4 March 2009
The Government could be guaranteeing over £500bn-worth of Lloyds and RBS assets in its new asset guarantee scheme.
More than £800m of taxpayers' bail-out money is set to be injected into Royal Bank of Scotland's pension schemes, which have fallen into deficit after investing in the bank's shares.
Twenty-nine MPs have signed an early day motion challenging the Government's response to Equitable Life and noting a lack of public confidence in Sir John Chadwick's review process.
Three thousand advisers have so far used Friends Provident’s online business toolkit to enhance their company brand name.
Last week, some of the biggest building societies posted profits, no mean feat in itself, but profits that were slashed by as much as 50 per cent thanks to Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies hiked up in the wake of the Icelandic bank crash and the Bradford & Bingley bailout.
It would appear Fortis Life UK is ahead of the game after revealing a straight through processing rate of 58 per cent, just nine months after entering the protection market.
Despite being one of the most flexible and attractive tax planning tools available today, the enterprise investment scheme has historically received less investor interest than other tax-efficient investments such as venture capital trusts.
The Association of British Insurers wants the FSA to relax the regulatory burden on protection in a bid to boost the market.
The Association of British Insurers says Sir James Sassoon’s review of the tripartite regime needs to take into account the European regulatory structure.
Argonaut was the first joint-venture firm set up by managers in partnership with Ignis Asset Management and stands as one of the purest boutiques out there.
Despite tentative signs of optimism creeping into this month's Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey, the Adviser Fund Index panellists are not ready to abandon their defensive positioning.
Advisers say Life Trust's offer to return policyholders' original investments plus a 5 per cent ex-gratia payment is generous, given the economic climate.
Advisers could lose control of their client base if they supply comprehensive client data to provider-owned platforms, warns Zurich UK IFA sales director Richard Howells.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries are calling on all members to submit responses to the FSA’s 2009/10 fees proposals.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has urged the FSA to consider partial legacy qualifications, existing examination frameworks and alternatives to examinations in more detail.
Fidelity fund guru Anthony Bolton has questioned the role of the Financial Services Authority in tackling the banking crisis.
New Star UK alpha fund manager Tim Steer is leaving the firm to join Artemis, Money Marketing can reveal.
Artemis lived up to its billing as the 'profit hunter' this week with the announcement that it is poaching New Star's UK alpha fund manager Tim Steer.
Asian markets stand at an interesting point after the ravages of 2008, with the much vaunted decoupling theory in tatters. Many commentators suggested the region had shed its long-term reliance on the US, driven by massive growth in countries such as China and India. But after a strong 2007, these markets were significantly down last year, with China off by almost two-thirds over the period.
Aviva has revealed its with-profits inherited estate has plunged 33 per cent since June.
Aviva Investors is planning to offer a UK absolute alpha fund.
The Bank of England has reduced the Base Rate by 0.5 per cent to a record low just 0.5 per cent as it reveals it will begin printing £75bn in new money.
The Bank of England has revealed it will begin to buy up bank assets in return for £75bn in newly printed Treasury bills.
Banks have certainly not been absent from headlines of late but one area where they have definitely not been seen is in the factsheet of too many equity funds.
Barclays Stockbrokers today announced the launch of two new investment notes focusing on the FTSE 100 index.
Barclays has reportedly submitted around £10bn of assets for Treasury assessment as it mulls whether or not to make use of the Government's Asset Protection Scheme.
As one of the leading multi-managers in the market John Chatfeild-Roberts is not afraid to go against the grain.
This week, I will continue my look at the taxation fundamentals of keyperson insurance and the deductibility of premiums. To be deductible, the premium must be paid wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the trade (section 74(1)(a) ICTA 1988).
No examining bodies will be able to market their qualifications as RDR compliant until mid-2010, the FSA has made clear.
Jupiter chief executive Edward Bonham Carter is to step down as manager of the company's £122m undervalued assets fund.
Eight boutique wealth managers have teamed up to launch Aurora wealth management as a personal alternative to big banks.
