15 July 2009
On the FSA hitting out against the protection industry's reaction to suggestions there could be some form of RDR read-across
1st - The Exchange has launched a service enabling IFAs to access annuity quotes on their mobile phones.
More than 80 per cent of US banks that have been given government aid say it has led to increased lending.
This week Abbey for Intermediaries began trials of its 'switcher' scheme whereby advisers can secure a preferential mortgage rate by signing up their clients to an Abbey current account.
The Association of British Insurers has warned that insurance must not be treated like banking under Conservative proposals to reform financial regulation.
The Investment Management Association's latest sales by asset class breakdown adds to hopes that the property sector is bottoming out. Yet Adviser Fund Index panellists are sceptical and surprised by the figures, confused even.
Advisers are outraged by FSA suggestions that the protection industry is complacent about the possible risks to consumers from protection misselling.
Three advisers from overseas pension transfer specialist Montfort International have left the company to launch a new firm offering advice on Qrops.
Collins Stewart's multi-manager team has warned advisers they should not invest in Ucits III funds just because they are an extension of long-only portfolios.
Aegon is calling for the proposed basic advice and simplified advice streams to be merged.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has launched the first phase of its business transition programme.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has warned that the Government and regulator must increase consumer access to trusted sources of advice, following yesterday’s Tory white paper.
IFAs advising clients on transactions without ongoing charges should have significantly reduced potential liabilities, says Aifa.
AIG Life UK is to fall under the Alico umbrella as branches worldwide consolidate under one brand.
Allianz UK chairman Clement B Booth has been appointed to the board of the Association of British Insurers.
It is finally summer and we have actually had some good weather too. Who would have thought that Wimbledon's equivalent of a giant umbrella, constructed with the sole purpose of protecting its centre court from the elements, would have been used so little? Or that it would be so hot that the weather would come with its own health warning?
The Investment Management Association is the latest group to shoot down the European Commission's proposals for regulation of the alternatives' industry.
Industry experts have warned that American Express' shock decision to suspend contributions into its UK stakeholder pension scheme for up to 18 months may see other firms follow suit.
American Express has taken the unusual step of suspending company contributions to its UK stakeholder pension plan for up to 18 months.
American Express has taken the unusual step of suspending company contributions to its UK stakeholder pension plan for up to 18 months.
Assureweb has made equity release compliance product FreeBen available to its users at a discounted price.
Aviva has been forced to send out letters to 9,000 with-profits policyholders admitting that it miscalculated the amount owed to them in the redistribution of its inherited estate.
Aviva is expected to cut its with-profits bonuses again this week with new bonus rate figures on Friday.
Axa is targeting advisers with poor persistency levels with a new scheme.
Axa has hit out at American Express’ decision to suspend pension contributions into its UK stakeholder scheme, warning the move will be more detrimental to the personal wealth of its employees than other measures.
Banks are failing to lend more to UK businesses as figures fell by almost 50 per cent on 2008's lending statistics.
FSA chief executive Hector Sants has written to banks and large financial institutions advising them to submit a remuneration policy statement by the end of October.
Barclays staff may strike against their employer in September after the bank decided to close its final salary pension scheme.
There is a new conundrum developing for the market to solve. With the Bank of England holding bank rate at 0.5 per cent for the fourth consecutive month, the noon announcement seems to be losing its appeal to the nation since the excitement of the turn of the year and even Robert Peston has moved on to pastures new.
I was never one of those children who had a very definite idea of a career path. Other than a fleeting moment of wanting to be a ballerina and a member of Abba, my career choices as a child were not obvious.
BDO Stoy Hayward has made 10 per cent of its partners redundant.
Chancellor Alistair Darling plans to impose enhanced prudential regulation and stronger capital requirements on large and complex financial organisations.
Rothesay Life has completed a £1.9bn deal for the insurance of pension liabilities of the UK schemes of RSA Insurance Group. It claims it is the biggest-ever pension buyout.
