9 September 2009
The FSA has fined Barclays Capital Securities and Barclays Bank £2.45m for transaction reports failures and for serious weaknesses in systems and controls.
IFA consolidator Perspective Financial Group has had a £6.5m cash injection from Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets. Lloyds invested £6m when it launched in March 2008 but has doubled its investment to enable Perspective to continue on its acquisition trail after buying eight firms.
The launch of HSBC's all-time low 1.99 per cent mortgage has met with mixed reaction from advisers.
2Plan Wealth Management is in talks with Royal Liver to take on Park Row’s 240 advisers in a bulk transfer deal.
2Plan Wealth Management is in talks with Royal Liver to take on Park Row's 240 advisers in a bulk transfer deal.
Ninety-seven per cent of borrowers in mortgage arrears over the last two years have not faced repossession, research by the Building Societies Association has found.
Aegon has established a UK equity income fund to provide an income option in the low interest rate environment.
The news that Lloyds TSB's venture capital arm has invested £42m, to become the biggest shareholder in 1st-The Exchange provides an opportunity to review the state of the IFA software market.
Aberdeen has plans to merge three former Credit Suisse funds following its takeover of the firm.
Eighty per cent of UK insurers predict a drop in the number of insurance firms if Government fails to improve competitiveness, Association of British Insurers research reveals.
Cazenove Capital ManagementAbsolute UK Dynamic Fund
The recovery is arriving quicker than expected, most notably in China. At least that is what the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded in its latest interim assessment published last week.
Adviser Oeic lobby group the Investment Funds Association has rejected the FSA's proposal that distributor-influenced funds should be considered a "contract of last resort" by advisers.
A group of advisers and a structured product provider have established an IFA forum to liaise directly with administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers on issues over Keydata.
Aegon has launched a free online retirement planning tool to help advisers organise options for clients nearing retirement.
Aegon Scottish Equitable InternationalSecure Lifetime Income
Association of Independent Financial Advisers director of policy Andrew Strange says that the core units are an important step in developing the QCF level four exam but attention must be paid to alternative assessment options.
Specialist lender Aldermore has appointed Steve Barry as its new risk director.
As consultation begins on the draft core units for the QCF level 4 qualification, more pressure must be put on the FSA to allow genuine work-based assessments as an alternative to examinations.
Aviva writes policies in trust - I could hardly believe my own eyes when I read this in Money Marketing.
Aviva is considering launching a fixed-term annuity.
Aviva UK General Insurance sales and marketing director John Kitson is to step down in March 2010 after 14 years at the insurer.
Axa is considering launching a corporate wrap to be positioned alongside its Elevate platform.
The Bank of England needs to stop allowing financial institutions to hoard money gleaned from the £175bn quantitative easing stimulus, says Threadneedle.
Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein says public anger against bankers’ pay is "understandable and appropriate".
What a difference a year can make has never been more true than recently. Just look at the fortunes of the banking sector. Almost a year ago this week, the rumblings of what would soon turn into a global catastrophe in the banking system began.
Baring Asset Management says absolute return funds can complicate multi-manager multi-asset portfolios because the underlying managers do some of the asset allocation work that would normally be done by the multi-manager.
Bluefin has announced a strategic partnership with technology firm SSP to provide a managed service broking solution.
Completely and utterly useless and a total waste of time and money. These are the eloquent words of wisdom one of my colleagues used to describe her recent, and at times, very stressful experience of home information packs. Ask anyone (apart from Hip providers) involved in the process of buying and selling a house and you will get the same answer - solicitors, estate agents and the public at large, and they all say pretty much the same sort of thing.
The Government may have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds to bail out its failed offshore tax jurisdictions due to huge deficits caused by the financial crisis, according to reports.
Wealth manager Brooks Macdonald Group has bought Canterbury-based Lawrence House Fund Managers.
The direction of markets is a tough call to make at any time, let alone during the worst recession for decades and an unprecedented banking crisis.
Bills & things is a budget individual insurance plan designed to cover the payment of regular bills such as mortgage, rent and utility bills if the policyholder cannot work due to illness or an accident.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable has launched a pamphlet outlining his plans to tackle the financial crisis.
Cater AllenCapital Guaranteed Defined Returns Plan 3
Cazenove has introduced the absolute UK dynamic fund, which will apply a long and short investment strategy to small and medium-sized UK companies.
A few weeks back, I enjoyed a splendid lunch with the individual who was the first CEO of an asset management group to pay trail commission to IFAs.
