21 May 2008
Economist John Wriglesworth says the Government needs to pump a massive £350bn into the mortgage market through its special liquidity scheme to stop a 50 per cent fall in prices.
Man Vision is a capital-protected hedge fund of funds designed to benefit from new growth areas around the world such emerging markets, changing demographics, climate change and new energy.
Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money MarketingAnd so the day has finally come when I bid you all adieu in my last entry as distribution hack at MM Towers. My final week started with an early farewell dinner with David Ferguson, chief executive of Nucleus,. A stunning dinner at Cocoon, just off Regent Street was a welcome environment to discuss the latest develop-ments at Nucleus and long distance relationships.
Annuity providers have been given until December to improve consumer correspondence on the open market option after the FSA found that much of it fails to meet regulatory standards.
The Association of British Insurers has restructured its protection committees to separate day-to-day work from long-term strategic thinking.
Scottish Widows says it is unaware of any legal action being taken against it after it allegedly gave “negligent" advice to around 100 company pension schemes.
Acuity Capital has introduced an inheritance tax service that invests in companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market.
Following an AFI survey sent to panellists in March, not one of the 10 respondents expected value to outperform growth in the following 12 months. Now, however, some panellists are more optimistic about value.
MortgagesBy Tanya PowleyBrokers have hit out at the FSA's suggestion that they should charge a fee for advising a client to take out a mortgage direct from a lender.
Nearly half of advisers are confused about the evidence the FSA expects them to produce by the December treating customers fairly deadline.
Bright Grey has warned mortgage and protection advisers must think carefully before moving into the investment and pension sectors.
Aegon has unveiled full details of its Income for Life at-retirement product which aims to bridge the gap between annuities and income drawdown.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has welcomed the appointment of Lord Lipsey as the chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel.
Alliance & LeicesterTwo-Year Base Rate Tracker
Alliance & LeicesterTwo-Year Fixed Rate
Allianz Global InvestorsRCM Global EcoTrends Fund
Schroders managing director of UK retail Robin Stoakley says further additions to the firm's products are likely to be in the alternatives sector.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has slammed the FSA for changing its rules on mandatory disclosure of status amid turbulent market conditions.
I have sorted out my pension and after taking tax-free cash I will be left with £200,000 to provide an income in retirement for myself and my wife. What are our options?
Moneyfacts has reported a sustained upturn in average annuity rates.
Asda is looking to move into the mortgage market and is conducting a tender to find a mortgage broker for outsourcing business.
Many UK advisers hold their independence at the heart of their business so what would happen if banks and life companies bought up the majority of adviser firms?
Speculation is mounting that Aviva and Clare Spottiswoode could be close to submitting a proposal to the FSA over the insurer’s inherited estate.
Axa has named its new multi-manager investment firm Architas.
Bankers’ bonuses will come under scrutiny as part of the FSA’s assessment of financial institutions’ exposure to risk.
The banks embroiled in a court battle with the Office of Fair Trading over current account charges may launch an appeal today.
Banks may have swapped about £16bn of securities under the Bank of England's Special Liquidity Scheme between its announcement on 21 April and the end of last month, according to New Star.
Barclays Global Investorsi-Shares MSCI AC Far East ex-Japan SmallCap
Barclays Global Investorsi-Shares MSCI Japan SmallCap
Barclays Global Investorsi-Shares S&P SmallCap 600
Barclays Wealth has introduced a FTSE 100-linked capital -protected bond that has the potential to mature each year during its five-year term.
Barings Asset Management is looking to start a soft com-modities fund run by Jonathan Blake.
Latest figures from the British Bankers’ Association have shown a small recovery in house purchases in April.
The Government has exten-ded its shared equity and shared ownership schemes beyond key workers to help all first-time buyers into homeownership.
Blue Sky Asset ManagementAccelerated Recovery Plan
Blue Sky Asset ManagementAsset Allocation Accelerated Growth Plan II
Blue Sky Asset ManagementProtected Income Plan III
BNP Paribas is offering a white-label Sipp for advisers, wealth managers and asset managers looking to outsource admin and investor servicing. It gives access to collectives, equities and commercial property.