The Government has come under fire for not doing enough in the banking White Paper to address the problems facing the mortgage market.
RWC Partners expects more interest in its Cayman Islands hedge fund range now that it has applied for distributor status on all sterling share classes.
Advisers should be recommending more trackers as fixed rates become too expensive, says John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger.
Bradbury Hamilton is planning an acquisition spree following the purchase of Caversham Buchanan’s 10,000 strong client book.
Brewin Dolphin, the independent private client investment manager is opening two news offices.
Investment manager Brown Shipley is changing the mandate of its £18m multi-manager balanced fund to an income fund.
Brown Shipley is ditching the ‘Solus’ tag on its £200m fund range in a rebrand the group hopes will raise the profile of the company.
Liberal Democrats shadow chancellor Vince Cable has called for the break up of both Lloyds Banking Group and RBS.
Former Openwork chief executive Keith Carby has revealed that a disagreement between himself and Zurich about the future of the business led to him leaving the firm.
Growth in the number of Asian hedge funds in recent years has enabled London-listed fund of Asian hedge funds Castle Asia Alternative to build a multi-strategy portfolio which has held up well since launch in 2005.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has tightened its criteria for firms that want to achieve corporate chartered status.
Cofunds saw net positive flows into property in the second quarter of this year as investors tentatively dip a toe back in the sector.
It was just three short years ago that the A-Day reforms were introduced. That they were introduced amid the confusion of U-turns and even U-turns on U-turns was unfortunate and highly confusing but the end result was probably worthwhile.
The FSA is to force firms to publish their own complaint data every six months where 500 or more complaints have been received during the period.
The Pensions Ombudsman says it received 742 new cases needing investigation during the year to March 31, 2009, which shows no significant increase on previous years.
I hold my hands up, I am a wicked salesman. I confess to selling a £181,000 Norwich Union mortgage protection insurance policy and a Holloway income protection insurance plan to a couple in the next village a couple of years ago. The husband has just had a terminal-illness payment for stomach cancer, which has cleared his mortgage and the Holloway policy will carry on paying until his eventual demise but hey, aren't us salesmen awful?
Axa UK group marketing director Olivier Mariée says consumer brands are critical to rebuilding trust in the financial services industry.
The Financial Services Consumer Panel has called for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to offer a 100 per cent guarantee on all deposits.
European equity boutique 2CG was set up by Charles Glasse and Chris Garsten in 2000, with their identical initials presenting a simple and memorable company brand. They initially shared an office with wealth manager Laing & Cruikshank, which was subsequently bought out by UBS, serving as its European expertise.
Convertible issuances are likely to gain momentum as investment trusts look for more innovative ways of fundraising, according to privately owned investment manager Ecofin.
Daniel Fox has left his post at Insight Investments to run a Corporate Bond fund at Co-operative Asset Management.
A Council for Financial Stability bringing together the FSA, Bank of England and Treasury will be set up to monitor financial stability and respond to long-term risks as they emerge.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings questions whether banks that own product providers will be allowed to provide factoring facilities to advisers under the retail distribution review.
Exact Mortgages has hit out at rival servicing firms it claims are harassing defaulting buy-to-let landlords with up to 60 phone calls a day.
Clients with Keydata plans are continuing to suffer delays getting income payments despite recent reassurances from administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers that payments are being processed.
SVM Asset Management's balanced management fund is benefiting from the narrowing of discounts in the investment trust market, particularly in the property and private equity sectors.
An industry education programme is needed to increase adviser knowledge of ETF products.
The Equitable Life Members Action Group's legal challenge to the Government is due to start at the Royal Courts of Justice today.
Those advising on equity release are facing a challenging paradox at the moment.
Advisers say the rise of ETFs will be a major threat to underperforming opaque funds run by life companies and high-charging tracker funds.
Exact Mortgages has launched its online Intelligent Mortgage Servicing platform today.
