30 March 2005
Skandia Investment ManagementUK Equity Blend Fund
Abbey for Intermediaries' Ricky Okey has high hopes to turn its poor service around and enter new markets.
Winterthur Life's senior analyst John Colbeck believes Gordon Brown missed out on a perfect chance to prove how committed this Government is to pensions.
Abbey is continuing to pay no annual bonuses on its with-profits funds in a bid to cut MVRs and boost terminal bonuses.
Aegon is to sell life insurance in the Czech Republic,having gained its licence from the Ministry of Finance last week.
An investment analyst is claiming that shareholder activism can stifle enterprise and damage returns for investors.
A leading investment analyst thinks investors should switch out of the F&C Pacific trust following its takeover by Witan.
Liontrust has started a debate with its suggestion that small cap funds invested heavily in resources could be on the verge of a crash.
B&CE Benefit Schemes has issued a pension manifesto calling on the main political parties to address the impending pension crisis.
Bank of Ireland is looking at the sale of the non-mortgage elements of Bristol & West with plans to shed B&W's 97 UK branches.
Graham Bates is returning to financial services next month as a fund manager with the first in a range of property funds.
Minutes published from the latest MPC meeting show that the committee voted seven to two in favour of keeping the Bank of England Base Rate at 4.75 per cent, yet some members conceded that a rise may be justified in due course. For the two in the minority, a rise in interest rates was warranted immediately.
Is there a potential for venture capital trusts to be missold?
Baronworth directors Colin and Robert Jackson are to star in a hard-hitting financial advice TV series called The Brothers which aims to get Britons to stop spending and start saving.
The Budget box contained little to boost the savings industry, says Morgan Stanley Quilter executive director Charles Maisey.
Pension simplification will put further downward pressure on annuity rates as increasing numbers of people favour alternative secured pensions over annuities, providers are warning.
Chancellor Gordon Brown's Budget was billed as a vote-winner. Cash for schools and families, together with free bus travel for the elderly, certainly grabbed the headlines.
HSA Group and HealthSure are merging the two cashplan businesses.
Mortgageforce chief executive Rob Clifford says the firm will remain a fiercely independent broker franchise despite its acquisition by West Bromwich Building Society.
In the past few weeks, the FSA has published its intentions surrounding regulation of the promotion of financial services.
Scottish Life sales director Jim Smith considers that the ABI's recent commission message has been misunderstood.
Financial services firms tend to design products benchmarked against what their competitors are doing rather than meeting the needs of their customers, according to an interim FSA report into treating customers fairly.
Norwich Union's distribution director believes a key way to restore consumer confidence in the industry is for multi-tied advisers and IFAs to build closer relationships which would help them better target the right people and improve persistency.
Mortgage regulation, as we are happily told by the FSA, has helped to make charges and fees clear to consumers and started a golden era for treating customers fairly.
The Department for Work & Pensions has issued new proposals to replace the minimum funding requirement for defined-benefit pension schemes.
Equitable Life may have to pay compensation to 1,500 policyholders after a lead case was upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service last week.
Tory campaigner for IFA rights Howard Flight says he hopes to be battling for financial advisers long into the future.
The FSA's decision to issue guidance to advisers on the sale of VCTs has been met with an indifferent, if not indignant, reaction both from IFAs and product providers.
GartmoreGartmore Sicav Continental European Smaller Companies Fund
GartmoreGartmore Sicav Eurobloc Fund
GartmoreGartmore Sicav Pan European Focus Fund
GartmoreGartmore Sicav United Kingdom Fund
GartmoreGartmore Sicav US Smaller Companies Fund
Gartmore is setting up nine new sub-funds for its Luxemburg-based Sicav.
Gartmore has extended its Sicav fund range as the result of merging the Gartmore capital strategy fund range into the Sicav range.
This year's Money Marketing Live in London will provide intermediaries with a dedicated mortgage seminar stream discussing the very latest developments within the industry.
Can you explain to me the recent rule changes surrounding tax-efficient investments as I am interested in maximising the options for myself and my children?
Assureweb has appointed Nigel Hopwood as managing director.He will take control of the day-to-day running of the portal from chief executive Charles Bryant who becomes chairman and will take a more hands-off role. Bryant is also commercial director of Sesame.
HSBC Asset Management has joined the quest for absolute returns with the introduction of the HSBC freestyle fund.
HSBC is raising premiums for existing critical-illness cover policyholders by up to 30 per cent.
Mutual One has signed an exclusive agreement with credit reference agency Callcredit to market the agency's online identity verification service to building societies.
IFA network In Partnership says it aims to become a paperless operation by cutting in half the amount of paper used centrally and by its 450 RIs in the next two years.
Pink Home LoansMortgage Trust Select 5.39% Fixed
With Chancellor Gordon Brown delivering what may be his final Budget two weeks ago, we have become accustomed to studying the small print to ascertain what alterations are really to be implemented.
The personal touch is missing from the selling of investments, which may account for declining demand, says Brian Tora.
Some forecasters believe that UK commercial property will be the top performing sector in 2005, despite others anticipating that there may be a bubble in this asset class.
Knight Frank Investment Management is moving into the retail market with a commercial property fund for intermediaries' high-net-worth clients, having previously offered only institutional funds.
Legal & General is lobbying the Pension Commission to impose what it calls a "soft compulsion" solution to the pension crisis after analysing take-up of its company stakeholder scheme.
Lenders may require borrowers to get separate valuations from those produced by the Government's new home inspectors, according to the Mortgage Advice Bureau.
Lighthouse Group made a profit of 0.1m in the second half of last year, its first profit since being set up five years ago.
Lloyds TSB is introducing an Islamic home finance product to help Muslims buy homes according to the principles of ijara.
Miton Investments has reduced exposure to high-yield bonds within its income fund of funds.
Moneynet.co.uk is aiming to make its site more user-friendly by improving its systems and removing pop-up ads.
Mortgage 2000 is offering a virtual processing system to allow intermediaries to process and control loan applications for clients.
Around 3.4 million people are caught by the 40 per cent income tax rate and a large number of these are retired.
Big multi-tie operations are planning to create trading hubs to bypass major web portals, according to Focus Solutions managing director Nigel Smith.
Norwich Union is introduing a home-reversion plan after extensive research into the sector.
I'm sure all you advisers who take an interest in technical matters will be only too aware that we are just a few days away from a new tax.
Only 6 per cent of IFAs have any plans for multi-ties, according to research by The Exchange.
PLATFORMSelf Cert One Year Base Rate Tracker
It is often said that advisers are reluctant to use new technology. Anybody who makes such a statement has never met Positive Solutions.
Premier Asset Managements halcyon extra income fund is an Oeic fund of funds that is aimed particularly at older investors who may be looking for ways to fund their long-term care needs.
Premier Asset Management has launched the Halcyon extra income fund, a fund of funds aimed particularly at older people with rising care costs.
The Mortgage Business has followed otherspecialist lenders such as Platform, GMAC and BM Solutions in sharpening up its rates.
One of the most important pieces of advice that IFAs offer their customers is that things might not work out according to plan.
Prudential is adamant that the departure of group chief executive Jonathan Bloomer will not alter its UK strategy and 800m is still earmarked for spending on distribution.
Public sector pensions will provide between 3 and 18 per cent higher benefits than private sector pensions, even with both types of pension facing change, according to a report by the Pensions Policy Institute.
I must respond to Wai Man Cheung's "success story" regarding St James's Place Partnership featured in Money Marketing, March 10.
Does the City understand distribution in financial services?
Investec's private client subsidiary Carr Sheppards Crosthwaite is to buy 47.7 per cent of Rensburg's shares, making the UK's seventh-biggest private client manager.
Scottish Life is set to launch a Sipp by next April, which it believes will be a core product for its favoured high-networth market.
Scottish WidowsGuaranteed Investment Bond
Brokers berating life offices for poor service should consider the quality of business that they submit.
Boutique fund manager Shepherds admits the future is bleak after losing the contract to run the 27m Cayman Islands-based Shepherds select funds.
We can expect the tax efficiency of a Sipp to motivate a number of new entrants in the buy-to-let market, people who previously held back from the market.
Starting in a year's time, a significant proportion of the 75 bn-plus buy-to-let market* looks set to move into pensions. But moving ownership of property into a pension wrapper may not be as easy as it sounds.
The Sipp Provider Group and Association of Con-sulting Actuaries are confident they will secure selfinvestment for protected rights by making joint representations to the DWP next month.
Skandia Investment ManagementEuropean Equity Blend Fund
Skandia Investment ManagementUS Equity Blend Fund
IFAs say the VCT market is now polarised between those VCTs with the power to thrive, and those caught in a vicious circle of low investment.
Baring Asset Management believes that South Korea offers UK equity investors a long-term growth opportunity.
Standard Life is in discussions with sister firm Standard Life Bank about setting up a centralised function to ensure borrowing for Sipp investments is as seamless as possible.
Standard Life has cut term insurance premiums for single-life and joint-life products.
Our panel of experts discuss whether lenders are fuelling the 1tn debt crisis, the future of packagers and HLCs.
The board of the 354.6m Securities Trust of Scotland has written to shareholders in inch-high letters urging them not to accept the hostile takeover bid from the 387.4m Perpetual income and growth investment trust.
Rivals in the mortgage market say they are bewildered why a successful organisation such as Mortgageforce would choose to be bought by a building society.
In the last two weeks, I have looked at capital redemption bonds and the proposed legislation bringing such policies within the loan relationship rules. These give rise to the possibility of year-on-year tax charges rather than the more usual deferment of any tax liability until a realisation of gain takes places under the life policy taxation provisions.
M-Day was tipped to be the dawn of a new era of distribution in the UK mortgage market.
A few PFS members have become quite heated as a result of views we have expressed on the publication of the ABI paper, Financial Advice: How Should We Pay For It? I suspect their reaction is motivated more by fear of loss of income than the desire to come up with an equitable solution which improves confidence in the financial advice sector.
Tilney chief executive David Campbell is leading a management buyout of the specialist fund manager.
So, for the first time, the judges of the Money Marketing awards decided to present the IFA of the Year award to a specialist protection adviser. I reckon I know why they felt able to make that brave step and why similar businesses may win many more such awards in the future.
The Conservatives are calling for complainants to the Financial Ombudsman Service to pay a refundable up-front fee in a bid to halt the number of unnecessary cases taken against IFAs.
The financial services sector has to meet changing social and economic needs if it is to retain its role in the UK's economic success, according to a Treasury report.
The FSA has taken the wrong route and is confusing the public with its stance on fee disclosure for mortgage clubs.
Growth in the buy-to-let market will be slower over the coming years, according to Nationwide's specialist lender UCB Home Loans.
First State Investments has told other VCT managers that they are at risk of scaring away investors by attacking each other when they compete for cash.
In recent weeks, certain mischievous members of the media with memories stretching back five years have had occasion to contact Fred Woollard, the financier who challenged Standard Life's directors to demutualise back in 2000.
The Financial Ombudsman Service believes that IFAs are being forced by their professional indemnity insurers to refer client complaints to the FOS because the insurers want legal certainty.
West Bromwich Building Society has bought mortgage intermediary franchise company Mortgageforce.
Woolwich Plan Managers has established another issue of the accelerated growth plan, a capital protected bond that provides geared returns linked to the FTSE 100 index over a six-year term.