14 January 2009
Jubilee Financial Products has launched a new structured product plan which offers a choice between two issuers of differing credit quality and rating.
The FSA has fined Aon Limited £5.25m for anti-bribery and corruption failings in making payments to overseas firms and individuals.
Research by financial analyst Plimsoll has revealed that 12 per cent of IFA firms in the UK are in financial danger.
Standard Life-backed national IFA 2plan Wealth Management says it is still on target to meet its growth plans despite recording £2m in losses between 2006 and 2007.
I have always thought it was prudent to be politically neutral when communicating with clients but this has become increasingly difficult in the last few years.
Aberdeen Asset Management is starting to look like one of the few success stories to emerge from the credit crunch. On the final day of 2008, the firm unveiled its £250m acquisition of Credit Suisse's fund management arm. The move sees Aberdeen become one of the leading players in the fund management sector.
The Association of British Insurers and the Financial Ombudsman Service have re-launched their joint non-disclosure guidance paper as a code of conduct.
The Association of British Insurers is extending its non-disclosure guidance to group business.
SVM Asset Management is offering an absolute alpha fund. The long/short UK equity Ucits fund will aim to deliver returns in excess of cash as measured by Libor over 12-month periods.
European equity funds are still on advisers' radars despite fears that the region has yet to fully experience the fallout from the credit crunch.
The Association of Investment Companies has launched an initiative to improve the prominence and quality of data available on investment companies through online trading and research sites.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has welcomed the Financial Ombudsman Service’s proposed 12.5 per cent decrease in levies for IFAs, which is due for formal FSA consultation this month.
The Guardian Financial Group has appointed Alan Dawson as its group compliance director.
Regulation comes, regulation goes, markets rise and markets fall but customers (when did they stop being called clients?) should be able to take comfort in the fact that the fundamentals are as they always were.
Alliance Trust has appointed Jonathan Bolton as head of Japanese equities.
Alliance Trust chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox says the firm will look to add two or three funds to its recently launched asset management arm in the next 12 months, with Europe likely to be top of the list.
Alliance Trust Asset Management is launching two core funds in UK equity income and North American equities.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is calling on the Government to look into its latest bailout package on the grounds that it could unfairly drive more lender consolidation.
The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers will tonight call on the Government and regulators to refrain from “over regulating” the private wealth management sector.
Architas Multi-Manager is partnering with JP Morgan Asset Management to offer a liquidity fund.
Argonaut is calling on the IMA to introduce a new sector for overseas income funds.
The Government has launched some more crunch-busting policies this week, with Gordon Brown set to create the world’s first Bad Bank for toxic assets.
Mortgage brokers fear that even more difficult times are ahead for borrowers after Bank of Ireland became the latest lender to reveal it will be "significantly" deleveraging its mortgage book.
Bankhall Investment Associates has struck a deal with the ifs School of Finance to offer its members the ifs Diploma for Financial Advisers.
When it comes to bailouts there are two big things on the Government agenda - to get banks lending to people to buy houses again and to get them lending to businesses again.
Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, The Co-Operative Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS/Natwest will stop selling single premium payment protection insurance with unsecured personal loans by the end of January 2009.
Blackrock’s UK absolute alpha fund dropped off Cofunds’ quarterly top 20 selling funds for the first time since it launched on the platform.
Just when I thought I had written my last letter to Money Marketing, I find that the issues raised in the three letters published on December 11 all encouraged a response.
Bond fund sales continue to gain momentum amongst investors, stealing 40 per cent of all net sales on Cofunds in the final quarter of 2008.
Do you think the Government should allow auto-enrolment into group pension schemes before 2012?Yes 88%No 12%
Big mortgage brokers linked to estate agents are preparing for a tough 2009 with redundancies and "tough decisions" as margins tighten.
The Building Societies Association has warned that Northern Rock’s plan to halt its deleveraging could lead to unfair lending advantages.
Isle of Man-based life assurer Canada Life International has appointed Sean Christian as its new managing director.
Advisers will have to dig even deeper into their back pockets if a complaint is referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service from April, when case fees will rise from £450 to £500.
Thames River multi-manager duo Gary Potter and Robert Burdett say there is a 60 per cent chance we have seen the low point in the markets.
Cazenove has rebranded two of its multi-manger funds as part of plans to widen its diversity range.
Checkmate Mortgages has revealed it has been offering a remortgage analysis service for hedge funds looking to buy discount mortgage books.
