17 November 2004
The Government's 20m annual commitment to the scheme for collapsed pension funds is woefully inadequate and it only support a fraction of those who have lost out, says independent pension consultant Dr Ros Altmann.
With the post-war baby boom-ers coming up to retirement, IFAs and other professionals would do well to remind clients that a bit of pre-retirement planning does not go amiss.
Abbey for Intermediaries is launching a new commission based payment package for intermediaries selling its Peace of Mind buildings and contents insurance and Paymentcase mortgage payment protection insurance.
Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham says there will be an investigation into whether Government maladministration led to finalsalary scheme members losing pension benefits.
Multi-ties will not fundamentally change the market immediately but will provide opportunities in the longer term, claims Aegon group chief executive David Henderson.
Aifa is calling for an urgent fundamental review of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
The AITC is calling on the Treasury to put an end to tax distortions, which it says make the creation of investment trust bond funds commercially unviable.
Alliance & LeicesterFive Year Fixed Rate
Axa is launching its protection account this week with a range of cover on a menu.
The performance of most focus funds is worth the higher risk compared with mainstream funds but the gap is narrowing, says Bates Investment Services.
Find out how you could help your community and raise funds for the NSPCC.
Winterthur Life pensions stra-tegy manager Mike Morrison says IFAs are still unable to give definitive advice to clients while they wait for details on pension simplification.
Brewin Dolphin SecuritiesThistle Pub Company II
Brokers could be losing sub-prime business by not understanding the effects of online search tools, says Advantage Home Loans.
BSA chairman John Parker estimates that the cost of mortgage regulation has reached £500m, well above initial estim-ates from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the FSA.
BM Solutions says it is confident that buy-to-let investors plan to stay in the market for over 10 years.
Buckles Investment ServicesSnowdonia Balanced Fund
Charcol general manager Ricky Okey is believed to be resigning from the company by December 1st.
Bradford & Bingley is understood to be very close to agreeing a management buy out for Charcol. The bid is believed to include Charcol founder John Garfield and to have venture capital backing.
Listed IFAs have fallen out of favour with the City, with some seeing their share prices halve this year.
As most personal finance journalists - well, most of the female ones anyway - were invited to a screening of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason last week, I felt it fitting to write my column in something approxim-ating the style of Bridget's first diary.
Coventry Building SocietySelf Cert 1.5% Discount
Equity-release demand is growing from people looking to spend the proceeds on luxury items such as round-the-world cruises but there could be a sinking feeling for advisers who fail to recognise the risks.
Government plans to cut Isa allowances from April 2005 could cost regular Isa savers over £180,000 in tax-free interest over the course of their working lives, says Intelligent Finance.
Simply Biz chairman Ken Davy has reiterated his call for the FSCS to be replaced with a product levy, saying a levy would not be detrimental to consumers.
Debt collectors are pursuing former Inter-Alliance paraplanners who took out company loans to set up their own business.
The raising of the minimum retirement age from 50 to 55 could restrict income levels of people using drawdown when the change is introduced.
HBOS enjoys over 20 per cent of the UK mortgage market so you would expect its annual intermediary dinner to be a consummate affair and once again did not disappoint last week.
Axa's third-quarter results show an increase in life and savings revenues for the UK.
Barclays is planning to launch Woolwich into the equity-release market as part of a massive upgrading of its product range.
Treasury select committee member Michael Fallon is concerned about keeping records confidential when Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue merge.
The FSA has fined Evolution Beeson Gregory 500,000 and head of market-making Christopher Potts 75,000 for distortion amounting to market abuse.
Small and medium-sized fin-ancial firms need to be more pro-active in improving online security systems rather than just responding to hackers and fraudsters, says the FSA.
Gartmore is launching five new funds to increase its Luxembourg based Sicav range.
The majority of active inv-estors are preparing to inc-rease their stockmarket exposure while the general public still prefer to invest in property, according to investor confidence res-earch by the AITC.
What key ingredients make up a good provider proposition in the protection arena - what has a provider got to get right if it is to be successful in this market?
Penrose Financial Public Relations founding partner Louise Hatch has left the group following a series of boardroom disagreements.
At the recent Aifa dinner, I had the pleasure of sitting beside John Lappin, the editor of Money Marketing.
Brokers say they are still running into problems with key features illustrations from Halifax.
A Midlands IFA claims to have lost business due to problems with sourcing system Mortgage Brain.
Low-income workers with stakeholder pensions who do not increase contributions over time will pay more in charges than they do in contributions in the latter years of their saving, warns B&CE.
Eighty-one per cent of IFAs expect the equity-release market to increase in 2005, according to survey by Money Marketing and Mortgage Express.
The regulatory system is not fair to IFAs.If it wasn't apparent before, it has become obvious in the last few weeks.
There is still much confusion about trail fees. As advisers, we have a duty to explain the true cost of advice.
Anglo-Dutch investment manager Insinger de Beaufort is blurring the boundaries between manager of managers and funds of funds with its recently established astute portfolio.
Employment law firm Peninsula is offering a service to cover IFAs against the costs of tax investigations.
Investec Asset ManagementGlobal Equity Fund
Investec Asset ManagementGlobal Energy Fund
The Apcims' conference was the opportunity to see just how fast hedge funds have grown, according to Brian Tora
Insight Investments is urging investors to consider multi-manager products as a solution for the transfer of assets that have accumulated in Peps and Isas.
Rising returns on cash, stuck markets and loss of tax benefits are bringing a decline in Isas.
James Hay Consultancy will carry out SSAS transfers free in the run-up to A-Day.
In less than 18 months there will be a life cover revolution. New pension tax rules will allow most people to meet life assurance needs within a pension wrapper and get tax relief against the premiums paid.
