29 October 2008
Axa will offer a new company pension scheme called Save More Tomorrow that automatically increases levels of contributions over the pension's duration.
PSigma has recruited David Hallam to its UK equities team from stockbrokers Fiske. He has also worked for Williams de Broe
Prudential has ended its efforts to acquire the £7bn with-profits annuities of Equitable Life. The moves comes 18 months after Pru and Equitable reached an agreement in principle.
The Association of British Insurers claims it will bring annuity transfer times down to 30 days with a new initiative between providers and e-commerce standards body Origo.
Thousands of adviser firms are still awaiting the green light from the FSA to submit outstanding RMAR reports after the new filing system, Gabriel, crashed last week.
Europe has been described as the laggard of the credit crunch after its economic resilience during the early stages of the crisis proved a false hope for investors looking for a safe haven.
More than half of financial advisers say the main drawback of traditional mortgage payment protection insurance is the limited cover period.
Leading advisers are calling for a single professional body to represent the interests of IFAs in the debate over qualifications and the retail distribution review.
Aegon Scottish Equitable International has slapped a warning across its offshore deposit rate factsheets stressing that no due diligence has been done on deposit-takers in its offshore bond.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has urged the FSA to use its retail distribution review to help consumers re-engage with savings and support the development of a distinct advisory profession.
AIG Private Clients is offering guaranteed income bonds and premier bond guaranteed funds for high net worth clients with interest rates of 8 per cent for investments of over £500,000.
Against the current backdrop of falling markets and dwindling investor returns, many investment management firms have championed absolute return funds as lower-risk alternatives to the equity portion of a portfolio. However, few of these have offered any element of capital protection.
Apollo Multi-Asset Management partner Tom McGrath says he is keen to follow the Thames River model by acquiring teams of managers to build the boutique.
Asia was the top tip for investors brave enough to jump back into equities from panellists at the Adviser 2008 investment question time.
Insynergy Investment Management has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Axa UK multi-manager arm Architas to market its funds to the retail market.
Insynergy Investment Management has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Axa UK multi-manager arm Architas to market its funds to the retail market.
Lending to individuals rose slightly in September but still remains extremely muted.
Zurich has appointed Bankhall's managing director of strategy and development Richard Howells as UK IFA sales director.
The UK banking sector may not be in profit for at least the next five years.
Threesixty believes that the FSA will stand firm against lobbying from banks to water down the retail distribution review as the credit crisis has exposed their failings.
Barclays Wealth is facing questions after describing the recently frozen AIG enhanced fund as an "extremely secure account" offering "instant access" to funds in client correspondence.
Global finance market risk modeling firm Barrie and Hibbert has launched a new service aimed at helping financial services companies understand and communicate the risks of financial products.
JO Hambro Investment Management has appointed Charles Bathurst as director and head of fund distribution. He joins from Old Mutual Asset Managers (UK), where he was director of international distribution.
Employee benefits firm SBJ Group has acquired actuarial and pensions administration firm EB Consultants.
BNY Mellon Asset Management has appointed Thomas Connolly as managing director of the asset management business in the Middle East.
The Bank of England has failed to recognise it’s own part in the current financial downturn, says New Star.
Does the concern over offshore bond investors in insolvent banks losing their savings make you less likely to recommend the product in future?Yes 88%No 12%
The case of Sillars and another versus Inland Revenue Commissioners in 2004 concerned an inheritance tax planning exercise under which, on the advice of her accountant, a mother transferred her building society account into the joint names of herself and her two daughters. All subsequent transfers into the account were made by or derived from the mother.
Capita has signed a 10-year deal worth £130m with Deutsche Bank to provide outsourcing services for Abbey Life's 1.1 million life and pensions policies.
Captain Mainwaring has returned to the Walmington-on-Sea bank branch after many years' absence to find Lance Corporal Jones and Private Walker in charge.
Cathedral Financial Management has introduced a discretionary investment management service for clients.
It gave me a good grounding," says 2plan Wealth Management chief executive Chris Smallwood as he reflects on his early days selling life insurance.
Protection experts are warning against re-churning a client's existing protection cover, and instead are calling for greater understanding around old and new policies, and in what circumstances an adviser should rebroke.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has announced a merger with the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and will be re-branded the Chartered Institute of Financial Services.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders says it is "frustrated" by the results of the Bank of England's latest financial stability report. It says it shows why the Government should have heeded its calls to help the securitised market earlier.
