30 July 2008
First State Indian subcontinent manager Vijay Tohani is leaving the firm after eight years. The move, revealed on money marketing.co.uk, sees co-manager David Gait become lead manager with Angus Tulloch as co-manager.
Visitors to moneysuper market.com's payment protection channel between January and June are up by 15 per cent on last year. The comparison site also recorded a 10 per cent rise in the number of visitors who bought a product.
Barclays has sold its life assurance arm to Swiss Re for £753m making the bank £330m in profit.
Nearly 40 per cent of companies that write pension annuity business provide literature to customers approaching retirement that fails to meet Open Market Option rules and principles, according to the FSA.
Soaring public sector pension costs will eventually stretch political consensus to breaking point says Stewart Ritchie
Alliance & Leicester has revealed a 99 per cent fall in profits for the first half of this year.
Abbey is to reduce the rates on its two and three-year fixed rate and tracker deals by up to 0.15 per cent from August 1.
Abbey has failed in its attempt to challenge the Financial Services Compensation Scheme’s legal authority to sue the firm for £21m for alleged precipice bond misselling.
Abbey has moved closer to toppling HBOS from its position as the UK's biggest lender after its share of net lending soared to 26 per cent in the first half of 2008.
The Association of British Insurers' customer impact panel is warning that poor customer service standards at providers could damage the reputation of the whole industry.
Investment Management Association figures show the absolute return sector took 214m in June. Equity funds saw redemptions of 371m, while bond inflows stood at 13m.
Old Broad Street Research's decision to remove the ratings of the Credit Suisse region-specific multi-manager range this month has thrown doubt over the value of country-specific fund of funds offerings.
Aifa has called on new FSA managing director of retail markets Jon Pain to demonstrate his affinity with the adviser community, given his strong banking background.
The FSA is considering regulating every individual mortgage broker and making all IFAs giving mortgage advice subject to a separate approved person status for mortgages.
Additional unnecessary regulation surrounding defined benefit pension transfers could force companies to withdraw the transfer option altogether, according to Aon Consulting.
The rigorous implementation of Mifid in the UK is putting brokers at a competitive disadvantage compared with their European counterparts, said the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers at the FSA's meeting last week.
Axa & Winterthur Wealth Management has announced the appointment of a new senior sales team led by David Thompson, managing director of sales and marketing.
Barings has converted its Pacific fund to an Association of South-East Asian nations frontiers fund.
British Insurance has launched a MPPI product for homeowners under shared ownership schemes.
Do you agree with the FSA's plans to force all mortgage brokers to be regulated individually rather than at a company level?
Mortgage brokers are predicting that mortgage volumes will fall by around 6 per cent over the next 12 months, according to the latest survey by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association.
Mortgage brokers are calling on the Government to take immediate action after Sir James Crosby's preliminary report suggested that the Bank of England's bail-out scheme could be extended to include new mortgages.
Canada Life had added seven new funds to its range through Jupiter and Neptune Investment Management.
Skandia is warning that applying customer-agreed remuneration to pensions could result in an unauthorised payment and has called for clarification from the Revenue and the FSA.
Lifesearch head of protection strategy Kevin Carr is joining Prudential.
Cathedral Financial Management director Timothy Ames believes the retail distribution review transition period should be just two years.
Advisers are calling on life offices to release protection persistency figures to help drive forward business based on quality rather than quantity.
New remuneration options are needed in the protection market to encourage more IFAs to advise in this area, says CBK principal Peter Chadborn.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has set up a new certificate in life and pensions aimed at admin, technical and support staff working in back-office functions at life and pension providers.
Edeus managing director Alan Cleary believes the UK mortgage market will see a wave of buying activity over the next few months.
Have you ever been in the situation where you really wanted to say something that you knew was going to seem incredibly rude but then finally succumbed and let rip?
The Council of Mortgage Lenders says it is surprised at the FSA’s observations on specialist lenders, who it says have been working “extremely hard” to manage arrears.
Over three-quarters of consumers back the FSA's plans to create a clear differentiation between sales and advice.
A clash in the business terms of provider and IFA contracts is clouding the remuneration debate, says Whitechurch Network managing director Ian McIver.
Coventry Building Society has appointed two new non-executive directors with effect from September 1.