Chelsea Building Society is waiving its Early Redemption Charge on buy-to-let deals as it looks to reduce the size of its mortgage book.
The CII Group is teaming up with insurer RSA to launch its series of construction masterclasses to a global audience.
A leading City analyst believes that Credit Suisse may sell its private client fund management boutique JO Hambro Investment Management as part of the downsizing of its operation.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has warned that the Government's scheme to help out-of-work borrowers could have disa strous funding consequences.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has called on the Government to review the cumulative effect of its bail out of the banking sector.
Unless firms deliver simplicity and certainty, consumers will not benefit from a redesigned marketplace following the FSA's retail distribution review.
With the equity market trading on around seven times earnings and yielding about 6 per cent, an element of the impending economic slowdown is certainly being discounted. However, valuations are likely to remain low for as long as company newsflow continues to deteriorate and a deep and prolonged recession unfolds in the UK and the rest of the developed world.
It has been a dark day for UK banks as Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Barclays and HSBC were all hit by huge losses in the markets.
IFA firm Dennehy Weller has set up a new Dividend Watch service to monitor dividend payouts.
The Government’s total pay out for Equitable Life may only be tens of millions a leading financial services lawyer has warned.
Veteran fund manager Patrick Evershed is taking legal action against his former employer New Star.
A Scottish court has awarded a former Heart of Midlothian Football Club chief executive over £237,000 in compensation after a Clydesdale Bank adviser failed to explain the risk of a market value adjustment.
Fitch has downgraded Clerical Medical citing concerns over its strategic importance to the merged HBOS Lloyds group.
Financial Ombudsman Service case fees will rise in the 2009/10 financial year from £450 to £500 and firms will continue to receive three free cases.
Friends Provident International has launched a new single premium product with option of early access and an annual loyalty bonus for long-term investors in the Middle East.
Franklin Templeton Investments is launching a new US equity fund within its retail fund range.
Friends Provident has slashed its with-profits terminal bonuses by as much as 22.5 per cent, cut its regular bonuses and increased market value reductions.
Friends Provident International has temporarily waived debit charges on an offshore bond with over 90 per cent invested in Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander IoM after pressure from Money Marketing.
The FSA has banned and fined Dynamic Mortgage Brokers of East London director Richard Kennedy £101,106 for submitting false mortgage applications.
The FSA has fined Belgium-based private investor Erik Boyen £176,254 for dealing in the shares of AIM-quoted company Monterrico Metals Plc on the basis of inside information.
The FSA has fined Wolfson Microelectronics £140,000 for failing to reveal price sensitive information to the market as soon as possible, resulting in a false market in Wolfson shares for 16 days.
The FSA has summoned 1,500 advisers to specially arranged pension switching roadshows and warns that a "tough stance" will be taken on anyone failing to attend.
Rockingham Retirement has called for an FSA clampdown on "unacceptable delays" in pension transfers that could put people at risk of losing thousands of pounds.
The FTSE 100 continued its slide towards 4,000 this morning as a number of the UK's leading retailers announced a slump in their sales figures.
The FTSE 100 sank almost 5 per cent lower this afternoon as banking concerns intensified and investors digested a grim set of retail sales figures from the US.
Aberdeen Asset Management is one of a number of leading fund managers to feel the fallout of Satyam Compurt Services fraud scandal.
Fidelity FundsNetwork is to increase the interest rate of its cash account but some other platforms will not confirm what will happen to their rates if the base rate drops towards zero.
The Personal Finance Society has hit out at the FSA for failing to clarify what constitutes a QCA level four qualification, despite imposing a "tight deadline" for advisers to achieve the award.
The Government has begun to deleverage its Bradford & Bingley mortgage book by waiving the Early Redemption Charges on Mortgage Express deals.
Advisers wanting to gain the ISO 22222 certification could be eligible for Government funding, reducing the cost of the award to 437.50 from 1,375.
The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has hit out at the Government for yet again excluding non-bank lenders from a funding aid package.
The Government has today revealed it will step in to support UK lending by implementing the Crosby Report and creating a ‘bad bank’ to buy up bad assets.
The Government has launched a £20bn scheme to guarantee bank loans to small businesses.
The Government has revealed another mortgage rescue scheme aimed at the poorest homeowners in the UK.
