6 August 2008
Openwork has appointed self-directed pension specialist Hornbuckle Mitchell to provide self-invested personal pension services for its investors.
If you were told that after 20 years of forgoing 4 per cent of earnings, you were going to increase your income in retirement by only £2 a week, I suspect you might be tempted not to bother. That is what the Department for Work and Pensions has just confirmed that someone on £10,000 a year can expect after two decades auto-enrolled in personal accounts.
The Government has had to pump another £3bn into Northern Rock to shore up the firm after it made losses of £585m for the first half of this year.
Seven small mortgage advisers have been referred for enforcement and a further 23 are required to review customer files following the FSA's second quality of advice review.
Almost 600 IFA partners have registered for membership of the Positive Solutions Learning Academy in its first three days since launch.
Alliance & Leicester's profits fell by 99 per cent in the first half of this year to 2m, down from 295m in the same period last year.
Abbey has failed in its bid to challenge the Financial Services Compensation Scheme's legal authority to sue the firm for £21m for alleged precipice bond misselling.
As the credit crunch continues to hit funds, investor demand for absolute return offerings has continued to soar.
Gartmore is merging its UK high alpha and global high alpha funds to form the multi-manager absolute return fund.
Advisers have hit out at the European Union for its decision not to place Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man on the white list of countries with top anti-money-laundering standards.
Nearly 70 per cent of adv- isers believe they can ach- ieve a diploma-standard qualification within three years and 83 per cent within five years.
Aegon has announced a 22 per cent fall in pre-tax underlying earnings for the first half of 2008.
The Building Societies Association has recruited Association of Home Information Pack Providers deputy director-general Paul Broadhead to the position of head of mortgage policy.
American Insurance Group has recorded losses of £2.68bn during the second quarter of 2008.
Alliance & Leicester International has appointed Simon Nuttall and Simon Ripton as acting joint managing directors.
Aon Consulting is warning that additional unnecessary regulation surrounding defined-benefit pension transfers could force firms to withdraw transfer options.
Assureweb is to launch a new equity release comparison service in association with Ship.
Australian software company Logic 100, which offers UK IFAs access to an holistic financial planning platform, has joined Aifa as an affiliate member.
Axa distribution services has appointed Richard Lloyd as investment marketing manager.
Axa UK & Ireland has reported a 14 per cent increase in underlying earnings from £160 million for the first half of 2007 to £183 million for the same period this year.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has voted to keep the Base Rate at 5 percent.
Barclays have revealed profit are down a third in the first half of 2008 thanks to credit crunch debt writedowns.
Barclays Wealth is to widen its protected investments range with a launch of a glo- bal titans product.
Baring Emerging Europe has appointed Jonathan Woollett as a non-executive director.
Bestinvest was one of the firms to bid for IFA Panth- eon Financial before Friends Provident dropped plans to sell the business, Money Marketing understands.
Prestbury chief executive officer Lee Birkett has written to shareholders urging them to vote against the resolution to remove him and his mother, finance director Lynne Birkett, from their roles.
The torrid time for equities has by and large continued. The UK market has recovered from the losses of three weeks ago but we have seen some really vicious sector rotation, causing problems for equity managers.
Protection specialist Bright Grey has recorded a 12 per cent drop in new business during the first half of 2008.
Is the Financial Services Compensation Scheme right to chase Abbey for precipice bond misselling costs where the adviser firm has gone bust?
The future prospects of many absolute return funds have been questioned by advisers who believe there are better investment opportunities in the short and long term.
Canada Life International has launched five new Fortis Investments funds.
It should be made clear that at no stage have I accused Adam Samuel of showing any sympathy for the Pickerings and their legal battles against the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The CII Group has become an approved assessor of the BS ISO 22222 financial planner certification.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders have revealed there has been nearly 19,000 home repossessions in the UK so far this year.
Collins Stewart Wealth Management announces falls in revenue and operating profits for the first half but remains positive in light of difficult trading conditions.
The relevant property regime for inher-itance tax, incor-porating entry, periodic and exit charges, is now part of everyday tax planning for those considering the use of trusts with financial services products in estate planning strategies.
Cru chairman Jon Maguire has called on Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier to explain his comments with regards to the CF Arch cru portfolio.
