10 December 2008
Housing Minister Margaret Beckett has approved a deal worth more than £400m to help first-time buyers to buy their own home.
1st - The Exchange has expanded its existing annuity comparison system on Exweb with the launch of real-time fixed-term rates.
Research by Axa has found 3.7 million UK consumers face financial meltdown unless they manage their finances better.
This year's pre-Budget report was less a curtain-raiser for the 2009 Budget and more an emergency Budget to deal with the economic crisis and set tax policies for years into the future.
More than 80 per cent of the industry believe that the current regulatory system places too great a burden on firms, according to a survey by the Financial Services Practitioner Panel.
AIG Life has revealed that 95 per cent of policyholders trapped in the frozen enhanced fund have opted to transfer into the protected recovery fund. People choosing to exit the fund on December 15 will get 87 per cent of their fund.
In the wake of the L&G structured product fiasco, the editor imagines a letter from an IFA to his or her clients.
Aberdeen Asset Management is set to buy all or part of Credit Suisse's traditional fund management business, say reports.
The Association of British Insurers and the British Bankers' Association have been accused of letting down IFAs by failing to submit evidence to the FSA to support the 15-year long stop.
The retail distribution review's remuneration requirements cannot be implemented successfully under principle-based regulation and must be set down explicitly in FSA rules, says Royal London head of corporate affairs Gareth Evans.
Aegon Scottish Equitable has launched a new website to help advisers and their clients with inheritance tax planning.
Aegon Scottish Equitable is changing the name of its family protection plan to make it easier for advisers and clients to understand what the policy covers.
Homefunding chief executive Tony Ward has hit out at credit rating agencies for poor assessments in their ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities.
The Government's mortgage aid package could destabilise the residential mortgage-backed securities market, says Moody's.
AIG Life is maintaining interest rates on its guaranteed income bond despite the recent base rate cut.
Dentons Pension Management has warned that many Sipp providers have failed to invest in quality administration systems and back office funtions.
Alliance Trust is to temporarily suspend sales of its Full Sipp from Friday, with advisers suggesting that it may not return to the market.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is calling on the Competition Commission for a second time to exclude mortgage payment protection insurance from its investigation.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is concerned that the Government's offer of a two-year exemption from paying mortgage interest could exacerbate problems by piling more debt on to borrowers.
Panellists at the Money Marketing RDR round table hit out at the regulator for not conducting consumer research into the sales advice channel before unveiling its proposals.
In last week's edition of Money Marketing, we stated that Assureweb's accounts were three months late. This is not the case. All accounts and returns are appropriately filed at Companies House.
Financial services portal Assureweb made a loss of £3.16m for the last financial year after a £4.6m loss the previous year.
AWD UK Group has announced the sale of mortgage and loan arm Home Finance to its existing management team.
Axa has come under fire for taking five months to transfer a couple from a company pension scheme to a personal pension.
Many banks have defied the Government and only passed on a part of the Bank of England's latest 1 per cent rate cut to their standard variable-rate mortgages.
Raising minimum qualification requirements for the sales advice channel to QCA level four will not provide a good source of recruits to the advice sector, says Money Portal head of distribution strategy Alan Easter.
I have heard people talk about the link between risk and reward in investment. Could you please explain it to me and tell me what relevance it has to my investment portfolio?
David Blanchflower, the long-time lone voice for rate cuts in the Monetary Policy Committee, is to step down from his post next year.
Is the Government right to put so much pressure on the banks to pass on the full rate cut?
Conservative Leader David Cameron has called for a thorough investigation to root out wrongdoing in the City that may have contributed to the credit crisis.
Canada Life has unveiled its plans to increase its group life product to offer eight times salary multiples.
Cavanagh has announced a redundancy programme and says it now expects to break even before costs for the second half of the year.
The CBI is calling for an independent commission to examine the financial rules, costs and levels of taxpayer subsidy that underpin public sector pensions.
The RDR interim report contained some exc- iting proposals which would have enabled the FSA to meet all three of its primary objectives - improving clarity for consumers, raising professional standards and reducing the potential for conflict of interests that can exist in traditional remuneration practices.
