25 April 2007
Influential IFA and joint managing director of Informed Choice Nick Bamford says that whole of market advisers will have to accept their business model is not sustainable.
One third of pension schemes are now in surplus, according to AonConsulting.
After tearing round financial services technology firms, broken up by very fine steak and some cracking equity investment tips, courtesy of the Gaucho Grill and Praemium's Pete Burtonshaw, I was ready to get off the wagon.
Scottish WidowsRetirement Account
Abbey Wealth Management is warning that asset allocation tools could trigger the next big industry scandal.
Chris Salih says Santander's decision to bring two of its biggest funds in house has left investment commentators unimpressed.
The Association of British Insurers is pressing for a ban on adviser commission in its strongest attack yet on the intermediary sector.
The ABI says it is not calling for a ban on commission and says that the paper reported in last week’s Money Marketing was based on an out of date, internal ABI discussion paper.
The Government must introduce radical reforms in its deregulatory review of pensions, including a "shared-risk" scheme to avoid levelling down with personal accounts, says the Association of Consulting Actuaries.
The Adviser Fund Index panellists displayed a bearish stance on American equities in the second mid-season questionnaire.
The adviser community has lined up to attack the ABI’s proposals to ban commission and resurrect large scale direct sales forces.
Insurance companies are paying up to twice the level of commission for new Sipp business than on personal pension and stakeholder sales despite the majority of Sipp money sitting in insured funds.
Aegon Asset ManagementEthical Cautious Managed Fund
Aifa has set out its retail distribution review proposals including no regulatory constraints on how consumers pay for advice, fairer interpretation of limitation rules and regulatory dividend incentives.
Scottish Widows' new managing director of marketing and distribution is riding on a high as he believes the answer to improving savings and protection coverage lies in the power of its unique combination of the Widows' IFA-focused arms to Lloyds TSB's bancassurance model, which could see it become the UK's leading life and pension company. Interview by Sam Shaw.
It seems the industry transfer window is open again as a number of investment firms have been flexing their chequebooks ready to splash the cash.
Arsenal's Emirates Stadium last week shared its plush surroundings and conference facilities with the Association of Home Information Pack Providers' spring conference and those lyrical hopefuls auditioning for this year's X Factor talent TV show.
Asda says it has written 30 per cent more protection business since it started offering advice to customers through its tie-up with Lifesearch.
Treasury Economic Secretary Ed Balls wants the FSA to scrap the age 70 rule on protection sales.
The Baring Russia fund will now be available to UK investors, following approval from the Financial Services Authority for the fund to be registered in the United Kingdom.
The architect of critical illness cover Dr Marius Barnard will be the guest speaker at this year's Protection Review Awards dinner on July 11.
Most asset classes have seen dramatic rises over the last few years. This has made true diversification much harder to achieve since there is little point diversifying into what is already a fully priced asset class.
Inevitably, after I sounded more words of caution, markets continued their upward progress for part of the week.
Boots is hoping to break into the UK private medical insurance market by partnering with PruHealth to launch products in its 1,500 stores.
Brokers say there has been almost no demand for green mortgages despite the Chancellor calling on lenders to develop more environmentally-friendly loans in last month's Budget.
The FSA says lenders need to more rigorously stress-test their businesses and should allow for significant house price falls in their planning.
Paul McMillan reports on Parliament's Punch and Judy show.
Bupa Individual Protection has revised its critical illness product covering 14 additional conditions above the ABI minimum standards.
The FSA has warned mortgage lenders that they need to be wary of increasing defaults, potential falls in house prices and how this might affect the sub-prime market in particular.
Protection providers predict the price war in the critical-illness insurance market will hot up following implementation of the new policy definitions.
The Government says claim management companies could target other financial products, including free-standing AVCs, pensions, Pep or Isa mortgages, maximum income plans, whole of life policies, permanent health insurance and interest-only mortgages.
