25 May 2005
Self-invested personal pensions look like being the real growth area in financial planning over the next few years.
Employer pension contrib-utions have increased in the past 12 months but almost one-third of workers are still not saving anything for their retirement, according to a survey by Origen.
Unum Provident head of external affairs, Peter Barnett, says tackling age discrimination and NHS policies are vital if the Government is to succeed with its plans to help people stay at work beyond state pension age.
Abbey has been fined 800,000 by the FSA for mishandling mortgage endowment complaints and misleading the regulator over its complaint handling process.
IFAs' reticence to recomm- end equity release is stifling distribution and holding back the market, said Simply Lifetime joint managing partner Alastair Waldron at the Manchester Mortgage Expo event last week.
Aifa is telling IFAs with clients who have splits losses relating to Exeter Fund Managers not to be distracted by a PricewaterhouseCoopers mailout saying advisers may be liable.
Alliance & LeicesterTwo Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
The new managing director of Marl-borough Stirling is passionate about sailing and was at the helm of the firm's takeover by Vertex. Now he is aiming for a smooth passage in customer relations.
Axa PPP Healthcare is introducing a medical insur- ance policy with restricted cover designed specifically for the over 55s.
IFA network Burns-Anderson has signed a deal with international property specialist Conti Financial Services to help clients interested in buying property abroad.
BM SolutionsBuy-To-Let 5.75% Fixed
The investment landscape is changing rapidly. New funds are being introduced which could never have been promoted to retail investors in the past.
I note the somewhat impolite letter recently from Filip Slipaczek. Filip is a well renowned IFA, probably most noted for his pomposity.
The recent case of Seymour v Ockwell & Co creates interesting legal issues in relation to the promotion and sale of products by providers.
Close Property InvestmentSeventh Special Opportunities Fund
Millfield Group compliance manager Mark Sexton has launched a scathing att- ack on the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Richard Coulson says Zurich is obstructing the promotion of his new network after his former employer launched legal proceedings against him last week.
Right now, there is a massive level of activity and interest in the protection market.
Dawnay Day QuantumProtected Commodities Accelerator IV
The dividend yield on European equities has increased by 75 per cent over the past five years, boosting investor returns.
As a solicitor practising in family law, will the new pension simplification rules have an impact on any of my clients who are considering divorce?
Mortgage intermediaries need to consider protection as an important part of the sales process now that mortgages and protection are both regulated, says Bright Grey products director Roger EdwardsHe said that clients will typically not know that joint-life cover bought from a supermarket is not necessarily better value than two individual life policies even though the supermarket price may appear to be marginally cheaper.
Mortgage brokers can now download a version of Intelligent Finance's offset mortgage calculator to show cli- ents how offsetting can save money.
Equitable Life revealed at its AGM last week that it has been in discussions with closed life fund buyers about selling its 10bn with-profits fund.
Equity release is a misselling "timebomb waiting to go off" and a lack of understanding of investment risk is a threat to advisers, warns independent complaint handling consultant Adam Samuel.
Our panel of experts consider whether the FSA's Treating Customers Fairly initiative should stay guidance or become regulation.
Purely Mortgages will become fee-based from June 1 in a bid to raise productivity which it says has suffered from lenders' ineptitude since M-Day.
Howard Flight's utterances as reported in Money Marketing last week are quite bizarre.
The FSA has warned product providers that they must make clear to clients why they may review rates.
FSA mystery shoppers claim that most advisers do not assess suitability for equity release and point to an interest gap between recommended sch-emes and product investment.
After seeing the front-page article, FSA pledges crackdown on phoenix companies (Money Marketing, May 12), I have to say that the FSA is taking a more pragmatic approach to phoenix firms.
Sesame's partnership with FundsNetwork has resulted in an 80 per cent increase in Isa season sales among network members.
Gmac-RFC is cutting the proportion of a mortgage that projected rents need to cover for a buy-to-let loan.
