15 April 2009
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has received claims amounting to an estimated £140,000 from clients of Kilminster Financial Management Limited, which went into liquidation last July. The FSCS says it has received 11 claims so far, after the company was declared in default on January 6.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews will get a £3.6m share award in 2012 if he hits performance targets. Matthews was paid £369,758 in relocation costs when he left Standard Life and got £1.2m in salary, benefits and bonuses in 2008.
1st - The Exchange is hosting a series of adviser seminars in a bid to help IFAs reduce the cost of running their business using its latest technology.
The FSA has defended spending 214,159.50 on three Christmas parties, claiming it was good for staff morale and motivation.
AbbeyThree Year Fixed Rate
Over the last month there has been significant disruption to plans and it has been interesting to see the reaction and outcomes to them.
The name of Adrian Lowcock will be familiar to anyone who takes more than a passing interest in the trade investment press. The senior investment adviser at Bestinvest has been a notable commentator on all things investment related in the last six months and says the firm took a conscious decision to alter the way its media and marketing operation was structured, with Lowcock becoming the main media spokesman.
As banks helped bring the global economy to its knees, financial stocks have over the past year lost their status as dividend deliverers and some became pariahs of the equity world.
The Investment Funds Association says distributor influenced funds give distributors clarity on how they are being managed which cannot always be said for retail funds that are bought “off the shelf.”
Transact claims it is seeing advisers return to the platform after being disappointed when they switched to a rival.
Thomas and Thomas managing director Darren Lloyd Thomas is warning other advisers against setting up clients on wraps and then failing to rebalance portfolios on a regular basis.
Advisers who opt for a shared-distribution wrap proposition are more likely to be profitable this year, says pension software provider Dunstan Thomas.
Alexander David SecuritiesEIS Small Cap Fund
Allianz Global Investors has brought out the RCM European equity incomefund, an Oeic investing in blue chip companies in continental Europe thatpay dividends.
Pension consultant Ros Altmann says Aon's move to cut employer pension contributions will see other employers following suit.
In times of crisis it is only human to point the finger of blame at others. Economists are no exception. While American and British economists often blame excess savings in Germany and China for the crisis, their German peers generally point to the Anglo-Saxon consumer boom.
Abbey has been slammed by advisers for turning down high- quality mortgage deals.
Keydata has launched its first five-year Annual Kickout Plan, which offers investors the choice of early maturity at each plan anniversary, with a rising bonus facility.
Artemis has confirmed the launch of the Strategic Assets fund to be run by William Littlewood.
Artemis fund manager William Littlewood believes the UK is facing a 1930s style recession which could be ‘nastier’ and longer than expected.
Aviva has bought ING Group's £30m pension fund business and its holding company in Russia.
Aviva Investors equity income fund manager Dan Roberts is leaving the firm to join Gartmore.
AWD Chase de Vere has launched a new bespoke advisory service for high net worth clients.
Axa PPP Healthcare is urging Channel Islanders visiting the UK to ensure they have appropriate health insurance in place after the UK decided to withdraw access to free NHS care for Islanders.
The Association of British Insurers has warned the Government that scrapping higher rate tax relief on pensions would be "entirely wrong and short-sighted".
The Bank of England monetary policy committee has held the bank rate at 0.5 per cent and will push ahead with its quantitative easing programme.
Yet another tale of horror has come to light about appalling financial advice given to consumers approaching or already in retirement, with devastating effects to their financial wellbeing.
The Budget must offer greater clarity over Government support from homeowners as lack of access is preventing investors from acquiring mortgage books, warns Oakwood Global Finance.
The FTSE 100 opened higher this morning at 4,060, up from Thursday’s close of 4,053.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers has warned that banks must hold capital in their international subsidiaries to cushion any future failures.
An IFA claims Barclays' advisers transferred the long-term savings of six separate clients approaching or in retirement into a single specialist fund, resulting in huge losses.