The industry had its latest insight into the FSA's thinking last week, with director of small firms Lesley Titcomb presenting at the Council of Mortgage Lenders' annual Regulating Mortgages conference.
The FSA has today announced the appointment of Gareth Adams as a senior advisor on the asset management sector.
Where were you on June 25 when the FSA launched its consultation paper on financial services retail distribution?
Too much choice in the ETF market could be dangerous and lead to fad investing.
Fidelity International has added a retail share class called Europe long term growth to its institutional Europe ex UK fund which was launched in 1996.
Fortis UK chief executive Barry Smith has today taken over as Chartered Insurance Institute president from Friends Provident chief Trevor Matthews at the AGM in London.
Co-operative Asset Management has recruited former Insight Investment fund manager Daniel Fox to manage its £301m corporate bond income trust.
Friends Provident International has launched the Optus Group Protection policy in the Middle East today.
The principle of leaning against the cycle is easy to agree. For some reason, this sentence, taken from Alastair Darling's statement to the House of Commons on reforming financial markets, worries me - and I don't think it is just because it appears that the Chancellor is borrowing soundbites from fortune cookies or possibly cryptic crossword clues in The Times.
Friends Provident has rejected a second offer from Resolution, claiming the proposals are "flawed in a number of significant ways".
The FSA has banned insurance broker Ambrose Darby director Graham Darby for failings relating to the handling of client money.
The FSA has banned and fined the directors of a Yorkshire-based adviser firm for running an investment scheme which put 53 customers at risk of losing nearly £10m.
Too much investment choice can lead to consumer confusion and prevent consumers from acting for fear of making a bad decision, according to FSA chairman Lord Turner.
The FTSE 100 opened at 4,389 this morning and lifted higher in early trades boosted by takeover talk.
Leading fund companies have called on the FSA to rethink retail distribution review proposals on adviser-charging, warning that plans for multiple share classes would create an administrative nightmare.
From 2010/11, the basic personal allowance will be subject to an income limit of £100,000. Where an individual's "adjusted net income" is below or equal to the £100,000 limit, they will continue to be entitled to the full amount of the basic personal allowance.
GLG is looking to launch more funds in the absolute return sector in the coming months.
Julius Baers currency-hedged physical gold fund manager Stephan Mueller says gold prices could easily hit $1,000 an ounce by the end of this year.
Government red tape is a bigger concern than the recession for IFAs, research from Assureweb has found.
Hansard InternationalPortfolio Bond
The article headlined, Drop in the ocean for repo help (Money Marketing, July 2), was very informative but could I reassure readers in need of legal advice on housing issues that there is help at hand. In fact, last year, over 170,000 people got legal aid to help them resolve their housing problems.
Henderson Group has warned that it expects profits to halve for the first half of 2009.
The Government has put forward proposals that may allow HM Revenue & Customs to demand the details of all landlords on letting agents’ books in an attempt to curb tax evasion.
Iceland is to capitalise three of the banks it rescued last year in a move to bolster its banking system, according to reports.
Research carried out by AJ Bell has found 99 per cent of advisers view online Sipps as an alternative to personal pensions.
The Investment Management Association has called for the exclusion of closed-ended investment companies from the new fund manager regulations proposed by the European Commission.
The International Monetary Fund has warned the UK Government not to test the markets as it sinks deeper into debt.
Panellists at the Personal Finance Society retail distribution review conference were divided over what minimum qualifications should be mandatory for different advice channels.
An independent consumer education and information body could be set up, funded by FSA-regulated firms.
Intermediaries retained approximately the same market share in the second half of 2009 as they did in 2008.
Investec Structured ProductsFTSE 100 Geared Returns Plan 10
Investec Structured ProductsGuaranteed 3 Year FTSE 100 Plan 10
Up to 600 investors have been tricked into what the City of London Police believe is one of the biggest Ponzi schemes ever found in Britain.
Research by Scottish Provident has highlighted once again the need to end the 'it won’t happen to me' culture gripping the UK when it comes to their protection needs.
