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Posted: 22 November 2016 | 07:39:06
LifeTalk is delighted to launch Vision – a powerful new way for IFAs and Financial Advisers to raise their profile online.  Vision is powered by Passle – the content marketing platform for busy experts. Vision provides financial advisers with a stunning new platform to highlight their ideas, opinions, thoughts and expertise and to be part of a community of expert financial advice professionals.  IFAs and Financial Advisers benefit when they join and contribute to the Vision community in the folowing ways:  
Posted: 17 November 2016 | 11:22:22
Following the successful acquisition of pension provider Wensley Mackay Limited, Praemium has appointed Mark Sanderson to head up its new strategic area of pensions services. Mark has over 10 years’ experience in developing UK and international pension businesses. He has been working closely with Praemium CEO Michael Ohanessian and the UK Board to develop and deliver the Praemium strategy for its retirement business, and will oversee the development of Praemium’s UK and international pensions and retirement strategies. In addition to his pensions responsibilities, Mark will be responsible for the management of Praemium’s Dubai operation. He will work closely with Rebecca Murphy, Director of Sales and Marketing, to develop Praemium’s offshore presence.   
Posted: 26 April 2016 | 17:07:12
The regulator announced last week that it will soon be trawling through advisers’ files looking for examples of poor ‘suitability’. This is despite the fact that advisers only account for three in 1,000 FOS cases being declared in the consumer’s favour.  
Posted: 17 March 2016 | 10:59:50
Rachel Lane, Independent Financial Adviser of Weybridge based Group Rapport has recently won the Insurance Institute of Guildford’s Young Achiever of the Year Award for 2015. Rachel aged 32, was presented with the stunning award at the biggest event in the Institute’s calendar, along with a cheque for £250.00 at G Live, Guildford.
Posted: 28 October 2015 | 13:00:36
Rachel Lane, Independent Financial Adviser at Group Rapport in Weybridge, is preparing to run the New York Marathon on 1st November 2015.          
Posted: 21 July 2015 | 10:05:55
  Members of the LifeTalk community receive a 10% discount for the latest ‘SIPPs and Retirement Options: Where Next?’ briefing scheduled for 14 October 2015. Please enter LIFETALK10 when booking online here! Additional 10% early bird discount ends Friday 31 July!      Follow us on Twitter here @HSRetirementOps     Sponsored post
Posted: 24 April 2015 | 11:42:08
Professional firm of Chartered Financial Planners based in Newbury looking for an experienced Paraplanner to provide paraplanning support to the firm’s two Advisers/Directors.  
Posted: 20 March 2015 | 13:26:21
Looking for views on adviser charging on Drawdown. The basic question is "should these come from income or capital?"  
Posted: 16 March 2015 | 16:39:39
The hunt for income has shown no sign of slowing. Alternative assets, in areas such as infrastructure, debt and property, can offer a high level of income, and, being illiquid assets, they are particularly suited to being held in a closed-ended fund. Indeed, of the 49 investment companies yielding over 5%, 32 (65%) are from specialist sectors*. What gives these specialist sectors an advantage when it comes to yield? Why would investors consider these specialist sectors as part of their income portfolio?   
Posted: 18 December 2014 | 10:45:36
As the FCA’s final thematic review of RDR reports that reforms are working, data published today by the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) using Matrix Financial Clarity reveals that, over the twelve months to September 2014, purchases of investment companies on platforms reached £441.2m, a 31% increase on the twelve months to September 2013 (£336.8m), and a 125% increase on the twelve months to September 2012 (£195.7m).   
Posted: 26 November 2014 | 12:29:01
AXA Wealth has today announced it will remove the regular charges on both its Pension Investment Account and drawdown services available via the Elevate platform. The charges will be removed for all new and existing customers from January 2015 as part of AXA Wealth’s response to the changing pensions landscape.   
Posted: 11 November 2014 | 14:27:56
PFS Conference 2014 - was it ‘Beyond Better’? Charlie Brown and 10 others:  Would appreciate recommendation of service providers that can produce a quality digital newsletter preferably one that allows for branding and an email send service James H and 3 others:  What is the ‘norm’ for IFA remuneration?  
Posted: 10 November 2014 | 15:39:08
Overseas Pensions and Lifetime Allowance – Question Zac Wearden and 3 others:  Has anyone any experience of, or thoughts on becoming an LTD company as a single advisor? LifeTalk and 6 others:  PFS Conference 2014 - was it Beyond Better?  
Posted: 27 October 2014 | 11:53:39
Mike Kellard, chief executive officer, AXA Wealth, comments on research into the performance of funds after the departure of ‘star fund managers’  "Our research into the performance of ‘star fund managers’ and their successors indicates that pressing the panic button when a ‘star’ leaves and exiting the fund is not necessarily the best policy. We're not trying to argue that, for instance, Mark Barnett is a better or worse manager than Neil Woodford - or indeed imply that a fund manager's performance should be judged on a one year time horizon, which is clearly not the case - but our data does highlight the perils of making a knee-jerk reaction based purely on the name or reputation of a manager.   
Posted: 14 October 2014 | 12:05:14
This month marks the 30th anniversary since F&C Management (now F&C Investments) launched the first investment company savings scheme.  Since then, many more savings schemes have joined the party. (see table below).  Those who have been there since the beginning should hopefully have reason to celebrate.  Indeed, a £1,000 investment inF&C Global Smaller Companies over the last 30 years has grown to £32,877, whilst a £1,000 investment in Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust has grown to £22,716.  A £1,000 investment in the average investment company over 30 years has grown to £21,485.   
Posted: 14 October 2014 | 12:01:54
The latest news from the Chancellor, to be confirmed at the Treasury today, confirms what we and others in our industry have expected since August: George Osborne is to remove the restrictions currently in place that affect the way people take their tax free pensions lump sum. The proposals would allow savers to take multiple smaller lump sums from their pension without entering into drawdown. The move would effectively mean those over 55 could treat their pension like a bank account.   
Posted: 03 October 2014 | 12:44:52
Does anyone have any insight into the relative merits of using an iMac in a financial planning practice? Iain Wishart and 11 others:  What’s the best screen sharing software to use with clients? Kevin Neil and 3 others:  I was wondering if there is an IFA with the relevant permissions and contacts who might be able to advise and assist this client in Wiltshire?  
Posted: 01 October 2014 | 12:46:01
Does anyone have any insight into the relative merits of using an iMac.  Is it practical and workable etc within a financial planning practice context?   Steven Wombwell and 12 others:  Pensions and the new legislation.  Question Iain Wishart and 6 others:  What is the best screen sharing software for use with clients?  
Posted: 29 September 2014 | 15:58:55
What should be in our disaster recovery plan? Al Rush and 7 others:  I was in a nudist colony the other day, and actually lost a client because I was daft enough to be wearing clothes Chris James and 3 others:  After a couple of years break I have now decided to get back on the study horse. Diploma question  
Posted: 26 September 2014 | 09:53:38
SIPPs and Retirement Options - The latest developments - Tuesday 14th October, 2014, London  The SIPP and Retirement Options markets have never been subject to so much change. This professional briefing comes at just the right time and addresses all the important issues. It is an unequalled opportunity, in just one day, to be updated on developments in this rapidly growing and changing market.  Click here for full conference programme and registration details:  
Posted: 23 September 2014 | 10:31:37
Do you consider an internal fund switch to be replacement business? Mark Knight:  Is anyone going through Sesames Project Minerva - pension switching review? Gregg Taffs and 8 others:  Is it me, but do closed insurance companies have designated departments whose sole directive is to invent more ways to frustrate the poor IFA and delay any action on their policyholders behalf?  
Posted: 19 September 2014 | 11:11:28
File check pro-forma for compliance purposes - where can I find one? Robyn Lovatt and 2 others:  Compliance Consultant in Norfolk wanted Dave Smith and 29 others:  Let's say a db pension promises £3k pa at 65. But, let's say the transfer value is £60k.  Question  
Posted: 18 September 2014 | 09:42:50
We can show and prove to you that your LinkedIn profile is now more important to your financial advice business than your company website. Join us at our next ‘LinkedIn for IFAs’ workshop on 28th October 2014 where we give you the complete guide to using LinkedIn to attract profitable new clients.  It’s the final time we’re running the workshop this year, so don’t miss this chance.  Why shouldn’t you miss it? Because IFAs and advisers who have previously attended this event have told us that they acquired a new client the very first time they tried one of the techniques we teach at the workshop. Sign up here:    
Posted: 17 September 2014 | 12:09:25
Budgeting for 2015 – what should I allow for the levy? Snehal Ghodke and 10 others:  I failed R05 twice by 2 and 1 mark.  Where can I get additional help to nail this? Robert Terry and 6 others:  Art work as an investment?  
Posted: 16 September 2014 | 10:22:52
Today’s Daily Update is sponsored by SUGGESTUS, DFM research powered by Asset Risk Consultants (ARC). ARC’s popular free resource for wealth advisers has been redesigned and incorporates improved functionality for carrying out risk profiling, manager selection and manager due diligence.  Expanded services include portfolio performance reporting versus the ARC Private Client Indices universe, as well as a streamlined Request for Proposal tool. Click here:  
Posted: 12 September 2014 | 09:46:01
I work from a home office, and twice have had short face to face meetings with lady clients whilst wearing only my underpants Darrell Monteith:  We are getting more and more enquiries on auto enrolment.  Question Andrew Kemp:  Does anyone please have a PowerPoint presentation on spousal bypass trusts?  
Posted: 11 September 2014 | 13:15:48
Final salary pension transfers.  Question Jennifer Malcolm:  We have O&M, however, don’t think we are using to its full capacity.  What do you find is the best tool within O&M? Nicola Latimer:  I would be interested to learn what arrangements others have come to with their locum.  E.g. does your locum keep the fee for any new business they write and offset their locum fee against this?  
Posted: 11 August 2014 | 12:55:49
I am wondering if anyone has exam guide (past exam) paper for AF4 April 2014 exam? Bob Jones and 39 others:  Do you still wear a tie to client meeting? Steven Wombwell and 20 others:  What are your new FCA fees like?  
Posted: 07 August 2014 | 13:27:43
What are IFAs' current favourite apps for iPhone and Android devices?  
Posted: 04 August 2014 | 12:51:54
Has anyone been able to set up running their IFA business from home successfully using Cloud technology? Damien Clyburn:  I have been asked by someone about buying a second hand endowment.  Question RW:  I am looking at a contract I had with a previous practice to check what I need to ensure I adhere to.  Question  
Posted: 29 July 2014 | 11:39:37
Awesome list of books recommended for and by IFAs.  What would you add to this list?  
Posted: 28 July 2014 | 14:53:02
Anyone using leads from VouchedFor? Philip Wise and 5 others:  Transact can’t offer term deposits and hopefully they will be able to do something with breakable term deposits.  Does anybody know if this affects non-platform SIPPs or SIPPs where the member is also a trustee? David Hindle and 18 others:  What would happen if every adviser signed a petition to the PM to say go and shove your 30% where the sun doesn't shine. What is the figure where the PM has to debate the issue?  
Posted: 24 July 2014 | 13:21:57
Are advisers shying away from using EIS? If so what are the main reasons - Training, Confidence, Lack of provider support, not having suitable clients? David Hindle and 5 others:  what would happen if every adviser signed a petition to the PM to say go and shove your 30% where the sun doesn't shine? Al Rush and 4 others:  Retirement planning in 30 minutes then.  
Posted: 24 July 2014 | 09:37:16
SimplyBiz has announced that over 200 adviser firms have joined the Group during the first six months of 2014.  In the first half of the year, over 500 individual advisers have chosen SimplyBiz as their service and compliance provider, more than 50% of whom joined direct from networks.  This has made this year the Group’s most successful start to a year since 2008.     
Posted: 21 July 2014 | 12:11:51
This is a classic when it comes to unclear charging structures LifeTalk and 48 others:  Abysmal Service by Scottish Widows Our latest tweets  
Posted: 17 July 2014 | 12:22:40
I have recently made the jump from Employed IFA to Self Employed and I am considering using a lead generation company.  Who can you recommend that is reliable and reputable? Denis Mitchell:  Does anybody know of a Compliance Consultant covering Cornwall? Richard Johnston and 1 other:  Have a client with a scheme pension and wondering whether the proposed legislation will affect this, i.e. will they be entitled to the new flexibility etc?  
Posted: 16 July 2014 | 13:15:42
This month six years ago, we launched our site at and 100 IFAs joined in the first twenty-four hours. Today we have over 10,000 registered users with more joining every day.  Over 5,500 topics have been posted with over 30,000 comments.  There have been almost 4.5 million page views.  
Posted: 16 July 2014 | 10:53:10
As the centenary of the Great War approaches, the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has taken a timely look at the investment companies that have been around for a hundred years or longer.  Some 26 AIC member companies were established before 1914 and are still around today, currently representing some £25.5billion between them. This equals almost a quarter (23%) of the investment company industry’s £114.5bn assets under management, illustrating both the long-term success and the durability of the closed-ended sector.   
Posted: 14 July 2014 | 11:53:58
IFAs and Execution Only.  Question Peter Dunn and 7 others:  Mortgage based on pension income.  Question Anthony Smyth and 1 other:  AF3 equivalent.  Any other exam boards offer something similar that is industry recognized.   The CII have had enough of my money  
Posted: 09 July 2014 | 11:38:26
This may sound like a silly question but do we need to keep a log of outgoing gifts? LifeTalk and 3 others:  Will you see clients in their own homes?  If not, this could happen Robert Osborne:  I am currently contesting an FOS PPI claim charge passed on to me via my ex network. Question  
Posted: 07 July 2014 | 12:01:07
I wondered if anyone has used Genovo for report writing if so how did you find it?  Nathan Fryer and 6 others:  Has anyone managed to run Met Life Secure Income through select a pension and obtain the kind of pension pot that MetLife quote? Dan Collins:  Transfer of DB to DC with an Aussie QROPS twist for sophisticated investor.  Question  
Posted: 03 July 2014 | 10:37:18
Panacea Adviser (Panacea), the online community and resource for financial advisers has launched a new guide to provide clarity on issues surrounding the removal of trail commission outlining the steps advisers can take to safeguard their businesses going forward.  
Posted: 02 July 2014 | 15:40:25
Wanted – very high quality pension transfer specialist Neil Liversidge and 26 others:  Abysmal Service by this provider - Anybody in senior management want to roll up your sleeves and help the people in the front line? James Marchant and 3 others:  For some time now I have been mulling over how to put together an annual benefit statement for clients.  Question  
Posted: 02 July 2014 | 15:37:12
Panacea Adviser (Panacea), the online community and resource for financial advisers, has today announced it is to hold a webcast to support and educate advisers on using social media.   
Posted: 30 June 2014 | 13:35:04
Speaking as a client, although I have worked with advisers for over thirty years, I am intrigued to know what advisers think a client should expect from them?  
Posted: 27 June 2014 | 11:57:04
What did you learn this week?   LifeTalk and 6 others:  The book that changed my life Joseph Carlile and 4 others:  I feel a need to add more value to my yearly and half yearly reviews. I am keen to find out if what has impressed your clients please Andrew Whitehouse and 6 others:  Annuity query – financially dependant vs. interdependent.  Question  
Posted: 25 June 2014 | 14:32:32
I'm trying to track down information on behalf of a client whose pension fund seems to have been sent to a company called Kurht Leach based in Tring.  Do you know them? LifeTalk and 3 others:  What was the book that changed you as a person? Andrew Whitehouse:  If two people have lived together over say 5 years, can they be said to be dependant or "inter dependant" on one another?   Annuity question  
Posted: 23 June 2014 | 12:13:03
We are considering using SMS/Text messaging to communicate with clients, to update them on progress etc. Question Ivan Hargreaves and 18 others:  Non-Advised Disaster – look what he managed to achieve Vince Harvey:  Just come across an organisation called - anyone any experience with them or similar?    
Posted: 20 June 2014 | 12:08:44
What was the book that changed you as a person? Martin Bamford:  What are your current Purple Cow projects? Equity release... providing more meat for the sandwich generation? [Sponsored by Aviva]  
Posted: 19 June 2014 | 10:20:37
Can I ask what tools people are using for their fund research? Alex Breadmore and 5 others:  Does anyone here play in a band? Philip Wise and 5 others:  I’m looking for a CFP study buddy    
Posted: 17 June 2014 | 13:57:04
Tenet has told members to no longer include ongoing advice charges in critical yield calculations for pension transfers.  Question Phil Black and 20 others:  RO2 Question re Formulas LifeTalk and 6 others:  We don't treat our veterans and soldiers half well enough in the UK, the Americans show us the way on that  
Posted: 16 June 2014 | 12:13:23
Non-Advised Disaster - We came across a chap this week who, having read that it was possible to take a lump sum from his pension, had set about doing it himself. This is what happened: David Moteane and 10 others:  I have received confirmation that I failed my AF5 paper by 5% i.e. 8 marks.  This is the last paper I need to gain my Chartered status.  Is there any benefit in requesting a re-mark? Mav Dhothar:  How do IFA networks utilise wrap platforms?  
Posted: 16 June 2014 | 12:09:13
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a qualified paraplanner/administrator to join a multi-family office in London on a permanent basis. This position will suit someone who is already working in a firm providing high quality service to HNW individuals and has appropriate paraplanning experience.    Are you an experienced Paraplanner seeking an exciting new role?  Are you looking for a firm where people always come before products and everyone is committed to delivering the highest standards of client care every time?   Paraplanner and Manager:  The role will be primarily to run a team of 3-4 individuals in the back office of a growing boutique financial adviser firm that specialises in entertainment clients.   A great opportunity to join a highly successful and reputable Financial Firm in Bristol as a Paraplanner  
Posted: 11 June 2014 | 16:17:52
Equity Release... the top ten myths you need to tackle [Sponsored by Aviva]   It’s not too late to sign up for our unique Presentation Skills workshop for IFAs Designed specifically for financial advisers, this event guarantees to transform the effectiveness of how you present yourself and your proposition to clients. Take a look at what we cover  
Posted: 06 June 2014 | 12:58:16
Actively considering a subscription to a product research tool such as Synaptic and Aequos.  Would welcome your comments on these and other system out there? Bernie McKernan:  I would be interested to hear how you charge for your services and I appreciate the "service" will take different forms in different firms.  This is what we do James Glasheen and 8 others:  What’s the situation if someone dies, leaves an estate with an IHT liability on it and the beneficiary doesn't have the funds to settle the IHT bill?  
Posted: 05 June 2014 | 14:44:46
We have come across an internet marketing firm trading under the name of "registeringadeath" .  Have you come across them?  James Glasheen and 4 others:  What’s the situation if someone dies, leaves an estate with an IHT liability on it and the beneficiary doesn't have the funds to settle the IHT bill? Deborah Turner:  Does anyone have a spreadsheet to calculate an annualised rate of investment return?  
Posted: 04 June 2014 | 12:23:01
Spring Caption Competition looking good – have a go.  Last few days… Capturing client meeting notes, writing engagement letters, recommendation letters and client reporting is crucial to every IFA’s business - but here's the problem... [Sponsored]  
Posted: 03 June 2014 | 09:40:44
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a qualified paraplanner/administrator to join a multi-family office in London on a permanent basis. This position will suit someone who is already working in a firm providing high quality service to HNW individuals Based in our unique office in the amazing Wrotham Park this is a fantastic opportunity for the right person Cheshire - Are you looking for a firm where people always come before products and everyone is committed to delivering the highest standards of client care every time?  
Posted: 30 May 2014 | 10:44:42
Providers who take a less punitive underwriting approach/higher limits before applying a rating to overweight Critical Illness applicants? Ron Jones and 4 others:  Does anybody use a safe document sharing system to give their clients access to reports/documents etc? Darrell Monteith and 2 others:  Surveys - you mean you forego the opportunity to win another iPad mini or a crate of wine?  
Posted: 23 May 2014 | 13:09:05
One for the IFA mathematicians LifeTalk and 20 others:  Have a go at our latest Caption Competition… Charlie Brown and 16 others:  Smashing through the next income threshold – how I did it  
Posted: 19 May 2014 | 10:58:53
What’s your favourite ‘maths trick’? LifeTalk and 18 others:  Some great entries in our latest Caption competition – take a look Daniel Britton and 21 others:  What Cashflow software do you use and why did you choose that system over the competitors?  
Posted: 16 May 2014 | 11:02:18
Keep your nose out!  Can someone explain to me why tax wrap providers feel the need to get involved in determining what growth rates we should use when producing illustrations for clients? Paul Jones and 17 others:  What are the pros and cons of Retainer Agreements? LifeTalk and 5 others:  Wow!  16% of 25 is the same as 25% of 16  
Posted: 15 May 2014 | 13:28:12
Keep your nose out!!  Can someone explain to me why tax wrap providers feel the need to get involved in determining what growth rates we should use when producing illustrations for clients? Martin Bamford and 77 others:  What car do you drive? Roger Kenedy:  I have Client Data in different places (Iress, Wrap/Platforms, FE Analytics etc), which leads to a fairly inefficient & manual client review process. I am struggling to get it more automated.  Question  
Posted: 14 May 2014 | 14:40:29
What are the pros and cons of retainer agreements? Zoe Avenell:  Transferring a SIPP over to New Zealand.  Question LifeTalk and 2 others:  What are you currently listening to?  
Posted: 12 May 2014 | 11:37:46
Does anyone use a good outsourced investment proposition that uses a passive or even blended approach? Derek Evans:  Recording telephone calls with Providers when expediting letters of authority. Question LifeTalk:  New app to create stories and instructional videos  
Posted: 08 May 2014 | 13:07:25
Has anyone done/got a piece of research that shows how well DFMs perform against a set criteria?  Matthew Smith and 6 others:  Adviser needed for clients with £30k-100K investible assets Philip Wise and 2 others:  I'm getting a bit fed up with this provider’s staff misleading people about their with profits contracts  
Posted: 07 May 2014 | 15:26:29
How do IFAs go about asking for referrals?  Do you have a system? David Hindle and 1 other:  Has anyone any research that shows how well DFM's perform against a set criteria e.g. simple performance (after charges) over 12 months on a £250k funds portfolio with a 50/50 at risk rating? Ron Jones and 4 others:  Unbiased.  Cancelled my enhanced listing, this year’s increase took it to a level where I felt they were taking the mickey  
Posted: 02 May 2014 | 12:13:14
How should asset allocation vary with time?  Here’s an example Max Spurgeon and 10 others:  Drowning in admin.  We are about to reach a point where it’s too painful to conduct business.  What’s the answer? David Curley and 6 others:  Has anyone had any dealings with clients who had  Age Partnership try and sell them an Annuity?  
Posted: 01 May 2014 | 11:40:32
Dealing with a client who nearly bought an annuity.  All their paperwork states that it is NON advised but the client insists that he was told to use the whole of his pension pot to buy the annuity.  Question Estate Planning Consultants wanted throughout the UK - McClures Solicitors are looking for Estate Planning Consultants throughout the UK – a perfect opportunity for IFAs and anyone with a financial services background http://estateplanningconsultant.mcclure-solicitors.couk/EPCJob.aspx  Following the success of their recent round of road shows, Plum Software and Voyant are running further road shows around the country to demonstrate the benefits of their joint work  
Posted: 30 April 2014 | 16:08:53
As this is going to be a fee rather than a commission I feel unhappy with this arrangement but cannot put my finger on why.  What do you think? LifeTalk and 6 others:  The state of the Mortgage market – booming? Paul Stocks:  Is anyone aware of which Stakeholder pension providers will accept a transfer into a SHP and will subsequently allow the fund to be drawn using a 'small pot' exemption (i.e. sub £10k)?  
Posted: 29 April 2014 | 10:16:02
Still figuring out the right way to present your financial advice proposition in a fee-charging world? Presenting is no longer a nice-to-have ‘soft skill’ – it’s now a critical core competence.  So please join us for our acclaimed Presentation and Public Speaking skills workshop that’s been specifically designed to meet the needs of IFAs and financial planners. We guarantee a transformation in how you present yourself to prospects, referrals, clients and professional introducers. 30th June and 1st July 2014  
Posted: 28 April 2014 | 13:04:31
St James's Place.  Just been pitched to.  The story sounds good, but 4.5% IC and 1.6% AMC?  What I am missing here?  Does it assume wealthier people are insensitive to price? LifeTalk and 1 other:  What are you listening to? LifeTalk:  I know the housing and mortgage market is picking up strongly, but could you shift these properties?  
Posted: 25 April 2014 | 13:24:13
Which IFA business consultants would you recommend? Sarah Cook:  Aspinal Chase - 'not-regulated' investment advisers.  Has anyone heard of this company? Ron Jones and 3 others:  I’ve cancelled my enhanced listing on Unbiased.  Question  
Posted: 24 April 2014 | 09:59:06
Age allowance and top slicing.  Tricky question Matthew Smith and 4 others:  Looking for professional mortgage adviser in London area Dave Smith and 7 others:  Cash equivalent transfer value and commercial property.  Question  
Posted: 22 April 2014 | 11:49:52
Have you ever had a ‘lightbulb moment’ in your career - a flash of inspiration or insight which has changed your life or career forever?  
Posted: 16 April 2014 | 16:20:47
Anyone know if any underwriter would consider PHI for a Test Pilot? Ray Prince and 3 others:  Does anyone know whether this client will be affected by FACTA? Damien Clyburn and 8 others:  I am a current subscriber to FE Analytics. They have recently launched a new service (FE Select 100 and FE Select Portfolios).  I was wondering if anyone has looked at these services?  
Posted: 15 April 2014 | 11:30:48
Closing an IFA Business.  Question Julie Flynn and 11 others:  73% of firms not clear over the cost of advice.  Am I being a bit dense here but I really can't see how I could be any clearer in explaining what I do and what I charge for it Lauren McAvoy and 2 others:  I have just booked the RO1 exam and I am in the processing of studying toward this.  Question  
Posted: 11 April 2014 | 11:58:10
Clients that have large cash balances in their business accounts, and wish to invest for capital growth.  Question Richard Leeson and 1 other:  Whole of market - does this include QROPS for UK Residents? Carl Melvin and 8 others:  UK national but US resident - Pension Transfer provider?  
Posted: 07 April 2014 | 08:17:23
Is anyone else having problems with this provider?  My PA has so far been kept on hold for over an hour for a simple progress update LifeTalk and 4 others:  Who are the Financial Advisers who changed Financial Advice?  Five names so far Carl Melvin and 4 others:  UK national but US resident - Pension Transfer provider?  
Posted: 03 April 2014 | 15:46:31
Do you have any unusual/interesting ways of asking for referrals from existing clients and have they met with success? LifeTalk and 3 others:  How is 2014 shaping up for you - have you realised any big plans for your business? Al Rush and 11 others:  I have a client who has fallen out of love with his point of contact at a High Street bank.  I am looking at his portfolio and trying to make sense of the charging structure.  Question  
Posted: 02 April 2014 | 13:41:29
Do I have a moral obligation to report what I suspect is happening to the TPR or am I just getting my high horse for no good reason? Mark Cooper and 31 others:  Not quite paperless yet Ian Kemp and 3 others:  Is anyone familiar with the Police pension scheme?  
Posted: 01 April 2014 | 15:54:32
How is 2014 shaping up for you? Mark Cooper and 31 others:  Not quite paperless yet… Martin Dodd and 2 others:  Does anyone think I have a moral obligation to report what I suspect is happening?  
Posted: 31 March 2014 | 13:20:56
Do I have a moral obligation to report what I suspect is happening? Steve Robinson and 4 others:  Email and online enquires are increasing in number so how do you filter out the genuine enquiries? Andy Sheppard and 32 others:  For the first time ever today, I had a client who wasn't prepared to pay a fee for my services.  Question  
Posted: 28 March 2014 | 10:09:58
Auto-enrolment - was I dreaming? LifeTalk and 3 others:  What did you learn this week? Philip Challinor and 3 others:  I know 7IM are able to lend against investment portfolios, but are there any banks etc who are prepared to lend funds that are secured against a client's fixed rate cash deposits?  
Posted: 27 March 2014 | 12:45:15
Is this statement fair and not misleading? Daniel Aslett and 2 others:  Risk and Asset allocation systems.  Question Philip Challinor:  I know 7IM are able to lend against investment portfolios, but are there any banks etc who are prepared to lend funds that are secured against a client's fixed rate cash deposits?  
Posted: 26 March 2014 | 11:44:38
Are we breaching client money rules in this situation? John Amey and 1 other:  Can anyone advise who they consider the best Buildings and Contents insurance portal? Andy Sheppard and 23 others:  For the first time ever today, I had a client who wasn't prepared to pay a fee for my services.  Question  
Posted: 25 March 2014 | 10:22:34
Can anyone advise who they consider the best Buildings and Contents insurance portal? Antony Walker and 3 others:  Will all DB including Frozen DB schemes not be able to transfer into a DC scheme? David Cockling and 1 other:  Will crystallised pensions now fall into the estate on death?  
Posted: 21 March 2014 | 09:34:58
Client refused to pay our fee.  What do you do? LifeTalk and 11 others:  What one piece of advice would you give to a new financial adviser? Michelle Hoskin and 17 others:  There are many experts, consultants and connectors in our magical profession - but who has been your biggest motivational influencer?  
Posted: 19 March 2014 | 12:32:24
What are the books that have changed you? David Moteane and 4 others:  I was wondering how advisers that are involved in the AE space are marketing their proposition to employers? Michelle Hoskin and 1 other:  Outsourcing any service is not as easy as it seems.  My recommendation  
Posted: 17 March 2014 | 12:42:27
Did you attend BACK2Y?  Billed as the alternative financial planning conference - how was it for you? David Cockling and 5 others:  Has anyone experience with the cost of care provided at home?  I’ve found a useful link Chris Weetman and 3 others:  Transferring inherited funds out of South Africa.  Question  
Posted: 14 March 2014 | 14:54:37
Has anyone experience with the cost of care provided at home? Richard Cook and 4 others:  Is there a Compliance Service company out there which is creative, innovative, and confident enough to challenge FCA guidelines (and they are guidelines not regulations)? LifeTalk:  Did you attend BACK2Y ’the alternative financial planning conference’?  How was it for you?  
Posted: 13 March 2014 | 16:04:18
Cash Flow Modelling Software - What do you use and why did you choose that system over the competitors? Philip Wise and 3 others:  I’ve been wondering whether we should split the two roles so one person does financial planning and another does the financial advice (for the same client).  What do you think? Income Drawdown, remodelled.  Now you can make the most of your clients’ funds with our range of flexible, tax-efficient options [Promotion by Aviva]  
Posted: 12 March 2014 | 13:23:40
State Pension Forecast.  Simple question Stephen Wise and 3 others:  Our client (a female legal professional) has been declined PHI by Friends Life on the basis of some minor ailments which in the main she has not required medication or treatment for.  Question Stuart Ritchie and 2 others:  We are in the process of investigating the use of EIS and VCT for clients based on tax planning advice given by their accountants.  Question  
Posted: 11 March 2014 | 15:45:58
FCA Annuity Thematic Review.  Which of these questions is the least important? Philip Adams and 20 others:  If a client asks "Why does it cost me more to invest £150k than £100k?" -  what answers do you give? Daniel Britton and 10 others:  What Cashflow Modelling system do you use and why did you choose that over the competitors?  
Posted: 07 March 2014 | 14:31:51
If a client asks "Why does it cost me more to invest £150k than £100k?" -  what answers do you give? Eugenie Cameron and 2 others:  Help! Consumer Credit Licence Application.  We are in the process of varying our permissions so that we can conduct mortgage business James Marchant and 8 others:  Does anyone use psychometric testing when interviewing for new staff? I'm looking for a 'pay as you go' solution to use as part of an interview process  
Posted: 06 March 2014 | 12:02:27
Here's a great list of books that LifeTalk members have read and recommend.  Please add your own reviews and book recommendations in the thread Take a look at Spritz - a new way to read (very) quickly Tell your own life story in just six words  
Posted: 28 February 2014 | 12:10:07
Are IFAs a dying breed?   Al Rush:  I'd be interested for any thoughts that other advisers have on this platform distancing itself from supporting independent practitioners Bob Jones and 5 others:  Do you send a fact-find before the 1st meeting?  
Posted: 27 February 2014 | 09:14:00
Advising elderly clients who don't need to invest.  Question Jon Doyle and 4 others:  I am facing a very difficult decision... Philip Wise and 32 others:  FCA Annuity Thematic Review.  Which of these questions is the least important?  
Posted: 26 February 2014 | 12:08:49
Trying to help a client going through a divorce where the spouses pension is a substantial NHS superannuation entitlement of around 30 yrs at current salary of £50K.  Question Andrew Brook-Dobson and 2 others:  Client has been in touch to see about moving his UK Personal Pensions over to Australia.  Question Bob Jones and 4 others:  Do you send a fact-find before the 1st meeting?  
Posted: 26 February 2014 | 11:44:13
New rules and regulations which are frequently introduced to the adviser world are often fraught with difficulties and can lead to a reduction in income as a result. However, the new pension reforms are providing opportunities for additional revenue streams in the shape of auto-enrolment.   
Posted: 21 February 2014 | 11:56:39
25 working days to process a Transfer of Agency!  Is this a record? Duncan Mackay and 2 others:  A fellow adviser-friend of mine has pointed me in the direction of lead provider Oportura.  Question LifeTalk and 23 others:  Are you a recent graduate or just a few years into your career as an IFA or with a Provider?  
Posted: 18 February 2014 | 14:50:22
FCA Annuity Thematic Review - Which of these questions is the least important? LifeTalk:  Seven reasons why IFAs no longer need a website Alan Smith and 3 others:  One Day Conference - are you going?  
Posted: 14 February 2014 | 13:59:42
What did you learn this week?   Simon Webster and 7 others:  We have 6 self employed advisers. We had legal advice on contracts but I now realise it was insufficiently robust.  An adviser is leaving and is obliged to give 3 months notice.  Question Jonathan Hill and 2 others:  I am in the process of considering a new directly authorised financial services business and would be interested in any heads up comments for things I may have missed  
Posted: 13 February 2014 | 14:15:05
I'm sitting AF1 in April and have booked on a 2 day course with Adviser Academy.  I was planning on buying the R03 book but wondered if you felt it was also worth buying the JO books as well? Paul Hammond and 1 other:  Is it worth getting involved in NEST?  I have been approached from a small company to help with setting up a scheme for AE LifeTalk:  Are you looking for an Accountant in the Radlett / St Albans area?  
Posted: 12 February 2014 | 12:46:26
I am considering a new directly authorised financial services business and would be interested in any heads up comments for things I may have missed LifeTalk and 20 others:  What are your favourite books on personal development? Danny Christ and 5 others:  Be careful – hackers are out there      
Posted: 10 February 2014 | 14:30:05
What are you hoping for this week?   Thank you to everyone who took two days out of their schedule to attend our presentation skills training for IFAs, advisers and financial planners Most attendees had to step right outside their comfort zones, but the results were startling.  Here’s what one IFA said afterwards: “An absolute must.  I never thought 48 hours ago that I could stand up in front of an audience with confidence, not using notes or slides.” The dates for the next workshop will be announced very soon, and we already have a waiting list.  So if you’d like to be added to the list to receive advance notice, please drop a line to  
Posted: 04 February 2014 | 16:00:12
Is there an appetite for capped fees on Offshore bonds rather than unlimited percentile charges? Phil Buttle and 3 others:  We want to create a joint venture with at least one local accountant to me, quite possibly two.  Question Philip Wise:  I'm wondering if anybody out there, who has a year or so of timesheet records, will show us theirs if we show you ours, …so to say  
Posted: 03 February 2014 | 17:19:08
We want to create a joint venture with at least one local accountant to me, quite possibly two.  Question Andrew Karpinksi:  Please be careful with US Citizens! Iain Wishart:  I have a UK client (basic rate tax from 6.4.2014) who has maxed out pension, ISA allowances and CGT allowances too.  Question  
Posted: 30 January 2014 | 15:05:22
Are there any benefits to IFAs of joining networking groups? LifeTalk:  Have you had any unexpected moments of humour whilst financial planning with clients? Martin Dodd and 7 others:  Does anyone know if there is a Life Time Allowance and Annual Allowance calculator that I can use?  
Posted: 29 January 2014 | 15:04:24
Where is there a Life Time Allowance and Annual Allowance calculator that I can use? LifeTalk and 4 others:  From where do you draw inspiration to carry on when discouragement and fatigue begin to set in? Sam Caunt and 1 other:  Has anyone been able to set up running their IFA business from home successfully using Cloud technology and employing other members of staff also working from home?  
Posted: 28 January 2014 | 13:24:59
I have a reasonably wealthy client who has 6 children. This is all fine except one of the children is not financially astute and survives with State support.  Inheritance question Eugenie Cameron and 2 others:  I've been asked by a few clients whether they should sell their Invesco Perpetual funds managed by N Woodford because of his impending departure Mark Underdown and 8 others:  Certified Financial Planner Designation - To achieve the designation an exam is now required in addition to the case study.  Has anybody sat this exam?  
Posted: 23 January 2014 | 08:24:20
Following the recent announcement of the completion of their integration project, Plum Software and Voyant are pleased to invite you to a free presentation of the benefits of the integrated systems. Plum Software is used to manage all the contact with clients including documentation and workflow management, electronic valuations from over 50 providers, the production of extensive client reports, and the management of all remuneration details. Plum enables the adviser to manage all aspects of FCA reporting, and provides the MI needed for managing the business plus more.
Posted: 22 January 2014 | 16:11:30
Certified Financial Planner Designation - To achieve the designation an exam is now required in addition to the case study.  Has anybody sat this exam? Dylan Roberts and 8 others:  Does anyone have views or experience of using Parmeneon for investment portfolios? Steven Wombwell and 1 other:  Rebalancing of portfolios - advice please  
Posted: 21 January 2014 | 14:45:01
Rebalancing of portfolios - advice please Dylan Roberts and 5 others:  Does anyone have views or experience of using Parmeneon for investment portfolios? Julie Flynn and 7 others:  Mentor request - online and possibly phone  
Posted: 20 January 2014 | 09:14:04
Does anyone have views or experience of using Parmeneon for investment portfolios? Martin Dodd and 4 others:  For the first time in 25 years we have started to receive unsolicited inbound calls from people requesting advice.  Do you have a screening process before booking a meeting with a potential client? Julie Flynn and 4 others:  How do I find the time to keep developing professionally?  Time management suggestions?  
Posted: 16 January 2014 | 08:33:48
Do these clients have grounds for complaint against the adviser who sold these investments? Martin Dodd:  Does anyone know how many practicing IFA's hold the status of Fellowship? I have checked on the CII website and cannot find a figure LifeTalk and 54 others:  What music do you run to?  
