9 February 2017


Why critical illness cover is broken – and how it can be fixed

Whether critical illness cover is still suitable for purpose is an ongoing debate among the industry. While most agree change is needed, with the exception of adding or removing a few random conditions it is largely left alone. Do I feel critical illness cover is broken? Yes. But for a different reason than many. I […]


The real value of robo-advice to advisers

Although it has been just over two years since the UK financial services market began to discuss robo-advice with any seriousness, the term has fast become part of our shared vernacular. Initially, the idea seemed crazy: was an army of cyber-advisers about to swoop in and pick off the UK’s first-time buyers and retirees? Would […]


Kim North: We need a national adviser panel on pension policy

After eight weeks of consultation, the Treasury last week decreed that three amounts of £500 can be taken from a pension fund throughout a lifetime to pay for regulated financial advice. The pension advice allowance can only be used by “defined contribution pensions and hybrid pensions with a defined contribution element, not defined benefit or […]

Is reflation nearing the end of its run?

There is a strong consensus in markets these days. Post-Trump election, terms such as “regime change” and “the Trump reflation trade” have dominated financial press headlines, as investors put their money to work based on the view that growth and inflation are going to rise. This has favoured equities over bonds. However, the catalyst for […]


Phil Young: Time for professional bodies to lead by example

I noted Personal Finance Society chief executive Keith Richard’s recent opinion piece in Money Marketing on the need to curb the increasing cost of regulation. While well intended, I wonder if the PFS might take a lead on this principle by reducing the punitive costs imposed on those misfortunate enough to pass sufficient exams to progress […]


Protection brief: Adding value through legal advice

One area grabbing the protection industry’s attention at the moment is the provision of legal advice for those diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness. Some providers already offer basic legal advice more generally through telephone helplines as part of their “value-added” support packages. The idea is to provide practical help rather than just throw money […]


Malcolm McLean: Pensions policy needs to be future-proof

All politicians know (and often quote) Harold Macmillan’s response when asked what a prime minister most feared: “Events, dear boy, events.” It is not absolutely clear when and to whom Macmillan actually said it. Some say it was made to President Kennedy; others to a journalist after dinner. Former chancellor Denis Healey claimed it referred […]


The Govt’s IHT warning on pension transfers

A recent case has highlighted a controversial approach HM Revenue & Customs applies that can subject a member of a registered pension scheme to unexpected inheritance tax charges following a transfer. The situation can arise if the member transfers their benefits when they know their life expectancy is impaired and they die within the following two […]


Better claims data will show the value of protection advice

The payment of claims is the key purpose of all of us working within the protection industry; enabling people to receive financial support when tragedy strikes. Focusing on the outcome at claims stage should underpin all the decisions we make, from product design to providing the right advice, to shaping the claims process itself. The […]

Tony Wickenden: When tax planning goes too far

I wrote last week about Prime Minister Theresa May’s Plan B if it all goes wrong on the Brexit front. Make no mistake, Brexit is going to be hard. It is just a question of how hard and at what point we have to make a decision on “deal or no deal”? If the terms are so […]