27 August 2008
The Ifs School of Finance has called on the Government to drop any reference to personal finance from the maths curriculum. It says combining maths and financial education is a flawed approach.
Anna Marie Detert has joined Buck Consultants as head of its human capital and communication practice in the UK. Detert joins Buck from Towers Perrin, where she was a senior consultant.
Alan Pickering is to leave Watson Wyatt in January 2009 to succeed Charles Woodward as Chairman of BESTrustees.
The Information Commissioner's Office is investigating into how a laptop with personal details of a million Royal Bank of Scotland customers was sold on eBay by a third-party archiving firm without the data being properly erased.
FSA chief executive Hector Sants has written a Dear CEO letter warning banks and investment firms against cutting back on staff in valuation control functions to prevent future mispricing of trading positions.
A leaked Treasury document reveals nationalising Northern Rock will cost taxpayers up to £1.28bn. If the Government had agreed to a takeover by Virgin, taxpayers would have subsidised the deal with £2bn.
KMG Sicav Sif says it is holding discussions with 18 IFA firms and five accountancy firms about setting up their own white-labelled funds.
Three out of five (63 per cent) IFAs have a negative view on with-profits based investments, according to research from Managing Partners, the investment management company.
Eighty-three per cent of final-salary pension schemes are now closed to new members, says Aon Consulting.
Absolute return funds continued to be the most popular UK domiciled retail sector in July 2008, according to figures from the Investment Management Association.
Positive Solutions has, without doubt, been one of the success stories of the last decade in the IFA market.
The inflation report published recently by the Bank of England suggests that inflation is set to fall next year and within two years it is likely to fall below the target rate of 2 per cent.
An ex-Sesame member has hit out at the network for upholding a client complaint amid doubts that Sesame can locate the client file and a discrepancy over the reasons for its decision.
Employee share plan organisation Ifs ProShare is offering an introductory course for financial advisers.
Aegon is calling for the FSA to consider financial advice concepts including coaches, drop-in centres, personal shoppers and financial superstores as part of its retail distribution review.
Alliance Trust Savings has revamped its fund supermarket with a new charging structure and the addition of open architecture funds.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has aired several fears regarding today’s proposals for housing reform.
Artemis has appointed Ruth Keattch as a fund manager.
Ascentric has updated its adviser and consumer-facing brands with revamped logos and new tag lines.
Axa Investment Managers has launched a joint asset management venture with Kyobo Life in South Korea.
Troubled lender Bradford & Bingley has revealed massive pre-tax losses of more than £200 million in the last year.
Julius Baer is opening its local emerging bond fund to UK investors.
Mortgage approval levels started to show some signs of levelling off in July after sharp falls.
Bank of Scotland International has launched its new Nikkei supertracker capital guaranteed savings bond.
Bankhall is to launch its apprenticeship programme to all applicants after the successful pilot of the scheme to 16-24-year-olds.
Barclays Wealth is launching a new range of growth and income capital protected investments.
Barclays Wealth has launched the fourth issue of its emerging markets optimiser.
Baring Asset Management has hired Katie Bowmar as head of product development.
One of the poorest performing sectors over the past three and five years has been healthcare. Many shares in this sector are now on very low valuations.
Thames River co-head of multi-manager Robert Burdett claims that fund boutiques are best equipped to outperform in challenging conditions.
Do you agree with Bank of England governor Mervyn King that it would be wrong to inject extra liquidity into the mortgage market?Yes 50%No 50%
Coventry Building Society is thanking brokers for a 24 per cent rise in its net mortgage lending in the first half of this year.
Mortgage brokers have criticised the Government’s stamp duty reforms for not delivering enough to the majority of the UK's struggling homeowners.
Buy-to-let lending figures have dropped less sharply than the rest of the market, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
In my humble opinion, the point that your contributors on the Heather Moor & Edgecombe saga and our learned friends in the legal profession seem to miss is that the Financial Ombudsman Service is above the law.
Canada Life Group Insurance (CLGI) has launched two new modules to its internet-based eBusiness portal, CLASS, called eRenewal and eAdmin.
Canada Life is urging more advisers to discuss group income protection after research found one in five people would fall short if they were unable to work due to illness or injury.