Posted: 15 January 2014 | 09:48:01
Do you have a personal brand and could your clients describe it? LifeTalk and 5 others:  What do you do to completely relax when not working? Philip Wise and 4 others:  I just received a referral from one of our accountants for a client who lives in the USA and has a UK pension.  Question  
Posted: 14 January 2014 | 15:43:50
Would Advisers benefit from a single organisation similar to Law Society for Solicitors? Carl Melvin and 2 others:  Outsourced Accounts support - new service available Philip Wise and 3 others:  I just received a referral from one of our accountants for a client who lives in the USA and has a UK pension.  Question  
Posted: 13 January 2014 | 12:36:42
What are the thoughts of Sesame members with the announcement of George Higginson leaving and the new proposal i.e independent v restricted.  Have they failed a lot of their advisers?  David Cockling and 2 others:  Would Advisers benefit from a single organisation similar to Law Society for Solicitors? Robyn Lovatt:  What due diligence should I do before referring clients to this solicitor?  
Posted: 10 January 2014 | 14:18:24
Would Advisers benefit from a single organisation similar to Law Society for Solicitors? LifeTalk and 12 others:  Which exams will you be taking in 2014?  Let us know here and connect with others in the same boat Charlie Brown:  Integrated Financial Planning workshop - I am looking to do this workshop through the IFP and would appreciate feedback on the benefits from those that have done it please  
Posted: 09 January 2014 | 15:20:12
Which exams will you be taking in 2014?  Let us know here and connect with others in the same boat Justin Williams and 1 other:  I have just completed by diploma qualification via a make up of old FPC exams/RO exams/J10 & I have been in the industry for approx. 15 years.  What do I do now? Matthew Farrow:  Anyone else taking R06 on Jan 20th?   Looking to share ideas/thoughts on the case studies  
Posted: 07 January 2014 | 16:25:19
Has anyone received remark of CII AF exams sat in October as yet? David Kettles and 2 others:  How do I set up on my own given my circumstances? LifeTalk and 2 others:  What is the one thing that you'll do differently in your professional life in 2014?  
Posted: 02 January 2014 | 15:50:48
What is the one thing that you'll do differently in your professional life in 2014?   If changing job is high on your agenda for 2014, then register on our special IFA job site at We now offer a full recruitment service for employers and candidates, and can also make personal introductions to a limited number of financial planning firms who are looking for high quality advisers.  Please contact Philip Calvert for details:  
Posted: 23 December 2013 | 12:06:43
What skills would an experienced IFA suggest a graduate works on when considering a career in financial advice and planning?! Carl Melvin and 8 others:  Abolition of Trail Commission - is it legal? Marc McGreevy:  Has anyone received remark of CII AF exams sat in October as yet?  
Posted: 13 December 2013 | 14:37:09
Networking opportunities for Graduates at IFA and Provider firms Are you a recent graduate or just a few years into your career as an IFA or with a Provider?  
Posted: 13 December 2013 | 07:50:58
IFAs have an opportunity to capitalise on the desire of higher earners to give more to their communities and in the process secure increased business from them.  The Shine A Light report from UK Community Foundations, the charitable network that distributes funds to local causes,  has revealed that almost half (44%) of people give money to their local community, while activity in local areas is also increasing.   
Posted: 11 December 2013 | 13:02:04
Our last 2 experiences of taking on self-employed IFAs have been pretty disastrous.  Our superb self-employed mortgage adviser does more business in 2 months then the last 2 IFAs did in a year. Question Andrew Hart and 3 others:  Vision - To create a coworking space that is filled with other forward thinking, innovative financial services professionals.  Question Mark Cooper and 18 others:  Aviva With-Profits Annuity Bonus Rate.  In January 2012 I arranged an Aviva WPA with said Norwich giant offering a rate higher than the other two serious players LV and Prudential.  Question  
Posted: 10 December 2013 | 16:59:19
Do you still send your clients Christmas cards? Kevin Bray and 6 others:  I Failed AF5. If you have passed it how did you prepare? LifeTalk and 9 others:  Take part in our December caption competition – some great entries so far…  
Posted: 10 December 2013 | 10:18:39
Online technology provider Voyant UK and client management software supplier, Plum Software, today announced the completion of their collaborative integration project.  The integration enables adviser users of both Plum and Voyant Adviser to move client details seamlessly from Plum Software into Voyant’s intuitive and interactive software.   
Posted: 09 December 2013 | 09:39:29
The first meeting of the LifeTalk Internet Marketing and Social Media Club is set for 29th January 2014 If you believe that it’s finally time to start taking the Internet seriously as a vehicle for attracting quality new clients, then this is THE club for you. Meet with fellow IFAs and share best practice, tips and proven techniques. Join the Club today!  
Posted: 05 December 2013 | 09:40:01
Do you send your clients Christmas cards – or do you do something else? Steve Taylor:  AE and Group SIPP.  Small Ltd company looking to start group scheme initially with directors contributing then drip feeding staff onto the scheme.  Question Paul Stewart and 12 others:  Spread Bet your clients portfolio... Are you serious?  They say that betting is a mugs game, but now I am not so sure! So why has my mind been changed?  
Posted: 04 December 2013 | 12:12:44
Do you send your clients Christmas cards? Catriona Brand:  Top Tip – Gordon’s Growth Model – CII J12, AF4.  This concept wasn’t covered in previous investment exams but comes to light in J12 so presumably could come up in AF4 [Sponsored by Brand Financial Training] Paul Stewart and 3 others:  Spread Bet your clients portfolio...  Are you serious?  
Posted: 03 December 2013 | 08:57:38
What's your worst or funniest faux pas as an adviser? George Emsden and 2 others:  Volunteering at TPAS Danny Christ:  Is this fee structure possible even with a completely passive approach?  
Posted: 02 December 2013 | 14:47:50
The Informed Choice Ltd "As bad as NPI Awards"  LifeTalk and 19 others:  What did you learn over the last 24 hours? Philip Wise and 1 other:  I am advising a client solely on the lifetime allowance. I am going to help him apply for protection and tell the pension providers.  I don’t think I am intermediating for VAT purposes... am I?  
Posted: 02 December 2013 | 14:45:05
People are waking up to the reality of living longer and the effect it might have on their retirement according to AXA’s latest Big Money Index, which found that almost two-thirds (63%) of people think the government will not provide the majority of their retirement income. As people start to consider how they will fund their retirement, there is an opportunity for financial advisers to demonstrate the benefit of thorough long-term financial planning.   
Posted: 29 November 2013 | 09:27:04
Paul Armson (Inspiring Advisers) - should I subscribe? Bob Jones and 6 others:  What advantages are there to advisers working on a Mac? Paul Stewart and 5 others:  Advising business owners – question    
Posted: 28 November 2013 | 10:44:06
Thread of the Week: I've got a few clients approaching 75 who don’t need their pension funds to live on. However, they aren’t ready to draw out the tax free lump sum and give it away yet. Question Andrew Whitehouse and 4 others:  Client has been awarded part of their ex-spouse' NHS pension - NHS Pensions require a four figure "admin fee", which seems steep.   Anybody come across this issue? Francesca Gandolfi and 4 others:  Can I just get your understanding on who is authorised to advise on Long Term Care.  Apart from CF8, are any other exams required?  
Posted: 22 November 2013 | 16:40:13
As a new adviser, I’m keen to know what typical questions are that clients will ask me? Ivan Hargreaves and 1 other:  Who can certify documents in order to register a son's power of attorney against his elderly mother's investment bond? Bob Jones and 4 others:  How many advisers use a Mac?  
Posted: 20 November 2013 | 12:40:00
What did you learn over the last 24 hours? Charlie Brown and 1 other:  I have clients who wish to dispose of these shares which they received as part of the Colonial / Winterthur change many years ago.  Question David Moteane:  Has anyone had any experience and feedback with regard the different Auto Enrolment hubs that are available?  
Posted: 19 November 2013 | 10:55:03
Top Exam Tip – Tax Payment 31st January 2014 – CII R03, R06, AF1, AF5 [Sponsored by Brand Financial Training] Philip Wise and 1 other:  SWIP and Aberdeen.  I'm interested what other people think of this deal. I think that there are a number of angles, which are interesting Samuel Blanning and 3 others:  ISAs and accumulation units of interest-distributing funds.  Question  
Posted: 18 November 2013 | 16:00:54
Does anyone have any experience of the Time4Advice software, the pros/cons and experience of implementation? Gregg Taffs and 3 others:  Do closed insurance companies have designated departments whose sole directive is to invent more ways to frustrate the poor IFA and delay any action on their policyholders behalf? Samuel Blanning and 1 other:  ISAs and accumulation units of interest-distributing funds.  Question  
Posted: 15 November 2013 | 11:34:32
Directly authorised v Network.  Question James Watkin and 13 others: Sir Hector Sants resigns from Barclays due to stress Philip Wise and 2 others:  Does anybody know if it is possible to get a graph showing historic bid offer spreads on funds, ETFs, investment trusts, VCTs etc?  
Posted: 12 November 2013 | 11:20:23
Can anyone who uses Synaptic let me know if you can see the ARC Private Client Indices (PCI) on there please? Philip Wise and 3 others:  One of my clients is emigrating to Australia.  Does anybody know of a good financial planner firm who understands UK and Aussie arrangements? LifeTalk and 18 others:  What did you learn over the last 24 hours?  
Posted: 11 November 2013 | 12:10:23
I am minded to look at the CISI PCIAM exam in the New Year. Does anyone here have any experience/advice please? Ray Tammam and 5 others:  Advice needed on how to place a mortgage for an ex bankrupt please.  Here goes Philip Wise:  One of my clients is emigrating to Australia.  Does anybody know of a good financial planner firm who understands UK and Aussie arrangements?  
Posted: 08 November 2013 | 15:48:53
From a regulatory point of view, what do I need to include on my business card and on the website for this particular setup? Ray Tammam and 3 others:  Advice needed on how to place a mortgage for an ex bankrupt please Francesca Gandolfi and 1 other:  I've had an "interesting" discussion with one of the main pension providers who have sent out an annual review pack to one of my clients.  Question  
Posted: 07 November 2013 | 10:09:19
A client has asked if we could act as professional trustees to his estate to help his spouse and brother in law.  Question Ray Tammam:  Advice needed on how to place a mortgage for an ex bankrupt please? Andy Jones and 10 others:  GABRIEL return - The FCA return asks us to distinguish between a 'Provider' and a 'Platform' - has anybody managed to get categorical definitions for these terms?  
Posted: 06 November 2013 | 12:58:01
Is a QNUP an appropriate option for this client? Catriona Brand and 2 others:  J12 mock papers and calculation workbook are now available [Sponsored by Brand Financial Training] LifeTalk and 43 others:  What's your favourite live album?  
Posted: 04 November 2013 | 11:55:35
Has anyone heard of the Preferred Pension Company? Luella Keeley and 1 other:  Does anyone have experience of whether the court of protection would be prepared to consider this type of joint ownership with the client's family? LifeTalk and 2 others:  Who are the industry speakers who you enjoy listening to time and time again?  
Posted: 01 November 2013 | 10:08:48
Who are the industry speakers who you enjoy listening to time and time again? Dylan Roberts and 21 others:  For a portfolio of £300K split between SIPP, ISA and General Account who would be your preferred DFM? Andrew Hall and 3 others:  Diploma Passed.  Now what?    
Posted: 31 October 2013 | 12:32:16
What did you learn over the last 24 hours? Steven Wombwell and 16 others:  Another adviser as an introducer – guidance needed please Jason Thomas: Income Protection for MS and Diabetes sufferers.  Question  
Posted: 30 October 2013 | 14:14:45
Graeme Macmillan:  Cashflow experience - Can anyone recommend a paraplanning service who are conversant with Truth software? David Stealey and 5 others:  Having had a go at AF5 I am now on the AF3 trail. Needless to say the CII books are like wading through treacle. Does anyone know of a training manual that reads more easily? LifeTalk and 24 others:  Excellent (and civilised) debate on the pros and cons of anonymous posts on industry news sites.  Including comments from two anonymous posters   
Posted: 29 October 2013 | 11:52:14
Yesterday was a huge day for visits and comments on LifeTalk… Thank you to everyone who logs in and shares their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of everyone else     Are you a Provider or Supplier member of LifeTalk? Please go to your account settings and tick the Provider box in your ‘Specialisms’ section And why not take the opportunity to update your details – including products and services offered  
Posted: 28 October 2013 | 11:48:38
Steven Wombwell and 2 others:  I have been approached by a Financial Adviser in my area who has stopped giving Investment and pension advice due to RDR.  We are meeting up next week to discuss how this would work.  Question David Cockling and 2 others:  I have a client who may have an unauthorised payment charge to pay due to an error on behalf of the administrator.  Question Al Rush and 7 others:  Simplified Advice proposition.  Question  
Posted: 10 October 2013 | 16:13:53
Despite fears that consumers would be unwilling to pay for financial advice post-RDR, AXA’s latest Big Money Index has found that one in four consumers are willing to pay for financial advice, the same number as pre-RDR.    Amid continuing economic volatility and persisting uncertainty about where to invest, consumers not only appear to be seeking professional financial advice to manage their finances, but they are as happy to pay for it as they were pre-RDR  
Posted: 20 September 2013 | 13:46:55
High street lending has bounced back in 2013, according to the latest edition of the Mortgage Efficiency Survey, conducted by leading financial services technology solutions provider, Avelo.   The survey, which analysed the responses of lenders comprising 57% of gross lending in 2012, has found that 30% of mortgages are being sold through branches, compared to 22% in 2012, as large lenders leverage the investment they have made in branch networks.   For instance, lenders with more than 5% of market share in the mortgage market have conducted almost a half of lending (47%) through their branches.       
Posted: 23 July 2013 | 16:16:57
One in five will seek financial advice for the first time.  One in five (19%) consumers who have not sought financial advice in the past intend to do so in the future to ensure they have a sufficient income for their retirement, according to new research from AXA Wealth. This suggests an opportunity for the profession to demonstrate the value it can bring to a new group of consumers.  
Posted: 13 July 2013 | 15:12:32
House prices have fallen by around 18% in real terms (but only 3% in cash terms) since their peak in Q3 2007; In cash terms, average UK house prices could rise above their previous 2007 peak before the end of 2014, but this could take until around 2021 in real inflation-adjusted terms; London house prices are leading the current recovery in the market, but the upturn is becoming more widely spread; Recent government initiatives to support the mortgage market, such as the Help to Buy scheme, seem to be having a positive impact in the short term although longer term supply shortages remain a concern; The UK economy has shown clear signs of recovery in the first half of 2013 - we expect growth to pick up from around 1% in 2013 to around 2% in 2014.  
Posted: 28 June 2013 | 12:24:30
The majority of adviser firms anticipate placing more than 75% of new assets in clean share classes as the switch away from bundled charging continues to gather pace, according to AXA Wealth.
Posted: 25 June 2013 | 12:08:07
LendInvest has launched an online mortgage origination and loan trading platform ( The platform will be the first peer-to-peer lending platform in the UK that is focussed on loans that are secured against residential and commercial property.  The LendInvest platform allows investors to circumvent the banks and lend directly to borrowers, secured against residential and commercial property. It provides investors with superior risk adjusted returns, and provides borrowers with access to capital.   
Posted: 21 June 2013 | 12:37:15
Retirees who have been divorced expect a £13,800 annual retirement income compared with £16,400 for those who have never had a marriage breakdown.    
Posted: 06 June 2013 | 07:21:35
Only 15% of consumers see investment bonds as important to their retirement planning according to new research from AXA Wealth. This suggests that most investors aren’t making the most of their investment options.  The research, conducted by YouGov, polled consumers on the part single premium investment bonds currently play or will play in their retirement portfolio. The findings suggest that consumers are largely unaware of the role of investment bonds, with 16% saying they were unsure of the returns for investment bonds so did not or would not include them in their investment mix. A further 25% admitted they did not know what role investment bonds play in their retirement portfolio at all.  
Posted: 16 May 2013 | 11:03:41
Eurozone growth remains the main concern amongst intermediaries, with 71% seeing it as one of the biggest macro-economic challenges to investment growth over the next six months, according to the latest Baring Asset Management ("Barings") Investment Barometer.  
Posted: 13 May 2013 | 13:35:14
Andy Zanelli, head of retirement planning, AXA Wealth, claims a flat rate pension and a higher retirement age will be good for financial advisers and the economy.  “The new Pension’s Bill, as discussed in the Queen’s Speech, will accelerate two key aspects of retirement planning: the introduction of a flat rate state pension and the state retirement age. The move to a flat rate state pension of around £155 per week from 2016 makes economic sense as it should negate the need for the current complex means-tested benefits system for future retirees. As with any fundamental change to pensions legislation, there will be those who will be better off and some who will not.   
Posted: 04 May 2013 | 09:44:38
On the 26 April, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed that cash rebates will be banned from 6 April 2014 - unless they are passed on to the client in full in the form of additional units.  However, according to independent financial research company Defaqto, platform and fund charges are only one element that advisers need to consider as part of a robust platform due diligence process. In fact, arguably it should be one of the last considerations in the process as it is more important to get the right platform for the client.  
Posted: 02 May 2013 | 08:21:23
The Council of Mortgage Lenders today confirms that it is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority and with CML members, who will be stepping up their communications to borrowers with interest-only mortgages.   Lenders want to ensure that all borrowers have sufficient plans to meet their contractual obligation to repay their mortgage when it reaches maturity.  
Posted: 22 April 2013 | 16:52:55
According to independent financial research company Defaqto, advisers researching multi-manager funds need to take a more complete view of a fund's features to determine its position in the market, rather than focusing solely on performance.  The process of identifying and selecting appropriate funds can often be a complicated one, requiring careful consideration of several key points as part of a robust due diligence process. With an increasing number of advisers looking to outsource some or all of their investment proposition, multi-manager funds represent an attractive proposition.  
Posted: 15 April 2013 | 15:15:08
BMC Profiles announced this week its three main PlanLab cashflow planning tools have been re-engineered to work with the iPad and most tablets. They retain their monthly “all-in” licensing arrangements with no extras for support and training which is delivered via the Internet.  Commenting on the development, Newbury-based IFA Michael Roberts of Protect and Invest said:  
Posted: 26 March 2013 | 08:15:12
The Investment Management Association (IMA) welcomes today's confirmation that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will be funded by all product providers, describing it as "good news for investors and the right model for the new regulatory arrangements under the FCA."  
Posted: 26 March 2013 | 08:04:45
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the business plan and risk outlook for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), for 2013/14.  The FSA will be replaced by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) on 1 April 2013. The risk outlook sets out the challenging economic backdrop as well as outlining how the FCA will assess market conditions and identify future risks. Many of these are complex and will require several years' focus.  
Posted: 25 March 2013 | 14:07:35
Responding to the HMRC announcement that all rebates to investors are to be taxed from April 2013 David Thompson, MD of AXA Wealth's Elevate business, says:  “This latest tax on rebates is bad news for investors and will cause increased complexity for advisers. The HMRC plans to tax investor rebates are another sign that the industry should move away from this form of pricing arrangement. While supporting the ban on unit rebates we have argued that cash rebates should remain and are disappointed the industry has lost this argument.   
Posted: 20 March 2013 | 07:45:20
76 per cent have cut back their spending on luxury items or necessities.  71 per cent now opt for supermarket ‘own brand' foods instead of branded goods.  55 per cent have turned off their heating even when it's cold.  One in ten (11 per cent) are skipping meals to feed their family.  With Chancellor George Osborne revealing the changes he'll be making to the nation's finances in the Budget, MoneySupermarket today reveals the findings from its own ‘Real Budget Report' - highlighting the tough measures being taken by households across the country as a result of rising cost of living and  austerity measures.  
Posted: 15 March 2013 | 14:16:11
Saga is calling on the Chancellor to focus attention on the needs of older savers and school leavers by allowing older people to invest their ISA allowance in cash and cutting Employers NI - a tax on jobs - for the young and longer term unemployed.  Prolonged low interest rates may be great for those with mortgages - but older people rely on savings to provide an income in retirement - and they have seen their income slashed and the value of their savings eroded.  
Posted: 14 March 2013 | 16:27:22
Continuing economic uncertainty has sparked an increase in the number of people setting up small businesses in recent months, according to advisers polled by Zurich.  More than half (55%) said they were seeing more clients starting their own small enterprises.  And 71% believe the economic climate is behind the trend.  Most (93%) agree that this is an opportunity for advisers to focus on business protection advice for SMEs.   
Posted: 04 March 2013 | 12:16:48
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a discussion paper looking at how transparency and more effective disclosure could improve the accountability of the regulator and the financial services industry, and help consumers make more informed decisions.  The incoming Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is committed to being a transparent regulator and to being open to scrutiny from consumers, firms and Parliament. As part of this, it is keen to gather views and ideas from interested parties about information which, if disclosed, would be helpful for firms and consumers.   
Posted: 26 February 2013 | 11:43:09
Banking and finance industry news site, the Banking Times has expanded its coverage of the pension annuities market by launching a dedicated section on the website (view link).  Well known for its coverage of banking and finance industry news and developments, the Banking Times said it was excited to be able to recruit two new editorial writers to manage its annuities section.  
Posted: 21 February 2013 | 17:40:24
Trusted Planning LLP is proud to be the first firm in the North West of England to be awarded certification to the new British Standard BS 8577 by Standards International. The Standards International Assessor commented that Trusted Planning’s framework and procedures were ‘as near perfect as can be achieved’.  
Posted: 19 February 2013 | 08:58:37
Number of estates paying IHT increased by 3,000 to 20,000 in 2011/12.  The end of the tax year is an ideal time to maximise tax-free allowances.  Professional advice and simple measures can help to reduce IHT liability Thousands more estates paid Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the last tax year, rising sharply from 3,000 in the 2010/11 tax year to 20,000 in 2011/12. As the new tax year approaches, NFU Mutual is urging people to take action now to help make the most of individual allowances.  
Posted: 19 February 2013 | 08:55:07
Latest data reveals £58bn spent on entertainment, 60% more than in 2001 as we nearly double our spending in restaurants and cafes.  2001 doesn't seem very long ago, but what we buy and the way we pay for it has changed enormously over the last decade.  In its latest report, The Way We Pay, the Payments Council brings together all the big trends over that period for the first time.  It shows how many cash payments are continuing to migrate to debit card, how the debit card has won the day for now, but also how it's possible to see the end of the road for plastic as the mobile phone could take over our payments arsenal.  
Posted: 29 January 2013 | 11:44:33
Mansard Capital today announces plans to launch a Protected Investment Plan (PiP) for retail  investors. PiP is designed as a low cost capital protected investment solution engineered to meet  investors’ goals.   The Mansard PiP will provide capital protection for clients, helping advisers overcome reluctance  among clients to committing funds during the continuing tough economic climate. As well as  protecting their capital throughout the lifetime of their investment, the PiP will also enable investors  to lock in profits at any time and increase the level of their capital protection. 
Posted: 26 January 2013 | 12:18:56
The Institute of Financial Planning is breaking new ground on 28 February. The professional body is holding its inaugural conference dedicated to helping Financial Planners, Advisers and Paraplanners to make the most of the considerable opportunities presented by social media.  The event is to be held in London. IFP itself has been a regular user of social media for many years. We've seen first-hand the power of engaging in this way with members and other stakeholders across the profession and beyond. With firms' clients, their families and friends using social media, we'll be looking to help delegates to engage them in a positive way using these exciting communication channels.    
Posted: 26 January 2013 | 12:10:33
The CBI today (Friday) commented on Government proposals to address soaring defined benefit pension scheme deficits.     Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said:  
Posted: 22 January 2013 | 08:23:53
74% plan to increase investment company allocation over next three years.  Liquidity, gearing and platform presence remain key issues for advisers The second wave of research conducted by Citywire on behalf of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) and the wider industry suggests that more advisers are steadily preparing to increase their clients' exposure to investment companies post-RDR.  The biggest stumbling block for many advisers is liquidity. Secondly, gearing remains an issue and thirdly, the lack of investment company availability on the three biggest platforms.   
Posted: 15 January 2013 | 16:56:13
Mansard Capital has been appointed by CAERUS Portfolio Management Limited to manage £130 million invested in its four Dynamically Rebalanced Portfolio (DRP) funds. Mansard Capital was chosen for its innovative approach and its expertise in managing index exposure, which is an integral part of the DRP investment strategy. Mansard Capital’s appointment follows a review of the investment strategy for the DRP funds, which means that investors stand to benefit from an average of 20 basis point reduction in TER across the DRP fund range.  
Posted: 15 January 2013 | 08:45:47
Budding disabled entrepreneurs will get extra support to start up their own business in 2013, Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey announced today. Across the country, they will get support through Access to Work to pay for specialised equipment, support workers and travel costs when setting up their business.  
Posted: 03 January 2013 | 08:58:17
Credit hangover: one in five (17%) Brits are still paying off debts from Christmas 2011.  New Year, old debt: one in five (19%) consumers are starting January with over £5,000 of debt on their credit card Tied down: over half (53%) of consumers will take over a year to pay off their credit card, 15% fear it will take three years and 7% can't imagine clearing it at all Big spenders: six out of ten Brits (59%) put Christmas on plastic last year Putting £5,000 of debt onto a balance transfer card could save up to £1,685.  
Posted: 31 December 2012 | 12:51:50
Rising cost of living and household bills tops nation's money worries. A new survey into the nation's New Year money worries found that 64 per cent of Brits are bracing themselves for a very difficult year financially in 2013, with most (42 per cent) concerned about increases in the cost of living and rising bills.   
Posted: 31 December 2012 | 12:41:06
The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) comes into force from today, 31 December 2012.  This is the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) most extensive and far-reaching policy project to date. The changes aim to improve the quality of advice, reduce mis-selling and, in the longer term, improve the level of consumer confidence and build general levels of trust in advisers.  
Posted: 17 December 2012 | 08:24:59
Quality of Life improved during 2012.  However, inflation expectations rising, despite lower inflation this quarter.  124,000 more over 65s in employment compared with a year ago The  latest Saga Quarterly Report shows that in the fourth quarter of 2012, the  Saga  Quality  of  Life Index was much higher than at the start of the year, demonstrating that things have been getting better for Britain's over 50s.  After  the  'Olympic  bounce', the Government needs to make sure this 'feel good factor' can be maintained into next year. 
Posted: 10 December 2012 | 12:29:09
Research finds that 4.5% of quotes produced each month are for customers using more than one IFA, an increase of 2% from the beginning of the year.  MGM Advantage, the retirement income specialist, has analysed the number of customers who shop around IFAs looking to compare annuity rates.  Although the company acknowledges the number of customers shopping around IFAs is still relatively small compared to the number of quotes produced each month, it is keen to understand the customer behaviour.
Posted: 03 December 2012 | 10:09:53
Over a third of advisers are or are considering changing platform.  Larger firms more likely to switch. According to the latest Adviser Barometer research from Aviva, in the final quarter before the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) is implemented in January 2013, over a third of advisers (34%) say they are contemplating changing their main platform in the next 12 months.  
Posted: 15 November 2012 | 17:09:19
IFA Life, the professional networking site for financial advisers has achieved a new milestone, having reached 9,000 members.  Originally founded in 2004 as a niche group on another social networking site (, IFA Life went live as a social networking site in its own right at in 2008.  A specialist job site for IFAs was later added at Membership of the IFA Life site has grown steadily, and is now attracting professional advisers from other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA.  Twelve countries are represented in total.  
Posted: 15 November 2012 | 07:43:58
UK households spend an average of £6,000 a year each on ‘essential luxuries'.  Brits least willing to give up holidays and TV subscriptions, even if struggling financially.  Eight in ten adults have no financial protection in place to cover the real essentials. Items once considered ‘life's little luxuries' such as regular holidays, posh food at home and smartphone apps are now firmly on the ‘bare necessities' list according to a report by protection specialist LV=.   Despite feeling hard-pressed, Brits say they can't do without life's little luxuries, with each household spending on average £6,195 a year on them - up from £5,850 last year - with over three quarters (78%) saying they are making cutbacks in areas of general household spending to fund them. Overall UK spending on the top ten ‘essential luxuries' reached £158 billion this year - £9 billion more than last year.   
Posted: 15 November 2012 | 07:39:40
The majority of women who manage their investments online feel they've been successful at closely matching or outperforming the markets, according to the first-ever International TD Women Investor Poll, for which TD Direct Investing (U.K.), TD Waterhouse (Canada), TD Ameritrade (U.S.) teamed up to survey women investors in different countries to reveal their thoughts and attitudes about a variety of investment topics.  More than twice as many women in the U.K. (38%) and U.S. (31%) manage their investments online compared with their Canadian counterparts (13%). Of these women online investors, 82% in the U.K say they've consistently out-performed, or performed close to the market. This is consistent with women investors in the U.S. and Canada who say they've also been successful managing their own investments online (81% and 76% respectively).  
Posted: 05 November 2012 | 08:56:35
New research from Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of the charity Age UK, has found that the majority of over 60s (74%) have made exciting plans for their retirement, from extended overseas holidays (26%), to home refurbishments (20%) and exploring new hobbies (16%). But that optimism is countered by a lack of confidence in how far their money will stretch as over a quarter of respondents (29%) feel uncertain or negative about their current financial situation.  
Posted: 03 November 2012 | 13:12:59
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive at national charity Citizens Advice said: "Citizens Advice has long called for a minimum standard for basic bank accounts so Consumer Focus is right to urge the industry to provide this. "Basic bank accounts are a vital product for the poorest - opening the door for financial inclusion and giving them a safe way to manage their money and get wages from their employer.  
Posted: 01 November 2012 | 14:13:06
Remaining independent in a post-RDR world is a challenge that many IFA firms are facing. This is made more difficult by having the requirement to advise on the whole spectrum of products, including offshore solutions such as QROPS, QNUPS, offshore bonds, trusts and international annuities.  In addition to this the FSA has released new requirements for providing advice to non-UK clients, which include offshore pension trustees. These changes have led to a sharp decrease in the number of firms choosing to remain MiFID passport holders. Research shows that as few as three out of every 10 current MiFID firms will continue to be passported going forward.  
Posted: 01 November 2012 | 14:06:39
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published new rules requiring Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) operators to provide Key Features Illustrations (KFIs) to consumers and show how charges impact upon a consumer's investment return. Prior to today's policy statement, SIPPs were exempt from the disclosure rules applying to other personal pension schemes.  
Posted: 26 October 2012 | 07:05:04
Risk profiling specialist, FinaMetrica, today announced major enhancements to its risk tolerance report and supporting materials – based on feedback from 5,000 predominantly Australian, UK and US financial advisers.  Since its entrance to the UK in 2004, FinaMetrica has grown rapidly to become one of the dominant risk profiling solutions used by financial planners and investment mapping business partners including Architas, Margetts, Allianz, Aviva and 7IM.   
Posted: 18 October 2012 | 07:47:24
Britain's workers should be auto-enrolled into modern, simple, low cost pension schemes offering good value for money if they are to maximise their chance of a decent income in retirement, Aviva has said.  Commentary from government, politicians, the regulator and recent independent reports have all reinforced the need to avoid high charging schemes, and for advisers, employers and their employees to carefully consider their choice of pension provider, particularly for auto-enrolment.  
Posted: 18 October 2012 | 07:44:02
Using contribution figures from its quarterly Workplace Savings Index, Friends Life projects that their members who delay starting to contribute to their pensions by just ten years will miss out on considerable retirement income later on:  A 22 year old man, the age at which auto-enrolment kicks in, today who invests £162 a month (with annual contribution rise of 2.5%) until age 65 will have a projected pension pot of over £604,166 at retirement with compound growth assuming a growth rate of 7% a year and annual scheme management charges of 0.5%; a man who begins at 32 and also contributes £162 a month (with annual contribution rise of 2.5%) would only have a projected fund of just over £286,799 assuming the same growth rate. To put this into the context of income at retirement the 22 year old would get a projected £34,411 a year at retirement, the 32 year old would get less than half, just over an anticipated £16,451 a year   
Posted: 18 October 2012 | 07:40:27
The Equity Release Council (The Council) reports that market figures for the third quarter of 2012 show significant growth in both volumes and value.   Advances Grow by Over 10% Quarter on Quarter:  
Posted: 16 October 2012 | 10:44:25
Figures released today by EIRIS, the sustainable investment research specialists, show that there's currently around £11 billion invested in Britain's green and ethical funds, up from £4 billion ten years ago. The figures are launched for National Ethical Investment Week (14-20 October 2012) which aims to ensure everyone knows that they have green and ethical options when it comes to their financial decisions.   
Posted: 16 October 2012 | 10:40:14
Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga was asked to contribute to the Inquiry by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority into MPs pay and pensions. Her response can be summarised as follows:  
Posted: 29 September 2012 | 11:08:30
A good broadband connection now tops off-street parking and access to local amenities as one of the vital deciding factors for people buying a new house, according to a study of British homebuyers. One in ten house-hunters admitted they have walked away from properties with poor internet connections, while one in five has checked broadband speeds when evaluating a home.   The findings follow a nationwide study of more than 2,000 homebuyers carried out by and property expert, Henry Pryor.    
Posted: 24 September 2012 | 12:41:01
With less than a month until auto-enrolment comes into play, new research from Friends Life, the Life Insurance & Pension provider, reveals that it is still a source of great confusion to the UK population. An astonishing 60% of people admitted they don't know what auto-enrolment is, with a further 27% revealing they don't know whether or not they will be auto-enrolled by their employer, despite auto-enrolment being just one month away for employees of the very largest employers. Staggeringly, just 6% of respondents suggested that they knew they were definitely going to be auto-enrolled. The lack of knowledge intensifies when it comes to understanding how auto-enrolment will work in practice with over 90% of respondents revealing that they don't know how the auto-enrolled money will be invested.  
Posted: 24 September 2012 | 12:38:46
Young people are now able to go online for a free tailored money action plan, thanks to the launch of Max Your Money Skills, a new online tool designed to improve the financial skills of 14 to 18 year olds.  Developed by financial education charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) and supported by Santander, the tool is the first of its kind in the UK for young people. Max Your Money Skills explores young people's financial attitudes and ‘money personalities' through a series of different questions, providing a tailor-made individual action plan of how they can improve their personal finances and financial capability.  Action plans include things to consider or do, such as open a bank account and then check statements regularly, or things to find out or practice, such as watch a video about debt or find out more about student finance.  
Posted: 21 September 2012 | 08:58:59
Latest figures from's Advice Drivers report show personal retirement planning remains the number one advice trigger, with enquiries for that area of advice at 33% of all independent financial advice searches in August 2012.  Throughout the summer months - June, July and August, searches for advice on personal retirement planning has remained relatively steady following a slight dip in searches earlier in the year.  Investment and savings still remains the second most sought after area of advice on's 'find an IFA' search, triggering 23% of all searches in August, and enquiries for this area of advice have remained steady since December 2011.  
Posted: 21 September 2012 | 08:53:29
NEST is going on the road to urge employers to find out how the imminent changes to workplace pensions will affect them and to allow plenty of time to prepare.  Five free roadshows, being held in locations in England, Scotland and Wales, will offer employers the chance to learn from NEST's automatic enrolment experts about how they can prepare for pensions changes and find out how NEST can help.   
Posted: 14 September 2012 | 08:42:12
The majority of full-time female workers say they predominantly make the main financial decisions at home.  Yet over 10 million women in full time employment (84%) do not hold a critical illness policy.  Women should take action now with only 100 days to go until the EU gender directive comes into effect. Women with full-time jobs are increasingly holding the purse strings yet are still not taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves and their families, according to Scottish Provident's Women and Protection report.  
Posted: 14 September 2012 | 08:37:36
After five long years since the start of the credit crunch, when Northern Rock collapsed, one in six (14 per cent) Brits are now coming to terms with the fact their finances will never be the same again, as they see the ‘recession' as the new norm and therefore, will have to just ‘get on with it'. Research by MoneySupermarket, which looked at the impact of the economic climate on the nation's attitudes to their finances, also found many consumers are pessimistic about when things will start getting better. Just under a half of UK adults (47 per cent) believe there is a long way to go until the recovery begins, and almost one in five (18 per cent) believe the tough economic climate will never end.  
Posted: 07 September 2012 | 07:03:03
More than 100,000 UK businesses could save £millions in annual accountancy and administration costs under reduced auditing and reporting requirements announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable today.  The Government's response to the consultation on Audit Exemptions and Change of Accounting Framework confirms plans to allow more companies to make a commercial decision about whether or not to have a statutory audit.  
Posted: 01 September 2012 | 13:06:45
Seven in ten people are making the most of their money with daily trade offs or ‘everyday offsets,' according to research from first direct bank. This is compared with an estimated 6.5% who have recently taken a similar approach with their home loan by offsetting their savings against their mortgage.  The main reason people make trade offs is to make the most of their money (35%) with a further quarter saying it just makes sense. Twenty three percent said it helps them enjoy their life more.   
Posted: 31 August 2012 | 14:53:38
UK authorised banks, building societies and credit unions are telling customers their savings and deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). They are sticking up information prominently by putting posters and stickers in branches as well as information on their websites. This action follows the introduction of new FSA rules obliging deposit takers to display information about FSCS protection available to consumers.  FSCS protects consumers if banks, building societies or credit unions go bust. Since 2001 it has helped more than 4.5 million people and paid out more than £26 billion. It covers the full range of financial services.  
Posted: 25 August 2012 | 08:52:41
Homeowners looking to take their second step on the property ladder are facing the toughest market conditions for over a quarter of a century, according to the latest Lloyds TSB Homemovers Review.  Home affordability for second steppers is less favourable than for first-time buyers. Second steppers' current equity position would account for just 5% of the price of a typical second stepper home. Compared with almost half (44%) in 2005. Homemovers account for the smallest share of homebuyers since 2001. The average homemover deposit in 2012 was £61,536. This is a rise of 70% from the average of £36,280 in 2002.  
Posted: 24 August 2012 | 10:36:20
With the news thousands of households will be struck with price rises across their mortgage repayments and utility bills, many UK homeowners could be pushed over the edge of their ‘Affordability Tipping Point'. Household finances in the UK are now so stretched that over a third of the adult population (36 per cent) believe a rise in monthly outgoings of £50 or less would push them to financial breaking point. Of these, one in five say they are now sitting on the brink, finding it impossible to meet their monthly bills and costs.   
Posted: 24 August 2012 | 10:30:14
A quarter (25 per cent) of higher rate taxpayers expecting to have their child benefit payments reduced due to new tax rules which come into force next year, may boost their pension contributions to avoid the tax. That's according to new independent research commissioned by Prudential. From 7 January 2013, if one parent in a household earns more than £50,000 he or she will have to pay the new child benefit tax, regardless of which parent is claiming the child benefit and irrespective of the income earned by the second parent.  
