19 January 2005
Sixteen IFA firms have been declared in default of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Whitechurch Investment Services and Oaktree Financial Services have both been declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Why do I believe whole-of-life cover is inappropriate for any need other than IHT planning? Well, in practice, the majority do not do what they say on the tin - they do not last for the whole of the client's life.
The ABI is believed to be in talks with the FSA over a loan sch-eme to enable IFAs to pay Fin-ancial Services Compensation Scheme fees in instalments.The ABI is negotiating with the FSA over establishing a loan service that intermediaries can dip into to pay the FSCS levy.
Actuaries have set out a seven-step plan for consumers considering equity release.
Back after the break and FSA regulation of general insurance was almost upon us. Firms had just days in which to ensure they were compliant with the new rules.
American Express Financial Services Europe has signed up four new IFAs for its wrap service.
Aviva will report its preliminary corporate results under the European embedded value principles instead of on an achieved profit basis for the first time this March.
Bank of Ireland is reckoned to be on the brink of selling Chase de Vere Financial Solutions to AWD for around 15m.
Axa Investment Managers has appointed Tony Maddock as its director of retail sales.
Bradford & Bingley is setting up a new mortgage broking proposition with a panel of 25 lenders, half the number of lenders previously offered to its advisers.
United National Bank is offering what it says is Scotland's first Shari'ah-compliant mortgage.
The Bank of England base rate is likely to fall in the coming months, sparking intense competition between mortgage lenders that will leave borrowers spoilt for choice, says Charcol.
Bright Grey has reduced its life and critical illness cover rates despite reports that general insurance regulation may be having an adverse affect on protection rates.
Bristol & West MortgagesSelf Cert Three Year Discount
Britannia International has unveiled the guaranteed income and growth bond, a combination of a high interest account and a guaranteed equity bond. It is available to investors with at least 10,000.
Britannia Building Society has unveiled a partnership with Manchester City Football Club to offer savings accounts for supporters.
Chelsea Building SocietyProspect 2 Year Fixed Rate
Citisolutions has been forced to stop 2,000 members of its salesforce doing business after failing to get sufficient training and register in time for FSA regulation of general insurance.
The housing market is heading for a soft landing rather than a 1990s' style crash, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
A Cornwall IFA has set up a firm to provide loans on homes built of the substance mundic shunned by mainstream lenders.
Dawnay Day QuantumProtected Commodities Accelerator II
Structured product provider Dawnay Day Quantum has created another issue of protected commodities accelerator, capital-protected bond linked to a basket of eight industrial metals and energy-related commodities for a four-year term.
Parents are more likely to invest their child trust fund in a deposit-based account as opposed to more long-term investment alternatives, acc-ording to research by the ABI.
Downing Corporate FinanceAim Distribution Trust
Downing Corporate Finance is raising up to 1.104m for a top-up share issue of the Aim distribution trust. This is a venture capital trust which focuses on companies listed on the Alternative investment market.
Schroders believes that recent strong performance in emerging markets equities may be about to run out of steam.
Equinox Capital ManagementEquinox VCT
Creditors of Ethical Financial - the socially responsible inv-estment vehicle which closed its doors with potential investor losses of 1m - are quizzing advisers of the firm over commission payments.
An IFA action group could be set up to start legal action for investors in the Eurolife secured bond which is set to mature next week with investors losing around 17m.
F&C Asset Management is launching a 1bn UK commercial property trust targeting a 6 per cent return next month.
It was of little surprise that the split-capital investment trust settlement was finally agreed on Christmas Eve - it seemed destined to be that way.
Aifa's acting director general is renowned in the industry for her ability to understand and explain highly complex technical issues and she is aiming to use that in a bid to reduce the EU burden on IFAs and ease the cost shock of levies.
The FSA has banned a senior partner from The Michael Harding Partnership from holding approved person status.
The FSA is hoping to score "quick wins" to convince consumers that its financial education plans have not stalled.
The FSA is urging customers to make long-term financial plans and warning firms to keep a close eye on their marketing material.
GE Life is offering 100 compensation to clients who do not get their tax-free annuity cash payment promptly.
I am revisiting an old topic that still causes uncertainty, namely a comparison of the top-slicing position, where a client has gains under a single-premium bond effected with a UK resident insurer, compared with a bond effected with an offshore provider. I will also look at the position where a client has gains which are liable to capital gains tax in the same tax year.
