23 September 2009
On whether the EU will force a separation of advice, intermediation and distribution
The consumer protection insurance engagement campaign has set a budget of £5m to fund its public awareness initiative.
Mansfield Building Society is offering 100 per cent shared ownership mortgages. The deal, with South Yorkshire Housing Association, offers first-time buyers a 100 percent mortgage on 60 per cent of a property's equity.
More than 15,000 advisers are on the road to getting QCF level four qualifications using the learning academies of Scottish Widows, Aviva, Positive Solutions and SimplyBiz.
2Plan Wealth Management says it is close to finalising a deal to take on Park Row's 240 advisers in a bulk transfer.
Abbey For IntermediariesHomebuyer Plus Two-Year Tracker
Abbey for Intermediaries has launched a adviser-only mortgage range that will be the first in the intermediary market to offer free legal costs and valuation.
The Options' initiative, designed to improve the experience of buying an annuity, has been running for nine months and is a success for providers, advisers and consumers.
I am thinking about transferring my deferred final-salary pension and an old personal pension plan into an execution-only online self-invested personal pension so that I have greater control over the investment of these funds. Do I need to take advice first?
On September 9, the FTSE 100 hit 5,000 for the first time in 11 months, buoyed by a combination of positive figures on UK exports and manufacturing and investment banks welcoming 'the return of the deal' as Kraft bid £10bn for Cadbury. But is this the beginnings of a recovery or merely a market rally? Adviser fund index panellists are sceptical.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has warned the FSA that the retail distribution review proposals for the corporate pensions market risk restricting access to advice.
Alternative asset providers are staging a mock court trial to make the case for absolute return funds, structured investments, exchange traded funds, commodity funds and thematic funds.
Pensions consultant Ros Altmann says the delay to the implementation of auto-enrolment offers an opportunity to rethink the personal accounts scheme altogether.Altmann says the whole policy should be put on hold while a proper re-assessment is conducted and says personal accounts have the potential to make pension provision worse rather than better in future.
Arc Capital and Income has established the Arc protected FTSE growth plan, a FTSE 100 linked capital-protected bond that provides two options with different levels of capital protection and returns.
Aviva has appointed the chief executive of its European business Andrea Moneta to the group's board.
Axa Wealth is closing five of its pension products - the stakeholder pension plan, personal pension plan, Sipp, retirement solutions product and trustee investment plan.
Axa Winterthur Wealth ManagementFamily Suntrust
Halifax recently reported a slight improvement in house prices and Nationwide and Land Registry have both also reported house price rises in recent months. However, Jones Lang Lasalle and Ernst and Young have both said this is a temporary blip. What is your view on UK housing market?
Bluefin Advisory Services is restructuring its private client operation to focus on a fee-based model across all services.
Bank of England chief economist Spencer Dale has warned that there is a danger of creating a new bubble in the markets if quantitative easing is over-used.
BPP Learning Media is launching a new range of study materials to support the Chartered Insurance Institute’s diploma examinations.
Bravura Solutions has appointed Ironbridge managing partner Neil Broekhuizen to its board of directors.
Bright Grey paid out 90 per cent of all critical illness claims during the first half of 2009.
Bupa director of group risk Graham Clark is leaving the insurer.
British Insurance co-founder Sara Burgess has bought Reliance Mutual subsidiary The British Life Office and plans to launch a suite of protection products by the end of the year.
British Insurance co-founder Sara Burgess has acquired Reliance Mutual subsidiary The British Life Office and plans to launch a suite of protection products by the end of the year.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable has admitted he could have been "braver" with his proposed tax on £1m homes by instead suggesting the party could have introduced capital gains tax on all residential properties.
Capita employees in its Glasgow office are planning strike action today and tomorrow over pay and pensions.
The industry has failed to convince the FSA that there is a united desire for increased consumer responsibility, so firms are going to be forced to continue carrying the full burden of advice.
Cazenove's multi-manager team has added the Occam global emerging markets fund to its diversity fund because it favours hedge fund managers that can quickly reduce risk in their portfolios.
