23 February 2005
January was busy for estate agents after a surge in property placed on the market and an increase in mortgage applications, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.
Consistency is not something for which the FSA is well known and nowhere is this more apparent than in the regulation of general insur-ance which came into effect on January 15.
In previous years, we have had many calls from surveys asking us to spend time answering questions. We appreciate that the individual caller has a job to do but their employers clearly have no respect for our time.
Buy to let is bucking the slowing property market with rising rents and long-term confidence from landlords.
Alliance & Leicester is keen to invigorate its relationship with mortgage intermediaries by introducing flexible features and systems in the coming months.
Alliance & Leicester is moving into the specialised first-time buyer market in its first venture into specialised lending.
The ABI is calling for responses to its report by May 31, the week before fee menus bec-ome mandatory across the financial services sector.
IFAs say the argument between Neptune and Britannic over two fund managers moving reflects fund companies' sensitivity at losing managers.
It is remarkable how attempts to improve confidence in savings often simply undermine it.
This week, I am continuing my series of articles looking at recent and imminent developments in the world of pensions.
The Scottish Investment Trust has set up a scheme for children that, unlike the child trust fund, allows access to investments at any time.
It is approaching crunch time for IFAs, who are just weeks away from deciding their future and whether they will retain their independent status. As the debate continues to rage, however, I am astounded at the number of market commentators who are completely missing the point.
Do you think responsibility for risk ratings should lie with IFAs rather than with providers?
The Smiths are keen to implement a savings strategy for their two children - James, who is seven, and new arrival Matthew.The grandparents have said they will help but the Smiths are confused. What should they be advised?
Capita PPML has appointed former Marlborough Stirling chief executive Graham Coxell as managing director.
Some mortgage promotions are still not complying with FSA regulation despite the regulator pled-ging a crackdown on misleading advertising, says Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger.
Chelsea Building SocietySelf-Cert Two Year Discount Mortgage
Chelsea Building SocietyTwo Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
Chelsea Financial Services' call centre provider has quit over FSA fears at the height of the Isa season.
Chrysalis shareholders have voted in favour of merging four VCTs to streamline performance, the first time for such a VCT merger.
Coventry Building Society5.99% Flexx Buy-to-Let
The critical sector is still in a state of flux but eventually it must move to cover only core illnesses and simplify the processes.
Our panel of experts give their opinions on cross-subsidies, the prospects for single ties and sourcing systems.
Downing Corporate Finance is aiming to raise up to 40m through two lower-risk VCTs which will mirror each other.
The Department for Work and Pensions is set to confirm that people can take 25 per cent of their protected rights as tax-free cash in the next few weeks.
The Personal Finance Society believes the ABI's report has opened up the fees vs.commission debate. The PFS welcomes the report, saying that the debate needed to be resurrected for the benefit of consumers.
Fidelity has added 12 funds to its open architecture platform for defined-contribution pension clients.
Financial Express is in talks with wrap providers over the use of its data services and other products.
Changes made by the Government to the financial services industry have patently failed to address the problem of the millions of people in the UK who have traditionally failed to take responsibility for their long-term financial welfare.
Friends Provident will buck industry trends and offer an increased rate of commission on the individual stakeholder personal pension it is bringing to market next quarter.
The FSA is today sending firms a factsheet explaining how arrangements for Integrated Regulatory Reporting will work.
The FSA is cracking down on unauthorised brokers who arrange and advise on mortgages illegally.
The FSA has revealed it was advised by a barrister that it had insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone involved in the split-cap scandal.
The FSA plans to monitor closely the advertising and marketing of equity-release products, sub-prime mortgages and debt consolidation by providers and brokers.
The latest CML figures on the buy-to-let sector have been covered extensively and used as the basis for a number of articles full of doom and gloom. Much has been made of the likelihood of an erosion of support at the lower end of the housing market and the subsequent end to the boom that has shored up the UK property market.
Hurrah for Bhupinder Anand (Money Marketing, February 10). What a fantastic article. How right he is.
HSA Group has completed the acquisition of Bristol-based private medical and health insurer BCWA.
The Mortgage Practitioner sole trader Danny Lovey has created a one-page key facts illustration in response to frustration at long KFIs from lenders.
IFAs have been cleared of commission bias by ABI research but its investigation calls for greater transparency in relation to ongoing commission.
IFAs are refusing to advise clients who were invested in the Eurolife secured bond for fear of the repercussions.
IFAs have reacted angrily to research carried out for the ABI that calls for the abolition of indemnity commission.
IFAs have called on the FSA to clear up confusion over whether rebating commission counts as handling client money.
It was about five years ago when I moved my client bank to a fee basis.
Ingenious VenturesIngenious Music VCT
Smaller companies may be at the riskier end of the invest-ment spectrum but I am still a fan.
Accepted knowledge of what is possible under the new pension tax rules is still very much a moving feast. This is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
Keydata has introduced another innovative product which will have great appeal to income investors.
Clients often ask you to advise them on tax and financial planning for their businesses. A key part of this is catering for their wishes to pass on their business - or the value representing it - if they die before retirement.
Confidence among homeowners has increased for the first time in eight months, according to the Woolwich consumer confidence index.
A lawyer assesses the ramifications of the recent financial services tribunal ruling on the FSA's enforcement processes.
The Liberal Democrats have called for financial education and awareness to be integrated into the national curriculum as part their debt action plan.
Life and pension business rose by 5.4 per cent last years to £10.2bn on an annual premium equivalent basis, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers.
A leading pension adviser is warning that significant numbers of investors who are being arbitrarily contracted back into the state second pension by life offices could be worse off than if they stayed contracted out.