Sales of investment bonds dropped nearly 40 per cent to £6.463bn in Q1 2008 compared with Q4 2007, and almost 30 per cent from the same time last year, according to the Association of British Insurers.
Britannia InternationalEthical Global Guaranteed Capital Bond
Will you try to charge a fee for advising mortgage clients to take up a direct deal?
As my flight neared Eppley airfield, Omaha, all I could see was farmland. It seemed an unlikely venue to encounter arguably the world's greatest investor - Warren Buffett - at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting.
Cheltenham & Gloucester2-Year Fixed-Rate Plus
In the last few months, I have read many points of view regarding the credit crunch and predictions that it will continue for anywhere between 12 and 36 months, depending on which so-called expert you listen to. Current conditions are making it extremely difficult for us brokers to survive and although diversifying is a good thing, for some it may be a bit late in the day.
Too many people have nearly all their money on deposit with banks and building societies. It is sensible to keep an emergency fund in cash but equities have shown the best returns over the medium to long term if run by the top managers.
I have always been a huge believer in the power of the internet. More than any invention in the past 50 years, the web is helping reshape our lives in a way barely imaginable even a decade ago.
This week Credit Suisse appointed its third head of global equities inside two years as Kim Goodwin quit the firm to return to the US in a consultancy role.
John Charcol's private equity shareholder Advantage Capital has sold its 15 per cent stake to the company's founders after a sale of the broker was ruled out.
Cheshire Building SocietyFive Year Fixed Rate
Cheshire Building SocietyIntermediary-Only Three Year Fixed Rate
The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts house prices will drop 7 per cent by the end of 2008, despite the fact lending was up 5 per cent in April.
The Pension Regulator's proposed approach to mortality assumptions will place unnecessary pressure on pension schemes, warns the National Association of Pension Funds.
Commercial First has arranged a £40m three year working capital facility from Lloyds TSB.
Remuneration strategies for 100 per cent shareholding directors have provided many opportunities for advisers to add value by helping clients minimise their tax bills. Solutions have depended on the tax band of the company and individual but, for example, where company profits are under £300,000 for the year, the composite tax position, including National Insurance, makes dividend payments more attractive than salary.
Coventry Building Society6.79% Offset Fixed Rate
Coventry Building Society6.65% Offset Fixed Rate
The credit crunch is asking questions of everybody, including intermediaries. Without doubt these are doubly hard times for the intermediary market. It is quite fair to ask where are your friends when you need them? For a start, the FSA’s recent declaration that dual pricing has no consumer detriment made it clear where its sympathies lie. Meanwhile too many other commentators are struggling to achieve much except to remind us how awful our predicament is.
Credit Suisse Asset ManagementGlobal Income Plus Fund
Mortgageforce director of distribution Stuart Johnson says directly authorised firms not affiliated with a network or a franchise will suffer.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier believes that New Star's decision to merge its Japan and America portfolios could suggest that it is time to invest in the sectors.
Former Scottish Provident national account director Phil Alibone has died.
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers Sterling Money Market ETF
I am amazed to see the comment allegedly made by Richard Hobbs that "there is no difference between a top tied adviser at St James's Place and an IFA because it is the asset class and the asset manager that makes the difference. The wrapper is of no importance".
Nationwide non-retail executive director Matthew Wyles says the strategy of lenders undercutting brokers is only a phase and will not last.
The overriding compliance principle provided by the FSA for this year, as you will know, is treating customers fairly. We are all trying to apply the principle across our businesses and working to achieve the six outcomes.
As most fund managers have moved up the market cap scale, UK smaller companies have gone out of vogue. Bigger companies generally have better valuations and a more difficult economic situation suggests a better picture for them.
For the past few years, the Association of British Insurers has fought - fairly effectively it has to be said - to prevent investors from getting the best possible value from their maturing pension funds.
Edeus says its new asset quality assessment service will allow lenders to understand the current risks of all the mortgages in any of their asset pools.