Coventry Building Society is making its first move into the covered bond market with a 1.5bn five-year covered bond.
Credit Suisse has announced the appointment of David Norman to the new position of CEO Asset Management for the UK and Ireland.
Creditors of defunct packager The Mortgage Operation stand to lose more than £1.3m.
Dawnay Day Milroy has completed its management buyout and will now trade as Corazon Capital Management.
I have spoken at a number of pension seminars this year and have noticed that when other attendees and speakers talk about the 2012 changes, they often say that it will be the first time that every employee in the country will have a decent company pension.
For years, we have relied on anecdotal evidence that certain things are driving change and delivering positive outcomes. Some needed proof or would not believe what they were being told.
A fund with the word "consumer" in its name? I must be mad. With house prices falling rapidly in the UK, Spain and Ireland and looking truly awful in parts of the US, surely the consumer is buried?
Brewin Dolphin executive chairman Jamie Matheson takes a relatively simple approach to investment.
The FSA will introduce a single services and costs disclosure document to replace the menu and initial disclosure document from August. It stresses the documents are only guidance and advisers can use the old documents until August 2009.
One of the concerns over the retail distribution review is that some financial advisers will be nothing more than salespeople or the type of advisers that are often found working in banks and building societies.
Recent meetings at Martin Currie have focused on the big issues of our times - stagflation, monetary policy, banking crisis and recession. I often find that my mind is wandering and my eyes are staring out of the window. When that happens, I try and focus on what really matters for investors. No matter what the topic of discussion, my colleagues know what I am thinking about - dividends.
Equity, Environmental and Alternative investment group’s Life Settlements Fund has broken through the £100m mark after delivering two and a half years of consecutive positive monthly returns.
With the UK stockmarket down by almost 20 per cent since its October peak, investors are increasingly focusing on capital preservation, particularly conservatively managed funds.
Growing numbers of lenders are offering exclusive deals through intermediaries, says London & Country mortgage specialist Richard Morea.
Expatriates in India are saving or investing more than expats in any other country, says HSBC Bank International.
F&C has appointed Jeroen Wilbrink as product specialist for structured solutions to its asset liability management and insurance team.
Fund of hedge funds manager F&C Partners is weighing up investment opportunities in hedge funds that are benefiting from rising inflation.
Lyxor Asset Management if offering the first ETF to target the Gulf region with Kuwait-based Coast Investment & Development.
Noble Fund Managers has taken on the management of First State's British smaller companies fund.
Friends Provident International has appointed Peter Drummond as international strategic business development and global account manager.
The FSA is considering referring several lending firms to enforcement and has asked others to undertake remedial work following its review of responsible lending.
The FSA says it has not uncovered evidence that market rumours surrounding HBOS were spread as part of a concerted attempt by individuals to profit by manipulating the share price.
The FSA has fined Liverpool Victoria Banking Services Ltd £840,000 for serious failings in the sale of single premium PPI.
The FSA week arrested eight people and executed search warrants across London and the South-east in a probe into insider dealing rings. The operation involved 40 FSA staff, assisted by officers from City of London Police.
Seven small mortgage advisors have been referred to enforcement and a further 23 are required to review customer files following the FSA’s second Quality of Advice review.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has passed the £1bn mark in compensation paid. The 2007/08 annual report shows it paid out over £82m last year bringing the total since 2001 to £1.04bn.
The Principal income study has always garnered its fair share of headlines in the press and the latest issue is no exception as again two of the UK equity income sectors biggest superstars were omitted from its highly regarded white list.
FundsNetwork has added the BlackRock UK absolute alpha life fund to its investment bond range.
Fidelity FundsNetwork has launched a Sipp by-pass trust to help advisers cut IHT liabilities for their clients.
Gartmore is to launch a multi-manager absolute return fund following a strategic review of the five-strong range.
Skipton Building Society chief executive John Goodfellow is to leave at the end of the year. Group corporate development director David Cutter will become chief executive.
The Government's own figures have revealed that people with less than 20 years until retirement in 2012 on salaries of up to £25,000 will see negligible benefits from personal accounts.
The Government has had to pump another £3bn into Northern Rock to shore up the lender after it announced losses of £585m for the first half of 2008.