Should the retail distribution review be delayed due to the economic turmoil?Yes 75%No 25%
Bupa Individual Protection has increased the number of applications it can accept at point of sale by raising underwriting limits across its product range.
Over half of mortgage network advisers predict protection business will pick up in the next three months, according to Legal and General director of housing Stephen Smith.
Canada Life Group Insurance has made a number of enhancements to its online business portal.
Capita Group has bought general insurance broker Hero Insurance Services from LV= for 15m.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has written to the finance ministers of Europe calling for a continental-watchdog to sanction any countries that breach best standards.
Chelsea building society has revealed losses of nearly £30m thanks to a £55m exposure to the failed Icelandic banks.
London broker Cobalt Capital has confirmed that it has shut its doors as of this morning.
London broker Cobalt Capital says it is still open for business but would not comment on concerns about the future of the firm.
I sense a growing consensus among intermediary sellers of protection, that the way to survive the every swelling competition from the online aggregators is to try to offer something more than a point and click solution can provide.
Compliance experts Telos Solutions are reminding mortgage and GI Intermediaries to review their compliance, internal audit, risk and outsourcing audit processes before the end of April 2009.
Consumer confidence in complaint handling and product services in the life, pensions and investment markets has dipped, according to the ABI’s latest Customer Impact Survey.
Corporate bonds were the most popular fund sector for the third consecutive month, according to figures for January business from the Investment Management Association.
Chancellor Alistair Darling and Banking Minister Lord Myners will be facing the Treasury Select Committee.
Zurich UK Life CEO David Sims studied a rather unlikely subject at university for someone who works in the insurance industry. His degree was in medieval and modern history but he says a lot can be learnt from the past, especially given the current economic climate.
Defaqto is concerned that IFA firms setting up their own multi-manager funds may attract the same criticisms as broker funds in the 1980s and 1990s.
Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen is warning that the current probe of offshore tax havens could catch legitimate investors in the crossfire.
It was all banks last week. If it wasn't RBS disclosing the largest annual loss in corporate history, then it was the introduction of the Government's asset protection scheme.
eMoneyfacts has launched a savings club to allow intermediaries to arrange savings products for their clients and receive commission.
Trying to forecast what each individual region might return over the next year, or years into the future, seems largely futile to me. There are so many variables which are impossible to predict.
The European Court of Justice has today ruled that the UK’s compulsory retirement age of 65 is not in breach of EU law.
With the approach of the end of the tax year on April 5, clients considering any form of inheritance tax planning would be well advised to make certain that they use their exemptions.
F&C has appointed Michael Heemelaar as head of global credit.
Rating agency Fitch has downgraded Aegon after the insurer reported expected fourth quarter losses of £1.08bn.
Fitch has downgraded Old Mutual due to fears it may have to pump capital into its US life business.
Former PFS chief executive Tim Eadon has launched a new IFA firm specialising in equity release.
On January 29, Money Marketing carried a report about an IFA firm which has refused to implement a final decision of the Financial Ombudsman Service. The decision was not binding on the firm because the complainants had failed to notify the FOS of their acceptance within the required time limit.
The Serious Fraud Office is investigating seven suspected frauds in the financial services sector, a spokesman has confirmed to Money Marketing.
Friends Provident has announced that is has pulled out of discussions over the potential sale of F&C Asset Management.
The FSA has revealed it is unconvinced by the justifications given by some structured product providers on why they will not name counterparties.
The FSA has floated the idea of introducing a form of product regulation into the market as a way of banning products that are deemed too risky.
The FTSE 100 was continuing to steer clear of the 3,500 barrier on Friday after a static morning of trading.
The FTSE 100 has fallen below 3,500 today with banking shares continuing to bare the brunt of the losses.
The FTSE 100 closed over 3 per cent higher at 3,645.87 with miners leading gains on the back of hopes of an economic stimulus plan from China expected tomorrow.
The FTSE 100 closed over 3 per cent lower today at 3,526.41 with shares in the nation's largest insurers plunging on news of Aviva's losses.
The FTSE 100 has rebounded slightly this morning after banking shares dragged the index below 3,500 at one point on Monday.