Now that the American elections are over and President Bush has been given a strong mandate, with increased majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the outlook for the world's stockmarkets looks to be fairly good, with the UK, Japan and the Pacific markets leading the way.
Jupiter fund manger Anthony Nutt believes undervalued firms are the key to success in the UK stockmarket.
A High Court judge branded FSA rules "almost Kafka-esque" as the regulator sought compensation from an IFA this week.
In my last few articles, I have identified and discussed the nature and extent of the three main risks involved in a pension drawdown strategy - interest rates, investment performance and the risk from increasing life expectancy.
The LIA is holding workshops for advisers on how to provide mortgage advice in a regulated market.
We are all faced every day with choices about the kind of people we should be and the priorities and general direction in which we should go.
Business process outsour-cer Liberata has completed the transfer of over one million Barclays Life policies to its admin platform in the UK's biggest industry transition.
Marlborough Stirling's life and pension division has issued a warning over future profits.
LifeQuote has set up a streamlined tele-underwriting service for advisers arranging term insurance and criticalillness cover.
Alison Bone finds that Royal Liver is already planning to build on its recent entry into protection sector.
The House of Lords vote to end annuity compulsion in the Pensions Bill is a red herring, says Standard Life pensions technical manager John Lawson.
Kensington Group announces that Martin Finegold has stepped down as a non-executive director of the board of the company with effect from November 29 2004.
Mutuals are a vital part of the economy, says the Parliamentary all-party group for building societies and financial mutuals.
In your article "IFAs warned on perils of joining a network" John Ellis claims that if he were an IFA he would not want to be under the umbrella of a network. He then goes on to analyse the advantages of network membership against the problems that can arise.
Worldwide Financial Planning has launched a consumer-friendly pensions A day website.
Singer & Friedlander Investment Management has launched a multi-asset multi-manager portfolio service to allow customers access to best of breed managers.
The Pensions Bill introduces a large number of changes for money-purchase occupational pension schemes and smaller changes for contract-based money purchase, such as personal pension and stakeholder. It is too early to draw up a comprehensive list, since we need to see the regulations which will dribble out after Royal Assent but it is worth identifying some of the main changes.
Simply Biz chairman Ken Davy and FSA managing director regulatory services David Kenmir exchange views on replacing the FSCS scheme with a product levy approach to funding consumer compensation.
Aifa's has received a host of applicants from outside the industry to replace outgoing director general Paul Smee who is leaving.
Fund managers are warning IFAs that innovation in the investment marketplace will, inevitably, add more to initial fees and commission.
Platinum Capital ManagementPlatinum Portfolio
The current UK equity income sector must beone of the most competitive sectors within unit trusts.
What steps have you taken to check that whoever you do business with manufactures, promotes or sells products in a TCF-consistent manner?
F&C's multi-manager team has been forced to sell a stake in its own UK prime fund following the departure of star manager Mike Felton who moved to M&G this week.
Key Retirement Solutions business development director Dean Mirfin maps out the equity-release boom.
A review of regulation will be among the key issues raised in Chancellor Gor-don Brown's pre-Budget report on December 2.
Up to 4 million people could benefit from an Inland Revenue initiative to encourage savers to claim tax back on their savings.
Royal Liver says it will not offer its newly launched protection proposition to Millfield until the IFA's situation is more stable.
Scottish Equitable is slashing commission on regular-prem-ium individual stakeholder business but is raising single-premium commission in a bid to capture transfer business.
Online proposals for critical-illness insurance are open to abuse because the ombudsman can question the contract, says exIFA Brian Lentz.
The amendments to stakeholder regulations give product providers an exit strategy from the market and could lead to many companies closing their stakeholder schemes.
Standard Life Healthcare is offering a switch option for the over-60s' market to help customers change from their current insurer.
Standard Life has raised concerns that some IFAs are not fully aware of the regulatory changes for pure protection products from January 2005.
Protection providers are wasting around £180m by not using straight-through processing, according to a study by Marlborough Stirling.
The top four banks in Northern Ireland are exploiting consumers and offering inferior products. according to a study by consumer group Which?It is filing a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading with the support of the General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, arguing that bank customers in Northern Ireland are charged 21 times more than mainland customers.
Do you think joining a network puts an IFA's own business at risk?
Russell Flower, managed services director at Synstar, looks at how business continuity managers can keep control of the risks of outsourcing.
Shepherds Group chairman Mike Abraham says having fewer firms in the traded market will mean less pressure to push up prices and better returns.
Towry Law is closing its Plymouth office and ending individual business at its Glasgow office.
The deputy chief executive and co-founder of Bright Grey has shown that a commitment to customer focus can bring big rewards in the protection market.
Winterthur Life sales director David Thompson, says product providers should plan to reinvent broker consultants for the new world.
UCB Home LoansBuy-to-Let 5 Year Flexible Fixed
Last week, I looked at dep-olarisation and the opportunity for advisers to reconsider their business model. I ended by pointing out that it is important to bear in mind that if an adviser is to implement financial transactions and wants to choose from products across the whole market, then a fee-based option must be offered.
Vantis Corporate FinanceCross Oak Inns
Vantis Corporate Finance has established Cross Oak Inns, an enterprise investment scheme that aims for capital growth by investing in a portfolio of pubs in Southern England.
Brewin Dolphin Securities is sponsoring the Ventus VCT, a specialist venture capital trust that invests in companies developing, constructing and operating small UK wind energy projects.
West Bromwich Building Society4.95% 2 Year Fixed
Zurich is to offer advisers a 75 per cent share in a new multi-tie business that it hopes to float or sell for 300m in three years time.