19 August 2009
Keydata administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers has been issued with a tax bill of £12.7m by HM Revenue & Customs for non-Isa-compliant plans.
The FSA has gone to great lengths to ensure advisers are taking heed of its pension switching review findings and changing their suitability processes accordingly.
A J Bell has announced the appointment of Eddie McGuire as client services director.
The Association of British Insurers has written to the Competition Commission asking it to exclude short-term income protection from its payment protection insurance order.
When Stewart Ritchie retired from Aegon a year ago, I asked him to write a farewell column on what he felt was the most pressing issue facing pensions. He chose the rising cost of public sector pensions as his subject matter and made a strong case as to why this was a problem in need of drastic action. But he also concluded that, with so many people set to benefit from public sector pensions, the chances of radical change to address the issues were slim.
Advisers have called on BNY Mellon to revitalise Insight Investment after its acquisition of the firm last week.
Aegon Asset ManagementUK Equity Income Fund
AIG Life has seen its £2bn protected recovery fund jump 14 per cent in value since its launch.
Allianz Global Investors is planning the launch of a new European fund under the management of Harald Sporleder and Ralf Walter.
Pensions expert Ros Altmann has slammed the Government for protecting bankers' pensions but leaving other workers to fend for themselves if their company fails.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has called for average household disposable income to be the main measure of affordability and is rallying against the introduction of caps on mortgages.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has warned against product regulation and called for average household disposable income to be the main gauge of mortgage affordability.
We recently came to the end of 19 protection sales workshops which we ran around the UK. These were free, half-day sessions, during which we looked at the protection market in general, some specific sales solutions and a selection of generic sales skills. PruProtect, as sponsors of the events, also delivered a presentation on its serious-illness cover and its latest innovations around the income protection product.
Aviva Investors has appointed Artemis' John Wood as a senior fund manager.
Ascentric is teaming up with Deutsche Bank to host a series of ETF seminars.
Aviva has extended the deadline for its ballot on the reattribution of its inherited estate by a month to September 21.
More than 300 UK and foreign banks have been ordered to give details of UK taxpayers with offshore accounts to HM Revenue & Customs.
Barclays Wealth has secured greater distribution of structured products through smaller platforms but says bigger players remain a greater hurdle.
Outgoing Lloyds Banking Group chairman Sir Victor Blank has hinted that his future may lie in regulation.
Cracks in investor confidence are appearing – and not before time. Our own market has held up remarkably well, but some of the better performing areas of the world – like China, for example – have seen a swift reversal of fortune. In a brief fortnight in the middle of August the Shanghai Composite Index shed 20 per cent - pretty much enough to qualify as a bear market.
The Building Societies Association is lobbying the European Commission to impose an annual premium on Northern Rock to reduce the competitive advantage that it has over building societies.
Conservative leader David Cameron has warned that the UK could default on its debt.
The Consumer Protection Insurance Engagement Campaign group will enter phase two of its industry-wide business plan next month.
Canada Life International/Julius BaerPhysical Gold Protected Fund
LiontrustEuropean Absolute Return Fund
Cazenove Capital ManagementAbsolute UK Dynamic Fund
Cazenove's multi-manager diversity fund has exceeded £300m in assets under management as advisers see its multi-manager multi-asset approach as a suitable core holding.
Equity markets have been on a power surge since their March lows. The S&P 500 has now rebounded a full 50% over the last five months. Only in 1930 did we witness a stock market rally of this magnitude over such a short time frame. Then, like now, the market was propelled higher by super-charged policy stimulus and tentative signs of economic improvement. Unfortunately, in the absence of an upturn in final demand, the market soon ran out of steam and eventually bottomed more than 80% ...
Simon Chamberlain has signed up Core Financial Services as the second regional hub of his IFA consolidation vehicle, Succession Advisory Services.
Checkmate Mortgages says the UK mortgage market needs in excess of £80bn of extra funding over the next 12 months to return to normality.
Chelsea Building society has posted a £26m loss for the first half after a £41m mortgage fraud and its finance director has quit following the departure of its chief executive earlier this month.
Paul King makes a case for compulsion in the UK regarding pension provision. What he seems to forget is that we already have compulsion and loads of it.
Coventry Building Society5.99% Fixed Rate
Coventry Building SocietyOffset 4.79% Fixed Rate
Coventry building society has revealed pre-tax profits of £36.2m fuelled by huge growth in its mortgage market share.