Iveagh/Berkeley BurkeIveagh Private Pension
Two people have been sentenced to over eight years in prison for a £508,000 mortgage scam in West Yorkshire with two fraudulent mortgage agreements with Woolwich and Yorkshire Bank.
Julius Baer has announced the appointment of Marion Williams to its asset management distribution team.
Jupiter Asset Management has added the Japan select fund to its Luxemburg Sicav.
Keydata founder Stewart Ford personally loaned millions of pounds to a firm run by David Elias, the man at the heart of the investigation into Keydata funds which may have been misappropriated, months before the firm became insolvent.
Redemptions of Keydata products invested in SLS Capital or Lifemark may be suspended indefinitely, according to administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Neptune India and Asia Pacific opportunities fund manager Shelley Kuhn is leaving the firm and management of the funds is passing to Ewan Thompson.
No other aspect of the RDR has been provoking as much debate in the industry as the proposals to increase the minimum level of qualification by the end of 2012. Many advisers are already taking action to respond to the challenge but our research shows that nearly one-third of advisers say that qualifications are their primary RDR concern.
Legal & General Investment Management has appointed James Finch as head of financial institutions.
Lloyds Banking Group has appointed Peter Curran as head of intermediaries for the group. It has completed a restructure of its intermediary proposition, with Phil Rickards as head of BM Solutions, Kevin Purvey as head of both Cheltenham & Gloucester and Scottish Widows and Ian Wilson heading Halifax for Intermediaries.
Lloyds Banking Group is set to cut more than 1000 jobs partly due to the merger of Clerical Medical into Scottish Widows.
Interest rates have been the centre of many investment discussions in the past year. With the Bank of England deciding to hold interest rates at their historically low level of 0.5 per cent, it appears that this topic is not likely to go away any time soon.
The Isle of Man parliament has approved a £193m government funding package which will accelerate full repayment for more than three-quarters of depositors with Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander IoM.
The financial services industry has broadly welcomed the proposals in CP09/18, the majority of which can be a huge benefit to the industry.
Outgoing Financial Ombudsman Service chief ombudsman Walter Merricks has warned his successor not to assume that complaint numbers will fall as a result of the retail distribution review.
Meteor Asset ManagementInternational Income Plan
I once had a client for whom the optimum portfolio was a single share - either he held it or he didn't. In a similar vein, the riskiest position he ever took, in his view, was holding only cash. In such circumstances, it meant he was bereft of positive ideas and was invested in an asset class bound to be eroded by inflation.
Recent comment has suggested that the life insurance industry's business model is broken. Apparently, nothing short of closing to new business can save it.
Morgan StanleyFTSE Gilt-Backed Best Entry Growth Plan
UK gross mortgage lending was up by 17 per cent in June 2009, but was still down by almost a half on 2008 figures.
Advisers have questioned the treatment of unitholders following the sale of 10 Credit Suisse funds by Aberdeen to Premier Asset Management.
MPs have attacked the Government for failing to do enough to help the housing and mortgage markets. The communities and local government committee found measures to stimulate housebuilding and market activity, such as the asset-backed security guarantee scheme, were not working.
The Government's proposals for a national service to fund long-term elderly healthcare could be a great opportunity for IFAs.
The recent release of worse than expected first-quarter1 GDP data vindicates our cautious views on the economy - we expect UK GDP to contract by 3.5 per cent this year. Significant further deleveraging is required on the part of consumers and businesses.
Maybe it is because I am a journalist myself but one of the vaguely intriguing sidebars to the current financial crisis has been the way my fellow scribes have responded to the topic of borrowing and debt.
The Lautro 19 case has focused my mind on the inadequacies of the quotation system. I consider illustrations to be a hindrance to writing business because of over-emphasis on charges and lack of focus on performance.
Neptune India and Asia Pacific opportunities fund manager Shelley Kuhn is leaving the firm with management of the funds passing to Ewan Thompson.
