29 April 2009
Gilts are artificially overpriced, with the Government facing "a monumental target" to shift enough to cover the national debt in the next few years, according to LibDem Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott.
Personal Touch Financial Services says that 39 Network Data appointed representatives have applied to join its network in just one month.
A Money Marketing straw poll reveals that 92 per cent of IFAs believe the new Isa age limit is unnecessary.
Abbey has reported first quarter profits were up by more than 25 per cent on last year at £372m.
Aberdeen Asset Management has announced the completion of the first stage of its deal to acquire parts of the Credit Suisse Asset Management business.
Aberdeen Asset Management has announced a pre-tax profit fall of 45 per cent in the six months up to March 31, 2009.
It beggars belief that neither the FSA, the Financial Services Skills Council, nor the various examination providers have any definitive idea of what exam content is actually necessary to qualify for QCA level 4 standard.
Research from Standard & Poor's last week supplied more firepower to the supporters of passive fund management.
Aegon Scottish Equitable is paying up to 25 per cent initial commission for group personal pension business.
After years of pressure from the financial services industry, the Government has finally decided to raise the annual Isa allowance by £3,000.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers believes that the FSA's proposed prudential rules for personal investment firms will force good firms out of the industry.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers is calling for the sales adviser label proposed under the retail distribution review to be changed to "company representatives".
Allianz Global InvestorsRCM European Equity Income Fund
Contrary to the group risk article 'Flex through the back door' (April 2009) we have found that businesses are looking for alternative cost efficient ways to offer group income protection other than through flex.
The Pensions Regulator will share data with Government departments including HM Revenue & Customs in a bid to identify employers that are likely to fail to comply with the new pension regulations coming into force in 2012.
America’s real GDP fell by an annual rate of 6.1% in the first quarter of 2009.
Evolve Financial Planning was the first financial adviser firm to become chartered and managing director Antony Williams is committed to doing his bit to raise professional standards in the industry.
Arc Capital & Income and Investec Structured Products have both introduced five-year FTSE 100 linked plans that provide income.
Arc Capital & Income has launched a new ‘bricks and mortar’ plan based upon the Halifax House Price Index.
The Advertising Standards Authority has hinted that it may use its powers to ban all secured loan adverts on daytime TV, according to the Independent.
Ascentric has launched its low cost pension account for advisers.
Employee auto-enrolment into protection policies combined with tax relief would help close the protection gap, says Association of British Insurers assistant director of health and protection Nick Kirwan.
Aviva is tightening up its vetting system of IFAs placing group personal pension business in a bid to improve persistency.
Aviva's UK life and pension business fell by 12 per cent to £2.5bn from £2.8bn in the first quarter of 2009 compared with last year.
Banks have been the principal authors of their own demise according to a damning report from the Treasury select committee released today.
The FSE opened higher this morning at 4,204 on yesterday’s close of 4,190 with banks pushing ahead in early trades.
Barclays Global Investorsi-Shares FTSE Developed World ex-UK
Barclays Global InvestorsiShares FTSE UK Gilts 0-5 years
Barclays Global Investorsi-Shares MSCI Europe ex-EMU
Barclays Global Investorsi-Shares MSCI Pacific ex-Japan
Barclays Global InvestorsiShares Barclays Euro Government Bond 5-7
Barclays Wealth is reissuing its super tracker plan with an option for investors to access exposure to the US stock market.
Business investment agency Beer & Partners has launched an online guide to help small businesses secure funding in the downturn.
Regulation has got too clever for its own good and now no one is quite sure what is allowed or not, even the regulator.
Blue Sky Asset Management has reissued its ‘twin wrapper’ capital protected FTSE 100 growth plans.
It has all been about corporate bonds of late. According to Cofunds, 50 per cent of all sales in the first quarter of the year have gone into fixed- interest funds, 39 per cent alone into the corporate bond sector.
High-street brands such as Boots could become more trusted providers of financial services than banks, says brokerage London & Country.