Posted: 20 August 2012 | 08:18:03
Nationwide Building Society, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland are first to adopt FSCS training module to help build customer confidence and support financial stability. Nationwide Building Society, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland have agreed to go through a new training programme that will support their staff to inform consumers about the protection available on savings and current accounts. The package has been provided by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as part of its campaign to raise awareness about the protection for consumers.  
Posted: 16 August 2012 | 10:01:51
Such is the cost of living today that British households require almost £4,000 a month just to feel financially secure.  But, as years of pay freezes and economic gloom take their toll, new research shows that the average household falls £1,500 a month short of achieving this:  
Posted: 16 August 2012 | 09:59:08
High financial and emotional costs of selling the family home to move into a smaller dwelling are set to encourage increasing numbers of retirees to look towards alternative options such as equity release, according to Just Retirement.  The retirement specialist recently unveiled a major study into consumer attitudes towards housing equity withdrawal that found considerable resistance to the idea of downsizing among the 1,000 homeowners aged over 55 who took part.  
Posted: 16 August 2012 | 09:51:29
12% of British adults do not plan to retire at all and over a third of non-retired adults do not have a pension.  More than 2.1 million British adults aged between 55 and 64 (44% of non-retired GB adults in this age group) do not know when they will be able to retire, according to new research1 by Baring Asset Management ("Barings"), the international investment management firm.  
Posted: 15 August 2012 | 07:52:43
Despite rising levels of financial commitment, British adults are rejecting the peace of mind offered by life insurance, a new study has found. A YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people, conducted on behalf of discovered that 55 per cent of adults do not have life cover, despite the protection it offers for family members who could struggle financially or even lose their home in the event of a death.  
Posted: 08 August 2012 | 08:37:06
Only 31 per cent of delegates attending wrap platform Ascentric's RDR Workshops over the last two weeks said they were ready now for RDR, leaving 55 per cent on target and 14 per cent behind target.  76 per cent felt RDR has had a positive impact on their business, 86 per cent were coping with the changes and 41 per cent believed client relationships had also improved as a result of RDR.   
Posted: 08 August 2012 | 08:11:36
John Charcol, the UK's leading independent mortgage adviser, has revealed that there are signs of new life in the remortgage market, with the proportion of their clients remortgaging having increased from 32.1% in May to 39.2% by July. The remortgage market is now looking increasingly appealing to borrowers and John Charcol expects the remortgage trend within the residential market to increase in August and remain high over the next few months as the fixed rate price war takes shape.  
Posted: 07 August 2012 | 08:08:52
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that advisers using platforms now prioritise the speed at which new client applications are processed above any other aspect of service - and with time of the essence for advisers preparing for Retail Distribution Review (RDR) implementation, identifying platform providers that can process new client applications swiftly should form an essential aspect of the due diligence process. Defaqto questioned 345 financial advisers who use investment platforms, asking them to rate 37 aspects of provider service across the following eight categories:  
Posted: 06 August 2012 | 11:56:39
As IFAs head off for their final Summer break ahead of RDR, many are missing out on new business opportunities because their ‘Out of Office’ email message does not include a note of their website address.  In a random sample of fifty ‘Out of Office’ email messages from IFAs; almost 90% did not include a specific invitation to visit the IFA’s website. Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said: “Most Out of Office emails apologised for not being able to answer, but the overwhelming majority made no specific mention of their website as an alternative option to make enquiries or to obtain information.”  
Posted: 03 August 2012 | 08:49:36
While the MPC meeting brings no fresh news of the further rounds of QE, Saga urges the committee to consider the irreparable damage that Quantative Easing has done to UK pension schemes.   By printing so much new money to buy gilts, and forcing down long-term interest rates, the Bank has caused huge problems for many UK firms. UK pension deficits for FTSE 100 firms have more than doubled in the last year alone, despite companies pumping millions into their schemes to repair their pension shortfalls. Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga comments: "This is turning into a 'death spiral'.  The lower gilt yields fall, the worse pension deficits become.  The worse pension deficits become, the more trustees will feel they need to 'de-risk'. This often means buying more gilts which itself means worse deficits because trustees are competing with the Bank of England which is also trying to buy gilts due to QE. Added to this, many employers will want to get rid of their pension risks altogether, which would mean ultimately a full buyout - but the lower gilt yields fall, the higher the costs of buyout and the more unaffordable that option becomes.  
Posted: 03 August 2012 | 08:44:54
An independent steering group set up by the Government has today published initial recommendations on the development of ‘simple' financial products that will better enable consumers to navigate the financial services market, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, announced. The independent steering group, chaired by Carol Sergeant (formerly of Lloyds Banking Group) has published its initial report following consultation with a wide range of consumer groups and industry representatives. Formed following a Government consultation in 2010, the group was tasked with devising a suite of financial products which would help consumers to better engage with what can be a complex financial services market.  
Posted: 03 August 2012 | 08:41:44
The deterioration in the UK economy has been more pronounced than even we expected. We estimate that the ‘Jubilee effect' reduced estimated growth in the second quarter by 0.4 percentage point, with a corresponding boost to be expected in the third quarter. This implies that underlying growth is still negative. But focusing on a ‘double dip' distracts from the more important trend; the level of output has effectively been flat over the past two years. This is largely due to domestic economic factors; private sector adjustment has been exacerbated by fiscal consolidation and a dysfunctional financial system. The divergence between poor growth figures and relatively strong labour market performance remains a puzzle, although other countries, for example Germany, have also experienced very weak productivity growth.  
Posted: 31 July 2012 | 08:35:52
According to independent financial research company Defaqto, passive investing is gaining greater traction in the UK - and as the market grows and develops this could benefit advisers, who will have a greater choice of lower cost investment solutions in the post-RDR world. Defaqto's Guide to Passive Investing, published today, suggests that there is frustration among the adviser community over the performance and the cost of many active funds. The cost pressures imposed by regulation, product development from passive fund groups and recent entrants to the market all point to the growth of passive investments.  
Posted: 27 July 2012 | 09:36:55
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has added new business development material provided by FP Advance to its online IFPTV channel. FP Advance's Master Class material is now available in 10 short video presentations given by its Chief Executive, Brett Davidson. The presentations are designed to help Financial Planning firms position themselves profitably for a post RDR future.  
Posted: 27 July 2012 | 09:23:46
95% of IFAs believe their clients are increasingly trying their hand at DIY investing, according to research from Legal & General Investments.  The findings come from Legal & General Investments' annual What Matters Investment Index, which aims to investigate the views of the IFA community, tracking how sentiment and behaviour changes over time.  
Posted: 25 July 2012 | 14:02:26
The latest FundWatch survey from multi-manager specialist Thames River Multi-Capital ("TRMC") shows that a third of all new funds launched in Q1 2012 were in the IMA's Specialist funds sector, reflecting how product providers continue to evolve their businesses to suit the needs of investors post the implementation of the RDR. According to FundWatch, a quarterly analysis of the retail fund landscape, 18 new funds were launched into the UK market in Q1 2012, a 43.75 per cent drop against the 32 launched in the previous quarter, and a return to the more normalised levels shown in previous quarters.  The Specialist sector saw the most number of fund launches of all the IMA sectors, with six funds launched in Q1.  
Posted: 19 July 2012 | 14:39:32
Latest figures from's Advice Drivers report show that as the UK's ageing population increases so too has the demand for personal retirement planning, with enquiries on the ‘find an IFA' search increasing from 30% in May to 33% in June 2012.  This week, the latest UK census data revealed that one in six of the population is aged 65 and over, the highest ever in the UK and a timely reminder of the importance of making financially sound provision for retirement income.  
Posted: 19 July 2012 | 07:32:57
As Brits batten down the hatches to ride out the economic storm new research shows that over three quarters (77%) have given up on the prospect of landing their dream job. Despite more than half (51%) saying that the most important thing is for a job to be enjoyable, cash-strapped workers are sacrificing this for higher pay and job security:  
Posted: 16 July 2012 | 08:15:02
Retirees seeking ways to supplement a shortfall in pension income will drive a strong rise in demand for specialist home equity withdrawal advice in the coming years, according to Just Retirement. The specialist insurer commissioned an in-depth study into consumer attitudes towards home equity withdrawal to help inform the ongoing policy debate into how the housing wealth built up during working lives can best be deployed during retirement.  
Posted: 13 July 2012 | 07:33:48
Responding to Ed Miliband's comments on pensions today, Otto Thoresen, Director General, Association of British Insurers said: "It is absolutely wrong for Ed Miliband to imply that a 4% or 5% pension charge is normal. Pension charges have been falling steadily for the last decade and are continuing to fall. In newly set up automatic enrolment schemes the average annual management charge of our members is 0.52%.  
Posted: 11 July 2012 | 17:24:05
Following the recent turmoil in the banking sector, MoneySupermarket polled its site users on whether events have affected the way they view their bank, and over half (54 per cent) stated it had impacted.  Almost a fifth (18.4 per cent) polled said they had lost trust completely and as a result will look to move their account elsewhere. A further quarter (27.1 per cent) also declared they trust their banks less, but won't switch as they view them as all the same, demonstrating that apathy amongst consumers still remains when it comes to switching. Nearly one in ten (8.5 per cent) would like to change their bank but think it would be too much hassle.  
Posted: 11 July 2012 | 17:18:44
Independent financial advisors (IFAs) in the UK believe that the opportunities posed by the forthcoming gender directive, set to come into force on December 21st this year, far outweigh the threats, according to new research from Scottish Provident in association with  Conducted as part of Scottish Provident's Women and Protection campaign, the study found that 75 per cent of IFAs see the directive as advantageous.  Some two in three (63%)  say that it gives them an additional reason to talk to their clients because this is something that will directly affect them and almost one in six (16%) are acting in the hope of bringing female clients on board before the directive deadline.   
Posted: 10 July 2012 | 11:38:06
Independent financial research company Defaqto has launched two new Star Ratings for Discretionary Fund Managers (DFMs), covering Bespoke and Model Portfolio Service (MPS) propositions.  According to a Defaqto survey in January this year, 42% of platform users are currently outsourcing some or all of their investment process - with 21% using discretionary managers. With Retail Distribution Review (RDR) implementation fast approaching, outsourcing investment is high on the agenda for many advisory businesses and it is likely to continue to act as a catalyst for further partnering with discretionary managers.   
Posted: 06 July 2012 | 09:12:57
Just three months before automatic enrolment begins to take effect, NEST research released today (Friday 6 July) finds women lack confidence in their retirement savings and many are relying on their partners' pensions to see them through. A quarter (25 per cent) of women say they are not confident at all that what they have put in place so far will be enough to provide for them in retirement, compared to just 13 per cent of men. A fifth (20 per cent) of women also counts their partner's pension provision as part of their own retirement plans, compared to just 9 per cent of men who do the same.  
Posted: 04 July 2012 | 16:23:54
Over a third of people will insure the contents of their homes before they insure their lives, according to new research from Zurich. The new research - part of Zurich's ‘Big Decisions' study looking at decision-making habits in the UK - shows that over a third of people (37%) have home contents insurance, but no life assurance.  
Posted: 04 July 2012 | 08:00:15
Serenity expands its footprint with a second financial planner in the North of England. First IFA in the UK to provide personalised Social Media training to its advisers. Described as an exciting new breed of Financial Planning firms, Serenity Financial Planning is delighted to announce that Caroline Keegan will be joining the company as a Financial Planner on 17th August 2012.  
Posted: 02 July 2012 | 10:06:26
2plan wealth management today published new independent research examining what the real impact of the RDR will be from the viewpoint of industry leaders and advisers.  The White Paper, entitled, ‘The RDR Inquiry’ was independently commissioned and not designed to reflect the opinions of 2plan or its members.  
Posted: 28 June 2012 | 16:41:16
AXA Wealth has announced that its adviser charging proposition will cover its entire product range, making it the first company to confirm such a comprehensive approach.  From 31 December 2012, with the introduction of adviser charging, if an adviser gives new advice on retail investment products they will need to agree the basis of remuneration with their clients. However, any existing trail commission can still continue in certain circumstances.  This is something that will change the way a significant number of advisers currently operate, and so should be considered when they are developing their post-RDR business models.   
Posted: 19 June 2012 | 09:01:06
With the nation still reeling from the shock of entering a double-dip recession, UK adults have shown that they have a generous nature when it comes to a £10 note, according to protection specialists Bright Grey's Financial Safety Net research. The new study shows that 50% of people would give £10 away to their family each month if they could afford to do so, with nearly one in four (24%) electing to give the money to charity. Less than one in five (19%) would opt to keep the extra £10 for themselves. Belfast is the most generous UK city where just six per cent of respondents said that they would keep the money themselves.  
Posted: 19 June 2012 | 08:55:01
National campaign to ask consumers what makes ‘Tomorrow worth saving for' launched on the back of new research showing millions not saving through fear of making mistakes. Less than six months before workplace pension reforms begin to take effect, new research published today (Tuesday 19 June) suggests that low confidence, rather than unwillingness, may be one of the main reasons for people not saving enough for their later lives.  
Posted: 18 June 2012 | 11:49:08
Capita Financial Software (Capita) has announced that it is to unveil a new innovation in retirement and investment modelling in London on 27th June.  William Watling, Product Director, says that the new tool, Synaptic Modeller, will revolutionise the way in which advisers conduct investment modelling, portfolio construction and research. Commenting on the development, Watling said:  
Posted: 15 June 2012 | 09:34:24
The British pub is the business most valued by local communities, new research from Santander Business Banking reveals. The study, which asked people about the businesses in their area, found that for nearly half (47%) of people, the pub is their most valued local amenity.  It was closely followed by the traditional newsagent (45%), and the local grocery store (36%).  
Posted: 13 June 2012 | 09:27:43
Despite all the economic and financial difficulties stemming from the credit crunch, 81% of British adults hope to be home-owners in ten years' time, and 74% aspire to it within two years, according to a new research article published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.  
Posted: 08 June 2012 | 09:24:35
This summer will mark the arrival of M&S Bank - bringing the trusted Marks & Spencer brand values to banking and offering customers a new choice of bank on the UK high street.  Over the next two years, 50 M&S Bank branches will open in M&S stores across the UK, with the first branch scheduled to open in July at Marks & Spencer's flagship Marble Arch store.   
Posted: 03 June 2012 | 18:04:21
This week we have seen u-turns from the Chancellor on Budget measures including the controversial pasty, caravan and charities taxes. George Osborne says he is now focused on the biggest things that matter to the economy. Ahead of the major Mansion House speech from the Chancellor and the expected publication of the White Paper on the Banking Reform Bill this month, Which? is calling on the Government to stand firm on its banking reform commitments amid intense lobbying from the banks . The Government must prove they are listening to the public by making sure consumers are properly protected from a recurrence of the banking collapse that required a bailout to the tune of £2000 for every man, woman and child.  
Posted: 31 May 2012 | 07:39:18
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has conducted its second annual Paraplanner survey in May 2012, ahead of its exclusive Paraplanner Conference which took place on 24 May in Nottingham. Paraplanners from across the country were asked to take part in the IFP survey, designed to provide further insight into this important role.  
Posted: 31 May 2012 | 07:35:33
American Express is today launching a unique partnership with foursquare, the popular location-based mobile platform, which will allow American Express Cardmembers to check-in to a range of high street outlets and automatically receive  special money saving offers.   Exclusive offers for Cardmembers: From today, Cardmembers can save up to £80 by taking advantage of the offers below:  
Posted: 28 May 2012 | 08:18:05
Two-thirds (73%) of people would consider using housing equity as part of their later life finances, reveals The Equity Release Council (The Council).  Indeed by 2017, more than a quarter of a million (257,168) retirees will consider downsizing and 59,347 will look into equity release.   
Posted: 23 May 2012 | 09:10:24
Over 1.7 million grandparents and parents are being pushed into debt by ‘greyday loans'; the financial assistance they provide to their adult children and grandchildren, researchfrom has found. The UK's number one comparison site found a quarter of grandparents of children over eighteen (24 per cent) are helping to support their grandchildren and as a result are being forced to use their savings, credit cards, overdrafts, and pay day loans to tide them over. A further 32 per cent of parents with children over eighteen are still being relied on as a source of financial assistance. The research found the main areas this financial assistance from parents and grandparents is used for is towards general cost of living (58 per cent and 41 per cent), funding education (34 per cent and 23 per cent) and helping with their debts (25 per cent and 14 per cent).    
Posted: 23 May 2012 | 07:41:34
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that 47% of financial advisers intend to obtain qualifications over and above the minimum level required by the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) by the start of 2013. Defaqto compared advisers' existing qualification levels with the level that they plan to have once the RDR's rules come into effect, and found that nearly half are seeking to achieve Chartered or Certified status.  With 11% currently holding qualifications above Level 4, these findings indicate the catalytic affect that the RDR has seemingly had on driving up professional standards.  
Posted: 21 May 2012 | 08:24:51
UK pension savings have hit an all time low according to the eighth annual Scottish Widows Pensions Report 2012 with only 46 percent of people saving enough for their retirement - five percentage points down on last year and a fall of eight percentage points from 2009.  The drop in pension provision is widespread across age groups and income levels according to the 5,200 UK adults questioned.  Worryingly, one in five (22 percent) have put nothing aside for later life.  This figure has also increased year-on-year.  
Posted: 21 May 2012 | 07:42:44
After inflation, spending power fell by 0.9% from a year earlier - equivalent to almost £100 a year less to spend on non-essential items - driven by falling real incomes.  Despite recent falls in inflation, real incomes fell by 1.6% in April as earnings before inflation grew at their slowest pace since February 2011 (2.2%). This weakness highlights the challenge faced by consumers to allow for discretionary spending while the costs of everyday living continue to rise.  Spending on essential items continues to grow at a fast pace, with annual growth at 4.6% in April. However, the sharp acceleration seen at the turn of the year appears to have ended with April's reading, which remains in line with that of February and March.    
Posted: 16 May 2012 | 08:02:53
Last ditch attempts to form a coalition government in Greece have now officially failed as the Country now faces a re-run of elections next month. Meanwhile, as President Hollande takes office in France, Financial Markets are punishing the Euro, which is trading at four year lows against Sterling, EU Sovereign Bond Yields and European Equities. The reason is simple - both these events make the outright collapse of the already seriously compromised Euro ever more likely.     
Posted: 16 May 2012 | 07:55:45
The LV= State of Retirement Report, now in its fifth year, reveals 6.25 million Britons aged over-50 (28%) have no pension plan in place and look set to rely on just the state pension in retirement, a huge increase on the 1.2 million people who live solely on the state pension today. The basic state pension equates to an annual income of up to £5,587 and averages at £9,672 a year when you take into account additional benefit income (e.g. additional state pension, pensions credit etc). This is up to 51% lower than the income someone in the UK working full time on the minimum wage would earn, which is £11,477 per year.  
Posted: 16 May 2012 | 07:39:03
Despite the on-going debate about the need to fund long-term care for the elderly, only one in five people planning to retire this year have made financial provision for ill-health in retirement, new research from Prudential shows.  Its ‘Class of 2012' study into the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year shows that just 20 per cent have set money aside for any care needs. This drops to 16 per cent among those aged 65 plus.  
Posted: 11 May 2012 | 14:32:22
Four in 10 couples have shelved plans to start a family - because they can't afford it, according to new research.   A study of 2,412 childless couples shows that 901 have been delaying having children for two years and three months so far. And many fear that realistically they will have to wait for another two years before they feel they have achieved sufficient financial stability.  
Posted: 11 May 2012 | 07:42:19
Independent investment platform specialists, The Platforum today announced an impressive 8% rise in assets in the UK advised platform market as at the end of Q1 2012.  
Posted: 11 May 2012 | 07:34:00
The Government's commitment to tackling the record deficit is keeping interest rates at a record low and a secure roof over the heads of millions of hard-working homeowners, Housing Minister Grant Shapps said today. The Minister spoke as latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed the number of repossessions unchanged from the same quarter last year. Today's figures show there were 9,600 repossessions during the first three months of 2012 - unchanged from the same quarter of 2011.  
Posted: 11 May 2012 | 07:30:52
It is a welcome relief that the Bank of England has ignored calls for a further round of QE gilt-buying.  Indeed, it is important for the Bank to reconsider its academic assumptions that pushing down long-term interest rates is an expansionary policy.  Especially once rates have reached such low levels, any benefits of forcing them down further are bound to be diluted.  And the damage done to pension funds and annuity rates must not be ignored.  So far, the Bank has also consistently ignored inflation overshooting and insisted the evidence suggests QE has ‘worked'.  This blind faith in a massive monetary experiment is dangerous.  
Posted: 04 May 2012 | 07:41:34
The largest care annuity provider in the UK, has revealed the results of its first Partnership Care Index, where almost 41% of consumers aged 45-85 say that they would need to fund long-term residential care by renting or selling their property. Property was the 3rd highest payment method among the respondents, behind the State funding their care and pension income.  
Posted: 03 May 2012 | 12:36:16
With news of the UK economy falling into a double dip recession last week, the UK's number one comparison site asked its users how the news would affect their outlook on their finances. A hefty 37 per cent of people said they were more concerned about their financial situation as a result of the recession, while a further 14 per cent said it will make them cut back on non-essential spending. Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) say they will look for ways to make their money to go further. Just a sixth (16 per cent) said the news of a recession won't impact them at all.   
Posted: 03 May 2012 | 08:26:26
New figures published by HMRC, show that over 200,000 families have lost their entire working tax credit support, worth £3,870, from 6 April 2012. The Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham, said:  
Posted: 03 May 2012 | 08:17:52
Mortgage customers have been dealt a blow today as the Co-operative Bank announced it would be pulling the plug on interest-only mortgages for new customers. Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at, says: "While responsible banking is to be applauded, interest-only mortgages should not be demonised.  
Posted: 30 April 2012 | 14:29:36
Half of people who have an investment product are only vaguely aware of the level of risk they are taking within that investment according to new research by investment firm Skandia.  A further 8% say they have no understanding of the level of risk they are taking at all, with only 42% saying they understand the level of risk they are taking in detail.  
Posted: 30 April 2012 | 14:24:40
According to MGM Advantage, the retirement income specialist, 60% of people aged 55 and over have received medical treatment for conditions which would qualify them for an enhanced annuity, and yet 72% said they were unaware that certain lifestyle or medical conditions could qualify them for a better retirement income. Andrew Tully, Pensions Technical Director, MGM Advantage said: "With such a high proportion of our retirement nation experiencing medical problems, it is of deep concern that many people remain unaware of enhanced annuities.  Despite as many as 70% of retirees potentially qualifying, recent industry data showed that only 2% bought an enhanced annuity in the non-advised market in 2011, which is shocking  
Posted: 27 April 2012 | 15:00:06
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published new rules and guidance, following consultation, to strengthen the protection for members of defined benefit pension schemes who are considering moving their money into personal pensions.  
Posted: 26 April 2012 | 12:43:50
The UK is reported to have shrunk by 0.2% in the first quarter, pushing the UK into a recession, technically speaking. However, the GDP report is not consistent with most of the other data that has been released, which suggests the UK grew modestly at the start of this year. The UK's GDP reports are subject to significant revision, often a long time after the fact. When there is a difference between the early GDP reports and the business surveys, the business surveys usually turn out to be more accurate.  
Posted: 25 April 2012 | 08:27:09
Awareness of ‘protection' products is high but a worrying number of people are failing to take action, leaving their families vulnerable to change New research from Scottish Widows shows that nearly three quarters (74 percent) of people are putting their families' financial security at risk, by failing to protect their future through life insurance, critical illness or income protection.   
Posted: 25 April 2012 | 08:20:56
New report shows that up to half of older people will have to work for years after their state pension age if they want to maintain their standard of living. New figures from a report by the Pension Policy Institute (PPI), "Retirement Income and Assets: the implications for retirement income of Government policies to extend working lives" show that half the workers aged between 50 and the State Pension Age (SPA) will have to work at least six years past their SPA - and most at least 11 years - if they want to maintain a reasonable standard of living.  
Posted: 24 April 2012 | 12:21:38
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is contacting 76,732 people to let them know they are targets for fraudsters trying to con them out of their money. Their names appeared on a number of lists recovered from companies that the FSA believes were fraudulently selling investments in land or worthless, sometimes non-existent, shares.  Combined into one list, this is the largest number of target victims that the FSA has ever contacted in one go.  
Posted: 18 April 2012 | 08:20:35
But Brits vote 35 as the best age to be. Weighed down with responsibility, fearful about financial pressures and job security - it's no wonder today's middle age groups of 35-54 year olds are the least optimistic about their future. But asked about the best time of their life and overall Brits voted for 35 as the age they would most like to be.  
Posted: 18 April 2012 | 08:17:33
The CIPD analysis showing more over 50s in work does not tell the full story of what is happening to older generations in today's Britain. Firstly, the numbers of people aged over 50 are increasing sharply, as the baby boomers reach age 65.  That swells the actual numbers of people in the age range 50-64 relative to 2008.  As the smaller generations of wartime babies are now over age 65 and have moved into the 65+ category, it is important not to lose sight of the demographic impacts on employment figures.  Just because more people aged 50-64 are working, does not mean they have had a much better time during the recession!  
Posted: 17 April 2012 | 11:50:39
Inflation for over 50s has risen more than 20% in less than 5 years Inflation up, still not returning to target, but Bank of England persists with QE:  Annual consumer price index (CPI) inflation increased to 3.5% for the country as a whole, a very disappointing rise since last month at a time when the Bank of England keeps promising that punishing pensioners and savers with its regime of ultra-low rates and QE can be justified by falling inflation.  
Posted: 17 April 2012 | 11:47:46
The average parent is forgoing a pension pot of £38,500 in order to financially support each child who is 18 and over, according to research from Standard Life. The research finds that parents are supporting their children post 18 for expenses such as university costs, debts, weddings, house deposits and other general finances. On average, parents estimate they will invest around £15,490 in each adult child. If this sum was invested into a pension instead, it could provide a pension pot of £38,500 in 20 years year's time for a basic rate tax payer. And for a higher rate tax payer, it could provide a pension pot of £51,380.  
Posted: 11 April 2012 | 09:52:16
Small business owners taking on personal debt to save staff. It would seem Britain has a new crop of ‘heroes on the high street' - and trading estates and retail parks too for that matter - as research from MORE TH>N Business shows how small business owners are going to extraordinary lengths to protect their workforces during these tough economic times. In a surprising display of benevolence, one in ten have actually remortgaged their own homes to free up money to pay wages and retain staff, rather than make redundancies.  
Posted: 11 April 2012 | 09:48:44
Latest figures from's Advice Drivers report show that remortgage enquiries hit an all time high in March 2012, with 37% of all searches on's ‘find a mortgage adviser search', compared to 33% in February 2012 and 31% in March last year.  Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of, comments on the latest insight into consumer search behaviour: "Recent moves by lenders in the mortgage market means consumers are faced with less choice and higher rates.  Our consumer search has seen an increase in the number of people searching for remortgage advice, indicating borrowers who are worried about lending criteria getting tighter are now taking the opportunity to ensure they can obtain the best rate before it becomes harder to switch to a better deal."  
Posted: 10 April 2012 | 09:07:14
The expense of owning and running a house in Scotland has risen to its highest level in over a decade, according to new research by Bank of Scotland. The typical annual cost associated with owning and running a home in Scotland stood at £8,523 in January 2012, the highest average annual total since records began in 2002. Over the past year, the cost of housing has risen by 3.1% (£257) from £8,266 in January 2011; slightly ahead of the 2.7% increase for the UK as a whole. The increase, however, was less than the 3.6% rise in consumer prices over the same period.  
Posted: 02 April 2012 | 12:19:45

Posted: 02 April 2012 | 08:46:08
Half of homeowners more concerned with energy efficiency as a cost saving measure than last year as bills soar.  The environment is proving to be a beneficiary of the current economic climate as high energy prices and money pressures force homeowners to seek the financial advantages of energy efficient measures and appliances.  
Posted: 02 April 2012 | 08:40:42
Home affordability for city dwellers is at its most favourable in nearly a decade, according to the Lloyds TSB Affordable Cities Review. The average price for a city home in the UK of £173,202 stands at 5.5 times gross annual average earnings; the lowest ratio since 2003 (5.3). This is an improvement on 5.7 times gross annual average earnings a year ago and is significantly below the peak of 7.2 in 2008.  Despite these gains in affordability, city living remains less affordable than the UK average (4.3).  
Posted: 30 March 2012 | 10:45:01
Friends Life today announced that it paid 90% of claims under its Defaqto 5 star rated critical illness plans last year. The largest payout of £1.1m was for prostate cancer and the total amount of claims paid was in excess of £89.5million. Only 6% of claims were declined for not meeting the definition and 4% were turned down due to non disclosure.  
Posted: 30 March 2012 | 10:39:06
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is delighted to announce that Janet Walford OBE, formerly editor of Money Management Magazine, will be joining the IFP board. Her appointment will take effect from the IFP board meeting scheduled for 22 May. Janet will work with the other board members to assist IFP with its strategic objectives going forward.  
Posted: 26 March 2012 | 12:35:50
The results from the latest Barings Investment Barometer show an increase in optimism amongst investment professionals towards the economic outlook. The quarterly survey, which explores intermediaries' attitudes towards the current economic environment and their views on major asset classes, revealed that concern over the risk of a double dip recession has decreased by almost two-thirds, with the number of advisers citing it as a major global macroeconomic challenge at just 10%, down from 28% in Q4 2011.  
Posted: 26 March 2012 | 10:43:01
Andy Parsons, head of investment research at The Share Centre, examines the top funds purchased by our customers in February 2012. "Markets continued to surprise many investors during February as positive upward movement was aided by a raft of continuing positive economic data from the US, alongside the much awaited second round of the European Central Bank LTRO scheme.  Whilst these measures will not resolve the deep rooted issues within the European region, they do bring respite and buy time for the political forces to continue negotiations and formulate plans for the longer term future of the region.  
Posted: 26 March 2012 | 10:11:52
Advisers looking to outsource their investment decision making to a multi-manager fund in the lead up to Retail Distribution Review (RDR) implementation should choose carefully, as very few of these funds have managed to perform consistently since 2008. Defaqto's latest survey of platform users, completed in January,  found that 26% currently outsource to a multi-manager, and this outsourcing trend is likely to increase further as advisers review their business models during 2012.   
Posted: 26 March 2012 | 08:05:36
While price comparison websites shout from the rooftops about saving you money, a new investigation by Which? has found the price you see isn't always the price you get. Posing as a consumer, we tested 11 of the most popular comparison sites and found many of them using pre-selected answers and assumptions in their online forms. This may make quotes appear cheaper, but can also lead to basic ‘one size fits all' policies that could be unsuitable for individual needs or even prove invalid in the event of a claim.  
Posted: 20 March 2012 | 13:37:22
People trading on the internet who haven't paid all the tax they owe are being invited to take part in an online Twitter question and answer session by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The Twitter Q&A - HMRC's first - is about the department's online trading campaign. It will take place from 3 to 4pm on 28 March. Details will be published in advance on HMRC's Twitter account at @HMRCgovuk.  
Posted: 20 March 2012 | 13:26:49
Commenting on the possible changes to pensions in tomorrow's budget, Martin Palmer, Head of Corporate Benefits Marketing at Friends Life, said: "A number of changes to pensions tax relief have been mooted, and we seriously hope that's all they are- discussion points. At a time when we need to encourage a savings culture at all levels of society and are about to launch auto-enrolment to nudge people towards pension contributions, making changes to the tax relief on pensions in any form could have serious implications. Although the suggested measures are designed to affect high earners, measures which disincentivise saving are likely to impact everyone. If decision makers within companies are disincentivised we can hardly expect them to support and encourage their lower paid employees at the same time.  
Posted: 20 March 2012 | 13:24:48
The Chancellor has today launched the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS), helping smaller businesses across the UK (with an annual group turnover of up to £50 million) access cheaper finance.  
Posted: 20 March 2012 | 10:05:27
IFA Life Co-Founder Sarah Calvert will be running on behalf of the Stroke Association in the Virgin London Marathon on 22nd April. Following her Dad Peter suffering a massive stroke in July last year, Sarah wanted to do something to help other victims.  After seeing London IFA Tina Weeks training for the Great North Run, she was inspired to dig out her running shoes and set about an intense training plan for the gruelling run round the streets of the capital.  
Posted: 19 March 2012 | 10:51:21
Over a third (35%) of people in the UK aged 18 to 65 who aren't actively investing in a pension say that they would be likely to invest an average of £159.60 each month into a long term savings product that ‘added an extra £1 to every £4 invested' if such a product existed. But according to Standard Life's ‘Financial Efficiency' research, over three in four (77%) people aged 18 to 65 who aren't currently investing in a pension are totally unaware that this benefit is already available from a pension .  
Posted: 19 March 2012 | 10:48:47
Discontent about the government's economic policies continues to fuel a desire to leave Britain for just under half the UK's millionaires, according to latest research by investment specialist Skandia.  Millionaires' confidence in the coalition government's economic policies is falling as their finances suffer. A third (34%) has seen finances shrink over the past 12 months and a quarter (24%) predict they will continue to lose out over the next 12 months. This has led to a drop in the number that say they have confidence in the government's economic policies, falling to less than half (49%) compared to over half (55%) when the first survey was run in June 2011.   
Posted: 16 March 2012 | 11:25:31
Hector Sants, chief executive (CEO) of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has announced his intention to leave the organisation at the end of June 2012, having completed the fundamental design and delivery of the changes needed to achieve the Government's plan to separate prudential and conduct financial regulation in the UK.  
Posted: 16 March 2012 | 10:57:20
As the economic gloom persists, AXA’s latest Big Money Index found that more consumers are happy to pay for financial advice amidst continuing uncertainty about where to invest, and more appear to be taking steps to manage their finances more proactively.  AXA’s quarterly report, which presents a snapshot of financial confidence, behaviour and attitudes as well as views on topical issues among eight distinct demographic groups*, revealed more than one in four are happy to pay for financial advice.    
Posted: 16 March 2012 | 08:56:49
Naive first- time buyers ignore practicalities of owning a home. Inexperienced first-time buyers are ignoring the practicalities of owning a home reveals new research from HSBC.  
Posted: 16 March 2012 | 08:54:30
According to recent research by first direct, 39% of the UK population check their current account more frequently now than they did before the downturn. The survey revealed that 20% review their balance at least once a day and amazingly, over 470,000 sneak a peek almost hourly!  However, on average, people leave nearly 8 days between viewing their account balance.  
Posted: 15 March 2012 | 07:36:24
Independent wrap Ascentric now has £4bn assets under administration as it approaches 12 months of sustained profitability, one of the few profitable platforms in the wrap sector.  
Posted: 15 March 2012 | 07:30:57
A Which? investigation has revealed that UK savers could be losing out on almost £13 billion in interest each year by failing to switch savings accounts, an increase of half a billion pounds since October 2010.  
Posted: 14 March 2012 | 08:47:53
New research from Schroders, the global asset manager, reveals that just 26% (10.3 million) of Britons believe they will be better off than their parents' generation when they retire.  The findings reveal that 44% (17.2 million) of people believe they will be worse off in retirement than their parents, fostering feelings of jealousy of a perceived ‘golden generation' of pensioners that have benefitted from significant gains in the value of their property and generous final salary pensions.   
Posted: 14 March 2012 | 08:18:50
After a difficult economic year in which households have felt the pinch, the fortunes of the UK's over-55s appear to be improving with both savings and income increasing, according to Aviva's latest Real Retirement Report.  The report, reaching its second anniversary, highlights the financial pressures faced by the UK's three ages of retirement (55-64 - pre-retirees, 65-74 - the retiring, and over-75 - the long-term retired) and has now interviewed over 12,600 over 55s.   
Posted: 14 March 2012 | 08:15:30
Households are working hard to cut spending and reduce their debts, but are ‘swimming against a tide' of falling real incomes and the high cost of living, debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has warned in its annual Statistical Yearbook, published today.  Drawing on its analysis of the 370,000 people who contacted CCCS for help in 2011, the report highlights specific concerns over youth unemployment, the worsening financial position of renters and debt problems increasingly being carried into later life.  
Posted: 09 March 2012 | 12:09:42
People earning £150,000 or more enjoy tax breaks worth more than the annual salaries of nearly eight million workers, according to a new TUC report published today (Thursday). The report Is 50/50 fair? - authored by tax specialist Richard Murphy - shows that around 300,000 people in the UK (around one per cent of the population) earn at least £150,000 and therefore have part of their earnings subject to the 50p tax rate.  
Posted: 09 March 2012 | 10:12:14
Morningstar UK, Ltd, a subsidiary of independent investment research firm Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), today announced the nominees for its third annual Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Awards.   The Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Awards draw from the expertise of Morningstar’s European fund analyst team and recognise a select number of fund managers in Europe who have demonstrated excellence in the past year and in their stewardship of fund shareholder capital over the long term. The awards are presented in two distinct categories: Fund Manager of the Year: European Equity and Fund Manager of the Year: Global Equity.    
Posted: 07 March 2012 | 15:27:02
AEGON is encouraging advisers to use the ending of contracting-out for defined contribution members on 5 April 2012 to review clients' pension plans to make sure they are still on track.  
Posted: 07 March 2012 | 15:24:36
New CML research published today looks at the comparative costs of owning and renting, and seeks to address one very real question that faces the would-be home-owner: "To buy, or not to buy?" Of course, in real life only the individual can make the right choice about the answer to that question, but CML analytics manager James Tatch takes a long, hard look from all angles at the relative costs of owning versus renting, using detailed new data from the Valuations Office Agency and the CML's own Regulated Mortgage Survey.  
Posted: 07 March 2012 | 15:23:02
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has launched an online ethics self-assessment toolkit for Chartered firms.The toolkit was created in response to feedback from firms requesting practical guidance on the management and implementation of consistent ethical standards.  
Posted: 01 March 2012 | 08:15:49
For the first time since 2001/2, Britons saved more into stocks and shares ISAs than personal pensions last tax year. Figures from the Office for National Statistics released today showed that £14.28bn was saved into personal pensions (excluding stakeholder) in the 2010/11 tax year compared to £15.837bn saved into stocks and shares ISAs in the same tax year.  
Posted: 01 March 2012 | 08:11:34
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) and Zurich have today launched a campaign to help advisers limit and manage their long term liabilities. The campaign will explore the impact this issue is having on the advice profession and the attractiveness of firms to long term investment. Latest available figures from the Financial Ombudsman show of the 123,089 complaints in 2008, just 1.7% would have been time-barred if a 15-year long stop was in place.   
Posted: 01 March 2012 | 07:36:34
On 1st March 2012 a new web site will be launched as part of the SVS Preferred Partners scheme ( – this site will be offering members of the public, investors, the chance to get a review of existing funds that they hold.  
Posted: 27 February 2012 | 08:18:51
Despite reduced debt levels and low interest rates, UK households will find servicing their debts an increasing burden according to independent research published today (February 27) by the debt charity, Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).   
