View more on these topics

Swip seeks opportunities after rethink on equities

Building societies are pushing for an appeal process to challenge Financial Ombudsman Service decisions.

Speaking in a BBC Radio 4 interview on the Money Box programme last week, Building Societies&#39 Association director general Adrian Coles said society chief executives are pushing the Government for a change to the appeal process.

The BSA wants a process that would allow an appeal against a decision if it could be proved that one complainant&#39s case could apply to several thousand customers and cost a company millions of pounds.

Coles says an institution should be able to appeal against any possible precedents established by FOS decisions while not challenging the decisions.

Nationwide Building Society commercial director Stuart Bernau, who was also interviewed on the programme,said the result of one decision made against a society can have a significant impact on its financial stability.

Bernau admitted that Nationwide&#39s decision in 2001 to compensate customers on dual variable-rate mortgages had cost it £160m — around £70m more than anticipated.

Coles said: “Not only does the ombudsman decide the rules, determine the penalty and determine the outcome of the cases he is court, judge, jury, executioner and everything else. The consumer has a significant advantage in dealing with the ombudsman. The consumer is not bound by a decision of the ombudsman, the firm is.”

Consumers&#39 Association senior policy adviser Mick McAteer says he is very concerned about the societies&#39 move. He says it could mean that only the first person to spot a problem and complain would be compensated.

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership has rolled out an aggressive UK opportunities fund after a revamp of its UK equity portfolio.

UK equities investment director David Urch has repositioned the £38m fund, which became part of Swip&#39s Oeic range in October 2002, to suit a best ideas&#39 approach. He will seek 30-40 stocks of any market cap that looks cheap over the longer term with good earnings&#39 potential.

His main targets will be recovery stocks and firms with growth prospects although he is keen to dodge particular sectors – such as pharmaceuticals – which he considers uninteresting. The fund will be aimed primarily at discretionary managers and fund of funds providers. Minimum investment is £25,000. Charges are 1.5 per cent annual and 5 per cent initial. Commission is 3 per cent.

Bestinvest fund analyst James Calder says: “David does not really have a identifiable track record and none of Swip&#39s funds is that exciting. Our reaction is lukewarm at best.”


FSA says Ranson too old to pursue

Former Equitable Life appointed actuary and chief executive Roy Ranson is to be let off the hook by the FSA for his role in the insurer&#39s downfall because of his age. The FSA, which, contrary to reports, has denied it wants to ban Ranson&#39s successor as appointed actuary and eventual chief executive Chris Headdon from […]

Annuity edge

My first lesson in sexual equality took place in 1968 when, as a young trainee with Guardian, I came across my first branch manager. He had a simple approach to talking to staff and all were called by their surname, regardless of sex. A man ahead of his time, perhaps. I had a classical insurance […]

Newcastle bond combines fixed interest with equities

Newcastle Building Society is offering a guaranteed bond that combines investment in global blue-chip stocks and fixed interest. Sixty-seven per cent of the guaranteed blue-chip bond is linked to the performance of 20 global blue-chip stocks over five years while the remainder is placed in a two-year account paying a fixed rate of 6 per […]

L&G rolls out latest structured product offering

Legal & General has issued its latest structured product offering, designed to pay 100 per cent of any capital growth in the FTSE 100 over its fixed term of five and a half years. Maturing on December 23, 2009, the index growth and protection plan 2 offers capital protection as long as the investment is […]

Sub-Saharan Africa Near-Term Outlook

By Paul Caruana-Galizia, Neptune Economist

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic renaissance continues. After growing at an average rate of five per cent over the past decade, the IMF projects an acceleration to 5.5 per cent growth among Sub-Saharan economies in the next two years, as developed economies emerge from the crisis. We expect this growth to be sustainable for three broad reasons.


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