial Assistance Scheme.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews has poured scorn on Aviva's controversial suggestion that adviser numbers will halve by 2013.
Prudential's group-wide new business sales fell by 5 per cent in the first quarter to £697m while sales in the UK fell 6 per cent to £180m.
Alistair Darling's admission to the Treasury select committee that there was "no science" employed in arriving at the new top rate of tax for salaries over £150,000 seems incredulous.
Equity markets have rallied hard from extreme pessimism and oversold levels in early March and there has been some recovery in the credit markets, with prices hardening and spreads narrowing as liquidity returns. The turn-round has been remarkable but have investors cast aside their pessimism too quickly?
The Institute for Public Policy Research says the collapse of the housing market was largely caused by reckless lending behaviour of mortgage lenders and calls for a strict adherence to lending guidelines in the future.
Speculation is mounting that the Government will adopt proposals for private landlords to be licensed when it responds to the Rugg review in the next fortnight.
Virgin Money's UK managing director Rob Clifford has left the business due to the burden on his family life of travelling between the firm's nationwide offices.
Royal Liver is considering strategic options which could include the sale of its loss-making distribution arm Park Row.
Targeting inflation alone has been the biggest policy failure of a generation, advertising guru Maurice Saatchi has claimed.
FSA chief executive Hector Sants has rejected any calls to separate prudential and conduct supervision by claiming it would be a “big mistake”.
Ted Scott has returned to F&C but will no longer be managing money for the firm.
Scottish Life has received independent validation of the processes underlying the governed range of its new investment proposition, launched in January.
A recent tour around Australia, South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia has flagged up strengths and weaknesses in the UK protection market, according to the Association of British Insurers and Friends Provident.
Research from Pinsent Masons law firm has found that 65 per cent of senior executives who work in distribution do not believe that consumers will be better off when the Retail Distribution Review changes come in.
Mortgage advisers can now reserve funds online from Woolwich using Sesame’s mortgage tranche management system.
Sesame is setting up a training programme to help adviser firms diversify their income stream by enabling support staff to write general insurance business.
Sesame's profit before tax fell to £2.85m for 2008, compared to £7.1m in the last seven months of 2007.
Who would want to be the Chancellor? It has always been one of the most thankless jobs in politics but Alistair Darling has taken things to the extreme with his latest Budget.
As more and more cases of potential misselling surface at Barclays, the bank appears unwilling to address the central concerns raised.
Skandia has launched a new financial planning tool enabling advisers to demonstrate how to maximise tax efficient withdrawals from collective investments and investment bonds.
Skandia saw a 62 per cent increase in sales of its wrap in the first quarter of this year but single-premium sales in the UK and international business plunged by 40 per cent.
The Financial Services Skills Council has admitted its performance has not been up to scratch but says it is committed to improving to gain a new operating licence.
Smith & Williamson Investment Management has announced the appointment of former New Star fund manager Charles Deptford.
Emerging markets and smaller companies funds have made the biggest gains in the recent surge in markets, according to research from Financial Express.
Chief executives and senior managers from the financial services industry have joined forces to launch the Moneyspinners fund-raising initiative, with the first event to be a Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride.
Split-capital trusts could become more popular as wealthy investors seek to reduce exposure to Budget income tax changes, says JP Morgan vice-president of product development for investment trusts Richard Plaskett.
Fund guru Anthony Bolton's call on a bull market has been greeted with scepticism by other managers and IFAs.
Transfers from Sipps into small self-administered schemes have risen due to credit drying up from banks, according to Hornbuckle Mitchell.
More than 4,000 Standard Life unit-linked pension policyholders have seen the value of their pension funds drop, some by as much as £30,000, after a pricing error occurred seven years ago.
Standard Life has refused to compensate advisers for extra work as a result of the firm's pension sterling fund revaluation.
The end of April brought a close to the FSA's programme of pension-switching roadshows. The programme was established with the aim of helping support and educate firms about our expectations for this business area and how best they might meet them following our review that found significant instances of unsuitable advice.
According to HM Revenue & Customs, around 198,000 trusts filed self-assessment returns in 2006/07. The assets held in trusts are substantial, with 5,500 reporting income in excess of 100,000.
Tenon Financial Services has teamed up with SEI Investments Company on a new wealth management platform.
In the wake of this week's FSA Mortgage Sector Conference, the industry seemed to be playing the Blame Game for the current turmoil and trouble in the UK mortgage industry. The FSA blamed the advisers, the lenders blamed the advisers and the advisers were left reeling.
Variable annuity players including the Hartford and Lincoln Financial Services look set for a US Government bail-out.
With all the hype over the last 18 months about people not investing any longer and retail investment funds seeing more than their fair share of outflows, it is time to take a long-term view.
I have been reading some interesting statistics on investment management, courtesy of the Securities & Investment Institute. The latest edition of the SII's Investment Management Review shows the total amount of money in financial assets worldwide at the end of 2006 (the latest figures available) was $167trn - a staggering figure. This statistic comes from McKinsey & Co but the SII trawls data from a range of sources.
Is adviser charging the way to go in order to stamp product bias out of the mortgage industry? Should proc fees be scrapped altogether?
Picking the right moment to re-enter equity markets is never easy, especially now when markets are so volatile. Call it too early, and you risk making losses. However, call it too late, and the opportunity is missed.
True Potential has set up a buyout scheme to help advisers wanting to leave the industry or release value from their firms.
IFAs should be harnessing the referral power of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to FinQS.
UBS Global Asset Management is looking to to launch a US market-neutral fund.
UK Financial Investments is reportedly already talking to sovereign wealth funds and other potential investors about selling its stakes in the part-nationalised banks.
The past eight weeks have seen an incredibly strong rally in global stock markets. For example, since the Standard Life UK equity recovery fund - which I featured in these pages - launched in early March, it has risen by 50 per cent. That is an astonishing move in such a short space of time but should we all now jump on the bandwagon?
I hope Julian Stevens will now read the small print in the Budget. He seems to think that for someone earning £150,000 or more, the answer is for the company to make a pension contribution instead.
Parliamentary ombudsman Ann Abraham has branded the Government's response to her report into the Equitable Life collapse as "deeply disappointing", saying it offers insufficient support for the rejection of her findings.
West Bromwich Building Society has rubbished reports that it is on teetering on the brink of collapse by claiming it is “well capitalised” and “able” to meet all financial obligations.
Zurich Corporate RiskGroup Income Protection
Zurich is considering launching its own platform.