Barclays has agreed to sell its exchange traded funds arm iShares to private equity firm CVC Partners for £3bn, although it is still listening to bids for the whole of its asset management arm, including iShares.
Barclays WealthTarget Growth Plan - April 2009
The standard of advice given by Barclays’ “financial planning managers” and uncovered by Money Marketing this week appears alarming to say the least.
Jonathan Greenhill has joined Barings as head of Japan equities.
Baring Asset Management marketing director Ian Pascal is warning that some income funds will fail to deliver on the attractive yields being marketed to investors.
Interest rate cuts have hit more than 8 million pensioners with a quarter fall in their monthly income according to Safe Home Income Plans.
It never ceases to amaze me that even now, after 23 years in the business, I still have moments of clarity that change my whole outlook.
BNY Mellon Asset Management has introduced a global strategic bond fund thatcan invest anywhere in the fixed income market.
BNY Mellon Asset ManagementGlobal Strategic Bond Fund
Do you agree with the proposed crackdown on offshore tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions?Yes 88%No 12%
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has reportedly hinted that higher rate tax relief on pension contributions could be scrapped in next week's Budget.
This year's impending Budget has been more hotly anticipated than ever as the public looks to the Chancellor to find out how he intends to lead the UK out of the recessionary storm.
The state of the economy has both brought to light and perpetuated the growing spate of mortgage fraud cases in the UK.
The building societies involved in this weekend’s reports suggesting the Moody’s downgrade has forced talks with the Bank of England have played down any rumours of a “crisis”.
Bupa Individual Protection has appointed Kevin Russ as its new technical services consultant.
New enquiries for house purchase were up in March for the fifth month in a row, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reports.
Buy-out firms reported a 50 per cent increase of funds under management to £22bn at the end of 2008, according to new figures from the Association of British Insurers.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable says there is a widening gap between how low and high earners are impacted by inflation.
Canada Life has gone live with Plum Software giving users direct access to fund information.
What the FSA is effectively saying with the proposed new capital adequacy levels is that it is not capable of regulation.
Castlestone has launched the Collection of Modern Art fund, an offshore eight-year vehicle investing in modern art.
The Confederation of British Industry says the worst of the UK recession is over but recovery will be slow with GDP growth resuming in the spring of 2010.
Chelsea Financial Services has called on the Chancellor to increase the level of tax relief on venture capital trusts in next week's Budget.
At a time when most of the West is already in recession, China's economy continues to expand. The main reason to be optimistic about the Chinese economy is the flex-ibility and determination of the authorities to take action to support it.
Support services firm In Partnership has appointed former FSA managing director of retail markets Clive Briault to the board of The On-Line Partnership as a non-executive director.
Industry and public concern over counter-party risk following the failure of Lehman Brothers has increased demand for more effective protection strategies in the structured product market.
The Financial Services Compensation scheme has paid out more than £33m to consumers as a result of claims on failed IFAs over the past financial year.
The Competition Commission has appointed Dr Alison Oldale as its new chief economist.
Concerns have been raised over the size of mortgage books acquired by Britannia and West Bromwich.
The Pension Protection Fund says the deficit in defined-benefit pension schemes rose from £205bn in February to £242bn in March.
A friend said to me the other day: "I bumped into X on the station platform as I was coming to meet you. He told me to tell you that you lost him half a million pounds." That sort of news would, I'd imagine, in the normal run of events, cause me to show a degree of concern, even if I had - as I had that day - been suitably anaesthetised by a rather good lunch.
Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to announce plans in the Budget for a new blacklist for British citizens and businesses who evade significant sums of tax, according to reports.
Treasury select committee member Labour MP Andy Love predicts that Chancellor Alistair Darling will delay any tax increases in his Budget next week due to the recession.
Dennehy Weller & Co has warned clients that higher rate tax relief on pension contributions could be abolished in next week's Budget.
Equitable Life victims have launched a bid for a High Court challenge over the Government's failure to compensate one million policyholders when the life company collapsed.