HBOS has seen its net mortgage lending drop to 7 per cent in the first half of 2008 as it also reveals its profit after tax plummeted 56 per cent to £950m from £2,139m last year.
Hendersons fixed income manager John Pattullo has welcomed the Investment Management Associations decision to launch a strategic bond fund sector.
In this last in the series on the taxation of investment life insurance policies effected by companies, I would like to look specifically at how the new loan relationship rules are applied when the investing company adopts an historic cost basis of accounting in respect of the investment. I looked last week at how the fair value basis operates. The Finance Act anticipates both bases.
HM Revenue & Customs could be liable to millions of pounds in repayments after ruling that fund management of venture capital trusts should have been exempt from VAT since 1990, says accountants PKF.
House prices fell by 1.7 per cent in July, bringing the annual fall to 8.1 per cent, according to Nationwide Building Society's latest house price survey.
The average house price in England will increase by 25 per cent over the next five years, claims the Nat-ional Housing Federation.
For years, we have had a plethora of me-too funds with little thinking outside the box. The search for something different has been a poor hunting ground. Yes, we have had the gold & general funds. Global privatisation and global basics were novelties. True, dotcom was a disaster but was merely an example of lemming-like me-too-ism.
IFA Life is starting a free service to help IFA firms post press releases online and generate a media profile.
I read with some irritation Peter Amott's diatribe about the state of the financial services industry. We are all aware that the past 20 years of regulation have cost a fortune while its effectiveness has been decidedly patchy.
The Intermediary Lenders Association has strongly refuted an FSA accusation that specialist lenders are taking a one size fits all approach to mortgage arrears.
Henderson Global Investors is to launch an absolute return fixed income offering early next month.
Current stock market activity in India is not reflecting the investment opportunities in the region, says JPMorgan Indian Investment Trust manager Ted Pulling.
iShares has added two new ETFs to its fixed income range.
JPMorgan natural resources manager Ian Henderson says he sees no reason why commodities should not see the same growth in the next 10 years as they have seen in the previous 10.
M&G cautious multi-asset fund manager David Jane says he sees opportunities in US technology and has increased his global exposure to telecoms, defensive stocks and property.
Just Retirement has reported a 12.8 per cent increase in group sales for the full year ending June 30 to £763.5m.
David Kenmir is to leave the FSA after over 20 years spent in financial services regulation.
Legal & General has launched a new individual pension plan.
Legal & General has revealed a 6 per cent rise in operating profits for the first half of the year, from £589m to £626m on an EEV basis.
Over half of advisers dealing in lifetime mortgages have seen an increase in business since August 2007, according to Mortgage Express research.
Lloyd’s, the insurer has appointed Eamonn Egan as its first country manager for Ireland.
Lloyds TSB has seen its statutory profit before tax plummet by 70 per cent to £599m in the first half of the year, down from £1,993m at the same period last year.
Mandrake Associates Limited has defended itself against the FSA's public censure over complaint handling failures, claiming it was acting in clients' best interests and has saved the Financial Services Compensation Scheme millions of pounds.
There is no question of Friends Provident disposing of Sesame, the insurer’s chief executive officer Trevor Matthews made clear as he took up his new role today.
Misys made a £700,000 profit from the disposal of Sesame last year, according to its latest results.
JP Morgan head of UK retail sales Michael Parsons believes the Investment Management Association's new UK equity income requirements should be flexible in the current volatile market conditions.
Mortgageforce says it plans to increase broker numbers by around 30 per cent thanks to strong backing from parent company West Bromwich Building Society.
The US stockmarket has performed much worse than the other major stockmarkets over the last three years and this year the S&P 500 is already down by around 15 per cent to the start of July.
A new networking site is aiming to help financial services professionals, including IFAs, mortgage brokers and financial planners, to grow and develop their businesses.
New Star International has appointed Kanise Chan as associate director of the Hong Kong office.
Newcastle Building Society is to use its new intermediary platform to provide point-of-sale mortgage offers to brokers.
Landlords involved in the sale and rent back market are being encouraged to share their views on the National Landlords Association's draft code of practice.
