15 October 2008
National IFA firm 2plan has rebranded as 2plan Wealth Management and launched a growth strategy designed to triple turnover to £9m by the end of 2009.
There could be as many as 380,000 potential homeowners waiting for the mortgage market to improve.
Seven Investment Management is boosting cash levels and shifting to euro government bonds to preserve client capital in volatile markets.
I read with interest Harry Katz's recent article on variable annuities or third-way products. He presents a cogent argument in a number of areas but I feel that it only right to put the other side of the argument to ensure a fair balance.
I rarely recommend buying venture capital funds, but the current financial crisis means entrepreneurs are now expecting much less money for a stake in their business as they are finding it harder to raise money and borrow from banks.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is saying some things about the current financial crisis which should be of comfort to advisers.
The Association of British Insurers has teamed up with global insurance supervisors to outline the key principles which insurance regulation should be based upon.
The global financial turmoil has not surprisingly prompted investors to increase the level of caution in their portfolios. The Investment Management Association's fund statistics for August show that the most popular sector for the third consecutive month was absolute return. The most popular UK-domiciled Isa sector was guaranteed protected funds.
1st-The Exchange managing director David Child is urging IFAs to review their technology proposition to enable them to take full advantage of worsening economic conditions.
Aifa says it welcomes comments made by FSA chairman Lord Tuner regarding the intermediary community in his latest interview with the Financial Times.
Over £1bn of withdrawal requests were made from the AIG enhanced fund in one day before the firm was rescued by the US Government.
AIG Life UK says the freeze on withdrawals from its enhanced fund was not prompted by block withdrawals from private banks with discretionary mandates, following concerns raised by some IFAs.
AIG is hosting a seminar for IFAs with clients invested in the enhanced fund on Friday to help them choose between the maturity option or exit plan.
AJ Bell has written to the Isle of Man Treasury requesting urgent clarification of the regulation surrounding Sipps and Ssas deposits relating to whether an individual is covered.
News that unemployment levels are set to soar by 330,000 to 2.12 million by the end of next year could see the consumer protection cogs start turning.
Aviva says the terms of its £1bn reattribution payout may now change due to the current market conditions.
Axa Winterthur has announced the launch of its new wealth management business.
We are in the middle of a financial storm and coping with its impact is the current focus of regulators, product providers, fund managers, advisors, clients, journalists and politicians.
The Bank of England should have injected more into the special liquidity scheme in April to avoid the Government's banking bailout this week, says The Mortgage Practitioner sole trader Danny Lovey.
The “penal conditions” of the UK banking bailout could lead to further full bank nationalisations, according to New Star.
Matterley undervalued returns fund manager Henry Dixon says the Government bailout of the UK banking system could be the solution if history repeats itself.
Banks' FSA fees are proportionately too small in relation to the fees paid by IFAs, according to the FSA chairman Lord Turner.
The basic state pension is to rise from £90.70 a week to £95.24 next April, triggered by the retail price index hitting 5 per cent.
Annuity Direct director Stuart Bayliss say it is a "red herring" that people are forced to annuitise at 75 and att- acked the Conservatives' call.
BDO Stoy Hayward has bolstered its alternative fund of funds team with the appointments of John Smutniak, Dev Jadeja and Rahul Saito.
Bestinvest is restructuring its investment management division.
Fulll report by Bob Doll global chief investment officer and Peter Fisher co-head fixed income portfolio management group
Former Edeus chief executive Michael Bolton has hit out at the Government for trying to "benchmark" its future mortgage lending on 2007 figures.
Edeus went into administration last week in a move that has resulted in chief executive Michael Bolton leaving the firm while other staff remain in the short term to see if a buyer can be found.
Jupiter chief executive Edward Bonham Carter believes that returning to back to basics investing will be one of the enduring themes of the credit crunch.
Writing a column a week in advance is fraught with danger at the best of times. It is especially so now given the incredible speed with which the market is moving. However, I do feel that the politicians have finally woken up to what is going on and the move to recapitalise the banks should be some help. Despite this, I am convinced that a recession is unavoidable - in fact we are probably already in recession.
