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Hope and cheer for the new year

It was a nasty old year for IFAs in 2003. The main culprits were PI and continuing negative investor sentiment. Some advisers struggled and hundreds quit while few matched the scale of profitability of three or four years ago. There were some big losses, although a huge number of intermediary businesses remain profitable.

But was it all bad? The regulator continued to get in everyone&#39s hair but it is trying to change. There will be fewer consultations, said new chief executive John Tiner while chairman Callum McCarthy could well help resist the more foolish Treasury decisions.

All manner of initiatives continue their slow progress – Sandler, the menu, disclosure and training and competence.

The future of with-profits remains uncertain while fund managers, IFAs and insurers continue their manoeuvres over control of fund sales.

The protection market is confronted with all manner of challenges, not least the rising price for guaranteed premiums, but it remains likely that both protection and mortgage business will continue to provide bread-and-butter work for many firms.

No one is going to solve the PI crisis and precipice bonds could yet see some more high-profile IFAs fail. But there are some reasons to be cheerful. The markets are doing better and investors are gaining confidence. An interfering Chancellor has turned his attention to pensions so the need for advice is likely to soar. Professor Miles&#39 meddling in mortgages will hopefully not damage the market. There are still investors prepared to back IFAs while big nationals may be turning the corner. Finally, there is no “killer” bank or direct proposition capable of stripping IFAs of their customers.

Our straw poll of IFAs this week suggests that most of you are more optimistic about next year. We hope and think you are right.


2003:The year that went PI-shaped

It has been a difficult year for IFAs, with professional indemnity cover going through the roof and the run-up to mortgage regulation adding to workloads. Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says he is paying 12 times as much as he did two years ago for PI insurance, with an excess three times higher. He […]

Friends fined £675,000 for mis-handling mortgage endowment complaints

Friends Provident has been fined £675,000 for mis-handling of mortgage endowment complaints. The Financial Services Authority said Friends was guilty of failures in its procedures between October 2001 and February 2003 which led to the mis-handling of mortgage endowment complaints. Friends Provident received 21,788 mortgage endowment complaints between March 2000, when its dedicated complaints handling […]

MP presses for equity-release regulation to avert misselling

A Labour MP is calling for the Government to take action to regulate all areas of equity release, including home reversion, to head off a “huge” misselling scandal. Barry Gardiner will raise his concerns over the “exponential growth” in selling in this area of the mortgage market with Treasuryfinancial secretary Ruth Kelly at an adjournment […]

Marshall Williams in Park Row merger

IFA Marshall Williams, which was put out of business by the FSA earlier this year for failing to find professional indemnity cover, has survived through a merger with Park Row. Marshall Williams was ref-used cover by Magian Underwriting Agency a year ago despite having had no claims in five years with the insurer. It was […]

Allianz Technology Trust – April 2017

Welcome to the latest update for Allianz Technology Trust PLC from the Trust’s portfolio manager, Walter Price. Portfolio review The Trust’s NAV returned 4.3% , outperforming the Dow Jones World Technology Index return of 2.8%. In US dollar terms, the portfolio gained 4.8%. During the month, stock selection contributed to relative performance, and industry allocation […]


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