Virgin Money is to create a UK mortgage proposition headed by former Mortgageforce chief executive Rob Clifford.
Royal London has warned advisers that capital restraints may force life offices to withdraw commission payments before the FSA's adviser charging rules come into effect in 2012.
IFA consolidator Conforto Financial Management says it is in talks to acquire three more adviser firms.
Conservative MPs are demanding a government response to the inquiry into the Equitable Life debacle before the House of Commons adjourns for Christmas.
The FSA has prosecuted Mayson Shanti of Marcham, Abingdon for falsely claiming his company was FSA authorised, resulting in a £35,000 fine from Didcot Magistrate's Court.
The credit crisis is the main reason behind the FSA's proposed steep increases to IFA capital adequacy requirements, according to Ernst & Young.
Recent weeks have been more unnerving than many advisers and their clients have ever experienced. Many advisers are already taking steps to deal with the aftermath.
Aifa is warning of a growing number of banks closing the business accounts of IFAs and suggests that this could be an attempt to wipe out distribution competition.
The Chancellor Alistair Darling refused to rule out the option of printing more money in response to a grilling by Treasury select committee MPs.
Standard Life says final-salary pension schemes are understating their liabilities because of "perverse" accounting rules.
I first wrote about the Bloxham global equity income fund in May and am returning to it because a global income mandate offers considerable diversification from a purely UK fund.
The Isle of Man parliament will meet today to discuss proposals for an early payment scheme to provide relief for depositors with Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man.
Economic secretary to the Treasury Ian Pearson has suggested that now is “not a bad time” to invest in the stock market.
After a long, long wait Equitable Life victims had been given the impression that they would finally get their answer to whether the Government will bow to the Parliamentary Ombudsman's pressure and offer them compensation before Christmas.
Bridgewater is urging equity release advisers to show ‘tough love’ when dealing with their clients.
The Equity Release Solicitors Alliance, a group to monitor the legal ramifications of the equity release sector, is set to formally launch in January 2009.
EU commissioner for the internal market and services Charlie McCreevy has sounded a stark warning on Government borrowing.
Ex-Lehman Brothers minority investor and long only fund manager Pier-Alberto Furno is launching a new London and Monaco based investment management company, to be called Ambix Capital.
Fidelity fund guru Anthony Bolton believes the new year will usher in a fresh bull market for investors.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has received more than 25,000 complaints about payment protection insurance so far this year, according to Which?.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has received over 25,000 payment protection insurance complaints since January 2008, which it says is part of a wider surge in single-issue complaints.
Friends Provident if offering advisers access to free alerts when changes have been made to their clients’ policies.
With worldwide interest cuts and investment trusts now able to invest tax-efficiently in corporate bonds, high-yielding corporate bonds are looking highly attractive to income-seeking investors as well as those looking for capital gains.
Friends Provident has signed a 10-year outsourcing deal with IBM worth £200m.
Product providers and advisers have slammed FSA comparative annuity tables, saying they are inaccurate and irrelevant to most consumers and must be updated.
The FSA has fined Egg Banking £721,000 for serious failings in its sales of credit card payment protection insurance and it is likely to have to pay significant sums in compensation.
Aifa has attacked the FSA for failing to carry out an impact assessment of its retail distribution review and capital adequacy proposals, given the current economic conditions.
The FSA has issued a consumer warning today about an unregulated firm, Pure Money Limited, which has been offering mortgage, insurance and investment advice.
The FSA has told MPs it is looking at making degree level the minimum qualifications for IFAs in the future.
The FSA is to force UK banks to invest heavily in government bonds from October 2009 to reduce lenders' vulnerability to market conditions.
FSA chief executive Hector Sants has told MPs he believes the marketing literature for offshore investments sold to UK consumers was clear.
The FSA has written to 4,500 advisers calling on them to assess their firm’s past and present pension switching advice in light of its scathing report, published last week.
Berry Birch and Noble Financial Planning Limited has been declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and has so far received 17 claims from consumers.
Gartmore has confirmed that the roles of fund managers Ashley Willing and Karl Bergqwist have been made redundant. The two will be in consultation with the company about potentially being deployed to other roles.