Hargreaves Lansdown has released the Isa season sales figures from its Vantage platform, showing that equity income and corporate bond funds continue to dominate.
The equity-release sector contracted by 24 per cent in the first quarter, according to Key Retirement Solutions.
Industrial production in the eurozone fell 18.4% year-on-year in February.
Industrial production in the eurozone fell 18.4% year-on-year in February.
Former IMA deputy chief executive Sheila Nicoll is to replace Dan Waters as FSA head of retail policy, becoming the new head of the retail distribution review.
As you return from the Easter break, your desks are probably littered with enough research documents and reading to turn blue skies grey.
Fidelity is piloting a range of exchange traded funds, inv- estment trusts and stocks on its online trading service Sharenetwork.
A Lincolnshire financial adviser has been sentenced to six years imprisonment after he admitted his money lending business had lost £1.2m of investors’ funds through fraudulent trades.
The FSA's conclusion that there is a distinct consumer misunderstanding over what constitutes advice and execution-only when buying critical illness cover has caused a stir among industry commentators.
First State Investments has launched a global emerging markets sustainability fund.
Headlines heralding 1p mortgages have kept the spotlight firmly on trackers in recent months but for many clients now is time to refocus on fixed deals.
Software provider Focus Solutions remains confident ahead of its financial results due for publication in June.
Income is all the rage at the moment, with sales in the UK equity income sector pulling in £369m in net retail sales in February, the third best selling sector. Corporate bonds are also playing on the income theme and in January the sector took in a staggering £1.4bn in net retail sales followed by £1.1bn in February.
Insurers are detecting record levels of fraudulent insurance claims, the Association of British Insurers reveals today.
The FSA has banned a London mortgage broker and fined him £100,000 after he was knowingly involved in submitting false mortgage applications.
The FSA has cancelled the permission of Joy Obika Sydney, trading as Joy Sydney Finance, for regulatory failings including unpaid FSA fees of more than £1,000 .
Seventy per cent of consumers purchasing a critical illness policy believe that they are being given advice during an execution-only sale, according to FSA research.
A former FSA supervisor has accused the regulator of “apathy and complacency” in its regulation of building societies prior to the credit crunch, according to the Financial Times.
The FTSE 100 opened at 3,968 on a par with Wednesday’s close but lifted as high as 4,008 in early trades boosted by banks and mining stocks.
The FTSE opened flat at 4,093 today as property stocks held back early gains from banks.
Gartmore has added to its absolute return range with the launch of a UK absolute return fund.
Pink Home LoansAbbey For Intermediaries 3.99% Two-Year Fixed
The Government has today launched a scheme which gives some borrowers the option to defer most of their mortgage payments for two years.
After filing my column last week, I got an email: "Dear Nic, you may have seen that Axa has scrapped indemnity commission on group pension plan products. I don't know what you think, but in my view this marks the beginning of the end of the commission. That has to be a good thing, doesn't it?"
With an ageing population, the retirement mar- ket is one of the few sectors where all indicators look positive for growth.
Hargreaves Lansdown chairman Stephen Lansdown has sold 23m shares in the firm to fund private projects, including the proposed new stadium for Bristol City Football Club.
Hargreaves Lansdown has reported a a 3 per cent increase in third quarter operating revenue to £32.8m from £29.8m a year earlier.
Hawksmoor Investment Management has appointed Daniel Lockyer as a fund manager.
Henderson chief executive Andrew Formica says the firm is looking at emerging market equities as one of a number of potential additions to its range following the New Star deal.
HM Revenue & Customs is proposing taxation changes which will allow annual management fee rebates due on Isa investments to be deposited directly in clients' Isas without constituting a contribution.
Holloway Friendly SocietyPersonal Income Protection
Holloway Friendly Society has established a personal income protection planbased mainly on an own-occupation definition of incapacity.
