24 September 2008
Advisers have warned that misselling will increase if the FSA accepts this week's call from the ABI to allow tied and multi-tied agents under the advice banner.
Fortis Life UK managing director Martin Werth has confirmed that the multi-nationalisation of Belgium bank Fortis has had no impact on its UK offering.
Belgium bank Fortis has been "multi-nationalised by three European governments for £8.9bn.
House prices may still be falling and the difficulties in the mortgage funding show no signs of going away but Rob Clifford remains upbeat.
Preparing, as I am, to take a couple of week's R&R, I found myself preparing this column further in advance than usual. Foolish boy! If a week is a long time in politics, just recently a day has become a lifetime in markets.
The ABI and the UK Share-holders Association have hit out at the way that news of the Lloyds TSB/HBOS takeover was managed, suggesting that price-sensitive information was not released quickly enough.
Global funds are growing in popularity as investors seek to diversify equity exposure.
Advisers have welcomed the FSA's decision to slap a temporary ban on the short-selling of financial stocks due to the extreme market conditions.
The FSA has appointed two new senior advisers. Graeme Hardie, formerly an Abbey director and Natwest managing director, will advise on retail markets and Ian Marshall, previously at the Financial Ombudsman Service, will deal with wholesale insurance.
Advisers are split over the potential impact of the takeover of HBOS on the protection market with some saying it could spur on innovation while others believe it will make no difference.
Aegon Scottish Equitable has extended its trust range with the launch of the bare discounted gift trust.
Aegon Asset Management is considering adding to its presence in the cautious managed sector.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers will host a live web chat with policy director Andrew Strange on the retail distribution review next week.
AIG Life UK is closing its enhanced fund on December 15, after suspending withdrawals from both the enhanced fund and the standard fund last week.
Britain’s confidence in providing for a comfortable retirement has dropped for the third year running, according to Alliance Trust Savings.
The Archbishops of York and Canterbury have condemned the practices of City traders and backed the FSA’s ban on short-selling.
Aviva Investors launches today as the £235m global asset management business of Aviva Plc.
Pension savers should be wary of the gap in FSCS compensation payments between insured and trustee Sipps if the provider was to go bust.
Bradford & Bingley has revealed it is set to axe all branch-based mortgage advisers in sweeping streamlining measures.
Bradford & Bingley’s retail savings business and branches have been transferred to Abbey by the Treasury.
Bradford & Bingley has finally renegotiated the terms of its mortgage forward sale agreement with GMAC-RFC. It will buy another 1.75bn of mortgage assets before the end of 2009.
Shares in troubled lender Bradford & Bingley dropped to an all-time low this morning amidst job cuts and toxic asset bailouts.
The mortgage industry has reacted to the Bradford & Bingley part-nationalisation, blaming the move on mistakes made a over decade ago.
Bradford & Bingley have cut their original mortgage asset deal with GMAC-RFC by £1bn.
The FTSE 100 sailed below 5,000 this morning as the nationalisation of Bradford & Bingley continued to hit confidence in the banking sector.
Barclays Wealth chief operating officer Frank McGarahan has died after intervening in a street fight in Norwich city centre, according to various press reports.
Blue Sky has confirmed recent breaches to HBOS shares in its protected income plans will transfer to a combined Lloyds TSB/HBOS stock in the event of a takeover by Lloyds TSB.
The Government is being called on to be bolder in its support for the mortgage market and go further than its current plans to extend the special liquidity scheme.
The worlds of journalism, the City and Wall Street have more in common than you might imagine.
Was the FSA right to ban the short-selling of financial stocks?
US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is reported to have turned down a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his trip to New York.
The Lloyds TSB swoop for HBOS has left the intermediary sales arms at the two firms in the balance.
President Bush has reassured markets that legislators will pass the $700bn rescue plan to cleanse the markets of bad mortgages.
US President George Bush has urged Congress to push through plans that will see his Government buy up billions of dollars of illiquid mortgage assets.
The trouble with all this light-touch and principle-based regulation is that it does not actually work terribly well. I suspect we are better off without it.
LibDem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable is calling for tougher financial regulation with a clampdown on short-selling, bankers' bonuses and better capital provision.
David Cameron has supported the Financial Services Authority's decision to review banks' bonus structures but says he will not “bash city financiers” to regulate the markets.
Conservative leader David Cameron has offered to work with the Government to help restore financial stability.
