3 December 2008
BNY Mellon Asset Management head of distribution Paul Feeney believes the UK fund industry may contract by 20 per cent in the credit crunch and that 2009 will be the year of income.
To the 6,000 ARs who were working for Prudential back in 1991-93, I owe you an apology. Actually, I should only apologise to the several hundred people who came on the asset allocation training courses I ran for Pru but I know the training material was copied and widely used by others.
The Association of British Insurers has admitted “shortcomings” in life offices’ Sipp offerings and the information they provide advisers and their clients after the FSA voiced concerns in its report on pension switching advice.
Firms with business lines excluded under their professional indemnity insurance will have to hold a minimum level of additional capital resources.
Legal & General research reveals over a third of advisers believe protection sales will improve over the coming quarter.
Pearl-owned Phoenix has been criticised after failing to provide an annuity illustration requested in August despite the adviser chasing the closed book insurer over 30 times.
Advisers welcome the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority's proposed panel of low-cost annuity providers but warn that work is needed to ensure people get decent rates.
Aifa has warned that IFAs could be hounded "from authorisation to grave" if the proposed independent professional standards board has the power to hold individuals liable for advice.
Advisers may have to set up trusts to pay for any misselling claims arising after they have left the industry.In its prudential rules paper, published last week, the regulator put forward ways of ensuring the "polluter pays" after leaving the industry.
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.
Alliance Trust is to temporarily suspend sales of its full Sipp from Friday.
Pensions expert Dr Ros Altmann has urged the Government to make sure people get advice when choosing an annuity.
Assureweb says its system upgrade has been delayed until next year.
Axa Winterthur Wealth Management chief executive officer Mike Kellard has welcomed the Retail Distribution Review feedback statement as bringing an end to the era of free advice.
“Low risk” is a fairly fundamental term used everyday in the financial sector. Advisers have to know what it means and apply it to their clients’ investment needs. The consequences for advisers who misinterpret or misrepresent the term can be dire.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee has cut the Bank base rate by another 1 per cent to 2 per cent.
New Star has revealed it will delist from the stock market as part of a restructuring that will see a syndicate of banks take a 75 per cent stake in the business.
Royal Bank of Scotland says it will wait at least six months before it takes repossession action against borrowers with mortgage arrears and other banks look likely to follow suit.
Barclays Financial Planning has launched two new pensions products to rival stakeholder pensions.
I have never been a big fan of the star fund manager culture. Nor am I a fan of those advisers who perpetuate and accentuate it by posing as quasi astrologers, able to not only identify these gurus but then have the conviction to promote them to the world through their contacts in the media.
Could your firm handle the FSA's proposed rise in capital adequacy requirements?
Canada Life has increased its free cover level maximum to £1.25m per member sum assured for group cover with over 63 lives.
Cancelling protection policies or failing to understand their benefits could have massive long-term implications, warns Insurancewide.com.
National IFA 2plan Wealth Management chief executive Chris Smallwood says the FSA’s proposed capital adequacy level is “completely inadequate”.
IFA firm Carterbar has acquired Retirement Options Durham, making it the firm’s third acquisition to date.
I read something the other day about the auto-enrolment of 10 million employees into pension saving in 2012. You probably already know the plot of this future horror story by heart. Ten million employees who currently do not receive a pension contribution from their employer will be swept into voluntary pension saving by legislation. The pension saving will be voluntary in the sense that if they do not want to save in a pension, they will be allowed to opt out of auto-enrolment.
Cazalet Consulting is developing a facility to help advisers compare products in the pre- and at-retirement markets.
Cazenove has postponed the launch of an aggressive version of its multi-asset diversity fund until the first quarter of next year.
Advisers are angry that the term "sales advice" will be used to define one of the sales channels under the latest retail distribution review proposals.
John Charcol has taken out a new debenture loan while its company accounts and annual returns remain overdue but the firm says its restructure is "almost complete".
Former Mortgageforce chief Rob Clifford has been appointed managing director of Virgin Money to develop its long-awaited UK mortgage proposition.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has called on the Government to end its “conflicting” attacks on mortgage lenders.
The heavy Government and FSA pressure being placed on mortgage lenders increased a few notches this week as tracker collars were banished and ministers warned explanations must be given if rate cuts are not passed on.
Entreprenuer Clive Cowdery has reportedly secured over £500m from investors for his new consolidation vehicle.
Checkmate Mortgages executive chairman Stephen Knight believes that pension funds will be quick to buy up mortgage-backed securities and reinvigorate the market if the Crosby report is implemented.