B&CE deputy chief executive John Jory believes it unlikely that the Government will come up with a workable solution to the means-testing dilemma surrounding personal accounts and it is resigned to the fact that some people will lose out by saving in the scheme.
The Government has announced a new scheme designed to compensate some policyholders in the Equitable Life saga.
The Government is expected to unveil a compensation package for Equitable Life victims tomorrow, according to reports.
The FSA has today welcomed the proposals announced by the Government to give it new statutory powers, including the power to grant immunity, when investigating criminal cases such as insider dealing.
HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed that Australian Qrops which pay tax charges that arise through the transfer of funds from a UK registered pension scheme will not be seen as unauthorised payments.
HM Revenue & Customs has cut the interest rates charged on late payments and paid on overpayments.
Over 20,000 businesses have delayed paying more than £350m in tax after HM Revenue and Customs implemented its payment timetable inititative six week agos.
HM Revenue & Customs has proposed rule changes to ensure that lump sums paid by non-UK pension schemes out of UK tax-relieved funds are taxed in the same way as equivalent payments by registered pension schemes.
HM Revenue & Customs is set to crack down on inheritance tax gifting loopholes, according to wealth management lawyers Moore Blatch.
Legal & General has appointed Richard Hodges to head up its £1bn fixed interest trust in replacement of Malcolm White.
Home Of Choice has entered into a single-tie agreement with Paymentshield for its members' GI and MPPI offering.
The Government has unveiled a £200m scheme allowing housing associations to buy up all or part of the equity in homes to prevent homeowners from facing repossession.
Providers, advisers and regulators must work together to take the RDR forward, says ABI director general Stephen Haddrill.
Insight Investment has confirmed the appointment of Michael Pinggera as head of multi-asset group.
I am increasingly wondering where the Government is going. Last week's Bank of England interest rate cut, bringing the base rate down to 1.5 per cent, is a case in point. What is it trying to achieve?
J O Hambro has announced the appointment of Mark Leach as an analyst within its European equity team.
Jupiter Asset Management is planning to merge two sub funds within its global fund, subject to shareholder approval.
The Conservatives have appointed ex-Chancellor Ken Clarke as Shadow Business Secretary.
Checkmate Mortgages is set to give its funding partners a one-year guarantee that if any of its borrowers go into arrears, its earnings can be withheld.
The KSFIOM depositors action group has called for a loan from the Isle of Man government to help Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander IoM repay depositors.
An early payment scheme for Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man depositors, providing initial relief of £1,000 per account holder, is expected to be moved for approval at the January sitting of Tynwald starting next Tuesday.
Legal & General is clawing back £2.4m of commission from cancelled pension policies after a sweep of unclaimed clawbacks.
Legal and General has today announced the restructuring of its IFA wealth sales support team which will see it reduced by nearly a third.
Banks and building societies made a loss after tax and provisions of £5.8bn in the first three quarters of 2008.
Lighthouse Group is looking for further buying opportunities after this week's acquisition of Leeds IFA firm Godfrey Pearson for up to £1.9m.
Advisers have expressed their shock following the departure of the Liontrust fund manger pairing of Jeremy Lang and William Pattisson.
Edeus went into administration owing nearly £15m, including debts of £3.6m to Nationwide through monies owed to Derbyshire Building Society.
Lloyds Banking Group has predicted a £1.5bn pre-tax cost saving following the successful acquisition of HBOS.
Beijing-based wealth manager Lowes is reducing the cash holding within its east-west value fund with the view to becoming fully invested within the next five to nine months.
Amid a deluge of bad news statistics, the FSA published the results of its pension-switching advice review in December. What were the results of this review and what action do advisers need to take?
Lack of clarity surrounding the Government’s latest rescue plans has triggered another crisis of confidence in the financial markets, says Schroders head of UK equities Richard Buxton.
Treasury Select Committee chairman John McFall has put his weight behind proposals which aim to ensure responsible investment, particularly for pension funds.
MetLife is launching a new investment bond designed to give capital, withdrawal and death benefit guarantees.
One of the major issues raised during the consultation phase for the retail distribution review has concerned the differences between sales and advice. Key proposals in the feedback statement released at the end of last year include distinguishing between independent advice and sales advice to create better clarity for consumers.
This year could see more product providers releasing claim statistics on income protection policies, says Watson Wyatt principal consultant Sue Elliott.
Boutique fund manager Managing Partners Limited is staging a series of free masterclasses for IFAs and institutional investors on traded life policies.
Nationwide has appointed Chris Rhodes to its board as group product and marketing director.
Nationwide has vowed to chase the £3.6m it is owed by former lender Edeus.
Network Data has made eight area development managers redundant.
New health screening methods will speed up underwriting and drive the protection market this year, says Munich Re chief underwriter Paul Gyseman.
As if things could not get worse in the mortgage broking industry, I am now forced to use companies such as Barclays and the Woolwich.
The Association of British Insurers and the Financial Ombudsman Service have relaunched their joint non-disclosure guidance paper as a code of conduct.
Northern Rock has revealed it will halt the deleveraging of its mortgage book.
Norwich Union has slashed final bonus rates on its with-profits funds by up to 15 per cent, citing the credit crunch.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has questioned the viability of the Government's mortgage holiday plans after revealing estimates that one indebted mortgage could cost lenders the equivalent of up to 80 new mortgages to fund.
OPM Fund Management is exploiting the declining strength of sterling within its fixed-interest portfolio.
Insynergy has appointed ex-Fidelity International marketing director for equity funds David Orr as marketing and product director.
Oval Limited has bought Shropshire high-net-worth financial specialist Wills & Partners.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority has launched a tender process to find a supplier to administer personal accounts.
Standard Life managing director of distribution Paul Matthews is celebrating two anniversaries this month - 20 years at Standard Life and 10 years as head of the distribution team. Matthews started his career at the head of a very different team when he captained England's under-19s rugby team and says he spent his early years focused on being a professional sportsman. Sadly, injuries put paid to that ambition so instead he decided to follow a career in sales.
I have money sitting in offshore bank accounts. I have read a lot recently about holding money offshore and it does not appear to be good news. What do I need to consider?
As goes January, so goes the year, is an old and oft repeated adage. There should be no surprise that investors will be watching markets very closely. And this January, we have an event that comes round only once every four years and sometimes only every eight years. President Barack Obama takes over the reins at the White House in just a few days. What a time to take office.
True Potential managing partner David Harrison has stepped down as non-executive chairman of Positve Solutions after nearly three years on the board.
Principal Investment Management has upheld a black listing of Liontrust’s first income fund in its January income study, following the resignation of fund manager Jeremy Lang from the firm.
Barclays Wealth is offering a new range of protected investments aimed at helping investors who are caught between volatile equities and falling interest rates.
Last week the ABI's director general Stephen Haddrill called on providers, advisers and regulators to work together to take the RDR forward.
Pru Protect says it is strengthening its position in the protection market by appointing a number of former Legal & General staff.
The Bank of England's decision to cut interest rates to 1.5 per cent has put further pressure on the cashflow of Sipp providers.
Royal Bank of Scotland will reveal 2008 losses of as much as £8bn as the Government strengthens its hold on the lender.
Royal Bank of Scotland shares have plummeted by more than 66 per cent after incurring the biggest losses in UK corporate history.
Two-thirds of advisers may quit the industry if the retail distribution review is not rolled out properly, says Positive Solutions.
November saw the FSA publish its feedback statement on the retail distribution review for investment businesses. The plans are wide-ranging and, if adopted, could significantly change the way in which these financial products are marketed.
The FSA says it may reconsider introducing a 15-year long stop for advisers if compelling supporting evidence is presented by the industry.
It is carnage on the high street, with big-name retailers dropping like flies. During the past few months, we have seen the collapse of Woolworths, Zavvi, Whittards, The Pier and Adams.
Hargreaves Lansdown is urging the FSA to introduce a mandatory requirement for all providers to provide reduction in yield figures to help advisers compare like for like when pension switching.
Royal London Asset Management has appointed Craig Inches as a fixed interest fund manager.
Ruby Wax and Erin Brockovich are keynote speakers at this year's British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s conference in Manchester.
It seems that many firms are struggling with what is fair or not. Times are hard, income is down, costs are tight and everyone is struggling to maintain competitiveness. There will be arguments up and down the value chain as everyone struggles to get their share of a diminishing cake.
The withdrawal of rate relief from empty commercial properties in April 2008 caused huge protests from the property industry, led by the British Property Federation, and from major property owners such Tesco, BA and McDonald's.
Santander Asset Management has launched a new mass-market investment range which includes five new growth portfolios and three income portfolios.
Schroders has linked up with Standard Life's wrap to offer its direct clients portfolio planning through Standard Life’s private client managers.
