View more on these topics

Correspondent’s week

This weeks James Coney, personal finance journalist on the Daily Mail

Something drives press officers bonkers in August. It cannot be the sun. Can it be the stress? Maybe it is the booze. Why do I think this? Because every time my phone so far rings this month – which is supposed to be the quietest of the year – I seem to be having the same conversation.

“Hello, it’s Felicity here from Diatribe PR. Are you writing anything on students/ remortgaging/toenail insurance this week? I was wondering if you would like a comment from Desperate Financial Services on it?”

Don’t you think if I wanted one I would have called, I scream. Of course I don’t but I do despair. With papers so thin in August, I can understand that they are fighting to get their business in the limelight and that explains why, at the sniff of anything newsy, my email inbox fills with press releases on firms wanting to be heard.

This week, it’s students. You think of an angle and I bet I can find you a press release on it. I quite enjoy fighting the corner for students. OK, they should be grateful for the financial products they get but you can’t help thinking that sometimes banks and credit card companies are compounding their woes by thrusting all sorts of financial products on them.

Then again, when I was a student, I knew that borrowing money on a credit card was a bad idea and that never stopped me. Still, if financial journalists all followed their own advice, none of us would be financial journalists.

The gaffer, Money Mail editor Tony Hazell, is away but just when you think you are going to get a couple of weeks free from Delia and Norwich, I discover Alison Rolls from Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, lurking outside the Mail offices. Is this a new ploy from PRs? In a cunning role-reversal, have the prey now become the hunters? Am I paranoid? Are we about to see packs of PRs doorstepping unsuspecting hacks, thrusting press releases, comments on MPC decisions and house price surveys on them as they try to get to work?

Alas and alack, it is something far more mundane. However, in a conversation that lasts all of two minutes, Alison manages to plug N&P’s overseas mortgages and then shatter my fragile delusion that “I am Patrick Swayze in Point Break” by revealing that she too is a surfing fan.

Luckily, when you need perking up, colleague Liz Phillips is always on hand.

“A friend of mine has just mailed to say she still holds the record for being the Playmate with the biggest natural breasts,” she mutters in passing from across the desk when I return to the office. This proves an understandable distraction from the chart of fixed-rate mortgages I am studying and I volunteer to help her find a copy of the 1964 Playboy issue her friend appeared in.

I remind myself that I should probably be cracking on with writing the article for the coming week on buying holiday homes. However, this proves no less distracting.

One of my case studies sends me a picture of her thatched cottage in Normandy. It is a far cry from the one-bedroomed gloom of Coney Towers in Balham. Buying that dream home overseas has never been easier


Pension trustees feel the heat

I do not know about you but I have been on the receiving end of more grumbles from clients since the introduction of the new disclosure regime and the veritable forest of paperwork which accomp-anies each suitability letter.

New Star Fof homes in on financial fund

New Star’s fund of funds has invested in another New Star fund for the first time, almost doubling its size and further fuelling float speculation. The fund of funds team, led by Mark Harris, has put more than 15m into Guy de Blonay’s global financials fund, taking its assets under management to just over 36m. […]

Skipton launches new fixed rate mortgages

Skipton Building Society is launching new 3-Year and 5-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages, with rates starting from 4.59 per cent. The two 3-year fixed rates available to October 31 2008 are at 5.19 and 4.59 per cent. The 5-year fixed rate at 4.59 per cent is fixed till October 31 2010. There are no higher lending […]

Neptune launches Japan Institutional Fund

By Chris Taylor, Investment Director, Head of Research Neptune is excited to announce the launch of the Japan Institutional Fund on 22 June, having disclosed to the market in March its intention to offer the product. The Fund will be managed by the highly-regarded Chris Taylor, Head of Research and manager of the long-running Japan Opportunities Fund. It will invest in the same underlying stocks as the Japan […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm