22 October 2008
2plan Wealth Management chief executive Chris Smallwood is calling for stricter FSA rules surrounding the transfer of IFA firms and their clients to other networks.
The new FSA chairman has not been media-shy since his appointment and Adair Turner has set about his task by challenging a few sacred cows.
The Association of British Insurers claims it will bring annuity transfer times down to 30 days under a new initiative between providers and e-commerce standards body Origo.
They were one of the success stories of the year but it seems absolute return funds have not escaped the financial crisis that has swept through global markets.
Aegon is considering taking part in the Dutch Government’s recapitalisation scheme.
The Dutch Government has pumped £2.4bn (€3bn) into Aegon to shore up its capital position.
Pension campaigner Ros Altmann has called for a Beveridge report into retirement because politicians are unable to face up to the crisis.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has appointed Sesame executive chairman Ivan Martin as its second deputy chairman.
Aifa says it welcomes comments by FSA chairman Lord Turner that regulatory fees for banks are too small compared with the fees paid by IFAs.
AIG Life UK chief executive Doug Brown says the insurer stands behind its enhanced fund marketing literature and does not believe that it would be liable to claims through the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The independent third party that AIG has appointed to value assets in its enhanced fund for policyholders has three members of ex-AIG staff on its management team.
AIG Life has appointed Cairn Capital as the independent third party in charge of assessing the value of assets in the enhanced fund on behalf of policyholders.
The Office of National Statistics analysis shows there is a growing trend towards later retirement, according to an update on its Pensions Trends publication.
Aon Consulting has downplayed the ABI’s introduction of a best-practice industry process for annuity purchase claiming that it does not go far enough in providing a solution.
Arc Fund Management is disposing of its structured product arm as part of a management buyout of three of its subsidiaries as the firm looks to focus on its core IFA business.
US financial advisers are facing many of the same challenges as their UK colleagues, as was plain to see at the Financial Planning Association conference in Boston, USA in early October. There is a lot to learn from American planners - some things to copy and a few to avoid.
Aviva says the terms of its £1bn reattribution payout could change if volatile market conditions continue.
Axa is set to offer a new company pension scheme that automatically increases the level of contributions over the duration of the pension.
The Bank of England says insurance companies are better off in the current economic crisis than banks and hedge funds but warns against complacency.
Zurich has appointed Richard Howells as its IFA sales director.
The Bank of England has advised UK banks to fundamentally rethink how they deal with risk as it reveals losses have doubled since April.
Barclays Wealth has told clients with money in AIG Life's enhanced fund that almost every client would be better off taking the maturity plan and that it will loan clients money until it matures.
The recent stock-market slump will make half-yearly fund statements grim reading. Unless you happened to own Manek growth, which is around 15 per cent ahead of the pack (and in positive territory at the time of writing). But given that this resident dog fund languished at the foot of the performance tables for years, there are unlikely to be that many of you.
The Barnsley building society is set to merge with Yorkshire building society as a result of its exposure to Icelandic banks.
Although the last 12 months have been tough for everybody in our industry, Friends Provident has probably had more than its fair share of challenges.
Bestinvest has downgraded its rating on Skandia's global best ideas fund following a number of portfolio changes and poor performance from the underlying fund managers.
As we draw closer to a general election, the mortgage availability crisis and in particular the availability of mortgages for first-time buyers is going to become more of an issue for politicians. Last week, Chancellor Alistair Darling was criticised for asking the newly part-nationalised banks to go back to 2007 lending availability for homebuyers, a statement that John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger called "mainly political".
The Isle of Man government has raised protection levels from £15,000 to £20,000 for non-individual depositors previously covered under the 1991 scheme, including charities and businesses.
John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger has criticised Halifax over the collars on its tracker mortgage rates.
Bright Grey has unveiled its plans to enhance its critical illness offering by adding two new definitions and extending three existing conditions.
Do you agree with Kerry Nelson that structured products should be banned in the retail sector?Yes 25%No 75%
The new minister for the City Paul Myners has suggested the Government does need to accept some of the blame for the financial crisis.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has produced a best practice guide on mortgage arrears and repossessions.