Cheyne Capital Management has launched the Cheyne select Ucits fund, a Ucits III compliant umbrella fund.
Axa Framlington chief executive Robert Kyprianou is retiring by the end of the year after 10 years with the firm.
The City of London Police has arrested four men in connection with a £9m mortgage fraud against a major insurance company.
Hargreaves Lansdown has slammed the Government and the Board of Actuarial Standards for misleading savers by providing conflicting pension forecasts.
Complaints against mortgage firms leapt by 92 per cent between 2006 and 2008 from 14,790 to 28,492, according to FSA data.
Is it getting better? A question I am regularly asked and my response is the same - it is too early to say but it is certainly not getting worse. The holiday season is now behind us and the next couple of months will tell us an awful lot about the speed of any recovery.
Co-op Financial Services has opened bank branches in Co-op shops on a trial basis.
Atkins Ferrie Chartered Accountants has teamed up with IFA firm Knight O’Byrne to launch a financial planning advice service.
Zurich International Life has reported a huge increase in offshore protection sales with advisers suggesting that current economic conditions have led to an increase in focus on this sector.
Aifa director general Chris Cummings has defended Aifa chairman John Gummer's remuneration after it was revealed that he earns nearly £700 an hour.
Two-thirds of private sector workers are now without a pension as defined contribution schemes fail to plug the gap left by the closure of final salary pensions, according to the Trade Union Congress.
Rowanmoor Pensions joint managing director Ian Hammond and Aifa director general Chris Cummings have led tributes to David Seaton after a coroner confirmed that his body was found on a beach in Cornwall.
Dennehy Weller managing director Brian Dennehy has slammed Cofunds after suggesting its price hike is a means of increasing its value ahead of a potential stock market flotation.
Aviva Investors fund manager Dominic White is to leave the firm after eight years.
Acuity Capital partner Judith MacKenzie has left the firm to join Downing Corporate Finance as an investment director.
I will be discussing a fund which is essentially a retail hedge fund (using Ucits III powers). I do not like getting into the politics of hedge funds, which get an extraordinarily bad press, but I did get a letter from one client recently who described hedge funds as "an abomination". He suggested they were the root cause of all the problems in the financial sector.
A Nottingham accountant has been jailed for eight years for his part in a £2.5m buy-to-let tax fraud. John Warman manipulated the tax returns of a £31m buy-to-let empire to help the property owner evade paying tax.
Aviva is including enhanced annuity quotes in the wake-up packs it sends to eligible maturing policyholders eight weeks before retirement.
Former Money Portal directors have collectively lost millions of pounds through the company's administration, the creditors report has revealed.
A group of British expatriates are challenging the Government in a European court over its policy to freeze state pensions against inflation increases for expats living in some countries.
M&G fund manager Mike Felton is to return to the company this week after taking a year off due to ill health.
The Tax Incentivised Savings Association has appointed Fidelity FundsNetwork and UK platforms executive director and head David Dalton-Brown to the board as a non-executive director.
Fitch has echoed the Association of British Insurers' concerns about the impact that Solvency II will have on annuity providers.
Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews has called for the minimum qualification standard for advisers to be raised to QCF level six in the future.
Friends Provident paid £370,000 for Trevor Matthews to move home.
Friends Provident has removed market value reductions on all pension contracts taken out after 2001 and on all life contracts.
The FSA and the Association of British Insurers have launched an online pension calculator designed to help people gauge how much they will have to live on in retirement.
The FSA has banned mortgage broker Arthur Kirk for failing to establish proper systems and controls at his business, Grosvenor Mortgage Advice Centre, based in Manchester.
The FSA has issued a final notice to a mortgage broker cancelling its permission to carry on regulated activities after he failed to pay fees and levies of £1,104 owed to the regulator.
The FSA has fined Kent-based advisory firm Henry Neil Ltd £14,000 for failing to demonstrate that its advice on offshore investment bonds was suitable.
A year on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers the FSA has announced it will be taking action against firms involved with the structured products backed by the bankrupt bank.
The FSA says it has uncovered serious issues in its review into Lehman-backed structured products and it will be taking action against firms.
INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES AND RISK The characteristics, inherent risks, behaviour and correlation of asset classes
The Financial Services Skills Council is consulting on the three draft core units for the retail distribution review QCF level four qualification.
The FTSE opened up at 5,018 on yesterday’s close as financial stocks helped keep the index above the 5,000 mark.
Invest & Give FundInvest & Give Fund
Fund groups are looking at possible ways to challenge the rate hike recently proposed by Cofunds.