Are the Tories right to call for a relaxation of enforced annuitisation rules due to the current financial crisis?Yes 100%
Bupa Individual Protection has unveiled its plans to go live with its tele-interviewing pilot.
Citizens Advice Bureau figures show a 51 per cent increase in mortgage and secured loan enquiries for July to September compared with last year.
Have you seen the front page of Google? Type in "life insurance" and you will find the country's biggest financial marketers herded in the rankings like so many elephants on a bus. None of them gave it the time of day a few months ago. They spent their search engine optimisation marketing budget in other more exciting financial services areas.
A leading international IFA has warned that cash deposits held within offshore life insurance bonds will be deemed as a corporate investment and could fall outside local investor protection regulations in the case of a bank becoming insolvent.
The Competition Commission has issued a further consultation paper outlining the views of all interested parties regarding its investigation into the miselling payment protection insurance.
Credit and housing charities have hit out at Northern Rock for it’s “aggressive” repossession strategy.
Clerical Medical is setting up a new investment operation which includes 18 new funds.
Cofunds has revealed it is expecting to see an increasing number of structured products coming on to its platform.
Conforto Financial Management has acquired Julie Hedge’s firm ChristieScott’s for an undisclosed sum.
Treasury select committee mem- ber Jim Cousins has challenged the Government's push for a return to 2007 lending levels at a time when nationalised Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley are managing their loanbooks more stringently.
Dragons' Den panellist James Caan and ex Skandia sales and marketing director Spike Hughes have joined forces to launch Insynergy Investment Management.
The Equity, Environmental and Alternative investment group has expanded its product range with a futures fund.
MGM Advantage has appoin-ted Lynsay Dickinson as head of marketing. She joins the firm from Prudential.
F&C has launched a derivatives-based investment fund to provide investors with an alternative to traditional and volatile asset classes.
Finance directors have been getting a string of conflicting messages on pensions lately, but their gut reaction to what the financial turmoil means for defined-benefit pensions is likely to be to "get those liabilities off my book". For all but the bluest of blue-chip firms, private sector final-salary schemes are now entering the last chapter.
The FSA has fined two adviser firms a total of £45,500 for failures over advice on geared traded endowment policies, the first punishments handed out as part of the regulator's review of Teps.
Former cru CEO Stuart Anderson is to launch a new balanced cautious managed fund for both retail and institutional market.
The FSA has failed in a bid to use human rights legislation guaranteeing individual privacy to stymie a freedom of information request about the "Lautro 12" life offices.
The FSA has revealed that poor security on customer data is the biggest risk to its objectives in tackling financial crime.
The FTSE 100 has shed over 7 per cent of its value today as investors remained nervous that government action would not prevent a prolonged economic downturn.
The FTSE 100 advanced by 2 per cent by midday as investors gained confidence from strong performances on the US and Asian markets overnight.
Shares on London’s FTSE 100 opened up 1.33 percent higher today as the index gained 57.17 points from yesterday’s close of 4282.67 to 4,339.84 points.
Around 180,000 UK retail deposits in Landsbanki subsidiaries Heritable and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander have been fully guaranteed by the Treasury and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Nexus Independent Financial Advisers director Kerry Nelson has called for a blanket ban on structured products in the retail market on the grounds they are too complicated for advisers and clients to understand.
The leaders of the G8 have agreed to hold a summit to discuss global financial reforms.
Gartmore has postponed the launch of its European absolute return fund because of the turbulent market conditions.
Over the last few weeks, being a professional investor has been by turns dispiriting and exhilarating. It has even, on occasion, been profitable. But it has rarely been dull.
The Government and Local Government Association have issued a joint statement reassuring the 13 councils that have invested in Icelandic banks.
The Government has said it is looking at Conservative proposals to temporarily suspend forced annuitisation at 75.
Gross mortgage lending for September fell to its lowest level since 2001 according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Countrywide has appointed former Lehman Brothers vice president Guy Batchelor as its new corporate business director.
On the news bulletins, the FSA chairman Adair Turner exudes confidence, purpose and a determination to put things right where they have gone wrong.
Henderson Group is warning that it will not hit this year's profit target of £90m.