New lender Checkmate Mortgages has announced the appointment of Peter Stimson as commercial director.
Bankhall chief executive Peter Mann believes the culture of churning inappropriate products has created a class of vulnerable consumers.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has established a taskforce to plan for possible RDR qualification requirements, following a 60 per cent increase in individuals enrolling in diploma exams this year.
An adviser has slammed Just Retirement for causing delays on his client's annuity transfer by not using recorded delivery to post documents.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has taken steps to stamp out the current rampant fraud problem in the UK new-build sector.
Aegon is offering flexible remuneration on annuities to encourage clients with smaller pension funds to seek advice.
Software firm Cyber-Ark says its research suggests 88 per cent of IT administrators would steal sensitive company information if fired or made redundant.
Dawnay Day Quantum, the structured products provider has completed a management buyout of the company’s entire shareholding from Dawnay Day International.
Government proposals to shore up defined-benefit schemes risk repeating the scandal over endowment mortgages by creating a gap between customer expectations and reality, warns Standard Life.
Being an investor in UK equities is not much fun at the moment. The credit crunch is having a real impact on the domestic economy and people are becoming more cautious.
Employers have no plans to introduce risk-sharing to their pension provision, a qualitative study by the Department of Work and Pensions has found.
Aon Consulting is warning that unnecessary regulation around DB transfers could sound the death knell for a valuable option for scheme members.
A leading housing expert has attacked the Government’s ‘housing rescue package’ for not doing enough to meet the current problems in the UK housing market.
F&C UK growth and income manager Ted Scott has rubbished fears that others UK banks could collapse in the same fashion as Northern Rock.
Despite corporate cost cutting in the wake of the credit crunch, pension contributions for directors are on the increase according to the TUC sixth annual pension survey.
Many divorcees, especially women, are set to benefit from a change to pensions legislation enacted by the Government, says Standard Life.
Fidelity FundsNetwork has launched a cash account that it says will help advisers moving to customer agreed remuneration models.
Product providers have rejected claims that a recent surge in with-profits bond sales is the result of a marketing push.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau may in future investigate the life and protection market in a bid to clamp down on insurance fraud.
State-funded housing associations are losing £400m every year due to fraud, says accountant BDO Stoy Hayward. It says vendors have inflated the price of land and houses by as much as 20 per cent.
The FSA has called on mortgage brokers to provide greater collaboration and help in tackling mortgage fraud.
The FSA has banned three directors of BPS Insure Limited for failing to notify the FSA of a £3m deficit in its client account.
The FSA has issued the first of several censures against mortgage brokers for failing to adhere to its quality of mortgage advice processes.
The FSA has issued a consultation paper proposing a number of Handbook changes required to implement aspects of the Payment Services Directive.
The FSA is hosting seminars for compliance consultants aimed at providing a greater practical understanding of what the regulator expects in terms of its treating customers fairly principles.
The Financial Services Authority this week called on brokers to don their capes and masks and become mortgage fraud crime fighters.
The FSA needs to ramp up fines for companies that treat customers unfairly, says consumer champion Mick McAteer.
The Financial Services Skills Council has appointed two new board members.
GAM has appointed Mark Hawtin as investment director to its London office.
Watching the Olympics has been inspiring . There are 10,500 athletes and sportspeople in Beijing battling for international recognition and the highest accolade of a gold medal.
The Government looks to have slammed the door on industry calls to change the qualifying test for personal accounts exemption, ignoring warnings the current plans could lead to mass levelling down, Money Marketing understands.
The Government is urging pensioners to claim billions of pounds worth of pension credits and other benefits that they may be entitled to.
The Government is urging pensioners to claim billions of pounds worth of pension credits and other benefits that they may be entitled to.
The Department of Work and Pensions is to revamp its highly criticised Income Support for Mortgage Interest scheme.
Iveagh, the company created to manage the Guinness family assets, has launched its first retail fund. The Iveagh wealth fund is a multi-asset fund targeting annualised returns of 9.5 per cent.
Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says that the finger needs to be pointed at Gordon Brown for the grim state of the UK economy.
Hargreaves Lansdown has announced a 42 per cent increase in underlying profit for the financial year.
Henderson chief executive Roger Yates is stepping down after 10 years passing the role on to head of equities Andrew Formica.