Posted: 25 February 2012 | 08:51:10
Switching your bank account may not be as easy as you hope. Results of a consumer market study published today show that more than two thirds of mystery shoppers were not able to switch their bank account successfully. The Commission's 2007 inquiry into the retail banking sector identified significant barriers to customer mobility. These findings were followed by extensive consultation which led the European Commission to urge the Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) to act. EBIC established a self regulatory initiative based on common principles, which was expected to bring clarity for consumers, but today's results show that self regulation in this case is clearly not delivering the desired results.  
Posted: 25 February 2012 | 08:49:39
The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) commented on official figures published today (Friday) showing that the number of employees saving into a workplace pension has fallen to a record low of 48%. This is the first time the proportion has fallen below 50% since the Office of National Statistics research started in 1997, when the figure was 55%.  
Posted: 25 February 2012 | 08:48:02
New research by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has found that over £5.6 billion in cash is left in people's homes. Excluding money in their wallets, the average amount kept at home is just under £218. This means that across the country, the UK's 26 million households have £5,665,920,000 which is unprotected.   While 33% of those questioned say they have less than £20 at home, 3% said they had more than £1,000 at home. This money will be largely unprotected in the event of a house being damaged, with even the top insurance policies only covering up to around £1,000. Even if everyone surveyed had the top policy, this would mean a total of almost £170 million is not protected.  
Posted: 21 February 2012 | 08:30:55
Research from Scottish Widows reveals 7 out of 10 British adults (70%, 34 million people) are struggling to devote enough time to their life priorities. The findings of the Scottish Widows third annual Priorities of Life Index reveal life has got worse for many, and people have even less time available to spend on their health, wealth and happiness than in previous years.  
Posted: 17 February 2012 | 08:12:25
Following today's publication of the European Commission's White Paper on Pensions and yesterday's EIOPA (The European Insurance Occupational Pensions Authority) advice to the European Commission on pan-European pension regulations. Following today's publication of the European Commission's White Paper on Pensions and yesterday's EIOPA (The European Insurance Occupational Pensions Authority) advice to the European Commission on pan-European pension regulations, the Investment Management Association (IMA) said that recognition of the diversity of national pension systems across the EU was essential.  
Posted: 14 February 2012 | 12:06:48
Despite the latest annual CPI inflation rate falling to 3.6%, MGM Advantage, the retirement income specialist, estimates that collectively UK households still need to find an extra £33 billion to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed 12 months ago.  For households where the main occupant is aged 65 -74, the corresponding figure is £2.8 billion and where they are aged 75 and over, it is £1.85 billion. To maintain the same living standards as a year ago, the UK would need to spend an estimated additional £524 per person.  
Posted: 14 February 2012 | 12:02:46
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) extends an invitation to all UK University students to enter this year's University Financial Planning Team Challenge competition, which has been developed in connection with Seven Investment Management (7IM).   This unique competition aims to support the learning and development of the Financial Planners of the future. It represents an outstanding opportunity for undergraduate students to put their Financial Planning skills and knowledge to the ultimate test.  
Posted: 13 February 2012 | 14:02:20
St James Developments is proud to announce the launch of The St James Developments London Property fund. The already highly experienced board of St James Developments has been recently joined by Andrew Higginson  (currently 15 years as an Executive Director of Tesco PLC, Tesco Main Board Director, CEO of Tesco retail operations,  and Chairman of Tesco Bank ), to provide a central London property fund, designed to offer an exciting new opportunity for sophisticated investors wishing to benefit from attractive prime London property market conditions.  
Posted: 13 February 2012 | 10:06:48
Financial planning technology specialist Voyant today announced its integration with Seven Investment Management (7IM)’s award winning adviser platform.   The newly integrated service will allow 7IM users to create and update financial plans in Voyant Adviser without the need to re-enter client information.  Integration is seamless and in real time.    
Posted: 13 February 2012 | 09:27:40
The January Bank of Scotland PMI report pointed to further increases in output, new business and employment in Scotland's private sector economy. Moreover, the rates of growth were slightly faster than in the previous survey period. A further drop in input price inflation was also encouraging news for businesses, although average costs still rose markedly on the month overall. At 51.4 in January, up from 51.2 in December, the Bank of Scotland PMI - a seasonally adjusted index monitoring activity across Scotland's manufacturing and service industries - showed a moderate and slightly quicker increase in output at Scottish firms. Growth was underpinned by a rise in service sector activity, as goods production fell marginally on the month.  
Posted: 12 February 2012 | 18:07:38
The 2012 HSBC Savings Map of Britain reveals that, while the continued tough financial climate has driven Brits to try and grow their savings pots last year, almost half the country's adults - the "squeezed middle" - faced spending pressures that saw them struggle to boost their reserves. Over seven in ten (71%) Brits saved in 2011 despite interest rates remaining low, indicating recognition of the importance of having some money set aside. Only 4% said that the low rates are a disincentive to save and only 3% say they would rather spend than save their extra money.  
Posted: 09 February 2012 | 08:55:56
Latest figures from's Advice Drivers report show that first time buyer mortgage enquiries saw a massive spike in January (2012), triggering 41% of the total number of searches compared to just 36% in December 2011.  First-time buying enquiries have seen a dramatic rise since November (33%) last year and remain the number one advice driver for consumers looking for whole of market mortgage advice according to's 'find a mortgage adviser' search.  
Posted: 09 February 2012 | 08:54:00
High pension charges and the wrong choice of annuity could cut a saver's potential pension income by a quarter (24%), meaning they would have to spend years longer at work to cover the loss, pensions experts warned today (Thurs).   A report for the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) revealed that savers who did not get the best deal from these two factors could end up working into their early 70s.  
Posted: 06 February 2012 | 15:00:19
On February 7th, Travis Spencer, Senior Technical Architect at Ping Identity will present at FinovateEurope, highlighting identity management as one of the most cutting-edge technology considerations for the financial and banking sector in 2012 and beyond. Now in its second year, FinovateEurope, a spin off from the successful US event Finovate, is the first demo-focused conference series targeted at the financial technology industry.  
Posted: 06 February 2012 | 11:58:57
Remarkably few financial advice firms in the UK are making use of LinkedIn Company profile pages, despite the business networking site being a powerful and proven business resource. IFA Life reports that whilst 70% of IFAs have a personal page on LinkedIn, a search of UK IFA firms on LinkedIn reveals only 186 Company listings, despite the Company service being available for over a year. Financial Planning firms fare only marginally better at just 711 listings with Financial Adviser firms at 151 listings (with many overlaps). As well as being an important business resource, LinkedIn is also a search engine which people use regularly to find new connections and service providers. Financial advisers need to use Company pages to clarify their service proposition because many people using the LinkedIn search tool will not fully appreciate the differences between ‘IFA', ‘Financial Planner', ‘Financial Adviser' and other titles.  
Posted: 03 February 2012 | 10:11:01
In response to demand, IFA Life will be running a second workshop for IFAs on how to leverage LinkedIn. According to figures from IFA Life, around 70% of IFAs have a profile page on the popular business networking site LinkedIn, but hardly any have any idea on what to do with it or how to use LinkedIn to network and attract new clients.  
Posted: 03 February 2012 | 10:08:13
So how much savings do UK families have and how does this compare to Germany and China? The UK household savings ratio, (saving proportion of a consumer's disposable income) has seen a downward trend over the past decade. However during the recession (as consumer credit was squeezed), this stepped up to around 7% and is forecast to remain broadly flat in the near future. The savings ratio in Germany has been much more consistent in recent years, at around 10% and is expected to remain stable.  
Posted: 02 February 2012 | 14:03:11
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today announced its proposed Annual Funding Requirement (AFR) for 2012/13. This is likely to be the FSA's final AFR before it splits into the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in 2013. The FSA recognises the difficult economic circumstances for many firms and is committed to keeping any essential cost increases to a minimum. The FSA will achieve this by capping staff levels for the second year in a row and restricting core operating costs too, broadly in line with inflation.  
Posted: 02 February 2012 | 10:40:45
Consumers care more about covering their pets against serious illness than their family members, new research from Ageas Protect reveals. Less than one in ten (9%) people have a critical illness policy in place - equivalent to 4.5 million adults - whilst 12% have taken out a pet insurance policy, equating to 5.9 million pet lovers.   
Posted: 01 February 2012 | 10:36:01
With recent statistics stating that students could be saddled with up to £50,000 worth of debt when higher tuition fees come into force, research from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has shown that many teens are lacking basic knowledge of personal finance. The CII found that 39% of students have not had any kind of financial teaching at school, and that of those who were taught financial education, many simple money management terms were not explored within their lessons. Furthermore, research amongst secondary school teachers found that almost half (45%) believe financial education is lacking in their school due to too little time and resource to teach the subject.  
Posted: 01 February 2012 | 10:34:17
Price will always play an important role in consumers' decision making.  However, a feature-led approach to product development and marketing by product providers and advice by intermediaries is likely to result in a better match between what someone needs from a financial product and the product they end up buying.  Defaqto has today launched its 2012 Star Ratings to help people base their financial decisions on the features and benefits products provide, not just how much they cost, and to better understand what financial products offer.   
Posted: 17 January 2012 | 09:29:01
IFA Life is delighted to announce a key strategic partnership with the leading ISO 22222 and best practice expert Michelle Hoskin. IFA Life's partnership with Hoskin will focus on seven key business areas, the mastering of which are essential to success and growth in a post RDR world. Hoskin and best of breed experts will offer complimentary and discounted services to IFA Life members*. To support the new partnership, the IFA Life website will be refocused to enable IFA Life members to quickly discover blogs, articles, events, technical support and best practice within the seven core business areas.  
Posted: 12 January 2012 | 10:12:37
Michelle Hoskin, the UK’s leading expert in financial standards and best practice, has today announced her support for the BSI’s move to launch BS 8577 - Framework for the provision of financial advice and planning services.    BS 8577 confirms that in order to survive and thrive in a world beyond RDR and 2013, it really is about “Best Practice” not just about “Best Advice”.   
Posted: 09 January 2012 | 16:08:55
As social media increasingly becomes part of everyday business life for IFAs, IFA Life is urging financial advisers to take time out to learn the skills needed to leverage the new technology. Research from IFA Life indicates that 70% of IFAs have a profile on the networking site LinkedIn, but fewer than 10% of them have any idea why they are registered on the site or how to use it effectively to attract new clients, new professional connections or to drive traffic to their website.  
Posted: 04 January 2012 | 14:57:50
Managing their finances better and getting into the savings habit rank among the top 5 New Year's resolutions Brits are making this year, a survey for Skipton Building Society, featuring the views of 2,000 UK adults, has found. Although more traditional pledges like losing weight (31%) and exercising more (31%) still feature highly, financial resolutions are well up there, with 40% of people planning to make at least one such commitment for the coming year.  
Posted: 03 January 2012 | 13:57:01
AEGON has today made clear it sees the changes brought about by the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) as an opportunity for the industry to "do the right thing" for consumers while securing the future health of the industry, despite the execution challenges it brings.   
Posted: 03 January 2012 | 10:07:08
Over 5 million public sector employees enjoy ‘open' defined benefit pension schemes, with fewer than 2 million private sector employees now in largely ‘closed' schemes.   With 5 million public sector employees being offered pensions ‘far better than people in the private sector' in the latest public service pension negotiations, key findings of the final report of the 2011 Pensions trends survey, conducted by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA), suggest the gulf between private and public sector pensions is set to grow in a tough economic climate, prompting the ACA to call for the Government's promised paper in the New Year on ‘reinvigoration workplace pensions' to be bold.  
Posted: 03 January 2012 | 10:04:28
According to analysis published today by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Solvency II for Pensions, could require UK pension schemes to increase funding by £600 billion or more. ‘Solvency II for Pensions', looks at the implications of the "Call for Advice on the Review of the Directive 2003/41/EC: second consultation", which closed on 2nd January 2012.    
Posted: 01 January 2012 | 14:49:28
For the second year running first direct has surveyed UK adults asking for their biggest financial regrets. Results show that overall the British public was more unhappy with their finances in 2011 (48%) than 2010 (36%). In 2011 ‘Not paying off more debts' moved to second place with ‘Not saving enough' taking the top spot and paying into a pension was less of a priority than in 2010.  
Posted: 30 December 2011 | 08:36:50
Over 15 million Brits worry about their finances every single day, more than other issues such as health, jobs and relationships, according to research from Britain's number one comparison site revealed of those who feel stress on a daily basis, a quarter (23 per cent) say their future financial situation is the main cause, followed by health (22 per cent) and current personal finances (21 per cent). A smaller number were stressed about their job (20 per cent) and relationship with their partner or family (8 and 6 per cent respectively).  
Posted: 28 December 2011 | 09:37:33
26 million Brits will be making New Year's resolutions this year and money worries mean that sorting out our finances tops the nation's priorities ahead of traditional vows such as losing weight and getting fit. The New Year's Resolutions Survey by comparison site, reveals that financial affairs top the nation's resolutions list, with 49 per cent of people hoping to use the start of the New Year to turn over a new leaf and get a grip on their finances.   
Posted: 24 December 2011 | 08:16:23
Quicker internet and phone banking payments are set to become standard from 1 January 2012, enabling many consumers to pay their tax and credit card bills on a same-day basis for the first time. The new maximum timescale for electronic payments, technically known as D+1, requires payments across the EU to reach the recipient's account by the next working day. However, all standing orders and one-off internet and phone banking payments in the UK will exceed this requirement, being processed end-to-end within two hours through the Faster Payments service.  
Posted: 21 December 2011 | 11:44:15
Huge numbers of over 50s are defying belt-tightening to ensure that their families, friends and local communities have the best possible Christmas, according to new data from Saga. Over half the nation's over 50s (56%) will pay for their families' entire food and drink bill this Christmas, rising to two thirds (65%) of those aged 50 to 60, spending an estimated £896 million on festive food shopping.  
Posted: 20 December 2011 | 08:15:58
Confidence in the UK economy has fallen by 10% in Q4 2011 with financial advisers giving it an average score of 4.58 out of 10 (10 being most confident) compared to 5.1 in Q3 2011 according to Skandia's latest Adviser Confidence Barometer*. A staggering 70% of advisers believe the biggest threat to the UK economy is European Debt, which is up from 47% in Q3 2011. Unemployment ranks second highest, with one in ten votes, up from 7.8% in Q3 1011, and government spending cuts ranks third highest at 5.5%, down from 11% in 2011. US debt did rank second highest in Q3 with 14% of votes, but fears have now subsided, and only 3% of advisers consider it a main threat in the Q4 survey.  
Posted: 19 December 2011 | 08:04:44
The squeeze on consumers worsened just one month before Christmas, as discretionary spending power growth slowed to 1.3% in November, down from 3.2% in October, according to the latest Lloyds TSB Spending Power Report. This latest fall leaves consumers with around £20 a month less for their discretionary spending.  
Posted: 16 December 2011 | 10:43:20
Reviewing your finances for 2012 could mean an extra £3,200 in your pocket.  Brits could give themselves a New Year pay rise in 2012 by taking time to review their finances and switching to more competitive deals, analysis from has shown.  
Posted: 15 December 2011 | 07:33:31
Women have embraced the bargain phenomenon this Christmas, according to new research by Tesco Bank. It reveals that nearly 60 per cent plan to use money-off and discount vouchers to pay for Christmas shopping, 45 per cent will wait to buy Christmas presents on store discount days and 32 per cent will make the most of credit card points and rewards.  
Posted: 15 December 2011 | 07:27:23

Posted: 15 December 2011 | 07:25:20
Business Secretary Vince Cable today set out the next steps to diversify business finance, announcing details of an industry-led Taskforce to be led by Tim Breedon, Legal and General chief executive and current chairman of the Association of British Insurers. Tim Breedon will be supported by a panel of experts drawn from the business and finance community, who will examine the challenges facing businesses in diversifying their finance. The focus will be on debt and credit products, looking at a range of finance choices, old and new, from corporate bonds to ‘crowd-funding'.  
Posted: 09 December 2011 | 15:55:29
LinkedIn and some other networking sites will become key business resources in a post RDR world, with IFAs needing to understand them in the same detail that they understand their back office technology. Despite some networks/IFA support firms banning the use of Social Media, 2011 has seen a significant increase in the number of IFAs embracing online networking, with more and more joining Twitter and other sites to network and to interact with each other. Research from IFA Life also suggests that up to 70% of IFAs now have a profile on LinkedIn, though with the majority admitting to not understanding how to make effective use of the site.  
Posted: 08 December 2011 | 11:55:25
Affluent European investors face surviving off a retirement income that is less than half (46%) of what they are currently used to - even though 42% of them claim that maintaining and increasing their current standard of living into retirement is a top priority - according to new figures from Schroders.  
Posted: 06 December 2011 | 07:46:35
Despite having twelve months to do so, two in five of us (44 per cent) have not budgeted or saved in advance for Christmas this year, according to new research from Barclaycard*. The research finds that older does not necessarily mean wiser when it comes to responsible spending, as exactly half of those that are over 55 years old have not saved at all. This is compared to a significantly fewer number (37 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 years old.  
Posted: 06 December 2011 | 07:41:46
More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Britain's couples over the age of 40 say that money is the biggest cause of arguments in their household. The new research from Prudential raises fresh concerns that British couples are sleepwalking into retirement without properly discussing their financial arrangements. The figures suggest that the state of their finances is more likely to cause couples to fall out than disagreements over housework, staying out late or their partner's choice of friends.  
Posted: 02 December 2011 | 08:46:55
Back in October, the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) launched its new Accredited Financial Planning FirmsTM register. The professional body announced the first 25 firms to meet the stringent requirements for entry at its national conference on 4 October.  
Posted: 02 December 2011 | 08:42:56
Two thirds of advisers remain to be convinced that customers will be better off as a result of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), according to a new survey from Zurich. In a poll of 164 advisers conducted for Zurich with Simplybiz, almost half fear that customers may not be prepared to pay a fee instead of commission for financial advice when the RDR regulations come into force in January 2013.  
Posted: 01 December 2011 | 07:30:15
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) would like to thank all those firms and individuals who gave such excellent support to this year's consumer awareness campaign, Financial Planning Week (21-27 November).  
Posted: 01 December 2011 | 07:24:10
Britons are collectively expecting to receive £1.2billion in gift money this Christmas, reveals new research by direct bank first direct. The survey of over 1,000 adults reveals that 28% of people expect to receive money as a gift at Christmas, anticipating an average amount of £83 each. This compares to 19% of people who received an average of £61 as a gift in Christmas 2010. In addition, 6% of people are expecting a cash boost from their employers in December.  
Posted: 30 November 2011 | 10:43:24

Posted: 29 November 2011 | 11:53:12
Independent financial research company Defaqto has launched its annual survey of platform users to identify the level of service advisers have received from platform providers in 2011. In particular, the survey asks advisers to rate:  The aspects of platform service that are most important to them Whether the providers they deal with are meeting their expectations in these areas  
Posted: 25 November 2011 | 14:44:53
6.1 million (28%) of today's over-50s expect to work past the current state retirement age, according to retirement specialist LV='s Working Late Index. The report reveals that on average, those planning to work past state retirement age will work for an extra six years, which could see them retiring at age 71 for men and 66 for women based on today's retirement age. One in five over-50s (19%) said they expect to work for at least a decade past the current state retirement age.  
Posted: 25 November 2011 | 14:43:10
In the first study of its kind in the UK, AXA Wealth has identified that two thirds of consumers have a significant gap between their perceived investment risk appetite and their actual risk appetite.   At a time of unprecedented market volatility, the AXA Wealth Self study reveals a risk adverse nation, which appears to be more concerned with preserving capital rather than delivering growth.  
Posted: 25 November 2011 | 14:41:44
Ashcourt Rowan Asset Management's Managed Portfolio Service is now available through the Ascentric wrap platform. The service is aimed at those advisers looking to integrate a risk adjusted and cost efficient investment management service into their financial planning process.  
Posted: 23 November 2011 | 06:55:04
Almost three quarters of people (73%) feel that Financial Planning is relevant to everyone and not just the wealthy.  That's according to a YouGov poll* carried out in association with NS&I (National Savings & Investments) for Financial Planning Week (21-27 November), which is being run by the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP). The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is running a series of daily polls with consumers throughout Financial Planning Week to find out what people are thinking when it comes to their money - and how they are coping with their personal finances during these uncertain times. Tips and tools are available free of charge on   
Posted: 23 November 2011 | 06:53:33
Yesterday, with its new build indemnity scheme, the Government took a positive step to help get the UK building again, create much needed jobs and assist some first time buyers over the deposit barrier. Today, the Building Societies Association calls on the Chancellor - as he puts the finishing touches to his Autumn Statement - not to forget the thousands of other aspiring home owners who won't benefit from these schemes; those who are already facing issues paying their mortgage, and savers, particularly those nearing retirement who need to maximise and protect their income.  
Posted: 18 November 2011 | 10:09:31
It’s perhaps the ultimate irony when a financial advisor files for bankruptcy. But the CFP Board finds it is happening more and more often. Of 103 disciplinary hearings the board held last year, an estimated 25% of planners involved had filed for bankruptcy. In 2011, that number jumped to about a third.   
Posted: 18 November 2011 | 07:55:48
The Government would like to see improved access to bank accounts for undischarged bankrupts. Proposals have been published asking for evidence about the effect bankruptcy has on the ability of individuals to access a bank account and inviting views on possible measures to improve access.  
Posted: 18 November 2011 | 07:54:02
People working in the manufacturing sector are more likely to join their company pension schemes than in any other industry, according to Zurich research into take-up of company pensions. The research shows that nearly three quarters of people in the manufacturing industry take up their company pension scheme, compared to just over a third in the retail and wholesale sector.  
Posted: 17 November 2011 | 08:02:03
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) responds to the Financial Services Authority's Consultation Paper entitled 'Distribution of retail investments: RDR Adviser Charging - treatment of legacy assets'. The Consultation Paper clarifies that existing Trail Commission is separated from the Legacy Commission rules.  
Posted: 17 November 2011 | 08:00:05
Low-cost platform provider A J Bell is calling attention to the case for change to drawdown rules to protect pensioners from retirement income erosion as a result of record low gilt yields and Government policy. The situation worsened this week when the Gilt yield used to calculate drawdown limits dropped to a record low of 2.50%. The rate will be used for pension savers entering drawdown, or having their maximum income reviewed in December.  
Posted: 16 November 2011 | 07:36:33
15 per cent of Britons over the age of 40 and living with their partner choose to keep some or all of their savings hidden from their spouse or partner, according to the latest research from Prudential which examines couples' attitudes to financial planning.   The survey, which was conducted among savers over the age of 40 and living with a partner, found that Britons admitted to concealing savings or investments worth an average of £1,037 from their spouse or partner. This could mean that 4.5 million Britons are entering retirement with secret savings worth £4.6 billion.   
Posted: 16 November 2011 | 07:34:39
Aspiring first time buyers are increasingly taking on second jobs, taking out personal loans or sharing payments with friends to raise money for a deposit on their first home, according to new research from Santander Mortgages. With average housing deposits reaching £37,375 or 17 per cent of overall property value, a third of all non-homeowners believe they will never own a property. However, one in four current non-homeowners (26 per cent) say they are hoping to buy within the next five years.  
Posted: 16 November 2011 | 07:30:29
...and recommending inappropriate investment products, finds Which? In an undercover investigation, Which? researchers found that only five out of 37 advisers in banks and building societies gave good advice about investments. The majority of advisers showed a poor understanding of the risks of investing, and made misleading statements about the features and costs of available products.  
Posted: 14 November 2011 | 13:56:14
With ongoing worries about the UK and world economy, new statistics  from, the professional advice website, show that almost half (47%) of the nation say they are now more concerned about their personal financial situation than just six months ago. Savings tops the list of personal finance concerns, with two in five (39%) of Brits stating this, followed by pensions (29%) and long-term care (16%). Worries about long-term care provision troubles almost a quarter (24%) of over 55 year-olds, while mortgage arrangements worry 22% of 18-34 year-olds (compared to a national average of 14%).   
Posted: 09 November 2011 | 08:06:44
The ease and convenience of making payments and managing our finances online means that a quarter of internet users now log on to internet banking every day, while a further two in five (39%) use internet banking at least weekly. And it seems that once you've tried internet banking, the convenience is hard to beat - only 13% of online Brits make a weekly trip to their local bank branch to manage their money. Almost four in five web users (79%) say they are confident in making online banking transactions, rising to 90% of 25-34 year olds who are online. However, with internet use lower amongst older people, only a quarter of over 55s in the UK have ever used online banking to manage their money  
Posted: 09 November 2011 | 08:04:37
Defaqto supports the IFP's Financial Planning Week campaign 21-27 November to highlight importance of financial planning to consumers. According to a survey by independent financial research company Defaqto, 36% of people seek professional advice to help them choose financial products.  At the same time, Defaqto's research found that 49% of respondents do not always understand product features, emphasising the importance of independent advice in helping people make appropriate financial decisions.  
Posted: 09 November 2011 | 08:02:59
UK-based Horner brings financial planning, international business experience. Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB), owner of the CFP, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and CFP Logo trademarks outside the United States, elected Barry D. Horner, CFP, CEO of UK-based Paradigm Norton Financial Planning Limited, to a four-year term on FPSB's Board of Directors, starting 1 April 2012.  
Posted: 03 November 2011 | 08:27:17
CEOs of global companies are more concerned about government intervention and intrusive regulation than they are about inflation, wage costs, pricing issues or even their own balance sheets, according to a survey of Fidelity Worldwide Investment's research analysts. A survey of more than 110 of Fidelity's research analysts in Europe and Asia, conducted last month, shows that only concerns about sales volumes are causing more corporate anxiety than the likelihood of  governments enacting or changing legislation or regulation that will result in a more challenging business environment.   
Posted: 03 November 2011 | 08:26:00
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today introduced further guidance for firms when developing new structured products which they want to market to consumers. The FSA assessed seven major providers of structured products, responsible for approximately 50% of structured products in the UK retail market by volume and value. The review was conducted between November 2010 and May 2011 and found that while there had been some improvements, weaknesses remain in the way firms are designing and approving structured products - increasing the risk to consumers. Firms tended to focus on their own commercial interests rather than consumer needs.  
Posted: 03 November 2011 | 08:23:12
People want a strong financial watchdog but don't think that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has done enough to help consumers, according to new research by Which? The majority of people (73%) think that the FSA wasn't effective at standing up to banks in the run-up to the financial crisis and eight in ten (82%) feel the financial watchdog needs to have more power to force the banks to change.  
Posted: 02 November 2011 | 10:10:26
Sixty six per cent of people living together as a couple do not have a will, according to surprising new research by price comparison site The new survey of 2,000 co-habiting and married adults also reveals that 50% of people living with their partner do not have life insurance. Unsurprisingly, the number of people who do have wills rises with age: 66% of over 55s have a will, compared to just 24% of 18-24 year olds. However, 47% of over 55s who are co-habiting or married do not have life insurance.  
Posted: 02 November 2011 | 10:08:58
Four out of ten mortgage holders in Britain (41%) do not have their mortgage contributions covered by life insurance, according to new research from Sainsbury's Life Insurance. The findings suggest that there are nearly seven million people with a collective outstanding mortgage balance of £245 billion who have no life insurance to cover their mortgage and provide support to their dependents in event of their death.  
Posted: 02 November 2011 | 10:07:10
Last month, the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) launched its new Accredited Financial Planning FirmsTM register. The professional body announced the first 25 firms which had met the stringent requirements for entry at its national conference on 4 October.  
Posted: 28 October 2011 | 08:23:54
Almost two out of three (65%) investors admit they would stop using the services of an IFA if they began charging by the hour according to new research from Legal & General Investments, one of the UK's largest investment providers. Those with a higher value investment portfolio, for example those with an investment portfolio worth over £200,000, are marginally less likely to turn away from IFAs post-RDR, while those with a smaller portfolio would choose not to take paid for advice.  
Posted: 28 October 2011 | 08:19:49
Students who have started their degrees this year will be the last to benefit from lower tuition fees before they rise to £9,000 next year. But as well as mounting student debt, new research from, the independent price comparison and switching service, reveals that parents' finances will be pushed to breaking point too.  The average student graduates with a debt in excess of £21,000. And this is putting parents under financial pressure too. 41% of parents feel pressured to pay for their children's University fees which has led to over half of all parents (51%) paying the entire fee or contributing significantly. Four in ten (40%) of those parents who cover the cost do so to stop their child getting into debt, while over half (55%) pay because it's the only way their child could afford to go.   
Posted: 27 October 2011 | 08:51:40
Data released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the UK trade deficit in goods and services was £6.8 billion in Q2 2011, a worsening compared with £5.8 billion in Q1.  A day after the Parliamentary vote on whether  to have a referendum on continued EU membership, the latest figures show how the European Union continues to play an important role in UK trade. Exports to the EU were 45.1% of total UK exports in Q2, the highest figure in a year. Indeed exports to the rest of the EU grew 4.8% between Q1 and Q2, while falling 3.8% to countries outside the bloc.   
Posted: 27 October 2011 | 08:48:38
Leading academics, policy makers and business people are expected to call for greater investment and economic dynamism to ensure higher productivity and long-term growth at a conference on Thursday hosted by the European Investment Bank (EIB), at their Luxembourg headquarters. European Investment Bank research to be presented at the conference suggests the switch to next-generation superfast networks could require EUR 200bn of dedicated infrastructure investment. The conference will also review empirical evidence on productivity, with a focus on industrial flexibility to promote growth in Europe.  
Posted: 26 October 2011 | 08:49:51
UK teenagers worth an average of nearly £500 every time they step out of the front door a new study reveals today. Teenagers are worth nearly £50 more when they leave the house than in 2010 according to Allianz Your Cover, thanks to the clothes they wear and the gadgets they carry.  If a teenager is also carrying an iPad, MP3 Player and a hand-held games console they could be worth as much as £810.  
Posted: 26 October 2011 | 08:47:51
14% of men would sell their other half for £100k Over a fifth (21%) of Brits currently in a relationship would sell their partner for £1 million or less, new research from comparison site has found. The survey of 3,000 Brits, carried out to highlight the importance life insurance cover, is reminiscent of the 1993 film ‘Indecent Proposal' where Demi Moore's character is offered $1m by tycoon Robert Redford to spend just one night with him, despite her being happily married to Woody Harrelson  
Posted: 24 October 2011 | 11:44:53
Following the success of several meetings for IFAs in London and the South East, IFA Life is holding an early evening networking meeting for IFAs in the North West of England on 21st November at the Hilton Manchester Airport.   Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said: "Networking is not always about trying to find new clients or making contacts with local professional connections. Right from the very first day that IFA Life launched, we realised that IFAs get a huge amount of value from being able to network with each other."  
Posted: 19 October 2011 | 07:32:15
Yesterday's announcement by the Bank of England that inflation hit 5.2 per cent in September, the highest level for three years, adds further pressure to the many households across the UK that have been struggling with the rising cost of living - with rising energy and food bills hitting wallets particularly hard.   Research from has revealed that 71 per cent of British consumers will need to turn to their savings, credit cards or overdraft to fund rising bills. As we come into the colder months, the majority of consumers will be feeling the impact of recent energy prices rises which added an average 17.4 per cent to the cost of gas and 10.8 per cent to the cost of electricity, resulting in average annual standard bills of £1,287.     
Posted: 19 October 2011 | 07:29:31
  Brits are unwilling to share everything about their finances with their partner, at least until they're sure they are in a committed relationship, according to new findings from Scottish Widows' Dare Not Ask survey. 6.6 million loved-up Brits (19%) admit they don't know everything about their partner's finances, and 7.3 million say they only share a limited amount of information about their own financial situation with their other half.     
Posted: 13 October 2011 | 14:29:40
The latest AXA Wealth Pension Index highlights the volatility income dilemma facing the UK's future pensioners.   This quantitative index measures the affordability and volatility in saving for retirement , supported by consumer research which reveals little improvement in the disparity between desired, expected and actual retirement ages.   
Posted: 12 October 2011 | 14:24:52
A third (33 per cent) of young people (18-34 year olds) have considered leaving the UK to improve their career prospects, according to new research from Post Office International Payments. A further 27 per cent said they were open to the idea of moving abroad.  Nearly one in five (19 per cent) have already lived or worked abroad before.  
Posted: 12 October 2011 | 14:21:17
The first issue of the Friends Life Workplace Savings Index today revealed that women in most age groups have seen their pension contributions cut year on year. The rolling 12 month average pension contribution for women under 30 decreased by £2 to £128 a month, women aged 30 to 45 saw a £1 decrease to £213 a month and women aged 60 or more experienced a £2 decrease to £193 a month.  Only women in the 45 to 60 age group saw an increase in average pension contributions, but this increase was lower than for men of the same age. All in all the decrease in contributions for women combined with rising inflation equates to an approximate decrease of five per cent in real terms. On average women's contributions are 38% lower than men's at £200 a month compared to £324.  
Posted: 12 October 2011 | 14:18:12
Nearly three million working age adults will prioritise going on holiday over continuing to save for their retirement as their finances are squeezed, according to new research by Prudential.  The survey asked non-retired adults in the UK to outline their spending priorities when faced with a reduction in monthly expenditure as incomes are frozen for many and living costs increase.   
Posted: 11 October 2011 | 14:39:57
New research from Nationwide Building Society reveals that more people bank online (77%) than log on to Facebook and Twitter and other social media (58%). In fact, shopping (77%) and online banking jointly topped Nationwide's research into what consumers do online.  
Posted: 11 October 2011 | 14:35:48
The Federation of European IFAs (FEIFA) is pleased to announce an exclusive partnership with IFA Life - the award-winning, UK-based, premier social networking site for IFAs, Financial Planners and Wealth Managers. Every day UK professional financial advisers use the site to network, share best practice, discuss and debate industry issues, read news and articles, search for and advertise jobs, find marketing tips - and to provide help and support to one another. With an ever-increasing EU-focus on financial regulation and distribution, it makes absolute sense that the main IFA companies operating on the Continent should become a part of this online community.  
Posted: 28 September 2011 | 17:04:10
New research has revealed that UK businesses remain worryingly passive when it comes to protecting one of  their key assets - their employees. This is despite over three-quarters (77%) admitting that they can identify at least one individual whose loss through death or critical illness would have a serious impact on the profitability or future survival of the business.  
Posted: 28 September 2011 | 17:01:35
Financial commitments are as significant as key emotional relationships for people in the UK, according to research from Standard Life. It found that many would liken the majority of their regular financial commitments to the kind of relationship they have with their partner or spouse. Over three quarters (81%) of people paying into a pension view their relationship with their pension in this way and almost half (47%) of gym-goers liken their membership to a "husband or wife" relationship too.  
Posted: 26 September 2011 | 11:13:22
New research from comparison site reveals that 1.5 million households may not have enough life cover to pay off their mortgage if either partner were to die.  The survey of 3,000 Brits highlighted the possibility that millions of people may well be leaving something sizeable for their loved ones if they were to die suddenly - a mortgage debt.  Only a quarter of UK adults say they have sufficient financial protection and savings to clear the mortgage and other debts and to provide an income for their family and dependent relatives, in the event of their death  
Posted: 26 September 2011 | 11:11:16
Today, award winning children's savings provider Family Investments publishes the first ever Family Friendly Hotspots Report. This unique study identifies the top 20 postcodes offering the best range of essential and desirable factors for family living. This unprecedented picture of all 2,400 postcodes across England and Wales has been achieved by analysing over 60 different data sets covering crucial factors likely to impact a family's decision-making process when they consider moving to a new area.  
Posted: 26 September 2011 | 11:09:16
On the 1st October a number of measures prescribed by the Competition Commission will come into force to introduce competition into the payment protection insurance (PPI) market.· This is the first set of changes in this market as a result of the Competition Commission's PPI review, and will focus on ensuring that consumers and the relevant authorities are given sufficient information about PPI by providers.  
Posted: 22 September 2011 | 08:14:55
More than eight out of ten young people (18-24) still aspire to own their own home by the time they are 30, reports the quarterly consumer survey published by The Building Societies Association today. Amongst potential first time buyers overall, more than nine in ten (94%) respondents say that they would ideally have bought by the time they are 35 with more than seven in ten (75%) having an aspiration to become a homeowner in their twenties.  
Posted: 22 September 2011 | 08:11:52
The Chartered Institute of Taxation has commented on the Government's new estimates of the ‘tax gap', published today. Gary Ashford, who represents the CIOT on the Government's Compliance Reform Forum, commented:  
Posted: 22 September 2011 | 08:09:31
Rising divorce rates amongst the over 50s England and Wales more than 50,000 over-50s got divorced a rise of 10% compared with 1999 (ONS, 2009)  mean an increasing number of middle aged women and men are having to take financial control for possibly the first time in twenty years - or in some cases their lives - according to new research from Tesco Bank.   The research shows that gaining financial independence is a major challenge.  
Posted: 19 September 2011 | 14:54:29
Research reveals one in four people are using over 40 per cent of their wages each month just to pay off non-mortgage debt. This means a large proportion of the British public are eating into their available income on a regular basis, leaving less to fund rising bills and spiralling living costs.   The MoneySupermarket research showed the average amount of monthly debt per person is £322, a whopping 25 per cent of the average monthly income for a UK adult, which stands at £1,288. The research also found eight per cent of people said they spent over 80 per cent of their wages repaying debt, highlighting how stretched the nation's finances are at the moment. Men hold a greater proportion of personal debt (excluding mortgage) of £7,944 on average, when compared to women who owe over one thousand pounds less at £6,739, fifteen per cent less than their male counterparts.  
Posted: 19 September 2011 | 08:16:23
New research from first direct shows the increasingly difficult task house buyers face, with rises in the cost of properties and required deposits far outstripping rises in income.   The research found that since 1990, the average housing deposit has risen from £6,793 to an average of £65,924 in 2011. A combination of an increase in house prices and a reduction in the amount of mortgage lending by many banks and building societies means that house buyers face an almost tenfold increase (9.7 times) in the required deposit on a property. House prices have also risen in the same period by a factor of 4.3. With the average household income having risen by just 2.5 times in the same period, buyers must now save for far longer to achieve this milestone purchase.  
Posted: 16 September 2011 | 08:54:30
According to independent financial research company Defaqto, in the run up to Retail Distribution Review (RDR) implementation advisers are likely to view multi-managers as an effective route for outsourcing clients' investment portfolios - but robust due diligence is central to ensuring advisers achieve the full benefits of outsourcing for themselves and their clients.  
Posted: 16 September 2011 | 08:52:47
The CII have published a response to the FCA approach to regulation.The CII's response to the FCA approach to regulation can be viewed on the CII's website at The current restructuring of the UK regulatory framework provides the opportunity for a rethink.  In the past, regulators have been too reactive in their approach to identifying risks to consumers as well as the overarching solvency of financial institutions.  
