9 April 2008
The FSA has warned that it has concerns about potential for conflicts of interest, extra consumer costs and inappropriate investment advice when using wrap platforms.
Clerical Medical is warning advisers against rushing into wrap by highlighting problems that Australian advisers are having with legacy books on failed platforms.
Aegon is understood to be launching a variable annuity product next month which follows on from its 5 for life product.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has criticised the Hunt Review, saying that the industry was expecting a more comprehensive report.
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers says the new funding structure of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will see its members paying less towards the levy.
Allianz Global InvestorsAllianz RCM Global Agricultural Trends Fund
Application fees on the best buy fixed rate mortgage deals have nearly doubled in the past year, according to mform.co.uk.
Ashley Clark is a man on a mission. The co-founder of www.need-anadviser.com says he wants to see low-cost, fee-based and instantly accessible advice available to everyone in the world and he says technology is the key to achieving this goal.
AWD Chase De Vere has launched a new recruitment strategy that will look to double its adviser sales force by 2012.
Axa has introduced a roving underwriter service where underwriters will visit advisers around the country to answer their queries.
Brokers have questioned First Direct's decision to stop lending to new customers rather than reprice its mortgage rate.
Brown Advisory has announced the launch of a US equity smaller companies fund under the management of Tim Hathaway and Chris Berrier.
British Telecom is planning to launch an insurance hub it believes will overhaul the entire telecommunications and technology infrastructure of the UK financial services industry.
Until recently the buy-to-let sector was the one area that has held up under the pressure of the credit crunch. Lenders have been slower to tighten up criteria and restricting lending than in other sectors.
Canada Life says it is the first provider to offer capital protection on its standard annuity contract.
So far this year, we have seen volatile stockmarkets, a painful credit crunch which still has to reveal its full damage and rising distribution costs.
Cheshire Building Society10-Year Fixed
The Council of Mortgage Lenders chairman Steven Crawshaw has urged Bank of England governor Mervyn King to show leadership in response to the credit crunch.
Cofunds is adding 1,000 instruments to its existing range of differently priced fund links for institutional investors.
Our business was paper-based until 2003, when we discovered that the filing cabinets had much more office space than the staff.
New Star chairman John Duffield is feeling bullish about UK commercial property again.
Coventry Building SocietyFirst Time Buyer 6.99% Fixed
Cru Investment Management director Jon Maguire is launching an alliance forum of adviser firms which aims to become a national IFA in three years.
Mortgage inter-mediaries have largely backed the open letter written to them by Premier Mortgage Service managing director John Malone that was published in Money Marketing last week.
The Claims Standard Council will praise the Ministry of Justice for regulating the claims management sector at the trade body’s annual conference in Manchester tomorrow.
Dawnay Day QuantumProtected Commodities Dynamo
New Star chairman John Duffield believes the tide has turned for UK commercial property.
Back office software provider Durrell Software is offering brokers a free fact find system.
Between September and December last year, the FSA visited 100 advisory firms, mystery shopping 50 of them. This was part of its ongoing efforts to gauge firms' commitment to treating customers fairly and the overall quality of financial advice. The FSA has now released its preliminary findings.
The European Commission has informally agreed that emp-loyees can be auto-enrolled into group personal pensions when personal accounts are introduced in 2012, Money Marketing understands.
There has been a lot of talk of fairness and unfairness and mutterings of profiteering in the mortgage market. Having spoken to a few brokers, here is the editor’s tuppence worth.
Until now, the Pensions Bill currently passing through the House of Commons has mainly been about two things.
More consumers suffer financial loss through dealings with financial services firms than any other product or service, according to the Office of Fair Trading.
SimplyBiz and Mortgage Next have hit out at an open letter to brokers signed by mortgage clubs and networks, suggesting its support for lenders shows a lack of loyalty to brokers and borrowers.
Friends Provident has relaunched its online information centre with additional content for advisers including webcasts, podcasts and blogs.
The FSA has fined third party administration firm Liberata Financial Services Limited £525,000 for failures in its systems and controls concerning documents for its life and pensions policyholders.
The FSA has applied for permission to appeal Financial Services and Markets Tribunal decisions in relation to Leeds-based solicitor firm Fox Hayes.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has set its levy for 2008/09 at £131.7m, with the industry set to pay an initial net levy of £28.3m in new money.
New Star chief economist Simon Ward says there could be a potential funding gap of £81bn this year.
GMAC-RFC has confirmed it will be cutting up to 280 jobs, equating to 40 per cent of its workforce.
Godiva MortgagesCredit Impaired Near Prime Full Status 6.75% Flexx Fixed
Jupiter's £306m ecology fund celebrated its 20th anniversary last week.
Gartmore head of multi-manager Bambos Hambi has been replaced by his deputy Tony Lanning in a restructure of the product range.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s third quarter revenue rose following growth across its private investor platform and advisory and discretionary divisions.
HBOS chief economist Martin Ellis believes a repeat of the 1990s housing crash is extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future.
There is a lovely phrase - its provenance is somewhat uncertain - which is "the triumph of technique over purpose". It has many applications within and outside our industry and probably nowhere more so than with the FSA.
Helm Godfrey has announced net profit growth of over 13 per cent from £660,000 in 2006 to £744,000 last year.
I am not normally keen on single-country funds but I believe that the new Jupiter India fund offers outstanding opportunities.
Invesco Perpetual is investigating the launch of a number of international offerings in a bid to return its international range to the forefront of its business.
The champion of the week is Pioneer, which paid out on 96 per cent of income protection claims last year.