Well - you have to give it to Gordo - he wasted no time at all in announcing new policies.
One day in and there is a palpable sense of inevitable defeat for Labour looming throughout the conference.
Well - you've got to give it to Gordon - he pulled his biggest speech out of the bag with his most powerful ever address to a Labour conference.
As a veteran of many Labour Party conferences, it never feels like I've arrived until I have suffered my first pensions fringe meeting. Pension reform might not be centre stage this year but, oddly enough, the debate is more important now than it has been for many years.
What’s all this? There was a touch of excitement in Bournemouth on Tuesday. The day started with an unintentionally hilarious Today Programme head-to-head between Tory Chairman Eric Pickles and the Lib Dems’ Chris Huhne. Mr Huhne did his best attack dog impression – criticising the Conservatives for cosying up to climate change deniers, homophobes and racists in the European Parliament. I’ll say that again. Climate change deniers! Pickles accused Huhne of playing hard to get. As I said, ...
The Chartered Insurance Institute is offering associates the chance to earn money and gain continuing professional development points by becoming examiners.
Interest in commercial mortgages increased by nearly a half over the summer, according to Mortgages For Business.
Green shoots in commercial property are emerging and an upturn in prices is expected to continue for some time, according to Prudential director of investment John Betteridge.
The recent naming and shaming exercise carried out by the Financial Ombudsman Service revealed the companies that get the most complaints.
The primary target audience for the consumer protection insurance campaign should be the 15 million UK consumers that market research has categorised as "confused and disengaged", many of whom already own some form of protection product.
There has been a rapid turn-round in European equities since early March, with the market surging by more than 40 per cent from the low. Risk appetite - absent for months - has been resurgent.
The corporate bond sector swallowed £338m in August, enjoying its tenth consecutive month as top selling sector - but has credit run its course?
Aviva's reattribution deal has been approved in a High Court ruling despite strong objections from the Norwich Union Policyholders' Action Group.
Resolution Foundation chairman Clive Cowdery says he is concerned about future Governments cutting tax credits for low to middle-income earners in a bid to reduce public spending.
Investment is the core of financial planning, so I believe the new exams for advisers should give it greater emphasis. Taking out a mortgage is largely an investment decision, so is buying term insurance. But I fear that, like regulators, whose favourite tool is the rear-view mirror, examining bodies will place too much emphasis on the theory of investment rather than the practice.
I recently completed an honours degree in financial services management, graduating in July 2009. The degree course was completed by distance learning over two years while running my business and managing family commitments.
Dentons Pensions Management is on the acquisition trail and is holding talks with a Sipp provider. Dentons has launched two new products, the flexible pension scheme Sipp which allows the use of scheme pension and a lower-cost single-portfolio Sipp.
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers II iBoxx $ Treasuries Total Return Index ETF
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers II iBoxx £ Gilts Total Return index ETF
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers II iBoxx Euro Sovereigns Eurozone Total Return index ETF
Deutsche Bankdb x-trackers II USD IG Inflation-linked Treasuries Total Return Index ETF
IFAs should make the most of the opportunity to move to a model that is whole of market on investments but restricted on protection under the RDR, says Succession Advisory Services chief executive Simon Chamberlain.
One of the key differences between the UK and the US's quantitative easing programmes is that virtually all of the Bank of England's purchases have been gilts whereas the US Federal Reserve has used a lot of its ammunition to buy residential mortgage-backed securities.
The European Commission yesterday published draft legislation to create three pan-European bodies including a new European Systemic Risk Board, to detect risks to the financial system as a whole.
Axa Distribution Services has added a range of Miton funds to its Elevate platform.
Readers of my column will know how keen I have been on corporate bonds over the last year or more. I admit I was little bit too early with some of my recommendations, but the rally we have seen since March in corporate bonds should mean that most people are now in profit. The question I am constantly being asked at the moment is whether the rally is over or if corporate bonds is still a buy.
KRS director Dean Mirfin believes market withdrawls indicate a move towards independent advice.