Posted: 16 September 2011 | 08:50:43
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has today responded to the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) consultation on simplified advice. Stephen Gay, Director General of AIFA, said:  
Posted: 16 September 2011 | 08:30:39
Rather than book a GP appointment straight away, people are more likely to turn on their computer first according to the Simplyhealth report: Are we an instant health generation? In an age where technology has made access to health advice and information instant, people have far more choice than ever before and appear more willing to take responsibility for researching their issues independently  
Posted: 14 September 2011 | 09:32:09
A recent report by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), entitled "Who cares?", highlights that despite the recent Dilnot Commission, the public remains unaware of the real cost of long-term care and the necessity to make personal provision to meet this cost.   The current average long-term care bill is £26,000 per annum and the average length of stay in a care home is two years creating an average care bill of £52,000.  The current average pension provides an income of only £10,000 per annum, leaving a huge annual deficit.  
Posted: 14 September 2011 | 09:30:51
More than one in three (35 per cent) workers in the UK admit that they don't have a pension, meaning that they will have to rely on the State Pension and any savings in retirement, according to new research by Prudential.  The survey of working adults also found that those who do contribute to private or company pension schemes pay in an average of 6.2 per cent of their annual incomes. Women are far less likely to save for their retirement with 41 per cent saying they do not have a pension, compared with 29 per cent of men.  
Posted: 14 September 2011 | 09:28:53
The UK's largest high street banks are among the worst for customer satisfaction, according to a new report by Which? Which? members rated 28 banks and building societies for customer satisfaction across current accounts, mortgages, savings accounts and credit cards, with none of the biggest high street banks featuring in the top 15.  
Posted: 13 September 2011 | 08:18:27
The Financial Services Consumer Panel welcomes the publication of the Independent Commission on Banking's report. The Consumer Panel has consistently called for better treatment of bank customers and believes that this report creates a unique opportunity to make changes that will help consumers and business.  
Posted: 13 September 2011 | 08:16:09
Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of non-retired people have a private pension, yet a significant proportion are uncertain about what it will provide them. Over a quarter (28 percent) don't know how much, or even if, they are contributing to their workplace pension scheme, and 38 percent have no idea how much their employer contributes. This lack of understanding of how much is being saved is potentially leaving employees with unrealistic expectations of what this will provide them at retirement.  
Posted: 13 September 2011 | 08:14:08
More than one third of Brits (35%) have never switched their main current account provider, with many not doing so because switching is ‘too much hassle' according to new research by N&P (Norwich and Peterborough Building Society).   Despite the impact of the recession and three quarters of people making changes to their lifestyle to save money, only one in ten people (9%) have changed their main current account in the last 12 months. Worryingly, nearly two thirds of people (64%) are not even looking to review their current account within the next 12 months  
Posted: 12 September 2011 | 08:15:42
According to the latest Halifax Pocket Money Survey, more than half of the UK's children (55%) understand that to get money, you need to earn it by working.  However, this is followed by almost a third who think money comes from the bank (30%), and over a quarter believe it comes from Mum's bag (29%) or Dad's pocket (26%).  
Posted: 12 September 2011 | 08:13:19
The majority of consumers don't think that the banks (76%) or the Government (71%) have done enough to ensure there is no repeat of the financial crisis, according to new research by Which? And, with just 14% of people saying that the banks have learnt their lesson from the credit crunch, seven in ten consumers (71%) back proposals to separate retail from investment banks, which would safeguard the deposits of customers and essential retail banking services if one of the UK's big banks was to go bust.  
Posted: 08 September 2011 | 10:06:10
New figures from, the professional advice website, today reveal that Q2 2011 has been a quarter of mixed news - seeing savings continue to increase, although by £6 billion less than Q1 2011, while borrowing levels continue to decrease, a trend we've been seeing since 2008.'s Savings Brake research reveals the ratio of how much we are borrowing (including unsecured borrowing but not including equity release and mortgages) contrasted with how much we are saving. During Q2 2011, borrowers repaid 10p of debt in every pound they saved - a slight decrease from 11p in Q1  
Posted: 07 September 2011 | 08:47:19
A new report from protection and retirement specialist LV=, reveals that property and money are the assets that Brits most want to pass down to their children, at 59% and 58% respectively. More than 40% of people would like to leave their children their engagement and wedding rings, making them the third most common item to bequeath.  
Posted: 07 September 2011 | 08:44:36
Social networking site IFA Life has today launched Blue Sky - a private networking and mentoring group for IFAs and Financial Planners.   IFA Life has established itself as a thriving online forum for financial advice professionals, where at the heart of the community has been networking, sharing of best practice and IFAs willingly providing help and support to one another.  
Posted: 06 September 2011 | 08:07:56
Graham Spooner, investment adviser at The Share Centre, picks UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB as his share of the week. Here's why: "BSkyB pleased the market at the end of July issuing strong figures ahead of expectations. The company's profits rose to over £1bn and revenue increase by £900m to £6.6bn  
Posted: 06 September 2011 | 08:06:24
Despite inflation running high and Base Rate still stuck at record low levels, Britain's savers are benefiting from renewed competition in the market with the average rate on the top 10 easy access savings accounts hitting the highest level since March 2009. The current average rate stands at 3.09 per cent, according to analysis by  
Posted: 05 September 2011 | 11:39:46
Children across the UK have an optimistic outlook on life despite the economic downturn, with 68% believing they will own their dream home by just 35 years old, according to new research by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks.   And 19% of those are planning to own their dream home by the age of 25, despite the fact that 33% of children estimate that their dream home will cost them between £500,000 and £1 million  
Posted: 05 September 2011 | 08:28:17
This review of the savings market examines the relationship between customer savings and the annual Halifax Quality of Life Survey, which tracks where living standards are highest in Great Britain by ranking local performance across key indicators, covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health. Whilst residents of many areas with a high quality of life also have a high savings balance, new research from Halifax proves that this is not always the case  
Posted: 05 September 2011 | 08:26:29
Today Standard Life publishes Your Commitments, Your Future, a study developed with psychologist Professor Janet Reibstein into the nature of commitment. It reveals that financial and emotional commitments peak between 35-44 years of age when people spend on average £1,160 a month on financial commitments and think about them for 45 minutes every day.  
Posted: 03 September 2011 | 11:19:24
Many of Britain's youngsters are missing out on financial advice from their grandparents, according to new Savings Survey data from NS&I. Over one third (36%)1 of the population believe their grandparents are good financial role models, yet only one in ten people (10%) have taken the opportunity to listen to financial advice from senior family members.   NS&I's data reveals that this information gap comes from a reticence among older generations to share their financial wisdom. Many Britons (37%) of retirement age and older say they are holding back as they believe younger people don't want to hear what they have to say on money matters.  
Posted: 02 September 2011 | 14:35:07
HSBC has launched a social media newsroom for journalists, bloggers and online commentators. The site has been designed to be a 'go to' site for all comment and information on the UK Bank's position on key issues and latest announcements.  
Posted: 02 September 2011 | 14:29:58
Parents are bailing out their adult children by more than £3,000 a year due to rising property prices, tuition fees and youth unemployment, according to a report from Friends Life.   The report, entitled 'Working Women' and part of Friends Life's Visions of Britain 2020 series, reveals that rather than coasting towards a comfortable retirement, women in their 50s are working for longer than ever in order to give their adult children financial support. On average, parents have given their adult children (those aged over 21) £3,180 in handouts in the past year, with the figure rising to £4,840 for the middle classes (ABC1s)  
Posted: 02 September 2011 | 14:25:48
Under 50s cut back on saving and borrow more to fund lifestyle, reports AXA Big Money Index. The second "Big Money Index" from AXA shows there has been a shift towards a more cavalier attitude to finances in the second quarter of the year.. It paints a worrying picture of a population borrowing more to fund a less restrictive lifestyle than in the previous quarter, with fewer attempting to pay off debts or save. It also reveals a slight rise in confidence in the economy among the under 50s, particularly among ‘Young Professionals*', while optimism among those nearing or in retirement has plummeted.   
Posted: 02 September 2011 | 14:24:14
A government attempt to encourage people to leave money to charities in their wills has "fundamental defects" and should be replaced, says the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). The CIOT makes its comments in its response to a government consultation paper proposing a lower rate of inheritance tax (IHT) when someone leaves 10 per cent of their estate to charity.  
Posted: 31 August 2011 | 15:55:43
As we approach the end of the holiday season, many IFAs could have missed out on new business over the Summer because their ‘Out of Office' email message did not include a note of their website address.   In a random sample of fifty ‘Out of Office' email messages from IFA Life members, 80% did not include an invitation to visit the IFA's website.  
Posted: 31 August 2011 | 08:18:26
As inflation bites, families are more worried than ever about the rising cost of living, according to research from the latest Aviva Family Finances Report*. The research also shows income and savings are falling as debt increases, yet families still fail to protect themselves against the unexpected.  
Posted: 31 August 2011 | 08:16:50
Pensioners retiring this year on a fixed income could lose 60 per cent of their spending power over the course of a 20 year retirement, according to new analysis by Prudential.   Prudential's figures show that the average person retiring in 2011 expects an annual income of £16,600, but if that income remains fixed it will be worth a mere £6,700 in today's money in 20 years' time - effectively a £10,000 pay cut. In fact, assuming that inflation remains at its current level, pensioners will need their retirement income to more than double (to over £40,000), if they expect to maintain their standard of living for the next 20 years.   
Posted: 31 August 2011 | 08:15:00
A new report from Consumer Focus - ‘Counter Measures' - argues that all UK high street banks should allow their customers full access to personal bank accounts through the post office network, to meet consumer demand  
Posted: 30 August 2011 | 09:42:13
Following a successful pilot, 1 September sees the formal launch of an important new scheme to combat mortgage application fraud. HM Revenue & Customs, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association have worked together on the development of the Mortgage Verification Scheme and see it as an important additional tool to help beat fraud. The National Fraud Authority estimates the cost of mortgage fraud at £1 billion last year, so measures to tackle it are important.  
Posted: 24 August 2011 | 11:05:31
Britons are still reluctant to talk openly with their parents about any expected inheritance, according to new figures released today by Aviva.  Almost two-thirds (63%) have not, or would not talk about the subject openly with their parents, despite the fact that 40% of people still expect an inheritance and may even build it into their retirement planning.  
Posted: 24 August 2011 | 11:03:56
Andy Parsons, advice team manager at The Share Centre, lists the top purchased funds by our customers during July 2011 and explains why investors may have favoured them  
Posted: 20 August 2011 | 09:24:40
Schroders' Chief Investment Officer, Alan Brown comments on yesterday's market volatility: "Two items of news lie behind the continuing market rout: The sharp decline in the Philadelphia Index and the news that other Eurozone countries were likely to seek to negotiate collateral arrangements from Greece to match the deal that Finland has achieved. As such this is a continuation of the same two themes, concern over the prospects for world growth and concerns over the stability of the Eurozone. More...  
Posted: 20 August 2011 | 09:21:44
The average age of a first time buyer has been increasing steadily since the 1960s and new research from Post Office Mortgages has revealed that 35 is the average age that a prospective homebuyer now expects to be before joining the property ladder.   The research tracked the average age of first time buyers since 1960, finding that those who bought their first home in the early 1960s were on average just 23 years old - significantly lower than today's expected average age of 35.  Women who do not yet own a property are slightly more optimistic than men, expecting to buy a home at 34, compared to the male expected average of 37 years old.  
Posted: 19 August 2011 | 08:25:21
There was a surge in enquiries for property to purchase during July, according to estate agents. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) market report for July showed a sharp increase in the number of house-hunters registering at its branches across the UK. While there is some regional fluctuation, on average agents reported 299 people on their books for the month, up from 263 in June and the highest figure in over two years (May 2009; 299).  
Posted: 19 August 2011 | 08:23:40
The current market downturn sweeping the US and Europe is expected to persist for another one to three months and will not be as bad the 2008 financial crisis, according to Jack Malvey, chief global market strategist for BNY Mellon Asset Management.   "The worst case would be a mild, brief recession, but we are more likely to experience a low-growth recession over the next three to six months," he said. "While the worst of the current downdraft is probably behind us, it is difficult to determine the exact market bottom for these types of corrections."  
Posted: 19 August 2011 | 08:22:31
Mike McCudden, Head of Derivatives at Interactive Investor (, gives his thoughts on the current trading outlook for investors  
Posted: 18 August 2011 | 15:27:20
IFA Life, the social network for IFAs and Financial Planners today reached another milestone when its 7,000th member joined the site.   The site which was founded in 2008 by former Zurich Life Head of National Accounts Philip Calvert, has become an invaluable resource for financial advisers, with many visiting up to ten times per day  
Posted: 17 August 2011 | 16:34:07
We’re delighted to say that today IFA Life reached 7,000 members  Thank you to everyone who supports us and who promotes us amongst the wider IFA and Financial Planning community. We also now have well over 2,000 members in our LinkedIn group and over 5,000 who follow us on Twitter at  Our Foursquare page also has almost 3,000 people who follow us from around the world.  
Posted: 16 August 2011 | 12:58:32
Millions of Brits are seeing their retirement dreams undermined by the rising cost of living and inadequate financial preparation for their retirement, according to new research from MGM Advantage.  The leading retirement income specialist reveals that while the top priority for six out of ten adults (58%) is the freedom to live their retirement to the full or have financial security, the reality is often very different  
Posted: 16 August 2011 | 12:56:59
New figures from the FSA/Council of Mortgage Lenders show that the level of business via intermediaries rose for first-time buyers and home movers during the period. The value of loans via intermediaries for first-time buyers increased by 30% (from £2.7bn in Q1 to £3.5bn in Q2) and by 26% for home movers (from £5.4bn in Q1 to £6.8bn in Q2)  
Posted: 16 August 2011 | 12:55:19
The latest official inflation figures show prices rising at a 5% rate, which is dreadful news for most people, but particularly for those living on fixed incomes, or saving up for retirement.  Saga has asked the CEBR to calculate the inflation rate faced by older citizens and they show that older people face even higher inflation than the rest of society.  
Posted: 16 August 2011 | 08:18:53
Quarterly fund statistics for Funds of Funds, Tracker and Ethical data.  Quarter 2 2011 The Investment Management Association (IMA) today publishes its figures for Funds of Funds, Tracker and Ethical funds for Quarter 2 2011. Key findings: Funds of Funds - net retail sales for 1H 2011 the highest on record Tracker funds - 6.7% of total funds under management Ethical funds  - net retail sales of £94 million in Quarter 2 2011, the highest quarter since Quarter 4 2007  
Posted: 16 August 2011 | 08:16:08
Over one in four UK small businesses set up by the recently retired or redundant.  Inventor of the wind-up radio and ‘older-preneur', Trevor Baylis says it's never too late to start your own business.  New research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank has unveiled that rather than relax or look for a new job, over 1 million ‘older-preneurs' have used retirement or redundancy as an opportunity to set up their own business  
Posted: 01 August 2011 | 02:07:48
Over one hundred personal finance tips have been received from IFAs in each of the first two weeks after the launch of IFA Life’s My Money Tip initiative. IFA Life is creating a book, iPhone app and special social media pages designed to help IFAs improve the visibility of their expertise to the Internet generation and to older consumers who love surfing the Web.  
Posted: 28 July 2011 | 08:45:53
Bluerock Consulting, the financial services management consultancy, is pleased to announce a new co-marketing agreement with Virtual Advisor, the remote financial advice experts. Virtual Advisor is a supplier of patented, online, consumer engagement software that is tailored to delivering remote financial advice.  
Posted: 28 July 2011 | 08:33:10
Increasing regional variation in the UK's commercial property market became apparent during the three months to June, as London's real estate strongly outperformed the rest of the UK, says the latest RICS UK Commercial Market Survey  
Posted: 28 July 2011 | 08:31:13
The Government has just released a summary of the responses to its consultation on reforming the State Pension. The overwhelming majority of responses supported a flat rate state pension of around £140 a week (in today's money) which would remove the mass means-testing of future pensioners and finally make it safe for most people on moderate incomes to save in a pension scheme.  
Posted: 28 July 2011 | 08:25:27
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has announced its vision for the organisation's future following its strategic review. The review sets a direction for the organisation to champion the interests of professional financial advice firms in the UK and at the increasingly important European level  
Posted: 26 July 2011 | 10:12:51
In response to the recent Treasury Select Committee report which suggests delaying the impact of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) by one year, Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) believes that the current deadline of January 2013 is unlikely to pose a problem for the majority of its members.  
Posted: 26 July 2011 | 10:10:47
Britain is a nation of DNAs (Dare Not Ask) with money or finances being the top issue that people are most reserved to talk about with anyone they know, according to new findings from Scottish Widows. But the younger generation is challenging the inherent apprehension in us all, with those under 35 proving to be the most likely to break the trend and talk about this traditionally taboo subject.  
Posted: 24 July 2011 | 11:45:37
Young savers are getting a raw deal from banks and building societies, with the average rate for a children's easy access savings account at just 1.01%, according to new research by Which? Money. The consumer champion found that half of easy access children's savings accounts pay 1% AER or less, with First Trust Bank's Junior Saver account offering a return of just 0.05% - that's 50p for every £1,000 saved and a tenth of the Bank of England base rate.  
Posted: 18 July 2011 | 11:58:49
  IFA Life, the social networking site for IFAs and financial planners is launching an iPhone App and book which is designed to raise the profile of financial advisers to a younger market and Internet savvy older consumers. With the Internet and Social Media increasingly at the heart of how consumers find information on financial matters, IFAs can either embrace it or run the risk that they will be invisible to the Internet generation. Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said today: "As we approach RDR, there's a great deal of talk about how the mass market can be served by IFAs - but in a cost-effective, appealing and relevant way. Our new My Money Tip initiative will raise the profile of IFAs to a younger market - and indeed to older consumers who love the Internet."    
Posted: 12 July 2011 | 07:50:17
Consumers in the UK are rebelling against poor customer service and are voting with their feet according to new research from American Express. Around 30 per cent of Britons believe that businesses are taking their custom for granted, with nearly four out of five (78 per cent) of those surveyed deciding not to make an intended purchase because of poor customer service.  
Posted: 12 July 2011 | 07:48:26
The Government has issued a call for evidence as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions systems, announced at Budget 2011. This is a preliminary stage of consultation, and aims to build a strong evidence base on the burdens to employers of having to operate two different systems. Responses to this call for evidence will inform the Government's proposals for reform, on which it will consult in the autumn  
Posted: 12 July 2011 | 07:46:25
The UK housing market faced a stalemate during June, as demand failed to pick up and supply of new property fell back, says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey (12 July 2011).   Demand for property showed little change in June, with new buyer enquiries recording a net balance of 0 per cent (compared with -1 per cent in May); indeed, demand has been broadly flat for the last six months. Chartered surveyors report that because the market remains difficult to access, the only buyers who can really be considered serious are those who have already sold their property, or have a mortgage agreement in place  
Posted: 06 July 2011 | 08:16:26

Posted: 05 July 2011 | 07:40:59
Volumes of business across the UK financial services sector grew in the three months to June, but at a slower pace than in the last three quarters, a new survey showed today (Monday).   At the same time, the value of fee, commission or premium income rose strongly for the second quarter running, while the value of net interest, investment or trading income grew at its fastest rate since March 2007  
Posted: 05 July 2011 | 07:31:22
The latest MoneyMood Survey from Legal & General shows around 1.3 million households are worse off now than they were just 9 months ago. The research shows a marked drop in "Expense cover", the number of households who say they have some money left after paying bills each month, compared to 2010.  The drop means around 6 out of 10 UK households are on a fine balance between managing to pay bills and sinking into debt  
Posted: 05 July 2011 | 07:26:54
Apathetic Brits are missing out on hundreds of pounds a year by failing to check the interest rates on their financial products, including credit cards, current accounts, savings accounts and personal loans, research by the UK's number one comparison site has revealed  
Posted: 05 July 2011 | 07:24:14
The CBI is calling on the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) to undertake a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of its proposals on bank ring-fencing, as it remains unconvinced that the policies will support the recovery. With today (Monday) the last day for submissions to the ICB, the UK's leading business group is asking the ICB to look at the business and economic impact of the changes it is considering  
Posted: 01 July 2011 | 10:33:01
Institutional investors should review information that goes beyond the typical scorecard that they use, called the "implementation shortfall," when they gauge the success of changing the asset allocation of a portfolio or switching asset managers. That is one of the key conclusions of a new study from Mellon Transition Management (MTM), the transition management specialist for BNY Mellon Asset Management. The report urges investors to break down the components of the implementation shortfall cost and focus on the implicit costs of their transitions  
Posted: 01 July 2011 | 10:32:34

Posted: 30 June 2011 | 12:03:14
With implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) fast approaching, advisers are likely to be looking at their business strategies and positioning themselves for 2013.  One of the key questions for advisers is how they will deal with clients' investment portfolios.  For many, outsourcing this process will be high up the agenda  
Posted: 29 June 2011 | 07:41:52
Getting your boss a cuppa may be the best way for promotion, but almost half (45%) of British workers don't actually get to enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee at work, according to new research from  In fact, a third of workers (33%) have seen their companies cut back on free refreshments over the last year, costing staff over £110 a year on average  
Posted: 29 June 2011 | 07:38:37
The news that Jane Norman is going into administration is the latest piece of bad news for Britain's high street. As well as Mothercare other chains including JJB Sports, Thorntons and Comet are also shutting some shops. With shoppers already turning their backs on town centres, these closures could be the final nail in the coffin for the high street  
Posted: 29 June 2011 | 07:35:39
Aviva's latest Real Retirement Report, which monitors the finances of the UK's over-55s, today reveals that two in five (39%) of them have seen significant and often unwanted and unplanned, changes to their careers in the ten years between their 55th and 65thbirthdays. Indeed, one in seven (15%) report being made redundant, 11% were forced to stop work due to illness and 11% were forced into early retirement. Looking at the impact of these unplanned changes, 68% said it has had a detrimental effect on their retirement finances, with 34% having to cut back on their lifestyle, 7% worrying about how to pay an outstanding mortgage and 11% considering using assets such as their house to pay for retirement.  
Posted: 29 June 2011 | 07:30:28
Aviva's latest quarterly Real Retirement Report, which monitors the finances of the UK's over-55s, has found the marginal growth in income over the last year of 0.65% has been outstripped by a rise in ‘grey' inflation of 4.7%.    However, the over-55s have started to prioritise debt repayment and saving as their income is squeezed by inflation. The report which tracks the finances of the three different ages of retirement - pre-retirees (aged 55-64); retiring (65-74); and the long-term retired (75 and over) - also includes a focus on the final ten years of employment before retirement which highlights the importance of saving.  
Posted: 29 June 2011 | 07:28:57
UK pensioners are living on an average of £6,200 a year less than the £22,000 they say they need to live comfortably, with two in five (38 per cent) finding living on their retirement income harder than they originally expected. New research for Prudential exploring attitudes to retirement reveals that pensioners would ideally like an income of £22,000 a year in order to live comfortably. But in reality, the average income they receive is just £15,800.  
Posted: 28 June 2011 | 08:14:53
Analysis from, the UK's number one comparison site has found the average interest rate across two-year fixed rate mortgage products is at its lowest since the Bank of England base rate dropped to 0.5 per cent in March 2009. This highlights the increased levels of competition within the mortgage market. Fixed rate mortgages have steadily fallen over the last couple of years, with the rate on the average two-year product now standing at 4.25 per cent. This compares with an average of 5.59 per cent in spring 2009. Three-year fixed rates are at their lowest since December 2010 while five-year products are at their lowest rate since January 2011 at 4.80 per cent and 5.27 per cent respectively.  
Posted: 28 June 2011 | 08:12:52
While young people are realistic about the need to save for retirement, they are likely to need incentives to make it a priority, a new survey from Fidelity International suggests.  Fidelity surveyed people aged 25-35 on their views on retirement and found more than 60% believe the buck stops with them when it comes to financial security in retirement, with just 23% believing it is up to the State to take primary responsibility for looking after them when they stop working.   
Posted: 28 June 2011 | 08:11:07
New research from, the professional advice website, reveals that 39% of small businesses are taking a DIY approach to their business finances and opting to go it alone without consulting or employing a professional for financial advice. Yet despite this, one in five (19%) of small businesses are not confident they could effectively manage their business accounts and their book keeping needs without using professional help.  Over half (54%) of sole traders are currently without professional advisers for their finance and accounting needs, compared to 20% of micro businesses (1-9 employees).   
Posted: 28 June 2011 | 08:09:18
With consumers battling the rising cost of living and a reduced level of disposable income, new research from reveals the biggest financial concerns for households at the moment. The survey of over 2,300 site users revealed that for one in three (36 per cent) the biggest concern at the moment is the rising cost of household bills. This was followed by the rising cost of motoring (13 per cent) and worrying about debts (12 per cent). Upward movements in the Bank of England base rate was a concern for 11 per cent of those surveyed, followed closely by worries about the risk of unemployment (eight per cent). With disposable income forecast to fall by a further £780 this year, consumer's concerns look set to stay.  
Posted: 28 June 2011 | 08:07:01
Alliance Trust Savings, one of the country's leading SIPP providers, questions whether the general public understands the true value of pension's tax relief and how it works. This comes after recent *research suggested that higher rate tax payers are losing out on £795m in pension tax relief. The Government has recently quashed rumours that it was considering plans to axe pension tax relief for individuals in 40% and 50% tax brackets.  
Posted: 25 June 2011 | 10:32:21
Bupa, has launched a free iPhone app giving people easy access to quality health information wherever they are. With seven out of ten people in the UK now using the internet to find health information, Bupa's new ‘Health Finder' app will give free mobile access to Bupa's award winning health factsheets. Covering conditions from angina to yellow fever, Bupa's health factsheets are already viewed by over 20 million people each year and as sales of smartphones outpace those of PCs, more people are likely to do so on-the-go  
Posted: 25 June 2011 | 10:30:02
New research from Aviva has found that the top sources of financial advice for UK consumers are friends and family, and the internet.  Almost three-quarters (70%) of 18-24 year olds would turn to friends and family for financial advice first rather than consulting a professional adviser, while only  a quarter (24%) of over-65s would do the same.  
Posted: 21 June 2011 | 16:42:15
Even the most sceptical of financial advisers now appreciates that the Internet stands at the centre of how IFAs communicate with each other - with Social Media dominating how they interact, network, find jobs, discuss industry issues such as RDR and how they share best practice. ‘New Model' no longer applies to just IFAs - large and small providers and suppliers of products and services to IFAs have no choice but to develop their own new model in how they interact, engage and add value to financial advice professionals. Seminars, workshops, broker consultants and telesales still have their place - but pale into insignificance compared to the impact and effectiveness of a well thought-through IFA-facing Social Media strategy  
Posted: 21 June 2011 | 12:04:10
Research by The Co-operative Bank has revealed that the majority (80%) of UK adults are worried about the state of their finances, with all areas of family finances being scrutinised with a view to save money.  The top money worries causing sleepless nights are as follows:  
Posted: 21 June 2011 | 09:16:26
Shelter's new research shows the places in England with the highest proportion of homeowners who have been issued with a possession order for their home, and are therefore at serious risk of repossession.    With experts predicting repossessions will rise to 45,000 next year, the charity is highlighting the research to encourage homeowners who will be hit when interest rates rise to start preparing now for higher mortgage costs so they don't find themselves at risk later down the line  
Posted: 20 June 2011 | 12:30:47
Gross mortgage lending totalled an estimated £11.3 billion in May, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.  This represented a 12% increase from the £10.1 billion lent in April and was 1% higher than in May 2010.  
Posted: 20 June 2011 | 12:28:56
Independent financial research company Defaqto has today published a guide for advisers to help them select appropriate platforms for their business and ultimately their clients. The volume of assets under management on platforms has now reached £150 billion.  And, according to a Defaqto survey of 232 platform users, advisers are now placing a significant amount of investment business through them.  In fact, 69% of advisers that use platforms are placing more than 50% of their business with them.  Further, Defaqto found that once adopted the number of advisers placing 10% or less investment business on a platform is just 3%  
Posted: 20 June 2011 | 12:26:51
According to the latest AIC/Morningstar figures, the investment company sector on the highest premium is currently the Property Direct (UK) sector, which is on an average premium of +5%, marking a turnaround since the commercial property downturn, when the average discount was as high as 44% at the end of December 2008.  With an average income yield of 6.5%, this dramatic rerating is perhaps less surprising in the current inflationary, low interest rate environment.  
Posted: 20 June 2011 | 07:40:35
Homeowners in the most economically prosperous locations in the UK have seen the value of their property rise by almost £150,000 over a decade, according to new research by Halifax. Based on Halifax's own data, the average house price in the ten local areas that recorded the biggest rise in economic activity in the UK between 1998 and 2008 (latest available) rose by 219%, or £146,984, from an average of £67,178 in 1998 to £214,162 in 2008.  
Posted: 14 June 2011 | 09:10:29
Andy Parsons, advice team manager at The Share Centre, lists the top purchased funds by our customers during May 2011 and explains why investors may have favoured them.  
Posted: 14 June 2011 | 07:21:08
Inflation is the biggest investment concern for nearly a fifth of IFA clients, according to a poll of advisers undertaken by M&G Investments. Of the 882 advisers who responded to the M&G survey over several weeks in May, about 16% cited rising prices and inflation as the main worry for their clients  
Posted: 14 June 2011 | 07:19:04
Small businesses see training in sales and marketing as critical for their growth, latest survey figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show. In its ‘Voice of Small Business' survey panel of 1,700 small businesses, almost half (46%) said that sales, marketing and PR training for themselves would help their business to develop or grow. Just over a third (34%) said similar training for their employees would also have the same positive impact on the growth of their business  
Posted: 14 June 2011 | 07:14:57
Buy-to-let mortgage specialist Paragon is urging landlords to ensure they are fully tax efficient after research shows that many are failing to claim for the full range of tax allowances. Landlords can offset many of the costs incurred through letting property against their income, but many are unaware of the full range of costs they can claim. For example, Paragon's research shows that more than one in 10 landlords (13%) are not claiming for mortgage interest, despite it being a major cost for landlords. Meanwhile, a third of landlords don't claim management or letting agent fees, with 55% of landlords not claiming for advertising costs incurred in letting their property.  
Posted: 13 June 2011 | 11:28:27
As Barclays announces that it will be compensating customers who were mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) on a ‘no questions asked' basis, Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, says:  
Posted: 13 June 2011 | 07:21:24
Independent Financial Adviser Anthony Ward, has received the highest exam mark in Northern Ireland after completing the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning.  The award was presented today at the Belfast Insurance Institute’s annual award ceremony held at Queen’s University Belfast.  This is Anthony’s third award having previously won awards for the highest exam marks for both the Certificate and Diploma in Financial Planning.  
Posted: 09 June 2011 | 08:53:20
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has written to firms operating price comparison websites to ensure they are aware of their regulatory requirements. The letter contains proposed guidance and highlights some concerns the FSA has around the fair treatment of customers. It also asks firms to think carefully about whether they are introducing, arranging or even advising customers on purchasing a contract of insurance - and whether they need to reflect that with a change in permissions.  
Posted: 09 June 2011 | 08:50:39
Commenting on new official statistics on longevity published today (Wednesday) that show the gap between the life expectancies of people living in deprived and prosperous areas has increased sharply, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'This reveals the unfairness in the government's plans to speed up the increase in the state pension age, particularly for women  
Posted: 08 June 2011 | 14:44:18
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) welcomes the announcement from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in CP11/11 that it intends to confer accredited body status upon the organisation.  The regulator will now consult on including IFP and five other organisations as accredited bodies, within their Handbook.  
Posted: 08 June 2011 | 14:40:57
While concerns over bank lending to small and medium sized companies have grabbed the headlines recently, Alex Wright, manager of the Fidelity UK Opportunities fund, believes that the outlook for small caps in particular is very positive.   Alex Wright comments: "I still think we are early in the current economic recovery, which only really began in mid 2009. As we move into an environment of greater certainty this should be good for small caps which have historically performed well in times of positive economic momentum.  
Posted: 08 June 2011 | 14:35:23
The number of people experiencing financial distress has increased to the highest level recorded by R3's Personal Debt Snapshot. The latest research finds that eight million people are due to go into their overdraft this month, with two million believing that they will go into an unauthorised overdraft position. The findings also show that six million people are currently behind with some of their bills and payments - a jump of 2 million over the last quarter.  
Posted: 07 June 2011 | 19:33:34
IFA Life and 5 others:  How has CFP certification helped your business?  IFA Life and 15 others:  Name the town/city that is nearest to you for possible IFA Life networking events  Adam Price and 4 others:  Rating IFAs – good idea or bad idea? (VouchedFor)  
Posted: 03 June 2011 | 08:37:07
"It's been a week of woe in the markets as traders are finally coming to realise that all is far from well in the global economy. The FTSE 100 is looking like testing recent lows again as at time of writing we are sitting around the 5870 level. We are seeing lower volumes from our spread betting and CFD clients as they wait and see and set up orders trying to capitalise on a break out from the range. On any move in the FTSE to the downside look for support around 5830 and then 5790  
Posted: 03 June 2011 | 08:35:55
Research from Scottish Widows shows that Scots are more likely to have a life insurance or critical illness policy in place than any other part of the UK. The Scottish Widows Consumer Protection report, which details research carried out on 5,148 UK adults¹, shows a clear regional divide north and south of the border, with Scots faring far better than the rest of the UK when it comes to protecting themselves and their families.  
Posted: 01 June 2011 | 10:06:15
Simplifying the movement of assets into a SIPP will be crucial to the success of corporate platforms, Friends Life argues today. The company is calling on the government to change the intricate legislation that governs in-specie contributions, and allow employee's benefits to be transferred more easily through corporate platforms  
Posted: 01 June 2011 | 10:00:34
Only half of those retiring this year will be able to afford to leave an inheritance according to new research from Prudential. Just 52 per cent of those questioned are confident they have enough income and assets to fund their retirement and still be able to leave money to relatives. Prudential's Class of 2011 research questioned people planning to retire this year and found that 26 per cent have already ruled out being able to leave any inheritance while another 22 per cent were unsure whether their savings would be sufficient to fund their retirement.  
Posted: 31 May 2011 | 09:00:40
Small firms that have yet to grasp the business opportunities created by the environmental sustainability agenda are missing out on a potential £5.7 billion of economic growth in the next three years, new research from Lloyds TSB Commercial has revealed.  The bank, which questioned over 1,500 British businesses with a turnover of less than £15 million, discovered the majority of small firms (91 per cent) have taken some steps towards becoming more environmentally sustainable. And, almost a third (30 per cent) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have already seen their business grow by an average of 13.25 per cent over a three year period solely as a result of these initiatives.   
Posted: 31 May 2011 | 08:04:43
Britain is home to a generation of renters who are giving up on buying their own home, an in-depth new report has revealed. If attitudes become reality, the shape of Britain's housing market will be fundamentally changed within a generation.   According to the report, the most in-depth research into the attitudes and behaviour of young people toward home-ownership since the credit crunch, 77% of all non-homeowners still aspire to owning their own home.  However, despite this aspiration, nearly half of 20-45 year olds say Britain is becoming more like Europe where renting is seen as the norm and predict Britain will become a nation of renters within the next generation.  
Posted: 30 May 2011 | 09:11:52
Report reveals Britons have their head in the sand over retirement planning.  A generation of Britons faces a cash-strapped retirement as people ignore or refuse to respond to the changing nature of pension provision in the UK, a new report from HSBC reveals.  Members of the UK's Ostrich Generation know they will live longer than previous generations and understand that traditional state and company pensions will no longer be so generous  
Posted: 30 May 2011 | 09:07:02
Almost two-thirds (64%) of women aged 65+ make small financial decisions themselves, such as day to day budgeting and paying bills, compared to only one third (32%) of 18 to 24 year olds.  This is double the figure and well above the 57% national average. When it comes to big financial decisions, such as buying a new car, over two-fifths of women (41%) aged 65+ take charge.  This is again almost twice the figure of 24% for 18 to 24 year olds and higher than the average of 35%  
Posted: 26 May 2011 | 09:53:40
Responding to Shelter's release today of the results of a YouGov survey on whether mortgage regulatory reform is needed, the Council of Mortgage Lenders expresses surprise that Shelter seems unaware that mortgage lenders do, in fact, support reform.  However, it is the detail of that reform that needs care if undesirable and unintended impacts are to be avoided.  
Posted: 26 May 2011 | 09:48:29
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has recently conducted its first ever Paraplanner survey ahead of its inaugural Paraplanner Conference which took place today, at Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire, on Wednesday 25 May.  The event was a sell out, with well over 100 delegates attending.   
Posted: 26 May 2011 | 09:46:31
Research by NatWest and small business website reveals many small firms struggle early on because they don't have the right tools in place to run their business effectively. With latest figures showing business failures outnumbering business births for the first time, offering more support to start-ups could be key to economic recovery. NatWest and Smarta today join with Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis to launch Smarta Business Builder, a new online toolkit, providing first time entrepreneurs with the key components needed to develop and grow.  
Posted: 25 May 2011 | 10:43:12
Aviva - the UK's largest insurer - is proposing a series of reforms to the retirement industry with the publication of the report ‘Rethinking Retirement in the UK. The report sets out a series of measures Aviva believes are necessary to address the issues facing the retirement market today, encouraging reform, so that the industry can better serve the needs of tomorrow's retirees. Aviva proposes the following:  
Posted: 25 May 2011 | 10:41:10
New research by Standard Life has revealed over 80% of the UK adult population are saving their money, but the options they are choosing may be restricting the return they get on their money.  More people choose cash based savings (49% cash savings, 46% cash ISA), compared to investment based products (17% investment products, 13% pension products). This could seriously impact the returns received over the longer term. The return from cash based savings is largely determined by interest rates but the real value of this will be impacted by inflation. Returns from the stock market are historically higher than cash based returns over the longer term.   
Posted: 25 May 2011 | 10:39:26
One in three people in the UK say their personal debt, excluding mortgage debt, has increased in the past year, with 10 per cent stating their debt has increased a lot, according to new researchfrom   
Posted: 25 May 2011 | 10:37:27
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Bank of Scotland (BOS) £3.5 million for the mishandling of complaints about retail investment products - many from older customers with little or no experience of investment products  
Posted: 24 May 2011 | 08:04:28
People will get life insurance payments more quickly after bereavement, as the ABI issues new guidance to insurers cutting the time it takes from four months to just four weeks.  Over 32,000 life insurance claims are made by families who have lost a loved one every year in the UK, many of which will now be able to benefit from this change.  
