5 November 2008
Conservative Shadow Treasury Financial Secretary Mark Hoban has called for an independent inquiry into the Government and FSA's handling of the Icelandic crisis.
The IFA sector is likely to be hit by another round of consolidation next year as 16 per cent of IFA directors will exceed retirement age, according to Plimsoll.
Santander has revealed its new combined Intermediary team with the Alliance & Leicester chief at the helm.
Abbey has released a new range of competitive tracker mortgages in the wake of the tracker cull last week.
The Association of British Insurers has welcomed the Government’s move to allow top-up funding for drugs not available on the NHS.
The Pensions Calculator used by consumers to calculate how much to save to meet expected income demand in retirement, has been down for two months and neither the FSA or ABI can say when it will be running again.
Premier Wealth Management has criticised offshore bond providers for not adequately supporting advisers as debate continues to rage over providers' disclosure of compensation arrangements covering offshore bonds.
Aegon Scottish Equitable’s flexible pension plan is now live on Bankhall’s Portavista platform.
A pre-sale underwriting questionnaire used by Aegon during its protection sales process has reduced the number of policies not taken out by consumers.
Aegon has reported a drop in UK net income of 61 per cent in the third quarter at £15m compared with £38m in the same period last year.
Citigroup has warned that New Star needs to take corrective action on costs following growing concern that excessive leverage in the group risks it breaching covenants.
AIG Life has unveiled a conditional exit plan to allow investors in the enhanced fund to pull their investments out so long as the value remains above a given threshold.
Following its recent AGM, the Association of Member-Directed Pension Schemes has announced its new committee for the year ahead.
Analysts have predicted larger UK life offices such as Legal & General, Aviva and Prudential could be interested in buying Just Retirement, following news that the company has received expressions of interest.
Mortgage packager All Types of Mortgages has called on the ailing packager industry to either unite or look to alternative investment in bid for the sector to survive.
Aviva has suspended trading on its European commercial property fund following a dramatic increase in redemptions over the last few weeks, Money Marketing understands.
Investors should be wary of government-influenced banks stocks, says New Star global financials fund manager Guy de Blonay.
Axa Investment Managers has announced a major rationalisation of its UK fund range, subject to FSA approval.
Axa has reported a 5 per cent drop in UK life and pensions new business volumes for the first nine months of the year at £0.81bn.
Barclays Private Bank advised a client the AIG enhanced fund was safer and more liquid than a bank or building society account, in a letter seen by Money Marketing.
These are difficult markets on which to comment. It is not just that the way ahead is so obscure but the speed at which change takes place and the extent of the moves occurring can also make seemingly informed commentary look seriously misplaced very swiftly.
Employee benefits firm SBJ Group has bought actuarial and pension administration firm EB Consultants.
Three board members are leaving Bankhall in the aftermath of Peter Mann's departure as the company continues its search for a new chief executive.
Pension reforms must not create a situation where existing savings are spread more thinly, warns the Association of British Insurers.
Bestinvest has dropped its ratings on Jupiter chief executive Edward Bonham Carter's undervalued assets fund and Schroders UK mid 250 fund run by Andy Brough.
Aifa board member Gary Bottriell says he is concerned that the Chartered Insurance Institute may look to curtail the power of the Personal Finance Society in an attempt to take industry-wide control of professional standards.
Do you think the Bank of England has been too slow in considering interest rate cuts?Yes 62%No 38%
Today the Government got its way and many of the high street banks agreed to 'pass on' the whole 1.5 per cent interest rate cut into their mortgage rates.
Bupa UK Health Insurance is introducing Bupa Positive Health to encourage more firms to create a healthy workplace after research found four out 10 employees are overweight.
Capita has signed a 10-year deal worth £130m with Deutsche Bank to provide outsourcing services for Abbey Life's 1.1 million life and pension policies.
Scarborough Building Society is merging with Skipton after the credit crisis weakened its capital position.
Protection of individual savers' assets has been a key theme in the financial sector since banks started to collapse or fall into government hands. Investors who considered that their savings were solid learned quickly to their immediate pain that high rates of return can come with a substantially increased level of risk.
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director general Chris Cummings and his membership were pretty much alone in grasping the severity of the credit situation at the earliest stage when more preventive action could have been taken by the authorities.