Buy to let has been back in the news for all the wrong reasons. The Government's crackdown on buy-to-let property schemes, which promise huge gains to novice investors, has hit the headlines.
IFAs are failing to get to grips with the new realistic reporting regime, says FSA insurance sector leader David Strachan.
The Financial Ombudsman Service hit back at critics and says IFAs do not really understand its services as they are only very occasional users and that inconsistencies will happen.
The Investment Management Association says managers of pension funds moved 40bn from equities into bonds last year but that advisers largely stayed loyal to equities.
IFAs are ignoring structured products at their peril, says SG Hambros head of product development Peter Gardner.
FSA chief executive John Tiner has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is stepping down from his role until later this year.
I watched the run-up to the general election with interest. I was curious to see which of the three major parties would deal with the financial issues that we, as IFAs, enc-ounter daily.
Old Mutual's plan to take over Skandia would see the mer- ger of two companies that dominate the financial services market in their home countries of South Africa and Sweden.
Keydata has come up with yet another innov- ative investment plan which enables investors to get up to 40 per cent tax relief on investments in residential property.
Jupiter has added its voice to the debate over Skandia's future, saying Old Mutual's bid for the Swedish firm is a bad idea.
The FSA says mortgage intermediaries have only a "patchy" knowledge of regulatory issues in many areas despite a relatively smooth transition into a regulated environment.
Only 9 per cent of landlords cite house price inflation as their main reason for purchasing buy-to-let properties, according to the National Landlords Association.
IFA Promotion says it generated up to 47m in commission income for IFAs last year, up 52 per cent on 2003.
Matrix Money Management is offering a top-up issue for the Matrix ascension plan, a capital-protected hedge fund,
IFA network members face entering the depolarised world looking as costly as the most expensive member in their network or scrambling to customise their own menu by June 1.
Consumers should watch out for misleading interest rates within Sipps, says Hargreaves Lansdown head of pension research Tom McPhail.
Morgan Stanley in the US has instituted a policy of withdrawing advertising from newspapers giving the firm negative coverage.
Mortgage TrustMass Market Buy-To-Let 1 Year Fixed Rate
Nationwide Building SocietyTwo Year Fixed rate With Reservation Fee
NDF AdministrationGrowth Plan May 05
I was surprised to read that IFA Defence Union chief Evan Owen wants the FSA to publish a list of Freemasons. It would be like asking MPs or anybody else to do the same.
Last week, I looked at how business and agricultural property can qualify for holdover relief if gifted with inherent gains. The other perhaps more relevant way to secure holdover relief is in respect of any gift of an asset into a discretionary trust. This is because the transfer will be a chargeable transfer for inheritance tax purposes.
I refer to my letter, Backwoodsman of the PFS (Money Marketing, May 5) and Mr Barnett's rather emotional response. I empathise with his sad personal circumstances and at no point did I question his or any other person's integrity or honesty.
Noble is introducing two portfolios investing in companies listed on the Alternative Invest- ment Market.
Norwich UnionNorwich Manager of Manager Income Fund
Norwich Union is adding 32 funds to its Portfolio investment bond and is offering an online portfolio planning tool called Forecast to help advisers with asset allocation.
Norwich Union sales and marketing director Peter Hales is taking over as president of the Chartered Insurance Institute in September.
In April, the Association of British Insurers, published a fascinating paper, available on its website, entitled, UK Pension Reform - Lessons From Abroad?
The shortfall in pension investment is already causing people to work longer, according to a survey by Friends Provident.
Three words seem to be on everyone's lips in recent weeks - treating customers fairly. Unfortun- ately, quite often, this issue is seen to be mainly about compliance. Many people say they need to have much more guidance or even det-ailed rules before they can implement a package of measures.
Pointon York Sipp Solutions is offering a specialist French property Sipp in anticipation of strong interest in the overseas buy-to-let market after A-Day.
An actuary is warning that the Pension Protection Fund could end up owning half the British motor industry if it takes on the pension liabilit- ies of failing companies in return for an equity stake in the continuing venture.