Will the cuts to higher-rate tax relief on pension contributions for those earning more than £150,000 have a damaging effect on pension saving?No 50%Yes 50%
Mortgage approvals by building societies doubled in March to more than £1.5bn.
The equity-release sector has welcomed Budget changes to the capital disregard limits which are now in line with many equity-release drawdown minimums.
My late father was active in the Labour Party and I met several MPs and activists as a child.
Advisers who have received an FSA invoice for their 2009/10 fees and who plan to pay by installments via Premier Credit Limited should check the interest charges on their application form. Forms sent in March and April may quote old charges of 9.2 per cent APR or 7.8 per cent APR for trade body members. The FSA has agreed a new deal with Premier Credit offering 9 per cent and 7.5 per cent.
Advisers working towards the Chartered Insurance Institute’s diploma or advanced diploma in financial planning can now gain credits for prior study under its Accreditation of Prior Learning scheme.
I read with interest and frustration James Daley's article, 'Stamp out this racket' in the April edition.
Over the years, the Government's various crusades within the wonderful world of financial services have inspired a range of emotions in me - although rarely has optimism been one of them.
Council of Mortgage Lenders chairman Matthew Wyles says lenders are not to blame for the "dysfunctional" loan market.
Cofunds has reported operating profits for 2008 of £400,000 in its first profitable year since its launch in 2001.
Cofunds has reported operating profit for 2008 of £400,000 in its first profitable year since its launch in 2001.
Last week's Budget was memorable for what it failed to do for the housing market rather than the "underwhelming" measures the Chancellor did lay down.
An adviser is threatening to take Co-operative Insurance to the small claims court after it refused to pay him compensation for work spent remedying its errors and processing delays on a client's annuity transfer.
Figures from the IMA show the corporate bond sector was the most popular UK-domiciled net retail sector in March with inflows of £935.1m.
If you’ve already received an invoice from the FSA for your 2009/10 regulatory fees, you might want to double check the application form from Premier Credit.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says he is concerned that the Government's plan for a £220bn bond issuance could lead to a buyers' strike in the market.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has not ruled out an early sale of Northern Rock if the price is right.
Although the Chancellor had, admittedly, little money to give away in his second Budget, it is a real shame that so little was done to kickstart the housing market.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted that there is no scientific reason for setting the higher rate tax threshold at £150,000 and says this level was chosen simply on his own judgement.
Chancellor Alistair Darling's second outing with the red box was, overall, something of a non-event. The Treasury outlook was as gloomy as expected and the measures announced to tackle the economy were small fry compared with the colossal sums already committed by the Government.
Money Portal non-executive director Richard Hambro died on Saturday, April 25.
Many adviser firms are looking for new sources of income to help them through the economic downturn and it is not surprising that this trend is showing on the regulator's radar as a potential TCF risk.
The European Commission is recommending that the remuneration of directors and employees in the financial services sector should promote sound and effective risk management.
Enterprise investment schemes, venture capital trusts and corporate venturing schemes have each received formal state aid approval from the European Commission.
The European Commission has proposed a directive on alternative investment fund managers that will require them to be authorised and subject to “harmonised regulatory standards” on an ongoing basis.
The European Commission has committed to improving investor protection for core investment products bought by retail investors.
Bradford & Bingley has appointed ex-Alliance & Leicester head of commercial banking Richard Banks as its new managing director.
Insynergy has appointed former Skandia group investment director Jim Roberts to head its investment committee.
The arrival of a provider of the magnitude of Axa Winterthur into the family Sipp sector looks certain to catch the eye of IFAs keen to give clients an advice-rich experience. Clients wanting to reduce their inheritance tax bill will also find the concept appealing.
Fidelity International president of investments Anthony Bolton believes a bull market has already kicked off in equities and that financial shares are set to drive recent gains higher.
The Foreign Office has launched one-to-one advice in Spain for British expatriates trapped by the credit crunch and the falling value of the pound against the euro.
The Treasury's move to prevent investors from maximising pension contributions before 2011 is "unworkable" for higher-earners with erratic income streams, says Beachcroft Regulatory Consulting.