It is clear that Abbey has finally overhauled the mighty HBOS in share of the mortgage market. In happier times, brokers would have been more than pleased to see this happen as it would have meant an injection of competition and a big challenge to the presumed market number one.
Northern Rock has confirmed today it will be cutting around 1,300 jobs through redundancy.
Norwich Union has agreed a £1bn reattribution offer with policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode after long-running negotiations.
Norwich Union is to wash its hands of the administration of its loss making Lifetime wrap and will migrate clients onto Scottish Friendly’s platform.
Mortgage networks are the latest section of the industry to suffer due to market conditions.
Norwich Union is making improvements to its lifetime mortgage equity release proposition.
The cost of outsourcing Norwich Union’s wrap to Scottish Friendly is likely to be £84m, parent company Aviva revealed in its interim results this week.
I first became convinced about the power of a wrap platform when Transact was demonstrated to me in 2000. It seemed to make sense that this would be how we could effectively manage our clients' assets in future. The only question I had was whether clients would be prepared to pay for the privilege of wrapping up their investments.
Old Broad Street Research has awarded A ratings to Fidelity's two special situations funds.
Octopus Investments has announced it is taking over the management of all three of the AIM VCTs managed by Close Investments, representing around £65m of assets.
The OFT has launched a public consultation on the scope of its project looking at irresponsible lending in UK consumer credit markets.
Bupa's new protection business leapt by 39 per cent in the first half of this year.
Openwork has appointed self-directed pension specialist Hornbuckle Mitchell to provide self invested personal pension services for its investors.
Praise, speculation and conspiracy theories kicked off last week following the announcement that Jon Pain will take over as managing director of retail markets at the FSA.
I have just joined a new employer and have been given a 50-page explanation of what benefits are on offer to me. Can you briefly explain the main benefits that I should be looking out for?
The Paraplanner.com has launched the Paraplanner of The Year awards in association with the Institute of Financial Planning.
Pink Home Loans has entered the bridging finance mortgage sector.
Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann has warned that advisers who move clients on to platforms without improving service could face the wrath of the FSA.
Prestbury shareholders are demanding the removal of chief executive Lee Birkett and his mother from the board after they refused to agree to a restructure proposed by the firm's chairman, Tory Shadow minister Francis Maude.
Cru Investment Management says sales of its multi-mana- ger portfolios have increased on the back of strong performance driven by investment in private companies.
True innovation is a rarity in the staid world of health protection, with the vast majority of so-called new products being a rehash of existing underachieving plans.
Prudential has reported a 9 per cent year-on-year increase in UK operating profits to £504m for the first half of this year.
RBS Intermediary Partners is launching a new two year fixed rate deal to its First Active remortgage range.
Resolution Asset Management is to launch onshore versions of Hexam's global emerging markets and Emerging Europe funds.
Resolution is to launch a European absolute alpha fund within its Argonaut joint-venture.
Aviva stole the limelight this week kicking off the life sector’s interim reporting season with news that it has finally reached a £1bn reattribution deal with policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode.
In every financial market, there are some companies that fare better than others. Abbey for Intermediaries managing director Ricky Okey is upbeat about the business's prospects despite the mortgage market facing its biggest crisis since the early 1990s crash. "We are lending and we have an appetite to lend," says Okey.
I find myself increasingly looking forward to my summer holiday, with a chance to recharge the batteries and get away from the credit crunch, the mortgage market, falling client valuations and turmoil in the markets. What a tough year we have had so far.
Royal London Asset Management has made two new appointments to its fixed interest and quant teams.
Measures to ensure the FSA does not repeat its failures over Northern Rock will break the regulator's budget for this year and look likely to lead to a significant rise in fees in 2009 and 2010.
Royal Liver has unveiled plans to launch a product similar to the Fortis' real life cover. It will be working with Lifesearch to create its own version of the product.
Royal London Asset Management has appointed Carola Lawton-Browne to its investment team as portfolio risk manager.
Standard & Poor's fund management ratings are now available on Trustnet.
Insight Investments has appointed Richard Lloyd as head of structured solutions.
Scottish Widows has reported a 53 per cent drop in IFA sales of savings and investment products driven partly by the changes to Capital Gains Tax announced in April.
Scottish Widows has announced it is to lift property fund restrictions imposed on certain transactions out of its life and pension property funds.
