3 September 2008
The LibDems have accused the Government of trying to "bribe" people to buy into a falling market. They propose pumping extra liquidity into the market only if banks give assurances that it will be used to maintain credit and not increase reserves or pay dividends.
Bradford & Bingley madea loss of £26.7m in the first half of this year compared with a £180.4m profit in the same period last year. It says £18m of losses were due to mortgage fraud.
IFAs are advising clients to invest in cash and bonds amid market volatility according to the latest Virgin Money investor intentions index.
Disappointing weather is not the only thing currently making people think about fleeing the UK’s shores.
Abbey has added a new product to its FTSE 100 guaranteed investment range.
Absolute return continued to be the most popular UK retail sector in July, according to the Investment Management Association.
Accord has pulled its prime Existing Borrower Transfer range which was launched today with immediate effect.
Employee benefits firm Staffcare is hosting a flex academy for advisers wanting to develop their knowledge on flexible benefits.
Advisers have dismissed Chancellor Alistair Darling's claims that the UK is in the worst downturn since the end of World War Two.
Aegon believes the FSA should consider developing new financial advice concepts, including coaches, drop-in centres, personal shoppers and financial superstores as part of its retail distribution review.
The Association of Investment Companies has urged the International Accounting Standard Board to raise its global accounting standards to improve the quality of financial reporting.
Alliance Trust Savings has revamped its fund supermarket with a new charging structure and the addition of open architecture funds.
Alliance Trust Equity Partners has appointed Layla Fear as investment manager.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is drawing up plans to persuade the Conservatives that helping to fund the mortgage securities market is a good idea.
Halifax revealed house prices dropped by double figures in the last year which has not been recorded by the bank for 25 years.
The Crosby report, on which the Government’s decision over mortgage securities help rests, is reported to have been completed.
Alliance Trust is warning that the outlook for banks remains worrying with uncertainty over the strength of balance sheets and the poss- ibility that more capital may have to be raised.
Bestinvest has removed its rating on Fidelity's £935m wealthbuilder fund, citing poor performance of the firm's underlying Fidelity-run Oeics.
Wrap provider Ascentric's new Indian operation in Bangalore has been given a traditional Hindu ceremony, consecrating the office to provide prosperity and success for all those who work there.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett has warned people will have to work longer in order to pay for retirement.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has voted to keep the Base Rate at 5 percent.
A broker has attacked an appointed representative of its former network Openwork after it told his clients the broker had gone out of business.
Do you agree with the FSA's call for greater help from brokers in tackling mortgage fraud?
Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says the finger needs to be pointed at Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the grim state of the economy.
The Investment Management Association's market statistics are not exactly exciting reading for the investment industry at the moment, with total net sales in the negative by millions, but a bright light shines from the new absolute return sector.
The Citizens Advice Bureau believes lenders must be made responsible for some of the Government's measures. Chief executive David Harker says: "Lenders must show forbearance, treat people in difficulties sympathetically and negotiate reasonable, affordable repayment arrangements with borrowers, ensuring they take possession action only as a last resort."
The Far East has been a topic of much discussion for some time now among investors. Led by the giant stories of China and India, the region's rapid rise upward captured attention and had started to change the way people saw investing in Asia.
Checkmate Mortgages has recruited Peter Stimson from Lehman Brothers as commercial director. The lender plans to launch in 2009.
It has been 25 years since Chelsea Financial Services blazed the trail in discount broking.
The Cheshire and Derbyshire building societies have both revealed that they are to merge with Nationwide.
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.
Economic downturns traditionally see an upsurge in claims, or threats of claims, against financial advisers.
Resolution has said it will not rule out a bid for Friends Provident.
Asset manager Close Brothers has announced changes to its marketing and distribution divisions.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders have once again urged the Government to help mortgage funding as first-time buyer approvals rates fell again in July.
The majority of asset outflows from Cofunds last year were to platforms focused on fee-based advisers.
Entrepreneur Clive Cowdery is rumoured to be eyeing Friends Provident as a break-up target, say press reports.
Cru Investments is to launch an African agriculture fund in the first quarter of 2009.
Structured product provider Dawnay Day Quantum has completed a management buyout of the company's entire shareholding from Dawnay Day International.
Barclays Global Investors has appointed Deborah Fuhr as managing director.
Standard Life says many divorcees, especially women, are set to benefit from a change to pension legislation.
The chancellor’s comments about the economy in last weekend’s press were akin to "kicking a man when he is down", says Blue Sky Asset Management.
Is it really the worst economic climate for 60 years, as the Chancellor Alistair Darling has suggested?
There are now officially more pensioners in the UK than children The Office for National Statistics revealed last week that the number of people over state pension age has risen to 11.58 million, overtaking the 11.5 million people under 16.