Clerical Medical International has introduced an offshore investment bond for companies that are not maximising their cash reserves.
Speculating when to sell or buy is counter-intuitive to how investors should approach equity markets, which are more volatile than other asset classes such as cash and fixed interest.
Credit Suisse is continuing to build its equity team with the appointment of Vipin Ahuja, director, as a portfolio manager specialising in the global energy sector.
Protection providers have been inundated with calls from concerned customers after Financial Ombudsman Service chief ombudsman Walter Merricks criticised critical-illness insurance policies on TV.
A-Day introduced the concept of pension input periods and it is vital that advisers are aware of the opportunities and pitfalls they present.
Guy Anker reports on the effects of rising inflation.
A third of 18 to 25-year-olds have a mortgage worth five times their salary, says research from Equifax.
It has been a testing first quarter, which has been an opportunity to increase equity weightings and reassess our cautious bond view. We have increased weightings in Asia and Europe and believe in the longer-term prospects for yen appreciation.
Legal & General is offering a deferred group Sipp and has introduced lifestyle profiling in its group and individual ranges.
Demand for independent financial advice on Isas through IFA Promotion's unbiased.co.uk website has reached record levels.
It is a rare professional who has never advised a client to commit to an investment that has not subsequently gone down in value. It is equally improbable that you will find one who has never missed out on a rising star.
Edeus has attacked high-street lenders moving into the adverse markets in its latest ads.
The European Commission has confirmed it will keep existing professional indemnity insurance requirements for advisers but will monitor the situation to see if changes are needed in the future.
Abbey criticised for extended tie-ins.
Fidelity is branching out into eyecare with the launch of an opthalmic arm, codenamed Project Blink.
Fidelity is expected to announce the long-term replacement for Anthony Bolton on its flagship £3.1bn UK special situations fund in two weeks.
Fidelity is to step up its plans in the retirement market with the launch of seven fund of funds vehicles managed by Richard Skelt.
Fortune Asset Management expects funds of hedge funds to move increasingly towards listed status and the transparency of managed accounts.
Friends Provident announced a 12 per cent increase on a Present Value of New Business Premiums basis in new life and pensions business in its first quarter results.
The FSA has banned a Swindon-based IFA from performing certain controlled functions related to regulated activities after breaching its rule on a pensions transfer.
The FSA has warned general insurance firms they must improve their standards of cold calling when selling general insurance over the telephone.
The FSA Board has voted to scrap the Age 70 rule which means Icob advisers will be allowed to sell life policies maturing beyond age 70.
Strong economic growth has led to an upturn in the German property market, says Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.
Well done to AIG for sending out Manchester United shirts to journalists to accompany a recent press release.
Half of employers with defined benefit schemes could be closed to future accruals by 2011, trebling the number of sponsors that have already done so.
Trail commission on Oeics and unit trusts has been paid for a number of years. IFAs typically receive 0.5 per cent of invested funds, with no requirement to do anything to receive this payment.
Hargreaves Lansdown has announced an indicative offer price of 140p to 160p for each of its 118.6m ordinary shares.
Hargreaves Lansdown's co-founders have rocketed up the rich list but their fortunes are dwarfed by that of Towergate chairman Peter Cullum, who has£700m to his name.
Henderson Global Investors has appointed Laurie Jaques to the position of sales director.
The high-net-worth sector will become a key area of the protection market, according to Legal & General.
Association of Home Information Pack Providers director general Mike Ockenden has blasted the latest Tory opposition to Hips as feeble and desperate.
Thirty six per cent of the general public think Hips stands for Homeland Immigration Policy, while only 27 per cent correctly identified it as a Home Information Pack.
Hargreaves Lansdown is extending the range of advice it offers over the phone.
Six years ago, following the stockmarket's peak and subsequent fall, we were looking for a solution that would increase value for our clients, improve access to clients' investment information, simplify the administration process and provide accurate information at all times.
Cofunds has sent the confidential details of 25,000 clients to an IFA following a technical malfunction.