Protection business plummeted last year, widening the life insurance gap to 2.2 trillion, according to figures from Swiss Re.
Prudential is opening two adviser experience centres where IFAs' behaviour is observed under laboratory conditions.
The FSA is to clamp down on advisers who offer a small contingent fee service and then raise fees to scare clients into a commission-based service while keeping their independent status.
So is a Government-backed shared ownership scheme the answer to the SOS coming from potential first-time buyers priced out of the market?
A shudder was sent through the lending industry recently with statistics from the Department of Constitutional Affairs covering the number of possession actions issued in the courts during the first quarter of this year showing a 35 per cent increase on 2004.
The Queen's Speech last week confirmed that home-reversion schemes will be covered by the same proportionate regulation as lifetime mortgages. Legislation is set to be enacted within 18 months although it could take some time for regulation to be fully implemented by the FSA.
Aifa director general David Severn rejects Barclays Financial Planning multi-tie network's whole of market credentials.
Chancellor Gordon Brown's shared-equity scheme could make matters worse for those outside the scheme, say mortgage industry experts.
Despite recent criticism of mortgage packagers, Rooftop Mortgages is achieving 80m completions a month as a specialist lender creating exclusive deals with packagers and believes it has plenty of opportunities to expand, says Andrea Tryphonides.
Skipton Building SocietySeven Year Stateside Tracker Mortgage
Skipton Building SocietyFour Year Stateside Tracker Mortgage
Standard Life is looking at ways of enabling disgruntled with-profits policyholders to switch out of their schemes into better-performing products.
FSA insurance sector leader David Strachan set out his five regulatory causes of sleepless nights in his speech to the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Structured Solutions GroupEarly Bonus Plan II
The early bonus plan from Structured Solutions Group is a six-year guaranteed equity bond which has an early maturity feature triggered by the performance of the FTSE 100 index.
In my last two columns, I have looked at a number of issues that advisers should take into account when planning to put a new client management system into their business.
IFAs suffering from heavy compensation claims have been given new hope of recouping part of their losses where providers are in part to blame, after a case in the Bristol High Court.
Six months into regulation and there have been a lot of positive aspects with the market staying competitive.
So the FSA now admits that mortgage key facts illustrations are too long although, true to form, no comment is offered as to why this might be a problem, other than an increased risk of inaccurate content.
Technology is revolutionising the housebuying process all the way through the supply chain and plays a key role in everything from helping the customer find their perfect property right through to completions.
Have you seen the recently published Morgan Stanley figures revealing that around 10 per cent of clearing bank profits in the UK come from flogging payment protection insurance? This includes mortgage payment protection insurance or accident, sickness and unemployment insurance to the old-fashioned.
Legal & General's 1.1m fine for mortgage endowment misselling was yesterday chopped down to 575,000 by the independent Financial Services & Markets Tribunal.
UK fund of hedge fund managers could face increased costs and reduced fund choice due to a ruling from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a legal expert has warned.
"Become a property millionaire," says the big bold type on the glossy brochure dropping through the letterbox in your front door. Contact us and we will show you how to build up a portfolio of property worth more than 1m and the best bit is this: you need not risk much - or any - of your own money.
The Association of Investment Trust Companies says investment trust Isa season business down by 7 per cent this year.
Anyone who heard my speech at the recent Building Societies Association annual conference in Harrogate or read about it in Money Marketing will be aware that I predicted that within 12 months there will be no mortgage networks.
Winterthur Life has introduced a new version of its IFA portfolio-modelling tool, portfolio balancer.
The FSA is concerned that relaxation of the income drawdown rules as part of simplification will increase the need for quality advice, says Intelligent Pensions director Steve Patterson.
Woolwich Plan Managers has established the seventh issue of the capital plus plan, a FTSE 100-linked guaranteed equity bond, for the IFA market.
Wrap providers and fund supermarkets are not doing enough to cater for the needs of the advisory community, according to the Financial Technology Research Centre's first wrap survey.