18 June 2008
Kensington is to make up to 75 of its 160 staff redundant. Job cuts are to come from across the company. A spokesman says it told staff this week and will now enter a 30-day consultation period.
First Actuarial has warned that people with enhanced protection on their pension savings could trigger penal tax charges by being auto-enrolled into personal accounts.
Seven Investment Management has introduced a facility which allows customers to see their investments with Cofunds and Fidelity FundsNetwork on the 7IM platform.
Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalistMy feet hardly touched the ground last week. My first venture out was to give the big hat an airing at Epsom Ladies' Day as a guest of the ever hospitable Abbey. I was sensible enough to back Iguazu Falls sired by Pivotal, which also sired my sister's winning nag, Turn On The Style. Sadly, the bet was part of one of those fancy accumulator things, and I'd already lost my stake in the previous race.
John Charcol has hit out at Abbey for introducing a non-refundable booking fee of £150 on its mortgage range and warned that more lenders may follow.
Abbey is launching a new range of guaranteed investment products linked to the FTSE 100.
The Association of British Insurers is urging the House of Lords to support amendments to the Pensions Bill to ensure existing schemes are not forced to accommodate personal accounts' more limited earnings' band.
The Association of British Insurers has published gender data tables to allow insurers to continue differing prices for insurance policies depending on gender.
Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann believes banks are well placed to take financial planning to the next level and predicts that major names will enter the fray within five years.
Aegon Scottish Equitable is warning advisers to be aware of their clients’ potential inheritance tax liability on large portfolios of tax free savings such as peps and isas.
Advisers who help clients plan for long-term care costs face a number of challenges.
The Association of Investment Companies has called on the Treasury Select Committee not to tarr all offshore centres with the same brush.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has appointed Andrew Strange to the new position of policy director.
The Alternative Investment Management Association believes the FSA's proposed restrictions on notice periods and leverage of funds of hedge funds are "unworkable" and should be reconsidered.
The Alternative Investment Management Association is calling on the FSA to release the findings of any investigations that led to the implementation of its new disclosure rules on short selling.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has warned brokers to be careful of conflicts of interest when selling investment products to supplement their income.
In last week's Profile, we said Aegon Asset Management's Andrew Fleming was previously global CEO at ABN Amro Asset Management and deputy CEO at Gartmore when he was CIO and deputy CIO respectively. We apologise for any confusion.
Pensioners could be losing up to 30 per cent of the value of their pension pot, or around £360m every year, because of ill-advised retirement decisions, according to Aon Consulting.
The second quarter has brought some relief to financial markets, with strong rallies in equity markets and a marked narrowing of credit spreads, but volatility continues to be a feature, as investors react to each release of economic data or corporate news. Given the difficult outlook for the global economy, volatility may well be with us for some time and investors will look for new ways to generate alpha.
Axa has revealed that its Axa Framlington range of six funds of funds will pass to its new multi-manager investment firm Architas.
A Bradford & Bingley adviser has been jailed for two years for defrauding elderly customers.
Bradford & Bingley has rejected an initial offer of funding from Resolution that would have seen the company take effective control of the bank.
Islamic home finance provider Alburaq has set up a retail Shariah compliant alternative to a guaranteed equity bond in conjunction with the Bank of Ireland.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is to start a consumer campaign to highlight the benefits of advice.
Bob Yerbury is to step down as chief executive of Invesco Perpetual in September.
The Bank of England has a tough road ahead after the Chancellor announced it will be responsible for financial stability, with the FSA in charge of tackling market abuse.
Isn't at least one of us in the wrong place?" I asked as I walked into an office on the 34th and top floor of an unfamiliar grey building to be greeted by a more than familiar figure.
Cazalet Consulting principal Ned Cazalet has warned that the FSA will face high legal hurdles if it tries to carry through its planned separation of sales and advice.
Bristol & West Mortgages and Bank of Ireland have both pulled their entire mortgage ranges to be replaced with higher rate products.
Do you think it is right for providers to introduce postcode pricing for their annuities?
The Building Societies Associa-tion is to recruit seven more staff to get building societies' views of the mortgage market across more effectively.
This sits outside the direct scope of the review but is clearly part of the emerging landscape post-RDR.
Canada LifeCanlife Cautious Portfolio
Canada LifeCanlife Growth Portfolio
Canada LifeCanlife Reserved Portfolio
Canada LifeCanlife Strategic Portfolio
Abbey for Intermediaries has appointed Alliance & Leicester's Sue Carvell as divisional sales director in the South.
Treasury Economic Secretary Kitty Ussher has announced the formation of an International Centre for Financial Regulation.
Charles Bean has been appointed as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for Monetary Stability.
