4 February 2009
1st - The Exchange has completed the integration of its quotation system with Nucleus Financial Group.
Schroders managing director of UK retail Robin Stoakley believes that for every fund launched in 2009 another 20 are likely to be consolidated.
As many as 50 per cent of IFAs will not be trading as independent advisers in the post-RDR world, says Positive Solutions chief executive Jim Reeve.
Standard Life's reputation has undoubt edly taken a knock in recent weeks, with news of a decline in the value of the pension sterling fund by 5 per cent.
Advisers say Ernst & Young is being overly pessimistic in predicting IFA numbers will fall to 10,000 by 2013 due to the retail distribution review, capital adequacy requirements and provider disintermediation.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has challenged the FSA to provide “solid irrefutable evidence” to support its claims that consumers have lost trust in financial advisers.
Alliance Trust Savings has appointed Rob Burgess as managing director.
Pensions expert Ros Altmann has urged the Bank of England not to cut base rate again tomorrow claiming the move would make things worse rather than better.
Actually scratch that. It is good news for just about anyone who thinks the public is underinsured which includes me and I assume most of you.
Annuity rates have fallen further in the past month but inflation-linked products have fared better, according to Alexander Forbes, with most providers putting rates up.
I heartily agree with Julian Stevens' letter in last week's copy of Money Marketing. However, current legislation can mean that the wrong individuals may be held to account.
Arc Capital & Income has expanded its structured product range with the launch of a new fixed income plan and enhanced growth plan.
Cayman Islands based alternative investment advisor Arkanar Financial has launched a global macro hedge fund.
Ascentric has appointed Richard Goodall as sales director.
National IFA franchise Ashley Law is to join Intrinsic Financial Services to become a founder member of the network's IFA wealth management business.
Aston Goodey says he is a great believer in listening to your elders and says he would not be where he is now if he had not followed this maxim. Goodey, who is MGM Advantage sales and marketing director, joined the firm from Prudential in August 2008 and says the only reason he ventured into sales in the first place was after hearing a senior businessperson talking at a seminar. She said the reason she had been so successful in her career was because she had worked in many different areas ...
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall has accused auditors of trying to play a "get out of jail free card" by playing down their responsibilities.
Aviva is going back to the drawing board to renegotiate the £1bn reattribution to with-profits policyholders proposed in July.
Aviva Investors is considering the launch of a single multi- asset platform for its fund of funds and manager of manager fund ranges.
AWD Chase de Vere has appointed Origen's Gary Bradley to the role of corporate business development manager.
AWD Chase de Vere chief executive Mike Kirsch says the firm is looking to double its adviser numbers to around 500 in the next three years.
The Monetary Policy Committee should cut rates by 1 per cent this week as prelude to quantitative easing, according to Ignis.
The executives of RBS and HBOS have apologised for the problems and pains the banks have caused their shareholders, customers and the country as a whole.
BDO Stoy Hayward Investment Management has launched a wealth advisory service providing independent advice to individuals with more than £2m investable capital.
Cast your mind back, if you would, to the summer of 2000, as investors were coming to terms with the bursting of the tech bubble and promising themselves that never again would they fall for chat-up lines such as "new paradigm" although obviously "decoupling of emerging markets", "the safety of bricks and mortar" and even "the one-year-old that helps you sleep at night" would not be a problem.
The clarion call for corporate bonds has been sounded. Enthusiasm for the asset class has reached fever pitch with a rash of bond managers urging investors to pile in.
BlackRock is looking to add to its fixed income offering, with an unconstrained product top of its wish list.
Bloomsbury Financial Planning is testing a new American client behavioural profiling system.
BNY Mellon Asset Management has launched two new investment boutiques, one focused on domestic Australian equities, the other on emerging markets equities and global fixed income.
Corporate bonds were the best-selling fund sector last year, according to Investment Management Association statistics.
For reasons that I do not fully understand, when something bad happens to IFAs, I tend to get emails from them asking me for my opinion, particularly where their clients might be affected in some way.
Help ! I have been "credit-crunched" after 25 years.