HNW wealth manager HFM Columbus has appointed Tony Gordon as a non executive director.
Abbey Expatriate Services has written to the Government calling for advice on transferring UK pensions overseas to be restricted to UK-regulated advisers.
House prices have fallen by 10.5 percent since 2007, the biggest annual fall in nearly two decades.
I am mostly in agreement with Peter Hargreaves' remarks regarding with-profits bonds. I have not recommended them for years and cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would convince me to do so.
Reports indicate insurance bond sales have fallen in the first half of this year. Some life offices have seen falls of over 50 per cent and the claim is that this devastation has been caused by the changes to capital gains tax introduced in April.
HSBC Life is offering life and critical-illness cover up to 1m to small and medium-sized enterprises under its business protection plan, along with accident and sickness cover, provided the individual is a keyperson aged 65 or under.
An IFA is calling for Abbey Life to amend its policies on vesting pensions so if clients fail to contact the company by their retirement date, their policy defers rather than being auto-vested.
The ifs School of Finance is set to offer the Certificate in Long Term Care Insurance, with registration opening in November.
I am worried that we are in recessionary times and I may lose my job. Am I right to be worried and what I should do to prepare financially?
At the time, I thought it was a great little news story. "IFA darling Invesco Perpetual sales slump" was the gist of it back in late 1999 as the technology boom embraced just about every investor alive.
Friends Provident and Bright Grey are warning that more protection providers will leave the IFA market unless the price war eases.
Investec Bank has appointed Philipp Schmahl as senior investment practitioner to its bank in Switzerland.
Investec Structured Products has launched a third series of structure product plans.
JO Hambro Capital Management has launched a second Japanese offering under the management of Scott McGlashan and Ruth Nash.
JOHambro Capital Management fund manager Willem Vinke is to leave the firm after six years.
New Star has appointed Greg Jones as managing director of its international fund business.
Lending on property fell by 71 per cent in July year-on-year to just £4.3 billion.
The Conservatives' back-room policy scribes have been busy this summer drafting Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's Unfair Britain dossier.
Legal & General has extended the cover on its immediate protection cover facility from 30 to 60 days and doubled business critical illness cover to £1m.
With-profits annuities will become a more attractive alternative to conventional annuities, predicts Legal & General.
Cicero Consulting says it will almost certainly have to shelve plans for a £100,000 study into the effect of Government inaction on the mortgage market after a lack of lender support.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders believes that further falls in mortgage lending are on the way after gross lending figures for July showed a 27 per cent drop from last yearGross mortgage lending was £24.8bn last month compared with £34.2bn in July 2007, although there was a small rise from £23.6bn in June this year.
The Liberal Democrats have created their own eight-point plan to help the struggling housing market as they accuse Gordon Brown of bribing people into buying homes.
F&C's lifestyle fund range has been added to SimplyBiz and Compliance First's capital reward schemes.
Friends Provident managing director of UK sales and marketing Simon Clamp says the burden of being stockmarket-listed has been one of the drivers behind IFA firms seeking investment from providers.
The introduction from October 9, 2007 of the transferable nil-rate band for married couples and civil partners, coupled with remarks made by the Conservatives about increasing the nil-rate band or abolishing inheritance tax, have caused some clients to think again about the need for IHT planning.
Advisers believe that increasing longevity is the biggest concern when recommending retirement strategies, ahead of stockmarket volatility and rising inflation.
LV= has bought Highway Insurance for £150m as part of its plans to expand its proposition in the general insurance market.
LV= is deepening its ties with Intrinsic Financial Services by setting up a new partnership to promote its flexible lifetime mortgage.
Almost 500,000 direct mortgage applicants had to apply four or more times to be accepted in the last 18 months, claims GE Money Home Lending.
HSBC Global Asset Management has picked Guy Morrell as the new head of its multi-manager business for the UK, Middle East and North Africa.
Mortgage costs could increase by over £500m in the next six months, according to research from Impartial.co.uk.
British Insurance claims that Bradford & Bingley employees are "no longer insurable" and warns that other workers in the mortgage market may no longer be able to get unemployment cover.
Analysing the multi-manager universe this month reveals some clear trends, with absolute return and target return managers receiving a lot of attention.
