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Artemis’ Foster fund cuts bank exposure

Artemis strategic bond fund manager James Foster has slashed bank exposure in the firm’s £541m strategic bond fund and doubled its exposure to insurance companies.

He has reduced bank exposure from 25 to 14 per cent in the last 12 months and raised weighting to insurance companies from 6 to 12 per cent. Foster says: “As banks have rallied, I have been swapping exposure into insurance companies. Banks have been given a shot of heroin in the form of liquidity through long-term refinancing operations and eventually they have to go cold turkey. Banks still have got to write down an awful lot of loans.

“There is concern about the impact of Solvency II on insurance companies and yields are reflecting a huge amount of risk. Friends Life is yielding a whopping 18 per cent and there is the perception that some of these bonds will not get called. I do not agree that is a high risk.”



Budget 12: State pension to be linked to life expectancy

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed future increases in the state pension age will be linked to life expectancy. Speaking to Parliament today as part of the Budget, Osborne (pictured) said details of how the “automatic review” system will work will be published in the summer. He said: “I’ve also said that we would consider proposals […]


MP spells out auto-enrol role for IFAs

Former pensions minister and work and pensions committee member Oliver Heald says IFAs have an important role in helping employers through auto-enrolment. At a committee hearing in January, pensions minister Steve Webb said the availability of “fairly standard” products for auto-enrolment would make expensive tailored advice for small firms and lower-earners unnecessary. Last week, the […]

Borrowers caught in a trap

Mortgage advisers are warning that tighter interest-only criteria will trap hundreds of thousands of borrowers and leave them unable to remortgage. This week, Nationwide Building Society cut its maximum loan-to-value ratio for interest-only lending from 75 per cent to 50 per cent. Santander cut its interest-only LTV from 75 per cent to 50 per cent […]


Think tank slams “fundamentally flawed” loan guarantee scheme

The Government’s small business loan guarantee scheme is too small to boost lending and risks repeating mistakes made in the years before the financial crisis, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs. Announced at the Autumn Statement last November, Chancellor George Osborne launched the scheme which provides £20bn of backing for banks’ SME lending this […]


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