The UK Government's £20bn fiscal stimulus package will not be enough to prevent the onset of further gloom in 2009, says Premier Wealth Management managing director Adrian Shandley.
The Government is to give £400m to 18,000 first-time buyers around the country as part of the HomeBuy Direct scheme.
The Government has revealed details of its hastily-prepared mortgage support scheme that was announced after the Queen’s speech last week.
The Treasury has revealed it is to improve the credit guarantee scheme that allows banks and building societies provisions to support capital.
The Government has delayed its response to the Parliamentary Ombudsman's call for compensation to Equitable Life victims until after Christmas.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Liam Byrne has confirmed that £126m has been overpaid to 95,000 public sector pensioners since 1978 in a large scale administrative blunder.
HBOS shareholders have voted in favour of the merger with Lloyds TSB, which will begin in 2009.
HBOS has revealed the depths of its debt crisis, including a £200m bill from the FSCS to cover the recent Bradford & Bingley crash.
Hargreaves Lansdown has removed three Artemis funds from its Wealth 150 fund range.
The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has appointed Home Funding managing director Tony Ward as director.
In the falling property market, mortgage fraud has again been hitting the headlines. A constantly rising property market hides a multitude of sins but when prices start dropping, the chickens come home to roost.
The debate about fees v commission is like a persistent and irritating weed that never quite dies off.
Two things in the last couple of weeks have made me come over all Victor Meldrew.1: I advised some new clients to top up their Halifax cash Isas. Mr X went to his local branch to pay in £3,600 each. He was put in front of an "adviser" who told him they would be better off doing stocks & shares Isas instead. My client had the sense and knowledge to say, no thanks.
The continued strength of the IFA sector and the implementation of pension personal accounts has led to Moody's delivering a negative outlook on the life insurance industry.
Investment advisers face too many regulatory deadlines in the run-up to 2012 and may be unable to comply in time, warns Lincoln Financial Group director of business development Helen Turner.
Financial advisers are a more popular source for estate planning advice than accountants or bank managers, according to a report from Standard Life.
IFAs should look to launch their own funds in order to embed additional value in their business, according to KMG SICAV-SIF.
The Investment Management Association has drawn up guidelines along with other industry bodies to address asset managers’ over-reliance on credit rating agencies.
The Investment Management Association is to launch a new UK income and growth sector as of January 1, 2009, in a bid to accommodate funds struggling to meet its UK equity income yield requirement, according to a leaked memo seen by Money Marketing.
The Investment Management Association has welcomed the Government’s proposals on fund tax reform and consultation on proposed changes to the tax regime for listed investment companies.
The FSA has provided a jolly helpful table in its Prudential rules paper showing its estimates for the extra amount firms of different sizes will have to set aside under the planned capital adequacy rules.
The Association of British Insurers, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the FSA are working with insurers and other trade bodies to draw up guidance on the handling of payment protection insurance sales complaints.
Share ownership in international companies has increased by 10 per cent over the last 12 months as confidence in the UK falters, according to a survey from execution-only stock broker TD Waterhouse.
Invesco Perpetual has confirmed that Neil Woodford's income and higher income funds are moving out of the UK equity income sector.
The Isle of Man government and local banks are to offer a compensation package, including help for bondholders with cash deposits in KSF IoM. It will combine government and bank contributions with provisional liquidation assets.
James Hay has added Cazenove UK absolute target fund to its wrap platform.
JPMorgan Asset Management is to launch a US equity income fund on December 15.
Jubilee Financial Products has launched two new structured investments.
Bondholders with cash deposits in KSF IoM are still to have very limited access to payouts under the island’s enhanced depositor compensation scheme.
The latest analysis of the fund factsheets downloaded from Old Broad Street Research show that time served managers are proving popular.
Three-month Libor has continued to drop closer to 3 per cent.
London’s position as a globally competitive financial centre is under threat, an independent review commissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson concludes.
Treasury select committee chairman John McFall has attacked the “collective madness” of banks' repossession policies.
