7 January 2009
John Charcol directors were forced to put up a further £2.1m for the firm in 2008, as well as underwriting a £1.3m rights issue and taking out a £1.2m debenture to ensure it met FSA capital requirements.
National IFA 2plan has appointed Julie Darlington and Standard Life's Paul Mcnamara to its board of directors.
The ABI has relaxed its guidelines to make it easier for companies to conduct rights issues. Firms will now be able issue new shares worth up to two-thirds of their existing capital without holding an extraordinary shareholders' meeting.
Advisers are once again looking East for investment opportunities, adding leading Asia Pacific and Japan funds to their portfolios.
Liontrust Asset Management fund managers Jeremy Lang and William Pattissonhave resigned from the firm.
Key drivers for closing the £2.3trillion protection gap in 2009 are innovation and stronger product understanding.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has written to Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable warning him of dire consequences if “effective measures” for the mortgage market aren’t implemented immediately.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries believes that any further cuts in interest rates this week will simply cloud the real issues facing the UK economy.
Architas Multi-Manager Limited has partnered with JPMorgan Asset Management to launch a new liquidity fund.
Argonaut European income manager Olly Russ says investors searching for dividends should be looking at overseas income as an alternative to UK equity income.
Bank of Ireland has revealed that it will no longer source mortgages through the intermediary channels.
Barclays Wealth has launched a new range of protected investments to help investors caught between volatile equities and falling interest rates.
The majority of big name mortgage lenders have decided to pass on at least some of yesterday’s base rate cut to customers.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has implicitly conceded that light touch regulation under his watch allowed the financial system to reach the “dangerous situation it is now in”.
Bluefin has unveiled its plan to integrate IntelliFlo’s back office system into its advisory businesses.
Are you optimistic about the prospects for your clients over the next year?
The Government has revealed it lost nearly £5bn by selling gold reserves between 1999 and 2002 compared with the price it would have got in today's market.
Bupa Individual Protection is reducing its critical illness cover rates by around 2 to 3 per cent.
Advisers say that the positions of a number of Credit Suisse fund managers are vulnerable following its buyout by Aberdeen Asset Management.
IFAs may move to networks rather than meet the FSA's proposed increases in capital on their own, says Friends Provident UK managing director Simon Clamp.
Cartesian Capital Partners was the second joint-venture boutique set up by fund managers in partnership with Resolution Asset Management (now rebranded Ignis).
I am often accused of repeating myself (usually under the influence) but if I say this once I will say this dozens of times during the new year - what on earth were the FSA doing with their capital adequacy paper issued alongside the RDR update?
The FSA is investigating possible ways of incorporating caveat emptor into the marketplace through setting out the responsibilities of consumers when buying financial products.
Charles Stanley Securities has appointed Chris Stebbings as managing director of equities.
Close Brothers Asset Management has made two senior appointments to its UK distribution team.
Non-executive directors are likely to come under closer FSA scrutiny.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has called for more mortgage providers to create and enact ‘collars’ on their mortgage products.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts that net mortgage lending will plummet to a negative figure of £25bn this year, with 500,000 borrowers slipping into three-month arrears.
The Co-operative Asset Management has created a new sales team as it looks to push into the intermediary market.
Dave Harris (aka Victor Meldrew) is not the only IFA to run into trouble with HBOS sales enquiries.
The credit rating of structured product plan managers is a key concern for 30 per cent of advisers when recommending them, according to a survey from Morgan Stanley.
The chairman of the curiously named Betelgeuse Investment Funds rubbed his eyes wearily. Surely 2009 would be better than last year, he thought. Performance had been shot to pieces, redemptions had been considerable, income was down and redundancies would prove necessary. He gazed disconsolately at the pile of papers his secretary had placed on his desk. The heading of a press cutting caught his eye. "Review of 2009" it said. He picked it up and started to read:
The Chancellor has suggested the recession could be deeper and longer than the Government’s previous forecasts.
The deficit of the UK’s final-salary pension schemes soared a further £54.6bn over December, according to the Pension Protection Fund.