Morgan Stanley Investment Management has launched a new diversified alpha plus fund.
If Mr Reid would like to take the trouble to contact me, I will be only too pleased to discuss what strengths a qualified paraplanner can bring to an IFA business and hopefully dismantle his narrowly held views.
Network Data has revealed it is in exclusive talks to merge with another network.
New Star has revealed a 44 per cent drop in operating profits for the first half of 2008.
Specialist elderly care IFA NHFA has launched a website with Help the Aged and other organisations to help educate people about elderly care.
Arrears levels of non-conforming residential mortgage-backed securities rose to a record 23.31 per cent in the second quarter of this year, with Rooftop and GMAC-RFC seeing particu- larly big increases.
Old Broad Street Research has made three appointments to its research and support teams.
Informed Choice joint managing director Nick Bamford relates his experiences of having FSA staff to work on secondment in his offices in this week's issue.
Conservative shadow chancellor George Osborne has written to the chancellor Alistair Darling calling on him to halt the tax exodus of UK companies.
Park Row, the distribution arm of the Royal Liver Group, has recorded lossesof £1.6m during the first half of 2008.
Given the gathering clouds on economic performance, shares have been remarkably resilient. As the autumn approaches and that most capricious of months, October, nears, can we be sanguine over our likely fortunes?
Pension Insurance Corporation has won the tender to provide the pensions to members of the UK Can pension plan.
Inflation has reached 9 per cent on average for pensioners with rises in food, energy, fuel and council tax, according to research by Alexander Forbes Annuity Bureau.
Pension savers risk losing as much as £10,000 because of delays in transferring funds into retirement income, according to a warning from Virgin Money.
Polar Capital has replaced Threadneedle in Skandia's UK strategic best ideas fund. The move follows the departure of Threadneedle fund manager Paul Findley in July. Polar Capital's UK equities lead manager Phil Hardy will run its share of Skandia's 102m fund.
Seventeen per cent of advisers will move to a sales model if customer-agreed remuneration becomes mandatory and 11 per cent will leave the industry, according to Standard Life research.
Pension Protection Fund chief executive Partha Dasgupta has announced that he will leave the role in June 2009.
Premier Asset Management has appointed hedge fund specialist Chris Wright to its premier dividend fund.
Prestbury chief executive Lee Birkett says he is considering potential consolidations with other networks after winning an EGM vote to retain his job.
Disclosure documents designed to protect consumers often leave them more confused, Prudential managing director of UK life and pensions Gary Shaughnessy has claimed.
PYV has brought out a management liability portfolio plan for advisers and mortgage brokers which combines covers for claims made by the Government, regulators, employees and shareholders.
The retail distribution review could lead to advisers deserting the protection market for more profitable business, warns RGA business development manager Mick James.
Scaled-back regulation for non-toxic product advice is unlik- ely to be accepted by the FSA due to its "bunker mentality", warns Labour MP Andy Love.
Rensburg Sheppards is teaming up with financial services training provider Skills Solutions to offer apprenticeships in investment administration.
Mourant International Finance Administration has appointed Richard Harland as its new business development manager in the London office.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has set out guidelines for the Government as it calls for decisive action to save the mortgage market.
Northern Rock has confirmed it is to make 1,300 staff redundant by the end of today.
We are approaching the final two furlongs of the RDR Grand National and the vested interests are gripping their whips ready to draw the final efforts from their tired mounts.
Standard & Poor's plans to launch an S&P India Select index.
Savills has revealed a sharp decline in its underlying pre-tax profits in its half year results.
Scottish Widows Bank has revealed solid profits amidst the current financial turmoil.
Scottish Life has re-launched a range of support material for employers and advisers to help them set up and run salary sacrifice schemes.
The Serious Fraud Office is investigating Money Portal's pension trustee subsidiary GP Noble after The Pensions Regulator's decision to replace it as independent trustee of 29 schemes.
The DWP consultation paper on shared-risk pension schemes explores ways of meeting the desires of both employers and employees. Are these proposed schemes good for potential members?
Skandia Investment Group has made three senior appointments to its multi manager, open and guided architecture operations.
Skandia has revealed it is changing the charging structure of its platform to make it more compatible customer agreed remuneration.