Competent Adviser has revamped its website providing tools to assist firms in the assessment and competency of staff to support compliance and development needs.
Midas Group investment director Nick Greenwood believes the investment trust industry could be set for a repeat of the split-cap debacle as concerns continue to rise over banking covenants.
Ten years ago, we had first sight of those wonderful investments which we now call structured products. The original ones were at best deceptive, the worst bordered on criminal.
Perhaps we need some "cool" long-term money to go with the hot.
Standard Life says the FSA must apply customer-agreed remuneration to corporate as well as individual pensions or providers could write individual schemes as group business to escape the new requirements.
The FSA has challenged the industry to put forward ideas for new sales services that deliver better outcomes for consumers.
Crosby Asset Management is launching Apollo Multi-Asset Management, a new joint venture.
Towergate Financial has appointed ex-John Charcol chairman Ian Darby as its chief executive.
If credit ratings did not exist, they would have to be invented. Like that other easy target for criticism when the prediction does not come true - the weather forecast - it is still far better to have professional expertise applied to trying to solve a very difficult problem than none at all.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has revealed he is to relax the Government’s fiscal rules which Gordon Brown built his economic reputation on.
Chancellor Alistair Darling’s sabre rattling in the direction of the Isle of Man, even if it came in the stressful circumstances of a Treasury select committee grilling, is very unfortunate.
Standard Life is warning that up to 100,000 pension policyholders with balanced managed funds looking to retire this year may not have lifestyling arrangements in place.
Just Retirement has reported a slight downturn in annuity sales and warns that the annuity market will be affected by a large number of potential annuitants deferring taking their benefits.
Dragons' Den star James Caan has struck a deal with Axa that will see the insurer give financial backing to his new investment firm Insynergy's first two products.
The Dutch government has pumped £2.4bn into Aegon to strengthen the firm's capital position.
As we teeter on the edge of a recession, there is one big organisation that has a task in front of it that has become decidedly more difficult.
Company results for continental Europe will be poor in the coming months but firms will emerge stronger in 2010, claims Henderson EuroTrust manager Tim Stevenson.
Distribution Technology has appointed ex Skandia head of e business Alison Everett as it product manager for financial planning tools.
F&C Asset Management has revealed its assets under management dropped 3 per cent over the past quarter to £93.3bn.
Consumers’ faith in bricks and mortar to fund their retirement has taken a severe battering over the past year, according to new research from Alliance Trust.
Aon Consulting warns trustees will ask sponsor companies for an extra £45bn a year for the next five years as the funding deficit for the 200 largest privately sponsored pension schemes fell by £9bn to a deficit of £15bn.
South African based wealth manager FirstRand is expanding its wealth management services into the Channel Islands.
T Bailey analyst Elliot Farley is warning that the Investment Management Association's new yield rules for UK equity income funds could cause problems for fund of fund managers.
Fortis Life UK is teaming up with online provider Click to offer Click for Life cover, just three months after it linked up with Lifesearch to offer Real Life Cover and Your Life Plan.
Friends Provident has revealed it plans to distribute its 52 per cent stake in F&C Asset Management to shareholders and retain Lombard International.
Regulators at the FSA have carried out “pretty good work” this year and will be paid bonuses for their efforts, according to chairman Adair Turner.
The FSA is proposing new rules to ensure newly authorised firms and firms extending their permissions are not paying too much in fees and levies in their second year.
The FSA has fined Sindicatum Holdings Limited £49,000 and its money laundering reporting officer Michael Wheelhouse £17,500 for systems and controls failures.
The FSA is considering whether to extend its remit to the regulation of “everyday banking” when it takes on new powers over banks and building societies in November next year.
The FSA is to carry out a review of with-profits to establish whether providers have properly implemented rules that have been required for the last three years.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is speeding up compensation for 200,000 retail depositors with savings in Icesave UK.
The collapse in the oil price has contributed to SVM Asset Management UK opportunities fund losing almost half its value in the last three months, according to Financial Express.
Protection providers which support gay rights issues are likely to win over significant numbers of new gay customers, according to research from Media Relations Management.
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director general Chris Cummings welcomes the fact that the authorities have finally heeded his call for a radical industry support package.
At times when there is a global financial crisis, a lot of investors turn to gold. In March this year, at the time of the Bear Stearns' collapse, gold rose to over $1,000 an ounce but it fell back again and at the time of writing it is around $860 an ounce.