The NHFA is urging the Government to think carefully about its proposals for long-term care for the elderly.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority has revealed costs of more than £30m for 2009.
Paragon Group has launched a residential landlord insurance division, Redbrick Landlords Insurance.
Pension savers risk losing at least £1,400 during transfers when they buy an annuity despite industry initiatives to speed up the process, according to warnings from Virgin Money.
Armstrong Investment Managers has hired Simon Ellis as a consultant to drive its business strategy. As well as heading up the review of the Financial Services Skills Council's restructure, Ellis began work on business development at the newly formed multi-asset investment house at the start of June.
Nick Prettejohn will step down from his position as chief executive of Prudential UKand Europe in September.
HML has appointed Martin Frazer as director of client relations. Frazer joined HML in March following the merger of Skipton and Scarborough building societies. He was group commercial director of Scarborough as well as managing director of SMS, Scarborough's third-party mortgage admin subsidiary.
The Personal Finance Society is looking to appoint "chartered champions" in regional areas to represent the professional body and act as hosts at chartered financial planner events in local communities.
Pictet Funds has launched an American large-cap vehicle for retail investors.
Members of the UK Platform Group have signed up to a common messaging standard to drive forward platform-to-platform re-registration.
Positive Solutions is set to roll out its apprenticeship scheme across the country and is in talks with universities about developing a follow-up programme to bring candidates up to QCF level four.
As many mortgage advisers have already left or are thinking of leaving the mortgage market due to the credit crunch, we are bucking the trend with our current recruitment campaign and are looking nationwide for more mortgage advisers to join us.
European Commission proposals for the regulation of the alternative investment fund managers could hit property funds.
Prudential has been appointed as joint AVC provider for the West Yorkshire Pension Fund.
Consumers have a higher opinion of their IFA's performance in the last 12 months than advisers have of themselves, according to Opinium Research.
Almost without exception, every part of the financial services landscape that we thought was stable has been turned upside down and shaken about over the past year or so. This uncertainty obviously encompasses the stockmarkets although even distribution is suffering upheaval.
In 1865, Britain introduced the Locomotives on Highways Act, better known as the Red Flag Act. Among other things, the act stipulated that all mechanically powered road vehicles must be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag to warn the public.
RBS Intermediary Partners2 Year Base Rate Tracker
You have to hand it to the FSA, when it comes to front, they have more than Sainsbury's and much chutzpah too.
There are many things in the RDR that could have been taken as "a good thing" but its biggest and probably most fatal flaw is in its timing.
Resolution says it welcomes Friends Provident's statement, released earlier today, setting out proposals for the combination of the groups which would see Friends Prov become the holding company of the new entity.
Resolution is expected to make a revised bid for Friends Provident after the firm rejected an initial offer and is lining up bids for a number of other insurers.
Resolution has tabled a new cash and shares offer for Friends Provident that takes into account the proposals set out by Friends Provident last week.
MGM Advantage, Living Time, Partnership Assurance, LV=, Canada Life, Hargreaves Lansdown and Bluefin have joined forces to form a new group to lobby for change in the retirement sector.
The roles of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will be reviewed as part of a raft of banking reforms.
Aviva Investors head of credit portfolio management Roger Webb is to leave the firm, Money Marketing can reveal.
RWC Partners is planning to launch a US absolute alpha fund for recent hire Mike Corcell.
Product providers are confident that the retail distribution review will lead to a significant increase in advisers using ETFs.
Self-build mortgage specialist BuildStore has revealed a 39 per cent year-on-year increase in self-build finance enquiry levels throughout the last quarter.
Safe Homes Income Plans has revealed Q2 2009 equity release business amongst its members was down 22 per cent on 2008 figures.
Simply Biz has applauded the Conservative proposals to scrap the FSA and is calling for the regulator to temporarily suspend its “far reaching, radical and expensive RDR proposals”.
The Singapore Monetary Authority has banned ten institutions from selling structured notes after they dealt in products linked to Lehman Brothers.