China is taking the Olympics extremely seriously. The world's second-biggest economy, with a GDP of over $7trn, measured on a purchasing power parity basis, looks determined to project its prestige and power on the world stage.
Chartered Insurance Institute special projects manager Peter Hutchinson has been made an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to the insurance industry and charity.
The Competition Commission's finding that people buying payment protection insurance are being overcharged by 1.4bn a year follows action by the FSA against firms accused of misselling PPI.
The Government should introduce compulsion to avoid a future pension crisis, says Clerical Medical managing director John van Der Wielen.
Ten years ago, we arranged for one of our clients a 10-yearly reviewable whole of life insurance with Sun Life, as it was then. The sum assured was £100,000 and the premium was £16.33 a month. The client has a disabled son, so the cover is likely to be required indefinitely.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders is introducing new standards for industry professionals who act for lenders on newly built property transactions.
The Court of Appeal has rejected a county court judgment that it is unfair for advisers to pay a Financial Ombudsman Service case fee where a complaint is not upheld.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings has called on IFA Promotion to do more to encourage people to seek independent advice.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has given the Bank of England new powers for financial stability.
Invesco PerpetualEuropean High Income Fund
The payment menu and initial disclosure document were dropped because the European Union said it was illegal and Aifa said it wished the FSA had been honest about why its brainchild was now defunct.
The global growth open-ended sector is skewed heavily towards domestic markets but the same cannot be said these days of the equivalent closed-ended portfolios. The huge generalist, international and global growth funds have historically featured majority weightings in the UK.
The average UK smaller companies manager will outperform their benchmark, the FTSE small cap index, over most periods - in fact, by 29 percentage points over five years and 79 percentage points over 10 years to May 1 whereas the average UK equity unit trust has underperformed the FTSE All Share index by 10 percentage points over five years and 50 percentage points over 10 years.
The Government is set to amend the Pensions Bill to ban employers encouraging or forcing workers to opt out of personal accounts or other workplace pension schemes.
Premier Mortgage Service has appointed former Edeus commercial director Martin Reynolds as corporate manager. He will initially work on a short-term contract and his remit will include developing new income streams for PMS.
The F&C multi-manager distribution fund has switched out of the Schroder global dividend maximiser fund in favour of a 2.5 per cent holding in the Veritas global income fund.
Fidelity FundsNetwork is offering a set of online tools to help advisers calculate the asset classes and returns that perform best in different types of tax wrapper.
Mortgage lenders are raising two-year fixed rates to a 10-year high in response to swap rates soaring to nearly 6.5 per cent.
The Financial Ombudsman Service's reasoning that adjudicator decisions are not crucial as they can be reversed by an ombudsman is "strange logic", says Fishburns Solicitors.
FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole told delegates at the FSA Financial Enforcement Conference in London today that enforcement activity is at the forefront of its drive to achieve credible deterrence.
The FSA has launched free comparison tables for payment protection insurance on its consumer website.
The FSA has reportedly reversed its stance on how to take options into account when calculating the size of positions under its new rules on disclosure of short-selling during rights issues.
The FSA is understood to be holding its ground against heavy lobbying by the British Bankers' Association and resisting calls for an advised sales channel.
The FSA has responded to mortgage broker concerns by clarifying that it will not be introducing new disclosure requirements.
The FSA has issued new disclosure requirements to prevent market abuse through short-selling positions in companies conducting rights issues.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has started paying compensation to members of Inner Preston Credit Union and Peterlee Credit Union after they were declared in default.
The Financial Services Practitioner Panel has launched its 2008 survey of regulated firms, which assesses the FSA’s performance from an industry perspective.
Old Mutual extra income fund manager Leonard Klahr is to retire next March and will be replaced by Michael Gifford, who becomes joint manager at the end of June.
The private-sector final-salary schemes that have been so dominant in the workplace for nearly half a century will probably be almost gone by then.
New Star has appointed Trevor Green to take on the management of the equity sleeve of its £460m managed distribution fund.
HBOS claims its split of direct and intermediary business remains similar to last year despite the controversy surrounding dual-pricing.
HBOS says its trading for the past six months has been “satisfactory” and it is on track to deliver a resilient performance this year.
The survey, in conjunction with Financial Express, found that 40 out of 65 highcharging funds failed to beat their benchmark, with 26 recording bottom-quartile performance over three years.
HM Revenue and Customs has unveiled Mike Clasper as its new chairman.
Advisers have been warned to ensure clients are fully aware of the risks of using a Qrops after HM Revenue & Customs confirmed it is monitoring the schemes closely.
Hornbuckle Mitchell has confirmed it is in the process of appointing Ernst & Young to field offers from potential buyers.