Salisbury Underwriting Services is offering a new product to help employees safeguard against loss of income if they are made redundant and have to take a lower-paid job.
Nearly a quarter of FTSE 100 firms will be unable to pay off their pension deficits over any reasonable time period, according to KPMG research.
Direct mortgage products have increase by 10 per cent since May to 1,240 in July 2009, according to TrigoldCrystal.
IFA Life is setting up a directory of advisers' websites that will allow consumers to search for IFAs by location. Advisers can list their website free.
Octopus InvestmentsEnhanced Discounted Gift Solution
Cofunds is considering adding a discretionary fund management service to its platform.
Legal & General says more high-net-worth trustees of discretionary trusts are considering shifting their investments into insurance bonds to avoid higher tax charges.
The Professional Standards Advisory Group has agreed draft core units for the RDR's QCF level-four qualification.
Axa Distribution Services is to offer third party product wrappers on its Elevate platform.
Enhanced annuities pay out 22 per cent more income on average than conventional annuities, according to MGM Advantage's new annuity index which tracks the income paid on both products on a quarterly basis.
MediCare International has added the executive plus plan to its range of group international private medical insurance products.
An ex-UBS banker and Swiss lawyer have been indicted by the US for allegedly helping American citizens hide their money from the IRS, according to the Financial Times.
F&C's multi-manager team is reducing sector risk and increasing stock-specific risk in its portfolios to reflect a shift from the sector rotation that has characterised the last 18 months.
Cofunds has ruffled a few feathers in the investment management industry with increases in charges for fund firms.
First Assist Insurance Services has secured a five-year contract to provide white-label short-term income protection and mortgage payment protection insurance products to Advent Solutions Management.
Fitch Ratings has downgraded Aegon's hybrid debt instruments to 'BB' from 'BBB+' and maintained them on rating watch negative.
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the subordinated debts of Lloyds Banking Group and RBS after the EU Commission revealed that it could force banks to default on coupon payments.
Fitch Ratings has today downgraded Northern Rock's tier 1 and upper tier 2 securities after the bank revealed it would not be paying out on its debt coupons.
The vast majority of advisers are getting to grips with the retail distribution review challenges but there is a small vociferous minority, dubbed in a recent survey as "steadfast rejecters" who are starting to fully realise the consequences of their inaction.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is deferring complaints over Lehman-backed structured products for another three months following a request from the FSA.
Resolution's acquisition of Friends Provident paves the way for further consolidation in the life sector but advisers have raised concerns over the service levels their clients may receive as a result.
Tighter regulation for non-Ucits retail schemes proposed by the FSA could prevent structures similar to the Arch cru fund range being launched.
FSA chairman Lord Turner and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler have today announced they are strengthening cross border supervision of the energy futures markets.
The FSA has backed the proposals set out in the Walker review that would call for fund managers to look to the long-term.
The FSA has banned London mortgage broker Grace Nmadibechi Ada Ukala and fined her £70,000 for knowingly submitting false and misleading mortgage applications.
The FSA has fined a director of a Cornish IFA for not disclosing crucial information about one of his advisers to the regulator.
The FSA must come to grips with the lack of consumer understanding of financial products and literature before it can adequately regulate TCF, according to financial services consultancy firm Brandspeak.
The FSA has insisted its remuneration code for bankers is tougher than March's draft code despite claims that it has bowed to pressure from the banking industry.
I am starting to wonder if big firms and networks can ever be viable after all the failures and losses of recent years. How ironic it is then that the FSA is trying to exterminate small firms which present the least risk and whose owner/managers have the greatest vested interest in ensuring their successful continuation.
Almost 90 per cent of Britons believe that the Government is not doing enough to encourage people to save for retirement, according to research commissioned by Hymans Robertson.
Gross mortgage lending totalled an estimated £16bn in July, a 26 per cent increase from £12.7bn in June, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
There has been no stopping this market - or these markets, it would be more correct to say. The bounce in the UK was approaching a third over less than six months last week. In some markets, it was even greater. This prolonged period of appreciating share values has given rise to a new phrase - the pain trade.
Hargreaves Lansdown has removed the UBS smaller companies fund from its Wealth 150 following a period of poor performance.
HM Revenue & Customs is warning taxpayers to beware of fraudulent emails offering tax rebates.
HSBC has announced plans to join the ETF market with the launch of a European fund.