Should the FSA help advisers with the £40m FSCS levy increase for this year caused by defaulting stockbrokers Pacific Continental Securities?Yes 100%
Building Societies Association director general Adrian Coles has told MPs that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not encourage lenders to pursue a sensible funding model.
Buy-to-let arrears are on the rise, with Bradford & Bingley’s book becoming a particular concern.
The RDR is now into its next stage and we can expect the inevitable clamour to set back the deadline and reconsider qualifications and fee issues.
Last week, I covered Neil Woodford's highly defensive portfolio. This week, I look at Richard Buxton, who also sees a poor economy but believes that by mid-year they may be a glimmer of light from the US housing market, hence his portfolio is somewhat differently positioned.
The Bank of England should use its new asset purchase facility to buy up discounted mortgage securities and reduce banks’ capital requirements, says New Star’s Simon Ward.
By Lee JonesResidential mortgage-backed securities that include buy-to-let mortgages are being hit hardest by the downturn, according to the latest research from Fitch Ratings.
John Charcol has axed its fee-free advice on phone mortgage applications.
The Chartered Insurance Institute has awarded Scottish Widows Investment Partnership’s Intelligence Centre CPD accreditation.
The CII has launched a competency-based paper, J08, as part of its financial planning diploma to test application of knowledge on fact-finding, risk profiling, analysing client data and making recommendations.
The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders' Association and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries are painting very different pictures of the outlook for mortgage brokers.
MPs have challenged PricewaterhouseCoopers over earning 700,000 for other services provided to Northern Rock as well as having responsibility for its auditing.
Abbey and A&L managing director of intermediaries Ricky Okey has many challenges ahead as Santander looks to grow its market share significantly and integrate the recently acquired Alliance & Leicester.
Collins Stewart Fund Management has made nine of its sterling denominated UCITS funds available on the Cofunds platform.
Coral Portfolio and Strutt & Parker Real Estate Financial Services have joined forces to launch a new student accommodation fund.
Association of British Insurers director of life and savings Maggie Craig has been appointed as the trade bodies' first director of Scottish affairs.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings has told MPs it was the providers' responsibility to keep advisers and clients updated on the risks associated with investments in KSF IoM.
It was possible to make positive returns last year but it all came down to one thing - currency. Not typically a primary consideration in fund selection, currency plays were the saving grace for a lot of equity funds last year and remain a key issue.
Email Mortgages is launching an IFA referral service for financial advisers who do not offer a mortgage proposition.
Ex-Royal Bank of Scotland bosses Sir Fred Goodwin and Sir Tom McKillop and former HBOS chiefs Andy Hornby and Lord Stevenson are to face interrogation by the Treasury select committee.
F&C head of retail multi-manager Dean Cheeseman has warned investors to be prepared for "a year of upheaval in the funds industry" with consolidation, fund closures and product mergers on the menu.
Buy-to-let broker Mortgages For Business has admitted it may be difficult to place some of the landlords as part of the deleveraging of Bradford & Bingley's book.
Fidelity FundsNetwork has scrapped the annual charge for people investing £150,000 or more in its Sipp.
Back in 2002, I was one of the journalists giving Alan Pickering a hard time over his proposals to relax rules on final-salary pension benefits. Looking at what has happened since then, it is tempting to think that watering down the value of pensions would have been a good idea.
Platform and The Mortgage Works say they are committed to the self-cert sector despite other big names pulling out.
The FSA has fined Darwin Lewis Clifton OBE £59,500 and Byron Holdings Ltd £86,030 for insider dealing.
The FSA has questioned the quality of advice given by mortgage intermediaries in this current climate.
The FSA has published a suitability assessment template following last year’s thematic review into pension switching advice.
The FSA has retracted permission from Leicestershire-based insurance and mortgage broker Aaron Nickols, trading as Warwick Finance, to conduct any regulated activities.
FSA documents have revealed the full extent of the failings of Pacific Continental Securities sales advisers.
The FSA has proposed a general short selling disclosure requirement for all UK listed stocks in a discussion paper published today.
The FSA has published proposals for the regulation of sale and rent back schemes, following the Office of Fair Trading's findings of consumer detriment in the SRB market.