Fiona Price & Partners founder Fiona Price has set up a website combining her two passions of business and horses.
Impax has teamed up with the FTSE to launch a new index based on environmentally friendly firms.
New StarIndian Equity Fund
Recent macroeconomic developments have created a supportive environment for commodity prices. Turmoil in global financial markets led to slower growth in the US economy, which in turn led to lower US interest rates and a weaker dollar.
The latest figures from the Financial Ombudsman Service indicate that we are approaching the tail end of the calamitous mortgage endowment complaint fiasco.
Investec’s enhanced natural resources fund aims for growth by investing long and short in a global portfolio of 30-50 resource equities and 10-15 commodity securities.
JupiterJupiter Strategic Bond Fund
Jupiter fund manager Charlie Thomas is to advise Prudential Corporation Asia on its global green solutions fund, authorised in Taiwan.
PruProtect has added cheap Eurostar tickets and cinema discounts to the range of benefits for some policyholders. Is the future for the protection industry going to be money-off vouchers and other sales incentives as a way of combating declining sales?
Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey has hit out at Leek United Building Society after it arranged for one of his clients to speak with another mortgage broker.
Lenders prepared to stick their head above the parapet and take a different approach to the norm will find there is plenty of business to be done in offering decent remortgage products to landlords.
Legg Mason has introduced a Dublin based emerging markets equity fund managed by its Batterymarch subsidiary.
The FSA has been warned to focus on the essentials of mortgage regulation and "park the bright, expensive ideas for later".
In the retail distribution review interim report, the FSA poses three big challenges for the industry. One of these is to develop and implement an agreed common framework for professional standards including examinations.
Lloyds TSB could shed Scottish Widows as part of a deal to acquire Dresdner Bank from its parent company Allianz, say press reports.
MetLifeMetLife Balanced Secure Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Cautious Secure Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Conservative Secure Index Portfolio
MetLifeMetLife Defensive Secure Index Portfolio
MetLife has designed a personal pension plan with the option to select a capital guarantee or income guarantee through a range of secured funds.
MetLife is looking to bring out life insurance, critical-illness cover and income protection as part of a major push in the protection market.
MetLife has launched its latest third-way personal pension with both income and capital guarantees.
The Association of British Insurers has extended until 2014 the moratorium enabling consumers to take out substantial amounts of insurance without having to disclose adverse res-ults of predictive genetic tests.
More than half the UK population has never sought advice from a financial adviser, research by Zurich has revealed.
A survey of 121 MPs by the Chartered Insurance Institute found that just 18 per cent rate financial services as good or very good in terms of professionalism.
F&C has bolstered its multi-manager team with Paul Carne, who joins from Crosby Forsyth on July 7.
Northern Rock’s new management is investigating whether there are grounds to take legal action against the bank’s former board.
Norwich Union is to introduce postcode annuity pricing on maturing pensions and open market option transfers from September.
The fate of Norwich Union's Lifetime wrap will be decided within weeks, Money Marketing understands.
Nucleus has appointed Neil Howitt from St James’s Place as finance director.
A wise 1960s' Californian (no, that's not oxymoronic) argued that it is the nature of the communications media that a society uses, rather than the ideas transmitted through those media, that shapes society. Isn't that a fantastically counter-intuitive thought?
Old Mutual is making a number of changes to its fund management team, with Asian manager Suresh Sadasivan set to leave the firm.
Technology provider FinQS is offering an online tool which allows advisers to get feedback from clients on how well they are fulfilling the FSA's treating customers fairly principles.
Personal Accounts Delivery Authority chief executive Tim Jones has told an advisory committee the scheme will not be able to determine whether contribution levels are correct.
Panellists continued to concentrate their Aggressive Adviser Fund Index portfolios during the May rebalancing. The number of funds in the index fell by 11 to 103 and followed a similar reduction last November.
Last week research from Money Marketing found that over half of all funds with annual management charges of 1.75 per cent or more have underperformed in the past three years.
It found that the majority of the UK's 14 million PPI policies are sold at point of sale and not wholly unpredictably highlighted that many customers are unaware that they can buy PPI from other providers, totally independent from the loan or credit facility they are arranging.
Polar Capital Holdings has appointed Karim Vellani as the firms new chief risk officer.
Police in West Yorkshire believe they have uncovered a sophisticated 5m fraud involving cheques stolen from financial institutions.
Income protection has been in the doldrums with continually falling sales.
The FSA has banned three East London brokers for submitting false mortgage applications to lenders backed by false or misleading documents.
Lending volumes rose by 8 per cent in April although activity remains weaker than a year ago, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Pearl Group is to reveal the new name for the merged Resolution Asset Management and Axial Investment Management businesses next month.