Caledonia Investments chairman Peter Buckley has died following a short illness. Buckley joined Caledonia's board in 1976 and served as chief executive from 1987 to 2002 before becoming chairman in 1994.
The doom and gloom merchants have scarcely had a better time. Today's financial news often seems designed to encourage panic reactions in readers.
With world stockmarkets still highly volatile and more likely than not to fall further and the housing market in the doldrums, I believe I have found one property investment which looks likely to achieve double-digit returns. It is a £39.8m development of a prime 150,000 sq ft leisure and office property in the heart of Aberdeen.
New Star chairman and founder John Duffield is set to leave the troubled asset manager in the near future, reports in the FT have claimed.
The Department for Work and Pensions says nearly 70 per cent of employees who would be eligible for automatic enrolment believe they will save through the workplace pension reforms when they are introduced in 2012.
New capital adequacy requirements could be intolerable for many small IFA firms, says Money Portal head of strategy and distribution Alan Easter.
I was intrigued to read about Andrew Fisher's letter to the Prime Minister regarding consumer behaviour being driven by the commission-based sales structure of retail financial advice, which seems well wide of the mark.
Michael Foot, chairman of the UK office of Promontory Financial Group, will lead the independent review of British offshore financial centres announced in last week's pre-Budget report.
Former Lehman Brothers head of structured retail products Adam Habib has started a boutique investment company which will offer mutual funds, structured products and hedge funds.
Friends Provident is hosting its fourth online protection seminar as part of its plans to boost adviser education and encourage more advisers to tap into the market.
Sesame executive chairman Ivan Martin says the FSA has created a Frankenstein's monster with its proposed sales advice category.
The FSA has frozen the assets of Heaney Finance mortgage broker Noel Heaney after it found he gave unsuitable advice to consumers and refused to conduct a past business review.
First, I want to comment on Ted Cordener's letter (Money Marketing, November 20) where he urges the Chartered Insurance Institute not to steal the IFS name for the CII's own use.
The FSA has today published a consultation paper proposing an overhaul of the liquidity requirements for banks, building societies and investment firms.
The FSA has warned 11,000 UK shareholders that their personal details are on a database that is likely to have been sold and shared amongst fraudsters.
FSA managing director of retail markets Jon Pain says the number of brokers in the boom years grew to unsustainable levels but he believes that intermediaries have an important future role to play.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has over-ruled the Financial Ombudsman Service's definition of "low risk" in relation to split-cap misselling and is refusing to pay out on cases upheld by the FOS.
Fund business saw net retail outflows of £500.4m in October, a stark difference from the £921.5m of inflows 12 months ago.
Defined benefit pension scheme funding has plummeted by more than £162bn in the past 12 months according to the Pension Protection Fund's latest index.
Gartmore has confirmed the roles of fund managers Ashley Willing and Karl Bergqwist have been made redundant.
The proposed Government-backed mortgage aid for those out of work could severely affect the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities market, according to Moody’s.
The Government has revealed a series of new measures which it says will improve the current Home Information Pack.
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown today revealed plans to allow those out of work up to two years reprieve on mortgage interest payments.
The Government is expected to respond to the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report calling for compensation for Equitable Life victims in Parliament next week.
Having spent a few hours last week sitting in the "cheap seats" costing £300 listening to the FSA's latest update on the RDR, I have now had time to ponder upon what I saw and heard.
Halifax’s decision to cut it’s 3 per cent tracker collar will cost the lender as much as £575m, according to mform.co.uk.
A US hedge fund has revealed that its main acquisition target is now distressed, under-valued mortgage debt.
HSBC has predicted it could increase its gross mortgage market share by more than 10 per cent in 2009 as it pledges to up its UK mortgage budget by 20 per cent.
The strength of the IFA community and the implementation of personal accounts both threaten future provider profitability, according to Moody’s.
Professional indemnity mutual insurer Gauntlet Risk Management has issued a cash call to a number of advisers, claiming that surplus liabilities are owed on policies that in some cases expired years ago.
The Investment Management Association has called on the FSA to urgently review the technical failings in the London equity markets shown up by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The mortgage and housing sector has expressed concerns regarding Gordon Brown’s latest pledge to help distressed homeowner.
INSYNERGY Investment Management has appointed Gavin Ward as business development director.
UK intermediaries remain bullish in the face of HSBC’s predictions to storm the UK mortgage sector in 2009.
The Isle of Man government is to speed up a compensation package for investors with cash deposits in KSF IoM.