It may seem like Armageddon is here, but it's a comfort to know that this isn't the first time that Britain has been disabled by a huge economic shock. We have suffered before, and we have survived.
AWD Chase de Vere has launched a new standalone business in its Leeds office, offering a fee-based service to high-net-worth clients.
Hornbuckle Mitchell wants the Government to confirm it has formally dropped its stance that Alternatively Secured Pensions should only be used by those with a ‘principled religious objection’ to buying a lifetime annuity.
Hornbuckle Mitchell is warning IFAs that there is confusion surrounding the transfer of protected rights funds into Sipps.
Imagine Johnny Vegas on a donkey in the Grand National. Now imagine him winning. And that is where it all breaks down. Simply picturing a donkey strong enough to heave the 18-stone comedian around the four-and- a-half mile course was as far as it was fair to ask any imagination to stretch.
European regulators are likely to bow to pressure from the fund industry to relax short-selling rules when turmoil on the global financial stage subsides, IFA AES International is predicting.
IMS Ltd has been rebranded as FundQuest UK, with current chief executive Antony John also taking on the head of marketing and communication roles.
The Association of British Insurers says its members are still no nearer to understanding the effect of the forthcoming European Union ban on taking pregnancy into account when underwriting.
UK intermediaries have admitted that as a result of the downturn in the mortgage market, their whole of market position has been undermined.
Over a quarter of investors would choose to pay a performance-related fee rather than a one-off up-front payment, according to research from JP Morgan Asset Management.
This week someone sent me a horrible youtube clip from the film Marathon Man - the scene where Dustin Hoffman is being tortured by Laurence Olivier's psychopathic, nazi dentist.
My adviser is telling me that I should consider consolidating my existing pension arrangements into a self-invested personal pension. What advantages can this bring?
Just Retirement has retained top spot in Sesame's Provider Service Index for the third time in a row while Scottish Provident came bottom and Axa second bottom.
"Back in the USSA"
Landsbanki Guernsey savers have been offered a preliminary pay out of 30p per pound by administrator Deloitte & Touche for the £12.7m they had deposited with the bank but have been warned that they may not recoup all their money.
Former staff of investment bank Lehman Brothers face a wait to see how much of their accrued pension they are going to get. Could this happen to other firms and, if so, how can advisers help their clients understand the risks?
The FSA has been overruled by the Information Commissioner's Office in a recent decision compelling it to disclose information obtained while exercising its regulatory duties. What is the significance of the ruling and how could it affect the regulator's role in the future?
Some aspects of the consumer media coverage of the financial crisis are causing concern over the effect on pension savers.
Pink Home Loans have revealed that its chief executive Barry Meeks is to step down.
Metlife says it has weathered the financial storm that hit AIG by staying away from complex investment devices and concentrating on insurance.
A debate over temporarily abolishing the age 75 rule clouds the real issues affecting UK pensioners, according to MGM Advantage.
This week sees the culmination of nearly two years of work for Axa Winterthur Wealth Management chief executive Mike Kellard.
Money Partners has axed 10 staff, including several high level directors in the face of continuing market upheaval.
Moody’s rating agency says it is holding steady on any ratings action regarding the assets of both Britannia Co-operative bank.
Business and financial adviser Grant Thornton says HM Revenue & Custom's clampdown on offshore investors will heighten as more investors move funds back to the UK to guarantee protection on savings up to £50,000.
The Financial Services Authority has fined two directors from Abbey Mortgages Ltd for failings over self cert mortgages.
Many of us who pontificate about personal finance issues, whether in the media or as IFAs, often tend to do so in a vacuum.
Labour Treasury select committee member Andy Love is providing financial information packs to struggling residents in his constituency Edmonton.
The National Association of Pension Funds has outlined four areas where it believes UK pension regulation is out of sync with international practice.
Nationwide has revealed it is to cease new trading with its specialist lender, UCB Homeloans.
Last week, I took an introductory look at the Conservatives' proposed £1m nil-rate band for each of a couple. Let's look in detail at what the introduction of a transferable £1m nil-rate band might have on a selection of key investor categories.