The Government has revealed its “arms-length” company which will control its banking interests.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has told MPs the Government is to take "a long hard Look” at the Isle of Man’s status as a tax haven.
The group Sipp market has become an attractive alternative to group money purchase schemes and will see significant growth over the coming year, according to European Pensions Management.
Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves has lashed out at structured product providers suggesting they are only ever interested in making a profit.
The Hartford has confirmed that as part of its European expansion it will launch in to Germany in the first quarter of 2009, starting with a variable annuity product.
The proposed takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB is proceeding according to plan, according to an interim management statement released today by the lender on the London Stock Exchange.
Hodge Equity Release has revealed it is to expand to IFAs in the retirement market, becoming Hodge Lifetime.
House prices in the UK fell by 14.6 per cent in October, compared to 2007 levels.
This week marked a massive shift in the UK benefit system as the changes in the Welfare Reform Act made their way into UK law.
Icelandic investment bank Straumur-Burdaras is still looking at acquiring London-based investment bank Teathers, formerly Teather & Greenwood. Straumur had previously wanted to acquire the majority of troubled Landsbanki's overseas corporate finances and brokerage businesses which included Teathers.
IFAs want a levelling of regulation on pensions and investments and simpler products such as mortgages and general insurance.
Insight co-heads of multi-manager Patrick Armstrong and Ana Cukic-Armstrong look set to leave the firm following a restructure of the multi-manager business.
Insight Investment has appointed Colm McDonagh to its fixed income team as head of emerging markets. McDonagh joins from Hydra Capital Management.
Insynergy Investment Management has announced the appointment of Crispin Odey and Gulf Finance House’s Ian Lancaster to manage the firms' first two fund launches.
The Isle of Man Treasury has hit back at Chancellor Alistair Darling’s comments yesterday suggesting the UK Government is to review its ties with the offshore “tax haven”.
Skandia head of proposition marketing Peter Jordan has warned independent platforms hoping to sell their business that they may have "missed the boat".
JP Morgan has revealed it is set to renegotiate $70bn of bad mortgages on its books in an attempt to curb repossessions and arrears.
Jupiter Asset Management has been appointed investment manager for the Landsbanki Luxembourg Investment Fund.
The Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man Depositors Action Group has called on the Treasury select committee to force Alistair Darling and Lord Turner to explain the UK Government and FSA's actions in the run up to the collapse of the bank.
Legal & General has teamed up with Investec to launch a new fund that will offer investors a no loss optional guarantee on its fifth anniversary.
Sadly, my mother has started to show the onset of dementia and I would like to take control of her finances. What do I need to be aware of and what do I need to do?
Abbey and Nationwide have raised their tracker mortgages on the eve of an imminent Base Rate drop.
The Bank of England has predicted that Libor rates will fall in the near future as the Government's investment into the market begins to take effect.
Estimates suggest nearly £400m was invested in Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man through offshore bonds and will not be covered by the local depositor protection scheme.
A recent Court of Appeal decision has brought comfort to professionals worried about facing stale claims based on alleged failures many years ago. It is ironic that those professionals more exposed than almost any other to this risk - financial advisers - are likely to be denied this benefit of English law.
The Isle of Man treasury has delayed the liquidation of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man as arguments continue over £550m of its assets seized by the UK Government using anti-terror legislation.
Lloyds TSB group chief executive Eric Daniels has highlighted the strength of the Scottish Widows brand and rejected rumours that Clerical Medical is up for sale.
Lloyds TSB has revealed the group executive committee which will lead the combined Lloyds HBOS superbank next year.
As defined-benefit pensions have more or less got their house in order, so defined contribution starts falling apart at the seams.
London Scottish Bank has revealed it has to be sold after failing to raise regulatory capital.
Money Portal will soon decide whether to create a "platform of platforms" or use an existing wrap provider's solution as it aims to take manufacturer margins away from providers.
The dramatic fall in the FTSE 100 over the past year demonstrates the value of unit-linked guarantees, claims MetLife.
Aifa has appointed Sesame executive chairman Ivan Martin as its second deputy chairman. He will work alongside current deputy chairman Amanda Davidson.
Matrix Data Solutions has relaunched its online directory mylocaladviser.co.uk.
IFAs could see business volumes contract if more high-street banks merge, warns Munich Re head of marketing Andy Milburn.
