2 April 2008
If there was ever a doubt New Star founder John Duffield would do anything and everything to turn the fortunes of his business around, this week’s tie-up with Tata Asset Management has answered all the critics.
First and foremost, we are a firm of financial planners, not a manager of funds or experts in asset custody, investment dealing or investment administration.
Advisers are urging first time buyers to save as Abbey became the last lender to pull its 100 per cent mortgage deals yesterday.
Alliance & LeicesterThree Year Fixed Rate
Alliance & LeicesterTwo Year Remortgage Base Rate Tracker
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has voiced its support for the open letter backed by seven of the biggest UK mortgage distributors, as revealed in Money Marketing today.
Fortune Group, the fund of hedge funds subsidiary of Close Brothers, has seen a 64 per cent increase in assets under management over the last 12 months to £700m.
It is hardly surprising that financial advisers continually cite product provider service as a key concern when you consider that many firms waste almost a day each week chasing basic information.
As I enjoyed a couple of weeks R&R, far away from the problems of the credit crunch, the near collapse of Bear Stearns almost scuppered an article I had prepared in anticipation of my absence. The day was saved by satellite TV, the internet and an unusually understanding wife. I was grateful that I had bought her some jewellery on the flight to our destination.
The Edinburgh Declaration dominated regulation news last week as four professional bodies signed a joint declaration of principles for how they will supervise advisers following the retail distribution review.
Canada LifeEnhanced Annuity
Friends Provident's withdrawal from the intermediary market is no recent development - it has been happening gradually for years, starting with the unilateral stakeholder-isation of all personal pensions written by its once supporting IFAs throughout the 1990s.
Capital gains tax reforms could mean a swathe of former buy-to-let properties will hit the market from Monday as investors seek to offload unwanted property, warn tax experts.
When the sub-prime crisis first broke in the US, there was an outbreak of collective smugness from the mortgage industry in this country.
This week has seen seven of the biggest UK mortgage distributors joining forces to call on mortgage brokers to understand and make allowances for the huge strain the credit crunch is placing on lenders.
Market turbulence has added an extra degree of difficulty for advisers and investors who have been looking at last-minute Isa deals.
Threesixty services is five years old this month and co-founder David Ingram is upbeat about the progress it has made so far, with the support services group now having 527 client firms.
Williams de Broe's multimanager team have added Robin Geffen's Neptune Russia and Greater Russia fund to the assetmaster growth and international portfolios.
Business insurance is proving to be a focus for companies keen to diversify their product range.
Ed Gardner has joined MetLife as the UK branch's chief executive officer and Dominic Grinstead as strategic development and marketing director in a bid to strengthen the operation in the UK.
Events last year changed investors' perception of risk. On the one hand, some people were trading "safe" instruments unaware of the toxic properties contained within them. On the other hand, emerging markets, traditionally the most "risky" of global equities, quietly moved closer to the mainstream of personal investing with a steady flow of new frontier funds from managers.
This year is likely to see a rise in discrimination claims after some interesting developments in this area of the law.
ETF SecuritiesETFS Leveraged Platinum
ETF SecuritiesETFS Leveraged Tin
Two current consultations highlight the pressures faced by employers with defined-benefit pension schemes.
Fortis is believed to have pushed back its highly anticipated entry into the UK protection market until May, possibly disappointing those waiting with bated breath for the new entrant.
Taking my life as editor of Money Marketing in my hands, I would like to make a suggestion about treating customers fairly which may not be music to the ears of every IFA but may make sense for their businesses. I cannot help wondering if it might be possible for advisers to work with the FSA and strike a less oppositional note.
First Direct has temporarily stopped selling mortgages to new customers.
Because of the banks' overriding need to make greater and greater profits, they have lent enormous sums of money in an irresponsible and cavalier manner.
The FSA will increase the use of its powers as a criminal prosecutor in relation to insider dealing, according to director of enforcement Margaret Cole.