Scottish Widows has appointed Norwich Union's Simon Massey as intermediaries director.
This week's RDR sermon involves confusion and misinformation. The Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary - I looked there because, according to the FSA, it is what the majority of us are - explains that confusion is "to mix up two separate things" or "to make something difficult to understand".
Sesame has told mortgage clubs they have little future unless they look to diversify.
Equity-release providers believe the economic downturn will create a surge in business.
The FSA's proposals to make IFAs and sales advisers accountable to the same professional standards will damage consumers' perception of the term "professional", says Sifa managing director Ian Muirhead.
SimplyBiz advisers registered with its New Model Business Academy are planning to take over 2,400 CII exams in 2009.
Skandia Investment Group has added the Newton European higher income fund to its European equity blend and Schroders’ US small & mid cap fund to its US equity blend.
SVM is another of the earliest UK boutiques, forming in 1990 as a partnership between Donald Robertson and husband and wife Colin McLean and Margaret Lawson.
Standard Life has vowed to remediate customers who invested in its pension sterling fund after it became aware the fund would be revalued.
Standard Life has hit out at the FSA for ignoring transfers into stakeholder pensions in its pension switching thematic review.
The fall in the pound against the dollar is “hugely bullish” for a number of UK investment companies, says Henderson Global Investors head of value and income Job Curtis.
For years, we have heard how retail investors are blighted by chasing performance instead of anticipating it. If this is true, there must be times when investors miss out. Will investors miss out again? Should they go back in? We don't envy you advising on such decisions. We merely point out that, for markets, if not individual stocks, what goes down almost always goes up.
Symponia is teaming up with live-in-care provider Helping Hands Homecare to boost accessibility to care at home for elderly people.
Those involved in giving financial advice to the owner-managers of private companies will be aware of the many financial risks associated with the death or critical illness of a director.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, who will be the next fund manager to go?
If a financial firm says it will give advice that will be free from bias and not linked to the sale of a product, then it should do so. It is wrong if it doesn't.
The Conservatives have appointed Theresa May as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.
Threadneedle has announced the appointment of Ann Steele to the institutional arm of its European equities team.
Threadneedle has confirmed that head of distribution David Gasparro is to leave the firm following a restructure of the division.
The Personal Finance Society has branded the FSA's sales advice title "meaningless" and wants simpler names to differentiate advisers.
Towergate Financial has acquired IFA and general insurance broker Smith Blamires.
Towry Law has promoted Bryan Innes to the role of senior client partner.
Trainee IFAs will be allowed to advise clients while still studying for the QCA level 4 qualification providing they are adequately supervised, the FSA has confirmed.
HSBC private bank head of strategy Fredrik Nerbrand says the Government’s recent intervention into the UK economy could hinder economic growth, rather than help it.
UK tax payers threw away £1.9bn in uneccesary inheritance tax payments in 2008, according to research from unbiased.co.uk.
Sales of payment protection insurance are an important part of the retail finance market and have become one of the most profitable retail products in the financial services sector.
Calls to Norwich Union's specialist underwriting helpline for advisers more than doubled last year.
It is fascinating to see how quickly climate change has become mainstream in our consciousness.
The search for income became a lot more important - and difficult - following last week's Bank of England cut in interest rates to an historic 1.5 per cent. Not even in the Great Depression of the 1930s have rates gone this low and some, such as Rathbone's Julian Chillingworth, are predicting that the rate could fall to 0.5 per cent in the coming months.
West Bromwich building society has revealed it has ceased lending through intermediaries.
Nobody knows what is going on at the moment. OK, to the more cynical among us that may simply be a statement of what Basil Fawlty once characterised as the bleedin' obvious but, even so, it is not something one necessarily expects to hear from a well-known but, for the purposes of this column, anonymous fund management group.
It is 2009 and the lunatics are still running the asylum. Do Members of Parliament realise how stupid they appear when they demand that banks make mortgages more readily available because they have been given £37bn?
I often wonder whether managers at the coalface running funds really care too much for the IMA and its rules. I remember a row that developed in 2003 among European fund managers.
Few things can be predicted about 2009 with any degree of certainty. For entirely understandable reasons, many market commentators have declined to forecast what can be expected for financial indices or house prices by the year-end.
Merchant Investors has set up a service to allow IFAs to create their own funds which can later be converted into an Oeic.