Ex-Singer Friedlander chief executive Tony Shearer says he war-ned the FSA that Kaupthing was not a "fit and proper" organisation to takeover his UK bank in April 2005.
The FSA has predicted the current downturn could be a threat to the future of IFA firms that have been too reliant on mortgage business, although it points out much of the sector is robust.
Fund of funds net retail sales have almost halved for the second year in succession, according to figures from the Investment Management Association.
The credit crunch is a huge challenge to businesses and we need Government support not obstruction.
The Government's long-awaited report into the interaction between means-testing and auto-enrolment was published this morning and - surprise, surprise - it says virtually everyone will be better off with personal accounts.
The UK Government will not be capping bank executives’ bonuses in 2009 as President Obama sets a rigid cap on US bankers’ bonuses.
Consultant director of think tank Reform Professor Nick Bosanquet has called on the Government to scrap tax on working over 65 year olds to encourage older people to continue working into retirement.
JO Hambro Capital Management is another of the industry's more established boutiques, poaching several managers from bigger houses over the years to its performance-driven culture.
Hamptons International has announced it is closing its mortgage division.
Hargreaves Lansdown has removed F&C fund manager Ted Scott's stewardship income and UK growth and income funds from its Wealth 150.
The former chiefs of HBOS have defended themselves in the face of heavy criticism over the “sales culture” which a former risk director said led to the HBOS downfall.
Henderson Group is buying New Star for £115m in a move that will transform the firm into a top five player in terms of funds under management, with total assets of £15.4bn.
Advisers are to be hit by a £40m Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy this year with more to come to pay the misselling costs of defaulting stockbrokers Pacific Continental SecuritiesPCS was declared in default by the FSCS last week after former directors Steven Griggs and Charles Weston were banned and fined by the FSA for serious failures which led to customers being sold high-risk shares without suitable advice.
The Institute of Financial Planning is warning consumers of the risk of investing in complex and opaque structured products sold by banks in a bid to supplement their income in the low interest-rate environment.
Twenty-two of the UK's leading insurers and reinsurers have signed up to fund a protection campaign to raise consumer awareness of the product.
The Monetary Policy Committee has dropped the interest rate from 1.5 to 1 per cent.
Jelf Group has announced a 59 per cent increase in revenue for the year ending September 2008 to £63.1m, up from £39.7m at the same time the previous year.
The outlook for defensive sectors is very challenging with relative and absolute valuations at a multi-decade high and a backdrop of deteriorating fundamentals, according to JO Hambro equity income fund managers.
Julius Baer is adding an actively managed global convertible bond fund to its UK product range.
Just Retirement has seen an 8.6 per cent drop in overall sales and a 13 per cent drop in annuities for the six months ending in December.
Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander IoM depositors have called for a public inquiry into the actions of the FSA and the Isle of Man financial regulator, following evidence from the ex-Singer Friedlander chief which implicated the UK regulator in the crisis.
Legal & General says it is hoping to profit from increased retirement saving as consumers look to be more prudent after the credit crunch.
Legal & General has leapfrogged Paternoster to become the bulk annuity market leader, according to Aon Consulting.
Sifa has received Law Society endorsement of its online directory of professional IFAs, which lists only fee-based advisers with advanced qualifications to help solicitors identify potential business partnership.
The past 18 months have been nothing short of a horror story for UK commercial property.
The acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ US investment arm helped keep Barclays in the black as the bank reveals year-on-year profit losses of more than £1bn.
Lenders have rushed to confirm they will pass on the full base rate cut of 0.5 per cent to existing mortgage customers.
Lighthouse Group joint chief executive Malcolm Streatfield has been appointed to the Financial Services Practitioner Panel.
Former chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel Lord David Lipsey has hit out at the FSA for refusing to correct a “dangerous imbalance” in consumer representation.
LV= is offering free critical-illness cover to anyone taking out an income protection plan until April 30.
LV= is boosting its instant annuity underwriting engine to include heart and cardiovascular conditions.
LV= Asset Management, the fund management arm of LV= has expanded its sales team with two appointments.