The Merger Action Group, which was trying to block the impending Lloyds TSB HBOS merger in the courts, has lost its case.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has revealed that brokers unable to assist clients due to lenders offering better deals direct decreased from half to a third in September 2008.
MPs on the public administration committee have backed the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s call for the Government to compensate victims of Equitable Life.
Skandia's Multifunds platform is to close to new business from January 2009 as the firm focuses on Selestia Investment Solutions.
Seven of the biggest financial advice firms could be required to raise an additional £527m in capital under the regulator's new prudential rules, according to the FSA's own estimates.
NatWest is to offer “impartial advice with money matters” in 1,000 branches around the country.
New Star is expected to begin a management buyout of its institutional business this week, reports say.
It's set to be another stellar week for New Star in terms of column inches if not its share price as Ignis Asset Management's Jonathan Polin hits out in Money Marketing at those publicly touting for business at the troubled asset manager.
There has always been talk of a Mortgage Minister to oversee what is such a crucial sector of the UK. Would it work? Is it necessary? Here's what we think a vacancy notice might look like:
Norwich Union is launching a new facility in February, which will allow its pension customers to control their investments online.
Product providers and medium to large-sized IFAs may look to move offshore to avoid the FSA's new rules on commission payments, says Aifa director general Chris Cummings.
A third of certified financial planners have reported an increase in calls from potential new clients in the market downturn, according to a survey from the Institute of Financial Planning.
New Star’s troubles continue with advisers suggesting the future could be bleak for its specialist funds following the trading suspension of its heart of Africa fund.
At a time when the number of purely acquisitive IFA businesses appears to be increasing, it brings up an important question for every adviser to consider - who owns a client?
Pension Corporation's subsidiary Pension Insurance Corporation is set to insure Thorn Limited's pension fund in what they claim is the largest ever UK pension insurance buyout.
The Pension Protection Fund has revealed that the deficit for final-salary pension schemes grew to £136bn at the end of November.
Falling stock markets have seen the value of private pensions in OECD countries plummet £3.38trn, according to the latest edition of its “Pension markets in Focus” newsletter.
Pearl-owned Phoenix will make up a £6,500 pension shortfall following pressure from Money Marketing after a client was made to wait nearly four months for an annuity illustration.
Ignis Asset Management sales and marketing director Jonathan Polin has attacked firms for publicly pursuing "a carve-up" of New Star.
The Competition Commission has revealed that advisers and brokers are to be included in the proposed PPI point of sale ban.
The Competition Commission’s proposals on the sale of payment protection insurance could see the level of consumer protection fall, warns PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Pre-X Capital Management has added a third EIS fund to its product range.The axcess EIS fund invests in pre-IPO companies which are looking for extra growth to take them to an IPO or a trade sale.
Prime mortgage arrears have rocketed over the last period, according to rating agency Standard & Poor’s.
The FSA is cracking down on advice on pension-switching and has vowed to take enforcement action and force wide reviews of past business.
The McDonald report on training and competence in the financial services industry was published by the Securities and Investments Board in May 1990. The report was accepted by the board shortly after that and the process of implementation began after that. It took four years altogether.
Did you know that a person spends two weeks of his/her life waiting at traffic lights, two years talking on the telephone and a year searching for misplaced objects?
Ah - the notoriously tricky second column. So I suppose now would be as good a time as any to dwell on the situation at New Star, where plans are, of course, afoot to address the company's not insubstantial debt burden.
A quarter of IFA firms will consider adding a sales channel to their business following the introduction of the retail distribution review proposals, according to Skandia research.
The RDR merry-go-round keeps turning. Off come basic advice and the sole options of sales or independent advice, and on jump "sales advice" and "guided sales".
Misselling scandals have plagued the industry across product areas over the years but the Financial Ombudsman Service now says a surge in single issue complaints may see it act as a surrogate regulator.
A public accounts committee report has called on HM Revenue & Customs to look at a variety of ways to crack down on the buy- to-let sector by encouraging voluntary disclosure while increasing prosecutions of tax evaders.
The Government has ruled out conditional indexation in its response to its consultation on pension risk sharing but says it will further investigate collective defined contribution schemes.