The Income Protection Task Force has set up a consumer website to highlight the importance of income protection.
JP Morgan has published a report raising doubts about Standard Life’s prospects, following Money Marketing’s leak of the FSA's review of pension switching.
Only seven of the 55 funds in Trustnet's absolute return sector have been given an AAA rating.
Leaving last week's FSA conference on the retail distribution review, it was very obvious to me who was the clear winner of the contest - Stephen Hadrill of the Association of British Insurers.
Legal & General is offering advisers the opportunity to influence their remuneration through quality protection sales in a bid to prevent policy cancellations.
The FSA is to launch a crackdown on advice around the transfer of personal pensions into Sipps or other PPs, including enforcement action and forcing wide reviews of past business, according to a leaked report seen by Money Marketing.
Libor has continued to drop sharply as it attempts to catch up with the new Bank base rate.
Libor rates have plummeted to just 3.37 per cent but still remain far off from Bank base rate after yesterday’s interest rate drop.
I am concerned about redundancy and the implications to my wider finances. What issues should I be aware of?
Life Trust has developed a new modeling tool which allows advisers to calculate their income drawdown clients’ anticipated future income streams.
Every Monday, Stroud & Swindon sales and marketing director Linda Will gets up at 5am, drives 200 miles from her Yorkshire home to Stroud in Gloucestershire and stays there for three nights before making the commute back on Thursday night and working from home on Friday. "You have to have some commitment to the role to do that commute every week," she says.
Lloyds Banking Group says Halifax and Lloyds TSB will remain the dominant brands on the high streets of England and Wales after the proposed merger goes through in 2009.
The mortgage industry finally got its long-awaited review into the wholesale market but, as anticipated, Sir James Crosby's report failed to satisfy many.
It is said that you can only judge the quality of an investment when it comes to an end. I decided to fund my mortgage in 1986 with a low-cost endowment. The maturity cheque arrived this week. The target was £20,000; the maturity value was £17,500.
Mirabaud has been awarded a £77m mandate across a number of Skandia Investment Group funds.
Bill Mott's PSigma income fund is set to overtake his former Credit Suisse offering in assets under management only 20 months since the product was launched.
National IFA firms will struggle to meet the capital adequacy requirements proposed in last week's retail distribution review, warns True Potential managing partner David Harrison.
Nationwide has made a U-turn and scrapped its 2.75 per cent tracker collar.
The credit outlook for the UK life insurance sector is negative, according to rating agency Moody’s.
A new mortgage fraud squad has called on advisers to fight the criminal activity it says is costing the industry over £1bn.
New Star has denied rumours that chairman and founder John Duffield has already resigned from the firm.
Hargreaves Lansdown has removed all New Star funds from its Wealth 150 list following uncertainty surrounding the investment group's future.
Northern Rock has joined RBS in offering those with mortgage arrears a six-month reprieve before initiating repossession action.
As part of a cost review, I am changing my firm's telephone contract so that calls to 01 and 02 numbers are capped at a maximum charge of 10p for up to one hour.
The Office of Fair Trading has revealed it intends to launch a market study into home buying and selling in the UK.
Another year and a half of depreciation in US real estate is likely but heavy discounts to net asset value on stocks offer an “arbitrage” opportunity for investors, says Schroders.
Over half of applicants using Bright Grey’s online quote and apply system receive immediate acceptance, according figures released by the protection provider.
Personal Accounts Delivery Authority chief executive Tim Jones has revealed that personal accounts may offer a basic pay option rather than forcing firms to use total earnings to calculate pension contributions.
While it may not have been as attention-grabbing as headline cuts in VAT, the Government did make a number of tax concessions and planned changes on funds in last week's pre-Budget report. And these changes may just help intermediaries in terms of choice for clients as well as in their tax planning.
IFA consolidation vehicle Perspective Financial Group has acquired its sixth firm, Rutherford Wilkinson, which has 16 advisers and 150m of funds under advice. It will continue to trade under its current name with the existing management structure.
Stockmarkets' powerful and volatile movements have continued to catch many investors by surprise as equities have struggled to reflect fears over the financial crisis and a severe economic slowdown.
The FSA's RDR reforms move too far and too fast and show the regulator is cut off from the reality of running a small or medium-sized business.
Packaged products on platforms, re-registration and adviser-owned funds will all come under scrutiny as part of the retail distribution review.
Positive Solutions has launched an extranet service to help IFA partners create personalised websites for their firms. The service will allow IFAs to have an internet presence and point of contact with their clients and colleagues.