The business mix is a constant source of interest to all responsible for revenue generation.
Earlier this summer, when the price of oil was above $140 a barrel and Goldman Sachs and others were arguing that the next stop was $200 a barrel, it felt like an unusual and uncertain world.
The Chartered Insurance Institute is to merge with the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and will rebrand as the Chartered Institute of Financial Services.
Insight co-heads of multi-manager Patrick Armstrong and Ana Cukic-Armstrong are to leave the firm following a restructure of the multi-asset desk.
The Government's move to allow top-up funding for drugs not available on the NHS could create a rival product to traditional private medical insurance.
Some 94 per cent of organisations have failed to discuss the issue of personal accounts at a governance, trustee or board meeting, according to Aon Consulting.
These are without doubt the toughest of times. Clients have been well educated in equity risk but have been faced with cash risk.
Industry experts and the Isle of Man government have called on Chancellor Alistair Darling to clarify inflammatory comments he made about the crown dependency.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has warned that the Government will take "a long hard look" at the Isle of Man's position as a tax haven.
Perhaps workers who blindly tick the default box when it comes to their company pension have got it right after all.
It is encouraging to see more advisers going for higher qualifications but I sense a lack of understanding about what the qualification levels mean and how they are likely to apply in a new regulatory environment.
The FSA has called on mortgage lenders and third-party administrators to keep hedge funds that buy mortgage portfolios in line, in response to concerns that the funds may force up repossessions.
An acquaintance of mine told me that she was trying to persuade her son to become an accountant. As an ex-accountant myself, I was horrified and suggested she persuade him to become a financial planner instead.
Fitch Ratings believes that US insurers are likely to scale back their variable annuity business, with some leaving the market due to capital and earnings' volatility.
In an environment of falling interest rates fixed income is “the place to be”, with valuations in investment grade corporate bonds looking particularly compelling, says Henderson strategic bond and preference bond fund manager John Pattullo.
Friends Provident has extended its contract enquiry service through True Potential to enable advisers to obtain real-time valuations for whole of life and endowment policies.
Friends Provident has appointed Evelyn Bourke as chief financial officer, subject to regulatory approval.
The Financial Services Authority has appealed to the High Court over an Information Tribunal decision that could lead to them having to name and shame the Lautro 19.
The FSA has banned and publicly censured two directors from mortgage firm Homeplan for exposing their clients to the risk of receiving unsuitable mortgages.
Thousands of adviser firms affected by the FSA's Gabriel glitches last month have been given an additional seven working days to submit outstanding RMAR reports otherwise face a fine.
The FSA has fined AWD Chase de Vere Wealth Management £1.12 million for serious failings in its pension transfer, pension annuity and income withdrawal business that lead to misselling.
The FSA is considering whether to extend its remit to the regulation of "everyday banking" when it takes on new powers for banks and building societies in November next year.
The FSA has made Abbey Life change a term in its open market option application forms, after the regulator found it to be “unfair”.
The Financial Services Compensation Service has put UK Icesave retail depositors in danger of being targeted by fraudsters, according to online security company First Cyber Security.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has sent the first of two emails to UK Icesave customers with more information about how to claim back their savings.
At Money Marketing we have spent the last few weeks politely telling IFAs to resist the urge to hide under their desks and to keep talking to clients.
Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard says she does not believe the ifs School of Finance diploma tests the breadth of knowledge required of advisers.
Employers will now be able to ‘self certify’ that their pension scheme meets the quality standard required to exempt it from personal accounts.
The Government has launched a new small business panel to scrutinize the lending practices of the UK’s largest banks.
The Government has changed the wording of its amendment to the Pesnsions Bill on the self-certification of workplace schemes.
The Government is expected to unveil tax cuts in the forthcoming pre-Budget speech.
The first smallest green shoots may have appeared in the UK wholesale markets as HBOS, Barclays and RBS all successfully sold Government-backed bonds.
Advisers say that guarantees on income and capital are important to clients in times of market uncertainty, according to preliminary findings of Aegon’s IFA Insights survey.
Guernsey is set to introduce tightened restrictions on Guernsey-based Qrops and other jurisdictions are likely to follow, Baker Tilly has warned.