Friends Provident has agreed to provide protection products for Tesco Personal Finance. The firm has distribution deals with estate agent Countrywide and Greenbee, the insurance arm of John Lewis Partnership.
Friends Provident has appointed Evelyn Bourke as chief financial officer.
The Financial Services Authority has banned an East London broker for fraudulent mortgage applications.
The FSA has banned and fined a BlueCrest Capital Management Limited former portfolio manager £35,000 for deliberately mismarking his positions.
The Financial Services Authority has called on all regulated firms to assess their contingency plans to consider what steps they may need to take to address possible issues following the outbreak of Swine Flu.
The FTSE 100 opened higher today with banking stocks pushing the index to its highest intraday level since mid-January.
The FTSE 100 opened lower today at 4,238 as some of London’s equities lost their steam following news that US bank stress tests would be delayed.
The FTSE 100 pulled back from losses in the previous two sessions with banking stocks lifting London equities higher.
Fund managers have started to scale down exposure to defensive stocks in a bid to tap into the recent rally in markets, according to research by Financial Express.
The dark cloud of reduced asset values could have a silver lining for estate planners. Lifetime giving of assets that are thought to carry the prospect of increasing in value has always been high on the checklist of things to consider for estate planners.
Gartmore has brought out a UK absolute return fund hot on the heels of its European absolute return fund.
Gartmore is maintaining an underweight position in the UK within its core multi-manager funds and says the economy still faces significant headwinds.
Leading economists say the Bank of England's quantitative easing measure has done nothing to improve the economic situation.
Alliance & LeicesterFour Year FeeSaver Fixed
Only one household has been helped by the Government's Mortgage Rescue Scheme since it launched in January.
Hargreaves Lansdown group Sipp business development manager Dave Petchey has been made redundant as the firm admits it is changing its distribution strategy due to cost pressures.
The Hartford has revealed it is to suspend all sales in the UK including variable annuity business as it posted a £818m loss in the first quarter across the global group.
Helm Godfrey has appointed Graham Cross to the position of head of operations.
If, like me, you are all Budgeted out, you won't necessarily thank me for returning to last week's exercise in unrestrained optimism from the Chancellor with the strangest eyebrows since Denis Healey.
Are we seeing the beginning of another cultural revolution? Chairman Mao and Margaret Thatcher were both instigators and architects of their very own cultural revolutions which changed the face of their nations.
The price of a typical house fell by 0.4 per cent in April according to the latest Nationwide House Price Index.
The Homes and Communities Agency has revealed that it is seeking private investors, including pension funds, to help build new rental properties.
HSBC has launched a personal pension based on its multi-manager, multi-asset class and world selection portfolios.
IFA Promotion has teamed up with Opinium Research to launch a new research panel, Independent Voice.
Safe Homes Income Plans says the increase in IFA equity release business has attributed to a solid Q1 2009.
The asset management industry should use its power to hold companies to account on behalf of shareholders, the chairman of the Investment Management Association (IMA) argued yesterday.
Intelliflo has recorded a £1.6m total net profit for 2008, a 65 per cent increase on 2007.
Just Retirement's annuity sales dropped 13 per cent to £127.5m in the three months to March, 31.
Home of Choice will now be using Key Retirement Solutions for all its equity release referrals.
The one thing that stands out in the Budget is that there appears to have been nothing at all on pensions except a cut in the tax relief on contributions from people earning £150,000 or more.
Lazard Asset Management is taking a contrarian play on real estate funds and building its position to the sector within its UK alpha fund.
Lighthouse has sent out multiple contracts to Network Data appointed representatives enticing some with as much as £3,750 in bonuses depending on the amount of business written over their first 12 months.
Liontrust is looking to bolster its fund range with a global equities product and a world ex US fund.
Coming out of the credit crisis, it is obvious to any observer that the market has undergone significant change. Those who are trying to take out a mortgage are finding that their choice has been significantly reduced.
Martin CurrieGlobal Energy Fund
Matrix GroupAscension Fund
Meteor Asset ManagementPrima Growth Plan 15
Meteor Asset Management has brought out the prima growth plan, a capital-protected bond with the potential to mature earlier than its six-year term.
Old Broad Street Research (OBSR) has withdrawn the AA rating from the CF Miton Cautious Income fund.
Money Marketing scooped four awards at last night’s Headlinemoney Awards.
Money Portal non-executive director Peter Simon has resigned from the firm.
Morgan StanleyFTSE Defensive Gilt-Backed Growth Plan 2
High-street mortgage lending fell to £3.7bn in March from February's £3.9bn while consumer lending rose slightly from -£100m to +£100m, according to the British Bankers' Association.
Nationwide will revert new clients to a 3.99 per cent standard rate instead of its 2.5 per cent SVR. It says the move will increase savings returns.
NDFA has launched the regular fixed income plan April 09, a five-year investment linked to the FTSE 100.
Neptune Investment Management is adding dollar and euro share classes to several of its core funds.
Network Data has emailed its appointed representatives with a deal for them to move over to the Lighthouse Group.
Network Data has been temporarily suspended from Aim after Lighthouse earlier revealed it had abandoned talks over a potential takeover of advisers and some key staff.
Several appointed representatives of Premier Network Group, which closed to new business on February 16, are threatening to launch legal action over outstanding renewal commission and procuration fees.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has announced that Adrian Ballardie of Tokio Marine Global Limited will be new chairman of the London Market Faculty board.
Novia is teaming up with Close Asset Management Limited to give platform users access to its discretionary fund management capability.
Online wrap provider Novia Financial is set to launch its group Sipp scheme in May.
Jersey Finance chief executve Geoff Cook says the latest attacks on the use of international finance centres are driven by a “short sighted grab for tax” which could harm global prosperity.
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott claims personal accounts are "a train crash" and accuses the Government of pretending that there is a political consensus over their introduction.
Personal Touch is launching compliance packages for directly authorised firms that cover sales quality, financial promotions, compliance framework, treating customers fairly, field visits and supervision.
Pink Home LoansPlatform Light Adverse 8.99% Fixed to 01/06/11
IFAs who do not offer business protection insurance are turning their back on a lucrative market and one desperately in need of advice and guidance.
Premier started life in the late 1980s as the fund arm of an IFA business, subsequently transforming into a fully fledged asset manager running almost £2bn at its peak.
BNP Paribas Privalto UK today launches a fund that will track its own Millenium Index.
BNP Paribas Privalto UK today launches a fund that will track its own Millenium Index.
Privalto is launching a new millenium tracker fund on May 5.
Under new Government plans private landlords will have to be registered before letting residential property.
LibDem Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott has attacked the British obsession with owning property and called for investment in social housing.
Prudential has appointed ex-Aviva financial control director Nicolaos Nicandrou as chief financial officer and group board director, succeeding Tidjane Thiam, who will become group chief executive on October 1.
Pru Protect has launched two new income protection products and has extendedits life cover to include people living with HIV.
Pru Protect has introduced two new income protection products and has extended its life cover to include people with HIV.
Royal Bank of Scotland finance director Guy Whittaker has agreed to step down from his role and the RBS board.
Retail distribution review proposals will do little to improve consumers' appreciation of the value of advice, warns Zurich.
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall says the Government's homeowner mortgage support scheme is not working because it is too bureaucratic.
IFAs are the most trusted group of all financial services institutions, according to the Financial Services Research Forum.
IFAs must reconsider retirement planning for high-earners in light of Budget changes to higher-rate pension tax relief, according to Informed Choice.
On March 11, Hector Sants, CEO of the FSA, delivered a speech to the National Association of Pension Funds in Edinburgh. His subject was the role of investors in the financial crisis. Among other things, he said: "How well a company is managed and the adequacy of its risk controls are…material factors fundamental to investment management.
Royal London life and pensions new business has increased a significant 27 per cent from £416.8m to £528.5m in the first quarter of 2009.
The FSA and Treasury recently announced the statutory regulation of the sale and rentback market.
Scottish Widows Bank has become the secnd provider to join the eMoneyfacts Savings Club.