New data on life expectancy from the Office of National Statistics should be interpreted with care, according to Watson Wyatt.
Labour MP Jim Cousins has challenged FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner on whether the regulator should investigate leaks to BBC business editor Robert Peston.
The economic turmoil has hit life offices hard, with some insurers reintroducing market value reductions on with-profits policies.
The last few months have seen financial giants crumble around the world, global markets fall into chaos and credit availability turn into gold dust, yet it seems the RDR must go on.
Network Data is to sell its headquarters for £5m and has admitted it has a backlog of commission ahead of an emergency general meeting called to address its capital position.
JLT Benefit Solutions has launched a new expanded annuity offering called Premier Retirement Services covering standard, enhanced and impaired annuities through advised services and assisted purchase services.
In the last 20 years, emerging markets have grown dramatically in terms of the number of companies listed, as well as the rise in market capitalisation and daily turnover of those companies. Emerging markets continue to progress into a major asset class as evidenced by a plethora of major initial public offerings, high capital inflows and fund-raising activities, as well as the success of initiatives such as the Bric funds.
As even the weather turns harsh to match the markets the life and pensions industry is coming to terms with the impact of the recent turbulence.
Advisers have called on other product providers not to follow Norwich Union's lead in withdrawing unemployment protection products due to a looming recession.
Nucleus has made two new appointments within its technical and business development teams.
A week is a long time in politics and we now know that 24 hours is an even longer period in the world of finance.
IFA Origen has launched an in-house academy for staff who want to develop their careers in becoming a registered individual, corporate consultant or para-planner.
The Personal Finance Society has unveiled the line-up of speakers for its Value of Advice 2008 conference in Birmingham on November 10 and 11.
This week, I am going to conclude my look at the potential impact that an increase in the inheritance tax nil-rate band to £1m could have on planning strategies for those couples with estates above £2m. I will also look at the possible impact on existing trusts and the effect that the announcement of the Tory intentions to raise the nil-rate band may have on the appetite for planning strategies between now and the next general election.
Money Portal is starting an academy to help its advisers reach diploma level.
The Pension Protection Fund confirms that more than 3,600 people were receiving PPF compensation and it has paid out a total of more than £17m.
Prudential has revamped its enhanced annuity service to offer full illustrations in 24 hours using automated underwriting.
Most experts now seem certain that we are already in a recession and that unemployment is marching upwards, with the jobless figures set to continue climbing throughout 2009. The next 12 months look likely to be a grim time economically as the country gets to grips with the crisis.
Chancellor Alistair Darling says he believes that credit agencies will be regulated in Europe later this year or early next in response to a grilling from the Treasury select committee in Parliament today.
Royal Bank of Scotland today joined HBOS and Lloyds TSB in its call for more Government-backed capital.
Repossessions have rocketed by 71 per cent in a year.
These are tough times to be an adviser. Money Marketing can imagine that a lot of IFA business are feeling the strain, whatever model they may be using.
Norwich Union's recent announcement that market value reductions of up to 20 per cent are to be reintroduced on with-profits bonds due to stockmarket falls - and over almost all time periods - shows the total pretence that these types of funds can "smooth" returns.
RGA is calling on the Financial Ombudsman Service to issue a guidance paper defining its interpretation of non-disclosure when dealing with declined claims.
My annual trip to the US this year could not have been at a more eventful time - stockmarket mayhem and a presidential election - and anyone I met would have loved the oppor-tunity to drop the two candidates for any others capable and willing to stand.
There is a storm brewing. A rumble in the financial jungle.
Scarborough has become the latest building society to seek help as it merges with Skipton building society.
The start of the new venture capital trust season has always brought the same questions - how much is going to be raised and who will be the big winners and losers. For what it is worth, I would err on the side of caution and say anything north of £100m raised in these market conditions is a good result. However, this week I am not going to talk about new VCTs, top-ups or new share issues but investing in VCTs on the secondhand market.
As reports on the health of the global economy become ever more gloomy, so concerns are building over the consequences for individual countries. With the focus shifting from banks to companies to countries, little wonder that investors' nerves are fragile.
When Gordon Brown told the Labour conference in September that the extraordinary events of late would be "studied by our children", I took this as a hint that the turmoil had reached its lowest point. Little did I realise there were further depths to plummet, yet these trading conditions provide a rare opportunity for us to take a look at what we do and how we deliver our service.
Tory Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban has branded the Government's promises of repossession avoidance as "just hot air".