Multi-manager specialist FundQuest predicts that there will be an increased demand amongst investors for target return products with reinforced protection within multi-asset portfolios.
The Investment Management Association has unveiled the 17 funds to move across to its newly launched UK equity income and growth sector.
Lloyds Banking Group has submitted £260bn of debt to the Government’s Asset Protection Scheme as the Treasury takes a 65 per cent stake in the lender.
The Government stake in Lloyds Banking Group could increase to 70 per cent as part of a £250bn asset protection deal, say reports.
Over half of the funds in the top quartile at the start of 2008 failed to beat their sector average last year.
Hargreaves Lansdown has dropped Mark Mobius' Templeton global emerging markets fund from its Wealth 150 list following disappointing performance.
Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has admitted she was wrong to tell MPs Sir Fred Goodwin's knighthood was for charity work.
Henderson Group has taken a £97.3m hit to profits after writing down a bank stake and taking a loss on one of its structured products.
Moody's today changed its outlook on the debt ratings and financial strength of HSBC to negative from stable.
The FSA has appointed Hugh Stevenson as the chairman of the regulator’s committee of non-executive directors.
Conservative Shadow finance minister Mark Hoban says the Government must not forget the plight of IFAs in any review of the FSCS levy structure.
Ignis Asset Management has reduced the initial charge for all lump-sum investments in its onshore unit trust fund range to 3 per cent until April 30.
Those advisers involved in, or thinking of entering, the equity release market should be encouraged by the recently published Safe Home Income Plans member survey.
The Investment Management Association says there needs to be a greater focus on providing advice and guidance for personal accounts.
The IMA says it would be helpful if the Government could add clarity to new rules that will allow it to change the terms of corporate bonds from its nationalised banks.
Following on from last week's column, my plans to launch Inertia Asset Management - where our wonderful investors will never sell out of our mediocre fund range, no matter how shoddy our performance - have already been scuppered by my research assistant, the faithful Ms Google, informing me that such a company already exists.
Insurance shares have continued their nosedive after suffering a severe pummeling yesterday which saw Aviva lose a third of its market value.
iShares has announced the launch of four ETF’s covering the bond market.
Investec has been downgraded by Moody’s due to its exposure to Kensington’s self cert and sub prime mortgage book.
Legal & General mortgage club has become one of the biggest mortgage distributors after taking on the mortgage business of The Mortgage Times Group.
Matrix Group has announced the launch of a new investment management arm for the high net worth clients.
Treasury select committee chairman Labour MP John McFall has called for an FSA investigation of sales of structured products by financial advisers and banks.
Midas Capital is benefiting from the tax efficiency of Canadian income trusts by adding the Middlefield Canadian income trust fund to the CF Midas balanced income fund of funds.
AWD Chase de Vere has announced the departure of chief executive Mike Kirsch following a restructuring of the business.
In the last tax year, alongside income tax bills, £5.3bn was paid in capital gains tax and £3.8bn in inheritance tax.
The fundamentals of asset allocation in relation to risk have not changed as a result of the credit crunch, according to panellists at the Money Marketing RDR & Economic Update debate.
Treasury Select Committee member Andy Love said it is crucial that increased regulation does not impact upon innovation in the financial services industry.
Prudential director of investment John Betteridge believes policymakers have not been credited enough for their work during the current economic crisis.
Rating agency Moody's has put Aviva on review for a possible downgrade following the group's preliminary results announcement last week which saw its share price tumble by a third.
PSigma income manager Bill Mott says there is now a 20 per cent chance of Armageddon for the UK economy.
MPs are set to debate the levies imposed on building societies in Parliament tomorrow.
The FSA released its final feedback statement (FS08/06) on the retail distribution review last November. Since then, there have been numerous articles and discussions on the likely impact on the industry in general and financial advisers in particular.
Insight Investment managing director Abdallah Nauphal has been appointed to head the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership business alongside his current role.
Nearly half of those retiring in the next five years do not plan to seek advice on their annuity purchase, according to Metlife.