The Carsberg review of residential property has recommended that letting agencies and estate agents become regulated.
Santander is merging Cater Allen, James Hay and Abbey Sharedealing under the Santander Private Banking brand and Cater Allen managing director Richard Dunn has been appointed commercial director of the new structure with the task of finding a way to combine the three businesses.
AMI director Richard Farr is to be made redundant at the end of July.
Bradford & Bingley's retreat from the buy-to-let market last week, when it raised rates by 0.55 per cent, looks set to create more pressures on landlords.
Rapid shrinkage of Northern Rock's mortgage book could significantly worsen the impact of the wider credit crisis, warns New Star chief economist Simon Ward.
Scottish Widows has appointed Andy Barton as director of employee benefits and direct distribution.
Moving 1,800 users of a critical software system at the same time is a gargantuan task. This is what True Potential achieved for Positive Solutions over the Christmas period.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings says advisers should hang their heads in shame if they fail to grasp the opportunity handed to them by the retail distribution review.
The latest complaint statistics should galvanise the FSA into pushing ahead with its planned separation of sales and advice, says Sesame.
Sesame is hosting 21 technical seminars across the UK in July to address key issues in the protection market.
Shareholders and former Kilminster advisers are investigating taking legal action against Malcolm Kilminster over the recent deal between Kilminster Financial Management and Alpha 2 Omega after it emerged that KFM looks set for liquidation.
Skandia is launching an alternative investments fund next week.
Standard Life is increasing the investment options available within its gift plan to help clients shield investments in oeics and unit trusts from inheritance tax.
Emerging markets continue to attract large amounts of investors' money and single-country funds are grabbing a lot of attention. Brokers should remember, however, that these are inherently more volatile than funds with a wider remit. One of the countries grabbing most of the headlines is India.
It may have escaped your notice that while sales of unit trusts have been sluggish, there is one area that is positively booming - structured products.
Cicero Consulting has appointed Checkmate Mortgages executive chairman and former GMAC RFC UK chairman Stephen Knight as non-executive chairman.
Aim-listed financial planning firm STM Group is acquiring Jersey-based St George Financial Services.
The FSA has fined Merchant Securities Group £77,000 for data security failings and not adequately protecting customers from the risk of identity fraud. This is the first time the FSA has fined a stockbroking firm for weak data security controls.
When economic times change, it always fascinates me to see how different areas of the financial services industry respond to meet the changing demands of clients and customers while also being sure to make a decent profit.
Old Broad Street Research, the independent investment funds research and consultancy company announces new fund ratings and ratings changes.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership's multi-manager team has boosted its MM diversity fund's exposure to global macro strategies with a small holding in a fund of hedge funds from Brevan Howard.
Swiss Life has been tipped as the frontrunner in the bidding for Friends Provident’s wealth business Lombard.
I am due to receive about 180,000 worth of company shares from a share scheme in place with my employer. I am aged 49 and I have the option of using these shares to make a contribution to my company's pension scheme, which is a self-invested personal pension. Is this a good route to take?
The Tenet Group has launched its new investment business, Sinfonia Asset Management.
Ten-baggers were shares, most usually in high-tech providers or internet start-ups, which had multiplied in price tenfold. The 90 per cent club comprises firms that see their share price collapse to less than 10 per cent of their earlier high.
Transact and EMX Message System have developed an automated reregistration facility for clients transferring assets in their own name to a nominee.
The Treasury Select Committee has slammed the FSA for not providing a robust enough framework to manage the conflicts of interest in inherited estates.
Since the pre-Budget report and the ensuing Budget and Finance Bill, the taxation of UK resident non-domiciliaries has attracted much attention.
Trade bodies have written to the Government for clarification after ministers appeared to send out conflicting messages about annual contribution limits for pension personal accounts.
Chancellor Alistair Darling and the French Minister for the economy, industry and employment Christine Lagarde signed a new double taxation convention yesterday between the UK and France.
Newton higher-income fund heads the latest 100-plus list of poor-performing unit trusts in Chelsea Financial Services' relegation zone statistics.
Unum will now offer group income protection to employees who have had a serious illness such as cancer, a heart attack or back pain in the past.
New Star chief economist Simon Ward says a deterioration in company liquidity should prevent the Bank of England monetary policy committee from raising base rate this summer.
A couple of months back, the Conservative pension spokesman Nigel Waterson warned that the launch of personal accounts must not become a shambles like Terminal Five.
The FSA has fined the Woolworths Group 350,000 for failing to immediately disclose inside information concerning its share price to the market.
Woolwich has not ruled out following in the footsteps of Abbey and introducing non-refundable booking fees on its mortgage range.