I am a moderator on a couple of internet forums. The job generally involves making sure that people behave when responding to each other's comments and observe the rules of that internet community.
For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the outcome of the review of the IMA's fixed-income sectors, the wait is over.
A discussion on the merits of general advisers referring retirement clients on to specialists drew differing views from round table delegates.
I have always enjoyed reading Alan Lakey's views and his latest offering is just as stimulating.
Almost half the funds in Bestinvest's latest Spot the Dog survey invest in the UK.
Lord Adair Turner may shift the FSA's focus away from the retail distribution review and on to the security of the banking system and liquidity issues when he becomes chairman next month, warns Axa.
Former scourge of Prudential Kevin Carr is to join the provider to help develop its Pru- Protect product.
Fannie Mae has recorded losses of £1.17bn in the second quarter of 2008 - and predicts further losses as US credit markets deteriote.
Brokers have given a mixed response to hints from the Chancellor that he is looking at suspending stamp duty as part of a package of measures to help the mortgage market.
Picture this. I was chatting with my partner over dinner and the conversation came round to work. My partner asked: "What sort of life cover do you do?" With enthusiasm, I explained a bit about differing types of cover. Perhaps surprisingly, she asked me to explain further, so I talked about LTA, DTA, FIB, CIC, WOL, IP and so on.
New guidelines for dealing with non-disclosure on insurance policies are too lenient and have created a "claims' drift", warns former Swiss Re head of life and health underwriting Jerry Brown.
Fortis UK has recorded profits of £43.3m during the first half of 2008, more than doubling last year's results.
Peter Drummond has joined Friends Provident International as international strategic business development and global account manager. He has over 15 years experience in the insurance industry, most recently at Muscat Life Assurance in Oman.
Friends Provident saw its gross underlying profit fall 20 per cent in the first half of this year to £211m, down from £264m at the same time last year.
The FSA has launched a fierce onslaught on specialist lenders, hitting out at their arrears management standards and suggesting several could face enforcement action for irresponsible lending.
The Financial Services Authority has banned a mortgage broker and fined him £100,000 for submitting false mortgage applications.
The FSA has banned Doncaster-based mortgage broker Ian James for supplying false documents and overstating his income on a personal loan application.
The FSA has announced that it will delay publishing feedback on the RDR discussion paper until November.
The FSA says it has not uncovered evidence that market rumours over HBOS were part of a concerted attempt by individuals to profit by manipulating the share price.
Lighthouse Group has announced that Financial Services Advice and Support Limited director Alistair Mackay is to retire at the end of December.
For the first time since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the US is facing a consumer-driven recession that is having a dramatic impact on the global economy.
First-time buyers are being given a lifeline by a deposit doubling scheme from Halifax and Persimmon Homes.
HBOS's share of net mortgage lending plummeted to 7 per cent for the first half of this year, with profits tumbling by 56 per cent from £2.139bn to £950m.
Homeloan Management Limited has appointed Stephen Schofield as its sales and development manager.
HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed that it does not expect advice fees taken out of a pension contract to attract tax penalties if customer-agreed remuneration is introduced.
HM Revenue & Customs' clampdown on perceived offshore tax evaders is likely to catch legitimate investors in the crossfire, warns business and financial adviser Grant Thornton.
Scottish Widows has been hit hard by capital gains tax changes,with a 53 per cent drop in IFA sales of savings and investment products in the first half of this year as insurance bond business suffered.
The Institute of Financial Planning is launching Financial Planning Week next month to raise awareness among consumers about the importance of financial planning.
Fund of funds remain resilient but sales show increasing diversification amongst investors, according to the IMA's quarterly statistics.
Rugby aficionados talk sagely of "impact substitutes". In the world of tax and financial planning, the Chancellor has been an impact substitute par excellence.
For your information, I am FCII, Dip PFS, IMAAQ.
The UK asset management industry needs more focused regulation, not more regulation, according to the latest annual survey from the Investment Management Association.
Investec Bank has made three appointments to its Jersey financial intermediaries team.
Retail sales of offshore funds saw outflows of 164.7m in June and the total of offshore funds under management fell by 6 per cent compared with the previous month.
Mortgage and credit brokers who operate without a licence could face jail sentences, even if their clients have no loss, a court has warned.