L&G is offering a new fund tracker capital guaranteed bond with 100 per cent participation or a set minimum return linked to its money builder fund. The L&G money builder (Investec) fund is a combination of the Investec cautious managed fund and the Investec target return fund.
Last week Money Marketing revealed that Legal & General and Aviva are introducing menu-based protection products for intermediaries to appeal to a broader range of advisers and clients.
General insurance broker Brightside is setting its sights on becoming the largest life assurance broker in UK, with a target of transacting 300,000 polices by 2012.
Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard says the proposed core units delve far deeper into investment, tax and ethics than existing entry-level qualifications.
I have just seen a presentation at the Women's Institute about inheritance tax, can you please explain to me what I need to know and tell me how I can avoid paying this tax?
It is not often that a debate about healthcare provision in individual countries goes global, so it was fascinating to follow the rally of comments flying between the US and the UK as the NHS was suddenly lassooed into the new US president's struggle for healthcare reform.
Henderson New Star has confirmed the launch of a European special situations fund for Richard Pease next month.
Home & Capital has revealed it is to increase its home reversion book by a third by taking on 1,000 In Retirement Services loans.
Honister Capital paid £5.35m for the Money Portal's businesses, with the vast majority spent on execution-only arm Willis Owen and just £100,000 each for Sage and Burns Anderson.
House prices continue to rise for the second month running, according to the latest Halifax house price index.
The National Landlords Association has revealed that Ian Austin MP will address delegates at its national conference in Birmingham in November.
National IFA LEBC Group chief executive Jack McVitie has hit out at Royal Bank of Scotland after his photograph was used in an advertising campaign urging consumers to visit an RBS branch.
IFA coalition IFAlliance is planning to open up its white-labelled products and services to the wider IFA market within the next three months.
The Institute of Financial Planning will host its annual conference on October 5-7, which will this year focus on helping firms transition their businesses to an RDR-compliant model.
Institute of Financial Planning education director Lucy Courtenay says the Financial Services Skills Council still needs to determine the method by which it will test the required knowledge in its draft core units.
Industry commentators are unsurprised by the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to hold the base rate at 0.5 per cent and continue with its quantitative easing programme.
Investec Structured Products has introduced the FTSE 100 bonus income plan to replace its FTSE 100 and RPI combination plan.
Investec Structured Products1 Year Range Deposit - Bear Issue 13
Investec Structured Products1 Year Range Deposit - Bull Issue 13
Investment management firm Merchant Securities has bought London IFA and wealth management company Cavendish Young from founder and managing director Mark Estcourt.
The decisive victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in August's lower house general election has added confusion to a market that has traditionally perplexed IFAs and fund managers.
I am appealing for your readers' help to join the campaign for the immediate closure of the MPs' defined-benefit final-salary pensions scheme to new members.
JP Morgan Asset Management has created the multi-asset income fund, which will resemble its e offshore global income fund and the JPM income builder fund, which is open to US investors.
Julius Baer is launching its Japan stock fund in the UK combining two investment approaches to target excess returns from Japan’s equities.
Jupiter is planning to launch an international financials fund and a global absolute return fund for Philip Gibbs next year.
David Blanchflower has blamed Mervyn King’s inaction in 2008 for the depth of the current recession.
Legal & General and Aviva are introducing menu-based protection products for intermediaries to appeal to a broader range of advisers and clients.
Legal & General is axing an increasing number of IFA agencies because of the high policy lapse rate on business written by some firms.
Legal & General has launched a new fund tracker capital guaranteed bond linked to the L&G money builder fund.
Hargreaves Lansdown chairman Stephen Lansdown says the firm can become a FTSE 100 company by following its present business model.
Sesame has reported a 64 per cent increase in the number of advisers complaining about the service and practices by lenders during the first six months of 2009.
Experts warn that some lenders could be hiding mortgage fraud on their balance sheets.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable has today set out proposals to cut the salaries of those earning over £100,000 in the public sector by 25 per cent.
Lloyds Banking Group has topped the list of financial firms against which the Financial Ombudsman Service received the highest level of complaints, with 15,233 across its brands between January and June this year.
Mortgage lenders could be in line for huge losses as the industry prepares for a glut of mortgage fraud cases to be uncovered.
LV= has announced its life and pensions total APE was up 14 per cent to £45.2m for the six months to June 30, compared to £39.7m in the first half of 2008.
M&G fund manager Mike Felton is to return to the company this week after taking a year off due to ill health.
Three out of five mortgage brokers are charging their clients fees for the advice they offer.