The Conservative leader David Cameron has warned that we should not let the political wrangling that we’ve seen in the US happen here.
Absolute return funds using shorting techniques are one approach being taken by some managers to provide investors with a defensive stance. More traditional ports of safety in times of market turmoil, besides cash and bond funds, have been managed funds. However, it is worth examining these funds quite closely as they bear little resemblance to what they once were.
IFA Cavanagh Group has reported an increase in EBITDA of 23 per cent to £1.078m in the six months to June 30, up from £875,000 in 2007.
New Star head of product development Stuart Cazier has rounded on Cofunds after the platform revealed it is to stop paying fund managers a re-registration fee on Isas and Peps.
The Confederation of British Industry has predicted 12,000 jobs losses in the financial sector over the coming months.
A dictionary definition of the word transparent: "Free from pretense or deceit, easily detected or seen through, readily understood and characterised by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices."
Multi-asset funds are in fashion after a year of disappointing stockmarket returns. The risk reduction and diverse sources of return these funds can offer present commanding evidence for a permanent place in a portfolio - all the more so if the fund manager can demonstrate an ability to add value by systematically tilting exposure towards the best performing asset classes as the economic cycle ticks on.
Collins Stewart Wealth Management has launched a dedicated treasury function in Jersey.
Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers and AIG have combined to whip up a perfect storm which has howled on to UK shores over two unbelievable weeks. In the eye of the storm, the FTSE 100 closed below 5,000 points for the first time in three years and the UK’s biggest lender, HBOS, was rescued by rival Lloyds TSB.
ETF Securities says all 113 of its exchange traded commodities backed by AIG are now trading again.
The Conservatives have pledged a two-year freeze on council tax if they get into power.
Senior Treasury select committee member Andy Love believes the Government must be prepared to follow US authorities and take more drastic action if the contagion of bad assets starts to spread.
Conti Financial Services has become the official broker of the TV series A Place in the Sun.
The Crosby review into the UK’s mortgage market is to be delayed, the Treasury has revealed.
Fund of funds managers are keen to prove their role involves more than fund selection. We also deliver active management, asset allocation and portfolio diversification. But being able to spot the top funds - and equally importantly, avoid the dogs - is what we are best known for and it is a core skill.
It is hard to overstate the magnitude of the financial storm that has been blowing.
Witan Investment Trust has appointed James Frost as managing director and marketing director.
Conservative Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond has warned that the European Central Bank could end up becoming "the biggest toxic bank of them all".
So capitalism and free markets are to be laid low by the biggest political exponents of capitalism and free markets on the planet - the right wing of the American Republican party.
Fidelity International resigned as manager of the Edinburgh Investment Trust this week, bringing an end to months of strained relations between the firms over performance and future plans for the trust.
New Star fund manager Patrick Evershed has left the firm after six years.
A Labour peer and former deputy chair of the Competition Commission Baroness Kingsmill has said she is "extremely concerned" about the Lloyds TSB HBOS takeover.
Former St James's Place chief executive Mark Lund is to become group chief executive at Money Portal.
The inclusion of exchange traded funds within multi-manager portfolios polarises opinion. There is the school of thought that believes it is a dereliction of duty and that it is a multi-manager's job to find the best active managers. However, there is also the school of thought that believes ETFs have a place, either for short-term asset allocation moves or for temporary market exposure. Is either side right?
Yes the capitalist model was designed to lavish wealth on the fat cats at the top of the ladder when times are good. But was it also designed to allow said fat cats to walk away unscathed when times turn bad, forcing taxpayers to pick up the pieces of broken businesses?
Lloyds TSB's buyout of HBOS suited the Government and both firms, with the Prime Minister amending competition rules to seal the deal.
Housing minister Caroline Flint has criticised GE Money and called for an investigation of second-charge loan companies over repossession levels.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has announced plans to publish complaint numbers for 150 financial businesses that produce the most cases, as well as the percentage of upheld complaints.
Friends Provident International has opened a new Middle East office in the central business district of Dubai.
The FSA has banned North Wales mortgage broker Stephen Jones and fined him £100,000 after finding he had exposed about 1500 customers to the risk of receiving unsuitable advice.
The FSA has censured the directors of Lifestyle Finance Limited for failing to implement appropriate compliance and sales procedures to ensure customers were given suitable mortgage advice.
FSA chairman Lord Turner has confirmed that the tripartite authorities have been tracking Bradford and Bingley for several months and had been concerned about its long-term sustainability.
The Financial Services Authority has fined GE Money Home Lending £1.12 million for systems and controls failings that resulted in 684 borrowers suffering financial loss in excess of £2.3m
The Financial Services Authority is stepping up its intervention into the poor sale of payment protection insurance after a mystery shopping programme revealed very few consumers are being told the true cost of PPI.
The FSA’s ban on short-selling has improved private investors’ confidence, but only slightly, according to a series of surveys by DigitalLook.com.
The FSA should set an industry levy in order to fund money guidance, says LibDem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable.
The FSA is warning firms they must ensure they give consumers suitable advice about transferring built-up national insurance rebates into self-invested personal pensions.
GE Money has revealed it is consolidating its UK business by closing down its Wolverhampton offices.
John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger has attacked GE Money's attitude to treating customers fairly after it introduced emergency rate changes last week.
UK and global insurers have so far revealed over £1.5bn of exposure to Lehman Brothers and AIG.
GMAC-RFC has revealed it is set to merge with GMAC European operations to become an asset management company.
Ibet that shareholders in Edinburgh Investment Trust cannot believe their luck. Having seen their holding struggle in recent times, it now has one of the UK's leading fund managers, Neil Woodford, running the show.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he expects new rules will be introduced on short-selling after the FSA's temporary restrictions are reviewed.
People who lead healthy lifestyles would get tax breaks under LibDem plans.
Eight IFA firms have joined forces to set up Evidence Based Investment Solutions, a service dedicated to passive investment strategies.
An IFA has called on the FSA to introduce a structured product levy to protect investors who are not covered by the FSCS.
Industry experts have warned that IFAs and brokers could face footing some of the bill in the wake of the Government’s Bradford & Bingley rescue.
Eight IFA firms have banded together to launch a new organisation designed at educating the market on the benefits of passive investments.
Professional indemnity insurers may increase premiums for IFA firms which send out treating customers fairly questionnaires to clients as it could lead to a rise in complaints.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has rejected attempts by the ifs School of Finance to become a degree-awarding instit- ution, Money Marketing understands.
The Investment Management Association has opposed the Financial Services Authority's proposals to require authorised funds to continue to publish reduction in yield information.
Investment Management Association chairman Robert Jenkins has urged regulators to tackle the opaque nature of structured products, with advisers' concern rising over potential losses created by products underwritten or powered by Lehman Brothers.
Absolute return funds continued as the most popular retail sector in August, according to figures from the Investment Management Association.
The Investment Management Association has called for a 'certain, predictable and simplified tax environment' to boost UK competitiveness.
The Investment Management Association has warned its members to "carefully consider" the implications of any participation in the lending stock of UK banks due to current market conditions.
The creation of a giant Lloyds TSB/HBOS life insurance firm with 18 per cent of the market could damage companies life offices, claims an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.
Nearly four years ago, my firm decided that it needed to charge a separate fee when setting up Isas and collectives. Taking initial commission was not an option, in our view, as it varied from fund to fund and wrap to wrap. Our clients were extremely positive about this stance but soon seemed to expect more from us, once they perceived that they were actually paying for something. We realised that we needed to be offering up-to-the-minute asset allocation advice and delivering an annual ...
Legal & General is teaming up with mortgage expert John Charcol to distribute its protection and mortgage payment protection insurance products.
Legal & General has unveiled its plans to use out-of-hours healthcare specialist Primecare to follow up on certain medical disclosures made during the application process.
Legal & General has unveiled its plans to launch a guaranteed acceptance over 50s life insurance plan to people aged 50 to 75.
Lawrence House Fund Managers head of investments Alan Stokes believes that advisers with limited experience are buying into new investment strategies without fully understanding the potential risks.
Fund firms look set to feel the brunt of the financial problems that have beset both AIG and bankrupt firm Lehman Brothers.
The Pension Protection Fund has confirmed that it has received a S120 notice from the investment bank Lehman Brothers.
Lehman Brothers' UK sub-prime lenders allocated mortgage loss provisions at less than 1 per cent of their mortgage books, far lower than the industry average, according to its latest accounts.
A leading UK adviser has hit out at Lehman Brothers for continuing to market structured products days before its collapse.
Liontrust Asset Management has appointed New Star's Tim Gordon as third party distribution manager.
Financial Services Consumer Panel chairman Lord Lipsey believes the regulator will heed calls to create a middle ground between the strict sales and advice distinctions outlined in its RDR interim report.