Posted: 24 May 2011 | 08:01:38
The impact of inflation and monetary tightening in the first quarter of 2011 restricted Indian equity performance, however, the country's structural growth drivers remain intact and bodes well for equities in medium to long term, says Teera Chanpongsang, Portfolio Manager, Fidelity India Focus Fund. "Concerns about the impact of inflation and monetary tightening on growth have restricted Indian equity returns so far this year," Changpongsang comments: "Foreign investors redeemed funds from many emerging markets, including India, to invest in the developed world where economic growth was showing signs of a recovery.  However, this trend seems to have reversed since early March, given the stronger growth and economic fundamentals in emerging markets.  This dynamic has helped Indian equities to make a strong recovery.  
Posted: 23 May 2011 | 08:16:40
Deposits paid by first time buyers trying to get on the British housing ladder during the last 12 years have averaged 17 per cent of the overall property value - two per cent more than the current average - and taken an average 29 months to save for, according to new research from Santander Mortgages. Almost one in five first time buyers (17 per cent) have paid between 6 - 10 per cent deposit on their first home, with 3.5m (12 per cent) putting down between 11 and 20 per cent to ensure they secure a foot on to the property ladder. Perhaps surprisingly one in 10 paid almost half of the full property price as a deposit with a further 15 per cent buying the property outright.  
Posted: 23 May 2011 | 08:13:30
Families are struggling to save while keeping ahead of inflation and on top of unsecured debt, according to research from the latest Aviva Family Finances Report. This in-depth research which is designed to understand the financial needs of customers who live as part of a family - 84% of the UK population - also shows families have major financial concerns over the next six months.  
Posted: 23 May 2011 | 08:07:05
The prospects for economic growth in the UK are not as bad as some commentators would have us believe. Whilst growth has been disappointing in comparison with other economies, particularly in recent quarters where it seems to have stalled, it still bears comparison with other UK recessions. Economic recovery was not smooth following the recessions of either the early 80s or early 90s. Indeed the history of the 1991 recession shows a classic ‘two steps forward, one step back' recovery with the level of GDP returning to its lows three quarters after hitting its nadir.  
Posted: 23 May 2011 | 08:03:40
Families are viewing auto-enrolment as a positive step towards bridging the pensions gap, according to research from the second Aviva Family Finances Report. Three quarters (74%) of family heads say they would be happy to contribute to a scheme if their contributions were matched by their employer. This comes in contrast to the fact that the majority of UK family heads (72%) do not currently contribute to a workplace pension, citing affordability as a major barrier. However, the report also suggests that almost all (96%) families do have some disposable income after essential purchases each month, which indicates affordability might not be the only obstacle.  
Posted: 19 May 2011 | 07:53:11
33% of households in the UK say they could not cope financially should they lose their household's main income.  Almost half (49%) of UK households with children are reliant on two salaries.  Only 7% of the UK population have income protection Research published by Scottish Widows has revealed an estimated 8.5 million UK households could not cope financially if the household's main income was lost,  with just a quarter (26%) of the 26 million households in the UK stating they would be financially secure in the long term. Despite these figures, just 7% of the UK population has an income protection policy in place  
Posted: 19 May 2011 | 07:50:59
One in four UK adults now access their bank account online every day.  Two thirds say online banking is their preferred way of managing their money.  However only one quarter of over 55s have ever used online banking to manage their money New research by Pay YOUR way, the campaign helping people benefit from modern payment methods, shows that as a nation we like to keep a close eye on our money - making use of online technology to check our bank account as often as once a day, but many still spend valuable hours in their bank branches to tackle the most straightforward of tasks  
Posted: 18 May 2011 | 16:37:16
Award-winning IFA Informed Choice will be live tweeting a day in the life of a firm of Chartered Financial Planners on Tuesday 24th May 2011, using the Twitter account @aninformedday and hashtag #informedday.   Throughout the day, members of the Informed Choice team will be sharing their activities with a series of tweets on the @aninformedday Twitter account.  
Posted: 18 May 2011 | 11:09:31
The public wants a clear message from the Government on how much they will have to pay for care in their old age, research carried out for the Commission on Funding of Care and Support has found.   While the majority of people in our research believe both the Government and the individual have a responsibility to contribute to long-term care costs, they want clarity on exactly what they will be expected to pay, along with simple ways to support them in planning for this.  
Posted: 18 May 2011 | 11:07:25
The Financial Ombudsman Service - the independent organisation that settles disputes between consumers and financial companies - today publishes its annual review covering the 2010/11 financial year. The review shows that during the year:  
Posted: 18 May 2011 | 07:32:20
Publication of DWP Research Report 737.  Research published today examines what aspirations people of all ages hold for their later life, what they are currently doing to prepare, and what enablers and barriers there are to achieving their aspirations. This study focuses on many of the social aspects of preparing for later life and specifically looks at what plans people are making for later life in their earlier years; what hopes or ambitions may motivate people as they approach later life; and, whether later life is viewed as an opportunity to do things people were unable to do in their earlier years or as a time to relax and do less. Key Findings:  
Posted: 18 May 2011 | 07:30:30
There was further bad news for the UK economy today with the publication of the consumer prices for April. CPI rose from 4% to 4.5% compared to expectations of about 4.1%. This comes after a rare month when inflation was lower than expected in March as it fell by 0.3% to 4% (see chart below). The overshoot is mainly due to a big rise in transport costs in April that should largely reverse in May. For instance, the cost of air travel rose by 29% and sea fares by 22.3% during the month that can be mostly explained by the timing of Easter. The rises in duty on tobacco and alcohol also contributed to the increase as well as the continuing strength of energy prices  
Posted: 18 May 2011 | 07:25:03
Research from HSBC has found that 29% of people feel their job is not secure over the next 12 months. Older public sector workers feel particularly vulnerable, with 37% of public sector workers over the age of 55 feeling that their job is not secure over the next 12 months - the highest level of uncertainty for any age group of either public or private sector workers. This is compared with 32% of their private sector peers. When looking at the medium term, insecurity increases and the gap between the public and private sector widens further. Thirty seven percent of people said they felt their job was not secure over the next three years including 40% of public sector workers and 35% of people in the private sector. Uncertainty rises significantly among the older age group with almost half (48%) of public sector workers over the age of 55 saying they feel their job is not secure, compared with just over a third (36%) of their private sector peers. (See Graph 2 in Additional Information)  
Posted: 17 May 2011 | 08:13:56
MBNA today announced that the first American Express-branded, contactless credit cards in the UK will be issued for use by MBNA's customers.  Europe's largest credit card lender now becomes the world's first issuer of EMV-enabled contactless credit cards for all three payment networks - American Express, MasterCard and Visa.  
Posted: 17 May 2011 | 08:11:03
FSB launches a report that demonstrates that one year in, the Government has effectively increased the regulatory burden on many small businesses.  The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) expressed concern today that Government plans to reform parental leave and flexible working are an example of a contradictory approach to regulation.  
Posted: 17 May 2011 | 08:06:26
Men retiring in 2011 expect to receive 50 per cent more pension income than women, according to new research from Prudential.  Prudential's Class of 2011 research surveyed people planning to retire this year and found that the retirement income gender gap is £6,500. The average woman retiring this year expects an annual income of £12,900 compared with an average male expected income of £19,400. There is some good news for women though as the retirement income gender gap has shrunk since last year when Prudential's study showed a £7,400 gap with women expecting incomes of £12,200 while men looked forward to £19,600. However, women who planned to retire in 2009 expected an annual retirement income of £13,700.    
Posted: 17 May 2011 | 08:04:50
Saga’s latest report reveals the gap between the rich and poor has widened since January.  Quality of life for people over 50 has declined in the past three months according to the latest Saga Quarterly Report, the second comprehensive quarterly analysis from Saga investigating the lives of Britain's 21 million over 50s. The Saga Q2 Report, published today, reveals a decline in quality of life as a result of the notable drop in living standards, with people in their 50s the worst affected.   
Posted: 16 May 2011 | 08:20:59
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) believes that the Government's approach to counter attempts to avoid tax through payment of ‘disguised remuneration' is far too complex. The Finance Bill includes extensive legislation targeting arrangements involving third parties and which defer or avoid income tax on rewards from employment or avoid restrictions on pensions tax relief. Colin Ben-Nathan, Chairman of the CIOT's Employment Taxes Sub-Committee, said:  
Posted: 16 May 2011 | 08:15:15
Over half of Brits (52%) admitted being concerned about the impact inflation may have on their savings, according to the latest quarterly Saving Britain research from BM Savings. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) savers over the age of 65 were worried about inflation, however, only three in 10 (30%) young (18-24) were concerned their savings would be affected.  
Posted: 13 May 2011 | 13:11:57
The balance between house purchase and remortgage lending tipped towards remortgaging at the start of 2011, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Remortgaging accounted for 37% of all lending in the quarter, an increase from 30% in the last quarter of 2010. The number of loans advanced for house purchase in March increased by 24% to 37,800 from February, and the value increased by 26% to £5.4 billion. While this is a significant increase compared to the start of the year, house purchase lending activity is still below the levels seen at the same time last year - down 17% in volume and 16% in value.  
Posted: 13 May 2011 | 09:11:32
Brits are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to their finances. Despite their best intentions, 17 million adults (35%) admit to neglecting their finances, according to the second annual Scottish Widows Priorities of Life Index.    Of the 17 million adults who cannot focus on their finances as much as they'd like, 21% said this was because they had too much debt to feel financially secure, 32% are not paid enough, and a quarter (25%) simply try not to think about money in their day to day lives.  
Posted: 13 May 2011 | 09:08:39
Debt advice charity the Money Advice Trust is warning consumers to pay close attention to their fuel costs after witnessing a rise in the number of people with fuel debts seeking advice. Since 2007 National Debtline, which is run by the Money Advice Trust, has seen a 181 per cent increase in the number of people advised who carry fuel debts. Just over the last twelve months the charity has seen ten per cent more people calling in with fuel debts.  
Posted: 13 May 2011 | 09:03:42
In March, just before the Budget, Saga called on the Government to help struggling savers by reintroducing National Savings Inflation linked bonds.  The Budget announced that NS&I would be allowed to make a profit of £2bn this year, which has paved the way for the return of these hugely popular certificates.  
Posted: 11 May 2011 | 14:08:31
The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) and the Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB) have confirmed that they are in formal discussions, under heads of agreement, about the two organisations coming together, with an aim to complete discussions by the end of the year.  
Posted: 11 May 2011 | 14:03:17
Paragon Mortgages' Financial Adviser Confidence Tracking (FACT) Index, a panel survey of approximately 200 intermediaries, found that 77% of residential mortgages introduced during the first quarter of 2011 were capital repayment mortgages. This is the highest proportion since Paragon launched the FACT Index in 1996.   The proportion of repayment mortgages was up from 71% recorded during the final quarter of 2010 and has been rising since the third quarter of 2007 when it hit a six-year low of 57%.  
Posted: 11 May 2011 | 13:59:58
Latest figures from, the professional advice website, reveal that high consumer demand for retirement planning advice continued into the new tax year. Retirement planning maintained its position as the number one advice driver (41%) for consumers searching for an independent financial adviser (IFA) on's ‘find an IFA' search.  This highlights a substantial year on year increase, when only 35% of consumers sought retirement planning advice in the same month last year.  
Posted: 10 May 2011 | 16:04:45

Posted: 10 May 2011 | 15:59:51
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that a quarter of advisers questioned have changed at least one of their platform providers over the last twelve months. Defaqto's survey asked 232 advisers using platforms about the extent and nature of their platform activity, and their level of satisfaction with the platforms they deal with.  While it found that 25% of advisers have switched at least one platform provider in the last year, Defaqto has identified an increasing trend of activity in this direction.  In 2010, Defaqto found that 21% had changed one of their platform operators.  
Posted: 10 May 2011 | 15:56:25
Supply of property increased during April, as sellers returned to the test the Spring housing market, according to the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey (10 May 2011).   18 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise rather than fall in new instructions, up from 4 per cent more in March. Spring is traditionally a busier time of year, but respondents suggest that a stablisation in property prices has also tempted many back.  
Posted: 10 May 2011 | 15:52:39
According to independent financial research company Defaqto, low returns on cash deposits mean people will have to consider investing in riskier assets to supplement their income. IFAs will therefore need to undertake robust due diligence when selecting funds, and fund managers, to ensure appropriate selections are made for their clients.  
Posted: 10 May 2011 | 10:36:29
Morningstar has today announced a product integration project that maps the outcomes of the psychometric risk tolerance tests offered by FinaMetrica, a financial risk profiling provider, to the Morningstar asset allocation guidance models available in Morningstar’s adviser planning tool, Morningstar Adviser Workstation.  
Posted: 10 May 2011 | 09:10:20
PDL International, the global provider of investment services to both institutional and retail clients, has today warned against the blanket exclusion of whole asset clases from the mainstream retail market. The call forms part of PDL’s response to the FSA’s discussion paper on product regulation, which was published in February.   One consideration raised in the paper is the option of issuing warnings to customers, publishing a list of products considered unsuitable for the mainstream retail markets. The paper suggests that traded life policy settlements, known as life settlements, would be on that list.  
Posted: 09 May 2011 | 07:51:58
Many of Britain's biggest financial service providers have failed to win customers' trust while smaller firms, mutuals and new players continue to attract praise for their service, according to Moneywise's latest Great British Customer Service Survey.  
Posted: 09 May 2011 | 07:48:40
The Chartered insurance Institute's (CII) report, ‘An age-old problem - developing solutions for funding retirement', published at a CII and Strategic Society Centre seminar exploring the impact of pension rules in a changing society, estimates the UK retirement savings deficit at £9 trillion.  
Posted: 06 May 2011 | 10:08:08
Money education charity Credit Action has today released the May debt statistics, a monthly release which details the level of debt in the UK. Key statistics from the release, which shows month-by-month trends, include:  
Posted: 06 May 2011 | 10:02:48
The Chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, announced in agreement with the FSA, that the Committee will request independent experts to carry out a review of the FSA's report into the failure of RBS.  This is currently being prepared for publication by the Authority at the request of the TSC.  
Posted: 06 May 2011 | 08:57:56
Leading financial planning application supplier, Voyant today announced the launch of a market crash simulator, designed to give advisers the ability to examine a client’s capacity for loss, within its ‘Voyant Adviser’ online planning solution.  
Posted: 03 May 2011 | 08:56:37
More than eighty percent of consumers have changed how they shop in order to reduce the amount they spend, according to new research from insolvency trade body, R3. The survey looks at the change in where and how consumers are now buying their goods. Frances Coulson, R3 President says:  
Posted: 03 May 2011 | 08:54:39
The scrapping of the age 75 annuitisation rule could inadvertently encourage people to stay in drawdown for longer than is suitable and mean they risk missing out on the benefits of mortality cross-subsidy, warns MGM Advantage, specialists in retirement income and Intelligent Pensions, the pensions and retirement specialists for IFAs.  For a 70 year old male living for 20 years with a pension fund worth £100,000, this could mean missing out on over £70,000.  
Posted: 03 May 2011 | 08:52:50
The number of million pound property sales in 2010 increased at the fastest rate for four years, according to research by Lloyds TSB. The Lloyds TSB Million Pound Property Report tracks all residential property sales of at least £1 million in Great Britain using data from the HM Land Registry and Registers of Scotland. House sales refer to data from 2010, 2009 and 2007.  
Posted: 26 April 2011 | 08:05:12
One in six Brits (16%) are planning either a UK holiday or to go abroad between the bank holiday weekends.  Holidaymakers staying within the UK will spend an average of £299 each during their break, compared to an average spend of around £733 per person going abroad.  One in five (20%) of those planning a holiday will not have travel insurance.  
Posted: 26 April 2011 | 07:54:04
The first decline in household income for 30 years suggests that there is more pain to come on the High Street despite the very slight improvement in sales in March. Aggressive Coalition Government spending cuts have led to calls for a u-turn. Last month's statistics and announcements revealed the UK's worsening economic situation and are causing panic in some quarters although the government is standing firm.  
Posted: 26 April 2011 | 07:49:52
The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), a UK based independent non-profit research body, employs a transparent methodology for its ranking, based on public reporting of Scope 1 and 2 emissions according to the widely accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol.  
Posted: 26 April 2011 | 07:46:06
The value of money has fallen by 94 per cent over the last 50 years, according to new research from BM Savings using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). An 18 fold increase in retail prices means that someone today would need £1,796 to have the equivalent purchasing power of £100 in 1960. Conversely, £5.57 in 1960 would provide the same spending power as £100 today.  
Posted: 24 April 2011 | 11:01:08
The cost associated with buying a home in the UK is typically 14% lower than renting a property, according to new research by Halifax. The average monthly costs associated with buying a three bedroom house in the UK stood at £608 in March 2011; 14% (£98) lower than the average monthly rent paid on the same property type of £706. Three years ago, the average cost of buying was 43% more than the typical rent paid. The significant fall in the monthly cost associated with buying compared to renting has been driven by the decline in the average mortgage rate since 2008. The mortgage rate for a new borrower has fallen to an average of 3.59% from 5.82% in March 2008, helping to reduce the average monthly mortgage payment by Halifax.
Posted: 22 April 2011 | 08:28:02
Government backing for new workplace savings models has been welcomed by Friends Life, who believes that support for innovative developments such as corporate platforms can help improve savings habits and give people greater financial freedom and stability. The government's show of support for new savings solutions came after Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban announced it had decided to postpone, for the present time, any plans to allow early access to pension savings before age 55. Friends Life, broadly supportive of this move, agrees that directing focus on how corporate platforms offering a combination of pensions, ISAs and other savings products can meet the demands for more flexible savings options is a positive step.  
Posted: 22 April 2011 | 08:23:57
Sex is the number one ‘life issue' that British adults feel most uncomfortable talking about in the home according to a report from Bright Grey, the protection specialists. The Women and Protection report, which examines the levels of financial protection among women in Britain, reveals that some 22 per cent of people try to avoid talking about the ‘birds and the bees' with their family, with this figure rising to 25 per cent of women, while talking about money ranks as the third least popular discussion topic in the home.  
Posted: 22 April 2011 | 08:21:52
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that nearly a quarter of advisers believe using a single platform will compromise an IFA's independent status - and 8% are still unsure. In the context of the Retail Distribution Review, one of the principal concerns for advisers is whether or not using just one platform will allow them to provide unrestricted and therefore independent advice.  And while the FSA has sought to clarify this issue, Defaqto's survey has found that many advisers remain uncertain.  
Posted: 20 April 2011 | 17:39:08
Members’ Forum Messages IFA Life:  What makes for a great team meeting? Rahul Odedra:  Has anyone come across some really bad or inappropriate advice from RDR transition consultants? Daniel Cawley:  Octopus Schemes – any views?  
Posted: 20 April 2011 | 08:34:05
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said: "The peak of the financial crisis may have passed but taxpayer support for UK banks remains extensive and the risks to the public finance from the banking sector are great. There must be an end to the dependence of the banks on taxpayer support  
Posted: 20 April 2011 | 08:19:15
House hunters search for bargains ahead of Easter rush.  The UK housing market in March saw a sharp rise in the number of property enquiries, according to estate agents. The National Association of Estate Agent's (NAEA) market report for March showed an increase in the number of house hunters registering with an agent across the UK. The figure rose from 268 in February to 290 in March as an average per branch - its highest level in eight months  
Posted: 20 April 2011 | 08:16:29
Canada has topped the expat ratings for ‘quality of life' experience according to the fourth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life Index. The majority (92%) rated Canada top for of its diverse environment, natural beauty and its resources. For 94% of expats living there, the peaceful nature of the country is a real draw. The Canadian appeal  Canada leads the G7 in terms of the safest place to live and conduct business with the most fairly administered judicial system. It was the leading performer among the hard-hit G7 developed economies during the global recession, helped by its sound banking system and the fact it avoided the property crash seen in the United States and much of Europe.  
Posted: 18 April 2011 | 11:07:56
One in three people would sacrifice at least 10% of their income to support their parents in retirement, research from Aviva reveals today. This is roughly double the amount that savers in the UK are currently investing in their company pension arrangements on average [5% of gross salary].    The study also shows that it is the younger generation who feel the greatest sense of financial responsibility to their parents, with all under-21s questioned prepared to give up a proportion of their income for older family generations, if they could afford to do so.  
Posted: 18 April 2011 | 11:06:15
The Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) ‘Voice of Small Business' Index for the first quarter of 2011, has shown that small businesses' employment intentions weakened even though business confidence has improved since the end of 2010. At the end of 2010 a balance of -2.5 per cent of businesses thought they would have to make cuts to their employment levels. However, -6.5 per cent actually decreased headcount during the quarter - showing that businesses are having to make tough decisions.  
Posted: 18 April 2011 | 11:02:59's annual Tax Action Report reveals that UK taxpayers will waste nearly £1.3 billion this year due to poor inheritance tax (IHT) planning.  This tax wastage is only set to increase further in the future after the chancellor announced in 2010 that the threshold would remain frozen for four years at £325,000 rather than rising in line with inflation. Inheritance tax is not only Britain's second biggest tax wastage area but it also holds the fifth place in the list of taxes Britons most want to abolish (after fuel duty, council tax, TV licence fee and income tax - see table 1 below).  Despite this, almost nine out of ten (88%) people state they have done nothing in the past 12 months to reduce the amount of tax they pay.    
Posted: 13 April 2011 | 08:11:37
The children of baby-boomers will have to pay seven times the price their parents did to get on the housing ladder, SHIP, the trade body for equity release has discovered. In Q1 1983, the average first time buyer (FTB) home cost £20,810.  However it now stands at £136,842, a massive increase of 558%.  In contrast, the average deposit needed for a FTB to purchase a property in December 2010 was 23% of the asking price or £31,474.  Given that this deposit is over £10,000 more than the total value of their parents first home, it is clear that they are facing several challenges.  
Posted: 13 April 2011 | 08:07:12
Fears about an increase to the base rate have led to a flurry of fixed rate mortgage deals hitting the market, but new research from, the independent price comparison and switching service, reveals that consumers are facing a double whammy on mortgage set-up fees. Not only are they being asked to fork out £1,044 on average just to set their mortgage up, but if they then add this to their mortgage the amount could increase to £1,701. With 11.4 million mortgages in the UK at the moment, the mortgage industry is raking in an additional £2.6 billion on set up fees alone.  
Posted: 13 April 2011 | 08:02:43
More than a third (38 per cent) of people due to retire in 2011 are cancelling their plans and delaying retirement, and a significant proportion (22 per cent) of these are doing so because they can't afford to stop working.    The findings, from Prudential's Class of 2011 study, revealed that those delaying retirement this year for financial reasons, had, on average, hoped to stop working at age 62 but now expect to be 68 years old before they can finally take up their pension. The study, now in its fifth year, questioned people who had planned to retire during 2011.   
Posted: 12 April 2011 | 09:24:07
  Described as one of the new breed of financial planning firms, North London based Serenity is overhauling its website just one year after the company's rebrand in 2010. The new website is designed to enable greater interactivity with site visitors and will give clients online access to their financial life plans and their investments. Clients will also be able to upload documents to a personal, private and secure area on the website which can be stored for future reference or shared with the Serenity team.    
Posted: 07 April 2011 | 11:29:51
To highlight many of the issues facing the UK's future pensioners, AXA Wealth has developed a new quantitative index measuring affordability and volatility in retirement saving, and has conducted consumer research which suggests a significant disparity between desired, expected and actual retirement ages. The AXA Wealth Pension Index shows that a typical male pension saver wanting to retire on a similar pension income to that which they would have achieved five years ago will now need to work for an additional six years and one month, making his ‘pension affordability age' 71.1 years old.  
Posted: 07 April 2011 | 11:27:35
Seventy two per cent of financial services practitioners believe the UK Regulator should be given powers to ban retail products, according to a Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) survey. The survey was conducted over the last month amongst CISI members who have attended a fourth round of Retail Distribution Review (RDR) roadshows throughout the UK. These CISI roadshows are designed to help practitioners ready themselves for the RDR and are particularly relevant now as the final RDR rules have been published by the FSA.   
Posted: 07 April 2011 | 07:25:50
Over half (59%) of middle income households would be unable to provide for themselves and their families for longer than six months if they lost their main source of income, according to a report being published today by Friends Life. Fuelled by the fear that over half of people unemployed in the UK have been so for over six months (52%), this group - termed the 'Coping Classes' - is now focused on reducing debt to stave off the threat of a potential financial survival gap.  
Posted: 05 April 2011 | 09:02:06
The UK financial services sector saw activity grow strongly for the third quarter in a row, in the three months to March, according to a new survey published today (Monday). Firms considered the level of their business is only slightly below normal, the best result since the financial crisis began in September 2007, according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey.  
Posted: 05 April 2011 | 08:59:35
The number of high yielding, liquid stocks across global emerging markets is approximately four times more than that of UK domiciled companies according to new data from the managers of JPMorgan Global Emerging Markets Income Trust.  
Posted: 05 April 2011 | 08:57:04
Institutional investors are this week calling on the world's largest companies to implement cost-effective greenhouse gas emissions reduction initiatives.  The request is being made through the Carbon Disclosure Project's new Carbon Action initiative, launched today in response to investor requirements to protect their investments and accelerate company action on carbon reduction activities  
Posted: 05 April 2011 | 08:55:11
A new nationwide service launches today (4 April) to provide free, unbiased advice to help everyone make the most of their money. The Money Advice Service will help people take the right financial decisions and act on them, by giving personalised advice online at, over the phone on 0300 500 5000, and face-to-face across the UK through a national network  
Posted: 29 March 2011 | 07:23:34
Women are leaving themselves seriously under-insured financially according to a report from protection specialist, Bright Grey. The Women and Protection report has revealed that while many women have increasing financial responsibility in the household, many are still failing to safeguard their financial security. Some 59 per cent of women have no life insurance in place; while over 84 per cent - some 21 million women - do not hold a critical illness insurance policy.   
Posted: 29 March 2011 | 07:20:55
Group sets target of 20 per cent reduction in customer complaints Lloyds Banking Group is to follow a multi-brand strategy. The approach was announced by Group Chief Executive, António Horta-Osório at an internal conference and confirms that the Group will continue to operate through its main commercial brands of Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. In an industry leading move, the Group has also set out a series of clear, measurable targets to reduce the number of customer complaints.  
Posted: 29 March 2011 | 07:18:13
Legal & General’s latest Value of a Mum survey finds that the value of the unpaid work that a Mum does around the home would cost £30,032 to replace.  The current value of a Dad is £21,306. Key findings from the 2011 research are:  
Posted: 28 March 2011 | 09:39:15
Leading debt advice charity the Money Advice Trust has today released a report into how men deal with debt problems. The research, which was undertaken by Dr. Jackie Goode and Dr. Amanda Waring from the Centre for Research in Social Policy, uncovered reasons why men can be seen to be less likely to seek debt advice than women:  
Posted: 26 March 2011 | 16:45:32
Four in ten Brits (41%) have been left feeling concerned about their own financial position following Wednesday's budget according to new research from, the independent price comparison and switching service.  A quarter (25%) now feel less confident about the country's finances, a third (36%) feel less confident about their own finances while 37% feel less confident that we're seeing the end of the recession:  
Posted: 26 March 2011 | 16:35:56
UK companies are losing close to £50million a day in lost productivity as over six million UK employees fail to take a their lunch hour.   Over a third (34 per cent) of employees experience pressure from managers to work through their lunch hour while half feel the weight of their workload prevents them from taking a break.  
Posted: 26 March 2011 | 16:33:21
NEST Trustee Members today (25 March) set out the investment approach for NEST and published their first Statement of Investment Principles (SIP). Lawrence Churchill, Chair, NEST Corporation, said:   "Agreeing the investment approach is a significant landmark for NEST in achieving our aim of helping millions to save confidently for their retirement. The investment strategy will develop over time and we are confident our approach will encourage saving and support our members in achieving their aspirations for retirement.  
Posted: 26 March 2011 | 16:30:36
People aged over 45 identify safety as the most important factor when deciding which ISA provider to use - higher than getting the best price, according to new research by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). They rate saving with an institution covered by an official compensation scheme as being more important than having the product with "the best possible deal" or being "offered by a well-known and reputable brand".  
Posted: 22 March 2011 | 08:42:31
According to independent financial research company Defaqto, the last six months have seen a considerable amount of activity in the multi-manager market - and, as a result, IFAs outsourcing via this route need to review their selections regularly to ensure they choose appropriate funds for clients.  
Posted: 22 March 2011 | 08:39:33
Ahead of the Chancellor's budget this Wednesday, Family Investments reveals, in its first ever UK Mums' Budget, that almost half of mums across the country (47 per cent) will be reducing family savings by an average of £386.76 over the next year. This means a total of £1.3bn will be cut from household savings as families struggle to meet the escalating cost of everyday essentials  
Posted: 22 March 2011 | 08:35:16
Over the long run, the income of the median (middle) UK household has increased by about 1.6% per year on average after taking account of inflation.  So over a typical three year period real incomes would rise by about 5%. However, new IFS research published today estimates that in the three years from 2008 to 2011 real household incomes will in fact have fallen by 1.6%, or £360 a year. So households are likely to be about 6% worse off than they might have expected had incomes risen in the normal way.  
Posted: 22 March 2011 | 08:33:32
An estimated 10.4 million are going to unusual lengths to stash the cash A survey by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks into the nation's saving habits found that despite feeling the squeeze, over a quarter of us (28%) are saving more money than we did twelve months ago and 24% are going to unusual lengths to stash the cash.   
Posted: 22 March 2011 | 08:31:42
J.P. Morgan Asset Management, the largest manager of investment trusts in the UK, has launched a comprehensive guide to investment trusts specifically for financial advisers. The guide, Investment Trusts: the case for consideration, examines the benefits of investment trusts and encourages financial advisers to take a fresh look at them.  
Posted: 17 March 2011 | 08:02:55
Britain's SMEs are firmly against new paternity leave legislation, according to research from, the independent and impartial energy brokerage for small businesses. The new rules will give fathers of children due on or after 3rd April the right to take up to six months paternity leave. But just 1% of business owners believe the new rules will have a positive impact on their business and 39% believe that small businesses should be exempt.   
Posted: 17 March 2011 | 07:57:22
The UK housing market in February saw a jump in the number of people putting their house up for sale, according to estate agents. The National Association of Estate Agent's (NAEA) market report for February shows a year-on-year rise of 25 per cent in the level of available housing stock  
Posted: 16 March 2011 | 16:26:15
Leading financial planning application suppliers, Voyant and FinaMetrica, today announced an alliance to provide financial planners and wealth managers with the ultimate, best of breed financial planning and risk profiling platform.  FinaMetrica’s psychometric risk profiling methodology has now been fully integrated with the Voyant Adviser financial planning platform, providing advisers and wealth management groups with immediate access to a well tested, sophisticated and scalable enterprise solution. The joint venture will enable advisers and advisory businesses to rapidly bring to market a well differentiated value proposition.  
Posted: 15 March 2011 | 12:09:46
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, recently announced that school performance tables would now measure the proportion of pupils at each school who obtain good grades in GCSE level English, mathematics, two sciences, a foreign language and either History or Geography. This forms the so called, "English Baccalaureate".  
Posted: 15 March 2011 | 08:04:42
Following LV='s official submission to the Treasury's consultation on early access to pensions, John Perks, LV= retirement solutions director comments: "We believe that allowing people early access to their pension savings would be of significant benefit, and would encourage people to put more away for retirement. In fact, our own recent research among the over-50s showed a quarter believed they would have saved more into their pension pot if access to their funds had been more flexible.  
Posted: 15 March 2011 | 08:01:58
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that 40% of IFAs are now planning to move to a platform-based business model as part of their RDR preparations. Defaqto's survey, which questioned 500 IFAs dealing in individual personal pensions, found that the proportion of IFAs intending to shift their business model towards platforms has increased significantly from 28% in 2009.   
Posted: 15 March 2011 | 07:59:36
Platforms, as on-line resources for buying, selling and administering investment portfolios are becoming increasingly important to consumers and financial advisers alike with the potential market estimated at £2 trillion. The Consumer Panel called for more work by the FSA on platforms, stronger action on promoting effective competition and for the abolition of rebates.  In order to inform the debate on Platforms the Panel commissioned the Bluerock strategic consultancy to carry out the research published today.  
Posted: 15 March 2011 | 07:55:45
More than 17,000 homeowners would have been saved from the nightmare of repossession if proposed cuts to reckless lending had been in place, Shelter reveals today. The housing and homelessness charity is highlighting just how many people have had to pay the price for irresponsible lending over the years. Analysis of FSA data reveals over 17,000 repossessions would have been prevented if mortgage regulation rules, proposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as part of the Mortgage Market Review, had been enforced over the last five years.  
Posted: 11 March 2011 | 10:02:35
Life settlements may not be suitable for everyone but they can be attractive to the sophisticated investor Product innovation can bring positive change, but what is new is not always greeted positively. While the potential risks with new products must always be discussed and debated, they should also be put into proper context.  
Posted: 10 March 2011 | 12:17:53
New research from AXA Wealth underlines the potential pitfalls of allowing early access to pension money, and highlights the uncertainty surrounding attitudes to long-term saving and retirement saving in the UK. Research conducted by AXA Wealth has found that 62% of IFAs feel that early access would result in their clients running out of money sooner and being forced to rely on the state in their retirement.  
Posted: 10 March 2011 | 12:16:12
In a new report released today (Thursday) the Adam Smith Institute have calculated the negative effects of the top UK tax rate and called on the coalition government to scrap the 50p tax rate in this year's budget. If the government keeps the 50p rate it will have highly negative effects, leading to lost revenue of £350billion or more, as well as flat economic growth.  
Posted: 10 March 2011 | 12:11:14
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) yesterday called for a fundamental review of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Presenting to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance and Financial Services, Andrew Strange, AIFA's Director of Policy, said:  
Posted: 10 March 2011 | 11:57:12
Latest figures from, the professional advice website, reveal that personal retirement planning was the number one advice driver (41%) for people seeking independent financial in February.  The Advice Drivers report also shows that nearly one in three consumers (30%) were looking for an IFA specialising in ‘investment and savings' advice. With ISA season at its peak, the figures show a continued upward trend for consumers wanting an IFA whose area of expertise includes ISAs, OEICs and unit trusts, with an increase from 14% in January to 16% in February, marking an annual high since February 2010 for searches in this area  
Posted: 10 March 2011 | 11:53:51
Lord Hutton of Furness today sets out his proposals for comprehensive, long-term structural reform of public service pension schemes. The final report of the Independent Public Services Pension Commission follows a comprehensive nine-month review. It sets out a number of detailed recommendations to the Government on how public service pensions can be made sustainable and affordable in the future, while providing an adequate level of retirement income  
Posted: 09 March 2011 | 11:11:30

Posted: 09 March 2011 | 11:07:51
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that 21% of IFAs dealing in individual personal pensions have changed their pension provider over the last twelve months.  Defaqto's survey, which questioned 500 IFAs, also identified the following as the five main reasons why advisers would change provider (respondents were able to select more than one reason):  
Posted: 09 March 2011 | 11:05:47
Aviva's fifth quarterly Real Retirement Report, which reviews the finances of the UK's over-55s, finds that over the last year, average incomes have fallen by 4%, mortgage debt has risen by over £10,000, and the number of households with savings pots of less than £500 has jumped from 21% to 30%. The quarterly report reviews the finances of the three different ages of retirement - pre-retirees (aged 55-64); retiring (65-74); and long-term retired (75 and over). This issue also has a focus on debt and shows how the over-55s are economising in other areas to repay what they owe. These findings are outlined in a separate press release.  
Posted: 09 March 2011 | 11:03:30
Over half of SME owners (54%) see tough economic conditions as the main threat to their business continuing for the next two years, according to Scottish Provident's Business Protection report.  According to the survey, the second biggest threat to SMEs (20%) between now and 2013 is the impact of climate change on the environment. Just one in ten (10%) view cash flow issues such as late payments as their biggest threat to survival, while just one in a hundred SME owners (1%) see red tape as their biggest burden.  
Posted: 07 March 2011 | 07:27:04
With the end of the tax year fast approaching, new research from Nationwide Building Society shows that consumers are confused about the benefits of ISAs, with many still failing to take advantage of their ISA tax relief.  
Posted: 06 March 2011 | 18:01:46
Ray Boulger of leading independent mortgage adviser John Charcol comments on the disagreements between Halifax and Nationwide on the movement in house prices, highlighted by today's release from Halifax of its February house price index. "Most of the house price indices published measure different things and furthermore figures for any given month in reality cover activity for different periods. For example The Land Registry figures have the largest sample and hence are the most comprehensive, but they are also the most historic because they are based on when details of completed sales are reported to the Land Registry. Near the other end of the timescale the Nationwide and Halifax figures are based on mortgage offers issued by those lenders and so are more timely, but also include figures for some transactions which never actually complete.  
Posted: 06 March 2011 | 17:59:22
Greater regulation from Europe and increasingly empowered and well informed occupiers as a result of social media are just two of the issues facing the UK property industry, it will be revealed today at the MIPIM property convention in Cannes. The event run the British Property Federation (BPF) and London consultancy RealService, will hear some of the property industry's leading figures spell out their vision for what the property industry will look like in the year 2020  
Posted: 06 March 2011 | 17:57:02
Britons are not recognising the importance of speaking with family members about later life planning and inheritance Over a third (36%) of the population whose parents are still alive do not know if their parents have a will, or how their parents plan to distribute their estate More than two-fifths of the population (46%) admit they do not know where any of their parents' important financial documents are kept  
Posted: 04 March 2011 | 07:30:44
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, announced today how the facility for meeting high annual allowance (AA) charges from pension benefits will work in practice, including that the tax should be paid at the point the charge arises.  
Posted: 04 March 2011 | 07:27:46
Political turmoil in the Middle East continued to stoke global risk aversion this week. As markets absorb the series of revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East, the price of Brent crude oil continued to climb higher and raise concerns about emerging markets more generally. Despite this, the Thames River Global Credit team believe the market impact has been fairly modest, with a more selective aversion to securities actually exposed to the troubled region, rather than a blanket flight from all emerging markets  
Posted: 04 March 2011 | 07:24:07
Thirty-nine is the age Brits really start to worry about their health, according to new calculations by PruHealth, the insurer that rewards people for engaging in healthy behaviour. With thirty-something peers such as fitness-fanatic Gwyneth Paltrow (38 years) and channel-swimming David Walliams (39 years) achieving their health goals, perhaps it's understandable the average Brit is feeling the heat as they approach the big FOUR-ZERO.  