Some insurance companies are paying up to twice the level of commission for new Sipp business than for their personal pension or stakeholder products, despite the majority of Sipp money sitting in insured funds.
Insight's multi-manager team have invested in iShares S&P global water, the first exchange-traded fund in Europe that tracks the performance of water stocks.
Kathryn Langridge is leaving Invesco Perpetual after 17 years.
Helen Pow surveys the fund firmament where a handful of glittering star managers see the marketing machine go into overdrive and investors flocking to pile cash into the stellar portfolios but are there other unheralded managers who deserve more widespread recognition?
The Competition Commission has published an issues statement as part of its investigation into the market for the supply of payment protection insurance.
Lazards emerging markets fund manager James Donald believes the sector has become less volatile.
Lehman Brothers is set to launch a fourth lending brand in early 2008.
Lehman Brothers is helping drive down mortgage exit fees, with two of its high-street lending partners cutting charges.
Lenders have been withdrawing fixed-rate mortgage deals amid speculation of a bank base rate rise in May.
Opposition parties are lining up for one last attack on Home Information Packs hoping the House of Lords will provide the perfect setting to ambush the policy to force a delay on implementation.
Newton has appointed a new lead manager on the £1.1bn income fund with Christopher Metcalfe replacing Rob Marshall-Lee and Nick Clay.
Mortgage ExpressSelf-Cert Two Year Fixed Rate
There was supposed to be a huge announcement this week from Skandia and Selestia detailing their plans for the merged platform, which is due to launch this year following the acquisition of Skandia by Old Mutual.
John Wright, a compliance consultant for Bond Pearce Solicitors, explains some of the implications arising for advisers from the FSA's view principles-based regulatory regime.
Standard Life Investments' star fund manager Mark Niznik has resigned amid rumours that he is set to join Artemis.
The offshore tax amnesty could signal the start of a major crackdown on offshore investments, as experts warn that HM Revenue & Customs will not limit its investigations to bank accounts.
Oliver Russ, manager of the Resolution Argonaut European income fund, was the first fund manager to recognise the huge opportunities in this sector.
The Financial Ombudsman Service says advisers must ensure customers are realistic about investment returns to protect themselves against income-drawdown complaints.
There is much activity ahead of a company's year-end to ensure that remuneration strategies and plans for extracting funds from the company are fully discussed.
Paternoster doubled its pension scheme assets under management in the first quarter and now has liabilities totalling £411.7m.
Opposition parties are to take their fight for compensation for occupational pension scheme victims to the House of Lords after their lifeboat amendments to the Pensions Bill were narrowly defeated.
PR guru John Wriglesworth has a fan club dedicated to him, set up by his current and former employees.
Alliance & Leicester has followed the rush to mimic Northern Rock's Together mortgage, joining recent entrant Birmingham Midshires. Like existing schemes, it operates by offering a 95 per cent mortgage advance with up to an additional 30 per cent on an unsecured loan basis at the same rate and over the same repayment period.
Funds of hedge funds will start to creep on to the retail investment radar, following the FSA's decision to relax its ruling on the maximum amount a fund can invest in unregulated collective schemes, but I am sure most investors will be reaching for the Valium at the thought of putting their money into hedge funds.
The insurance industry has been accused of scaring people into buying protection.
Pi Financial Dixon Sutcliffe has secured financial support from four product providers to help more of its advisers achieve chartered financial planning status.
A collaborative industry website and information hub has been set up to encourage the take-up of e-services across financial services.
Prudential's UK life business fell by 23 per cent to £183m in the first quarter.
PSigma Asset ManagementPSigma Income Fund
Weekly, the FSA bangs on about principle-based regulation. It did the same with risk-based monitoring five years ago.
Neal Underwood says many IFAs are sceptical over the value of regional and sector-specific Fofs.
Resolution has appointed Hugh McKee as head of UK new business responsible for leading the development of the Scottish Provident and Phoenix business lines.