FSA chief executive Hector Sants has said that the new regulatory approach to staff competency may not have allowed former HBOS director of group risk Jo Dawson to be hired by the bank.
Newcastle building society has revealed it made a loss of £25.8m in 2008 thanks to Iceland exposure and FSCS levies.
The City of London Police has arrested nine people in a £40m suspected mortgage fraud probe.
Oakwood Global Finance has been assigned the first ‘master servicer’ rating for a mortgage asset manager by Fitch.
Old Mutual is streamlining its long-term savings businesses under a single operating structure but will maintain Skandia and other brands.
Once upon a time there was a fairy tale about a whole nation that was so stupid that when they were told that the king was wearing fabulous clothes, although in fact he was naked, did not want to appear to be the odd one out and seem daft so they pretended to see these wondrous clothes.
The last few years have seen specialist annuity providers contracting directly with pension companies to provide annuities - the contention being that this offers better annuity rates.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is set to argue that his party will bring an end to the "money-for-nothing" culture in Britain.
Park Row has confirmed that it is being investigated by the Financial Services Authority as part of a review into its systems and controls.
The aggregate funding position of the UK's defined benefit pension funds worsened to a deficit of £218.7bn at the end of February from a deficit of £190.6bn the previous month.
The recent year-end Ship figures for 2008 showed a marginal decline in the number of equity release plans bought as well as the amount of cash released relative to 2007.
Welcome back to Northern Rock. Let's hope the Government's short-term strategy to use taxpayers' funds to kickstart mortgage lending instead of paying back the bailout will inspire confidence across other lenders and borrowers.
Financial advisers have taken plenty of stick over the years. Much of it has been unfair but I have to say that some of it has been warranted and deserved.
PMS has launched a new referral partnership with specialist broker largemortgageloans.com for its members.
Skandia is to develop its PriceWatch platform into a full analysis tool using an independent consultant following concerns among rival platforms over its impartiality and scope.
Speaking to guests at the 19th annual Money Marketing awards ceremony last night, there was considerable scepticism as to whether the Government's £75bn quantative easing programme can pull the country out of recession.
Product providers are lobbying behind the scenes for the FSA's retail distribution review proposals on adviser charging to be delayed due to the costs of restructuring systems, says Aifa.
Prudential has launched a new with-profits annuity that allows pensioners to change the level of income they receive every two years.
The FSA has always been a quango of Gordon Brown's Treasury and their only interest is boosting the empire at Canary Wharf.
The Bank of England's quantitative easing policy is "over-flexing the national credit card", Conservative MP and former cabinet minister John Redwood has argued.
Rathbone income and growth fund has been renamed as blue chip income and growth and will be moved to the newly created IMA UK equity income and growth sector.
FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner has promised MPs a "revolution" in financial regulation with fundamental changes on their way.
Park Row has confirmed that it is being investigated by the FSA as part of a review into its systems and controls.
Resolution Limited has revealed that the former chairman and executive directors of Resolution Plc are under FSA investigation.
The Bank of England and the FSA have put forward what they describe as "revolutionary" plans to make sure the UK banking sector is not hit by another crisis.
A Cobalt Capital director has admitted a rift in the senior management and has called for directors to pull together. Director Julian Ingalls would not comment on immediate concerns over the brokerage but says: "Senior management and partners have not seen eye to eye and have disagreed about several things. People need to pull together in situations like this."
I have heard people talk about the possibility of transferring their protected rights benefits into their Sipp. Is this possible and, if so, is it appropriate for me?
Insurance and wealth management specialist RK Shipman has acquired C&M Financial Services.
Royal London is calling for the FSA and the Office of Fair Trading to consider standardised factoring, amid fears that a ban will spell the end of the regular-premium market.
Scottish Life has improved its support structure for IFAs based in Northern Ireland.
Scottish Provident is hosting a series of seminars to help advisers understand the benefit of marketing.
Sesame wants the FSA to introduce practising licences so experienced and competent advisers can work after the RDR without taking formal exams.
Given the tumultuous events in the markets at the end of 2008, you would have expected investor confidence to have hit rock bottom. But it seems that retail investors are more resilient than that.