The Government says the vast majority of people will be better off in retirement by saving into a personal account but has admitted that around 5 per cent will get back less than they contributed.
A wise friend once said to me that you cannot change history but what you do in the next five minutes has enormous potential for change. Well, we can do nothing to change 2008 and the damage that has been inflicted on investors' portfolios, the financial and banking sectors and the wider global economy.
Grace Consulting is calling for more providers to build care advice into their over 50s life plans in preparation for the Government’s green paper on care and support.
Credit rating agencies have come under fire from MPs for failing to predict the collapse of Icelandic banks.
Munich Re has unveiled plans to set up a group insurance operation in the UK.
Global reinsurer Munich Re has recorded a £2.1bn drop in annual profit, from £3.4bn in 2007 to £1.3bn in 2008.
New Star shareholders have approved the firm’s proposed de-listing from the Official List and London Stock Exchange.
New Star has wound up its heart of Africa fund following deteriorating conditions in the sub-Saharan African equity markets.
Last week, I promised to look at the tax fundamentals of loans by shareholding directors to their companies and loans from companies to shareholding directors. Let us look first at loans to the company.
Alternative investment specialist Octopus Investments has launched its online academy for IFAs, financial planners and undergraduates.
There is no doubt 2009 will be a year to test the most optimistic of individuals but with all obstacles come opportunities.
OPM Fund Management expects to reduce exposure to global bonds later this year within its fixed-interest fund in favour of investment grade corporate bonds.
Do we really care about protection? New years are supposed to be the time for new beginnings, fresh enterprise and bursts of energy. We certainly need all these in abundance but I wonder how much will touch the protection industry. I think there are two really big obstacles to the sale of protection business in the UK market.
Bankhall founder and Paradigm chief executive Paul Hogarth has helped spearhead the launch of a new offshore property investment company.
Standard Life increased the mortgage-backed securities holdings in its pension sterling fund from 3 per cent in 2004 to over 50 per cent in 2007 without telling clients that its investment strategy had changed.
The natural assumption in any economic downturn is that people reduce their spending on all non-necessities and, for some, this will mean reducing or halting regular payments into long-term saving vehicles such as pensions.
Pensions Minister Rosie Winterton has deflected suggestions that the Government may become guarantor of the flailing Pension Protection Fund.
Personal Touch Financial Services and Intrinsic are thought to be among the potential bidders for Network Data.
Personal Touch Financial Services is holding two retirement option days for advisers in February.
BBC business editor Robert Peston has told MPs that his reporting on Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS helped bring the share price to an appropriate market value.
It is almost unprecedented that a High Court judge overturns a Special Commissioner's decision on the facts. However, in Commissioners for Revenue & Customs v Grace, that is exactly what happened.
NeedAnAdviser.com is to establish a network of fee-based IFAs following increases in demand for time-costed and fixed fee advice.
The platform website, run by HM Consulting, is a free service that allows advisers to compare assets under management, platform ownership, charging structure, fund choice, wrapper choice and functionality. The information will be updated on a quarterly basis.
Our mission is to provide a professional financial planning service to clients who value knowing how to get where they want to be. It is exciting and motivating when something finally comes along that enables us to do the things we always wanted to do to support our clients, therefore the development of an effective wrap account is very welcome indeed.
Positive Solutions is enhancing its mortgage club proposition by launching three initiatives.
Advisers say the Competition Commission's decision to ban banks and intermediaries from selling point-of-sale PPI and single-premium policies from 2010 has created an massive opportunity.
Pru Protect is suggesting more protection providers should offer secondary critical illness cover after research reveals over half of heart attacks are repeat attacks.
Advisers have hit out at Jubilee Financial Products for abbreviating issuer credit ratings on its marketing literature, warning it could potentially mislead the market.
With the change in leadership in the White House last month, the Democratic leaders have been hard at work devising legislation to remedy the US's economic woes.
The recent surge in sales of tracker funds highlighted in the latest statistics from the Investment Management Association is quite alarming and sure to end in disappointment, says T. Bailey.
Advisers have hit out at Global Asset Management's decision to introduce more restrictive dealing terms on its multi-manager funds.