Aon has seen a 63 per cent increase from this time last year in the number of enquiries from pension scheme members requesting retirement and transfer value quotes in September.
James Hay director of key accounts Shaun Sandiford has left the firm.
Former James Hay director of key accounts Shaun Sandiford is joining rival wrap Ascentric as head of sales, Money Marketing understands.
Fund business plunged by over £900m in September from the previous yearFigures from the Investment Association reveal there was an outflow of -£20.7m for net retail sales in September compared with an inflow of £886.6m in September last year and £51.4m in August this year.
St. James’s Place chairman Mike Wilson has reiterated the firms’ long term growth targets for new business after the firm reported a 2 per cent rise for the first nine months of 2008.
Skandia UK has announced it will cancel its membership to the Association of British Insurers, instead choosing to join the Association of Independent Financial Advisers.
Skandia Investment Group has completed its new single-strategy range with funds investing in the healthcare and technology sectors.
Building societies say their funding has been hit by local authorities' investment in failed Icelandic banks.
An American hedge fund, two rival software companies and former chief executive Michael Bolton are all planning to bid for bankrupt mortgage firm Edeus, Money Marketing understands.
An American hedge fund, two rival software companies and former chief executive Michael Bolton are all planning to bid for bankrupt mortgage lender Edeus, Money Marketing understands.
Standard Life is to cut final bonuses and increase and extend market value reductions on its with-profit plans.
Standard Life Investments is appointing Virginia Holmes as non-executive director to its board, subject to FSA approval.
Standard Life has reported UK life and pension sales have plummeted 14 per cent to £2.6bn for the third quarter of this year, down from £3.1bn last year.
Investors are asking where, other than under their mattresses, offers a safe investment haven.
Lloyds TSB and HBOS group will be called Lloyds Banking if the merger goes ahead.
Long-term care specialist Symponia is rebranding its membership platform in a bid to attract more qualified care fees planners.
Tailoring critical-illness insurance plans to the consumer rather than adding more conditions could boost CI sales.
I went for a long drink with a financial adviser and asked him how business was going.
The Government has set out new rules to help protect homeowners threatened with repossession as lenders face a barrage of criticism over their handling of repossession cases.
This economic downturn is dissimilar to others in recent history - it is to do with deleveraging (a word unheard of in normal conversation until now) and asset price deflation. Its timeframe is likely to be measured in years rather than months but hopefully not in decades, as in Japan's experience.
The Government's banking recapitalisation scheme could change the landscape of UK equity income investing as fund managers lose some of the dividends they have traditionally received from banks.
The Conservatives have warned that the Government’s attempts to spend its way out of a recession will result in higher taxes in the future.
When my old friend Malcolm Murray of Transact called round to see me six or seven years ago to explain the concept of wraps, it seemed like a pretty good idea, fit for the new century. "Well," I thought, "we'll give it a go." We were early adopters of wrap, therefore, but cautious nonetheless. For two years, we tested the system with selected clients.
UBS is to shut down its UK non-advisory specialist administration and custody service.
The Income Protection Task Force is calling for US-style awareness groups in the UK to help increase the take-up of IP.
The return of market value reductions on with-profits seemed pretty inevitable considering what has been happening in the markets.
Watson Wyatt principal consultant Sue Elliott says the industry is wrong to try to force the publication of income protection claim statistics as she believes the data could be misrepresented and confuse consumers.
I find it difficult to get my head round some points over the financial crisis and I am sure the public feel likewise. I would appreciate simple answers on the following: 1: In the recent reporting season, banks told us how much money they made - in the billions of pounds. Where has this money gone? How could it have disappeared so quickly from March/April until now? Presumably, they were valuing their worthless bits of paper which have now come and bitten them.
Are we all living in a dream world or perhaps it's just me? The Government have brought back Peter Mandelson as Business Secretary. This is the person who is going to advise businesses on how to conduct themselves. A few years ago, he was found to have obtained a loan while not declaring a very significant loan he already had. Is he really a suitable person to advise businesses?
Which? is campaigning for a major banking reform after research found four in five people think an overhaul is necessary to avoid another economic breakdown.
Money Marketing research of Isle of Man offshore bond provider marketing material has revealed wide variations in the information provided to investors about the lack of protection for the underlying assets invested in the bond.
US equities are showing significant long-term growth opportunities, says Thames River Capital fund of funds manager Robert Burdett.