When it comes to innovative use of technology, especially in the protection market, few companies have done more than Friends Provident.
The FSA refused to answer questions about the Parliamentary Ombudsman's damning Equitable Life report at the meeting, citing legal constraints as the reason for the silence.
Simplyhealth Group has unveiled its plans to integrate its trading divisions under one brand name, Simplyhealth.
Skandia Investment Management is to keep New Star fund manager Stephen Whittaker on its best idea funds despite New Star replacing him on its UK equity income fund.
Skipton Building Society has reported a pre-tax profit of £44.1m in the first six months of the year, a drop from £107.6m in the first half of 2007.
More than one in eight funds is underperforming according to Bestinvest’s latest Spot the Dog list.
St James Place has seen a 5 per cent fall in group operating profits for the first half of this year to 114.2m from 120.7m.
Protection products are like buses, you wait for ages and then three come along at once, says industry guru Peter Le Beau about the recent spate of innovative products.
Ordinarily he was insane but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid. This wise observation from Heinriche Heine surfaced as I read Nic Cicutti's recent diatribe against advisers Heather Moor & Edgecomb.
Summer should be filled with sunshine, frivolity and the prospect of holidays but this year the somewhat inclement British weather has been coupled with rising fuel and food prices and talk of a recession and housing market crash.
Have we seen the worst? There is evidence of bottom-fishing on bad days but some sectors have been so comprehensively slammed that real value looks to have emerged.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership has appointed Christian Elsmark as managing director of Europe.
Syndicate Asset Management has announced the acquisition of two financial advice firms, St Andrews Asset Management and Pagan Osborne Independent Financial Advisers.
T Bailey says exchange traded funds can be useful in multi-manager portfolios but are not as cheap as people think.
The FSA clampdown on mortgage miscreants continues apace. None of us should be surprised as we have all seen it coming. The FSA made it clear at the end of last year that mortgage advisers can expect further hefty penalties if they step out of line and have reinforced that pledge over recent days. They have also confirmed that there were further enforcement actions in the pipeline and more investigations under way, with heavier penalties being issued where appropriate as a "credible deterrent ..
UK equity income managers face a quandary. The past 12 months have arguably hit the sector harder than any other, especially where funds have exposure to banks, with the average fund losing 23.2 per cent.
The treating customers fairly regime must be overhauled as it is placing too heavy a burden on firms as well as taking up too much of the regulator's res-ources, says the Financial Services Practitioner Panel.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has announced that Logic 100 has become an affiliate member.
Thames River investment director Michael Warren says the firm may look beyond the UK equity income sector as part of its planned move into the mainstream market.
FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole noted recently that if firms settling cases stated publicly they did so for commercial reasons, the FSA might rethink the settlement process, saying those behaving in this way are guilty of "sour grapes".
Sir Callum McCarthy was asked last week whether his views had changed on the retail distribution review since he made his speech at Gleneagles in late 2006. He said the wider world felt a very changed place since he made that speech and that he had thought it important back then to focus on whether the business model served the interests of the industry and its consumers but that there was still no definitive answer to that question.
Towergate Finanacial has announced the acquistion of Nottingham-based M2 Financial.
Employees of UBS and JPMorgan Cazenove were among eight individuals arrested yesterday by the police and the FSA following allegations of insider dealings.
Alastair Harmby is to join UK Underwriting Ltd as sales and marketing director.
Direct Life and Pensions Services sales and marketing director Richard Verdin is leaving the firm after six years to join Norwich Union Life in September as director of marketing, protection.
Which? research which highlighted major shortcomings in the mortgage advice given to consumers has been welcomed by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries for showing that independent brokers give the best service.
This week has seen the start of the half year results period for banks as well as the start of the battle for who will be the new king of the mortgage market.
Regarding the letter from Peter Amott, of course, Ken Davy is right to say best advice is independent. How can it possibly be as good when you have a restricted list to choose from?
Nucleus chief executive David Ferguson predicts that over 60 per cent of life, pension and investment business will be transacted on platforms by 2012.
Bank of Ireland head of marketing Mehrdad Yousefi believes that Bradford & Bingley could be bought by HSBC or Lloyds TSB.