News that Barclays has gone cap in hand to the Gulf reflects the changing reality of post-credit bubble economics according to Ansbacher chief investment officer Mike Hollings.
Half of mortgage borrowers avoided stamp duty levies in the wake of Government reforms.
A number of structured product providers have questioned why Hargreaves Lansdown does business with them after last week's condemnation by chief executive Peter Hargreaves.
HBOS has rejected the takeover concerns from two former bank chiefs with a strongly worded open letter.
Healthcare specialist Healthfund is combining insurance and savings in a product which it claims will dramatically reduce the cost of private health cover.
A hedge fund that made billions hedging against the US sub prime mortgage crash has bought Edeus.
Consumers buying insurance for property overseas should look to UK-based firms for cover to ensure they are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, warns insurance provider Tonic Underwriting.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has announced that Economic Secretary to the Treasury Ian Pearson will be the keynote speaker at its AGM and Annual Dinner in London next week, replacing Kitty Ussher MP.
The International Capital Market Association has appointed David Hiscock to its regulatory policy team as senior advisor.
Concerns have been raised over the timeframe imposed on IFAs moving clients off UBS's platform after the firm announced it is shutting its wrap.
Mortgages on one of Bradford & Bingley’s loan books have taken a downturn which could lead to IFAs having to help pay for the bank’s nationalisation.
Funds under management in fund of funds fell almost 6 per cent in the third quarter of 2008 as balanced funds continued to be the popular choice for investors, according to the IMAs quarterly statistics.
The Investment Management Association told MPs that some of its members are not prepared to invest in bank reconstructions because they feel institutions have yet to disclose exposure to toxic assets.
The Investment Management Association and the Performance Category Review Committee is to launch a new property sector, covering both direct and securities funds.
Martin Currie is looking at launching an India fund.
The FSA says that while the insurance industry has embraced changes to the capital regime, some insurers are falling short in their risk management procedures.
The Bank of England has dropped the base rate by 1.5 per cent in an attempt to ease lending as the UK heads into a recession.
Investec Asset Management co-head of fixed income John Stopford believes that investors could make up to 20 per cent annually in the corporate bond market in the next two years.
Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK is meeting with Lord Chancellor Jack Straw next week to ensure that relations between the Isle of Man and the Government remain mutually positive and productive.
The article, NU quits unemployment cover over recession risk (October 30) links Paymentshield with the withdrawing of unemployment-only cover. This is incorrect through our intermediary channel.
The stockmarket appears to be in terminal decline, my cash may or may not be safe in the bank, inflation is rife and the economy appears to be heading into recession, if it isn't there already. Help.
Legal & General Mortgages has launched a partnership with mortgage administration outsourcer Connect Mortgage group.
Leadbay if now offering life assurance leads to advisers, with the promise of a refund on any lead they confirm as uncontactable.
Libor rates have reacted positively to the Bank of England’s shock 1.5 per cent drop in interest rates.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority consulted on different charging structures for personal accounts during January to April and published a summary of responses in July. Further consultations are to take place on investment, rules and decumulation which will give stakeholders the opportunity to influence the design of the scheme. The imminent consultation on decumulation will be of particular interest.
Lloyds TSB group chief executive Eric Daniels has rejected rumours that Clerical Medical will be sold and is highlighting the strength of the Scottish Widows' brand.
Lloyds TSB has revealed it will follow its competitors in their tracker rate strategies next week.
Medical Care Direct has launched its Inclusive Healthcare scheme today in a bid to cut private medical bills.
The merger and acquisition board is questioning Scottish financier Jim Spowart over his claims that another party is set to bid for HBOS.
Imagine the hypothetical Smith family sitting at home in their 3 bedroom house in middle En`gland. They had a 70 per cent mortgage on their home a year ago but house price collapses of the past year have eroded much of this cushion. Unfortunately, their existing fixed rate deal came to an end this summer. They received a letter from their lender which politely suggested they look elsewhere for a new mortgage as the new rate they could offer the Smiths had increased dramatically.
Treasury select committee MP Jim Cousins said Bank of England governor Mervyn King’s evidence to the committee in advance of Lehman’s collapse did not stand up in hindsight.