KPMG predicts more building society mergers in the near future. Its Building Society Database 2008 says mergers are necessary if the 59 societies are to compete with bigger lenders.
The FSA has banned sole tra- der Darrell Mark Eaden from being a senior manager after he failed to effectively monitor his pension transfer specialist, exposing customers to the risk of receiving unsuitable advice.
I ask this question because there does not appear to be a day in my life when I feel that I am treated fairly as a customer. It would not take a team of researchers to tell me that we all experience underperforming services from other industries. Here are a few examples of customer service that I have experienced recently.
I refer to Peter Hargreaves' recent holier than thou rant on with-profits bond sales.
Stewart Ritchie was first lauded by Money Marketing back in 1990 for saving the SSAS. At the end of 1989, it was almost curtains for most small self-administered schemes. The Tory Government's Social Security Secretary Tony Newton had decided that SSASs would not be exempted from the 5 per cent self-investment rule.
Landlords who waited to sell their buy-to-let properties until the second quarter of this year halved their tax bill compared to those who sold before capital gains tax reform.
Tax has never been so taxing for the Treasury and its taxpayers. This week it was announced that HM Revenue & Customs inspectors are to be granted greater powers to inspect and fine UK taxpayers.
Richard Taylor has been appointed managing director of AJ Bell Pensions. He will be responsible for its SSAS and Sipp businesses, working alongside Charles Galbraith who is managing director of Lawshare, the firm's stockbroking arm.
It took me a while to be sold on wrap. I under-stood the benefits of fund supermarkets and had placed business with Skandia and Cofunds but what benefits did a full-blown wrap offer?
When I told my fellow directors that the FSA was coming to visit us for three days, you will not be surprised to learn their initial reaction was not one of joy and celebration. Not that we have anything to hide from the regulator, you understand, just they felt it might be something of an intrusion on our work plans.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King's heavy-handed rejection of proposals to help the mortgage market floated by Sir James Crosby shows there is little consensus on what needs to be done in the homeloan sector.
First State's defensive style of running its Asia Pacific Leaders makes it a contender for being a fund for all seasonsIwould not care to estimate how many fund managers I have met over the years but the number clearly runs into hundreds. During that time, many have impressed me, many have left me ambivalent and there have been those that I considered sub-standard. I always think a true test is whether or not I have the conviction to invest my own money in a fund.
Pensions deficits are a movable feast when actuaries can choose whatever assumptions they like
I would like to continue my review of flexible interest in possession trusts. These were the trusts of choice for financial advisers carrying out inheritance tax planning before March 22, 2006.
Congratulations on your appointment and your first wise decision to put back the next deadline on the retail distribution review so you can have a few weeks to get to grips with a subject that your predecessors have failed to work out these past 27 regulated years. Actually, that is a bit unfair. They did once get to grips with it with a concept called polarisation but they were lobbied into scrapping that with a move called depolarisation, designed to improve bancassurer sales levels. ...
Savills Estate Agents saw a 45 per cent fall in transactions in the last year. Halifax Estate Agents is axing 53 branches and 100 jobs.
Towergate Financial has acquired Leeds-based financial adviser Paramount Group Limited.
Transact has ruled out providing a variable annuity option on its platform as it believes that providers rather than consumers will be the product's biggest beneficiaries.
Transact is adding a Sipp to the range of tax wrappers on the platform in October.
The Treasury has unveiled a stamp duty holiday that will see the threshold property value lifted by £50,000 to £175,000 from tomorrow until September 2009.
The FSA's treating customers fairly initiative is considered an impossibly subjective beast by many advisers and to date our principles-based regulator has refused to set down explicit rules.
Trigold has upgraded its insurance proposition allowing advisers to write more insurance business.
Ever since I began writing for Money Marketing many years ago, one word has featured in almost every serious discussion about financial services - trust.
Homeowners aged 65 and over still have £726.43 billion of equity in their homes.
Watson Wyatt has called for the Government to give employers more legislative freedom to design new pension schemes in its response to proposals for risk-sharing between employers and employees.
Winterthur is to bring Sipp administration in house as it consolidates IFA services under the new Axa & Winterthur Wealth Management banner.
Peter Hargreaves does not have an IFA view, he has a Hargreaves Lansdown view based on instant gratification and short-termism.