It is a sure sign that a crisis is afoot when the politicians start showing cross-party support for each other. George Osborne, Conservative Shadow Chancellor, and Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, recently visited the Treasury in a "spirit of co-operation".
Norwich Union has introduced market value reductions on unitised with-profit policies due to investment market conditions over recent months and the continuing uncertainty.
Norwich Union is re-introducing twice monthly valuations across its property fund range.
Novia Financial’s new wrap platform is now live and has accepted its first case.
Norwich Union has announced that it is to slash its IFA commission rate across its Portfolio Bond sales by 1 per cent.
Norwich Union has confirmed that 119 Ssas customers have money invested in Kaupthing’s Isle of Man subsidiary Singer and Friedlander.
The Office of Fair Trading is calling for the FSA to regulate sale and rentback providers due to the risk of "serious and permanent" consumer detriment.
October, that most capricious of months, is once again providing investors with testing conditions. In 1929, we suffered a stockmarket crash - in October. Black Monday in 1987 took place on October 19. It seems we have to add 2008 to the list of stockmarket disasters that have taken place in October. It was not, with the benefit of hindsight, the best of times for me to announce I was compiling a list of shares to buy but it might yet prove a propitious time to plan such a manoeuvre.
Origen support services director Keith Robinson says the decision to reshape the business is likely to result in around 50 redundancies by the end of Q1 2009.
I agree with Peter Mann in the October 9 edition of Money Marketing that, post-RDR, there will be a vibrant but possibly smaller IFA community.
PSigma income manager Bill Mott believes the global action seen in the past few days is likely to mark an inflection point in markets.
Huge share price falls in recent times mean that pension scheme assets of Lloyds TSB and HBOS are now bigger than the companies sponsoring them, according to figures obtained from Pension Capital Strategies.
As part of the recent Government's reshuffle, former transport minister Rosie Winterton replaced Mike O'Brien as pensions minister. The reshuffle also saw Personal Accounts Delivery Authority chairman Paul Myners join the Government as City minister, with Pada non-executive director Jeannie Drake appointed in his place as temporary chairman.
Pressure is growing for a permanent change to compulsory annuitisation following Conservative calls for a temporary relaxation because of the financial crisis.
House prices dropped by 1.3 per cent in September, making it the smallest monthly fall for seven months, according to the Halifax house price index.
Paradigm senior partner Paul Hogarth says IFA firms must adopt wrap to survive but believes many are being held back by the magnitude of the decision to choose a platform.
Firms which have sold protection policies without explaining their true value could see widespread cancellations as people tighten their belts, warns Aegon PR manager Mark Locke.
Prudential group chief executive Mark Tucker has confirmed that the insurer is looking at AIG’s Asia operations.
Prudential is looking to raise capital from investors to help finance an offer for parts of fallen global insurer AIG, according to press reports.
Prudential is cutting the maximum loan to value on its lump sum lifetime mortgages by 5 per cent due to falling property prices but brokers believe it will not have a big impact on the market.
Public sector pensions are still more valuable than most private sector pensions even after the Government’s reforms back in 2002, according to the latest research from the Pension Policy Institute.
The debate on the merits of public versus private pension schemes rages on following the publication of the Pension Policy Institute¹s latest research today.
We are entering a world of unprecedented Government influence and power over banks. HSBC and Santander can probably do it on their own, Barclays say they can as well but RBS, Lloyds and HBOS are taking the support. Let's hope it brings about the much needed change in levels of confidence to markets and to banking although a lot depends on news from elsewhere.
Companies and trustees are being too reactive in taking pension scheme buy-outs off the table as a result of market turbulence, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued tips on how to manage the impact of market turbulence on the UK pensions market.
Continuing mortgage tracker rate rises have revealed the lack of impact that the 0.5 per cent cut in the Base Rate has had in the face of Libor rates.
Rathbones Investment Management has been hit by a 20 per cent fall in unit trust AUM over the past three months.
Two in five Britons are not confident that they will be able to provide for a comfortable retirement, according to Alliance Trust Savings research.
HM Revenue & Customs is to collect and collate from other sources other than inheritance tax returns to crack down on gifts.
