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OFT launches inquiry into estate agency market

The Office of Fair Trading has launched an inquiry into the estate agency market in England and Wales to investigate whether fees offer value for money, the effectiveness of competition and consumer protection. It will examine why the Ombudsman for Estate Agents received 5,500 customer complaints last year, an increase of 25 per cent from 2000, and why trading standards offices got 5,000 complaints about selling techniques. Concerns about gazumping being used to drive up house prices and people being pressurised into buying financial services will be addressed.

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Legal & General urges Smith to speed reform

Legal & General has written to Andrew Smith, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, outlining the steps it feels he needs to take in order to complete the reform of pension policy. The company hopes that Smith will act quickly to push through reform. It has put forward a four-point plan, including […]

The new industrial revolution

The scale of infrastructure needed to support life and pension operations means many providers continue to endure systems and processes created for an industry very different to the one that exists today. Reductions in profit margins are finally laying bare the cost of antiquated information technology, outdated attitudes, bygone cultures and laborious processes. The life […]

Individual pension sales up but IFAs lose market share

Individual pension sales leapt by 22 per cent during the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2001 but IFAs&#39 market share has tumbled, according to the ABI. Individual pension sales rose to £885m from £722m on an equivalent premium income basis but IFAs&#39 share of the market fell to to […]

Charcol foresees move to longer-term mortgages

A move towards Japanese-style longer mortgage terms could be on its way as affordability becomes a increasing problem in the UK, according to broker Charcol. Charcol is predicting a change in borrowing culture as people try to cope with the trend of house prices rising in excess of earnings. It is warning that if this […]

Greece: the sideshow continues

Artemis managers James Foster, Mark Page and Laurent Millet comment on the Greek deal, describing it as “just another fudge” getting in the way of bigger developments in China, the UK and the US. To read the full article click here.

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