The National Association of Estate Agents has warned the housing market is still very regional but elements of the market are stabilising.
The European Commission has confirmed that automatic enrolment of members into contract-based schemes, such as group personal pensions, is consistent with EU law.
A new European Union directive could significantly reduce the number of people enrolled into group personal pension schemes despite auto-enrolment getting the green light from Brussels last week.
The Government will have to disclose information on whether Gordon Brown sought legal opinion on whether the Financial Services and Markets Bill is compatible with human rights legislation.
Homefunding chief executive Tony Ward warns that moves by ex-lenders into the retail savings products arena present challenges for their distribution database.
Finance Ireland had confirmed it intends to seek the approval of shareholders to de-list its ordinary shares on AIM and IEX.
First Direct has resumed offering mortgages after withdrawing from the market in April. It says it has cleared a backlog of application approvals that forced it to suspend lending to new customers.
Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says becoming a public company has made everyone at the firm sharper in the past 12 months.
Friends Provident has appointed David Rough to its board as an independent non-executive director.
Friends Provident has admitted it may be necessary to appoint an interim finance director to replace Jim Smart when he leaves in August.
The FSA has publicly censured Mortgageland Limited for poor financial promotions, inadequate sales processes and record-keeping failings.
The FSA has fined three mortgage brokers for their inability to demonstrate that they had recommended affordable mortgage contracts that met their clients’ needs.
The FSA has fined UNAT DIRECT Insurance Management Limited £640,000 for failing to complete its due diligence before selling to consumers through call centres.
The majority of respondents to the FSA’s discussion paper on liquidity requirements for banks and building societies agree that quantitative requirements are a necessary component of any liquidity regime, says the regulator.
The FSA has moved to clarify its rules on mortgage disclosure to enable brokers to charge a fee for advice when recommending clients take out a mortgage direct from a lender.
The FSA should not absorb Thinc Group's £900,000 fine but should set it aside for any compensation claims that arise, says IFA John Joseph.
The Financial Services Skills Council has launched a new national quality standard for financial advisers working with older clients.
Future Mortgages is the latest lender to close its doors to new lending as parent company Citibank opts to focus on its Citi and Egg brands.
The mortgage market is certainly tough at the moment and in uncertain times the temptation is always to tighten up the marketing budget. That is fine and prudent but some would say this is exactly the time to crank up your marketing efforts.
Fay Goddard says she will bring a depth of understanding on how regulation affects advisers to her new role as chief executive of the Personal Finance Society.
Legg Mason InvestmentsLegg Mason Global Equity Income Fund
Credit Suisse global head of equities Kim Goodwin has quit after less than two years.
The Government has committed to extending its £2.7bn package to compensate those set to suffer as a result of the abolition of the 10p tax rate to future years.
HBOS has completed the first public UK residential mortgage-backed securitisation since the liquidity squeeze took hold of the market last July.
HBOS has sold its entire stake in property website Rightmove for 59.2m. It announced last week the sale of 16.2 million shares at 365p each through UBS and Numis. It previously held 20 per cent of the firm when it floated on the stockmarket in 2006.
New Star's Heart of Africa fund is within weeks of closing after reaching £75m of its £100m capacity.
Home Buyer Systems has launched a new system which enables mortgage advisers to source direct-to-lender products as well as intermediary-based products from the whole of market Defaqto database.
Droves of buy-to-let homeowners are choosing to rent out their properties after struggling to sell them in the current market, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Northern Rock executive chairman Ron Sandler has admitted that a serious fall in house prices could significantly dent its plan to repay its £27bn Bank of England loan by 2010.
HSBC is rebranding its asset management business to HSBC Global Asset Management.
IFA Investment SolutionsAll-Weather Kick-Out Plan
Enhanced by their unwavering popularity over recent years, income funds have been the subject of great debate.
Ingenious Asset ManagementUK Equity Fund
Investec Asset Management has established an offshore Middle East and North Africa fund to complement its Africa, Pan-Africa and Africa Middle East funds.
Legal & General senior operations manager for claims and underwriting Stuart Johnson is leaving the firm to join PruProtect.
