View more on these topics

Kevin Duffy on mortgages

Three things struck me at the recent Money Marketing awards dinner. First, the Rolling Stones wrote some truly iconic music that cannot be easily imitated. Second, after-dinner speaking to IFAs is nothing less than a mental assault course if your material has not been updated. And third, predicting award winners is an impossible task.

Take Standard Life, voted Company of the Year. I wonder whether its policyholders can fathom why. If the capital-adequacy debacle was not enough, policyholders are now being asked to self-administer salt into their wounds by voting on demutualisation. This is the company that campaigned so vigorously against carpetbaggers David Stonebanks and Fred Wollard at a time when its value was around £20m. It is now worth arguably a third of that.

Paradoxically, all this comes at a time when its mortgage conduit, Standard Life Bank, continues to fly high. Whether rumours of a retail high-street proposition can be substantiated or its stated ambition to swell its mortgage book to £12bn within a year is realistic or not, its challenge to some presently complacent competitors is welcome.

Another award winner was Nationwide, for many years the irritant of many brokers for refusing to pay procuration fees. Its stubbornness has now abated and it enjoys excellent relations with brokers while having maintained its competitiveness on pricing. The fact that it is one of the few lenders which does not engage in dual-pricing may also have swayed the judges at a time when Professor Miles&#39 recommendations are fresh in the memory.

BM Solutions picked up another two gold bars for its advertising ingenuity. I always felt the red postbox phenomenom, while innovative in its design, was more prolific because of the potency and timing of its launch rather than its message. That said, the recent collage of “We&#39re never satisfied” pieces is inspirational.

Finally, London & Country must be ecstatic at being voted Best Mortgage IFA. The firm has a strong telephone-orientated dynamic, is informative and market-leading in its product matrix and is skillfully positioned with the media by David Hollingworth. But whether perennial runner-up Charcol shares my belief that a clearly-defined peer group for L&C exists is debatable.

Conspicuous by its absence in this group was Savills Private Finance which, in view of recent events at Charcol, is now possibly the industry&#39s powerhouse. Its latest product prototype is a hotel room buy-to-let scheme. The spectre of terrorism and its potentially catastrophic impact on hotel occupancy levels may render this a leper product for lenders. But it is a novel concept and has one mischievous consequence – next year we may all be checking into the Grosvenor in the knowledge that our £250a-night rooms are swelling Savills&#39 £2m bottom line.

Kevin Duffy is managing director at Hamptons International Mortgages


Isa boost for IFAs

Isa season cash inflows rose on average 16 per cent in the IFA sector according to a survey by Prudential. The research shows 59 per cent of IFAs feel their clients have a more positive attitude to investment risk compared to this time last year, while only 14 per cent describe their clients as being […]

Old Mutual Asset Managers – Old Mutual US Specialist Equity Fund

Type: Hedge fund Aim: Growth by investing long and short in US companies with a market cap of more than $2bn Minimum investment: Lump sum £100,000, $100,000, euros 100,000 Investment split:100% in US equities Place of registration: Cayman Islands Charges: Annual 1.5%, performance fee 20% Commission: None Tel: 0808 1002715

FSA fines Morgan Grenfell £190,000

The FSA has fined Morgan Grenfell £190,000 for breaching FSA principles by failing to act in its customers&#39 best interest and failing to manage its conflicts of interests. The Deutsche Bank subsidiary was found to have commenced proprietary trading in seven of the constituent securities of a client&#39s programme trade, prior to its award, based […]

Mortgage facts posted on the net

Moneyfacts is setting up an internet portal for IFAs that will offer an information service and online quotes. It will include a mortgage sourcing service, which the company says will cover all products from all lenders. The site will give users access to an area that lets them view full commission details, a mortgage compliance […]

Sticking to valuation discipline when investing in China

Journalist Alexis Xydias discusses the opportunities – and potential pitfalls – of investing in China with Artemis fund manager Peter Saacke. With Peter holding significant positions in China in the Artemis funds he manages, journalist Alexis Xydias quizzes Peter on the risks of investing in Chinese stocks – including over-valuations, margin trading and financial reporting issues. Click here for video


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    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