Over the past quarter of a century, the global economy has become increasingly reliant upon demand growth from the world's biggest consumer - the US household sector - to engineer recovery from recession. This time, the customary mechanism for stimulating US domestic recovery, and thereby world trade, is broken.
HSBC took the lead in the battle of 90 per cent mortgages last week as it revealed that it would be allocating £1bn to a new range of high loan to value deals.
The ifs School of Finance says Ofqual has formally approved amendments to its level four diploma for financial advisers, designed in response to the FSA’s retail distribution review.
The March Retail Price Index dropped into negative figures for the first time in almost 50 years.
Insight InvestmentUK Equity Income Booster Fund
Investec has launched its eighth collection of structured products.
Investec Structured Products has launched an eighth series of plans, with a new income product offering payments of 6% per annum.
iShares has announced the launch of seven new offerings to its range of Exchange Traded Funds.
Inflows into emerging markets exchange traded funds are accelerating as investors show a renewed appetite for opportunities beyond developed markets, says iShares.
Jupiter and New Star founder John Duffield is set to launch a new company, Hyde Park Asset Management.
Keydata Investment Services has launched an annual kick out plan.
Keydata Investment Services is offering two options for its dynamic growth plan plus issue 16, including a choice of counterparty.
Bondholders who collectively have nearly 400m frozen in KSF IoM will not be recognised as individual depositors under the Isle of Man's proposed scheme of arrangement.
Former Chancellor Lord Norman Lamont believes that IFAs have a crucial role to play in helping the public through the financial crisis.
The Land Registry fee for registering a property worth £100,000 is to rise from £100 to £130 in July and for a property worth £1m, it will go up from £420 to £550.
Legal & General Investment Management has announced the appointment of Hugh Cutler as head of distribution.
The Liberal Democrats have proposed to cut income tax bills by raising the personal allowance to £10,000 to boost low and middle income earners.
It is to be expected that markets run out of puff during a holiday period. The whole basis of sell in May and go away is predicated on wealthy landowners, who owned the bulk of shares in days of yore, closing up their London houses and retiring to the country for the season. Easter may not be quite such a vacational imperative but the streets of the City are undoubtedly quieter and it is not just the recession.
Lincoln has rolled out its telephone interviewing service for its flexible menu-based protection product Financial Foundations, replacing its existing application form.
Lincoln Financial Group has removed the £100 annual admin fee on its retirement product Lincoln i2Live.
Transact has written to advisers warning them about potential rebalancing problems that can arise in model portfolios when assets become entirely or substantially illiquid.
M&GGlobal Emerging Markets Fund
Mansfield Building Society3.54% Two-Year Fixed Rate Intermediary
Martin CurrieGlobal Energy Fund
The current state of the jobs market is fuelling demand for student rental property as applications from older individuals wanting to attend university increase.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has revealed that the Treasury Select Committee chairman John McFall MP is to speak at its Annual Dinner.
Meteor Asset Management has launched another tranche of its prima growth plan.
The Government admits it expects a low take-up of the option to buy back class three National Insurance contributions due to the negative impact of means-testing.
Launched in 2003, OPM has always focused on differentiating itself in the crowded multi-manager area, whether through direct equity expertise or technical market analysis.
Money Portal has confirmed it is open to an outright sale following a strategic review.
Moody’s Rating Agency has downgraded most of the top UK building societies thanks to severe credit losses in residential and commercial assets held by the mutuals.
Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded Gartmore after citing a significant deterioration of the firm’s balance sheet and profitability in 2008.
The FSA has banned Dorset mortgage brokers Peter and James Dean for regulatory failings, including submitting false mortgage applications and acting without authorisation.
Mortgage declines have increased by nearly 400 per cent in the past two years, according to moneysupermarket.com.
Mortgages for purchase rose by nearly 4 per cent to 24,300 or £3.1bn in February from 23,400 in January but remortgages fell by 20 per cent to 35,000 from 44,000 in January, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Treasury minister Lord Myners has suggested changes in the taxation of bonds in investment trusts could be announced in tomorrow’s Budget.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders have found that as many as 900,000 mortgage borrowers are currently in negative equity.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders' revelation that nearly a million homeowners are now in negative equity is more grim news for the already frozen housing market.
