View more on these topics

Home affairs

A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all the wonderful people I have met working within financial services. Do you know what 2007 will bring? How about these not insignificant things as a starter?

Nationwide Building Society says housing prices will remain firm, with a 5-8 per cent rise during the year contributing to a rise in house prices of 120 per cent since 1996.

In my mind, it is inevitable that property prices will fall but we must remember that the demographics of house-buying are very different from years before, with single people and same-sex couples driving the market.

Gone are the days of an average housebuyer being a man, woman and two kids.

A required tightening of monetary policy to hold back inflation will force the monetary policy committee to raise interest rates again early in the year, which will add to the thousands of people who pay more than half their monthly income towards a mortgage. But will the attractions of investment in property fade?

The introduction of UK Reits this month will whet the appetite of UK investors who have always clung to the “safe as houses – bricks and mortar” investment psychology.

New property investment opportunities will appear, enabling investment in housing associations, breweries, prisons and shops. These are all attractive and understandable for the UK investor.

What else is on the investment piste? Absolute return funds will be popular through the year, as will multi-asset funds.

It is intended that the proposed delivery authority for pension personal accounts will be put in place by mid-2007 and we should have a clearer picture of whether personal accounts will be attractive to those who have little or no savings.

I remember writing about “empty” stakeholder pension schemes. As anyone who has been a financial adviser knows, pensions need to be advised upon and sold. They are not and for years will not be a product that consumers rush out to buy.

By 2012, which could be the first year of the PA (well, we do abbreviate everything), pension compulsion could be with us.

IFA numbers will continue to increase through the year, as they have done since depolarisation. According to IFA Promotion, the number of IFA firms has increased by 10 per cent. IFA service companies will need to step up a gear with the launch of Paul Hogarth’s Paradigm while Michael Bolton’s Edeus will continue to push boundaries in the mortgage area.

As for compliance, we will see many changes this year, from the combined growing influence of the introduction of treating customers fairly and Mifid.

We will see the existing conduct of business rulebook replaced by new regime Newcob. This will implement the Cob requirements in Mifid and also the FSA’s own review which is designed to simplify the Cob regime and to move to a more principle-based regulation, with less prescriptive processes.

With the implementation of Mifid aiming to be in place by November, we wait with bated breath for the FSA’s decision on the retention of certain existing rules or as it is known, goldplating.

Talking about gold, what do I wish for during the next year? Liverpool FC, with its new owners, lifting the men in red from, at the time of writing, fifth in the Premiership with 28 points while keeping local boys Steve Gerrard and Jamie Carragher happy with silverware.

I hope this is the year that the FSA goes under the microscope to stop compliance being such a concern for financial advisers. One network I know has a total of over 300 people in its compliance team.

Met Life recently asked 100 advisers what worried them the most. The research shows that 47 per cent of advisers are most worried about legislative changes while 44 per cent say they are worried about keeping up to date with recent changes to offer clients the right advice.

Thousands of IFAs have the highest levels of integrity and customer service. My final New Year wish is for these firms. May they continue to increase in number and dominate the distribution of financial services and products.

Kim North (kim@tech andtech.co.uk) is director at Technology & Technical

Recommended

Ingenious goes live

Ingenious Ventures, the private equity arm of specialist media finance business Ingenious Media, is looking to raise up to £25m each for the Ingenious Live VCTs 1 and 2.

Claim firm says it can double cash for clients

I must complain about the article in the December 14 edition of Money Marketing headlined, Complaining through CMC can halve compensation. The data tabled by the Association of British Insurers is, from our experience, wholly inaccurate and has been produced with no regard to what we – the UK’s biggest claim company – are experiencing […]

Standard sets wrap mark

When the results of the 2006 e-Excellence study were published in May for the second year in a row, we were not able to award an eee rating to any wrap provider. Two providers, Standard Life and Lifetime, did however manage to achieve the next best thing – an ee+ rating.

Don’t play chicken with the Bank of Japan

By Josh Ausden, Head of Client Investment Strategy, Neptune Short-term yen strength has hurt the Neptune Japan Opportunities Fund but recent events have only added weight to our conviction that the Bank of Japan will act to ease policy, boosting multinationals’ profits and weakening the yen. In recent weeks the performance of the Japanese stockmarket […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    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

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com