JO Hambro Capital Management has appointed Gavin Rochussen as chief executive.
Northern Rock chairman Ron Sandler has admitted that the Government may combine the mortgage books of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley.
Cofunds says September saw the biggest shift away from cautious managed funds for the past 12 months as advisers look to bonds and gilts as safe havens for investors money.
Santander Asset Management UK has announced the appointment of Jeff Scott as chief executive.
Where to go? is the question on the lips of anyone who has been closely watching the events of the past few weeks.
There is nothing worse in politics than a consensus. When politicians from all parties and the City or Fleet Street and archbishops in glass palaces come together to pronounce on great public issues, you can be sure that they are probably wrong.
Following consumer demand, Sipp provider European Pensions Management is increasing its range of client cash accounts to allow greater diversification in cash holdings.
Sipp providers have reassured advisers and customers that they do not have any exposure to Icelandic banks after concern was raised with Money Marketing by some leading IFAs.
Advisers and providers are split over the Association of British Insurers' plans to scrap "any occupation" from the application process.
Standard Life has announced it will not be launching its variable annuity product at the end of the year as it had planned.
Equity-release advisers have welcomed Stonehaven's new market-leading rates.
Tenet Group has launched a new strategic partnership with Legal & General in a bid to widen its offering to advisers.
If you have ever had the misfortune of watching daytime TV, then you, too, must have found yourself wondering first whether you have not in fact stumbled across hell on earth and second, marvelling at what a litigious country we have become if the volume of no win, no fee ambulance-chasing ads is anything to go by at that time of day.
Investors exposed to the UK banking sector are bearing the brunt of the financial crisis.
The nationalisation of Bradford & Bingley and its subsequent withdrawal from mortgage lending delivered a blow to the buy-to-let market last month as its subsidiary Mortgage Express accounted for around 18 per cent of the BTL market.
Investment firm The Hartford has expanded its product range with the launch of a Dublin-domiciled international investment bond.
A recent Axa survey showed that when filling in insurance forms, 25 per cent of men lied about the amount they drink, with 10 per cent of women claiming to weigh less than they do. Who would have thought it?
Our service proposition is based on three tenets. First up is financial planning - to review and set goals with the client, enter all data into the Truth Cashflow Modelling programme, identify scenarios, make decisions with the client, implement and review.
Thinc Group has joined forces with Lincoln Financial Group to educate advisers on the retirement market.
Is it ever worth giving up a good guaranteed annuity rate? At Pearl Group, we think it sometimes can be, if the compensatory enhancements to other aspects of the policy are sufficiently attractive. But are our customers of a like mind? To find out, we are writing to around 50,000 customers to find out if there is enough appetite for us to develop a formal exchange scheme.
Northern Rock chairman Ron Sandler says the Together mortgage book is the biggest challenge to profitability.
The political consensus on personal accounts is fragile and the Conservatives have been threatening to break it unless a solution to the issue of means-testing is found.
The mortgage industry has welcome the Government's bank rescue package after spending the last few months pleading for radical action.
Trigold has unveiled its plan to enhance its Dashboard proposition to help advisers prepare for December’s treating customers fairly deadline.
The mortgage industry has continued to question the Government's demand for the bailed-out banks to return to 2007 lending levels.
News that unemployment levels are set to soar by 330,000 to 2.12 million by the end of next year highlights the need for protecting loan and mortgage payments, says Paymentcare.co.uk.
The lead investment ombudsman says the FOS would not expect advisers to have anticipated the collapse of highly rated institutions in their advice.
The protection industry's focus on price over product features is leading to harsher underwriting, more work for advisers and falling sales, says PruProtect director of protection development Kevin Carr.
Evolution-owned wealth manager Williams de Broe is to acquire the assets and investment team of UK discretionary manager Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Investment Management, Money Marketing understands.
Invesco Perpetual income guru Neil Woodford believes the credit crisis is nearing its lowest point and opportunities are appearing in the market.
In case it passed you by over the summer, the FSA has used one of its snappily titled quarterly consultations to try and make a case for retaining the reduction in yield figure to show consumers how much an investment costs.