9 March 2005
It is good to be able to say something positive about life companies. Norwich Union's decision to offer its 40,000 Provident Mutual holders of mortgage-linked with-profits endowments the opportunity to switch into the bigger CGNU with-profits fund in an attempt to give them a better return on their investment is a shining example to the entire industry.
Brokers are finding themselves increasingly squeezed by len-ders on buy-to-let mortgages, prompting questions on whe-ther concerns over the sector are rising.
Assurances that employer contributions of up to 100 per cent of salary will gain tax relief would be a major positive from the Budget, according to Central Financial Planning director Ian Smith.
IFAs' share of the personal finance market will fall by only about 5 per cent over the next three years, according to Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen.
Arc Fund ManagementArc 3 EIS Growth Fund
Artemis has sold its 134m multi-manager Premier funds business to Credit Suisse Asset Management.
Is multi-tying purely a commercial decision by advisers to get higher commission or does it really benefit the consumer by offering them a less confusing best-of-breed selection?
Former Sofa chairman Nick Bamford has slashed his professional indemnity cover premium by more than half by shopping around.
Concerns are growing over FSA market-average figures.
Pension guru Steve Bee says he cannot believe the Inland Revenue will allow assets such as family homes to be passed down between generations tax-free in a new family pension scheme.
A former managing director of Merrill Lynch is calling for simplification of the savings industry and the removal of reliance on Government subsidy as a way of solving current savings problems.
Berkeley Berry Birch has made four major additions to its senior management team to fill gaps left by departures.
Phil Billingham Associates is to merge with David Williams Training to create Haven Risk Management.
Britannic Asset ManagementUK Property Fund
Borrowers rejected where previously would have been offered BTL mortgagesConsultant at a large multi-national accountancy firm requests 50 per cent LTV for a buy-to-let property.
Buy-to-let investors are reporting a fall in void periods, according to Mortgage Express's January report into confidence in the sector.
The most striking thing about lender discussions this year is a real desire to improve margins on their mainstream books. This has always been a pretty clear objective but there is a new determination in the way this is being expressed and it is being evidenced by the reluctance of the mainstream lenders to embark on a price war despite market volumes being depressed.
Close Venture Management will be hamstrung in its run-ning of the three Murray VCTs because Aberdeen still holds investor rights on most of its holdings.
Yet another year has passed and, inevitably, depolarisation dominates the current agenda. The banks and product providers shuffle and every week a new player announces a multi-tie or other proposition. The increasing complexity of the regulations and the pace of change are adding to the stress levels of all of us, pushing up PI and ICS costs and so on.
Industry sources say there is confusion over what Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson views as a citizen's pension and it appears unlikely that it is the 105 a week universal flat-rate pension advocated by, among others, the NAPF and the Liberal Democrats.
Monday dawns. My last day of freedom. Tomorrow I start at Money Mail. I have packed my backpack and have an apple ready for new boss Tony Hazell.
Coventry Building SocietyMOREgage 6.6% Capped Rate
The Exchange is integrating its quotation and new business services into Lifesearch's back-office and admin system.
Dawnay Day QuantumProtected Commodities Accelerator III
Structured product provider Dawnay Day Quantum has created another issue of protected commodities accelerator, capital-protected bond linked to a basket of eight industrial metals and energy-related commodities.
Money Marketing mortgage round tableAn increase in intermediaries specifically dedicated to equity-release products is needed to encourage growth in the sector, says Purely Mortgages managing director Mark Chilton.
I am 57 and have been provided with a pension share valued at 400,000 of my former husband's small self-administered scheme. I have been told that I must move my money out of his scheme. Can you suggest where as I have no pension of my own?
Dover Street Capital, a specialist venture capital and investment advisory firm in London, has brought out the Dover Street venture capital trust which will have a fixed life of six years.
Advisers face increasing complexities in estate planning for the wealthy, says accountant Saffery Champness.
Eurolife Assurance Group has made a start in its bid to raise assets to fund its restructuring proposals with the sale of its 50m life book - Eurolife Assurance Company - to Reliance Mutual.