The Institute of Financial Planning has appointed Smart Financial Planning director Steve Martin as the chairman of its Manchester branch.
Economic recovery has begun, according to the International Monetary Fund's chief economist. But he says it is likely to be slow and unpredictable.
Consumer price index inflation has held at 1.8 per cent. Many economists had expected the the CPI to decline further in July while the retail prices index also surprised with a rise from -1.6 to -1.4 per cent.
Invesco Perpetual has increased the dividend of its high income fund by 4 per cent.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has appointed John Joseph as one of its five-strong Keydata creditors committee.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee minutes show that Governor Mervyn King wanted to pump a further £75bn into the economy but was outvoted by other committee members.
Legal & General is clawing back £147,000 of commission from cancelled pension policies and bonds executed on the Cofunds platform.
The FSA's request for the Financial Ombudsman Service to defer consideration of complaints about Lehman-backed structured products for a further three months is unwelcome news for investors.
UK lenders have reduced mortgage rates by 1.3 per cent on average since the Bank of England reduced the base rate by 4.5 per cent.
The CFA Institute announced today that just 45 percent of candidates worldwide passed the June 2009 CFA exams, of a total 104,111 who sat for the qualification.
Interim results across our industry have been declared over the last few weeks. I thought there were some rather telling signals contained within the life and savings aspects of those results.
Lloyds Banking Group says it is reviewing its plans to close all of its 164 Cheltenham & Gloucester branches.
Lloyds Banking Group is cutting 200 jobs in its general insurance division following a back office merger with Lloyds TSB and HBOS General Insurance.
LV= Asset Management has completed the appointment of Graham Ashby and his income team from Credit Suisse.
It was in July 2007 that I first mentioned the Junior Oils Trust in this column. It is managed by Angelos Damaskos who is the son in law of the legendary investor Jim Slater. The objective of the fund was to buy into small oil companies which have the potential to grow into giants.
AJ Bell has appointed former Jardine Lloyd Thomson head of financial institutions Eddie McGuire as client services director.
Medicare InternationalExecutive Plus Plan
Meteor Asset ManagementPrima Growth Plan 17
The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advertisement by a sale and rentback provider for "misleading" claims that clients can stay in their homes for as long as required.
More building societies will be forced to merge as the industry continues to be hit by the downturn, according to KPMG.
Threesixty partner Phil Young expects to see more product providers take small stakes in IFAs rather than make outright acquisitions.
Mortgage approvals from the high street banks rose again in July as figures hit a 17-month high.
The Bank of England has reported that spreads on mortgage lending may contract in the second half of the year as competition in the market begins to increase.
Less than half of mortgage advisers think that business will improve in the last quarter of 2009.
Broker network and packager Mortgagematch Homeloans has signed a deal to trade under the Mortgageforce umbrella.
Broker network and packager Mortgagematch Homeloans has signed a deal to trade under the Mortgageforce umbrella.
NDFA has brought out the fourth issue of its defined income plan, a five-year FTSE 100 linked structured product which provides monthly income.
Newton Investment Management has announced the appointment of Scott Freedman as a credit analyst in the fixed income team.
Nomura InternationalGlobal Emerging Markets III 80% Protected Portfolio Fund
Auditors have questioned Novia Financial's ability to continue as a going concern after the firm incurred a net loss of £2.8m last year.
US mortgage arrears rose to 9.24 per cent in the last quarter, the highest rate recorded in more than 35 years.
Many employers are offering salary sacrifice through childcare vouchers but only 27 per cent offer pension salary sacrifice, according to research from Mercer.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has slammed the FSA for failing to curb the banks from paying excessive bonuses to staff.
Pearl is understood to have added former Aviva chief executive Richard Harvey to a short list of candidates for the job of chairman.
Pension Corporation has signed a deal to insure the Walthamstow Stadium Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme.
In January, I highlighted the Invesco Perpetual corporate bond fund in these pages. At the time, interest rates stood at 1.5 per cent and I was convinced they would head lower. This proved to be the case and, together with a marked improvement in sentiment, contributed to a sharp rally in corporate bonds.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is planning to issue a list of specific public spending cuts before the election, according to reports this morning.
The appointed representative regime has been in existence well before the advent of the FSA. The governing FSA rules have been amended over time but the basic formulation remains the same - an AR network carries on regulated activities on behalf of an authorised firm in exchange for a share of commission and other remuneration.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is still assessing potential litigation for Keydata investors with missing assets in SLS Capital but says dividend prospects for creditors in the insolvent firm are poor.