Rowanmoor Pensions has appointed Norwich Union's Graham Walker to the role of senior consultant.
Standard Poor's Ratings Services has affirmed an 'AAA/A-1+' sovereign credit rating on the Isle of Man and says its outlook is stable.
Advisers looking to leave the industry may struggle to sell their firms after the FSA decided against introducing a 15-year long-stop on complaints, says The Money Portal head of distribution strategy Alan Easter.
Santander has revealed it is to cut 1900 jobs across its Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley Savings arms.
Scottish Widows’ new online study program is now taking IFA registrations ahead of the Chartered Insurance Institute's round of exams in April.
A significant legislative barrier to the re-registration of mutual funds is set to be removed in draft changes that are about to go before Parliament.
Threesixty has labeled SimplyBiz’s plan to provide funds to help its members meet higher capital adequacy requirements “premature”.
SimplyBiz is creating a multi-million-pound fund to help member firms meet the FSA's proposed new capital adequacy requirements.
Skandia has removed all fund manager initial charges from its Selestia Investment Solutions platform.
Ten years from now, the world we live in will be profoundly different. The way we conduct our business as providers of investments and advice will have changed.
Standard Life wrap has introduced an automated version of SEI’s range of manager of managers solutions.
If political reports are to be believed, the Prime Minister is to push for a cut in EU red tape and suggest that some directives which may be a burden on business are delayed.
Stewart Cowley is leaving Newton Investment Management’s fixed-income desk to join Old Mutual Asset Management.
Intelliflo is calling on advisers and distributors to implement a strong infrastructure and flexible mode of working to take full advantage of the retail distribution review.
As investors, we are accustomed to weighing risk and opportunity but the fluid economic and earnings' environment means that the size and nature of the risks are changing, seemingly on a daily basis. By the same token, the shifting landscape is creating significant long-term opportunities.
Troubled New Star Asset Management has created a nervous atmosphere around fund management as a whole.
The Consulting Consortium has launched a free review of individual firms pensions transfer business in response to the latest FSA findings on the pension switching review.
Last week saw bank rate reduced to 2 per cent, the lowest level since 1951, but despite this cut and the fact that the Libor rate has also dropped significantly, banks have been reluctant to lend significant amounts of money.
Liontrust can stake a strong claim to be the father of boutique houses in the UK, starting life in 1995.
I am pleased to introduce this week's resized Money Marketing and hope that you like the new look of the newspaper.
It is safe to say that going into 2009 the £2.3tn protection gap will still very much be there.
Legal & General has written to over 2,000 clients with structured products backed by Lehman Brothers warning them that up to 20 per cent of their investment may be at risk.
Libor continued to fall closer to Bank base rate in the wake of the recent interest rate cut.
Corporate pensions need their own rules under the retail distribution review, yet the FSA is still unsure whether they should be shoehorned into rules being created for the individual market.
Towergate Financial has acquired Lincolnshire-based IFA Russell Plaice and Partners.
Legal & General is encouraging brokers to revisit all clients on a tracker mortgage because the recent base rate cut could mean they can now afford to purchase a protection plan.
New Star has suspended trading on its Heart of Africa fund, valued at £29m, until further notice.
True Potential is turning itself into a support services firm in a bid to provide small IFAs with an affordable business platform.
I am afraid a little belatedly I have just read the letter from Malcolm Robinson suggesting that investment bonds still have their place.
The UK is set to suffer the most in the financial crisis with more problems and consolidation in the banking sector set to follow in early 2009, warns Rathbones chief investment officer Julian Chillingworth.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority's consultation paper on how it will handle the decumulation process seems to favour the open market option for account holders. Commentators say if Omo is likely to be the default option for personal accounts, this could pave the way for it to become the default for all schemes.
FNZ Wrap, the technology provider behind Axa and Standard Life's wrap propositions, is understood to be up for sale.
Xafinity Paymaster has said it is not responsible for the Government’s public sector pensions blunder.
Zurich is urging more advisers to take advantage of market conditions and revisit existing clients after research by the insurer found 34 per cent of clients contact their adviser less than once a year.