5 November 2015

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Carl Lamb: Unite to show advice firms aren’t the enemy

The world of financial advice is as competitive a marketplace as any other industry, which is a good thing. However, it is also a world under threat due to the increasing cost of regulation. What is more, we have the FCA pulling us one way to tighten procedures and the Government pulling us another to […]

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Danby Bloch: Handle alternative investments with care

Most advisers avoid alternative investments due to problems that have been caused by them in the past. However, eschewing their use altogether could deprive clients of a valuable source of diversification alongside other benefits. Indeed, the case for at least considering alternatives is compelling, but it is essential to be discriminating. Investments that qualify for […]

Tony Wickenden: The truth about death benefits

Last week I ranted about the difference between the headlines ascribed to financial changes announced by the Government and the detail set out in resulting legislation. I picked on the ‘abolition’ of tax on death benefits, the residence nil-rate band and the reduction in tax-relievable pension contributions made by high earners. All these gave rise […]

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Simon Brazier: Why the UK economy is back in business

With the general election no longer a lingering distraction, the focus should now be on how the UK’s stable political and regulatory environment is helping to provide a backdrop supportive for future growth. In the run-up to the election in May, uncertainty and nervousness over a hung parliament, together with some perceived anti-business political rhetoric […]

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HMRC withholds data on pension freedoms fines

HMRC is refusing to say how many people have broken new pensions reporting rules or how much it has collected in fines. A Freedom of Information request lodged with the tax office – and seen by Money Marketing – was blocked because the information “could be used by opportunistic individuals to undermine HMRC’s processes in […]

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Wren Sterling and John Charcol primed for possible sale

The boss of newly rebranded advice firm Wren Sterling and mortgage broker John Charcol is looking to split the infrastructure of the two firms in preparation for a possible future sale. Ian Darby was installed as executive chairman of the businesses, which included the former Towergate Financial division, after a management buyout earlier this year. Both […]

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Phil Young: A common sense approach to proof of identity

One of the big distinctions between dealing with a financial advice firm and dealing with a financial institution is the ability to think, adapt and offer flexibility where the occasion arises. Approaching a large financial institution can feel like dealing with an impersonal utility supplier. Going through the same call centre and answering the same […]

Brokers urge caution on FPC buy-to-let powers

Brokers say the granting of new buy-to-let powers to the financial policy committee has become “inevitable”, but warn any intervention will risk damaging those seeking to rent. Chancellor George Osborne told the Treasury committee last month the Government is “in the process” of granting powers to the FPC to intervene in the buy-to-let market. The Treasury […]

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Malcolm McLean: Get ready for contracting-out fallout

Bringing in big changes to pensions is often not quite as easy as it first seems. Rarely is it possible to make a complete break with the past in setting the direction for the future, and there are usually complicated transitional stages to get through before the old is fully replaced by the new. That […]

Platform focus: Aviva’s quiet ambition begins to bear fruit

Aviva is in the spotlight this week. The platform has increased its assets under administration by an impressive 69.5 per cent, from £4.5bn in Q3 2014 to £6.6bn in Q3 this year. Net sales data for the last quarter is similarly notable at £840m. Its AUA growth can partly be explained by the transferring of off-platform […]

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Lawyers warn on student housing investment schemes

Student accommodation schemes could be falling foul of FCA collective investment scheme rules, lawyers have warned. Law firms say they have seen a spike in enquiries about whether student accommodation investments constitute collective investment schemes after the FCA won a High Court case in February. The regulator took legal action against a scheme offering investments […]