Posted: 28 February 2011 | 12:56:00
Independent financial research company Defaqto has launched new Star Ratings for short-term income protection - adding to its existing ratings for long-term income protection - to help advisers ensure a better match between clients' requirements and the features offered by different protection products. According to Defaqto's research, selecting appropriate income protection products is particularly complicated given the variation that exists between the different options available: Short-term income protection:  
Posted: 28 February 2011 | 12:46:18
IFA Life today launched its branded page on Foursquare, the leading location-based social networking site.  One of just a few hundred brands from around the world including Sony, Gucci, NASA, Red Bull, The Wall Street Journal, Harrods and others - IFA Life's partnership with Foursquare will enable consumers to locate information and tips about financial advisers on GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as iPhones, Android mobile phones, Symbian and BlackBerry smartphones. In 2010, users checked in to Foursquare on 381,576,305 occasions, and it is believed that IFA Life is the first financial services brand in the world to have teamed up with Foursquare in this way.  
Posted: 25 February 2011 | 09:54:26
Leading care home provider, Bupa, today warns that if councils' adult social care budgets are not ring-fenced, the UK risks a shortfall of nearly 100,000 care home beds over the next decade.  This reduction will lead to a "bed-blocking" crisis for the NHS, and a postcode lottery for aged care as shortages emerge across the country. A new report from Bupa, published today, reveals that real-term spending cuts to care will reduce the number of care home beds by 81,000 over the coming decade.  At the same time our ageing population is likely to see an additional 18,000 older people needing care.  These two factors could result in almost 100,000 older people being left at home or admitted to hospitals - potentially occupying half of the NHS's beds.  
Posted: 25 February 2011 | 09:52:03
The IFA industry is showing increasing signs of upskilling in preparation for the 2012 retail distribution review deadline.  According to the latest figures from, the professional advice website, the number of IFA branches with IFAs holding QCF level 4 or above qualifications, designations or papers has increased by 11.2% since the start of last year. Of the nearly 15,000 registered IFAs, on the database, now almost half hold at least one QCF level 4 or above qualification, designation, or paper.  Further to this, over a third (38%) of IFAs already hold at least one QCF level 3 qualification, designation or paper in addition to current benchmark FPC 1/2/3 (Cert FP), indicating that they are well on their way to being RDR ready by the end of 2012 deadline. The rise in the number of qualifications indicates a move by the IFA sector to meet the consumer demand for more highly qualified IFAs.  
Posted: 25 February 2011 | 09:48:14
New assets under administration were up 189% to £1,217m in 2010 marking a record year of growth for the independent wrap platform. This contributed to a 119% increase in funds under administration of £2,530m. A key driver for this growth was Ascentric's success in attracting new firms of advisers to the platform, with 266 firms signed up during the year. There are now more than 2,000 individual users set up on the platform that led to a near doubling of customers to 23,241.  
Posted: 24 February 2011 | 08:26:12
Credit card users are wasting £2.3 billion a year in interest payments by simply letting debt sit on their existing credit card. Research from, Britain's number one comparison site has found almost half (46 per cent) of credit card users do not pay off their credit card in full, with the average debt being held for 10 months before being paid. With three per cent of cardholders paying just the minimum balance each month - credit card users are accruing billions of pounds in unnecessary interest.  
Posted: 24 February 2011 | 08:23:23
The UK Government, alongside other European member states including Belgium and Italy, today welcomed publication of the European Commission's Small Business Act Review. The three Member States have committed to working together in Europe to promote the interests of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and have urged the Commission to host a forum for small business ministers as part of a renewed focus on putting SMEs at the heart of European decisions. In a joint statement they said:  
Posted: 24 February 2011 | 08:21:10
New research from online stockbroker and fund supermarket Interactive Investor shows that ISA investors are looking further afield in their pursuit of high income growth. Figures reveal that nearly a quarter (24%) of investors plan to invest in new emerging markets such as Africa and Vietnam this year, a 52% increase on 2010.  The research also reveals that four in ten investors (41%) expect to invest in established emerging markets in 2011 and 38% plan to invest in natural resources and commodities.  
Posted: 24 February 2011 | 08:16:16
The cost of raising a child until their 21st birthday now totals more than £210,000, according to the annual Cost of a Child Report from insurance, investment and retirement group LV=. This equates to £10,040 a year, £836 a month or £27.50 a day. Today's cost of raising a child is up 50% from LV='s first Cost of a Child Report in 2003. The Report shows that the cost has increased by 4.5% in the last year, ahead of the official headline rate of inflation (CPI) at 3.7% with childcare and education remaining the biggest expenditure, costing parents a mammoth £67,430 and £55,660 respectively over their offspring's childhood. The cost of education, which includes school uniforms, after-school clubs and university tuition fees (excludes any private school fees) has grown by 5.3% over the last year. Other areas of expenditure that have seen big increases in 2010 include clothing (up 11.7%), holidays (up 6.4%), food (up 5.9%) and personal care (which includes toiletries and bath equipment (up 5.1%).  
Posted: 22 February 2011 | 08:06:45
Customers will have a better understanding of what they are covered for under their Critical Illness (CI) insurance as the ABI publishes an updated Statement of Best Practice to help people who need to make a claim. This new statement is the result of extensive consultation and research into what customers need and where there have been problems in the past. It will improve the clarity and understanding of the Total Permanent Disability (TPD) cover in CI insurance policies. While TPD only represents 3% of all claims under CI, a high proportion of those claims in the past have been declined, which is highly distressing for customers making the claims. It is hoped that the new statement will have an impact in further reducing unsuccessful claims.  
Posted: 22 February 2011 | 08:04:09
Over forty percent of people (43%) believe that their financial situation will worsen over the next six months, according to a quarterly survey by R3, the insolvency trade body - an increase of 13 percent on the last quarter. Incidentally, less than a quarter of people (24%) believe that their financial situation will improve in the same period.   
Posted: 22 February 2011 | 08:02:07
70% of adults have no idea how much they are likely to retire on.  25% of 55-64 year-olds don't know how much the State pension is worth.  Consumers are confused about their pension options says NFU Mutual More than two thirds of adults with retirement savings have no idea how much they'll have to retire on, according to the latest independent research, Marketing Science's Retirement Planning Monitor (RPM)  
Posted: 17 February 2011 | 07:40:11
Whilst Government changes enforcing a positive order of repayments on credit cards are saving consumers an estimated £500 a year, research from shows that UK consumers are collectively wasting £150 million per year on unnecessary late credit card payment charges. The comparison website found that 57.5% of credit card customers don't have a direct debit set up to make the minimum repayment on their credit card each month, making them liable for a ‘late payment' charge from their provider if they forget to make a payment.  Costing an average of £12 per time, these charges can soon stack up.  
Posted: 17 February 2011 | 07:36:44
As the UK continues to experience high inflation with low interest rates, the combination spells double trouble for those saving in later life. Latest data from the Silver RPI published by Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of charity Age UK, shows the average person aged over 55 has experienced price increases at five percent above headline inflation measures. In monetary terms this means they are £30 per month worse off before putting money aside. Latest figures show the gap between the price rises experienced and headline RPI now costs an average over 55 year old £907.20 a year, rising to £1,038 for those between 65 - 69.   
Posted: 17 February 2011 | 07:33:21
R3's second quarterly ‘Business Distress Index', a barometer of financial distress, reveals increased signs of distress in December last year, with ‘decreased profits' being the leading sign. R3, the insolvency trade body, surveyed over 500 business owners, 54% of whom recorded decreased profits, an increase of 5% from September.  
Posted: 16 February 2011 | 07:50:15
Househunters returned to the UK housing market in January as demand figures reached a six-month high, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).   The NAEA market report for January showed gains across both supply and demand for housing compared with December, although this remains in-line with figures from the same time last year.  The number of people registering with estate agents to buy property improved from an average of 227 in December to 252 in January however this is still down on January 2010's figure of 291.  
Posted: 16 February 2011 | 07:47:10
As they release their detailed and transparent 2010 claims statistics Paul Hudson, CEO of Cirencester Friendly, calls for more income protection providers to do the same:  “Cirencester friendly has been publishing its claims statistics for many years now and we continue to be one of just a handful of providers that do so in such a transparent fashion. 2010 saw us payout 94% of eligible claims to our Members for the second year running, further demonstrating our commitment to ensuring our Members continue to receive much needed financial support if they are unable to work due to illness or accidental injury.  
Posted: 15 February 2011 | 14:34:13
New research from Sainsbury's Finance suggests that half of all Brits would be interested in making deposits into their savings account whilst paying for their supermarket shopping.  Sainsbury's Finance, which launched its own SaveBack scheme five years ago, urges other supermarkets and retail banks to innovate with convenience to help the nation get into the savings habit.   The supermarket bank's research reveals that some 15.8 million potential savers would be willing to make an average deposit of £60 each month at the supermarket till, should the service be available to them. This would represent an average of £32 million taken each day across the nation's supermarkets.   
Posted: 15 February 2011 | 14:29:51
Silver RPI shows a 6 percent increase in over 55s spend on energy since September 2010. Latest data from the Silver RPI published by Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of charity Age UK, shows that, since January 2008, the average person aged over 55 has experienced price increases at five percent above headline inflation measures.  Latest figures show the gap between the price rises experienced and headline RPI now costs an average over 55 year old £907.20 a year, which is a £30   
Posted: 14 February 2011 | 10:52:09
Brits will spend the first 45 days of this year working just to pay off the interest on their debts according to new research from the professional advice website  This means consumers have only earned enough simply to cover the interest they have built up and have still yet to start re-paying the actual debt itself.  Tuesday 15th February will mark this year's Debt Freedom Day, the day when borrowers will be free of the interest compounded on their debts.  It is calculated by taking the average interest payment on outstanding unsecured loans and credit card debts and dividing this by the average person's daily earnings.'s figures show that personal loan levels in the UK reached over £120 billion in 2010 whilst consumers accrued over £58 billion in credit card debts.  These soaring levels could also be partly attributed to the high interest consumers are being charged on their credit cards, with the average rate for 2010 at 16%.  
Posted: 14 February 2011 | 07:21:40
Wealthy Britons are burying their heads in the sand over April's changes to pension tax relief according to new research from HSBC.  Around half of all respondents (47%) said they won't be impacted by the changes, despite figures suggesting that many of Britain's top earners will be hit by the little-publicised reduction of pension tax relief allowances.  On April 6th, the annual amount that can be saved into a pension and attract tax relief falls from £255,000 to £50,000.  Estimates suggest that around 100,000 Britons will be hit by the changes - 80% of whom earn more than £100,000 a year.   
Posted: 09 February 2011 | 06:37:57
Over eight million Brits missed paying regular monthly bills last year, putting their credit profile at risk and making it harder for them to be accepted for credit in the future. Research from reveals how many consumers missed bills and which payments were most frequently skipped. Shockingly, credit card bills were most likely to be ignored or forgotten, with almost four million Brits admitting to missing repayments last year. Londoners were the biggest offenders, with 11 per cent saying they missed credit card payments, while only two per cent of borrowers from Northern Ireland were guilty of doing the same.  
Posted: 08 February 2011 | 06:41:12
The price of gold fell by nearly $100 at the start of 2011 causing some to speculate over its future and that of commodities in general. Nick Raynor, investment adviser at The Share Centre, explains why investors should still consider exposure to this sector and which stocks to consider.     "There are several factors that could account for the recent slump in the price of gold. Firstly, talk of interest rates rising in the US could have led to investors feeling more confident of reasonable return from potentially less risky investment. Secondly, the start of the year is traditionally the time for investors to evaluate and re-focus their portfolio.   
Posted: 08 February 2011 | 06:37:58
Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has introduced a brand new facility for IFP members using its online CPD platform, via a new joint venture with Technical Connection. The functionality of IFP'S CPD online platform grew steadily throughout 2010. Almost 50% of IFP members are now using the platform to record and monitor their CPD activities, as well as to pick up useful  information and ideas for appropriate activities from the IFP and a range of other training providers.  Use of the platform is provided free of charge to IFP members.    
Posted: 07 February 2011 | 10:43:09
At the start of Social Media Week 2011 (Feb 7th - 11th), Industry social networking site IFA Life is expanding its services to IFAs and Providers with the official launch of IFA Life Jobs and Careers and with the appointment of Samantha Francis to head up its jobs board, headhunting and recruitment initiative. The social networking site has established itself as a key industry resource, allowing users to network, share best practice, debate industry issues, access business resources and to provide help and support to one another. Providers also increasingly use the online network to interact and engage with IFAs and to answer their technical questions.  
Posted: 03 February 2011 | 17:04:43
£100K+ earners expect to increase overall spending despite pressures on income Annual household spending by those earning over £100,000 is expected to increase 7.8% in 2011 as high earners plan to spend their way out of the recession reveals new research from HSBC. This is twice expected inflation for this year. HSBC surveyed 1,000 UK consumers with household income of over £100,000 to ascertain their expenditure in 2010 and their expectations for 2011. This research shows that the overall spending will increase from £81,060 in 2010 to £87,380 in 2011.  
Posted: 03 February 2011 | 17:01:32
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has today released its latest Quarterly Economic Bulletin looking at the economy, housing and mortgage markets. The Bulletin predicts similar levels of housing transactions and lending levels for 2011 as 2010. It also identifies that despite higher Loan to Value mortgages being offered, the proportion of borrowers who were first time buyers fell in 2010.  
Posted: 02 February 2011 | 08:05:58
'House swapping' as an alternative to the traditional holiday is set to rocket this year - according to new research.   The findings from Lloyds TSB Insurance reveal that in total 1.6 million holidaymakers have arranged a house swap in 2011, twice the number that did so last year. But it can be a risky business, with many home-swappers rushing into their trades without proper planning - meaning they're ill-prepared should their fellow exchangers damage their property or possessions.  
Posted: 02 February 2011 | 08:03:03
There is a huge amount of variation between financial products in terms of the range and level of features, benefits or cover they offer. Although price will always play a role in consumers' decision making, focusing on price alone can risk a mis-match between what someone needs from a financial product and what it actually provides.   
Posted: 02 February 2011 | 07:54:36
The news that the National Association of Pension Funds has asked Lord John McFall to chair an independent inquiry into retirement savings is most welcome.  The current pension system is no longer fit for purpose, with the majority of moderate and low earners having lost faith in the whole pension saving idea.  A pension is really just a special form of long-term savings.  If we abandon the word pension for anything other than state pensions, then we can create a better new savings vehicle to revive the savings culture and provide later life income.  
Posted: 01 February 2011 | 12:03:13
>Paul Boyne (Global Equities), Tim Dickson (Asian Equities), Dean Newman (Emerging Market Equities) and Andrew Shard (US Equities)   The US still has a massive budget deficit and there is talk of Moody's cutting their credit rating. At what stage is the US going to start making the necessary public-sector cutbacks, and what effect might that have on growth?    
Posted: 01 February 2011 | 12:00:17
Experienced financial advisor professionals who read around their subject and take time to update their knowledge levels are good for consumers and will prove invaluable to their firms, says the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).In its response to the Treasury Select Committee request for views concerning the FSA's proposed Retail Distribution Review (RDR), the CISI commented on the issue of whether staff who are considered competent and experienced should be requested to take a written examination, the CISI says: "We agree that experience is important and those with experience have tended to score more highly in exams than those with just theoretical knowledge. However, relying on experience alone is not enough because the market, especially the financial market, changes quickly and not everyone is able to keep up."   
Posted: 01 February 2011 | 11:58:15
Record 6.9 million file their tax returns online.  Record numbers of people sent their Self Assessment tax returns online this year, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) revealed today. A total of 6,907,410 people filed online by the 31 January deadline - around 78% of all returns submitted. This represents an increase of just over 7% on the 2010 total, when around 6.4m people filed online by 31 January.  
Posted: 28 January 2011 | 13:50:26
The average Brit thinks you are officially ‘old' at the age of 66. However, what the younger generation don't realise is 60-somethings are happier than their younger counterparts, feel financially and physically fitter and take more holidays, according to a new report by retirement specialist LV=.   The definition of what is ‘old' is different for every age group. According to the research, no one in the UK thinks they themselves are old; 18-19 year old teens say 44 is officially ‘old' while 40-somethings balk at this and say 67 is when you are actually ‘old'. Those in their 50s think you're over the hill at 71 years old while those in their 60s think you're past it at 73.  
Posted: 28 January 2011 | 13:47:40
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, today announced £7.2 million of investment that could revolutionise the internet. The six-year ‘Photonics HyperHighway' project will bring together world-leading scientists from the University of Southampton and the University of Essex with industry partners, including BBC Research and Development, to pioneer new technologies that could make broadband internet 100 times faster.  
Posted: 26 January 2011 | 08:39:36
Over seven million homeowners have not reviewed their mortgage since the base rate first fell to 0.5% back in March 2009 according to new research by, the professional advice website.  With the base rate remaining at 0.5% for a record 22 months, homeowners have been lulled into a false sense of security and as a result have failed to review their mortgage rates.   
Posted: 26 January 2011 | 08:36:48
SHIP, the trade body for equity release providers, today announces the equity release market figures for the fourth quarter of 2010. The economists' view that the housing market will remain flat or fall marginally in the short term due to lack of funding and the threat of increased interest rates was reflected in the figures which saw Q4 advances fall by 8% after a positive Q3 (+4%).    
Posted: 26 January 2011 | 08:34:44
The number of people who see property as the best long-term investment has fallen to its lowest level, falling by almost a third in the last three months of 2010. The findings come from the ABI quarterly consumer survey, which showed that savings accounts, stocks and shares and national savings have all seen an increase in favourability as confidence in property has fallen.  
Posted: 26 January 2011 | 08:16:57
More than one in five people retiring this year will still have debts when they stop work, owing an average of £33,100 according to new research from Prudential. One in 20 will retire with outstanding debts of more than £50,000, rising to a staggering 1 in 10 among men over the age of 65.   The Class of 2011 study surveyed people intending to retire during the forthcoming year. The results show that 21 per cent will have to continue to pay down debts while reorganising their finances after finishing work. Another 14 per cent don't know whether or not they will be debt-free when they retire.  
Posted: 25 January 2011 | 15:24:02
A survey of IFAs by independent financial research company Defaqto has identified a significant increase in the number of advisers that are now planning a move to fees - however, the shift to fee-based remuneration appears to be gradual with commission remaining a feature of many IFAs' income. Defaqto's survey of 500 IFAs who deal in individual pension products found that the number now planning a move to a fee-based structure, in line with RDR requirements, has increased from 34% in 2009 to 55% this year.  
Posted: 25 January 2011 | 07:54:55
Figures released show that more than 250,000 young people are growing up in homes where no one has ever worked. 600,000 young people under the age of 24 have never worked since leaving education. Employment minister Chris Grayling said the figures represented a "ticking time bomb" of unemployment left by Labour.   
Posted: 25 January 2011 | 07:52:56
Despite Brits becoming more cash conscious than ever, new research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks reveals we're a forgetful  bunch when it comes to keeping track of our savings.    A survey into the current saving habits of the nation has found that an estimated 10 million Brits admit they have forgotten about savings accounts, only to stumble across an average of £600 in old accounts at a later date.  
Posted: 25 January 2011 | 07:49:31
New research from Aviva shows that nearly three in four employees (73%) have started the New Year committing to get fit. But the vast majority (80%) admit that their past attempts to make positive changes to their lifestyle have failed by the end of January   The 2011 New Year, New You report from Aviva UK Health reveals that losing weight (72%), eating more healthily (61%), exercising more (68%), managing stress (23%) and cutting back on alcohol (18%) top the New Year's resolutions list.  
Posted: 25 January 2011 | 07:47:58
A hearing to determine whether changes in complaints handling demanded by the Financial Services Authority and Financial Ombudsman Service are wrong in law begins in the High Court tomorrow.  The British Bankers' Association is asking the court to determine whether the regulators can impose new requirements on firms which go beyond what was stated in the FSA's own rulebook - specifically those on handling complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI) sales.     
Posted: 25 January 2011 | 07:46:14
Nearly one third (28%) of struggling Brits are having to spend more money each month than they have coming in, according to new research by The Co-operative Insurance and housing and homelessness charity Shelter. According to the research, the cost of outgoings such as rent, mortgage payments, living costs and fuel bills means that UK adults face an average shortfall of £165 a month, with more than a quarter (26%) uncertain whether they can pay their bills on time.  
Posted: 21 January 2011 | 13:57:49
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has today responded to the Professionalism Policy Statement from the Financial Services Authority (FSA).      
Posted: 18 January 2011 | 10:30:05
The cost of inflation on those in later life has been far greater than estimated by official measures according to the Silver RPI published by Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of charity Age UK. The Silver RPI shows that since the beginning of 2008, those aged over 55 have experienced price rises at almost two per cent above that suggested by headline RPI figures. This rises to four per cent above headline RPI for those over 75. The gap between real and headline inflation over that period has cost the average 60 year old £620 a year, rising to over £700 for someone aged between 65 and 69.   
Posted: 18 January 2011 | 10:24:20
As part of its work to support the learning of the Financial Planners of the future, the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is launching the 2011 IFP University Team Challenge competition along with sponsors Seven Investment Management (7IM).  
Posted: 18 January 2011 | 09:46:50
In our view FSA should reinstate the original objectives of the RDR project.  This was about ensuring that post-RDR financial advice would be readily available to all consumers, and that consumers would be better able to purchase investment products confidently.   
Posted: 17 January 2011 | 12:46:53
IFA Life, the networking site for IFAs and financial planners has reached a new milestone of 6,000 members, as social networking sites become an increasingly important medium for financial advisers to share best practice, debate industry issues, share business resources and to provide help and support to one another on issues such as RDR, exams and wrap technology.   Social Media is increasingly becoming the tool of choice for IFAs to get answers to questions on a variety of topics of importance to them, with many members visiting the IFA Life website as often as ten times per day.  
Posted: 17 January 2011 | 12:38:21
Pension providers will do more to encourage customers to shop around before buying an annuity, as outlined in a new 'Best Practice Guide for the Retirement Process' published today by the ABI. The guide sets out the principles pension providers are expected to follow and key requirements they must meet to help increase customer understanding of retirement and purchase the right annuity for their circumstances.  
Posted: 17 January 2011 | 12:36:02
A survey by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that personal pensions remain the most sold pension product among IFAs who deal in individual pension products. Of 500 IFAs questioned, 77% said they sell personal pensions the most.  
Posted: 16 January 2011 | 08:17:26
New figures have revealed that it is becoming increasingly difficult for employees to win claims, advises Allianz Legal Protection. The Tribunals Service quarterly official statistics, released this week, show that while the number of claims made to employment tribunals has increased in the last quarter, applications have actually fallen by 8%, in comparison to the same time last year.  
Posted: 16 January 2011 | 08:15:03
But older savers continue to feel the pinch The first HSBC Savings Map of Britain reveals savers are more ambitious with their savings plans in 2011, contrasting with a difficult 2010. Britons struggled to increase their overall savings in 2010. Although total liquid savings balance increased slightly in 2010 (source BBA and BSA), the highest proportion of people (40%) withdrew more than they saved, with 23% saying they withdrew over a quarter of what they had saved. In contrast, only 32% added to their savings pot; with just 15% saving a lot more than they withdrew.  
Posted: 14 January 2011 | 14:04:17
Debt worries will be one of the main causes of depression on ‘Blue Monday' (January 17) according to leading debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS). Although a mixture of bad weather and failed New Year's resolutions are believed to lead ‘Blue Monday' to be the most depressing day of the year, CCCS says that debt is likely to be a significant cause of people feeling down at this time of the year.  
Posted: 14 January 2011 | 14:02:10
Online and 24-hour telephone bank, first direct, has become the first UK bank to launch a true transactional, Banking 'on the go' App for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. The App, launched today on the Apple App Store, allows first direct customers to check balances, view the last 20 account transactions, make payments and transfer money between accounts. It is this transactional capability that differentiates it from other applications launched in the UK, making it the first true UK Banking 'on the go' App.  
Posted: 14 January 2011 | 13:59:51
Friends Provident welcomes the Government's confirmation that the Default Retirement Age (DRA) for the UK workforce is to be removed. The corporate benefits provider believes the move recognises the increasing contribution older workers make to the UK economy. The announcement also addressess the unintended consequences for group risk products by granting an exemption for these benefits.  Friends Provident believes this is absolutely the correct decision and argues this will ensure group risk products remain a core part of an employer's benefit package. The provider suggests this exemption will allow employers greater control over their costs.  
Posted: 13 January 2011 | 11:18:46
The British Insurance Brokers' Association has launched its 2011 manifesto outlining its priority lobbying issues for the year ahead. The manifesto highlights three key lobbying themes: Helping customers, regulation and consumer protection and driving change in the insurance industry.    
Posted: 13 January 2011 | 11:14:08
The Government has today confirmed that it will remove the Default Retirement Age (DRA) so that people have more choice when to stop working. As well as benefiting individuals, the freedom to work for longer will provide a boost to the UK economy.  
Posted: 12 January 2011 | 15:44:32
While severe weather has had a negative impact on small firms, a snap poll suggests that fuel duty will have more of an impact on businesses A quarter of small businesses had to close during the recent severe weather and heavy snowfall, many for at least five days and overall costing the majority up to £5,000, new figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show.  
Posted: 12 January 2011 | 15:41:21
NEST Corporation today published the results of its initial research into the understanding of current pension terms amongst its target audiences. Extensive desk research followed by qualitative testing with potential members and their employers has allowed NEST to develop a phrasebook of key terms, phrases and principles aimed at helping future NEST members to better understand pensions. The phrasebook can be downloaded from NEST Corporation's website.  
Posted: 12 January 2011 | 07:44:51
A third of Britons (33%) feel that they cannot afford to put any money aside each month, as they have no spare cash, according to research* by Skipton Building Society. With post-Christmas debt currently hanging over the population, people could risk finding themselves in an even poorer financial state as the country enters the New Year.   
Posted: 12 January 2011 | 07:42:43
As the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announces it has fined Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest £2.8m for multiple failings in the way they handled customers' complaints, Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says:  
Posted: 12 January 2011 | 07:36:54
Commenting on Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond's appearance at the Treasury Select Committee today (Tuesday), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'People will be appalled to learn that for all the tough rhetoric, the government has never asked the Barclays Chief Executive to reduce his bonus.  
Posted: 12 January 2011 | 07:34:08
Almost nine in 10 (87%) savings accounts that were available six years ago are now paying interest of 0.5% or less, while almost two-thirds (62%) are paying 0.1% or less - just £1 a year for every £1,000 saved, shows new research by Which? Money. The consumer champion discovered that more than a third of savers (35%) still have money in a savings account they opened six years ago or more, despite the pitiful rates of interest.  
Posted: 11 January 2011 | 10:47:21
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and National Westminster Bank (NatWest) £2.8m for multiple failings in the way they handled customers' complaints, responding inadequately to more than half the complaints reviewed by the FSA. The FSA's investigation found that there was an unacceptably high risk that customers may not have been treated fairly due to a number of failings within the banks' approach to routine complaint handling, including:  
Posted: 11 January 2011 | 08:25:47
The Financial Planning profession has seen rapid growth and expansion in recent years.  In the expectation that this growth is set to continue, the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has reviewed its internal structure and has both extended and reorganised its dynamic and experienced team to focus on growth in 2011 and beyond. These changes have been made to ensure that  not only is IFP is strongly positioned to continue providing the valuable support needed by its growing membership, but also that it can continue to lead the growth in the Financial Planning profession in future.  
Posted: 10 January 2011 | 10:51:46
In a post RDR world, IFAs will need to constantly strive to differentiate themselves from other financial advisers. In a fee charging environment, consumers' approach to choosing an IFA will be very much more selective, and IFAs' marketing and advertising will need to be much more strategic, creative, targeted and coordinated than it is now. IFAs will need to consider new ways to target and communicate their proposition clearly and succinctly - and in ways that consumers can quickly understand and digest.  
Posted: 09 January 2011 | 10:39:11
New EU proposals to put in place new safeguards for taxpayers against the failure of financial institutions were welcomed by the British Bankers' Association today. The EU's consultation on a possible EU framework for bank recovery and resolution is the third stage in the process of EU regulatory reform. The EU has already reformed the bank capital regime and its supervisory structures to make Europe's financial services sector more resilient against financial crisis. Now it is addressing the steps to be taken if these safeguards do not work - if a bank faces failure.  
Posted: 09 January 2011 | 10:36:28
As Brits make plans for 2011 new research points towards a year of frugal living as 70% of Brits are looking to make cuts to their outgoings with one in 10 (12%) planning large financial cuts. The UK's top five cuts to outgoings in 2011 will be:  
Posted: 07 January 2011 | 09:26:56's latest Advice Drivers report shows that retirement planning advice remains the top ‘advice driver' for December 2010.  It has remained the number one searched for term for those seeking an independent financial adviser (IFA) for the whole of 2010.  Across 2010 an average of 37% of all searches by consumers on were for an IFA specialising in retirement planning, and this reached a peak of 42% in October last year.    The second most popular search was for investments and savings advice, with 26% of searches being made in this area in December, and an average of 27% throughout the past year.    
Posted: 07 January 2011 | 09:23:58
With many people looking to consolidate their debts or take out new loans or credit cards, Britain's number one comparison site, urges borrowers to take time to understand their credit file in order to make it work in their favour.   Understanding your credit file will be vitally important come February when the European-wide Consumer Credit Directive comes into force. Although the changes are designed to bring the UK in line with the rest of Europe and provide consumers with greater transparency and greater protection on transactions, they will also result in more people being offered a different rate to the one they applied for. Currently two thirds of successful applicants must receive the advertised rate but from 1st February this will fall to just 51 per cent.   
Posted: 07 January 2011 | 09:18:35
Martin Shaw, Chief Executive of The Association of Financial Mutuals responds to the FSA's is proposal to exempt certain Holloway sickness policies from the Retail Distribution Review, as part of its latest quarterly consultation issued today. "Holloway policies are typically sold as income protection style policies with additional features that make them excellent value for money, particularly for the self employed or low earners, who are generally poorly served by insurance companies.   
Posted: 06 January 2011 | 08:24:51
New research by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has found that more than £7 billion in cash is lying around in people's homes. Excluding money in their wallets, the average amount people have at home is just over £280. This means that across the country, the UK's 24.9 million households have over £7 billion in cash. While 37% of those questioned say they have less than £20 at home, 4% said they had over £1,000 lying around the house. This included 1% who admit to stashing more than £10,000 at home. The survey reveals that over one in ten (13%) people believe in keeping their cash at home. Perhaps surprisingly it is young people, those aged between 16 and 34, who are most likely to have this view (18% average).  
Posted: 06 January 2011 | 08:14:29
More than two million people have used credit cards to pay their mortgage or rent, an increase of almost 50 percent in a year, new research from Shelter reveals today. The exclusive YouGov poll for Shelter reveals how people constantly struggling with their housing costs are being forced to take drastic measures with credit cards in order to keep a roof over their head. The survey, conducted in August 2010 of 2202 people in Great Britain asked if respondents had borrowed money on their credit card to pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months. Six percent of respondents said yes compared to just four percent in November 2009, suggesting a national figure of over two million people.  
Posted: 01 January 2011 | 12:16:28
2.5% increase will lead to 33.6 million people putting off big purchases According to research from price comparison site, seven out of 10 Brits will be reconsidering making big purchases next year, such as buying a car, because of the 2.5% VAT increase that comes into effect on 4 January 2011.  The survey of 3,000 UK adults also shows that almost two thirds (61.1%) expect a very difficult year financially in 2011, with 22.1% stating that the biggest financial worry in the new year will be the rising cost of living and bills.   
Posted: 01 January 2011 | 09:33:16
The seasonally adjusted price index for a typical UK property rose by 0.4% month-on-month in December, after having posted declines in the previous two months.  The three month on three month rate of change - which smoothes out the monthly volatility of house prices and is a better indicator of the recent trend - rose from -1.3% in November to -1.0% in December and is still consistent with modestly declining house prices.  For 2010 as a whole, house prices posted an unremarkable gain of 0.4%, as most of the price increases from the first half of the year were reversed during the second half.  The essentially flat outcome for the full year is in line with expectations  
Posted: 01 January 2011 | 09:30:48
A survey of 1000 UK adults by direct bank first direct has revealed that a large proportion of the population regret not taking a longer term view of their finances. Fifty-three per cent of UK adults stated that their greatest regret in 2010 was not paying off debts more quickly; while a over a third (37%) identified not saving for retirement earlier as their biggest financial woe.  Eighteen per cent regret spending too much in the run up to Christmas and 14% regret spending too much on a partner.  
Posted: 29 December 2010 | 11:46:52
Over a third of Brits, or 17 million people, worry about their current or future financial situation on a daily basis according to, and stress about it more than their jobs or health.  Britain's number one price comparison site reveals one in five adults (18 per cent) are most stressed about their financial future, for example, not being able to afford a house or a holiday while 17 per cent are most stressed about their current finances, like paying their mortgage or other monthly payments. Less people are stressed about their job (14 per cent) or health (12 per cent) in comparison.   
Posted: 29 December 2010 | 11:44:46
30 million people plan to make New Year's resolutions - but over half will break them before the month is out! Dieting, taking more exercise and sorting out finances top the nation's New Year's resolution list according to new research by leading comparison site,   The survey of 3,000 UK adults, now in its third year, reveals that 64 per cent of Brits plan to make resolutions for 2011.  Health matters top the list this year with 55 per cent resolving to lose weight while 49 per cent want to get fitter.  Financial matters still feature prominently in the behaviours people wish to change with 44 per cent of those surveyed resolving to sort out their finances and pay off debts.    
Posted: 29 December 2010 | 11:42:57
The UK Cards Association today (29 December) reminded the nation's 30 million credit card holders that from the beginning of the New Year they can expect to see a number of changes that will give them greater control over their credit card accounts. The main changes for customers are:  
Posted: 24 December 2010 | 07:34:03
IFA Life has today announced a series of training events for providers, suppliers and financial services recruitment companies to help them to engage with IFAs, Financial Planners and Mortgage Brokers through Social Media. Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said today: "2010 saw a huge leap in the number of IFAs using social networking sites to network and provide support to one another. When IFAs want help and support, more and more of them are turning to Twitter, LinkedIn and IFA Life to get answers to their questions." "Traditionally providers have encouraged IFAs to call their Broker Consultant when they have a technical of business development question, but increasingly IFAs are turning to each other instead for help and advice - and they are doing it on social networking sites."  
Posted: 22 December 2010 | 09:37:48
24 million Britons (50%) have written a cheque in the last month, with around 7 million (14%) planning on giving them as Christmas presents according to new research by Which?* And, although the use of cheques continues to decline, 37 million people (76%) have written one in the last year.  Two in five people (41%) used a cheque to pay a tradesman or supplier, while one in five (23%) had sent one to a friend or relative as a present and one in eight (14%) paid by cheque for school costs such as meals and outings.  
Posted: 22 December 2010 | 09:35:42
A course developed for senior managers to enhance leadership skillsThe National Skills Academy for Financial Services has launched the Professional Manager Development Programme, a new qualification which has been designed to provide senior managers in the financial services industry with leadership skills to cope with challenges in today's demanding business environment.    
Posted: 22 December 2010 | 09:33:28
House prices will finish the year two per cent lower than at the end of 2010, says RICS UK Housing Market Forecast published today (22 December 2010). Transactions are likely to remain flat, while repossessions will decline marginally.   Although house prices are likely to continue to slip over the coming months, falling supply should provide a platform for the market to stabilise at some stage in the first half of 2011. Indeed, by the latter part of the year, prices could be edging up again, with the result that by the end of 2011, they may not be very different from where they currently stand.  
Posted: 21 December 2010 | 12:06:35
Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who have moved home over the past few years could miss out on a tax rebate worth £100s because HM Revenue & Customs has their address wrong, has discovered. The Government department is sending crucial pieces of paperwork to the wrong property in many cases, despite the correct information often appearing on correspondence it receives from employers. HMRC is in the process of sending 5.7 million letters to employees charged the wrong amount of tax via the Pay As You Earn system during the previous two financial years, following a government computer glitch. Most - 4.3 million - are due a refund.  
Posted: 20 December 2010 | 10:34:51

Posted: 20 December 2010 | 10:31:19
More than one in ten investors (13%) only review their core investment holdings once a year according to a study by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. With the New Year a key time to ‘spring clean' your finances, investors should take the opportunity to ensure their long term investments are working hard for them and suit their investment goals. Over the past year almost a third (32%) of investors admit to holding the core of their investment portfolio in cash according to a study of investor habits conducted by J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Investment Trusts. However, according to the group, the current low interest environment will mean that these investors will have experienced at best low single digit returns on their cash and it is possible the value of their investment could have gone down in real terms as a result of the impact of inflation (CPI annual inflation in October 2010 was 3.2%).  
Posted: 18 December 2010 | 11:28:33
This autumn, the amount of money the population is saving has decreased according to NS&I's Savings Survey. On average, Britons are setting aside £82.92 (6.69%) as a percentage of their income every month, this is a decline from 12 months ago, when the population was saving £88.65. This figure also represents the lowest recorded level for autumn since the survey began and is down from last quarter, summer 2010, when the average amount saved per month was £87.37. This drop could be a result of declining income levels compared with 12 months ago. Average monthly take-home income has fallen from £1,384.20  in autumn 2009 to £1,239.10 this quarter.  
Posted: 18 December 2010 | 11:26:52
This Christmas almost 5.5 million adults (11%) will fall into debt to pay for their festive fun, according to a report from the protection specialist Bright Grey. The 'Salary Gap' study, which looks at expenditure against income for adults in the UK, shows the average Briton will spend almost 65% more of their income during the festive period than at any other time in the year to fund their living expenses. With a typical average monthly spend of £362 on living expenses, this increase means consumers will be spending an average of £598 per month in October November and December, equating to almost half (45%) of the average monthly wage of £1,346 (net income).  
Posted: 16 December 2010 | 08:54:51
27 million (57%) British banking customers are more confident about how they manage their finances than ever before, as increased awareness about financial matters is at an all time high - reveals Lloyds TSB. British consumers appear to be emerging from the depths of the recession with enhanced financial insight. The latest research shows how consumers are taking more control of their finances, as one third (32%) are more in control than in previous years.   
Posted: 16 December 2010 | 08:53:01
In this season of good cheer, the Financial Services Consumer Panel is highlighting its five key priorities for 2011 which would give consumers a better deal. Consumer protection has to be at the forefront of policymakers' minds during 2011.  The Government's anticipated financial services reform Bill should mark a step-change in putting good consumer outcomes at the heart of its thinking.  The Consumer Panel has identified its top five 2011 priorities for consumers as:  
Posted: 15 December 2010 | 10:27:21
The National Audit Office has today reported that the scale of the support currently provided to the banks has fallen from its peak of £955 billion to £512 billion as at 1 December 2010. However, the amount of cash currently borrowed by the Government to support UK banks has risen by £7 billion since December 2009 to a total of £124 billion. The report also warns that the Treasury will probably be paying for the support it has provided to UK banks for years to come.  