Protection new business on single premium policies dropped 77 per cent in Q2 this year, Association of British Insurers’ figures reveal.
Only three pension providers are using lower projection rates for cash despite the FSA slamming insurers for overstating potential returns in its pension switching report in December.
Personal Touch Financial Services has teamed up with Residential Property Solutions to offer sale and rent back services to its appointed reps.
I visited a prospective client the other evening. He wanted advice on life insurance for family protection (two small children, not married to his partner, no idea about budget or suitable levels of cover) and for mortgage protection (interest-only, no repayment vehicle in place).
The number of repossessions dropped by 10 per cent in the second quarter of this year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Resolution is in talks with Lloyds Banking Group over the sale of Clerical Medical, according to reports.
Specialist insurer RIAS has launched an advertising campaign aimed at insurance for the over 50s.
Council of Mortgage Lenders' data reveals Northern Rock has dropped out of the five biggest lenders by gross mortgage lending to 11th place. Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Nationwide Building Society hold first, second and third positions, as they did in 2007.
Forgive me if, just for once, I come over as totally unimpressed by Resolution's takeover of Friends ProvidentI know it is an important business story. I fully understand that it has implications for the rest of the industry, marking a new departure in the way it may consolidate in the coming years.
The Institute of Financial Planning is holding its second annual Financial Planning Week to raise consumer awareness. It will run from September 7 to 13.
Clients of Lehman Brothers European operations face a further wait for the return of their assets after a UK judge turned down PricewaterhouseCoopers' recovery scheme.
Skandia is hosting a series of free events through September to help advisers build long term value in their business.
The National Skills Academy for Financial Services has appointed Karl Hopper-Young as chairman of the South East region.
The FSA has removed all regulated activities from the permissions of Michael Robert Cameron, trading as Fidelity Corporate Services, after he failed to return a client’s investment of £175,000.
Economic analyst Variant Perception has accused Spanish banks of hiding losses and predict its economy will become like the economy of Japan in the nineties.
Standard Life Wealth has appointed ex-Credit Suisse Asset Management director of UK sales Jeremy Hippolite as senior business development manager.
Standard Life has confirmed plans to launch a UK property unit trust to be managed by Nigel Chapman. The £175m UK property fund invests directly in UK commercial property.
Artemis manager Tim Steer is taking over the Artemis mandate within Skandia's UK strategic best ideas fund from John Wood, who joins Aviva Investors in October.
Stroud & Swindon Building Society's chief executive David Hill is stepping down at the end of August after nine years at the mutual. Finance director Kevin Bounds will take on the role while the society searches for a replacement.
It seems so blindingly obvious that it is almost embarrassing to say it but here goes - advisers should play to their strengths and that is clearly advising.
Thames River Capital has appointed Trygve Tøraasen as a fund manager on its European Equities team.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed the ‘Big Four’ 2008 UK mortgage lenders last week of Lloyds Banking Group, Santander, Nationwide and Barclays.
Prudential has deflected speculation its UK arm may be Resolution's next target by insisting on its importance to the group.
Nearly three-quarters of people are not fully reading product providers' wake-up packs in the run-up to retirement.
Threesixty may launch its two new model portfolio ranges as Oeic funds if they become popular enough.
The Conservative party looks unlikely to introduce a 15-year long stop if it comes to power after it claims to have evidence to suggest it could be detrimental to consumers.
Transact is opening up its adviser connect days to non-users of its platform.
There is much talk of reform in the financial services world, including proposals to reform or abolish the FSA. In its paper on reforming financial markets, published last month, the Treasury announced: "The Government believes that it would be appropriate … to review the governance and accountability of the FOS to ensure that the arrangements remain fit for purpose."
Two million UK savers do not know which provider their pension is with or where their money is being invested, research from Lincoln Financial Group has revealed.
Vanguard Investments UK has brought a range of 11 low-cost tracker funds to the UK market.
Xafinity has launched a multi-employer trust-based pension scheme.
Zurich Financial Services has appointed Skandia platform manager Jaki Platt as area sales director.
Zurich has reduced its guaranteed critical illness premiums where an exclusion is applied for cancer or multiple sclerosis.
Zurich Financial ServicesGuaranteed Account 10