Network Data chief executive Richard Griffiths advised appointed representatives who were owed commission by their mortgage networks to "jump before being pushed" in a mortgage trade publication over two years ago.
Network Data has cancelled its trip to Marrakech for its top 20 appointed representatives and revealed there are two possible buyers for its broker networks.
Network Data has been closed to regulated business according to the FSA’s register.
Network Data Holdings says it is business for usual for its Mortgage Broking Services Limited network after the FSA withdrew permission for the Network Data network.
Hargreave Hale is offering a Sipp with no annual charge for active investors. Investors must generate over £250 commission a year to be eligible for the product. Pension admin will be outsourced to Dunstan Thomas.
Novia has appointed Zurich’s Chris Skelhorn as its regional sales manager for South West.
Over the last year or so a huge amount of industry debate, especially in these pages, has been devoted to highlighting the open market option.
Origen client services director Mark Pearson says volatile market conditions have led to the firm delaying the launch of its investment arm.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has predicted that half of the reckoned £145bn of mortgages lent in 2009 will go through advisers.
Over 1,000 advisers have added their brand to Skandia’s portfolio analysis report in just four months.
HM Treasury and the FSA have launched their £12m Moneymadeclear pathfinder initiative in the North-East and North West, targeting up to 750,000 people by 2010.
Pearl Group is aiming for a stockmarket float with a target market capitalisation of around £2bn, after which it intends to pursue acquisitions.
Will Aon's move to cut contributions be the death knell for decent workplace pensions?
The Pensions Regulator has warned pension schemes that it will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers if it uncovers fraudulent or dishonest behaviour during the downturn.
An adviser has hit out at the way that platforms assess the risk of individual funds after a Zurich fund which was assigned a low-risk rating fell by almost 20 per cent in value.
BlackRock’s European absolute alpha fund aims to provide positive returnsacross all market conditions by investing in a portfolio of Europeanequities and equity-related securities, including derivatives.
Advisers fear that the Post Office's decision to reduce cover for unemployment in its payment protection insurance policies may lead other firms to follow suit.
Premier Asset ManagementPremier UK 8% Income Plan
HM Revenue & Customs will allow people with mortgages above 50 per cent on properties in a Sipp to remortgage without a tax penalty, according to the Association of Member-directed Pension Schemes.
This month, the International Monetary Fund will deliver its latest reviews of financial services regulation in Jersey and the Isle of Man, with a similar exercise for Guernsey due to be carried out in September this year.
Sir David Lees has been appointed new chair of the court of the Bank of England, succeeding Sir John Parker.
The FSA is to launch a formal investigation into the events that led to the problems at Royal Bank of Scotland and HBoS.
Retirement Plus has revealed it has had to suspended new lending while it negotiates its funding line.
Royal Liver has become the 16th provider to sponsor Origo, joining the likes of Aegon, Friends Provident and Standard Life.
Royal London has appointed Bright Grey distribution director Andy Peters as its new national partnerships director for its intermediary division.
Britain's retail price index (RPI) inflation fell to a negative 0.4% in March on an annual basis, the first fall in retail prices since 1960.
As anyone involved in the financial planning sector will know only too well, nervousness over investing, a desire to retain access to liquidity and a general feeling of uncertainty over what the future holds, all have a huge influence in decision-making.
Zombie life funds have for years been a whipping boy for personal finance journalists, whether writing about pensions or any other with-profits investments. Their restrictions on investing in equities have made attacking investments in both closed and open with-profits funds like shooting fish in a barrel.
I hardly need to say what a dire decade this has been for the UK stockmarket. We have now had two falls of 50 per cent in the stockmarkets and many clients will be disillusioned. That said, the further the market falls, the more confident I become about the long-term future. The trouble is that I cannot tell you if the market will fall further from here or if we have already seen the bottom.