Draft European Union solvency rules that could force UK insurers to raise up to £50bn worth of capital are likely to be watered down.
Equitable Life has appointed Mark Earls as executive director. He joined Equitable in 2002 as head of operations and programmes.
Advisers believe the RDR’s higher qualifications are most likely to benefit consumers, while the ban on provider factoring will be the most harmful, according to Aegon’s latest IFA Insights survey.
Axa Winterthur Wealth ManagementFamily Suntrust
Fitch Ratings has warned that the UK will put its AAA status at risk if it does not announce significant public spending cuts in the pre-Budget report.
A City currency manager has launched a five-year tracker mortgage capped at 5.5 per cent, regardless of future rate changes.
Our investment process is primarily focused on identifying fund managers through face-to-face meetings and rigorous analysis but we also recognise the importance of asset allocation in portfolio construction. This has been particularly salient over recent times.
It was with sadness and incredulity that I sat down on a summer's morning to begin reading the latest FSA update, annual report 2008/09. My heart sank as 124 pages downloaded before my eyes.
The FSA says the industry has failed to reach a consensus on how much consumer responsibility should apply to financial decisions, leading it to abandon plans to shift some responsibility from firms to consumers.
Pension consultant Ros Altmann says the FSA is hampering IFAs from giving good advice by penalising small firms and favouring bancassurers.
I note that the issue of commission v fees is becoming increasingly important and my own experience with Keydata's administration illustrates a very important point.
The FSA is forcing firms that sold PPI to review 185,000 previously rejected complaints and redress any consumers who have been missold under new guidance.
The financial services industry has warned the FSA of the dangers of widespread pension and investment product regulation.
The FSA has today set out a new proposals that will ban “exploitative advertising and high-pressure sales techniques” in the sale and rentback market.
The Financial Services Skills Council believes that the new diploma in business, administration and finance is an ideal qualification for students who want to go on to take an IFA apprenticeship.
Henderson New Star multi-manager Mark Harris says he expects the FTSE 100 to reach 5,500 in the next couple of months.
Gartmore has appointed Julia Campbell as senior credit analyst.
Gartmore's multi-manager team has replaced a US exchange traded fund with an actively managed US fund to reflect its more positive outlook for the US economy.
Matt Morris (The Knowledge Gap, Money Marketing, September 17) suggests no one seems to know what the current policy on personal finance education is.
Gilliat Financial SolutionsLock-In Growth Series Issue 1
Gilliat SolutionsIncome Series Issue One
When you run a business, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges and lose sight of the bigger picture.
The Government has kick-started the search for the chair of the trustee corporation that will run the personal accounts scheme.
The Government has confirmed today that it has doubled the timescale to be auto-enrolled into personal accounts from April 2014 to October 2015.
The Government has today launched its final consultation on auto-enrolment regulations to gather feedback from employers and the industry.
The Government has further tightened mortgage repossession rules by forcing lenders to engage with local authorities before taking any legal action.
University graduates who set up IFA firms are leading a trend towards business models where the proprietor does not offer advice but oversees a team of advisers and back-office staff, according to Axa Elevate.
Last week Money Marketing revealed details of the industry-wide protection campaign, which has set itself a budget of £5m to fund a public awareness initiative.
Henderson New StarNew Star European Special Situations Fund
Employers will still be able to force workers to retire at 65 after a High Court judge rejected a challenge to the default retirement age last week.
HSBC has revealed it will be lending an additional £500m to home buyers with just 10 per cent deposit.
Philip J Milton & Company is being threatened with legal action by the Dutch regulator for unpaid Mifid fees despite never having had any clients in the Netherlands and only being registered under the passporting scheme for two months.
The Independent Financial Advisors Political Action Committee is petitioning Gordon Brown to change the senior management at the FSA, which it says has failed in its job to protect the financial well-being of consumers.
The Institute of Financial Planning has produced a draft syllabus for the paraplanner qualification which it is launching in October.
Pensions Policy Institute says equity release is likely to boom although the sector is being held back due to its bad image.