London & Country has hit out at John Charcol's single-tie protection deal with Legal & General, suggesting it sends mixed messages to clients.
Norwich Union, Friends Provident and Scottish Widows have placed market value reductions on with-profits policies due to continued market turbulence.
What turbulent times we live in. It is a full-time job just keeping up with the sheer volume of world events and the markets. There have been many positives recently although there are still a few negatives. Probably the biggest negative is the dose of reality that has hit the equity markets.
Alistair Darling, Lord Adair Turner and Mervyn King have been called to give evidence on the banking crisis at the Treasury select committee in a fortnight.
Just Retirement has announced it has appointed David Cooper to take responsibility for sales and distribution in addition to his existing role as marketing director.
There has been much debate over the past year about the role and performance of credit-rating firms, yet despite the mass of information that rating firms make available to the market, much of this discussion remains ill informed.
European Pensions Management has waived the minimum £15,000 investment in its low-cost Funds Sipp until the end of the year.
Fortis Life UK is teaming up with online provider Click to offer Click for Life cover.
The FSA has banned a Lancashire broker for cancelling clients’ insurance contracts while continuing to accept their premiums and for failing to disclose a previous convictions.
The FSA has extended the data submission deadline for 3,000 intermediary firms after its new filing system Gabriel buckled under pressure.
The FSA has revealed that repossessions, where the house has been successful sold by the lender, have rocketed by 71 per cent in Q2 2008, to 11,054 cases.
The Financial Services Authority has decided to keep its short selling ban on publicly quoted financial companies.
The FTSE 100 opened 41 basis points lower this morning at 4,046.83 following further losses on the global markets overnight.
The FTSE100 was up over 2 per cent this morning as the market reacted to the Asian rally overnight.
The FTSE100 reached new lows this morning as fears of a global economic slowdown continued to hit investor confidence.
The FTSE 100 opened 42.47 points lower today on yesterday’s close as investors digested news from the Bank of England that the UK could be entering a recession.
Research by Fidelity FundsNetwork suggests that fewer than 8 per cent of pension savers are happy to leave their protected rights' money in insurance company funds.
The focus of concern has shifted from the maintenance of a stable banking system to the length and depth of the inevitable recession. I say inevitable because the chances are it has already arrived.
Radical changes undoubtedly lie ahead for the life, pensions and long-term savings sector.
The Bank of England governor Mervyn King has said the Government could start to recover some of the £37bn it is injecting into banks by selling units in a bank reconstruction fund.
The Government has revealed it may need to extend its emergency powers under the Banking Special Provisions Act beyond February 2009 if the Banking Bill is delayed.
The Government is proposing an amendment to the Pensions Bill to allow people to buy an additional six years of voluntary National Insurance Contributions to help boost the state pension for women and carers.
Hargreaves Lansdown chairman Peter Hargreaves has attacked Lord Turner's view that FSA bank levies are proportionally too small.
Hargreaves Lansdown expects a sharp drop in annuity rates over the coming 12 months due to economic indicators pointing downwards.
Hargreaves Lansdown saw assets under administration fall by 7 per cent in the period from June to September this year.
After the crisis, comes the uncertainty. The daily dance of the FTSE and the Dow Jones (two steps forward, four steps back) continues to hold a morbid fascination. We have seen unprecedented levels of government intervention on both sides of the Atlantic to prop up the financial system and stabilise markets but as yet there is no sign that equilibrium has been reached.
The possibility of a bank rate below 3 per cent seemed sufficiently remote for it not to be a major factor influencing the choice of lender for a tracker mortgage. Yet some economists now suggest that the bank rate could fall below that level. Inflation will fall rapidly in the next year. By the end of 2009, the money policy committee's challenge will be keeping the CPI above 1 per cent rather than worrying about it being above 3 per cent. In these circumstances, a bank rate below 3 per ...
The root cause of our economic and financial woes has been property.
