View more on these topics

Troubled times show the true worth of advice

At times like these, it may be brought home to IFAs just what they are for.

Unit trust sales are at a low and many fund values have plummeted with the markets. Split-cap investment trusts are looking vulnerable to the banks calling in their loans. Many stockmarket-linked “guaranteed” bonds are set to invoke all manner of penalties on investors&#39 capital. And it couldn&#39t be a worse time to have to buy an annuity. Some life office balance sheets, vulnerable through a combination of bad practice and a passive acceptance or reckless embracing of price-capping, are in a parlous state, with implications across their product ranges.

Equitable Life casts a shadow over everything and will do so for at least a few more months. In many ways, it could not look worse for the investing public or the investment industry.

Advising in this climate is challenging but that is exactly what advice is all about. Some advisers will find their past recommendations sorely tested by the market conditions. But at least, there will be someone on the end of the phone for investors to complain to and to talk to about adjusting their strategy.

We know of one IFA whose lucky clients have been in the best-performing building society savings accounts for the last few months. He might say his clients have made their own luck in seeking advice.

At least with IFAs, there is always one when you need one. Let us hope the assorted reviewers and regulators bear that in mind when they initiate their various assaults.

Meanwhile, in these troubled times,pity the poor direct investor.


IFAs reckon policyholders should still switch

IFAs believe that even if Equitable Life policyholders agree to the compromise deal offered last week, policyholders will still face better prospects looking elsewhere. They say that even if the deal is agreed, it is not thought likely that it will stem the flow of policyholders wanting to leave the fund. Equitable saw £600m leave […]

Tom Kean

In business, one has to respond to change quickly whether one likes it or not – not doing so would be foolhardy. Things happen that disrupt what is sometimes a comfortable status quo. If ever a profession could boast about coping with change, we are it. The tenacity of our pensions and investment world is […]

RSA primes up on Europe

Royal & SunAlliance has applied the stockpicking techniques of its UK prime fund to Europe. The European prime fund is an open-ended investment company (Oeic) that aims for growth by investing in around 30 European stocks. The company believes a concentrated portfolio of stocks will help investors attain the high levels of return they were […]

Eurostoxx-linked fund is protected

Schroders Unit Trusts is to launch a structured growth product designed to give capital protection and linked to the Eurostoxx 50 index. Schroders believes the product will be attractive to nervous investors. Capital is 100 per cent protected. Returns are linked to average growth in the Euro-stoxx 50 over five years. The Dublin-based product is […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment