16 September 2009
On professional bodies clashing over whether to restrict exam units
Honister Capital paid £5.35m for the Money Portal's businesses, with the vast majority on execution-only arm Willis Owen and only £100,000 each for Sage and Burns Anderson.
Succession Advisory Services has signed up Tax and Wealth Solutions as the 10th firm on its transition programme, bringing funds under management within its investment matrix to £1bn.
1st - The Exchange has released the latest version of its back office software solution Adviser Office.
2Plan Wealth Management has confirmed it is close to finalising a deal to take on Park Row's 240 advisers in a bulk transfer.
The FSA had not yet given 2Plan Wealth Management and Royal Liver official approval to transfer Park Row's 240 advisers in a bulk deal as Money Marketing went to press this week.
The storm that engulfed financial markets a year ago following US treasury secretary Hank Paulson's decision not to bail out Lehman may have subsided but the long-term political and regulatory settlement is only starting to emerge.
Choosing the right life or pension funds for your clients can be fraught with difficulty. Having agreed asset allocation, which funds and what style of fund should you invest in?
Abbey For IntermediariesFour Year Fixed Rate
The average open market option transfer time using the Association of British Insurers' Options initiative increased to 11 calendar days in the second quarter of 2009 compared with the 8 days recorded in the first quarter of the year.
The FSA has fined Kent advisory firm Henry Neil Limited £14,000 for failing to demonstrate that its advice on offshore investment bonds was suitable.
News that commercial property might be coming back into vogue has raised a few eyebrows from investors who were caught up in the flight of capital from the asset class last year.
Dennehy Weller managing director Brian Dennehy has accused Cofunds of using its rise in fees for fund firms to increase the company's value ahead of a potential stockmarket flotation.
Aegon has joined the management group of the industry body set up to promote the open market option, now known as the Pensions Income Choice Association.
Aegon has joined the management group of the industry body set up to promote the open market option which has now been named the Pensions Income Choice Association.
Aegon Scottish Equitable International has replaced its five for life product with secure lifetime income, a unit-linked investment plan that provides the guaranteed income for life provided by purchased life annuities, with the investment flexibility, growth potential and inheritance benefits of investment bonds
IFA Defence Union chairman Alan Lakey has resigned from his post, saying a power struggle with founder and former chairman Evan Owen prevented him from making necessary changes within the group.
UK investment trust Alliance Trust has appointed Robert Burgess to the board as an executive director with immediate effect.
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director Robert Sinclair has hit out at the Advertising Standards Authorities after it decided to take no further action against NatWest for its Moneysense adverts.
Annuity sales at LV= leapt by 83 per cent in the first half of this year to £13.9m from £7.6m for the same period last year while equity-release business doubled to £2.4m from £1.2m.
Arc Capital & IncomeProtected FTSE Growth Plan
I have been cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the mortgage sector for a few months now but even I have found myself challenging my own glass-half-full attitude at times. It has been tough to stay upbeat, although as the sun sets over the quiet summer period, I really do feel that spring has finally sprung at last, albeit very late this year.
Gross mortgage lending totalled £12.6bn in August, down 37 per cent from August’s total of £19.9bn, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Axa is restructuring its wealth management division to operate under asingle entity, Axa Wealth.
Axa is restructuring its wealth management division to operate under a single entity, Axa Wealth.
Cutting banks' reserve rates to prevent them from hoarding quantitative-easing benefits would have only prompted them to buy gilts, says Schroders European economist Azad Zangana.
Barclays CapitalFive Year Guaranteed FTSE 100 Deposit Account
Barclays CapitalThree Year Guaranteed Digital Deposit Account
Focusing on long-term strategic asset allocation at the expense of short-term tactical asset allocation dilutes returns in multi-manager portfolios, according to Baring Asset Management.
Equity release Q&A: Money Marketing panellists discuss Ship’s role in the sector, product innovation and possible new entries into the market.
Sesame has seen a 64 per cent rise in the number of advisers complaining about the service and practices by lenders during the first six months of this year
A mortgage broker has been fined £6,000 by Westminster magistrates court in the FSA's first criminal prosecution for failing to notify the regulator of a change in control.
Lessons have been learned from the crisis and I think it will be a different environment.
Cavendish Asset ManagementAsia Pacific Fund
Help, I am about to be made redundant. My firm has said that I can put some of the redundancy money into a pension to top it up. Should I do this?