Munich Re has recorded a 99 per cent slide in profits during the third quarter of this year, with profits falling from €1.2bn to €1.2m year-on-year.
Only 20 per cent of customers rated bank staff as having excellent product knowledge, according to research by Grass Roots.
Nationwide has revealed an 11 per cent rise in profits as it reveals a two thirds reduction in mortgage lending.
Plummeting stockmarkets are reducing the values of defined-contribution plans and adding to the concerns of employers with defined-benefit schemes. It is important that the industry and Government work together to help those most affected. Under specific scrutiny are those who are close to retirement and facing difficult decisions.
The FSA is proposing new rules to ensure that recently authorised firms and those extending their permissions are not paying too much in fees and levies in their second year.
Rubii.co.uk is launching a new website allowing consumers to search a database of regulated financial advisors and publicly rank them on the quality of their service and advice.
Norwich Union will have to repay around 34,000 stakeholder pension customers around £11m after an administrative error.
The Pension Protection Fund has taken on five more schemes over the past month resulting in a further 1,313 people in the UK having to receive pension compensation.
US president-elect Barack Obama is reported to be planning a crack down on international tax havens including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man when he assumes office in January.
One of the biggest economic challenges for Barack Obama will be to bring stability to the housing market, according to JPMorgan Asset Management global strategist Tom Elliott.
Crispin Odey and Gulf Finance House’s Ian Lancaster will manage Insynergy Investment Management’s first two fund launches.
Old Mutual has reported an 18 per cent drop in UK life sales on an annual premium equivalent basis at £464m.
The era of split-capital investment trusts which saw forced wind-ups leaving many shareholders out in the cold may soon be revisited, only this time it may be the once stable property area of the market.
The importance of annuities to millions of people is hard to underestimate. They provide retired people with a guaranteed income for the rest of their lives, using funds built up in money-purchase pensions. Product providers and the Association of British Insurers are acutely aware that standards of customer service on annuities have been mixed. The industry is working hard to improve the customer experience and recently launched major initiatives in two key areas.
Paul Harris's career might have been very different had he not listened to his mother who likened him to "a young Basil Fawlty" in a bid to dissuade him from studying for a degree in hotel management.
In the last few weeks, I have been mugging up on investor psychology. Basically, what I am trying to understand is why I have stopped looking at how my pension funds and Isas have performed since the middle of the year.
St James's Place has seen a 2 per cent increase in new business for the first nine months of 2008 to £322.6m. Pension business rose by 20 per cent but funds under management have fallen from £18.2bn to £16.5bn.
Pension funds are continuing to move their assets out of equities and into other investment classes, according to the National Association of Pension Funds.
1: Clarification on pension schemes structured as an insurance contract There may be different treatment for Sipps written as insurance contracts as they may fall within the FSCS insurance scheme, not the investment scheme.
Torrential rain, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures couldn’t keep the delegates from gathering at the Personal Finance Society’s annual conference in Birmingham this morning.
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has today revealed the Government is to make reforms to the Mortgage Conduct of Business rules and to the UK banks’ principles towards small businesses.
The salary for Positive Solutions’ highest paid director more than doubled in 2007 to £722,000 from £308,000 the previous year.
Positive Solutions and Origen have lost up to £4m between them so far this year, according to Aegon’s latest results.
Two weeks ago, I lamented the lack of customer care behind income protection plans which are burdened by the "any occupation" design flaw. This claim definition is used for higher-risk occupations and the insurer can decline the claim if it considers the policyholder capable of performing any other occupation.
Prudential has appointed Barry O'Dwyer as managing director of retail life and pensions.
Several UK high street banks have agreed to ‘pass on’ the full 1.5 per cent rate cut into their mortgage products after a meeting with the Prime Minister.
Do you agree with the view of Which? that equity release should only be used as a last resort and that it is "very expensive, inflexible and leaves people with little or no equity in their home"? Do you think the view that Which? is promoting will put consumers off equity-release products?
Northern Rock is set to meet debt and homeless charities to discuss its much criticised repossession strategy.
Santander, owner of Abbey and Alliance & Leicester, has revealed it is in a 7.2bn Euro (£5.89bn) rights issue.
Schroders is to merge Richard Buxton’s UK large-cap fund into its UK alpha plus vehicle.