Annuity Direct director Stuart Bayliss has criticised providers' single-tie annuity deals, saying they create bad value and damage industry progress on the open market option.
Barclays Wealth has launched an online valuation document to help advisers and clients ascertain what their structured products might pay out on maturity.
Building societies have seen their profits for 2008 slashed due to "disproportionate" FSCS levies for bank failures.
Standard Life is relaunching its individual healthcare product to offer clients greater flexibility.
Standard Life has pledged that IFA service levels will not drop as a result of its strategic review of distribution, which will see 195 job losses.
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall has blasted the bosses of UK Financial Investments Limited for failing to provide information requested on the pay and bonuses of bailed-out bank staff.
New Star UK alpha fund manager Tim Steer is leaving to join Artemis.
The retail distribution review needs to be reassessed as a matter of urgency because of the impact of the global economic downturn. That is simple common sense and it is time that the regulator applied some common sense.
Swip's multi-manager team is confident that the hedge fund holdings in its diversity fund will perform well after a disastrous year for the asset class.
Swiss Re has appointed Credit Suisse Group AG chairman Walter B Kielholz to head its board of directors.
Legal & General is considering introducing teleunderwriting to price annuities.
Money Portal has appointed non-executive director Mark Tennant as its chairman after Richard Hambro stepped down due to serious illness.
During the last decade, we have undoubtedly seen a greater adoption of internet-based solutions as more and more advisers have switched to viewing and administering their clients' investments online.
Franki Chung, deputy head of Asian equities, Baring Asset Management Despite a torrid year for the Asia-Pacific ex Japan region, the green shoots of recovery are evident in the Chinese economy and the technology and infrastructure sectors.
Governments and central banks around the world are trying to boost demand and minimise the risk of an extended and damaging period of deflation but the first half of this year is clearly proving to be extremely difficult.
Advisers have slammed providers' single-tie annuity deals, claiming they create poor value and damage the progress made by the industry to boost usage of the open market option.
In recent articles on the subject of qualifications, the one aspect which tends to be missed is that the time is ticking away and individuals will find that the deadlines will soon be upon them, that is, 2012.
Rowanmoor Pensions is to launch a bespoke Sipp early in the new tax year.
The Tories may oust the FSA should the party gain power, if a report by former Treasury adviser Sir James Sassoon is any indication.
The FSA may need to be replaced by two separate bodies responsible for micro-prudential issues and conduct of business, with the Bank of England to take on macro-prudential issues, according to Sir James Sassoon.
Woolwich has defended its new mortgage tranche system and says it is taking a quarter of all intermediary business each week through it.
Unum has launched a new individual income protection plan for teachers.
HBOS whistleblower Paul Moore has told MPs that he believes the firm's advisers moved many retail savers from cash into corporate bond funds without them understanding the additional risk.
There are just a few fairly significant problems with trying to persuade the FSA to hold fire on the RDR:1: The FSA appears to be entirely unaffected by the economic downturn for the simple reason that its income is entirely unrelated to what is happening in the real world of commerce. How nice if the rest of us could raise what we want simply by compulsory levies.2: The FSA has no idea just how much up-front work an IFA has to do to get a new client on board. We could charge fees but ...
It was only four years ago that newspaper headlines were screaming that drawdown had been a disaster for thousands as falling annuity rates and stockmarkets had decimated their pension pots.
Ami has called on Woolwich to assess its new mortgage tranche management system after member concerns over waiting times and inability to secure funding.
How quickly things change. At the beginning of 2008, the Government believed the private sector could rescue Northern Rock and financial stocks accounted for over 25 per cent of the FTSE 100. One year later, a state-backed bank account is de rigueur and financial stocks only account for 17 per cent of the large-cap index.
Merchant Investors' distributor funds service Zest Solutions has signed up its second IFA firm Squirrel Financial Management.
Zurich has used around £18m of shareholder cash to plug a 4 per cent hole in its fixed-interest deposit funds, which have a 15 per cent holding in mortgage-backed securities.