A number of New Star staff are to be placed on five-month contracts after the merger with Henderson.
SimplyBiz is offering a premium service, SimplyBiz Plus, designed to appeal to larger and more complex IFA firms.
Skandia says that using gross domestic product growth rates rather than index weightings in geographical asset allocation should help its multi-manager global dynamic equity fund to outperform.
SkandiaProtected Portfolio Investment – Global Vista Fund
The Financial Services Skills Council has launched a review of the existing National Occupational Standards for providing financial advice.
Le Beau Visage has named the keynote speakers to appear at this year’s Protection Review conference in London.
The latest obsession to enter the life of my six year old son is collecting and swapping football cards. He spends hours each week poring over the statistics of players from every Premiership team, debating the relative merits of each with his fellow collectors.
The UK wrap market is oversupplied and new launches are unlikely this year, warns Standard Life head of communications Mark Polson.
The National Skills Academy for Financial Services has appointed Sylvia Perrins as chief executive officer with immediate effect.
The Income Protection Task Force is pressing for an official kitemark to be created for genuine income protection products to stop providers "hijacking" the name to sell other types of cover.
As we are in a new tax year, what do I need to be aware of in terms of the tax that I pay?
TCF Centre, the customer feedback solution developed by FinQS, has seen a surge in its membership with 10 new firms signing up to its service in March.
Tenet is making loans available to its member firms, as many businesses struggle to obtain credit from the banking sector.
In this maelstrom of invective towards bankers, I have to admit to some mixed emotions. Back in the 1980s, a young partner in a national accountancy practice helped me avoid one bad purchase and what would have been a disastrous sale of my firm. We stayed in touch and met up from time to time when he was in town dealing with a major liquidation.
After months of bad news the mortgage markets received some respite last month.
Dennehy Weller managing director Brian Dennehy says investors are piling into bonds as they face Hobson's Choice.
Bluefin Advisory Services is to close its Thinc networks and has reached an agreement with Sesame to offer members the opportunity to join Sesame with "minimal disruption".
A third of IFAs saw an increase in clients using equity release to supplement retirement income over the last three months, according to Hodge Lifetime.
Threesixty has taken a minority stake in IFA consolidator Bright Financial Services.
The Conservatives would consider breaking up big state-owned banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds if they win the next election.
One of Gordon Brown's favourite catchphrases, except when he is in the US, is: "This started in America." Fair comment. Most countries quite rightly blame the US for the global financial collapse despite being willing players as long as the illusion of prosperity lasted.
Transact has singed an agreement with Calastone Limited to become a member of the transaction network.
FSA chairman Lord Turner has written to Chancellor Alistair Darling to say that intensive supervision of Dunfermline may not have prevented the collapse of the building society.
UBS will be cutting 8,700 jobs from its global workforce by the end of 2010.
American insurer Genworth has called on lenders to make use of mortgage insurance to help them increase lending.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable has criticised the FSA for the perceived “climate of fear and vindictiveness” at the regulator, after a whistleblower refused to be identified.
Insight Investment says its risk management team is crucial to running its multi-asset funds and pricing structured products in volatile markets.
The Miton approach that generated positive returns in our balanced managed funds in 2008 is the unconstrained management of asset allocation. We believe fervently it is where one invests, rather than what one buys that determines the absolute return of a fund.
SimplyBiz and Clerical Medical are holding a series of 24 workshops throughout the UK to ensure members comply with the FSA's pension switching requirements.
People who have spare money to invest at the moment are presented with a tremendous and potentially unprecedented opportunity.
Zurich Corporate RiskGroup Income protection
Zurich is now offering advisers access to its Zurich guaranteed capital account 23.
AIG has reportedly agreed to sell subsidiary 21st Century Insurance to Zurich Financial Services in a deal worth £1.27bn.
Zurich is running a pilot to determine whether to offer initial commission to advisers for corporate pensions.