The Government has rejected industry calls to broaden the qualifying test for personal account exemption, ignoring warnings that the current plans could lead to mass levelling down.
News that the ifs School of Finance is set to offer the certificate in long term care insurance could finally boost the number of advisers recommending LTC products.
With children returning to school, summer holidays little more than a memory and evenings beginning to shorten, it is to be hoped that the listless drift of the market might transpose into something more positive. With sterling weak, there seems reason to expect shares to deliver more robust performance and there is a feel of a floor developing.
I have been banging on for the past couple of weeks about the now seemingly unfashionable flexible interest in possession trust.
Merrill Lynch has confirmed that up to 30 jobs are at risk at its sub-prime lender Wave but denied it is about to axe the brand.
F&C head of global equities Jeremy Tigue believes the bailing out of US mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could be the turning point for the market.
Henderson chief executive Roger Yates is stepping down after 10 years to be replaced by current head of equities Andrew Formica.
Franklin Templeton Investments has appointed David Smart as global head of sovereign funds and supranationals.
The FSA has banned three directors of BPS Insure for failing to notify it of a £3m deficit in its client account. London-based BPS also used client money to pay its general expenses, further increasing the deficit.
The FSA has censured Coventry-based mortgage broker Mohammed Habib for exposing customers to the risk of being recommended unsuitable mortgages.
The FSA has fined Derbyshire mortgage broker Approved Financial Solutions Ltd £63,000 for failing to ensure it gave suitable advice.
The FSA has issued a consumer alert warning customers not to take advice from Leicestershire-based Mortgage Deals 4 U broker Swati Patel.
Sifa is accusing the FSA of leading commission-based advisers "up the garden path" in its recent mystery-shopping exercise by leaving their efforts unrewarded while paying fee-based advisers for their time.
The FSA is calling for greater collaboration from mortgage brokers to help tackle mortgage fraud.
Gartmore is set to launch its European absolute return fund at the end of October.
GE Money Home Lending has appointed Ian Ferguson as its new chief operating officer.
Investment manager GHC has signed an £8m white-label agreement to run discretionary manager services for Allchurch Bailey.
The Government is underestimating the cost of public sector pensions by £15bn, a report by pensions consultant John Ralfe is set to reveal tomorrow.
Halifax has expressed its concern over national media coverage of its House Price Index figures.
HSBC is in talks with Hargreaves Lansdown to offer the company exclusive rights to distribute its global Sicav fund range.
Arrears on HBOS prime Residential Mortgage Backed Securities have rocketed as overall prime RMBS arrears rise by a third.
The FSA has fined former hedge fund manager Steven Harrison £52,500 and suspended his permission to work as a fund manager or trader for 12 months for insider dealing.
The Association of Private Client Investment Managers is changing the model asset allocation for its FTSE indices to reflect a shift towards hedge funds in private client portfolios.
Financial Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna on why Friends Provident International's planning tools have elements which could aid investors closer to home
As my firm has been mentioned in an article in Money Marketing, I feel that it is reasonable for me to comment.
Investors could be losing out on tens of thousands of pounds due to their funds being placed in a bond rather than a collective wrapper, according to Fidelity research.
Hugo Thorman believes wrap has barely scratched the surface of its full potential and reckons the market could amount to a staggering £2trillion.
Restricted information from structured product providers is hindering evaluation of product returns, says the Investment Management Association.
The Association of British Insurers is warning that new European Union rules forcing providers to disregard pregnancy in the underwriting process could cause confusion and is calling for Treasury guidance.
BNP Paribas has warned that insurers planning to enter the UK variable annuities market should call on the expertise of investment banks to hedge guarantees rather than go it alone.
James Hay will accept applications for protected rights transfers into Sipps from October 1.
Threadneedle has appointed John Devine as chief operating officer.
The recent case of the IFA who was taken to task over his supervision of a pension transfer specialist brought to mind the whole concept of outsourcing and delegation. In the case in question, the IFA admitted that he was not competent to challenge the advice given by the specialist, so to supervise this individual he would have needed a competent person to review his work. If a principal of an IFA firm is not well qualified or deemed competent, how can they even consider complex enquiries?
UK structured product provider Keydata Investment Services has enhanced the investment options on its dynamic growth plan plus.
Legal & General is piloting a fast-track enhanced individual annuity with pricing based on common health risks.
Towergate Financial has bought Leeds adviser firm Paramount Group as part of plans to have 340 RIs within two years compared with 44 in July. Paramount has 30 RIs and advises in the corporate, trust, medical, family and matrimonial sectors.
The FSA is warning that lenders which continue to vary the terms of the charges within their mortgage contracts may face enforcement or court action.