Aifa is calling for the FSA to take account of the assurances given to IFAs by product providers that constructed failed Lehman-backed structured products when determining what regulatory action is taken against firms.
The bright young things who run the Tory party cannot be trusted with the economy was Dr Cable’s somewhat predictable opening gambit.
City of London Investment ManagementAsia Value and Growth Fund
Emerging markets specialist City of London has combined a thematic investment strategy with top-down and bottom-up approached to stock selection for its Asia value & growth fund.
Close Investments is undertaking an orderly disposal of investments in a range of sub-funds within its property investment portfolio over a three-year period.
Bridgewater Equity Release calls for an equity release code of conduct setting out ethical standards for advisers.
Cofunds has reached over £20bn of assets under administration on its platform.
The FTSE 100 opened at 5,145 this morning and rose higher in morning trades with a boost from commodity stocks.
Coreco has teamed up with London estate agent Douglas & Gordon to offer mortgage advice to its clients.
The Government should freeze the basic state pension and the minimum income guarantee for a year as part of cost-cutting measures, according to The Taxpayers' Alliance and The Institute of Directors.
Labour backbencher Jon Cruddas broke ranks last week to suggest tax rises for the affluent should form the basis for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's political fightback.
A London currency manager has launched a five-year tracker mortgage capped at a maximum of 5.5 per cent, regardless of future rate changes.
Slowly but surely, the pieces of the pension automatic enrolment regime are falling into place as we gain a clearer idea of life beyond 2012.
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers II iBoxx $ Treasuries 1-3 Total Return Index ETF
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers II iBoxx UK Gilt Inflation-linked Total Return index ETF
I feel the need to address the situation in relation to comments made by disgruntled existing advisers who feel that they are being forced to take the diploma in financial planning against their will.
Financial Services Skills Council managing director Simon Ellis is leaving to join Legal & General as managing director of the unit trust business in October.
Equitable Life has announced the appointment of Mark Earls as executive director.
How do you think consumers' perception of protection planning has changed over the last 12 months?
I have received a letter from Scottish Widows advising they have reduced the MVR on their Clerical Medical with-profits fund by around 5 per cent. They explain "this follows the sustained rally in markets over the last few weeks".
Neutec Pharma finance director Andrew King and two lawyers were today committed to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court on eight counts of insider dealing.
Top financial services brands have lost £9.7bn of their value in the past year due to the credit crunch according to a report out today.
Advisers say that Financial Services Skills Council managing director Simon Ellis' decision to join Legal & General Investment Management signals the firm's intention to boost its retail operation.
Earlier this month a number of life offices revealed they are looking at menu-based protection products.
Foster Denovo has partnered with Allium Capital to launch a new investment company.
Skandia Investment Group's Jamie Macleod has stepped down from his role as chief executive and has left the business.
Investors in the Freedom Sipp are making frantic efforts to move their pension savings out of the firm ahead of its court showdown with HM Revenue & Customs next week.
Friends Provident says it is "actively looking" at master trusts after denying the move to Money Marketing two weeks ago.
Friends Provident has removed market value reductions on all pension contracts taken out after 2001 and on all life contracts.
The Financial Services Authority and Securities and Exchange Commission have announced plans to explore approaches to reporting and regulatory requirements for key market participants such as hedge funds and their advisers.
The Financial Services Authorities has banned 11 firms from dealing in the penny share market after failing to treat customers fairly.
The Financial Services Authority has criticesd Barclays for changing tack during last week’s Competition Appeal Tribunal against the Competition Commission's decision to ban point of sale PPI.
The FSA has began drawing up plans to force UK banks to prepare "living wills", according to reports.
The FSA has labelled Solvency II a "potential timebomb" for the pensions market.
The FTSE 100 reached an intraday high of 5,172 this morning as banking and commodity stocks kept the rally of London’s equities alive.
Aviva Investors fund manager Dominic White is leaving after eight years. He manages the distribution fund, sustainable futures corporate bond fund and the high income plus fund.
Gartmore has appointed Mark Stirling as account director responsible for the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Gilliat SolutionsIncome Series Issue One
Gilliat Financial Solutions, the structured products arm of the Arbuthnot Banking Group has launched a new lock-in growth series.
More than half of borrowers who currently have tracker mortgages are not overpaying on their loan.
Global financial regulation took a step forward last week after the FSA and the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced they will band together to share data from hedge fund managers.
Specialist fund manager HIM Capital is launching an income fund for former New Star financial opportunities fund manager Nick Brind.
The hedge fund industry's move towards increased professionalism is leading funds of hedge funds to become more process-driven, according to fund of hedge fund manager International Asset Management.
The Advertising Standards Agency has rejected complaints submitted by IFAs over the wording of several NatWest MoneySense adverts.
What is it with round numbers? Last week saw gold travel through $1,000 again and the FTSE 100 breach 5,000 for the first time in nearly a year. Both events set tongues wagging in the investment community but should we read anything at all into these wholly artificial numbers that seem to get everyone so excited?
Iveagh, the Guinness family office and private investment house has announced that its wealth fund has grown to more than £100m in its first year.
The International Monetary Fund’s latest assesment has ranked Jersey higher than the UK on standards of regulation and supervision.
Investment boutique Jubilee Financial Products is focusing on creating structured products which offer returns in flat markets with the view that volatility could return in 2011.
Just Retirement is calling on the Government to consider appointing a Cabinet level minister to be responsible for all ageing and pre and post-retirement issues.
Legal & General Mortgage Club has launched a high net worth lending service to allow brokers to source funding up to £50m.
Legal & General mortgage club has linked up with Ernst & Young to offer compliance services to its members.
Legal & GeneralFund Tracker Capital Guaranteed Bond
The Lehman Brothers estate is claiming up to £4.8bn in cash and securities was transferred to Barclays Capital without the court's knowledge, according to reports.
The Liberal Democrats have outlined plans to tax owners of £1m-plus properties and use the proceeds to help those on low salaries.
The Government’s response to tackling rising repossessions has been “over hyped, underperforming and pathetic” according to Liberal Democrats shadow housing minister Sarah Teather.
LibDem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable says bankers probably feel as hurt over the criticism they have come in for over the banking crisis as MPs do over the expenses scandal.
Liberal Democrats Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott has launched a scathing attack on Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, claiming the City does not believe he is up to the job.
Lighthouse Group has reported profits of £56,000 for the first half of 2009 but warns increasing costs may lead to more IFAs leaving the sector.
In 1988 I, in common with many others, spent a lot of time explaining the benefits of final-salary schemes to members. Understanding of scheme benefits was often quite low but a bigger shock was that members often did not see the need for a pension scheme at all and would have preferred to opt out of schemes altogether.
Lloyds Banking Group has the highest number of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service with 15,233 while Barclays is second with 8,802 and Royal Bank of Scotland third with 5,883 in the first six months of this year.
Lloyds Banking Group is in ongoing debate with the Treasury over the cost of entering into the Asset Protection Scheme.
Lloyds Banking Group may be forced to give up Halifax bank as the EU Commission plans penalties for state-aided banks.
Lloyds Banking Group is facing an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs following allegations that wealthy clients are being encouraged to avoid UK taxes by channelling money through China, according to a BBC Panorama investigation.
Lloyds Banking Group is set to issue a prime Residential Mortgage Backed Security for the first time in more than a year.
LV= may launch a variable annuity as well as a fixed-term product.
M&G head of equity investment David Jane has positioned his cautious multi-asset fund to reflect a bullish view on equities and UK commercial property.
So, the winner of the Outstanding New Talent gong at the second annual OBSR Honours for Excellence in Investment began his fund management career on Albert E Sharp smaller companies as recently as 1997 and took charge of Gerrard smaller companies just 10 years ago.
Mansfield Building Society is offering 100 per cent shared ownership mortgages.
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall has hit out at Barclay’s sale of £7.5bn of assets to a new offshore firm, backed by the bank.
Meteor Asset ManagementPrima Platinum Plan
Andy Marks has joined MetLife Europe as its business development director.
The FSA has banned mortgage broker Arthur Kirk for failing to establish proper systems and controls at his Manchester business, Grosvenor Mortgage Advice Centre.
MPs have called for evidence from the lending industry to help an inquiry into the credit reference industry.
Newcastle Building Society is shutting down its equity release advice proposition.
Liontrust marketing director Rob Page is leaving the firm next month to pursue a global marketing role.
Partnership Assurance has launched a campaign to help advisers capitalise on the opportunities presented by the ageing baby boomer generation.
Henderson New Star fund manager Richard Pease is to invest more than £500,000 of his own money in his new European special situation fund.
The FSA has failed to include postcode annuities in the tables provided on Money Made Clear despite continued criticism from the industry that the information shown is misleading.
People are more aware of problems with their pensions than ever before. There is currently a bad news story at least once a week. It is now essential for the industry to get on to the front foot and help people take positive action to improve their pensions.
Tax Efficient Review is offering a new service to help IFAs with after-sales support for clients with venture capital trusts.
Almost two-thirds of fund managers expect a greater use of performance fees in the next 12 months.
Lloyds Banking Group non-executive directors Philip Green and Carolyn McCall are stepping down from the board.
The Phoenix Group has revealed it has bought the remaining assets, including the existing client bank, of Network Data.
Phoenix is preparing policyholders to vote on whether the firm should remove the guaranteed annuity rate from certain policies.
Pioneer Friendly SocietyBills & Things
Ignis Asset Management has appointed Nick Pogmore from M&G as head of strategic alliances for developing relationships with fund platforms, life offices, national IFAs and major advisory networks.
Pointon York is offering two new products for the corporate pension market.
Positive Solutions is enhancing its mortgage club by adding a raft of new products to its Masterbroker referral service.
Commercial property specialist Seven Dials Fund Management has launched a commercial property fund that invests in prime high street shops in country towns and cathedral cities in the UK.
Prudential International has designed a new online service to help advisers considering offshore bonds for clients.
The proportion of new lending for home purchases in the second quarter of this year exceeded remortgage business for the first time since 2007. FSA data shows lending on home purchases was 51 per cent of total lending, up from 36 per cent in Q1. Arrears fell by 14 per cent to 51,000 from 60,000. Repossessions were down by 9 per cent to 13,610 from 14,884.
If there is one word that aptly describes how many IFAs perceive their business activities to be regulated, that word would probably be "paranoia".
Rathbone Unit Trust ManagersRecovery Fund
Time for a deep breath. With markets plunging after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and then rallying hard since March, the past year has been quite a ride. Stockmarkets often display bipolar symptoms - the blind panic of the winter and the manic optimism of the spring illustrate this perfectly.
RBS is considering alternatives to fully entering into the Government’s Asset Protection Scheme to avoid forced increased public ownership.
Royal Bank of Scotland is considering a multi-billion share issue to boost its balance sheet and scale back its participation in the Government’s asset protection scheme, according to reports.
The Royal Society of Arts has critisised the £3,600 annual contribution limit outlined for personal accounts.
Property appears to be making a recovery, with many commentators starting to talk once again of the appeal of investing in this area. But it is not just the commercial end of UK property that is seeing increased interest. For the first time in almost two decades, it appears that a number of providers are looking to launch pooled residential property portfolios.
A year ago this week, the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a crisis of confidence which shook the world.
The Retirement Partnership will be running four regional sessions to help adviser firms refocus their businesses to capitalise on the expected boom in the retirement sector.
I would not like to be a client of Freedom Sipp right now.
Pensions expert Ros Altmann is calling for a national wealth service similar to the NHS.
The market was shocked by the collapse of Northern Rock in 2007 but there was always that Government guarantee that the market could rely on. But when Lehmans was let go in the US, there was a real sense that more entities could go under and a safety net was not there - the safety net that people thought existed had not worked. Markets were not improving after Northern Rock but every- thing got much worse after Lehmans.
Metlife national sales director Mike Phillips has left the firm as former Hartford managing director of sales Andy Marks joins as business development director.
Santander has opened a new Abbey and Alliance & Leicester for Intermediaries sales ‘supersite’ in Glasgow.
Scottish Widows has revealed that 33,900 policyholders are yet to claim their demutualisation payments at an average value of £2,070.
Sector Investment ManagementJunior Mining Fund
Twelve months you could not have made up. From impending Armageddon to deep recession to apparent recovery - all in the space of a single year.
The Insurance Mediation Directive is currently looking at advice, intermediation and distribution as three separate activities, giving greater clarity to the different roles within the industry, according to Aifa's Chris Cummings.
Once again, the news bulletins have started to suggest that green shoots are sprouting all around and some builders have announced that mothballed sites are being activated as a response to higher viewing levels.