In Partnership has appointed Mark Pittaccio to its board as investment director.
IFA firm Informed Choice is planning to recruit seven additional financial planners in the next 18 months.As part of its strategic growth plans, the Surrey-based business intends to recruit two more financial planners before the end of this year and a further five in 2010.
Software provider IntelliFlo has made two senior appointments to bolster its mortgage team.
Exchange traded funds provider iShares has launched four corporate bond ETFs and five accumulating versions of its largest core equity benchmarks on the London Stock Exchange.
JP Morgan Asset Management chief executive officer Jes Staley is moving to the firm's investment banking business.
The directors of Just Retirement have agreed to recommend an offer by private-equity firm Permira to acquire the firm for £229.6m.
Legal & General marketing and channel development director Alan Ferguson is leaving the provider next month.
Legal & General has prepared a defence document to ward off a takeover approach from Resolution, according to reports.
Legal & General has introduced the fund tracker capital guaranteed bond, which is linked to the performance of the Legal & General Investec moneybuilder fund.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to put Post Offices at the centre of local UK banking.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has created a new Business and Financial Services Act which will ban excessive bank bonuses and will give the FSA powers to impose penalties on firms that do not comply.
Business secretary Lord Mandelson says the next election result is "not cut and dried" and that Labour still has a fighting chance of winning.
The Conservatives misunderstood the causes of the crisis, underestimated its severity and opposed measures to limit its impact, the Chancellor Alistair Darling has claimed.
IFA Defence Union chairman Alan Lakey has quit after a row with founder and former chairman Evan Owen over the future management of the group.
Lead generation company SMS Signals has yet to honour a money-back guarantee given to 10 advisers after failing to provide them with leads.
Legal & GeneralCapital Protected FTSE Bonus Plan 1
Around 1,300 investors in a Legal & General structured product backed by Lehman Brothers may not recover the 20 per cent of their investment lost when the bank collapsed.
LibDem Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott has launched a scathing attack on Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, claiming that the City does not believe he is up to the job.
Lighthouse Group made a profit of £56,000 for the first half of this year, down from £442,000 profit in the first half of last year but a turn-round from losses of £8.5m at the end of 2008.
Liontrust has reported £924m of net outflows as part of its half-year trading statement.
Lloyds Banking Group has become the first bank to issue a prime residential mortgage-backed security in over a year. The £2.82bn deal will be made up of prime mortgages from Halifax.
GBST Wealth Management, formerly Infocomp, has said the cancellation of the James Hay contract in December 2008 contributed to its 44 per cent drop in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation during the 2009 financial year.
Customers of the state-owned mortgage banks are among the most dissatisfied of all UK borrowers, a survey by Which? has found.
LV= has appointed ex-IFA Brian Lentz as its new product development manager.
Macquarie is looking to expand its current Oeic and offshore product range for UK investors.
Alex Breese, the manager of the Neptune UK Special Situations fund, remains a strong supporter of financials, holding 25% of his fund in the sector.
Martin Currie Investment Management has appointed Brendan Bryce as global head of advisory compliance within its risk and compliance team.
One of the fundamental issues that an adviser needs to consider with clients approaching retirement is their entitlement to state pension benefits, making sure they will receive all they are entitled to and also considering whether there are benefits in buying added years to increase the basic state pension of those who have a broken record of National Insurance contributions.
The Pensions Advisory Service has attacked insurers for not being transparent about market value reductions on with-profits policies.
Asian specialist Atlantis launched in 1994, with its three initial managers seeking greater investment flexibility than they had at previous employer Schroders.
Meteor Asset ManagementInternational Income Plan 2
Metlife and Co-operative Financial Services are to go live with the Options' transfer service before the end of the month.
The number of mortgage approvals in August was up 81 per cent compared to the same period last year, figures from the British Bankers’ Association reveal.
Lloyds launched its first mortgage-backed security for more than a year - is this the first real green shoot?
Mortgage lending went back into positive figures this month rising by more than £1bn, according to the Bank of England.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep the base rate at 0.5 per cent this month.