AIG Life UK (AIG) have recently made an announcement on how policyholders who hold Premier Access Bonds invested in their Enhanced Fund may immediately encash 50 per cent of their investment.
Investment Management Association chief executive Richard Saunders says structured product providers and their clients need to review what they see as a risk-free investment.
The Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority has signed an agreement which Chinese regulatory authorities allowing Chinese investors to invest in Irish domiciled funds.
There are some political things I think we should be arguing about. Oleg the Oligarch and his relations with Tory and Labour politicians is not one of them.
J O Hambro Investment Management has announced the appointment of Charles Bathurst as director and head of fund distribution.
Just Retirement has appointed Shayne Deighton as group chief actuary and board director.
Just Retirement has reported a slight downturn in annuity sales and warned the annuity market will be affected by a large number of potential annuitants deferring taking their benefits.
The Isle of Man High Court has postponed the winding-up of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man until November 27.
The Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle Of Man action group has accused the Government of exacerbating the Icelandic banking crisis, following an audience with the Icelandic embassy yesterday.
Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man action group says evidence suggests the Treasury will use British KSF assets to cover Icelandic debts rather than returning them to British savers.
Legal & General has unveiled its plans to offer business protection through online portal Assureweb.
Leadpoint has unveiled its plans to offer home insurance leads to its customers.
The Pension Protection Fund has confirmed that a section of the Lehman Brothers pension scheme has entered the assessment period.
Life insurers have defended their capital position after market concerns that they could be the next sector to be hit by the credit crisis.
Lighthouse has called for a delay to the retail distribu- tion review due to the financial crisis.
'When America sneezes, Europe catches a cold,' as the old saying goes. And it has rung true over the last year - but have we got some more sniffles to come?
Insurance group LV= has released a hard-hitting short film in a bid to highlight the importance of income protection.
Top civil servants' pensions across all Government departments have increased by £16m to £138m over the past year, according to research from the Liberal Democrats.
Matrix Data Solutions has relaunced its online directory mylocaladviser.co.uk in a bid to further assist IFAs.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews has said the insurer has no need for additional capital as its share price dropped by 18 per cent in morning trading.
Midas Capital chief executive Simon Edwards says the time for panic over global markets has passed and careful investors should now be looking for opportunities.
The Money Portal has joined Legal & General's mortgage club.
Money Portal has launched a new company called Annuity Portal which aims to offer an annuity referral service to all advisers.
Mortgage Times has launched a new buy to let deal funded by Platform, the intermediary lender of Britannia.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has announced it will accelerate the compensation process for the 200,000 retail depositors with savings in Icesave UK.
Ayear ago, in one of my articles for this paper, I said that the FSA's system for insolvency regulation for financial institutions is plainly not up to dealing with the loss of confidence in a financial institution and that the FSA had to provide depositors with guidance as to the creditworthiness of deposit takers.
Network Data has revealed it is to sell its Botleys Mansion head office and admitted a backlog of commissions.
Norwich Union UK life and pension sales have remained buoyant, falling only slightly in the current market conditions.
The Isle of Man Treasury has confirmed that savers in offshore bond wrappers will not get any individual cover under the enhanced depositor protection scheme.
In last week's article, I looked at the potential impact that an increased transferable £1m nil-rate band could have on will planning. This week, I would like to turn the focus on couples with a combined estate of less than £2m and look at whether, if the proposed increase were enacted into law, there would be any incentive to make lifetime gifts or enter into any form of lifetime planning strategy.
The value in pension pots over the past year has plummeted due to the fall in stockmarkets.
I am approaching the normal retirement age of my personal pension. Should I buy an annuity now or has the drop in the stockmarkets had a negative effect on the amount of pension I will receive, making it better for me to wait for a little while?
Amid the turmoil in the financial markets, inflation has hit multi-year highs, home prices are recording record falls and unemployment is rising at the fastest rate since 1991.
It has been a week of promises in the pensions industry, starting with the Government tabling an amendment to the Pensions Bill that it hopes will safeguard the final salary promises of bought-out pension schemes.