Last week, Money Marketing mistakenly referred to London & Capital's Structured Products director Robert Bell as Robert Hall. We apologise for any confusion caused.
Tom Baigrie's recent call to arms in respect of raising awareness of income protection among consumers serves as a salutary reminder that protecting one's family and assets was the original basis of our industry.
Beijing-based fund manager Lowes Wealth Management is teaming up with Way fund managers to launch the Elite LWM east-west value fund.
As soon as Resolution director Jonathan Polin had outlined his joint-venture strategy for the firm, it almost seemed a case of when, rather than if, a multi-manager team would be joining the ranks.
Pension consolidation has been a common theme since A-Day, with many advisers reviewing their clients' existing pension arrangements. The changes to pension regulation that come into force from October 1, which will allow much greater freedom for the self-investment of protected rights, will only increase activity in this area.
So it's official. We can all feel the business downturn. The economy is the worst it has been since 1948 but the circumstances then were very different.
Bankhall chief executive Peter Mann says the firm will search externally for the "special person" to drive the business forward following his decision to join Skandia as chief development officer.
The FTSE and other leading indexes endured a topsy-turvy start to trading this morning after the $700bn US rescue plan failed to get backing from the House of Representatives.
These figures from Financial Express show the impact the last-minute deal by Bank of America to save the US's biggest brokerage firm Merrill Lynch from falling into administration could have on a range of retail funds.
It needs a boxing analogy to describe Midas Capital's attitude to competing as a multi-manager.
Money Portal has appointed Nigel Ward as group chief financial officer.
Moneysupermarket.com head of protection Emma Walker is urging consumers to protect themselves against redundancy by considering payment protection insurance.
Fixed and tracker mortgage rates are set to follow Libor rates sharply upwards following the Lehman Brothers' collapse and HBOS takeover.
Mortgageforce has revealed its centrally generated new business has doubled in the last three months.
The Labour chairman of the regulatory reform select committee is urging the Government to consider new regulations to impose limits on excessive lending.
Tony Yousefian, chief investment officer and founder of OPM Fund Management, which was started in 2003, manages a variety of multi-asset funds. Tony has had a first-class career, ending up as a director of Smith & Pinching Portfolio Management before founding OPM.
AWD Chase de Vere head of investment research Justine Fearns believes that the future of Swip and Insight's multi-manager proposition could be the most difficult part of Lloyds TSB's takeover of HBOS.
Neptune's Robin Geffen believes the Russian economy will grow strongly into next year despite falls in commodity prices, global contagion fears and stockmarket suspensions.
Network Data has revealed profits were down by more than a third in the first half of 2008.
New Star admits that some of its funds have lacked zest after it topped the list of firms with underperforming assets in Informed Choice's first LemonAid report.
Norwich Union International has made changes to its offshore website, www.nuinternational.com.
Pension minister Mike O'Brien has attacked the "wild claims" about the number of people likely to lose out under personal accounts and says they are unlikely to hold up to scrutiny.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne told bankers today that they must bear the cost of risks that have gone bad.
The Liberal Democrats have backed Money Marketing's Time to Get Personal campaign amid concerns over the conflict between means-testing and personal accounts.
Nick Bamford's suggested functions for paraplanners and administrators (MM, September 11) shows there is an important role for paraplanners to perform in an IFA firm.
Partnership has launched the latest development in its range of annuity products, a monthly income Purchased Life Annuity targeted at smokers.
Pensions minister Mike O'Brien laid into those making "wild claims” about the number of people set to lose out under personal accounts this week at the Labour conference in Manchester.
The US Congress faces a long weekend as believers in the $700bn Paulson bailout fight it out against those trying to block the plans.
One of the delights of being a journalist is that we are often invited to meetings and lunches with investment houses, fund managers and other financial wizards.
The PPF has announced its pension protection levy will remain stable for 2009/2010.
Prestbury has confirmed that its appointed representatives will be offered the chance to recoup missing fees by joining Personal Touch Financial Services.
The Lloyds TSB/HBOS tie-up begs the question of whether two similar brands can share the same protection space or, will the industry see the creation of an insurance giant?
Friends Provident has recognised that the current economic uncertainty will do nothing to encourage investment and investors will be even more cautious about making decisions especially when it comes to assessing the stability of financial providers.
Prudential is launching a fund-link across its investment and pension range.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has announced that following a review, it has made 750 employees of Lehman Brothers redundant with effect from today.