Twelve months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, market volatility is now back to pre-crisis levels, meaning investors can sensibly deploy risk capital. This has driven significant inflows to risk assets, with equities and corporate bonds the notable beneficiaries.
Net retail sales for funds hit a record £2.2bn in August, according to the latest figures from the Investment Management Association.
The Pensions Regulator and the FSA have published a new information leaflet designed to help employers talk to staff about the merits of their pension scheme.
The child trust fund generated a fair amount of interest when it was launched and, at least for a little while, generated some interest among financial advisers - especially in connection with the additional investments that could be made into the CTF account.
Nucleus co-founder Philip Martin has been appointed as F&C head of proposition for its UK retail business.
FSA managing director of retail markets Jon Pain says Solvency II is "a potential timebomb" for the pension market.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has told bankers that the party is now over as the UK looks to work its way out of the recession.
Advisers should be looking to passive investments to reduce investment costs and maximise earnings, according to Taxbriefs editorial director Danby Bloch.
InvestmentSkandia Investment Group chief executive Jamie Macleod has stepped down from his role and left the business. Macleod is succeeded by Nils Bolmstrand, who has been with SIG since its inception in October 2007. Bolmstrand was responsible for product development, distribution, and managing relationships with fund groups internationally.
Phoenix is preparing to ask some policyholders with guaranteed annuity rates to vote on removing the GAR. It says removing the GAR will allow it to increase the current fund value of policies and the equity-backing ratio, leading to improved retirement benefits for policyholders.
Positive Solutions chief operating officer Greg Carter is leaving the national IFA.
The pound dropped yesterday after the Bank of England confirmed that governor Mervyn King had met Swedish officials who have recently set negative bank rates, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The FSA’s decision to force firms that sold PPI to review 185,000 previously rejected complaints and redress any consumers who have been missold policies could cost the industry up to £232m.
Rising cost pressures on product providers from a number of different areas higher fund charges across the board. Margin pressures are hardly a new issue for fund groups but it is rare for providers to contend with so many issues in combination.
The recent rally in house prices has given many people hope that the housing market is out of the woods and on the path to recovery.
The Phoenix Group has bought the remaining assets of Network Data. Phoenix, a private equity group that owns several financial services firms, has bought the IT and admin systems as well as client bank of the defunct mortgage network.
Transact estimates it will see a 25 per cent rise in profits from £11.2m to £14m in its 2008/09 results, which are due to be published next week.
The consumer protection and insurance engagement campaign has revealed plans for a £5m hard-hitting media campaign to promote the need for protection.
Royal Bank of Scotland is selling the majority part of its £50bn asset management arm in an effort to minimise its dependency on the Government, according to reports.
Aviva director of distribution development Steve Gay believes the RDR will be successful in making the IFA industry a profession by removing conflicts of interest from remuneration and raising standards of qualifications and ethics.
Former FSA managing director Clive Briault says advisers would be largely unaffected by Conservative proposals to scrap the FSA, describing their proposed split between prudential and conduct of business regulation as "moving deckchairs".
The FSA and the Office of Fair Trading have warned financial firms against the use of false or misleading keywords, such as independent financial advice, within their websites to boost their search rankings.
The Building Societies Association is urging the Government to remutualise Northern Rock.
The residential rental market is beginning to stabilise with property oversupply decreasing across the UK, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
Lloyds Banking Group is facing an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs following allegations that wealthy clients are being encouraged to avoid UK taxes by channeling money through China.
Mutterings from fund management companies in the City suggest that commercial property could be the jewel in the recovery crown.
RGA has appointed David Gulland as its new managing director of RGA UK.
Rooftop Mortgages is offering clients discounts of up to 15 per cent to encourage them to remortgage with another lender.
Building society says it has reached a satisfatory level of lending for the year.
Scor Global Life UK has appointed Phil Cleverly as its chief underwriter.
Having engaged in what I consider to be merely a little realism recently - pouring cold water on all those pointing to the re-emergence of growth in the economy - I was bound to get my comeuppance.