The collapse of Exeter Fund Managers means that investors will be paid out by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Sarah Speake has joined Fidelity to head up its intermediary marketing team.Speake joins from Henderson Global Investors, where she was latterly marketing and product management director, and will report into Fidelity head of UK distribution, Michael Jones.Speake also previously worked Save and Prosper and GT Management.
In this series of articles, I am identifying and discussing recent and impending developments in various aspects of pensions. Leading on from my last article, I am now considering issues relating to financial protection for sch-eme members of final-salary wind-ups.
FTBs are an endangered species and need help to survive.
The role of intermediaries has been likened to a number of occupations - some more flattering than others.A popular parallel has been that of a general practitioner, dispensing advice and solutions based on the circumstances of the individual.
Friends Provident is restructuring its UK life and pension management team.
Building society chief executives have presented over 22,000 signatures to the Chancellor in support of the national Raise the Roof stamp duty campaign to lift the stamp duty threshold from 60,000 to 150,000.
"Join the club," IFAs might well be saying to fund managers this week.
GE LifeSection 32 Transfer Plan
Skandia has been accused of protectionism after refusing to set up links between an IFA firm's in-house fund of fund range and its own onshore bond.
FSA plans for electronic reporting are in danger of becoming too prescriptive, leaving firms unable to explain the way their firm works, says Worldwide Financial Planning IFA John Shackleton.
One of the astonishing parts of the recent ABI report on commission is the assumption that there is still a fee versus commission debate. It is surely time for us to move on to a debate that focuses on how advisers can be paid effectively and fairly for the work they do with clients. To enable this to happen, there has to be a form of commission that rewards the selling of products
A significant increase in outsourcing activity in the life and pension industry over the next two years is inevitable.
In my opinion, IFAs under-value their services because they have failed to get away from the fact that they sometimes have to be salesmen.
Judging where to put your money abroad means taking acc-ount of often conflic-ting information, says Brian Tora.
I have been asked which venture capital trust I would recommend for medium-risk investors to top up their pensions over the long term. The one I recommend is Close income and growth VCT.
Seven Investment Management's founders believe we are seeing a split in the sector between the old school of product sales and the new generation of professional planning.
KeydataKeydata Income VCTs 1 and 2
Key facts illustrations offer too much information and do not concentrate on what is important to consumers, according to a report from Beachcroft Wansbroughs Consulting.
Lifesearch became the first specialist IFA to win Money Marketing's IFA of the Year award last week.
Just Retirement is offering a Ship-approved fixed lifetime mortgage that will pay a cash lump sum of up to 250,000.
An Inland Revenue plan to give discretion on qualifying pension contributions to local tax inspectors after A-Day is raising concern among advisers and product providers.
Abbey for Intermediaries director Ambrose McGinn has quit after 16 years.
Applying higher lending charges are not the ideal way to help a borrower rehabilitate their credit rating. HLCs are no benefit to the intermediary or their client and is invariably treated by the lender as cash or profit.
Critics of the HLC have suggested that it is added to the loan purely to claw back money lost under the pretence of a low interest ratebut the HLC is needed to accommodate the additional risk that comes with higher LTV loans.
When the Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust was launched in 1868,its objective was to provide private investors with the opportunity to invest in the same areas as "large capitalists". This remains the case today.
Higher lending charges are coming under fire in the mortgage market.
Newton Investment ManagementNewton Phoenix Fund
Money Marketing mortgage round table2005 will prove to be the year of the first time buyer, according to a group of mortgage experts at a Money Marketing mortgage round table discussions.
Over 90 per cent of IFAs will remain independent after depolarisation according to research by Winterthur Life.
Over half of people who intend to leave money to relatives and friends have done no res-earch into the costs of inheritance tax, according to a survey by Brewin Dolphin.
Perpetual Income & Growth Investment trust has made a takeover bid for the Securities Trust of Scotland.
The article headlined, PFS members won't get preferential PI (Money Marketing,March 3) misrepresents the arrangement between NCG and the Personal Finance Society.
Last week, I looked at the use of a discretionary trust as a tax-efficient means of passing on a half share of a property when the first of a married couple dies.
PlatformBuy-to-Let - Base Rate Tracker
The FSA has lost the respect and support of the financial services industry, says ing a report from the Centre for Policy Studies.