Invesco Perpetual income guru Neil Woodford is warning that the impact of financial sector and consumer deleveraging may continue until the middle of the next decade.
IFA firm Dennehy Weller has called for investor vigilance as they look for dividend opportunities in 2009.
So, unsurprisingly, we saw yet another rate drop this week, down to the lowest levels ever. But when will the stabs in the dark end and the real solutions begin?
Many will have been glad to see the back of 2008. No more so than the regulators, whose great pals in the banks let them down so badly that they almost had to turn against them.
I feel compelled to respond to the article on December 11 on capital adequacy due of the reference to networks.
The crown dependencies should prepare for a double-whammy from the UK and US governments, says AES International managing director Sam Instone.
The Department for Work and Pensions is understood to be looking at allowing auto-enrolment into stakeholder and group personal pension schemes from spring 2010.
The equity release sector took a huge knock in the wake of the Northern Rock crash in 2008, slumping by 14 per cent.
Sadly, this is my last article for Money Marketing. I have written in every issue since the newspaper was launched 23 years ago. Over the years, most of my recommendations have shown positive returns but last year was my annus horribilis.
'Fed-style' quantitative action is urgently required to boost aggregate broad money supply and ease the corporate liquidity squeeze in the Eurozone, says New Star chief economist Simon Ward.
Fidelity has confirmed that its managing director of multi-manager Simon Ellis is to leave the group.
Given the events we have witnessed in the last 12 months, the situation in financial markets could justifiably, and with a little understatement, be described as challenging. However from every challenge comes opportunity, out of adversity comes progress and this is certainly the case for the IFA sector.
The London estate agent Foxtons has breached its lending agreements with its banks.
Friends Provident has reduced its with-profits bonus rates citing "challenging" market conditions.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews, speaking on BBC's Radio 4, refused to rule out the possibility of the firm being taken over this year despite them currently being "in a good position".
The FSA and HM Treasury have announced the first group of partners to deliver its Money Guidance pathfinder, which includes the Citizens Advice service and The Consumer Credit Counselling Service.
The FSA has fined Aon Limited £5.25m for anti-bribery and corruption failings when making payments to overseas firms and individuals.
The FSA says it may reconsider introducing a 15-year long stop for advisers if compelling supporting evidence is presented by the industry.
The Financial Services Authority has prosecuted Neil Rollins on counts of insider dealing and money laundering.
The FSA is proposing to reduce the minimum subscription period for companies undertaking a rights issue from 21 calendar days to 14 calendar days, or 10 business days.
The FSA has announced it will not be renewing its ban on short selling, which expires on January 16, but the regulator will extend the temporary disclosure regime for significant net short positions until June 30. It says it is prepared to reintroduce the ban without consultation if necessary.
A high proportion of firms' initial disclosure documents and menus that are designed using FSA templates fail to comply with requirements.
The UK benchmark index slipped 0.7 per cent lower this morning ahead of economic data due out on US jobs later today.
A leading trio of fund management associations have grouped together in a bid to call on the regulator to re-access the short-selling rules.
Can you have caveat emptor when you have a powerful financial regulator and an ombudsman that effectively fills in the bits the FSA can't get to?
The Government has called on the Social Security Advisory Committee to consider proposals for the Housing Benefit Amendment Regulations.
Advisers wanting to gain the ISO 22222 certification will be eligible for government funding provided they meet the stipulated criteria and apply before the end of June.
The Government will own more than 43 per cent of the new Lloyds Banking Group after both Lloyds TSB and HBOS shareholders rejected their rights issue.
A report of inquiry into the supervision of Landsbanki Guernsey has cleared the island’s regulators of any regulatory failure.
HBOS pension fund trustees have abandoned plans to try and delay the Lloyds TSB takeover in order to secure financial backing for the fund, say reports.
French bank Societe Generale Asset Management has agreed to sell its London-based asset management subsidiary to GLG Partners for an undisclosed sum.
HM Revenue and Customs has issued a warning to consumers about fake emails offering a tax rebate.