The wife of banned Liberty Financial Consultants director Darrell Eaden set up a new firm which took on the majority of LFC's advisers months before LFC went into liquidation.
Wealth manager London & Capital has hit back at yesterday’s statement from the Investment Management Association on structured products.
LV= has set up a partnership with Intrinsic Financial Services to promote its flexible life-time mortgage.
LV= recorded a 186 per cent increase in life and pensions business on an annual premium equivalent basis during the first half of 2008.
September sees the inaugural Financial Planning Week in the UK. While organised by the IFP, this is designed to be the start of a consumer education programme in financial planning.
One common complaint we hear from some parts of this profession is that retail financial services is over-regulated. It is an easy accusation to make. Principles-based regulation appeals enormously but only if it reduces the burden of regulation rather than replacing the rules-based regulation with which we are all familiar.
MetLife Assurance has appointed Dan DeKeizer as chief executive of its UK pension liability transfer business in a drive for bulk annuity buyout business.
Many mortgage borrowers who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions are trapped in unsuitable and often expensive payment protection policies, according to Burgesses.com.
New Star chairman John Duffield has reiterated his intent to grow the firm's emerging markets arm, with a Middle East and North Africa fund understood to be top priority.
New Star chief economist Simon Ward has questioned the recent downgrade growth of GDP in the second quarter from 0.2 per cent to zero.
Legislation changes for non-domiciled foreigners in the UK are far from water-tight and are likely to create confusion, warns Boodle Hatfield.
Norwich Union has reduced final bonus rates on its with-profits policies due to poor investment conditions.
Old Broad Street Research has completed the acquisition of the international research and ratings business of Crosby Forsyth.
Virgin Money this week revealed delays processing pension fund transfers into annuities could eat into pensioners' retirement income by as much as £10,000 depending on movements in annuity rates.
One third of investors in Great Britain see investment opportunities in the credit crunch, according to a report from the Investment Management Association.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has attacked the £1bn package, saying: "This is a short-term survival plan for the Prime Minister, not a long-term recovery plan for the economy. They have had months to prepare and cannot tell us how much it costs or where the money is coming from."
Offshore funds under management have increased by 11 per cent in July compared with the previous month, according to Investment Management Association figures.
Personal Accounts Delivery Authority has appointed Simon Richards as business delivery director.
Park Row, the distribution arm of the Royal Liver Group, made a loss of £1.6m in the first half of this year.
Pearl Group has unveiled plans to restructure NPI’s NPLL with-profits fund in a bid to boost long-term returns for policyholders.
Pearl has announced it is to merge its two life divisions, Phoenix and Pearl, in a move that could affect up to 300 staff.
Personal Touch Financial Services has reached an agreement to bring Prestbury's entire adviser base of around 80 firms into the network.
The Prime Minister has argued there is reason to be “cautiously optimistic” about the country’s economic resilience.
Bankhall’s Portavista platform has received 100 IFA applications in its first three months of trading.
Pada has many criteria for personal account charges but they come down to fairness, attractiveness and commercial viability.
Pension Protection Fund chief executive Partha Dasgupta is to stand down in June 2009.
Standard Life's launch of a structured product - capital guaranteed plus - exclusively within its Sipp wrapper offers the safety net of a guaranteed minimum return together with exposure to equities.
Prudential says it has no current plans to cut final with-profits bonus payments following the move by Norwich Union to cut bonus rates last week.
Prudential has agreed a bulk annuity agreement with Cable and Wireless which covers a book of 5,000 members with assets in excess of £1bn.
Prudential is understood to be in advanced talks with Capita over launching its own wrap as a white-labelled version of the outsourcer's Enabler platform.
PSigma Investment Management has launched a balanced managed fund of funds portfolio.
Hargreaves Lansdown has argued that public sector employees could still enjoy a sustainable retirement if defined benefit schemes were shifted to defined contribution model.
The number of reinsurers re-evaluating their position in the UK life market is set to soar, says RGA business development manager Mick James.
The mortgage industry says the Government's £1bn rescue package and stamp duty holiday do not go far enough as they fail to address the liquidity problems.
The combined £75bn business of Resolution Asset Management and Axial Investment Management is to be rebranded as Ignis Asset Management.
Resolution has unveiled plans to launch a quoted company with former FSA chief executive John Tiner at its head.
Norwich Union Healthcare's income protection solutions is an individual income protection plan designed for the IFA market.
A Midlands financial adviser tricked clients out of more than £600,000.
Royal London has unveiled the new structure of its combined international business.
Scottish Provident International is setting up a new Guernsey-based Qrops and is confident it will not be affected by any Government crackdown.
Homeowners aged 65 and over have £726.43bn of equity in their properties, according to Prudential research.