JPMorgan Asset Management has introduced a thematic fund that invests in companies that provide consumer goods and services.
The FSA is warning that more mortgage fraud is waiting to be uncovered after several years of lenders focusing on quantity rather than quality of business.
Standard Life head of pensions policy John Lawson says Hargreaves Lansdown's call for 100 per cent of investors to exercise their open market option is not "physically possible".
It may sound like stating the obvious to point out that when the chips are down, most institutions, and in particular those with strong links to banking, will happily bite the hand that has previously fed their bottom line.
Legal & General Investment Management strategist James Carrick has warned of the possibility of a UK recession.
Legg Mason has expanded its fund range with the launch of two income funds, including a global equity income fund.
Legg Mason InvestmentsLegg Mason Global Equity Income Fund
Legg Mason InvestmentsLegg Mason Global Multi Strategy Bond Fund
Liontrust shares rose by over 10 per cent on Tuesday after it confirmed an early takeover approach. The share price opened at 280p and was 307.5p at close.
Man InvestmentsMan Vision
Merchant Investors says its investment bond sales have increased by 17 per cent over the last quarter.
New Star is planning to merge two of its single-country funds after poor uptake and performance.
Meteor Asset Management has launched a new kick out plan linked to the performance of a property index.
Stafford Railway Building Society is over 130 years old and, in terms of size, it is one of the smallest in the UK. It employs just 16 people and has about 17,050 mortgages. But in this case, size is no measure of success.
Oil prices surged to yet another record high this week with Brent Crude touching $135.14 a barrel on Thursday.
PSigma income manager Bill Mott believes that an inflection point is becoming more likely as the government looks to stave off a possible recession.
Eight members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted in favour of maintaining bank rate at 5 per cent this month.
Ernst & Young insurance leader Shaun Crawford says any multi-tie organisations will have to seriously consider moving to a whole of market offering if their businesses are to survive.
Nationwide Building Society has seen a fall of 40 per cent in net residential lending to £6.7bn, down from £11.2bn in 2007.
NDFARegular Fixed Income Plan April 08
Newton Investment Management director Paul Brain believes now is a positive time for bondholders, with attractive valuations and a paradigm shift in the way banks run their businesses.
NFU Mutual has launched a range of incentives to encourage medium and long-term investment.
Lord Hunt's recommendation for the Financial Ombudsman Service to name the worst-performing companies would push companies to uphold complaints regardless of fault, says a former FOS adjudicator.
Hopes of further interest rate cuts have been dashed after Bank of England governor Mervyn King warned that inflation could reach 4 per cent this year.
The editorial of May 8 was a balanced, comprehensive and insightful view, except for the first sentence. IFAs will always will be under a clear and present danger with regulation in its current form. That does not have to be a lament, merely a recognition of the facts. Bear in mind that, under Howard Davies, we had depolarisation. It would appear that we are now to have polarisation back again.
Norwich UnionIncome Drawdown Plan
Norwich Union has moved back to monthly valuations on its property fund range following a slowdown in redemptions.
A blunder by the Office for National Statistics may have under-estimated private pensions income by four times their true level.
You often wonder why the public are cynical about financial services companies and then something comes along and you realise why and it is pretty simple really.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority has appointed Alison Wright, Paul Hewitt and Chris Willford as non-executive directors.
Liontrust Asset Management has appointed former New Star marketing director Rob Page.
The governor of the Bank of England says inflation is here to stay and monetary easing must cease. If we thought the second half of 2007 and early 2008 were tough, then, according to Mr King, we ain't seen nothing yet. Worse, these testing times seem likely to persist: the "Nice decade" is behind us and interest rate cuts are now officially shelved.
Funding for a series of pensions education projects will be extended until March 2009, Pensions Minister Mike O’Brien has announced today.
Former pension review leader Lord Lipsey is to become the new chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from June 2.
I took a long time to be convinced of the necessity for platforms because our back-office system, 1st's Adviser Office, already gave us a pseudo-platform where we could easily report on a client's diverse holdings.