Senior managers have been told to face up to their responsibilities when it comes to treating customers fairly.
Aifa director general David Severn has complained to the FSA that its estimates for market averages of advice are wrong.
Winterthur Life's chief executive believes depolarisation will actually polarise the industry further and has positioned the life office to take advantage of a growing interest in independent advice from highnet-worth individuals.
Mortgage clubs can help reduce costs by offering support services at reduced rates to intermediaries - the ability to bulk-buy or aggregate applies to the mortgage product and to support services such as sourcing systems.
Mortgage Next Mortgage Trust MT Select 2 Year Fixed Buy-to-Let
Gross mortgage lending fell in January to 17.9bn, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders in its latest survey.
MTM Capital PartnersMTM China VCT
In a recent Multi-manager view Dennehy Weller managing director Brian Dennehy outlined the process he uses to select funds for his clients and suggested that other IFAs could do the same, rather than be lazy and invest with a multi-manager.
A row has erupted between Britannic Asset Management and Neptune over the departures of Oliver Russ and Barry Norris' to run Britannic's European fund boutique.
Alpha to Omega chief executive Stewart Wooles says none of the main product providers has the technology systems needed to underpin a multi-tie.
IFA network members are rejecting the idea of offering a multi-tie option, according to research from Henry Samuels Marketing Services.
Newton investment ManagementNewton Phoenix Fund
Newton Investment Management has made its institutional Newton phoenix fund available to retail investors.
Norwich UnionWith-Profit Guarantee Fund
Norwich UnionActive Protector Fund
With the end of the tax year approaching, some investors are looking at novel schemes which seem to offer big returns but are they worth the risk?
Norwich Union is offering its lowest fixed rate for a lifetime mortgage.
Norwich Union has created an Oeic fund of funds which applies constant proportion portfolio insurance to a portfolio of six Norwich Union funds and short-term cash deposits.
Last week, I looked at outright gifts and conditional gifts of an interest in property made by the first of a couple to die.
Standard Life chief executive Sandy Crombie sets out the reasons why demutualisation is the best course for the company and how it is setting its sights on two goals this year - maxim-ising the value of the company and crystallising that value to deliver it to members.
Unfunded public-sector pension liabilities are reckoned to be nearly 700bn, almost 60 per cent higher than the Government's most recent estimate.
Vesta Packaging managing director Mark Leaper on how regulation has divided packagers in two camps.
The Professional Mortgage Packagers' Alliance is appealing to the FSA to pump some of the 2m in surplus funds left with the MCCB back into the mortgage industry.
Packagers will have to start reinventing themselves to survive in a mortgage environment dominated by technology, says Alliance & Leicester head of intermediary mortgages Mehrdad Yousefi.
Women are having to work longer because they cannot afford to retire, according to research by the Office of National Statistics.
Single-premium business rose by 15 per cent for Winterthur Life last year to 850m from 740m in 2003.
The firm is the one-stop intermediary lender of Britannia Building Society and was created from the mer-ger of Britannia subsidiar-ies Platform Home Loans and Verso.
The latest capital-protectedcomes from Clerical Medical in the shape of the secure investment plan. To all intents and purposes, it is an open-ended structured product with a five-and a-half-year term with the capital guarantee at maturity.
Clerical Medical has chosen a capital-protected definition for its new Oeic because it says it offers greater security than a capital guarantee.
All things considered, I think that the pension protection fund is unlikely to achieve anything at all but the closure of yet more final-salary pension schemes.
Prudential chief executive Mark Wood says holding bonus rates on its with-profits fund shows that the asset class is still a strong vehicle for investment.
What has been gained by amalgamating the LIA with Sofa and producing something called the Personal Finance Society? The answer is, more money for the CII.
As HBOS continues its dominance in lending, a competitor could be lurking with the Royal Bank of Scotland looking to take a bigger slice of the mortgage market.
With a general election looming, we start a series on the parties' policies for financial services.
Recovering from the flu always give you time to reflect and catch up on your reading. Watching the problems that the Pension Protection Fund has had over figures simply reflects that when you are trying to do something expensive on the cheap it invariably comes unstuck.
Venture capital can be an attractive sector offering significant potential returns for investments over the longer term.
Coventry Building Society5.99% Flexx Buy-to-Let
Skandias protected portfolio investment range provides capital growth linked to an equally weighted portfolio of five externally managed funds with varying degrees of capital protection and return over a five-year term.
Skipton Building SocietyFive Year Fixed Rate
Savings and investments look set for a big improvement this year as consumer confidence improves.
T Bailey Asset Management is holding investment trusts in its equity income fund of funds because it believes they currently represent a good short-term trading strategy in the pursuit of income.
A new league table ranks the most popular investment trusts chosen by Isa investors.
Simplification is a year away and advisers must set their plans in action now.
Imagine a situation where you can claim anything you like in a document and, so long as it is outside the bounds of reasonable expectation, that claim will probably not come back to haunt you.
The financial services and markets tribunal has upheld the FSA's decision not to authorise three individuals and their firm to sell life insurance.
Despite a surge in inflows work needs to be done to demystify the VCT market for investors, says Isis Equity Partners chairman David Thorp.
Scottish Widows is believed to have struck a deal to white-label its protection products to Virgin Money, according to Money Marketing sources.
Woolwich has been hitting mortgage intermediaries and networks with an email that has been sent up to 3,500 times.
Woolwich Plan Managers has established the 7% bonus bond, a guaranteed equity bond designed to pay 7 per cent income a year over a six-year term.
General insurance customers could be left without access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme because of a backlog of processing of interim-authorised firms.