Simon Ellis has a daunting task ahead of him as he leads the review of the Financial Services Skills Council's future strategy but he is confident it will be able to regain its licence.
I have just agreed the financial settlement on my divorce. What should I do now?
RAM Capital Partners/BMS FinanceSunstone Outsourcing
Few investors believe whole-heartedly in the recent rally. This is because it has been led by highly indebted oversold stocks such as banks while more defensive companies with stronger balance sheets have been left behind. Many investors now want to see actual demand pick up before deploying more of their cash into the market. As a result, they are behaving with suspicion and caution - a recognised stage in the investor psychology cycle.
Compliance consultancy Swaines, formerly owned by The Money Portal, has been sold back to its original owner Allen Swaine by administrators Ernst & Young.
Swift director of funds Edward Glyn says it is time for the FSA to introduce rules on platform re-registration as principles alone have not worked.
Sesame's proposed takeover of Bankhall will create a massive distributor with 3,000 appointed representative and 1,500 directly authorised firms but questions remain over how the businesses and personalities will gel together.
Taxpayers may still have a stake in RBS and Lloyds Banking Group for 10 years after UKFI admitted that its investments were in huge deficit.
Tesco Personal Finance has played down speculation that is seeking a separate credit rating so as to access the wholesale funding markets.
I hear on the grapevine that day trading which gripped a nation a decade ago is in the ascendancy again. The technology boom was fuelled by every man and his dog buying shares in companies that were supposedly going to make them bucketloads of cash in an instant.
I thought I would talk about three funds rather than the usual one. All three are centred on the UK market and I have already featured two this year, namely the Standard Life recovery fund and the Schroder UK alpha plus fund. The remaining fund is a new launch from Old Mutual, the UK dynamic equity fund.
Consumers like a range of options when deciding on financial products, but is too much choice a bad thing?
The Conservative party has called for the abolition of the FSA with prudential powers passed to the Bank of England and a new body set up to regulate advisers.
The Conservatives have attacked the Government's White Paper on banking reform, calling it "a white flag" and arguing it should have buried the tripartite regime.
The Conservative party says its proposals to scrap the FSA and hand greater power to the Bank of England will see industry levies for financial regulation rise.
A traffic-light system could be used for financial products, similar to the one used in food labelling.
The retail distribution review presents IFAs with a significant opportunity to grow their client base and generate significant additional value within their businesses. The most recently announced proposals are a positive step forward and while there remain some issues to be ironed out, the future should hold no fear for advisers who are prepared to adapt quickly to the changing rules.
At the FSA's financial capability conference in Cambridge, Lord Turner said "radical questions" need to be asked such as can there be too much innovation in some markets and are some products too complex to be sold to consumers at all.
Newly appointed monetary policy committee member Dr Adam Posen says the UK is on track to successfully complete its financial stimulus package. Posen says the UK is "beating the clock" on fixing the economy.
The UK unemployment rate rose by a record 281,000 to reach 2.38m in the three months to May, according to the Office for National Statistics.
New proposals by an American think-tank may see US firms having toxic mortgage asset returned to them.
Axa Distribution Services has added Vanguard’s index-tracking funds to its Elevate wrap platform.
The Government is launching a consultation on legislation that would protect 40 of the world’s most heavily indebted countries from so-called ‘vulture funds’.
The Walker Review has called for fund managers to become better stewards of institutions in an attempt to encourage long-term gains.
The former West Brom Building Society chief executive Stephen Karle received a £520,600 pay-off in 2008 despite taking the firm to the verge of bankruptcy.
Research from Which? Legal Service shows that 56 per cent of people surveyed don’t have a will.
Invesco Perpetual head of investment Neil Woodford says the UK economy is not likely to recover for another three to four years and that “green shoots” in the equity market are “illusory.”
Yorkshire-based IFA Neil Liversidge of West Riding Personal Financial Solutions has launched a political lobby group for IFAs calling for realistic and fair regulation.