Libor rates have continued to fall significantly, even in the wake of yesterday's rate cut.
The Yorkshire IFA Forum has developed a partnership with Bradford University School of Management to design an IFA-oriented degree and a student trainee programme.
The ifs School of Finance is launching a series of executive and professional courses.
Ignis has closed its Japanese equities desk following a series of high-profile redundancies within its Glasgow office.
Ignis has won a £68m mandate to manage a segregated portfolio of Asia Pacific, excluding Japan equities on behalf of Russell Investments.
The FSA has released proposals to speed up compensation payments to consumers when a bank fails, at a cost of £891.8m to the industry over five years.
Insynergy has appointed David Orr as marketing and product director.
The Monetary Policy Committee has dropped the interest rate to 1.5 per cent - the lowest it has been since the Bank of England's inception in 1694.
Invesco Perpetual has launched a new global equity income fund under the management of Paul Boyne.
While the Government hints that the recession is likely to be deeper and longer than previously thought, the FSA is scrambling to keep up with the dismal market conditions.
Julius Baer has added a defensive fund to its absolute return bond fund range for the UK market.
Only Ipswich and Abbey now offer mortgages with 95 per cent loan to value as the UK mortgage industry continues to consolidate.
Standard Life group chief executive Sandy Crombie received a knighthood for services to the insurance industry in Scotland in the Queen's New Year's honours list. He has worked for Standard Life for 42 years.
Government-owned Icelandic bank Kaupthing has confirmed that it is seeking legal action against the British Government over its decision to place its UK arm in administration last October.
I am female and five years away from state pension age. I am on course for a full state pension but have very little other pension provision. I would be able to make reasonable monthly savings for the next five years but am unsure of the best route to take. Is it worth making pension contributions with such a short timeframe or would it make more sense to save elsewhere?
The Lehman Brothers UK sub-prime mortgage books SPML and Preferred Mortgages are up for sale after its administrators reportedly failed to deleverage the two books.
Lenders may be forced to pay tracker mortgage borrowers if rates continue to plummet.
Smaller lenders face having to deleverage their mortgage books in an attempt to meet increased Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies due to the Bradford & Bingley bailout.
Lighthouse Group has acquired Leeds-based IFA firm Godfrey Pearson Limited for up to £1.9m.
The Board of Liontrust has terminated all ongoing discussions of a possible takeover of the firm.
Retirement income specialist Living Time has launched a new personal investment plan for its self-invested personal pension clients.
Over 90 per cent of IFAs believe that the long-term relationships they have with clients will be unaffected by the fallout from the credit crunch.
The UK economy is going to emerge from the economic downturn with a more “consolidated” financial sector, according to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.
Marks & Spencer has decided to cap the percentage of pay rises that count towards its final-salary pensions at 1 per cent or the rate of inflation.
Following tepidly on the heels of the notoriously tricky second column, we come to the one printed in the New Year, even though it was written before Christmas. The dilemma thus becomes whether to try and write something suitably timeless - and so potentially bland - or risk being terribly out of date on a formerly hot topic. And so potentially bland.
The US is tipped to be the best-performing region next year but recessionary concerns continue to trouble fund managers.
New Star European growth fund manager Richard Pease believes stockmarkets could recover in 2009 even if an economic recovery is still a year away.
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall has called for the Government to conside making the Post Office into a state bank to deliver its lending targets.
Merchant Investors has launched a new service to allow IFAs to create their own funds that can later be converted into an Oeic.
A recent change to HM Revenue & Customs' practice may well have provided a sales opportunity to write bonds subject to a bare trust for the benefit of minor beneficiaries.
Fines totalling £22.7 million have been imposed on financial providers who missell products such as pensions, mortgages and payment protection insurance, according to Which?.
Dominic Byrne has been replaced by Thomas Moore as manager of Standard Life's UK equity income unconstrained fund.
HBOS could restrict the mortgage network distribution of at least one of its lending brands to a small number of players, Money Marketing understands.
The number of live mortgages available to intermediaries has dropped by almost 80 per cent over the last 12 months.