GMAC-RFC has announced the worldwide launch of a charitable foundation specifically aimed at preventing repossession.
The Government is looking at a £2bn increase in the contracting-out rebate to prime private saving as an alternative to a citizen's pension.
Police Mutual Assurance Society chief executive Graham Berville has become the new chairman of the Industry Standards Group, the body responsible for setting Raising Standards criteria.
The events of Boxing Day morning in Asia brought a disaster of unimaginable proportions which has directly touched the lives of countless people in Asia and around the world.
As the major political parties begin to gear themselves up for the next general election - widely expected in May - it seems financial services issues will be high on the agenda.
It was good to see that January 14 came and went and the world didn't end - the relief felt was similar to that of the millennium bug when it failed to mat-erialise. Of course, with something like regulation, D-Day isn't the end of the story. Now's the time when we have to start changing the way we work and real-ise where the potential regulation minefields are.
Derek is about to move abroad for a few years and expects to be non-resident for UK tax purposes. One of his concerns is that he has a with-profits bond that has a big gain on it.
i-Funds, a franchise of Raymond James Investment Services, is awaiting FSA approval for a fund of exchange-traded funds aimed at IFAs.
I am sure that other brokers, product providers and IFAs will be in the same boat as Hargreaves Lansdown. The amount of time, effort and cost involved in verifying a client's identity is nothing less than seriously onerous. Let me state here that we take money laundering seriously and adhere strictly to the rules.
Ingenious Asset Management has established the Ingenious directional bond fund. This is a Dublin based Oeic that takes advantage of the greater flexibility in the use of derivatives in provided by the Ucits III legislation.
Insight Investment's multi-manager team believes that earnings from global equity markets will grow by less than other analysts have predicted.
Invesco Perpetual has added Ian Hargreaves and Stephanie Wu to its Asian equities team.
Last year's big - and pleasant - surprise was the resilience of the bond market, says Brian Tora.
I do not often write about conservative funds but, in markets like these, that is what the average middleaged Isa investor wants.
Jupiter Unit Trust Managers is aiming to increase its Sipp business as it looks to meet the dem-ands of improving the UK's savings dilemma.
While other fund management groups are seeking to consolidate and expand, for Jupiter Unit Trust Managers small is beautiful.
Paragon Mortgages' buy to let index for January 2005 shows landlords earning total annual returns of over 31 per cent in the year ended December 31 2004.
IFAs can take on the banks by developing a strong brand image of their own, says SPS M&C director Simon Parker.
Lazard is setting up a more concentrated and less benchmarkconstrained best ideas version of its top-selling UK Alpha fund.
Mortgage lenders are withdrawing free ASU and MPPI protection in response to the mounting costs of general insurance regulation.
Man Investments has established Man Glenwood equity opportunities, a multi-manager fund of hedge funds that offers exposure to hedge fund managers specialising in long and short equity strategies.
Man Investments Man Glenwood Equity Opportunities
Investors holding buy-to-let properties in Sipps could cost the Government £4bn, the equivalent of a 1p rise in income taxIf just 10 per cent of BTL investors move their properties into Sipps, the cost of tax relief on these properties will severely dent Treasury cashflow, warns Standard Life senior technical manager John Lawson.
Mortgage ExpressMax 130 Two Year Discount
Mortgage Express is offering Max 130, a product which enables homebuyers to borrow up to 130 per cent of their property value with no higher lending charge.
2004 did not quite live up to expectations. Growth in the US was fine but the embers of recovery in Europe failed to ignite while the upturn in Japan remained one more of promise than delivery.
NationwideFive Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
Nationwide is revamping its fund range by scrapping initial charges, increasing annual charges and lowering the minimum monthly investment to 20.
Financial services providers are taking older customers for granted, says a report from Datamonitor.
Timothy Sawyer has been app-ointed chief executive of Res-earch, Recommendations and Electronic Voting, the corporate governance, research and voting service set up by the NAPF and Institutional Shareholders Services.
Nearly a fifth of landlords had to subsidise their mortgage payments last year, with rent not covering the full amount.
Newcastle Building Society is offering a bond with returns linked to the FTSE 100 which can deliver better returns if the market falls.
Norwich Union has cut premiums on stand-alone term insurance by an average of 3 per cent.