Halifax has introduced a new Loan to Value banding system which will see borrowers with less than 25 per cent deposit charged 0.14 per cent more.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders is predicting a boom in equity release.
Sometimes it is necessary to say and do some things which may be unpopular.
Maybe it's just me but a lot seems to have happened in the financial world since my last IFA View in January and not much of it is the sort of stuff that puts a smile on your face.
Lehman Brothers has confirmed it is closing its two UK subsidiaries, SPML and Preferred.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries says the FSA has switched its mortgage focus to liquidity spot checks which have seen some firms stop lending.
The changes to capital gains tax have created uncertainty over the relative merits of different investment products. This has reignited the long-running debate as to whether a client should invest via a life bond or a mutual fund.
Lyxor Asset ManagementLyxor ETF MSCI USA
Lyxor Asset ManagementLyxor ETF Nasdaq-100
Is your client interested in a pension that can invest in residential property, does not require him to buy an annuity at age 75, offers more than 25 per cent tax-free cash and attracts death duties that are less than a tenth of those on UK schemes? This is what providers based in the Isle of Man will be offering from this month, when the crown dependency passes its new Income Tax Pension Bill.
The recent fine weather has been broadly mirrored in the markets with investors adopting a sunnier disposition this week.
A few weeks ago, after one of those industry seminars which you find yourself attending for some mysterious reason and then wonder why you bothered, an IFA asked me what criteria I use to decide what topic to write about this column.
The Income Protection Task Force has formed a five-person executive team to drive forward its agenda, including Roy McLoughlin from IFA firm Master Adviser.
OPM Fund Management believes that the Standard & Poor's A ratings awarded to the OPM balanced managed and fixed-interest funds will boost its reputation among IFAs.
The FSA's failures over Northern Rock are a body blow to the regulator. The one silver lining is that its internal audit committee did not shirk responsibility and produced a hard-hitting report.
The liquidity crunch is worsening for intermediaries as lenders continue to withdraw products and tighten criteria.
It is a cause of some delight when there is some light in all the doom and gloom. In Scotland, they are forecasting a 14 per cent rise in house prices so the crisis is not being felt so acutely as in other parts of the UK.
When reading the weekly press, we can be excused when the macro obscures the micro. The volatility of the economic landscape only serves to confuse and a plain man's guide to what has happened since Northern Rock is nowhere to be seen.
Leading commentators say the FSA is likely to rebalance its priorities in response to the Northern Rock debacle, with more focus on prudential supervision and less on conduct on business regulation.
The March Budget confirmed the clampdown on scheme pensions but it looks like there is still life in the sector.
There is little cheer to be had as far as mortgages and the housing market are concerned. But the Budget, which was disappointing in many ways, at least managed to come up with something positive to help those struggling the most.
Eight months after the credit crisis started to unfold, there is not much let-up in the newsflow from banks of writedowns leading to balancesheet rebuilding via rights issues and deals with sovereign wealth funds.
Life Trust has added a new cash fund for investors to its longevity income plan in response to requests from advisers after the recent stockmarket volatility.
Tactica Fund Management UKS&W Tactica Balanced Portfolio
Tactica Fund Management UKS&W Tactica Growth Portfolio
In the feedback statement to last year’s platform paper, the FSA laid out its plans to probe deeper into advisers’ wrap usage, fearing potential conflicts of interest.
Microsoft's huge bid for Yahoo is probably a sign that technology shares are likely to start rising again. By historical standards, tech stocks are trading near a 10-year low.
Over the last few weeks, I have met and talked with quite a number of owner/manager/mortgage and insurance advisers, which is something I try to do as often as I can and something I have been doing for at least the last 15 years.
In all the preand post-Budget excitement over capital gains tax, non-domiciliaries and inheritance tax, some of you may have forgotten that there are some income tax changes taking effect from April 6.
Thinc Group has purchased Southampton-based financial planning firm FS3.