JC Flowers could walk away from a potential deal with Friends Provident before the end of the month deadline which has been imposed by the embattled life insurer.
JC Flowers is refusing to increase its 150 pence per share offer for Friends Provident and says it will withdraw its proposal by the end of this week if the life office does not enter into discussions.
The mortgage industry is not in the business of offering charity. There is regulation to be adhered to, there are customers or clients - take your pick of the terminology - to be served and serviced. There is money to be made within the law and within regulations.
Legal & GeneralGrowth Investment Plan Plus 13
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Lyxor Asset ManagementLyxor ETF MSCI World
Specialist environmental manager Impax Asset Management has introduced a fund that will invest globally in big and medium-sized companies that are developing products or services to solve the world’s environmental problems.
Nationwide has withdrawn a selection of its fixed rate products and its open market home buy scheme.
Speculation is mounting that another firm is to take a stake in Seven Investment Management in a move that could see Zurich dilute its current 49 per cent holding.
The National Landlords Association has launched a free service that enables landlords to source a range of buy-to-let mortgage products from a panel of lenders.
Recent research by Ernst & Young has identified that there is over £250bn of assets in closed funds.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has called for a broader collateral swap programme to combat the credit crunch.
By the middle of last week, markets were feeling a little calmer and it was beginning to look as though the FTSE was capable of climbing above 6,000. However, the fact remains that news is still not improving. With UBS announcing further write-offs and its chief executive falling on his sword, it is clear that turmoil in credit markets has some way to run yet. In the UK, we saw the fourth consecutive month of falling house prices and the number of lenders withdrawing their mortgage products ...
Every now and then I find myself on the receiving end of a tidal wave of emails from readers keen to correct any wrong points made in one of my columns.
The Pension Corporation has agreed to water down its plans for the Telent pension scheme after a six month battle with the Pensions Regulator.
Plum Software has released a new application which it says makes the process of matching commission statements against expected income “virtually instantaneous”.
Conditions in financial markets remain difficult and the volatility that has been with us for the last year or so continues to be a feature. Sharp swings in market indices are occurring on an almost daily basis as investors react to the latest set of economic data or corporate news release.
Independent mortgage consultant Kevin Duffy is warning that procuration fees could be cut in the next wave of belt tightening to hit the industry.
Places for People and the Co-operative Bank in conjunction with HomeBuy have come up with something for those trying to get on to the housing ladder.
Four professional bodies, including the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Institute of Financial Planning, have signed a joint declaration of principles setting out how they will supervise advisers in the future.
With the Budget out of the way and spring rolling round, a new tax year is upon us and talk of tax, tax forms, tax breaks - the list goes on - fills the money section newspaper columns.
Prudential is thought to have drawn up a shortlist of potential candidates to take over from chairman Sir David Clementi before the end of the year.
Lehman Brothers has brought out the enhanced deposit plan, a FTSE 100-linked guaranteed equities bond with two investment options.
Mortgage brokers are continuing to deal with the difficult task of finding mortgages for their clients in an environment which sees some lenders reprice up to three times a week.
A record number of chartered surveyors have reported a fall in house prices with little expectation that demand will improve, according to the latest RICS survey for March.
Schroders co-head of structured investments Richard Lloyd has quit the firm after 11 years.
The Hunt Review’s proposal to award wooden spoons to firms with particularly poor complaints records would put unfair pressure on companies not to oppose complaints, says law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.
South African financial services group Sanlam has acquired a 60 per cent stake in adviser firm Buckles.
Scottish Widows has added retirement income, an unsecured personal pension option, to its retirement account.
In recent weeks, the gilt market has been mov-ing to a global rhythm rather than a specifically UK one. The UK has its own market idiosyncrasies which are apparent in the shape of the UK gilt yield curve compared with the US and European curves but the dominant global theme remains the credit crisis and the liquidity crunch accompanying it.
Does the regulator believe that financial services and products are bought or that they are sold?
Seven Investment Management believes the introduction of its asset-allocated passive funds of funds is part of a Darwinian evolution of the multi-manager concept.
Shepherds FriendlyMortgage Payment Protection Insuranc
Two strands of industry comment have drawn my interest in the last few weeks. They involve the re-emergence of broker funds and the question of whether platform users can justify higher charges.
The Way GroupWay MA Growth Portfolio
Tactica Fund Management UKS&W Tactica Growth Portfolio
Thames River Capital's multi-manager team says funds focused on mid and small caps are a potential investment opportunity.
I am an Australian national and a UK non-domicile for tax purposes. Is there any point in me maintaining an offshore trust? What should I do with my other overseas assets following the new tax rules that have recently come into force?
It was a decent headline grabber at the time. Mike Webb, the former head of retail at Invesco Perpetual, proclaimed: "We could lose a generation of investors."
The Way GroupWay MA Growth Portfolio
Much attention has been given to the proposed new provisions for the additional charge payable by long-term UK residents who are either not UK-domiciled or not UK ordinarily resident and who wish to use the favourable remittance basis for income and gains arising overseas.
Former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby has signed on to chair a Treasury credit crunch working group.
Venture capital trusts have seen a fall of over 25 per cent in new investments for 2007/08.
Invesco Perpetual head of investment Neil Woodford has called on investors to resist deserting equities in the current economic environment.
Woolwich10-Year Fixed Rate
I have been quick to criticise the doom-mongers in the past who have been talking the mortgage market down and negatively affecting overall consumer confidence.
Yorkshire Building Society will be opening two new branches this year, taking its number of branches up to 136.