Investors looking to mitigate their inheritance tax liability should invest in property development funds rather than gifting or placing money in a trust, says Strutt & Parker real estate financial services.
The Queen is set to outline reforms to lending for next year in today's speech at the opening of Parliament.
Protection providers were candid about their current failings at this year’s Sesame Symposium in London last week.
Aegon Scottish Equitable chief executive Otto Thoresen is warning that the timetable for implementing the retail distribution review reforms is too tight and could drive good advisers out of the industry.
Clive Cowdery's consolidation vehicle Resolution has raised £660m it announced in a stock market alert today.
In producing its retail distribution review proposals, the FSA has penned the longest suicide note in history. After all, a regulator is no longer a requirement when there is nobody left to regulate.
Sometimes even a tough Lancashire lad like myself has to admit to being very worried.
My last couple of articles have looked at recent developments in HM Revenue & Customs' attitude towards employee benefit trusts.
A group of small HBOS shareholders have begun legal proceedings to halt the imminent merger today.
Sigma Asset Management is joining Nucleus wrap bringing the total number of firms on the platform to 61.
Simply Biz is creating a multi-million pound fund to help its member firms meet the FSA’s proposed new capital adequacy requirements.
Skandia’s Multifunds platform is to close to new business from January 2009 as the provider focuses on Selestia Investment Solutions.
The latest Investment Management Association figures show the UK all companies sector taking the biggest share of an ever decreasing pot in terms of gross retail unit trust sales. I am surprised that corporate bonds are not the number one choice. Why? Because interest rates are likely to be around 1 per cent by February, with all that implies for cash returns.
For many investors, the recent volatility in the markets has been a wake-up call. We all know that equity markets can fall as well as rise but the extended bull market that we have seen in equities since 2001-02 has lulled many investors into a false sense of security.
Standard Life has taken a 20 per cent stake in RSM Bentley Jennison Financial Management and says it will look at further minority stakes in IFAs.
Support services firms believe their business models will survive the retail distribution review and increases in capital adequacy requirements as small firms cling to independence.
With world markets in a state of instability and flux and the UK facing a severe recession, prudent investors should look to past downturns to gauge how to survive this crisis.
The pre-Budget report has been scrutinised for its impact on savers and investors but it also contains measures that may affect the running of IFA businesses.
I asked a question during a press conference the other day and, while that may not sound particularly momentous to you, it certainly felt that way to me. You see, I've been doing this investment journalism thing for 12 years now and I've rather prided myself on never having said a word at a press conference.
Outgoing FSA chief operating officer David Kenmir's work during the 2003 professional indemnity insurance crisis prevented thousands of IFAs going bust and he says it is his most satisfying achievement at the regulator.
How do you make a very fast buck today in an unregulated market? Secondhand car sales/double glazing/estate agency/timeshare/politics? All been done, books written.
Since reading the FSA's response to the retail distribution review feedback last week, I have been trying to work out what it has all been about.
Hundreds of thousands of investors have taken New Star to their hearts since it launched in the summer of 2001 but today it is a very different story.
Threesixty has launched a stand-alone company, IFA Marketplace, to help firms find buyers. The platform aims to introduce IFA firms to potential buyers or merger partners. Threesixty predicts that 30 per cent of IFAs will merge over the next five years.
Conservative Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Chris Grayling says the Tories would consider ditching pension personal accounts in favour of auto-enrolling employees to existing stakeholder schemes.
Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has argued that the Government’s banking rescue package is not working and its interbank loan guarantees are too expensive.
Two thirds of advisers are willing to adopt greater standards of professionalism following the QCA level 4 benchmark proposed in the FSA’s retail distribution review, reveals research from Zurich.
Former Edeus chief executive Michael Bolton has hit out at unregulated entities such as hedge funds for "making a very fast buck" from buying distressed mortgage books and repossessing as soon as they can.
Market volatility is boosting the sales of risk rated funds as investors focus on investment risk, says Skandia.
It is no easy task to try to digest the 220 pages of last week's retail distribution review announcement. I assure you that Aifa will be publishing more detailed analysis in the coming weeks but here is my starter for 10.
DMP Marketing is setting up a website called exitwith-profits.co.uk to encourage consumers to review their policies and direct them to an IFA in their region for guidance.
So, farewell Woolworths. The really sad thing about your passing is that so few of us were surprised. As a working example of the way that retailing has changed, you exemplified how not to survive. Woolworths was, of course, closely followed by MFI in the closure stakes.
Advisers and mortgage brokers looking to diversify revenue streams were given a helping hand at Aegon's protection workshop in London last week.