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Skills council backed over separate exams

The Financial Services Skills Council published its long-awaited exam review this week to unexpected approval from former critics of its proposals.

Its move to provide a separate savings and investment paper has been applauded by the industry, which is also welcoming the introduction of exams for long-term care and lifetime mortgages.

The skills council has also moved to close a loophole which could potentially have allowed big companies such as Legal & General and Norwich Union to run their own exams without accreditation, making it clear that any end-orsement firms get from the skills council will be conditional on meeting appropriate exam standards.

LIA director of public aff-airs John Ellis, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the skills council, believes that the review is leaving the way open for a separate advice skills module to be approved, which he says he has long underlined as an important issue.

Ellis says: “I am pleased with the skills council&#39s response to our comments. I think the council is beginn-ing to shape up into something quite useful.”

Sofa managing director Bob Bullivant says: “We are pleased that a period of uncertainty seems to be coming to an end and that people will be able to get on with planning their development.”

Skills council chief exec-utive Teresa Sayers says: “Through this consultation, we have demonstrated our commitment to a transparent process of working in partnership with the industry and we are confident we will dem-onstrate our role in quality assurance as we move forward.

“This response paper sets out how we will take the rev-iew forward and clarifies some common misunderstandings of its role in relation to the review and appropriate examinations.”

•Sayers appointment, p19


Bank of England raises base rate by 0.25 per cent

The Bank of England monetary policy committee today voted to raise the base rate by 0.25 per cent to 4.5 per cent. The MPC says that inflationary pressures are likely to continue building and that a rise of 0.25 per cent was necessary to keep inflation on track to meet the 2 per cent target […]

Winterthur Life – Winterthur Elite

Type: Unit-linked multi-manager fund Aim: Growth by investing globally in equity funds Minimum investment: Subject to the minimum for Winterthur&#39s bond and pension products Investment split: 20% BGI US Equity Index/Gartmore USA Index (Life),12% Newton International Growth, 10% BGI European Equity Index/Gartmore Europe Index (Life), 9% Schroder Tokyo,7% Fidelity American, 7% Fidelity European,7% First State […]

Halifax is lender choice despite admin problems

Halifax wins the vote for lender multi-ties with 40 per cent while Nationwide is second with 36 per cent. IFAs were asked to list the four lenders they would be most likely to tie to. Abbey National is third on 31 per cent, Cheltenham & Gloucester fourth with 25 per cent, Northern Rock fifth on […]

Winterthur takes sector approach

Winterthur Life has added five sector multi-manager funds to its Elite range of unit-linked funds for bond and pension products. The funds are designed to free up IFAs&#39 time by outsourcing fund selection to professional investment managers, allowing advisers to focus on allocating their clients&#39 portfolios to different sectors.Winterthur Elite UK equity, Winterthur Elite European […]

The curse of long-term cash

Trevor Greetham, Head of Multi Asset at Royal London Asset Management, reveals why clients should be seriously concerned when short-term holdings of cash turn into a long-term investment. There is nothing wrong with holding wealth in the form of cash on a short-term basis. For many people capital stability is important and access to ready cash […]


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