The Personal Finance Society has created a member support package for advisers who offer equity-release products.
Blue Sky Asset Management has brought out a second issue of the asset allocation accelerated growth plan, a capital-protected bond that provides geared returns linked to the investor’s choice of up to four stockmarket indices.
The current economic environment is leading to a surge in mortgage networks diversifying into other areas of financial services.
Alliance & LeicesterTwo Year Base Rate Tracker
Positive Solutions saw its highest-ever monthly gross commission and fees in April at 11.3m. New business turnover was 37.6m in the first quarter, driven largely by pension advice.
Prudential has launched a flexibly priced FundSipp through Cofunds alongside its full Sipp offering. There are no set-up or admin costs until 2009.
It was a former Conservative Chancellor who suggested he could see the green shoots of recovery while the UK was still in recession in the early 1990s. He was vilified although, in hindsight, he was probably correct.
This week I would like to start with a consideration of the fundamentals of the remittance basis.
Wriglesworth Consultancy managing director John Wriglesworth believes lenders could restrict mortgages to people who have a savings account with them.
Liquidity in the mortgage market is unlikely to return until the end of 2009.
Over the last decade, laptops have increasingly become a key component of an IFA's equipment. More and more firms are arming their advisers with mobile technology to give them access to detailed client records during client visits. Even those advisers who are not comfortable with using a laptop in front of a client will still use portable technology to give them access to client information while on the move.
Mortgage advisers have told the FSA that the self-certification and fast-track mortgage markets can encourage fraud.
Shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson has rejected the idea of Australian-style compulsory pension contributions if the Conservatives get into power.
Skandia has brought out a range of six multi-manager funds that have been designed for different risk profiles.
Standard Life Investments has made its global absolute return strategies fund available to retail investors.
What a difference a day makes. Since March 17, the day the markets digested the news of the Federal Reserve's intervention in the Bear Stearns situation, the FTSE All Share is up by almost 15 per cent. The European high-yield market has risen by some 7 per cent. Even the financials heavy iBoxx Sterling Corporates index is up by about 2 per cent. This experience highlights the difficulty of calling the bottom of markets. It has also prompted managers of funds in the IMA UK corporate bond ...
Standard Life InvestmentsGlobal Absolute Return Strategies Fund
The FSA has fined Thinc Group £900,000 for sub-prime mortgage record-keeping failings.
Boutique manager SVM Asset Management has responded to market volatility by introducing two multi-asset funds of funds, SVM balanced managed and SVM cautious managed, for investors with lower risk profiles.
Tough times call for lots of finger-pointing and few, especially those at the top, manage to escape the firing line unscathed.
The Commerce Centre will no longer be accepting any new enquiries for commercial, bridging or residential secured loans with immediate effect.
The Way GroupWay MA Cautious Portfolio Fund
Multi-tied network Thinc has confirmed that it is reconsidering its distribution strategy in light of the retail distribution review.
Former FSA chief executive John Tiner is to join the board of the Financial Services Skills Council.
Towers Perrin has hit out at the FSA’s retail distribution review, claiming that tied or multi-tied advisers can deliver a better service than whole of market advisers.
Towry Law says it can pass up to 400 basis points back to each of its clients by not charging commission.
SchrodersSchroder Diversified Target Return Fund
Investors have been waiting for the re-emergence of Japan, when its equity market once again begins to deliver sustained returns.
Moneyextra is to develop itself as an information hub, lead generator and wealth management tool for advisers and brokers to complement its consumer offering.
UBS has revealed a SwFr16 billion (£7.8bn) rights issue in a bid to repair its balance sheet.
The IFA Defence Union has relaunched a service for advisers having legal problems with a network. It can be found at www.networkmember.co.uk
Blue Sky Asset ManagementAccelerated Recovery Plan
Hargreaves Lansdown's latest investor confidence index shows markedly improved optimism in the stockmarket compared with six weeks ago.
Former Selestia sales and marketing director Bill Vasilieff's new wealth management platform will launch this autumn as Novia Financial.