The Resolution Foundation has identified five key priorities for the Thoresen Review, as consultation closes on its call for evidence in developing a national approach to generic financial advice.
Retrospective changes to critical illness policies have always been a bone of contention in the protection industry.
Private equity activity is causing havoc among fixed-interest investors, creating an inverted risk profile in corporate bonds.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is to commission an independent review to see if it should release more information on its rulings to complement the FSA's move to principles.
Royal London has released a statement today saying it is in talks with Royal Liver over a possible merger of the two companies.
I am the managing director of a limited company. I would like it to make a pension contribution on my behalf but I understand there is now uncertainty as to whether the company will get corporation tax relief.
Scottish Provident has revamped its logo and literature but is keeping its brand name.
Sesame has been fined £330,000 for failing to treat its customers fairly when handling complaints concerning sales of precipice bonds.
I believe that Royal Liver IFA market manager Andy Milburn has done the Association of British Insurers a favour by pointing out that its forthcoming guidelines on improved clarity for telephone and online applications for protection business need to identify a consistent approach to the issue of signatures.
It seems that you can pick up any trade paper just at the moment and self-invested personal pensions will be on or near the front page.
A few months ago, I had a moment of revelation. I had just been researching whether to move broadband providers, having read that contracts were becoming cheaper. To stay with my existing supplier might now be unnecessarily expensive.
Skandia Life, Skandia MultiFunds and Selestia are set to merge into one combined business platform to be led by Brett Williams.
Smith & Pinching Portfolio Management has branded its multi-manager operations as OPM (Only Performance Matters) Fund Management.
Standard Life BankFreestyle Professional Mortgage Two Year Fixed Rate
Standard Life has revealed that 220,000 former members have yet to claim around 83 million shares worth 261m.
Once again, The Diary breaks new ground by finding iron-clad proof that the Scots have more imagination than the English.
Standard Life has introduced pipeline tracking on its adviserzone extranet service.
Parmenion, a new discretionary management wrap, is being launched into the IFA market next week.
'IFAs under less pressure than in conventional funds'
Some would say the recent leak of the alleged Association of British Insurers submission to the retail regulatory review revealing that it wants to strip down contracts down to remove product advice does not go far enough.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) has added to its UK equities team with the appointment of James Clunie as investment director.
TD Waterhouse has unveiled what it claims to be the first multi-currency option on its self-invested personal pension.
Aegon Scottish Equitable and Norwich Union are among the providers which will be represented on the Association of British Insurers' TCF protection claims group.
They say it is best to get things out into the open and so it is with the ABI's draft retail distribution review response which will leave advisers in no doubt where certain sections of the industry are coming from.
Ten years ago, in an article that I wrote for The Scotsman newspaper, I warned readers of the pension selling practices of Equitable Life.
Threadneedle Investments has appointed Richard House as a fund manager to join its emerging markets fixed income team.
The FSA is warning that work will need to be done to ensure the rulings of the financial services and markets tribunal do not undermine the move to principle-based regime.
The FSA is to reopen the controversial debate surrounding caveat emptor and the legal responsibilities consumers should carry in a principle-based regime.
It was never going to be long before the battle lines were drawn in the Sipp playing field and Scottish Life has made the opening salvo.
The scheme is similar to the deal which was established by Positive Solutions last year.
Things are never dull in the world of Sipps. The challenges continue to be interesting and stimulating, particularly the conflicts between HM Revenue & Customs and the new FSA requirements concerning trustee duties.
Inheritance tax planning specialist Way Group has introduced specialist versions of its nine investment schemes that comply with Scottish law.
UBS Global Asset ManagementUBS UK Equity Income Fund
Rising returns on with-profits bonds are finally rewarding investors who stuck with them through recent lean years, says Moneyfacts.
Enterprise Learning's chief executive Gary Storer and principal consultant Andy Thompsett set out a five-step guide to making the move to wrap.