Meteor Asset ManagementProtected Oil Growth Plan
Midas Capital is investing in funds from New City Investments, a firm founded in 2004 by former Midas employee Richard Lockwood.
Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack is stepping down from his role at the firm but will continue serving as chairman.
A mortgage broker has been ordered to pay a £6,000 fine by the Westminster Magistrates Court in the FSA’s first criminal prosecution for failing to notify the regulator of a change in control.
Mortgage lending showed its first material annual growth in July for the first time since early 2007, according to the latest Council of Mortgage Lenders' survey.
When the mortgage rescue scheme was rolled out in January this year, I immediately thought of an elderly couple - let's call them Mr and Mrs J - who I have been helping with their housing dilemmas for around six years.
Work and pensions select committee chairman Terry Rooney says pension income of high-earning public sector workers should be capped at £50,000 a year.
The Monetary Policy Committee has held the base rate at 0.5 per cent and has decided to continue with the £175bn quantitative easing programme.
Residential mortgage brokers are being warned to take great care when introducing clients to third party brokers for commercial finance.
Mortgage Times has agreed a deal with Bright Grey and Paymentshield for the providers to pay commission directly to its appointed representatives.
The proportion of new lending for home purchases exceeded remortgage business for the first time since quarter three of 2007, according to the FSA's latest mortgage lending data.
Newton higher income fund manager Tinekke Frikkee has warned investors that yields offered by UK equity income funds could plummet by the end of 2009.
Nucleus has launched a free online capital gains tax calculator on its platform.
Octopus Investments is relying solely on exchange traded funds to gain exposure to European equities, UK gilts and Japanese equities within its risk-graded Omnis and Prism multi-manager portfolios.
Origen Limited has made a pre-tax loss of £1.15m for 2008 after incurring redundancy costs on both its financial and investment services arms.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne has reassured FSA chiefs that there will be a transition period of up to several years before the regulator is scrapped if the Conservative party comes to power, according to the Financial Times.
At one stage last week, I thought the long-awaited bout of profit-taking had set in. It did not appear to go very far, although by the time you read this, anything could have happened. There have not been any consistent signals to guide investors recently. Both corporate and economic news has come in with great variety. We are paying down debt, but the manufacturing industry continues to suffer. Perhaps marking time is the best to hope for at present but I would not dismiss some sort of setback.
Almost two thirds of fund managers expect a greater use of performance fees in the next 12 months, according to research from Skandia Investment Group.
With opinion polls giving the Conservatives a double-digit lead, it is natural the industry will start asking how they might regulate financial services. Some assume the Conservatives, the traditional party of business, will loosen the regulatory grip and the party that deregulated financial markets in the 1980s will offer lighter-touch regulation.
The recent rally suggests investors have been willing to focus on the positive aspects of recent economic and market news. The question remains, can this increased appetite continue, or will it lead to a further bout of indigestion?
I have never been a massive fan of Joni Mitchell but her more recent albums are exceptional and her seminal piece Big Yellow Taxi is an unforgettable part of my musical youth. Her line: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone" is so in keeping with all that has gone wrong in regulation and Government fiscal policy.
The Financial Services Skills Council is meeting with awarding bodies today to discuss if the RDR-required QCF level 4 qualification should be restricted to existing professional bodies.
Seeing a fall in pension fund values in their yearly statement will set many a pension saver's heart racing and their fingers reaching for their adviser's phone number. The rollercoaster ride of the stockmarket over the last year may have its part to play in reducing pension forecasts but many falls will be due to a change in the rules for yearly pension illustrations, known as statutory money-purchase illustrations.
Property advisers Jones Lang LaSalle has warned that the recent reports of UK house price increases is merely a rally that will lead to further falls.
Research from consultancy firm NMG shows the UK & Ireland reinsurance market is the most price-competitive, leading Legal & General to question whether protection premiums may rise in the future.
PSigma Investment Management has bolstered its investment team with the appointment of Geoff Cooper.
Zurich International Life is cutting distribution in Asia and Australasia.
Axa Framlington monthly income was one of 45 new entrants into Chelsea Financial Services' latest relegation zone list.
Rensburg's UK best ideas fund has outperformed Skandia's version since their respective launches in autumn 2006.
Ilkley IFA firm Ridings has agreed a deal with Bright Financial Services to take over the firm when its partners retire.
Sector Investment Managers has established an Oeic that aims for growth by investing globally in a portfolio consisting mainly of small and medium-sized mining companies.
SEI has appointed former Maia fund manager Jason Collins as head of UK and European equities.
