Mark Sands

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Profile: 1825 chief Steve Murray on the future of advice

For the past eight weeks, 1825 has been a firm in the spotlight. Since mid-March the Standard Life-owned unit has been at the centre of a maelstrom of acquisitions as it seeks a rapid boost to its adviser numbers. Just over a month ago the firm completed a deal with East Anglia’s Almary Green, which […]

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FCA leaves secondary annuity questions unanswered 

Plans for the second-hand annuity market unveiled today lack crucial details just a year before the reforms are due to launch. The FCA and the Treasury both published documents outlining how they expect a second-hand annuity market to function from April 2017. However, questions over the advice requirement, how providers will keep track of customer deaths […]

Profile: SNP’s voice on pensions says Pension Wise is too constrained

Nearly nine months after entering Parliament as a newly elected Highlands MP, Ian Blackford admits he is still getting used to Westminster. The pensions spokesman for the Scottish National Party says the traditions and frippery of his new workplace are “daft” and outdated compared with the more modern devolved assemblies. He says: “Even when you […]

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FCA faces uphill battle to monitor misselling impact

The FCA faces a “notoriously difficult” challenge in seeking to justify its approach to tackling misselling, experts say. Last week the National Audit Office reported the FCA had no way of measuring its success in curbing misselling in financial services. In a report on regulation and redress, it said while increased fines and compensation have […]

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Openwork left vulnerable as Zurich plots stake sale

Openwork left vulnerable after Zurich reveal plans to sell off stake Advice network Openwork has been left “vulnerable” after Zurich confirmed plans to sell-off its remaining 25 per cent stake in the business, experts say. Openwork is 67.5 per cent owned by member firms and 7.5 per cent by an Openwork employees trust, with the […]

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Treasury in industry talks on Pension Wise site improvements

By Mark Sands and Tessa Norman The Treasury is holding talks with the industry on how to improve its Pension Wise website. It is understood current visitors to the site stay for an average of just three minutes. However, Scottish Widows says visitors to its own website stay for twice as long on average. Scottish Widows […]

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Ball and chain: FCA under fire as advice confusion blocks guidance offerings

The FCA’s continuing failure to clarify regulatory grey areas is preventing providers from developing guidance solutions for consumers, industry experts warn. The FCA last attempted to explain its views on the boundaries between classes of consumer support in a January paper, which broke down advice offerings into categories of simplified, regulated, limited, focused and generic. But experts […]

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FCA blasted over inability to fine HBOS execs

The FCA has been slammed after it admitted it was unable to fine any former HBOS executives over the bank’s collapse during the financial crisis. The regulator’s HBOS report is to be published later this week. It is expected to include a lengthy examination of why only one HBOS director, Peter Cummings, was fined in […]

Profile: Stephen Gazard draws a line in the sand for troubled Sesame

Sesame Bankhall Group boss Stephen Gazard is determined to look forward. After guiding the business through a turbulent restructure that saw Sesame’s investment network shuttered, with advisers told to move to the firm’s directly authorised Bankhall option or relocate elsewhere, it is perhaps not surprising. Gazard admits parts of the firm’s journey since his arrival […]

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Banks win ringfencing concession

The retail ringfencing programme for banks is to be less rigorous than feared following changes to the rules. The Bank of England laid out the policy shift yesterday, which will allow ringfenced institutions to pay dividends back to their parent group. The programme, which was originally devised as a way to safeguard retail deposits in […]