How will UK retail investors earn an income from their investments in 2009? With the bank rate at 2 per cent and expected to be cut further, it is unlikely that cash rates on bank deposits will meet requirements.
The UK equity income sector is set for a further shake-up following the Investment Management Association's latest announcement on yield requirements.
I just had to take issue with a comment made by Dave Harris (Money Marketing, December 11). He suggests that "one product that has continued to experience growth throughout all the recent downturn is the with-profits bond".
Novia has launched iShares exchange traded funds on the platform.
The FSA's proposal to ban factoring as part of the retail distribution review will have a major impact on the IFA market, says Norwich Union director of distribution development Stephen Gay.
Nucleus chief executive David Ferguson has forecast the economic recovery will begin in 2010.
Pada on launchpadJohn Lawson, head of pensions policy, Standard LifeI would like to see a swift market recovery and an end to the recession. In terms of legislation, we are not going to see very much.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that one indebted mortgage held by a mortgage lender for a period could cost as much as 80 new mortgages would to fund.
Oval Limited has announced the acquisition of Shropshire-based, high net worth financial specialists Wills & Partners.
Overseas holiday home owners looking to sell their properties currently face a double tax whammy due to falling property prices and exchange rate movements, warns PKF Accountants & business advisers.
Specialist insurer Assurant Solutions Intermediary has appointed former BM Solutions managing director Nigel Payne as managing director.
PayPlan has revealed last week was a record week for debt management enquiries as more people admit they have a problem in 2009.
Pension Corporation has struck a deal to insure the Leyland DAF Pension Scheme's benefits.
The Personal Finance Society has appointed Skandia UK chief development officer Peter Mann to its board.
The number PFS members holding chartered financial planner status increased 31 per cent to 1578 in 2008.
The mortgage industry has welcomed reports that the Government may create a mortgage guarantee scheme.
Plum Software is freezing monthly costs for existing clients across its entire suite of applications throughout 2009.
Seven Investment Management director Justin Urquhart Stewart says the company has had to restructure clients' investments following bad management by private banksHe also criticises private banks for a lack of transparency over the cost of their advice.
Marketing material for some Nomura structured products quoted the credit default swaps of its underlying issuer at far lower levels than market figures, making them appear safer than they were.
CBK Colchester principal Peter Chadborn says the protection industry must learn from its mistakes in 2008 and focus more on promoting protection.
Consumer trust in banks has been "shot to pieces" and more will now flock towards independent advice, says Money Portal group chief executive Mark Lund.
Former Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director Richard Farr says the retail distribution review will be "the touchstone" for future mortgage regulation.
The FSA is hosting a retail distribution review seminar for financial advisers in Edinburgh on January 15, including a keynote speech from FSA retail managing director Jon Pain and a panel discussion.
With the equity market trading on around seven times earnings and yielding about 6 per cent, an element of the impending economic slowdown is certainly being discounted. However, valuations are likely to remain low for as long as company newsflow continues to deteriorate and a deep and prolonged recession unfolds in the UK and the rest of the developed world.
The Association of British Insurers has urged the Government to encourage responsible borrowing, not spend taxpayers’ money, to curb the current debt crisis.
Retirement Plus has warned that there could be a major shortage of advisers offering equity release advice in 2009.
PSigma income manager Bill Mott says he is beginning to look towards more economically-sensitive stocks as the risk-reward ratio now favours a more aggressive investment strategy.
Rockingham Retirement has called for an FSA clampdown on the "unacceptable delays" in pension transfers that are putting pensioners at risk of losing thousands.
The proposed merger between the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance has been called off, with each side blaming the other for the deal's collapse.
Schroders is one of a number of firms to have made an offer to buy troubled asset manager New Star, according to reports.
Capita Financial Software and Perception Support are hosting seminars to help advisers use their time more effectively in their efforts to change to a post-RDR model.
Cofunds has appointed Ian Thomas from Sesame as head of marketing.
In my last articles, I have looked at the possible impact on financial planning strategies that the proposed 45 per cent income tax rate could have from April 6, 2011.