The letter from Tony Conner, Joss Harwood and Owen Temple in Money Marketing (February 10) contains a number of misconceptions about the nature of the pilot scheme with the Citizens' Advice Bureau to offer the public "pro bono" generic advice.
Premier Fund ManagersSegmented Growth Plan - Limited Editions 24
The General Election - Liberal DemocratsVince Cable, MP, Shadow Chancellor
ProVen VCT 3 has become one of the first VCTs to effectively withdraw from the market this season and is offering investors a switch into the original ProVen VCT through top-up shares.
Prudential is ready to return to the protection market after 18 months.
Active investors have faith in the stockmarket but the general public still prefer property, according to a sur-vey by the Association of Investment Trust Companies.
Employers need a new approach to dealing with stress-related illness in the workplace.
SchrodersSchroder S&P Cautious Managed Distribution Portfolio
Schroders has added a cautious fund to the Ucits III compliant multi-manager fund range it developed with fund research and ratings agency Standard & Poors last September.
Sesame says it does not allocate either of its two fee-free omb-udsman complaints to anyone because it would become an unfair lottery.
Independence is the preferred choice for most IFAs although many are open-minded about multi-tie, claims Sesame.
Scottish Widows managed to grow its share of the pension market last year despite slashing commission and focusing on higher-margin business.
SimplyBiz and Mortgage Support Network have launched joint venture company Broker Support Services aimed at supporting directly authorised mortgage intermediaries.
Skandia Investment Management has selected four Schroder funds to be made available through its new multi-manager investment funds range.
Skandia Investment Management has named the managers who will run its asset allocator range of seven fund of funds which which it will to attract between 100m and 200m in the first year.
Scottish Life International has set up an online asset allocation tool to ensure that an IFA's investment advice matches the risk profiles of clients.
Standard Life has cut premiums on its lifetime protection series for level term insurance and mortgage protection insurance.
Standard Life is set to launch a group Sipp platform at the end of the summer, building on its individual offering.
Standard Life is offering the second tranche of its secured capital plan which will be available to investors until April 25.
Standard Life is having to renegotiate remuneration terms with several IFAs after a system glitch led to a shock cut in commission streams of up to 60 per cent.
Advisers believe New Star's rise to the top of the retail fund sales league is down to service and performance.
If it's not one thing with pensions these days, it's another. Quite apart from all the changes coming in following the publication of last year's Finance and Pension Acts, we have also got the knock-on effects of age discrimination legislation to contend with.
Two financial advisers have been ordered to pay a total of 250,000 compensation and given suspended jail sentences for their part in a 2.5m fraud scandal in Northern Ireland.
Keep communicating through good and bad times and make your message reverberate.
John Chatfeild-Roberts, head of Jupiter's independent funds team, looks at the vital role of asset allocation.
Independent advisers need to consider the nature of their service to clients when picking investments.
Scottish Equitable head of business development Steven Cameron assesses the radical plans set out by the ABI for changes to adviser remuneration.
When Thinc and Destini merge in April it will create one of the biggest five advisory firms in the country, with annual turn-over of between 40m and 50m.
The with-profits bonus declaration season is coming to a close. For many, there have been improved fortunes and now is the time when clients' portfolios are being reassessed by advisers.
UBS Global Asset ManagementUBS Absolute Return Bond Fund
UBS Global Asset ManagementUBS Absolute Return Bond Fund
I had to write to congratulate Ian Lowes for his article in Money Marketing (February 10). I agree 100 per cent with his response to the contracting-out issue. I have been making similar remarks to clients for many years.
The Exchange parent company Marlborough Sterling has been bought by a subsidiary of United Utilities for 95.3m.
Time could be running out for IFAs to learn the worth of investing in venture capital trusts.
The Personal Finance Society is certainly hitting the ground running but it gives the impression that it is stubbing its toes rather badly.
The boards of the Witan and F&C investment trusts believe their multi-manager strategies will revive investor confidence in investment trusts.
Woolwich Plan Managers7% Bonus Bond
Our panel discuss whether the size of some equity income funds is hindering performance and the problems of delivering yield.
Younger men are saving a bigger proportion of their income than any other age group.