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Four sight saga for the new year

It is hard to look further than consolidation, which will reach fever pitch this year as the malnourished get eaten up by the gluttons.

New Star, exhausted by 2003&#39s acquisition spree, may – that&#39s may – allow other groups to get a look in, so keep an eye on the heavy-hitters targeting potentially vulnerable groups such as Henderson, Morley and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Or they could just buy lots of struggling tiddlers with a quick tug on the pursestrings.

The year will also be notable for staff turnover, which will become so frenzied that many fund managers, having been in the employ of most groups at some stage or other, will end up working for the company where they started their careers – at vastly inflated salaries, naturally, this is the fund management industry after all.

And the Isa season – well, what Isa season? Fund groups are getting pretty twitchy, and it is easy to see why. But not to worry – the once-a-year brigade will still blindly plough into corporate bond Isas and if the market kicks on in the New Year then investors will start snapping them up at the exact point when it hits a plateau. Hold on, I think I&#39m starting to get déjà vu here…


Independent view

Dare I say it, but the pension review still lingers on like a dark shadow over the reputation of pensions and everyone connected with them. The public have been left with a nasty taste and severe doubts about what to do for the best.Having said that, we have definitely noticed an upturn in morale among […]

£675k penalty for Friends over endowment failures

The FSA has fined Friends Provident £675,000 for systemic failures in the handling of its mortgage endowment complaints.A visit to Friends&#39 offices by the FSA revealed that the company&#39s mortgage endowment process was using procedures that were biased against customers.The regulator says that, out of a total of 21,788 complaints processed, about 5,500 customers had […]

FSA in talks with Standard over financial strength

The FSA has issued a statement confirming it is in discussions with Standard Life about its solvency under new life office accounting rules due to take effect later this year. The statement says there has been a high level of engagement between the regulator and Standard which is close to a conclusion.

Gartmore predicts equities to outstrip bonds in 2004

Gartmore chief investment officer Quintin Price is predicting global equities to outperform bonds in 2004 but says the chances of equity market returns being as high as in 2003 are remote. The fund manager is expecting Japan and emerging Asian markets to outperform Europe over the next year. Price says: “We expect returns to be […]


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