Royal London life and pension business is up 17 per cent from £1.9bn to £2.2bn following its acquisition of Scottish Provident International Life Assurance and Phoenix Life last year.
In these tough market conditions, the last thing a broker wants to do is to turn business away but unless you get to grips with second-charge lending, that is what you could end up doing.
Mortgage applications through SimplyBiz Mortgages were up 4 per cent by value in 2008 compared to the previous year, with the value of completions up 3.5 per cent.
Norwich Union policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode has said it is positive that Aviva is still considering a reattribution offer at all given market conditions and is confident of reaching a good deal.
Standard Life's UK life and pension sales slipped by 9 per cent last year to £12.2bn from £13.4bn in 2007.
Standard Life has confirmed the launch of its strategic bond fund under the management of Andrew Sutherland.
Victims of the shock revaluation of Standard Life's pension sterling fund have set up a blog to build their case against the firm.
Specialist asset manager Stellar Asset Management has launched a new ungeared income fund.
It is deeply worrying to read of the FOS threatening to refer Sterling Investment Services to the FSA because, according to the rules that define its powers, as laid down within the FSMA, Sterling is not liable to pay anything and is standing by that.
Key players in the asset management industry continue to play survival of the fittest and vie against one another for existence. Last Friday, Henderson became one of the arguably ‘fitter’ firms likely to prevail as it swooped in on rival firm New Star with a £115m bid.
Proposals to modernise the tax regime for offshore funds will enable UK investors to gain favourable capital gains tax treatment, says international tax lawyer Decherts.
Standard Life Sipp investors who have held money in the RBS bid term deposit account at any point over the past four years have been denied tax relief.
Hargreaves Lansdown has bumped five funds, including Templeton emerging markets and Axa Framlington equity income and monthly income, off its Wealth 150 list.
Movewithus has saved a dog from being put down after he was left behind when his owner's house was repossessed.
We had left for Australia early on Boxing Day and in the rush had forgotten to buy any adaptors to convert from UK to Australian electrical sockets. So our first stop on the way from Brisbane airport to our relatives' house was at an electrical store to buy the necessary.
Tobica has released its web-based application for individual advisers and small businesses.
The ABI met with the FSA last week to thrash out the best way of disclosing the total premium for pure protection policies amid fears the regulator may be gold plating European regulations or even simply misintrepreting them.
As the end of the second week of my Antipodean adventure draws to a close, I confess I am little wiser as to what I, as an investor, should be doing to maximise my returns.
Adviser activity increased significantly on Trigold’s sourcing system over January by more than 50 per cent.
How are you faring with your new year's resolutions or perhaps new year's intentions would be more appropriate for all things financial this year. After all, who knows what is around the corner following the roller-coaster ride that was 2008.
Only six of the 16 annuity providers involved in the Association of British Insurers pension transfers initiative are up and running with the new system after it went live in December.
Advisers have raised concerns about investing in structured products which do not disclose full counterparty information, such as NDFA's latest regular income plan.
The US Treasury will today reveal a $500bn plan to buy up bad mortgage assets from the balance sheets of US banks.
Advisers should be encouraging clients to protect their loved ones this Valentine’s Day by writing their protection policies in trust, says Bright Grey.
Vanguard has announced the appointment of Peter Robertson as head of retail services for its new UK business.
US passive investments group Vanguard has launched into the UK retail market. Vanguard Investments UK will be headed by Tom Rampulla.
Venture capital trust managers have called for the Government to relax current restrictions and cut out unnecessary bureaucracy in the industry.
Industry experts have called on advisers to ensure that they have made the Government's April deadline for enhanced and primary protection clear to clients.
The FSA is warning that advisers are being targeted by technology providers selling recording equipment on the false premise that they must record client calls from March.
Watson Wyatt has appointed Martin Muir as the leader of its insurance and financial services practice UK life team.
Fidelity wealthbuilder is the high-profile addition to Chelsea Financial Services' latest relegation zone list.
Scottish Widows has reintroduced a 180-day deferral period for certain transactions within its life property fund. Liquidity in the £596.1m fund now stands below 3 per cent.