Foster Denovo has linked up with Allium Capital to set up a new investment company.
The Centre for Policy Studies is calling on the Government to boost the state pension 10 years after retirement and encourage retirees to spend the majority of their savings on their first 10 years of retirement.
Baroness Shriti Vadera has resigned from her position as small business minister to become a full-time adviser to the G20.
Rules are rules and exceptions to them generally create anomalies. Take the current situation with mortgaged properties being transferred from one Sipp provider to another.
Skandia has enhanced its portfolio building and monitoring tool with the addition of new features from Financial Express and Old Broad Street Research.
Standard Life and Marks & Spencer are among the first of seven companies to be awarded the new pension quality mark, which was launched last week by the National Association of Pension Funds.
Standard Life is understood to be looking at selling its banking arm with Barclays Bank believed to be the frontrunner.
IFA firm Stonewater Wealth Management has chosen Novia as its new wrap provider.
Structured products have a place in today's market but advisers are not generally recommending them to clients, according to panellists at the Money Marketing RDR and Economic Update last week.
“Just because these investments are designed to be held, doesn’t mean investors don’t have the choice to redeem their investment early.”
Succession Advisory Services has chosen Praemium to provide a discretionary platform service to its investment matrix members.
Another interesting time for financial services. Looking back a year on from Lehman, we are well beyond the total panic of Armageddon that took hold last year and continued in a variety of forms until early March, when Western stockmarkets took off for one of the longest rallies ever - worryingly, the longest since the big bear rallies of the early 1930s.
Swip's multi-manager team has introduced its first position in the property market since launching its fund range in December 2007.
There is one decision that will have a greater impact than anything else on the future growth and profitability of an adviser firm - choosing the right client management system.
Crumbs, has it really been a year since Lehman Brothers ceased to be? Doesn't time fly when you are in the middle of a credit crisis? I suppose it falls to me to write a few words on the subject. After all, it's not as if there has been much in the media about it, has there?
This week, I had intended to pen a quick review of Peter Hargreaves' new book, In for a Penny.
Derren Brown's recent dalliance with the lottery reminded me how numbers can confuse and mystify even the sharpest individual.
Kevin Carr, director of protection, Pru Protect "This campaign is one of the most exciting and positive developments I have seen in the protection industry. To get 22 insurers this far is a great success and the first phase has delivered a highly intelligent and professional piece of work that quite possibly would not have otherwise existed.
A couple of weeks ago, Chris Cummings' column covered his recent experience in Brussels and the EU proposals for a new regime for packaged retail investment products. While the thrust of his article was about well-meaning but amateur lobbying, I would also like to draw your attention to work going on in Europe on professional standards and qualifications.
Halifax and Nationwide continue to report house price growth but there are warnings that prices are set to falter as the recession drags on.
Towergate is set to rebrand the nine firms it took under its wing when its financial services arm folded in June.
Recruiting good quality staff is a perenial problem for many businesses but graduate recruitment offers one potential solution.
The average open market option transfer time using the Association of British Insurers' Options programme increased by 44 per cent to 11 days in the second quarter of this year with some providers taking nearly four weeks to process transfers.
The Treasury has appointed Stephen Wilcke as the new chief executive of the Asset Protection Agency, which will run the Asset Protection Scheme.
FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner has warned against regulatory overkill as the watchdog looks to stem over-complicated financial products.
Veritas Asset Management is launching a long/short China fund next month. It will be managed by Ezra Sun and will target an annual return of 15-20 per cent.
Liberal Democrat Shadow work and pensions minister Steve Webb has accused the Conservatives of coming up with glib solutions to the public sector pension timebomb.
Which? says the FSA’s move to make firms selling payment protection insurance review closed complaints is not good enough and says it must take stronger enforcement action against firms for poor complaint handling in the first instance.
Paternoster chief executive Mark Wood has stepped down from the role to become deputy chairman.
Newton higher-income fund manager Tinekke Frikkee has warned investors that yields offered by UK equity income funds could plummet by the end of this year.