Delegates at this year’s US Mortgage Broker Association convention were besieged by angry protestors on Tuesday.
Prudential International has reported a 41 per cent increase in sales with annual performance earnings totalling £48m for the first nine months of 2008.
Prudential group chief executive Mark Tucker has confirmed that the company is eyeing up AIG's Asia operations.
Intermediaries and retail investors held their cool somewhat during the volatile month of September, with fund activity staying relatively consistent with the rest of the year, according to Cofunds.
Treasury Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper chose last weekend to suggest that banks think long and hard before they enforce repossession orders.
The Information Tribunal's decision to reject the FSA's use of the Human Rights Act to block a freedom of information request to name the "Lautro 19" has left some lawyers suggesting the regulator is clutching at straws.
Absolute return funds have surrendered their position as the biggest selling sector, according to latest figures from the Investment Management Association.
Schroders has appointed Karl Dasher as the group’s head of fixed income.
Scottish Life is warning advisers of the hidden dangers surrounding active member discounts in an IFA document.
More concerns have been raised concerning the imminent Lloyds TSB HBOS merger as the Office of Fair Trading submits its report to the Government.
Sesame has sealed a five-year partnership deal with 1st – The Exchange, giving members access to the portal’s Exweb service.
A new product is about to be launched which I believe is the first of its kind, a 100 per cent capital- protected investment in US life settlements. It is an Isle of Man capital-protected life settlements seven-year note issued by Credit Suisse and is marketed by mansellpartners.com.
Shaun Matisonn, the chief executive of PruHealth and PruProtection, has an almost evangelical approach to getting people to live healthier lives.
Skandia Investment Group chief executive Jamie MacLeod believes that the current volatile markets will lead to significant increases in multi-manager sales.
Standard Life UK funds are among those bearing the brunt of the market conditions, according to figures from Financial Express.
"It is a complicated world at the moment," says Intermediary Mortgage Lenders' Association chief executive Dr Peter Williams, "and we are only part-way through it."
Bestinvest founder John Spiers has reclaimed his role as the firm's chief executive less than 18 months after selling his stake to private equity firm 3i.
Standard Life has delayed the launch of its variable annuity for the second time, with the product now pencilled in for some time in the new year.
Sterling has fallen to a five year low against the dollar at $1.62 amid fears of a UK recession.
I am writing in response to John Lawson's letter in Money Marketing's issue of of September 25 concerning my review of Standard Life's structured products.
Architas Multi-Manager has appointed Colin Taylor as deputy chief investment officer.
Many readers will recall the Monty Python sketch about the dead Norwegian Blue parrot but how many can recall the skit about cheap car insurance?
The Pensions Bill is certainly packing a full agenda. As it returns to the Lords for report stage, it is currently running to 129 pages and it covers a multitude of subjects, from new employer responsibilities for automatic enrolment into pensions to creation of the personal accounts scheme, to pension compensation on divorce.
They guarantee me, they guarantee me not. Savers would do just as well to pluck the petals of a daisy and repeat this well-known doggerel for an answer to whether their offshore bonds will be covered by local depositor protection schemes.
Towergate Financial has appointed ex-John Charcol chairman Ian Darby as its chief executive.
A transcript of a phonecall between Alistair Darling and an Icelandic official has revealed that the Chancellor “doubted” Icelandic reassurances "weeks" before the fall of its banks.
Heard of elephants? When people talk about the elephant in the room they are usually referring to an issue so big that it should be obvious to everyone but that, strangely, nobody ever seems to mention.
In the wake of several life insurers implementing Market Value Reductions on over 1.4m with-profits policies, Which? has slammed them and called for the FSA to launch a comprehensive review of its regulation of with-profits funds.
Evolution-owned wealth manager Williams de Broe is acquiring the assets and investment team of UK discretionary manager Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Investment Management.
UK workers are missing on £5.07bn a year by failing to join a company pension scheme, according to research released from Prudential.
Zurich International Life has appointed Carlos Sabugueiro as CEO for its life business across the Middle East and Africa.