The Social Market Foundation has questioned the recommendations in the Crosby report, saying the securitisation market should not be kept on "life support".
Aegon Scottish Equitable has been slammed over its Sipp administration, with an adviser claiming the firm took nearly five months to allow him to change provider.
Skandia Investment GroupGF Emerging Market Debt Fund
Skandia Investment ManagementGlobal Dynamic Equity Fund
Standard Life Investments achieved worldwide net inflows of £600m in the first quarter of 2009 after a £2.2 billion net outflow in 2008.
The first quarter results season kicked-off with pretty dismal performances all-round. But this is not exactly a surprise.
Smith & Williamson Investment Management Limited (SWIM) has announced the launch of a short-dated corporate bond fund.
With many marriages ending in divorce, effective financial planning is important as couples who were used to sharing living expenses have to manage their finances separately. This applies not just to immediate needs but also to retirement planning.
Equity income funds have traditionally been among the most popular areas for UK investors.
Standard Life InvestmentsEuropean Equity Income Fund
Standard Life Investments is expanding its fund range with the introduction of a European equity income fund.
Standard Life saw it's UK life and pensions sales plunge 27 per cent to £2.5bn in the first quarter of 2009.
The UK economy would be unable to cope with any future crises, leading economists have warned.
Keefe Bruyette & Woods has warned that controversy over the pension sterling fund could impact Standard Life’s sales volumes this year.
The pre-summer months should really be positive ones. The days are longer, the weather is getting warmer (we think), we are past the Budget announcement, the summer - and hopefully a holiday - is on its way.
Mortgage experts have signalled the rise of the "super-prime" borrower, which could see the loan market polarised.
Conservative MP Richard Spring has branded the hike in income tax for higher-earners as a deeply political move designed to trap the Tories.
Tenet, with the Financial Services Skills Council, is launching two apprenticeship programmes for mortgage and investment advisers to help bring new blood into the industry.
It is time to scrap retail financial services regulation altogether and instead spend the billions saved on educating consumers as to the facts of financial life. Retail regulation has failed by every measure thanks to a flaw in its first design.
The Platforum has updated and enhanced its online anaylsis tool for platform users.
There is room for optimism for UK smaller companies if one looks at year-to-date total returns to April 20. The FTSE 100 was down by 8.71 per cent but the small-cap indices were all up.
Tory Shadow Treasury Financial Secretary Mark Hoban has warned IFAs not to be complacent in believing they are superior to tied advisers.
Towry Law has appointed Paul Wright as its finance director.
The UK Treasury has welcomed the Isle of Man’s progress in agreeing 14 tax information exchange agreements and has called on other jurisdictions to follow its lead.
Trigold and Crystal have received shareholder approval for the merger announced earlier this month.
A few months ago in a column for this newspaper, I commented in passing on the way that the banking crisis - and the consequent collapse in confidence by many consumers in the big banks - could have a major and detrimental knock-on effect on other sections of the financial services industry.
Last month much was said of the surprise bounce in Nationwide's House Price Index, which saw house prices jump by 0.9 per cent. Then this week the bouncing cat was pronounced dead as the building society revealed an April drop of 0.4 per cent.
Unum has increased its maximum benefit limits on its personal and primary income replacement plans.
Unum has enhanced its group life proposition to cover all UK postcodes.
Advisers believe the abolition of high-rate tax relief on pension contributions will increase the popularity of venture capital trusts among high-net-worth individuals.
The Federal Reserve is expected to publicly reveal the results of stress tests performed on 19 US lenders on Thursday after markets close.
The Whitechurch Network is taking on 65 advisers from directly authorised IFA firm Eden Personal Financial Planning.
Financial experts say that scrapping higher-rate tax relief on pensions for high-earners in the Budget was an unnecessarily complex move and simpler measures could have been taken.
I have been contacted by an insurance company as I am one of two remaining members of an executive pension scheme and they want to wind up the scheme. What should I do?
Witan has added exposure to fixed income within its portfolio with a £10m investment in the PIMCO global credit fund.
WoolwichOffset Tracker at BBBR + 2.99%