Skandia Investment Group has added the Goldman Sachs Asset Management emerging market debt fund to its Spectrum multi-manager fund range.
Without the Lehman collapse last September, the mortgage market would be in a totally different position now. If Lehman had not fallen, mortgage lending would be a lot better than flat in 2009, maybe reaching £25bn or £30bn.
Over the past few weeks, I have looked predominantly at what simple actions can be taken to minimise or avoid the additional rate of tax and how to do it. I would like to continue that theme this week. So far, I have looked at tax planning strategies with investments that couples can employ. I would like now to turn to businessowners.
Standard Life has attacked the Government for stalling on regulations that could allow people to keep their pension contribution history when they switch provider.
Publication by the FSA of the aggregate complaint statistics for 2006-2008 provides an accurate barometer of consumers' dissatisfaction. Unlike various industry surveys, these figures are the FSA's very own and they portray a number of great divides.
SVM Asset Management is to increase the commission levels on its Oeic fund range to 5.25 per cent.
Swip has doubled its Luxemburg-based Sicav range by launching emerging markets infrastructure, emerging markets smaller companies and Latin America funds.
Pension experts have hit out at the Trades Union Congress's call to scrap tax relief on pension savings for higher-rate taxpayers.
Thames River CapitalAfrica Focus Fund
A year ago this week, the US government allowed Lehman Brothers to collapse, creating a crisis of confidence that swept across the world. The UK's biggest mortgage lender HBOS had to be rescued by the Government while the US government was forced to step in to save AIG, the world's biggest insurer.
In 1989, there were around 300,000 financial advisers active in the UK and while a goodly proportion had been hairdressers within the previous few months, the savings ratio as a percentage of GDP was pushing 10 per cent by 1990.
Isn't it bizarre that a country with a highly developed economy such as the UK should neglect to prepare its citizens in any way for dealing with that complex but essential world of personal finance?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 has had a mixed press. Generally, it was welcomed as providing a firm statutory basis for citizens to obtain information from all public authorities on a wide range of subject matter.
Three out of four IFA firms have assessed their business against the proposals in the FSA’s latest retail distribution review paper or intend to do so soon, according to Aifa research.
Best ideas funds have met with a mixed response since coming to market in 2006 and their performance has been equally split.
Threesixty is now offering advisers support for level four courses from the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Institute of Financial Services.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne says there will be an emergency Budget in June or July next year to cut borrowing if the Tories win the general election.
Conservative Shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson says a Tory Government would cap the pensions of high-earning public sector workers.
Towry Law is looking at buying a number of big wealth management firms and says it has the staffing capacity to increase adviser numbers by up to 500 per cent.
Transact expects to see a 25 per cent increase in pre-tax profits from £11.2m £14m in its 2008/09 results, which are due to be published in the next fortnight.
Transact is launching a qualifying savings plan on its platform in Q4 this year.
The number of unemployed people in the UK has risen to 2.47 million, the highest figure since 1995.
The US Government has set out regulatory plans to crack down on credit ratings agencies.
I am going to be discussing a promising area that can potentially save investors a great deal of tax - venture capital trusts. It may be worth reminding you what a VCT is and where it invests.
Veritas Asset Management started life as a Swiss private client firm in 1993, with founder Anthony Rosenfelder establishing a London office three years later. Moving forward to 2002, Stewart Newton and Charles Richardson had engineered the sale of Newton Investment Management to Mellon and wanted to set up a boutique focused on absolute returns.
Veritas Asset Management is planning the launch of a long/short China fund next month.
Industry experts debate how equity release providers will adapt to the changing economic climate.
Woolwich5 Year Fixed Rate Buy-to-Let
Woolwich1 Year Step Lifetime Tracker
WoolwichOpenPlan 2 Year Fixed Rate
Woolwich has released a 1.98 per cent one-year tracker loan after HSBC released a 1.99 per cent mortgage earlier this month.
Recent months have seen valuations, particularly in equities, snap up to more reasonable levels in a rapid rally. It represents relief at the postponement of the end of the world.
Hargreaves Lansdown has slammed Octopus Investments' venture capital trust portfolio service, claiming that it raises conflicts of interest issues.
Zurich Financial Services has established a structured product that is linked to the performance of the biggest 15 stocks listed on the FTSE 100 index as at August 12, 2009. These include BP, HSBC Holdings and Tesco.