Norwich Union has cut annual bonus payments on its closed with-profits pension funds by 25 per cent.
Norwich Union has confirmed that life insurance payouts for policyholders killed by the tsunami tragedy will not be subject to the seven-year legal rule if a body cannot be found.
NvestaRangemaster Income Plan
NvestaRangemaster Income Plan
The Inland Revenue has confirmed that only pre-1989 defined-benefit scheme members will be allowed to build up pension pots in excess of the 1.5 lifetime limit without incurring penalties.
Paragon MortgagesBuy To Let 2 Year Discounted Tracker
Parents are split over the introduction of child trust funds, with 44 per cent saying they are encouraged to save more while half say it will make no difference to them.
Skandia Skandia Sipp
In November 2002, my PI insurance renewal application was declined by the Markel syndicate at Lloyd's because, in their view, the premium and excess they would require would be uneconomical for the size of my firm.
Early last summer, when capacity was beginning to reenter the PI market, Collegiate and no doubt other brokers were looking to persuade firms with waivers to consider reentry to the market, taking advantage of the less prescriptive rules laid down by the FSA. A number followed that advice but others have yet to take the plunge.
Protection products should not be treated the same as simpler general insurance products under the new regulatory regime, says consumers' association 'Which?'
In my last column, as well as looking at schemes involving property that do not appear to be caught by the new pre-owned assets rules, I started to look at schemes that are caught by the rules.
Specialist professional indemnity broker PYV is launching an exclusive offer for IFAs with waivers or interim FSA authorisation.
Private client manager Rensburg's rejection of Rathbones' offer in favour of a reverse takeover of Carr Shepherd Crosthwaite could secure its shareholders a better deal.
When Scottish Provident created Self Assurance,it set the benchmark for all protection providers to aspire to. Its efforts culminated for all to see when, in the Swiss Re 1998 annual report, it was shown to have become the biggest term provider in the UK. This was no mean feat when you consider it had written annual premium business during the year of slightly more than 37.5 m, some 20 per cent higher than HSBC, which came second.
RMB Multimanager has added euro and sterling share classes to its five funds of hedge funds.
Age Concern is teaming up with Northern Rock to offer an equity-release product for the growing at-retirement market.
SBJ Group has bought the corporate group pension scheme business of private bank Brown Shipley.
After a flurry of activity a year ago on formulating a public education strategy on investment, all seems to have gone quiet.
Scottish Equitable is the latest provider to slash commission on its group personal pension and group stakeholder business.
Skandia is working with the FSA to credit 10,000 policyholders who have been overcharged because of a system error.
It is time for life and pension companies to untangle the systems' spaghetti, says FIS Software business development director William Watling.
Standard Life is introducing an enhanced extranet service for the whole adviser community as well as its registered users.
Standard Life is spending 100m on its proposed demutualisation and flotation, which it says is typical for a company of its size.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Lloyds TSB Private Bank are setting up a discretionary investment management service offering tailored funds for clients.
Will Prudential's move to establish an independent committee to oversee its with-profits fund restore confidence in the product?
The Mortgage OperationMortgage Express Prime Self Cert
Thinc Destini has introduced its prospective board subject to FSA approval of the merger of the two firms, which it exp-ects to take place in March.
Ashley Law head of sales and marketing Ian Harrison believes that only independent financial advisers can offer the service that is demanded by today's discerning consumers.
Torquil Clark managing director and founder Don Clark has stepped down to start a new film business.
The legal face-off between Legal & General and the FSA has left both sides claiming victory but the tribunal has ordered the FSA to cut L&G's 1.1m fine.
The Government could widen the chasm between private and public sector pensions with rules which give better protection for civil servants.
Chancellor Gordon Brown is being called on to prevent an estimated two million children losing part of their child trust fund allowances because of their birthdays.
The FSA's waivers for professional indemnity insurance, introduced two years ago, have come to an end with the onset of the insurance mediation directive last Friday.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has hit out at product providers and endowment-chasers for creating extra work for claim adjudicators.
With all the brouhaha of the dotcom period now a distant memory it is probably a good time for IFAs to review what value operating a website can deliver to themselves and their clients.
Around 600 mortgage intermediaries have not applied to be regulated for general insurance business, meaning they will not be able to offer advice on mortgage-linked protection.