SimplyBiz advisers registered with its New Model Business Academy are planning to take over 2,400 CII exams in 2009, according to a survey of 2089 members.
Sipp providers are likely to see their cashflow squeezed if the Bank of England reduces bank rate again this week, potentially resulting in increased charges for investors.
Skandia has launched a white labelled version of its portfolio analysis tool for advisers to brand with their company logo.
The Treasury is considering the strategy of printing more money to combat the recession, reports claim.
Standard Life Capital Partners has appointed Whit Matthews as investment manager of its US private equity team.
Steve Webb has returned to the role of Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary for the Liberal Democrats.
This year will see a move towards a severity-based critical-illness insurance model and a surge in unemployment cover, says Pru Protect director of protection Kevin Carr.
Visible growth streams and strong balance sheets will set companies in good stead as life on "Main Street" gets tough in 2009, says Killik & Co head of research Mick Gilligan.
SVM Asset Management is launching an absolute alpha fund.
The term responsibility is very much in vogue but the connotations are more likely to be negative than positive, sparking a debate about who is responsible for everything that has gone wrong this year.
Thames River investment director Michael Warren believes that boutiques will benefit from the recent spate of asset manager acquisitions.
Tenet has appointed Andy Richards as managing director of its asset management arm Sinfonia.
Nowadays, 125 per cent loan to value deals seem silly, reckless, many would argue. Here we are with house price values down by around 15 per cent and many would argue that we are only halfway through the cycle so prices will fall by a similar amount next year.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has warned of its growing concern over the number of brokers who are owed commission payments by their mortgage network.
So, after extensive auditions supplemented by an elongated boot camp, where the FSA judges decided what would be in the finals, the IFA audience have voted off the worst-performing sections, leaving us with the remaining contestants for the grand final of the RDR Factor.
I want to begin 2009 by writing about what insurers are getting right rather than what they are getting wrong.
Let me give you a silver lining to start the year. Independent financial advice has never been in such great demand.
Libor continued to fall over the holiday period, with three-month figures edging down towards bank rate. The three-month Libor rate is currently at 2.64 per cent.
A geared commercial property fund managed by Tilney Asset Management has fallen by over 70 per cent in the past year as adviser concern regarding the sector continues.
The Conservatives have tabled an amendment to the Banking Bill calling for the a national loan guarantee scheme to be set up.
Informed Choice joint managing director Martin Bamford says the Tories should have pledged to double the cash Isa allowance rather than scrapping tax on savings for basic-rate taxpayers.
Towry Law is looking to inc- rease its assets under management by over 25 per cent this year and says it could double its number of advisers if the right acquisition opportunities become available.
The rate of corporate failure looks certain to rise in 2009, creating an environment where transfers out of final-salary schemes become more attractive.
Trigold has confirmed the dates for its 2009 Business Academy roadshow.
As the UK population embarks on yet another fitness regime with the start of the new year, some of the bigger players in the asset management industry are also looking to streamline and consolidate their operations.
Bogus investment operations have been grabbing the headlines, with the news last month that unsuspecting investors may have lost $50bn in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
Truestone has warned that US government bonds may suffer this year as increased supply and inflationary pressures threaten investor returns.
US mortgage lender Citigroup, along with several other large providers are in talks with the US Attorney to allow judges to modify mortgages in bankruptcy court.
New Star economist Simon Ward predicts that Government policy encouraging credit growth could stop the recession within six months. But he warns that foreign investment might be affected by further bank rate cuts and sterling depreciation.
A winding-up order has been granted against Prestbury after the firm was unable to pay a number of creditors.
With-profits investors with 25-year policies maturing this year are likely to get returns far lower than the previous year, says Hargreaves Lansdown.
Money market funds have unsurprisingly been among the most popular investments of late but just how long that will last remains to be seen. But with interest rates so low in the UK, the US and potentially in Europe, there is a question of whether or not money market funds will be able to generate enough yield to be attractive. And if they do, the question will be how risky are the assets they are invested in in order to generate an attractive return?