Leading advisers have accused the FSA of failing to learn from the mistakes of the past as providers struggle to ascertain the potential losses of structured products backed by Lehman Brothers.
Re-registration facilities or, to be more accurate, the lack of them, continue to be one of the most emotive subjects in our industry. It seems to have become fashionable to lay much of the blame at the door of the regulator, citing a failure on its part to use treating customers fairly as a way to force platforms to deliver on this issue.
The financial services industry is at a rare defining moment. We are faced with a unique set of exceptional circumstances that have collided to create the perfect storm.
Schroders head of equities Richard Buxton says the creation of the US bail-out plan probably marks the low-point for the market as it a decision the government cannot step back from.
Sesame will use its latest round of regional mortgage seminars, beginning October 2, to help mortgage brokers diversify into new product areas including protection and general insurance.
Hargreaves Lansdown believes investors should not be concerned about placing assets in absolute return funds following the FSA's short-selling ban on 32 financial institutions.
In theory, Simon Clamp should be fluent in German, having been born and brought up there, but he says his language skills only extend to "ordering a couple of beers and a bratwurst and chips".
SimplyBiz has bought the total share capital in Simply Biz Mortgages and Broker Support Services. Both firms were set up in 2005 as 50/50 joint ventures.
The £12.2bn takeover of HBOS will see the new superbank control 28 per cent of the UK mortgage market, leading to broker concern over competition and cuts in proc fees.
People's lifestyles in retirement and therefore the solutions they require are changing and will continue to do so.
Tenet has welcomed Skandia’s decision to remove its entire front end margin received through Selestia Investment Solutions.
As CEO of the Institute of Financial Planning, I get to sit with my peers from Australia, the US, South Africa, Hong Kong and other leading financial planning countries. We discuss, among other things, how we can leverage off the positive work we are all doing in our own countries.
Advisers remain uncertain about the scale of possible losses to clients' capital in Lehman Brothers-backed structured products, with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme unlikely to rescue investors.
Monday, September 8Lehman Brothers posts a loss of $3.9bn (£2.2bn) in its financial results for the three months to August. Its share price tumbles sharply as concerns are raised about its financial position and firms refuse to trade with it.
The Irish Government has announced it will guarantee all deposits in the wake of turbulence in the international financial markets. In response to the announcement, shares in the three biggest banks climbed.
Credit crunch, economic weakness, volatile financial markets, high oil prices, inflation worries, rising unemployment, declining property prices, increasing government borrowing, rock-bottom confidence indicators, a stockmarket off more than 20 per cent...no, we aren't talking about today but rather the situation that existed in late 1990.
I have rarely seen markets like this, the mood can change from one minute to the next. Given the current environment, I will revisit a fund I covered only recently - PSigma income. I want to use it to reinforce the views I expressed last week - that interest rates must come down.
Axa-owned Thinc Group is to transfer its multi-tie national advisers to a whole of market proposition by the end of this year.
The Conservatives have called for the Bank of England to be granted stronger powers to monitor banks’ lending and for an independent body to scrutinise Government spending and debt.
Conservative Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond has warned the financial crisis facing the UK is more grave than that facing the US.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has awarded wealth advisory firm Towry Law chartered financial planner status.
I have some suggestions to speed up what remains an appallingly slow process with most providers.
Among much other stunning (but not in a good way) financial news over the past few weeks, we have been told that the consumer prices index increased by 4.7 per cent over the 12 months to July. The corresponding increase in the retail prices index was 4.8 per cent.
A tentative agreement has been reached in the US over the government’s proposed $700bn lifeline, which could force the financial services sector to cover any losses on the rescue plan.
US House members are under enormous pressure to resolve the current impasse, according to Julius Baer.
Few consumers who use price comparison websites believe they are truly independent.
Treasury Economic Secretary Kitty Ussher believes that consumers are not paying the price for demutualisation.
I turn 60 next month but have no real intention of retiring in the near future as I cannot afford it. Do I have to take my pensions at age 60 or do I have the flexibility to delay? What are my retirement options?
Advisers and providers are still in the dark over the damage to structured product plans in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers' collapse.
Wealthtime has announced that it is to create a Wealthtime Private Client Service that will include Sipp and wrap options in October.
Consumer body Which? has written to the FSA calling for an overhaul of the payment protection insurance market after one couple paid over £22,000 in PPI for a £56,000 loan.