Just Retirement group sales rose by 12.8 per cent to 763.5m in the year ending June 30 but suffered a 5.2 per cent year on year drop in business last quarter to 191.8m.
Legal & General's profits rose by 6 per cent in the first half of the year from 589m to 626m on an EEV basis.
Lenders should lower MPPI rates to slow down the number of repossessions, says independent provider British Insurance.
The preparation for the retail distribution review is most certainly already beginning. I have recently been called several times by IFA networks asking whether I want to join them to shelter under their umbrella. Such consolidation is made necessary by capital adequacy requirements that are part of the RDR.
Liverpool Victoria Banking Services has been fined £840,000 and could be forced to pay back up to £23m to customers for serious failings in the sale of single-premium payment protection insurance.
LV= Asset Management has launched a new diversified income fund.
M&G is planning to introduce Ucits III powers across its bond fund range.
Friends Provident new chief executive Trevor Matthews, says he has no intention of disposing of Sesame.
Tomorrow could see the beginning of a shift in the relationship between Income Protection and mortgage sales as the Income Protection Task Force meets in London to discuss how to encourage more sales of IP from mortgage brokers.
Templeton emerging markets investment trust manager Dr Mark Mobius says emerging markets are set for more short-term volatility.
British Insurance is offering a mortgage payment protection insurance policy for homeowners under shared-ownership schemes.
The Paraplanner.com is introducing two awards to boost recognition of the paraplanning industry.
MetLife Europe Limited has appointed Claire Oldstein as its UK head of marketing communications.
New Star may consider keeping its Heart of Africa fund open past its £100m limit.
Since markets were hit by the credit crisis last summer, bonds have priced in a lot of bad news, both real and that which was expected but never materialised. Having suffered considerably more than equities, corporate bonds now look excellent value from an historical perspective. Investment-grade bonds are pricing in four times the last worst period for defaults in 1984.
Positive Solutions chief executive officer Jim Reeve has slammed Norwich Union and says the company copied his idea for a learning academy for advisers.
Advisers feel let down by the Norwich Union £1bn reatt- ribution deal reached last week after nearly two years of talks with policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode.
Octopus Investment has bought three Aim venture capital trusts totalling £65m in assets from Close Investments.
More than one in ten buy-to-let tenants are in rent arrears due to rising costs of living.
Combining the CGT annual exemption allowance with the part-disposal calculation of gains under collective investments means the above scenario can easily be achieved and extend beyond the return of the original capital invested.
Tony Blair, remember him, once said the three most important matters for his government were education, education, education. Well, as the RDR rumbles on, it is clear that, apart from remuneration, this will be the key issue in establishing financial advice as a profession.
The Retirement Partnership is drawing up comparison tables to allow advisers to make simple comparisons between annuities, drawdown and third-way products.
Persimmon Homes and Halifax have set out a joint initiative to double first-time buyers' savings for a deposit on a new Persimmon home. Savers must make regular deposits up to a total of £5,000 into a Halifax or Bank of Scotland savings account for a minimum of six months.
Personal Touch Financial Services has started a programme to train advisers in pensions and investments as well as mortgage brokers looking to become IFAs.
One idea is the 5 per cent vendor deposit where the seller gives the buyer 5 per cent in cash to help fund the deposit rather than reducing the price by 5 per cent.
Positive Solutions has launched a range of conveyancing deals allowing advisers to earn up to £200 from referrals.
With the credit crunch celebrating its first birthday the search for a safe haven has seen absolute return funds rise to become the biggest thing on many an adviser’s radar.
The Pension Protection Fund estimates pension schemes faced a total £80.1bn shortfall at the end of July, up from a £63.1bn shortfall the previous month.
The Competition Commission’s investigation into PPI has not had a negative effect on MPPI sales, according to a survey by The Mortgage Alliance.
Principal Investment Management expects all the 12 funds on its equity income white list to meet the IMA's new yield definition by the January deadline, despite 11 funds currently falling below the target.
Some product providers are using treating customers fairly as a marketing tool to increase business volumes without signing up to the principles behind the initiative, claims Munich Re.
Property expert Bridging Finance has called on the Government not to ignore the commercial property sector while it considers a freeze on stamp duty.
Prudential’s decision to offer postcode rated annuities marks a tipping point in the market trend towards individualised annuities, says Hargreaves Lansdown.