As we return from our summer breaks for the final push towards the end of the year, it is worth assessing whether there has been any improvement in the mortgage market over the holiday period.
Skandia is axing the front end margin it receives on Selestia Investment Solutions.
Sales of Standard Life International's portfolio international bond have reached £593m, with sales for the first six months of this year totalling £270m.
This week’s mortgage announcements might be summarised as “small rescue operation - not many saved”.
The Building Societies Association says the reforms fail to address many of the bigger issues faced by borrowers. Its survey earlier this year found that only 16 per cent of people see stamp duty as a big concern.
Widows and widowers whose spouses die without writing a will are to receive a greater share of their estate in a reform of the statutory legacy laws.
Standard Life has developed new investment options to extend its range of less volatile forms of investment through its individual, group and wrap Sipps.
Standard Life has appointed former Norwich Union chief finance officer Jackie Hunt as its deputy finance director.
Stroud & Swindon Building Society says that it may focus its niche product exclusives on smaller clubs and networks.
Structured products have grown in popu- larity as investors look for more creative ways to hedge their losses in uncertain markets.
Almost two-thirds of fund management firms believe that regulatory concerns are holding Ucits back, a survey by RBC Dexia Investor Services has found.
Symponia is starting a pilot scheme aiming at helping elderly people sell their homes to fund immediate long-term care.
Latin American markets have outperformed the more developed markets over the last year, driven by minimal sub-prime exposure, strength in commodities and strong domestic growth. Until recently, most markets were in positive territory for the year but recent concerns over commodities have seen a subsequent correction which has to attractive valuations.
I write this column - my last among the ranks of intermediaries, at least for now - having seen, praised, criticised and occasionally influenced much of what our industry has done over the last five to 10 years.
Economists recently "celebrated" the first birthday of the credit crunch. Markets have been living with it for a while but the public are only now starting to feel its effects.
Income unit trusts were badly hit over the year to July 1, being down by an average of around 23 per cent against the average fall in UK equity trusts of about 18 per cent.
Thinc, PIFC and SBJ Benefit Consultants are rebranding as Bluefin.
One in three remortgagers believe they have no option but to stick with current lender for fear of being turned down for a new mortgage.
One-third of smaller firms say they will reduce pension scheme benefits or close their schemes and move into personal accounts, according to research from the Association of Consulting Actuaries.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors claims the Government has "tinkered round the edges of the downturn" while ignoring many of the problems stopping people from being able to get a mortgage.
Transact is adding a Sipp to its platform from October after losing patience with the Government over the possibility that personal pension restrictions could be lifted.
By increasing transparency and publishing firm-specific information the FSA risks “publishing for publishing’s sake” rather than achieving any real value for consumers, according to the Investment Management Association.
The Treasury has appointed Andrew Caldwell valuations partner at BDO Stoy Hayward as the independent valuer in charge of assessing potential compensation claims of Northern Rock shareholders.
Living Time is offering a trustee investment plan that will allow clients with Sipp and SSAS investments to buy a fixed-term annuity.
UBS is looking to bolster its US range by bringing its offshore USA growth fund into the UK market, Money Marketing understands.
As we hear more and more diverse opinions about the FSA's recent RDR interim report, I cannot help but feel that the industry is getting further away from a workable solution to our own domestic problems.
The US Government has initiated the biggest financial bailout in history by seizing control of the two US mortgage backers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Adviser nervousness over the prospects for investment markets is perhaps not surprisingly causing an increased interest in struc-tured products, according to a poll carried out by Keydata last month.
Transact's decision to rule out a variable annuity on its platform could push advisers to rivals, claims Threesixty.
JO Hambro Capital Management European select values and Continental select values fund manager Willem Vinke is to leave after six years. Co-manager Robbie Wouters will run the funds.
This week Alistair Darling gave the UK economy a vote of no confidence by suggesting things were worse than we all imagined.
William Russell has introduced moratorium underwriting on all of its health insurance plans.
Windsor Life gets worse and worse. We sent in a £1,000 single premium for a personal pension in February. Not only could it not do the fund that GE Life originally had but it also turned out that it would not pay commission, which I know is something that Windsor Life is not really used to. Apparently, with the GE Life contract, it used to do a separate policy for increments and Windsor Life does not have that facility.
Witan has announced the appointment of a new CEO and CIO to replace chief executive Jim Horsburgh.
Standard Life is warning that there are significant risks to Government plans designed to help employers keep open the dwindling number of defined-benefit pension schemes.
My IFA claims that what matters with my investments is the asset class allocation model he has created rather than the selection of underlying funds or stocks. Is he right?
Zurich has added a new plan to its series of guaranteed capital accounts.
Zurich has updated the regular payment facility on its Sipp and increased the range of investment options for clients.