The Financial Ombudsman Service upheld 32 per cent of complaints against Sesame compared to 59 per cent of complaints upheld against St James’s Place.
Sesame has warned that failure to develop a work-based assessment for advisers under the RDR could have “dramatic consequences” for the industry in terms of IFA fall-out.
Sesame says it will offer its advisers a form of factoring if the FSA refuses to allow up-front payments from providers, particularly on regular premium business.
Financial Services Skills Council managing director Simon Ellis is leaving to join Legal & General as managing director of the unit trust business in October.
Skandia Investment Group’s Jamie Macleod has stepped down from his role as chief executive and has left the business.
The Financial Services Skills Council says it has entered the final consultation phase of its strategic review and will submit re-licencing proposals for approval on September 30.
The Financial Services Skills Council is in the process of appointing an interim chief executive after managing director Simon Ellis announced he is moving to L&G.
PSigma income manager Bill Mott believes the UK has avoided "financial Armageddon" and is set for a period of anaemic growth over the next five years.
The FSA says some small Sipp providers are failing to treat their customers fairly.
Larger Sipp providers are likely to be hit by the FSA's recent thematic review into small Sipp providers as well as non-relationship managed firms, according to pensions consultant Mattioli Woods.
How does someone who spends a lot of time abroad decide their tax basis?
Overall complaints to IFAs, financial advisers and non-advised arrangers more than halved from 78,517 in 2006 to just 37,964 in 2008.
Succession Advisory Services the wealth management and financial services consolidation business, has appointed Alan Wardrop as finance director.
Succession Advisory Services has signed up Tax and Wealth Solutions Limited to its transition programme.
SWIPSicav Emerging Markets Infrastructure Fund
SWIPSicav Emerging Markets Smaller Companies Fund
SWIPSicav Latin American Fund
Thames River's multi-manager team has doubled its exposure to covered call funds within its £53.8m distribution portfolio in 2009.
I was interested to read Fay Goddard's view of the critics of the RDR in her article headed, Folly of Resistance (Money Marketing August 20).
How lovely to be back. Never, ahem, doubted it for a second. Did you miss me? I certainly missed you, though the twin concerns of the Ashes and writing my emerging markets book kept me suitably occupied - though possibly not in the proportions they should have done.
Thames River Capital's boutique nature has allowed it to stay active during the downturn while many competitors were forced to trim propositions.
Income protection complaints have almost trebled between 2006 and 2008.
Seventy-four per cent of people do not believe their savings plan will achieve their financial goals, a survey by the Institute of Financial Planning and Morningstar has revealed.
The Conservatives could delay plans to raise the basic state pension in a bid to cut public spending if they win the next election.
The Conservatives are considering selling stakes in the nationalised banks back to ordinary investors if they get into power.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne says there will be an emergency Budget in June or July if the Tories win the election.
In my last article which was published some issues ago, I looked at four simple tax planning strategies for minimising exposure to 50 per cent and (effective) 60 per cent income tax. This week, I would like to remind you of how to achieve the savings through asset transfers - usually between spouses or couples.
Trade Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber has called for tax relief on pension savings to be scrapped for higher earners.
I believe that UK equities remain attractively valued even after the recent strong rally.
A "resilient" UK economy has retained its AAA status from Moody's as it begins to show some signs of recovery.
I am writing this column on my way back from Brussels, having just been to give evidence as part of the European Commission's review of credit markets.
Walker Crips Structured InvestmentsFive Year Stepped Growth Plan
A cap on scheme charges has never actually been on the table to date and I really do not think it makes sense to introduce this at this stage.
If FSA fees are based on turnover how can this possibly reflect well on those firms that are efficient, have good systems and controls, appropriate processes and serve their clients well? It assumes the greater your turnover the greater your risk to consumers. This has to be flawed.Leslie Sharpe
WH Ireland has poached Allied Irish Bank’s Lindsey Hamilton to head up its wealth management division.
Scottish Widows is the worst offender in Chelsea Financial Services' latest relegation zone list.
Before the Bank Holiday, I met an old industry mucker for "a quick beer" I have known this chap for almost 18 years. In fact, he was one of the first people I met when I started at Money Marketing a long while ago.
The FSA has told smaller Sipp providers to clean up their act after its thematic review into the non-relationship managed sector found many were failing to meet their regulatory obligations, particularly on the treating customers fairly front.
Should awarding bodies from outside the financial services sector be blocked from developing a QCF level four qualification?
Work-life balance is something that everyone wants to achieve but it does not need to be as elusive as many would expect.
Zurich Financial ServicesProtected Capital Account 2