PSigma Investment Management has announced it is to manage the PSigma balanced managed fund of funds on behalf of PSigma Unit Trust Managers.
International adviser Abbey Expatriate Services has warned that Qrops are a misselling scandal waiting to happen due to a lack of Government information and the poor quality of offshore brokers.
Royal Bank of Scotland has reported pre-tax loss of £691 million during the first half of 2008.
House prices have been falling since last October, according to Nationwide's house price index. They have declined every month since and are now 9 per cent off the peak.
New Star International sales manager James Rushmere says there are major opportunities to invest in South American financials.
Resolution is introducing a European absolute alpha fund via its Argonaut joint venture. It will be run by Barry Norris and Oliver Russ.
Focus Solutions chief executive Richard Stevenson has seen his career in the IT industry take him round the world but his decision to get involved in the business was only partly premeditated.
Operation Rize, the Metropolitan Police's raid on safe deposit boxes at three London locations, has produced a succession of ever more sensational headlines since news of the story broke at the start of June.
Philip Rose's pension advisory firm Chandos Rose is to merge with Hampshire IFA company Chadney Bulgin.
Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual life and pensions company has appointed David Kneeshaw as chief executive of its combined international business.
RSA Insurance Group has recorded a 9 per cent rise in profits for the first half of 2008.
Saffron Building Society has created its own mortgage intermediary, Saffron Mortgage Brokers.
Scottish Life International has signed a deal with Allfunds Bank to link its international products to the fund range.
If you want to take the temperature of corporate Britain, now is a good time to assess the effect of the credit crunch and the economic slowdown.
Skandia is to transfer existing business from its Skandia MultiFunds platform onto its Selestia Investment Solutions platform.
Skandia UK and Offshore has seen net client cash flows plummet 54 per cent to £1.1bn for the first half of the year, compared to £2.4bn for the same period last year.
There was probably a quiet celebration in the offices of the Financial Ombudsman Service in South Quay Plaza in London after recent wins in the Court of Appeal involving the long-running dispute with IFA firm Heather Moor & Edgecomb.
Standard Life’s gross operating profit jumped 51 per cent to £534m in the first half of this year, compared to £353m in 2007.
Structured products and exchange traded funds could eventually wipe out the need for fund managers, claims Barclays Wealth director Colin Dickie.
Christian Elsmark has joined Scottish Widows Investment Partnership as managing director of Europe. He was previously managing director at FundQuest, the multi-management business of BNP Paribas Investment Partners.
Barclays has sold its life insurance arm to Swiss Re for £753m, making the bank £330m in profit.
Syndicate Asset Management has continued its acquisition of IFA firms by buying St Andrews Asset Management and Pagan Osborne Independent Financial Advisers.
The Hartford has appointed Marc Lieberman as president and chief executive officer of European operations.
I am aged 40 and have accrued 17 years in a final-salary pension scheme. I am still in the same employment and my salary is now £150,000. I am currently making AVC contributions of £600 a month. How do I assess if this is the most sensible form of retirement saving, bearing in mind the new lifetime allowance?
A third of brokers are planning to sell more protection business as a way of dealing with the credit crunch, according to a survey by Astra Mortgages.
The Mortgage Alliance has launched a two-year semi-exclusive tracker mortgage funded by Abbey for Intermediaries.
The Conservatives have blamed the Government’s uncertainty over proposed stamp duty levies as the reason for more housing market chaos.
Towergate Financial has bought Nottingham-based M2 Financial. Mark Howard will remain as managing director, with M2 becoming Towergate's East Midlands regional business.
A trade body made up of advisers and product providers dealing with Qrops is required to lobby for the interests of the sector, claims international pension adviser Panthera.
Halifax has revealed that UK house prices have slipped a further 1.7 percent in July 2008.
The UK inflation rate rose to 4.4 per cent in July meaning it is now more than double the Government’s 2 per cent target.
Keydata has produced a highly attractive plan called the 100 per cent capital protected growth plan. It pays 109.5 per cent of the return on the FTSE 100 index with no upper growth limit over a period of six years, with 100 per cent capital protection.
Scottish Widows is to remove the six-month notice periods on its life and pension property funds from August 18.
Prudential has seen a 9 per cent increase in UK operating profits from £462m to £504m for the first half.