It has been a long time since the term self-certification has been used in a positive headline as anyone in the mortgage industry will attest.
Aifa has reassured advisers that Skandia will have no influence over the way it is run after the company quit the ABI this week to join the trade body.
In these turbulent days, is Skandia's decision to quit the Association of British Insurers and join Aifa a storm in a trade body teacup or a sign of the times? Skandia was always semi-detached from the hunting pack of insurers and some may suggest it is seeking publicity.
Skipton Financial Services has appointed ex-AWD Moneyextra managing director Mark Fleet as its managing director.
Societe Generale is to close its £27m Europe fund and merge the assets into its £69m European special opportunities fund, subject to FSA approval.
Societe Generale is to close its £27m Europe fund and merge the assets into its £69m European special opportunities fund.
Standard Life is to cut final bonuses while increasing and extending market value reductions on its with-profits plans, meaning most of the firm's with-profits policyholders will see a fall in the value of their plans.
Standard Life has added an integrated automated trusts suite to its wrap platform.
I have always had an immense amount of respect for Peter Hargreaves and his operation but I was somewhat disappointed, to say the least, when I heard that he had effectively stated that "all structured products are poor".
It is very clear that the major advice firms have begun thinking in very different ways about how they select the organisations they will be partnering with as suppliers in the future. This is due in no small part to the retail distribution review.
It is now over six months since the Chancellor's ham-fisted attempts to reform capital gains tax delivered managed funds providers a major commercial advantage over life insurance investment products. This has resulted in a major commercial opportunity for every IFA as any existing investment bond product now needs to be reviewed to assess its ongoing suitability.
The FSA has lost another stage of its battle to avoid naming and shaming firms that performed badly in mystery shopping in a ruling that could threaten the regulator's use of mystery shopping.
The last resort" or "not repayable in your lifetime" and "lifetime mortgage", all of these terms or phrases have been used in connection with equity-release mortgages.
The failure of Lehman Brothers and other institutions which offered structured products or guarantees for the products has left IFAs worried about a sudden slew of complaints.
One victim of the current economic climate has been emerging markets. Many of these are exporters to the world and much of the sell-off here has stemmed from fears of what will happen to corporate profits in an environment of slowing global economic growth.
The Conservatives are pushing the Government to introduce tax cuts targeted at boosting employment as Prime Minister Gordon Brown fuels speculation he is planning to reduce taxes.
Abbey has followed other high-street banks in raising its tracker mortgage rates for new customers on the eve of a possible base rate drop.
Last weekend, I was flicking through the best-buy tables and was surprised to see rates of 6 per cent still available on instant access accounts. With the base rate at 4.5 per cent, this seems out of kilter. I am concerned that investors assume these attractive rates will remain.
The Treasury has announced the launch of two new government-industry groups that will look at the insurance and asset management sectors.
Midas Group investment director Nick Greenwood is warning that banking covenant issues could see the investment trust industry set for a repeat of the split-cap debacle.
It is interesting watching a market turn. One should collect the headlines and indicators and keep them so one can spot the trends faster next time.
Nearly two thirds of British people are unaware of the changes made to the inheritance tax nil rate band in October 2007, according to research from life insurer Zurich.
Watson Wyatt has launched a new online service designed to help employers and pension scheme trustees engage their employees about retirement savings.
With stockmarkets still in turmoil, a lot of people are turning to a safe investment in holidays. The holiday property bond has been going for 25 years, with all the assets held by HSBC.
Scottish Life International says its literature does not include any particular reference to the fact that individuals are not protected by any protection scheme if the underlying investments fail. However, the company says it may update its literature in future to highlight the lack of cover.
Amid the spectacle of failing banks, falling stockmarkets and a felled currency, the Personal Finance Society has issued the agenda for its forthcoming AGM on November 11.
Over 63 per cent of the population over state pension age are women. Compared with men, they earn less, save less and live longer on lower pensions. Will auto-enrolment into personal accounts solve this problem for women of the future or will they once again be the unlucky sex?
The Bank of England called on the mortgage industry last week to face up to life without wholesale markets.
Zurich is removing family history questions from the application stage for life plans due to cease before the policyholder turns aged 55.