Posted: 15 December 2010 | 07:35:48
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, today announced the publication of a consultation document on Simple Financial Products.The consultation sets out proposals for financial products that will help promote personal responsibility, enable consumers to compare products and understand product features more clearly. The proposals will also help to encourage competition between providers.  
Posted: 15 December 2010 | 07:26:43
New research from, the independent price comparison and switching service, reveals that up to a third of Brits (32%) may actually wake up to nothing under the Christmas tree but an IOU this year. Partners are the most likely to be given an IOU, with one in five (20%) being surprised on Christmas day by their empty-handed loved ones. One in ten people (10%) have been given an IOU from their parents, and 13% have received one from their children. Women are the most likely to receive a promise rather than a present.    As families struggle to cut costs, canny Brits may increasingly hold off from buying presents until the January sales, where they can either afford better gifts, or just afford them full stop. In fact, 14% have given an IOU in the past so they could get a cheaper present in the sales, and nearly one in ten (8%) are considering doing so in the future.     
Posted: 15 December 2010 | 07:22:45
Considerable uncertainty remains in the UK housing market, together with many contrasting views, but the public considers the best time to enter the housing market to be within the next year.   The December 2010 edition of the BSA's Property Tracker survey shows that: The immediate outlook for the housing market remains uncertain 43% agreed it was currently a good time to buy property, 26% disagreed, and 24% neither agreed nor disagreed. A year ago 58% agreed it was a good time to buy. On average, house prices are expected to be flat next year  
Posted: 14 December 2010 | 07:17:57
In a speech in London, Charles Bean - Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy and member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) - takes stock of the current economic situation, and discusses where the economy might be headed and the challenges that lie ahead. Charles Bean begins by describing the current conditions, noting that many recent indicators have given comforting signs that a recovery is underway. But " may be some while yet before normality is restored...", he concludes.  
Posted: 14 December 2010 | 07:16:01
Insurance, investment and retirement group LV=, today announces the launch of the "LV= Little Book of Protection". Available free to advisers it is a compact publication designed as a handy reference point and protection sales tool to use with clients. The little book demonstrates the need for protection by highlighting lifestyle facts to help people consider what protection they have place. For example if you have been off work sick for six months you have an 80% chance of being off for five years, and the average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 is over £210,000. The book also features straightforward information on which protection products could be most suitable for people's circumstances.  
Posted: 13 December 2010 | 10:02:42
Employers should handle their workforce appropriately, not just sack people for being 'old' when they still have so much to contribute The Default Retirement Age should have been abolished years ago.  The timetable must certainly not slip.  Ageism has no place in a modern labour market.  Of course it is more convenient for employers to be able to just sack someone for being 65, but that is not fair on the workers themselves.  It is also a huge waste of our national resources.  Employers must judge workers fairly. People are not old or 'past it' at 65 any more.  Of course some people are not fit to work, but that applies at much younger ages too and employers will have to adjust their attitudes and assess workers' skills objectively, not on the basis of old-fashioned prejudice.  Most people still have enormous amounts to offer employers.  
Posted: 09 December 2010 | 09:38:57
Demand from buyers increased in November, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). The association's monthly housing market report found that the average estate agent branch had 241 house hunters registered in November. In October the figure was 218. The report also found that sales levels remained constant for the fourth month in a row, with the average branch selling seven properties. This was particularly positive as the market is entering its annual seasonal slowdown, when activity traditionally slows.  
Posted: 09 December 2010 | 09:34:57
  The last 12 months have seen a bumper period for independent financial and whole of market advice in the media, as's expert IFAs and mortgage advisers have been quoted over 4,0002 times across the online trade and consumer media.  This is in addition to the over 8003 online articles has generated in its own name, highlighting areas and issues where IFAs and mortgage advisers can add value to consumers' personal finances. Ever since its launch in 1989, has been running a long-standing campaign of promoting the benefits of independent financial advice to consumers.  Positioning whole of market mortgage advisers and IFAs as trustworthy commentators in the consumer media has played a crucial part in this.  With this in mind, launched its Media Services function designed to help journalists source IFA and mortgage adviser commentary for their articles.    
Posted: 09 December 2010 | 09:33:22
There have been a number of factors that have influenced employer attitudes towards pension provision in addition to changes in tax policy, according to a report published today by the PPI. The report, The impact of tax policy on employer sponsored pension provision, has been sponsored by the Actuarial Profession with non-financial support from Age UK. It examines pensions tax policy and explores both the direct and indirect impact that changes in successive Government's tax policy over the past thirty years, including the latest proposals to be implemented in April 2011, have had on employer pension provision.  
Posted: 08 December 2010 | 10:02:59
FIFA’s decision to award the staging of the 2018 World Cup to Russia means that football won’t be coming home to England until at least 2030. While further years of hurt lie ahead for English football, we have some consolation in the fact that the outcome of the voting strengthens the investment case for not only Russia but also Qatar, which is set to host the competition in 2022. With strong economic growth and rising demand for goods and services, we have been optimistic over the investment outlook in Russia for some time. While a lack of transparency has discouraged some investors from participating in the Russian growth story, we hold the view that last week’s decision presents an opportunity for the corporate and political spheres to raise standards and challenge long-standing business practices.  
Posted: 08 December 2010 | 08:04:40
Over 13.75 million UK adults (28 per cent) say they plan to go on a shopping spree in the next few weeks in advance of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax (VAT) on 4th January 2011, according to new research from Santander Insurance UK. On average they expect to splash out around £650 each, providing a whopping £8.9 billion boost to Britain's retailers.  People living in the South East of England are set to go on the biggest splurge and expect to spend approximately £840 on average. Those in the North East are the most frugal, planning to spend around £357 each on average. However, the bank's research also reveals that almost one in ten (9 per cent) consumers are unaware that the standard rate of VAT will increase from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent.  This rises to 16 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds.  
Posted: 08 December 2010 | 07:49:11
With continuing economic uncertainty, the latest figures from's Savings Brake report reveal that while Brits' savings habits reach an annual high, they are failing to keep up debt repayments to the levels seen earlier in 2010.'s Savings Brake research reveals the ratio of how much we are borrowing (including unsecured borrowing and equity release but excluding mortgages) contrasted with how much we are saving.  Debt vs. savings Over the third quarter of this year, Brits repaid over £2 billion of their debts - which equated to consumers repaying 10p of debt for every pound they saved.  While this is having a positive effect on personal finances, overall debt repayment volumes have dropped since the beginning of 2010, when we saw people repaying 27p of their debt for every pound they saved.   
Posted: 08 December 2010 | 07:44:02
Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is delighted to announce that Vanguard Investments will be the lead sponsor for the IFP Annual Conference 2011, repeating their status as lead sponsor of IFP's highly successful 2010 annual conference. The 2011 event takes place 3-5 October, benefitting from the five star facilities at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales.  
Posted: 08 December 2010 | 07:31:42
Aviva research shows nearly three quarters of over-55s are worried about the rising cost of living causing them to review their spending habits Aviva's quarterly Real Retirement Report published today shows there has been a significant increase in over-55s' fears about the rising cost of living. Three quarters (74%) said that this was their biggest fear over the next six months and 70% over the next five years. The research shows that this age group is concerned about the austerity measures outlined in the Autumn Comprehensive Spending Review and the imminent increases in VAT.  
Posted: 07 December 2010 | 08:15:28
More than half (51 per cent) of British consumers spend less than an hour researching different types of current accounts in the market according to the results of a report into switching habits conducted by Datamonitor on behalf of Santander. The ‘Switching in the UK' report also finds that only one in three (35 per cent) of switcher customers spend more than an hour researching current accounts but, by comparison, around half spend more than an hour researching car insurance (51 per cent) and home insurance (47 per cent).  
Posted: 06 December 2010 | 13:52:02
Brits think they will be working for longer with 74 per cent predicting that the future retirement age for men and woman could be raised as high as 70 years old.  A startling fifth (20 per cent) think it could increase to 75 years.  49 per cent think unemployment levels will have risen by 2025 but on a positive note, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) think there will be a decrease.  
Posted: 06 December 2010 | 10:53:46
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, has today announced a number of changes to legislation to tackle tax avoidance. Some of these changes will take immediate effect.   Together, these announcements will protect forecast revenues estimated at up to £5billion over the next 4 years, and are expected to raise over £2billion in additional revenue during the course of this parliament. These measures take the necessary steps to protect the Exchequer, and maintain fairness for the taxpayer, whilst providing certainty for businesses whose investment will encourage the re-balancing of the economy and job creation.  
Posted: 04 December 2010 | 16:41:04
Lloyds TSB has launched a platform to enable users to engage with its distinctive avatar characters (as seen in Lloyds TSB advertising campaign), consumers can customise characters to resemble family member and friends. This new platform is called Lloyds TSB Me Users can manipulate the avatar by changing facial features, hair, mouth, physical build, clothes, and accessories. Once the characters have been created users can share the images with their friends and enter a competition for their character to feature on a future Lloyds TSB advertisement. The Lloyds TSB Me application is also available on a dedicated Facebook group, where users can create characters, view the gallery and get the latest news on the competition all without leaving the Facebook page.  
Posted: 30 November 2010 | 09:23:58
Consumer credit provided by Finance & Leasing Association members dropped 6% in September compared with the previous year. The only sector of consumer finance to grow was dealer motor finance, which rose by 2%. In other parts of the consumer finance market, personal loans were down by 5% and second-charge mortgages fell by 11%. The High Street has been hardest hit by the decline in consumer spending, with Credit and store card spending having fallen by 8% and 22% respectively. Instalment credit spending fell by 23%.  
Posted: 29 November 2010 | 15:36:19
While we all know Christmas is a time to indulge, the New Year is about starting over and, when it comes to financial planning, what better excuse for consumers to whip their personal finances back into shape.'s media IFAs have come up with their top financial tips to help consumers prepare for the New Year and get their personal finances in order.    
Posted: 29 November 2010 | 15:34:08
Over half (59 per cent) of Britain's sophisticated retail investors are unlikely to invest in passive funds in the next six months, according to the Legal & General Investments What Matters Investment Index. The comprehensive study revealed that active investing clearly appeals to those with larger portfolios, with over half (54 per cent) of those with a portfolio value of over £200,000 saying they were ‘likely' or ‘very likely' to invest in active funds over the next six months.  This is compared to just 18 per cent of those with under £5,000. Robert Churchlow, Head of Active Equities at Legal & General Investment Management, said:  "There is significant value to both active and passive portfolio management and using both vehicles in tandem plays a key role in creating a balanced portfolio.  
Posted: 29 November 2010 | 10:13:21
As the European Commission launches a consultation on its Packaged Retail Products (PRIPs) initiative, Fidelity Investment Managers calls for the well-being of the financial consumer to be put unambiguously ahead of the financial industry's vested interests. Fidelity welcomes the Commission's consultation, which aims to help consumers by ensuring that there is a consistent approach to disclosure and the provision of professional advice in the distribution and sale of financial products. But it is not clear that the suggested approach of simply amending the current Directives goes far enough.  
Posted: 29 November 2010 | 10:11:32
Despite claiming they are more worried and insecure about money, Britons are proving to be resistant to changing their financial habits in response to the recent economic turmoil according to the latest research from HSBC, one of the UK's biggest savings providers. The survey of 1,100 adults reveals that for the majority of Britons, the recession has not made them alter their saving, spending or borrowing habits.  
Posted: 29 November 2010 | 10:08:35
New research from Sainsbury's Finance shows 25.4 million adults now regularly make purchases online using their credit cards. The supermarket bank is encouraging online shoppers to make sure they are receiving a reward against their spend to ensure they get the most from their purchases.  The research suggests that we are spending on average £192 per month, equating to a total collective spend of almost £6.4 billion online each month. The most popular items bought online with a credit card are DVDs and music, followed by books, fashion items and holidays. Stuart McKeggie, Head of Cards at Sainsbury's Finance said: "The growth of online shopping in such a short time is staggering. Our research found that only 7% of credit card holders do not use their cards online.   
Posted: 25 November 2010 | 12:04:18
Octopus Investments (‘Octopus') has added its voice to the Institute of Financial Planning's nationwide Financial Planning Week campaign this week, to enhance consumers' financial education, and also to underline the importance of high quality financial planning advice. The fast-growing investment management company takes its role as advocate for the improved understanding of financial matters by the general public very seriously.      
Posted: 24 November 2010 | 11:12:25, the professional advice website, reveals the volume of online search engine enquiries for ‘independent financial advisers' reached almost 120,000 in September - an all time high for 2010.  This surge in online Google searches has resulted in an overall increase of 15% since the beginning of the year.  There has also been an increase of 22% since the start of the year of those searching for an ‘IFA' on Google.  These figures suggest that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ‘gold standard' financial advice type and ensuring they include the keyword ‘independent' when searching for financial advice on Google.   
Posted: 24 November 2010 | 11:10:05
More than a quarter of people (28%) are put off from seeking financial advice because they are worried about how much it might cost. That's according to the latest daily YouGov poll carried out for IFP and Financial Planning Week (22-28 November) in association with NS&I (National Savings & Investments). The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), which is co-ordinating this national consumer awareness campaign, is running a series of daily polls throughout the week, to find out what people are thinking when it comes to money - and how they are dealing with their personal finances.  
Posted: 24 November 2010 | 11:07:48
According to Scottish Provident's new Financial Safety Net Report 58% of Britons do not have any type of protection in place and 31% would be forced to drastically cut back on living costs should they or the main breadwinner be unable to work for a prolonged period of time.  Scottish Provident has launched its Financial Safety Net campaign, to encourage consumers to take action, seek independent financial advice and create their own ‘financial safety net'.  The campaign will also raise consumer awareness and understanding of the long term benefits of protection products.  IFAs are urged to pledge their support to this campaign by signing up at   
Posted: 22 November 2010 | 16:53:40
"The FSA's latest Consultation Paper on mortgage distribution and disclosure, outlining the regulator's intentions, offers no improvement to consumers taking out equity release plans. We believe that all sales should be conducted on a fully advised basis with non-advised sales being totally inappropriate. Equity release involves (for the majority of people) the greatest asset they will ever own, being utilised at a most critical point in their life. Therefore expert advice is essential.  
Posted: 22 November 2010 | 16:51:40
Intermediary research from Aviva's second quarterly Hot Issues Tracker shows an increasing number of advisers feel more confident about the current economic climate.  Nearly a quarter (23%), feel that the state of the economy is positively affecting their business (compared to 15% in June).   This second tranche of research also found that advisers feel there is a growing sense of political stability. As the coalition government reaches its sixth month in office, only 16% of intermediaries believe that the new political agenda is a significant business concern compared to 22% in June.   
Posted: 22 November 2010 | 11:25:15
Family meetings are back in vogue with Brits today and have turned their focus on finances, instead of just the traditional family politics according to a study by M&S Money. The "family finance" study shows families across the UK are coming together to discuss everything from holidays and TVs to credit cards and broadband.   
Posted: 22 November 2010 | 08:33:52
Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) welcomes the findings of the report published today from Standard Life and Life Academy, the life and retirement planning charity, entitled Everyone needs a plan. It suggests that consumers are in the eye of a perfect financial storm with only 51% of adults currently saving while a worrying 28% actively choose not to save.  
Posted: 22 November 2010 | 08:29:26
UK survey for Financial Planning Week (22-28 November) reveals Brits are more worried than ever about money - and need help understanding financial products and jargon. Six out of 10 people (59%) in the UK are worried about their finances and a staggering nine out of 10 (91%) say they'd be more likely to save if financial products were more flexible and made easier to understand. That's according to the Financial Planning Survey 2010 which has been commissioned by the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) in association with NS&I (National Savings and Investments).  
Posted: 18 November 2010 | 16:00:55
Most US and European financial services firms still consider themselves social media novices or beginners but there is a widespread expectation that there will be significant investment in this new marketing medium over the next five years.  A new report from Aite Group examines financial services firms’ current and planned use of social media to support their marketing efforts. Based on an August 2010 survey of 166 financial services executives in the United States and Europe, conducted by Aite Group and EFMA, the report examines how financial institutions are investing in, organizing for, and measuring the impact of social media. It also provides recommendations for successful social media marketing execution.  
Posted: 18 November 2010 | 07:51:28
Commenting on the announcement by the Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow today that the Government will create a £400m pot to send carers on respite breaks, Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga says; "£400m to support respite for carers is an excellent start - but it is essential that these funds are ring-fenced.  We do not want this pledge to be as hollow as that made by the last Government.  
Posted: 17 November 2010 | 09:18:18
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today published proposals to ensure that the platform services used to buy and manage investments after January 2013 are fully aligned with standards required by the Retail Distribution Review.   From January 2013, the cost of advice will be decided by the client and adviser – not the adviser and product provider, as was the case - and can no longer be hidden from the customer in the cost of the product.   Additionally, advisers will offer either independent advice which is free from restrictions or bias and which reviews the market comprehensively – or alternatively, restricted advice, having to explain the customer the nature of the restriction to their customer.   
Posted: 17 November 2010 | 08:54:03
The impact of social media on the British workplace has been documented by the UK's largest network of regional job boards, with a groundbreaking whitepaper featuring the findings published today.  MyJobGroup, which operates over 300 regional job boards across the UK, teamed up with the EPRU (Efficiency and Productivity Research Unit) at the University of Leicester to write the landmark document; the first of its kind to be published in the UK. Following extensive research, analysed the responses of 1,000 UK adults to questions covering a broad range of topics relating to social media use in the workplace.  
Posted: 16 November 2010 | 12:26:20
4.5 million of today's over-50s expect to work beyond their state retirement age by an average of just over 6 years, according to the first Working Late Index, published today by insurance, investment and retirement group LV=. Whilst more than half (55%) of this group expects to work no more than five years past retirement, a quarter (26%) believe they will work five to ten years, and a further one in five (20%) see themselves working well into their 70s or even 80s (10-20 years). Furthermore, the Working Late Index reveals that nearly twice as many women (66%) than men (34%) expect to retire past their state retirement age.  
Posted: 16 November 2010 | 12:22:15
While many parents are working to educate their children, new research from M&S Money on over 3,000 under 18s suggests that some teens (14 - 18 years old) are not being given basic help on money matters by their parents. Indeed, teens who are closest to financial independence and need a good solid grounding in personal finance matters revealed that: Almost one in five parents (19%) have never even discussed how they spend their money with their teens. 47% of parents have yet to help their child open a current account. 32% have yet to discuss how to budget or even describe what one is. Savings is also not generally a topic of conversation with 21% never having discussed this important topic with their parents. 31% of parents yet to assist their child with opening a savings account.  
Posted: 16 November 2010 | 12:20:27
Inflation figures out today show a rise in Consumer Price Index to 3.20%. To maintain the purchasing power of their savings, a basic rate tax payer needs to find a savings account paying 4.00 % pa, while a higher rate tax payer at 40% needs to find an account paying 5.33%. Basic rate tax payers have a choice of 31 accounts allowing for tax, that negate the impact of inflation, while only two accounts are available to 40% band tax payers.  
Posted: 16 November 2010 | 12:16:36
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today outlined proposals which focus on enhancing the mortgage sales process, the role of intermediaries and improving disclosure of information for customers. The consultation builds on the FSA's Mortgage Market Review to date, and a key element is requiring that those selling mortgages ensure that each one sold is ‘appropriate' for the customer's needs and circumstances, therefore clarifying the role of the mortgage seller (both intermediary and branch based). This follows earlier proposals by the FSA which looked at responsible lending and the role of the lender and the customer, and which set out that the responsibility to assess whether a customer can afford a mortgage ultimately lies with the lender.  
Posted: 15 November 2010 | 10:32:56
Staff increasingly see pensions as the best way to save for retirement and as the most important employee benefit employers can offer. But they have become less confident their pension will deliver, pensions experts said today. Research by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) revealed that 44% of employees said pensions were the best way to save for retirement. This was a marked rise from 35% this time last year, and was more than twice the number who cited property as best (20%) and almost four times the amount who chose ISAs (12%).   
Posted: 15 November 2010 | 10:30:33
Impulsive Britons overspend by not planning ahead.  Cash rich, time poor Britons are throwing away £2,256 each year by failing to plan ahead on their purchases reveals a study by direct bank first direct. The tendency towards last minute spending on everyday items can add up to a staggering £43 per week. The survey of 1,000 adults reveals that seven in ten (71%) adults said they regularly fail to plan ahead on their spending, despite admitting that they have paid too much for items as a result. The fairer sex is more likely to veer towards impulse purchases than men, 74% of women admit they do not always plan ahead compared to 68% of men. Those aged over 45 are the worst offenders when it comes to leaving their purchases to the eleventh hour (76%).  
Posted: 15 November 2010 | 10:26:33
Latest findings from Sun Life Financial of Canada's landmark study into the retirement plans of the mass affluent, Sense Check at 60, found that very few of these people have planned adequately for later life.  In fact, only one in four (26%) of this wealthier group feel strongly that they have planned in detail for their retirement.  Furthermore, three quarters (76%) agreed that retirement planning has become more complex even within their own lifetime, with 84% agreeing the issues are more complex than when their parent's generations retired.  
Posted: 12 November 2010 | 07:52:14
Buy-to-let lending rose by 12% in the third quarter, according to data published today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, supported by ongoing demand for rental property against the backdrop of a dysfunctional owner-occupier market. There were 26,900 buy-to-let loans advanced in the third quarter, worth £2.8 billion. This quarterly rise of 8% by volume and 12% by value is the second consecutive quarterly increase in lending. Compared to the third quarter of 2009, the volume of lending was up 14% and the value up 33%, from 23,700 and £2.1 billion respectively. Buy-to-let lending is low by historical standards - running at levels last seen in 2002 - and the market will likely continue to show growth into 2011.  
Posted: 12 November 2010 | 07:48:24
Zurich UK Life today launches a new guide for advisers to help them address their clients' financial planning needs following the Coalition Government's recent Spending Review.    The guide summarises the spending cuts and tax rises being introduced by the Government and highlights the likely impact on advisers and their clients as well as considering the long-term financial planning options available to them.  Available free of charge the guide covers changes relating to:    
Posted: 12 November 2010 | 07:44:36
The housing market contracted in October as the number of sellers and buyers declined month-on-month, according to estate agents. However, despite this agents reported that sales levels held up, with the average branch selling seven properties in the month, the same as in September. The National Association of Estate Agent's (NAEA) market report for October showed that, with the festive period looming, activity levels had fallen. It is expected for the housing market to slow down in the run up to Christmas.  
Posted: 09 November 2010 | 13:05:46
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) today issued a comment on the High Court challenge by Regulatory Legal on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Robert Sinclair, Director of AIFA, said:  
Posted: 09 November 2010 | 13:01:40
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today launched a Know Your Rights booklet for bank and building society customers, to clarify the service standards customers can expect, and to mark the first anniversary of the regulation of banking conduct. Millions of banking transactions are successfully executed every day, but in a banking system of this size, it is inevitable that some issues will arise. However, customers sometimes feel they don't know enough about their rights to help themselves, or to challenge what their bank is telling them.  
Posted: 09 November 2010 | 12:55:18
The old adage that ‘people buy people' was well and truly proved at the industry's first Social Media in Financial Services Awards last week with three popular winners being announced Social Media IFA/Financial Adviser of the Year 2010 Social Media Provider/Supplier of the Year 2010 Financial Services Twitter Personality of the Year 2010 The awards were hosted by the industry social networking site IFA Life as part of the annual Social Media in Financial Services conference, which has now become a firm favourite on the exhibition calendar.  
Posted: 09 November 2010 | 11:24:27
Since the IFA Life website first went live, members have regularly posted informal comments and reviews about their favourite service providers such as paraplanners, back office software firms, marketing consultants, compliance services etc. Judging by the emails that we receive every week, IFAs find it hugely valuable to read comments and reviews from their peers when they are looking for help and support within their businesses. So our new Trusted Service Providers initiative is intended to help you find providers of business services and to feel reassured that other IFA Life members have used and can vouch for them  
Posted: 06 November 2010 | 16:46:56
New research by Skipton Building Society shows that there is indeed a price we can put on happiness, or ‘financial' happiness at least. For as little as an extra £6.75 a week, the equivalent of the cost of a daily chocolate bar, Brits would stop worrying about money and banish feelings of guilt!  When asked about how much people need to save to feel happy about their financial situation, the average amount named is £194 a month. With Brits on average already putting away £167 a month, they currently only fall short of their financial happiness target by £27, or £6.75 a week.  
Posted: 06 November 2010 | 16:45:18
Thousands miss out on benefits they are entitled to Research on intermediaries carried out by Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) has found that the majority (51%) of equity release customers find the UK benefits system so complex that they are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to.   The confusing nature of the system also means that 88% of people do not fully understand how equity release and benefits interact thus are turning to their advisers for definitive guidance. Indeed, advisers found that clients were overwhelmingly confused about how releasing the equity in their homes might impact upon the state benefits they receive.  Of these, 42% did not realise that they might be affected at all, whilst - at the other end of the spectrum - 12% thought that they might lose their benefits completely.  
Posted: 06 November 2010 | 16:43:41
The amount of money saved or invested ethically by consumers has shown its biggest annual increase in a decade according to a new report released today (6 November) by Co-operative Financial Services (CFS). Total money invested ethically rose 34 per cent to £19.2bn, from £14.3bn in the previous 12 months. In comparison, total deposits and investments grew 15 per cent over the same period*.  Ethical investment increased by 40 per cent last year from £6.8bn to £9.5bn, compared to a 33 per cent increase in mainstream funds.     While ethical banking increased by 31 per cent over 12 months, from £7bn to £9bn - compared to 4 per cent growth in total banking deposits.   
Posted: 02 November 2010 | 15:22:43
PDL International (PDL) today called on advisers to take a closer look at the life settlement asset class and to make up their own minds as to the potential benefits they can bring to investors in an uncertain investment market.  PDL has just launched a life settlements product in the UK – the Cascade Portfolio™. This Portfolio approach is different to the traditional Fund route and is a good way of mitigating many of the issues such as transparency and high charges that have skewed some IFAs early perceptions of the asset class.  Chris Radford, Chief Executive Officer of PDL International, said:  
Posted: 02 November 2010 | 14:14:28
A landmark study by Sun Life Financial of Canada raises many questions about the retirement plans of today’s mass affluent consumers – not least how trusted advisers are in the pensions arena. The report, Sense Check at 60, reveals that many of tomorrow’s mass affluent retirees are heading for crushing disappointment.  66% of the mass affluent consumers questioned expect to generate a retirement income of between £20,000 and £50,000. In reality, for 69% of respondents, their retirement pot is not big enough to support the level of income they want.  
Posted: 01 November 2010 | 17:49:37
A new ‘Action Guide for Financial Advisers' has been released to encourage advisers to get involved in this year's National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW).The guide was launched today at an event hosted by Henderson Global Investors and is available at  It provides practical information on how advisers can engage with clients on green and ethical investment options during NEIW, taking place from 7-13 November. NEIW is coordinated by UKSIF, the sustainable investment and finance association. NEIW is also supported by the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) and the Personal Finance Society (PFS).   
Posted: 29 October 2010 | 08:24:21
In the Comprehensive Spending Review last week, The Chancellor promised to double the number of apprenticeships for the over-19s to boost skills and help generate economic growth. An additional £250m will be invested creating 75,000 more apprenticeships for adults in the workplace a year by 2014/2015.   Sylvia Perrins, CEO, of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, said that funding was dependent on companies coming forward to commit to apprenticeship training. Sylvia says: "It's very pleasing to see the Government recognising the important benefits of apprenticeships for adults who are already in the workplace. However, the industry is at risk of missing out unless it is vocal about staking its claim on this funded training route. As a demand-led funding system, companies need to come forward if they are to have a hope of benefiting from this boost.  
Posted: 29 October 2010 | 08:19:38
Research is published today by the Department for Work and Pensions which presents the findings from a quantitative survey that explores people's attitudes towards pensions and their expectations for retirement, as well as examining views on associated topics such as saving, risk and financial decision-making. This survey updates and expands on the first ‘Attitudes to Pensions' survey that was carried out in 2006, and the findings make an important contribution to a wider body of evidence on public attitudes to savings for retirement and to pension reform.  
Posted: 29 October 2010 | 08:14:45
While it is not surprising that families top the list of people we want our money to go to when we die, it seems Britons are planning on spreading their assets to a far wider group of beneficiaries.  New research from, as part of this week's ‘Write a Will Week', shows that charities, friends and pets are all set to benefit from inheritances. The nation's favourite beneficiaries are the ones closest to their hearts - with 87% naming their family as the people they want their assets to go to.  Yet the nation's nearest and dearest also include their furry friends, with 1.5 million people wanting their pets to inherit their money.  One million people plan to pass their assets on to the church and nearly 4.5 million want to make a specific charity the beneficiary of their estate.  
Posted: 27 October 2010 | 12:20:08
Today, the Government responded to the findings of the Workplace Pension Review Team.John Lawson, Head of Pensions Policy at Standard Life said, "The results of this review make good common sense. The existing rules for automatic enrolment ignored many of the practical realities of running group pension schemes. Employers and the pension industry now have something they can work with.  "Raising the enrolment bar to £7,475 will result in fewer workers being enrolled. However, anyone earning more than £5,715 can choose to opt-in and receive an employer contribution. This is a sensible decision as it means that most of the people who wouldn't benefit from saving in a pension won't be enrolled, yet still allows employees who think it is worthwhile for them to save to voluntarily opt in."       
Posted: 21 October 2010 | 08:48:40
One in four people over 50 blame a lack of interest in sex as the reason behind their divorce, according to new research by Saga Legal Services. With the Department for Work and Pensions reporting that divorce rates among the over 50s having risen fivefold in the past decade, Saga asked more than 1900 people who had divorced when they were over the age of 50 what the reasons for their break up were.  
Posted: 21 October 2010 | 08:43:13
The CBI today commented on the Government's Spending Review. Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General said: "The Chancellor has got the strategic direction of this spending review right. He has stayed the course outlined in the June Budget, with economic growth a top priority.  
Posted: 19 October 2010 | 11:47:51
Standards International, the UK's leading ISO 22222 certification body, is to hold a free seminar for financial planners who would like to learn more about the international standard for financial planners, ISO 22222. ISO 22222 promotes consumer confidence by providing an internationally recognised benchmark for the delivery of a personal financial service whilst helping planners to improve their service. This standard specifies requirements and provides a clear framework that directly applies to the ethical behaviour, competence and experience of financial planners.  
Posted: 18 October 2010 | 07:59:38
If you want to find capable and confident money managers look no further than Britain's tweens (8 - 13 years old) and teens (14 - 18 years old), according to the M&S Money Under 18's Work and Money Survey 2010.   The survey - based on research of more than 3,000 UK under 18s - highlights that:  A child aged 8-9 has an average monthly income of £9.70 and by 18 years of age monthly income has soared to an average of £219. However, while the older age group ‘earn' substantially more, they have to subsidise a greater range of expenses.  Both tweens (50%) and teens (30%) save significant percentages of their income - putting many older savers to shame.  Tweens (39%) are more likely to earn pocket money by helping out around the house than teens (29%) - possibly reflecting the older age groups propensity to look for other forms of income generating work.  Indeed, 72% (tweens) and 87% (teens) would like to have a part-time job by the age of 18 as they feel it will teach them responsibility and help them gain employment when they are older.  
Posted: 18 October 2010 | 07:57:06
Old age has been delayed indefinitely.  The age at which Briton's consider themselves ‘old' is steadily moving upwards as the UK's older citizens spurn the traditional view of ageing.  Whilst many people today view ageing and retirement pessimistically a report from Friends Provident reveals there is scope for optimism.  In the fourth chapter of the Visions of Britain 2020 series (, Ageing and Retirement, it was found that Britain's ageing population are healthier and more energetic than any previous generation.   Over half (51 %) of respondents stated they wish to continue working after they reach the retirement age as a way of staying active.  This dynamic ageing population is creating a demand within the British workforce for alternative ways to fund retirement.  
Posted: 15 October 2010 | 07:36:51
Resolution announces the proposed acquisition of the entire issued share capital and business of Bupa Health Assurance Limited (“BHA”) for a net consideration of approximately £102 million, funded from surplus capital held within Friends Provident Holdings (UK) plc’s (“Friends”) life operating businesses. The acquisition demonstrates further progress in Resolution’s UK Life Project, delivering a significantly improved Group Risk proposition and a further strengthening of Friends’s Individual Protection business. The acquisition is also expected to deliver: an attractive net acquisition price, expected to represent 62% of the estimated embedded value of BHA on a Resolution basis; accretion to embedded value per share and IFRS earnings per share in year one; and an attractive stand-alone internal rate of return (“IRR”) based on net cash consideration, together with accretion to the overall IRR expected on the UK Life Project.  
Posted: 11 October 2010 | 10:50:14
IFA and Financial Planners' Social Networking site IFA Life announced three awards today which will be presented at the Social Media in Financial Services Conference on November 4th 2010. As Social Media becomes a mainstream networking, marketing and communication tool within Financial Services, IFA Life is recognising those who exhibit best practice in its use. The three awards are: Social Media IFA of the Year 2010 Social Media Provider/Supplier of the Year 2010 Financial Services Twitter Personality of the Year 2010  
Posted: 08 October 2010 | 12:14:23
Financial adviser body the Ethical Investment Association (EIA) has urged fellow advisers to use the third annual National Ethical Investment Week, 7-13 November, to engage with new and existing clients about green and ethical investment options. With one month to go until NEIW10 advisers are encouraged to get involved with the Week. Some of the simple ways they can do so are: by attending a NEIW event, mentioning the Week in client newsletters and becoming supporters of the Week by submitting their logo for use on the NEIW website (  
Posted: 08 October 2010 | 12:12:02
Latest figures from, the professional advice website, reveal 48% of consumers sought retirement planning advice when using's ‘find an IFA' service in September.  Of these 48%, 11% of consumers were specifically seeking stakeholder pension advice and the remaining 37% were in search of general retirement guidance. The number of consumers searching for an IFA specialising in investment and savings remained at 27%, and this topic continued to be the second most popular advice driver in September.  Demand for independent financial advice on these specialist areas continues to be high as consumers consider their investments and long-term financial planning for the future.  
Posted: 08 October 2010 | 12:10:04
IFA Life Regional Networking meetings – please add your name here Recruiters – have you posted your jobs yet? Sign up for Social Media in Financial Services 2 today.  Every attendee goes in to a draw to win an iPad  
Posted: 06 October 2010 | 15:05:46
IFAs and Providers are signing up for Social Media in Financial Services 2.  This is why: “It was superb! The speakers were excellent, and the content was both interesting and thought-provoking with relevance to FAs and providers alike. Having arrived as a bit of a social media sceptic, I left a complete convert, with numerous ideas as to how social media can be implemented within my own company model to not only assist in the generation of new business, but the servicing of existing clients too. It hadn't even entered my head that social media could be used in this way.......absolute genius!!”  Ed Evans, Paraplanning Online  
Posted: 05 October 2010 | 12:09:05
  In response to growing demand from IFAs and financial services recruiters, IFA Life today announces the launch of IFA Life Jobs and Careers at The site features traditional online job advertising by recruiters, agencies and individual IFA firms, but in an industry first will utilise many cutting edge social media features to help job advertisers significantly extend the reach of their marketing. IFA Life founder Philip Calvert said today: "Two things are happening right now; the IFA jobs market is picking up strongly and Social Media is becoming an integral part of job advertising. Many recruiters are using Social Media as part of their marketing package, but IFA Life's extensive reach will now give them a much bigger presence online - particularly given that we have a ready-made online community of IFAs."    
Posted: 04 October 2010 | 09:00:34
Leading financial planners collaborate to change consumers' perceptions of financial advisers in new not-for-profit initiative Seminars to introduce ‘Financial Life Planning' to UK consumers and the mass market IFA Life working with Project Eve to engage with mass market through Social Media. For decades, the Financial Services industry has been losing credibility and the trust of consumers by failing to engage with them and to fully understand their needs. Coupled with fears about dwindling pension funds and past miss-selling scandals, it's no wonder that in today's tougher economic times, anyone who deals with consumers' money is under the scrutiny of a fiercely bright spotlight.    
Posted: 01 October 2010 | 16:13:21
Following its annual conference "Driving the Profession Forward", which took place last week at Celtic Manor Resort, Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has received extremely positive feedback from delegates for the quality of the programme, networking and all round "added value" approach. The conference programme focused upon sessions to improve delegates personal and business development as well as their knowledge and skills. However, complementing this were a series of highly entertaining videos produced by FP Advance in conjunction with IFP, which were shown at the conference gala dinner. The videos used a light hearted technique to highlight some of the less favourable features and approaches of many financial advisory firms. They proved popular with delegates, who enjoyed seeing some of the less attractive business features highlighted in this way.   
Posted: 01 October 2010 | 16:08:58
Philip Calvert and 30 others:  What is your niche as an IFA? Philip Calvert and 17 others:  Give credit where it’s due please – which Providers/Suppliers’ service is impressing you right now? Steve Kelly and 2 others:  Who offers finance to acquire an IFA firm?  
Posted: 28 September 2010 | 12:53:56
Robert Chapman:  Equity Income Fund – where can I find performance figures assuming income taken rather than reinvested? Mortgages:  Mortgage borrowers beware – failing to look beyond headline rates could be costly Philip Calvert and 22 others:  Does being an environmentally friendly IFA help win you business?  
Posted: 28 September 2010 | 07:42:48
Over half (51%) of Britain's sophisticated retail investors forecast their portfolio to devalue in the next six months, or to see no growth in their investment whatsoever, according to the What Matters Investment Index launched today by Legal & General Investments. The comprehensive study provides a unique insight into current consumer investment patterns and their investment intentions in the forthcoming months, and demonstrates the bearish outlook Britain's sophisticated retail investors now face.  It will be regularly updated to track investment philosophy, asset class decisions, expected returns and investment rationale.  
Posted: 28 September 2010 | 07:38:21
Student entrepreneurs rate key personal skills above academic achievement New research conducted by specialist small business insurer Hiscox, shows that students put personal skills ahead of academic achievement when ranking predictors of entrepreneurial success.  Only 1% of graduates believe that qualifications are the most important factor when thinking about setting up a business. Instead they rate creative thinking (40%), the ability to network (38%) and risk-taking (28%) as the key attributes of successful entrepreneurs. The research also showed that this year's graduates admire businesspeople that display these qualities, with Sir Richard Branson (24%) and Lord Alan Sugar (20%) being rated as the most inspirational entrepreneurs globally.  
Posted: 28 September 2010 | 07:36:42
A new map showing levels of personal insolvency by constituency reveals that Doncaster North, new Labour leader Ed Miliband's constituency, came sixteenth on a list of insolvency hotspots in England and Wales, according to research by insolvency trade body R3, with 369 new personal insolvencies in 2009. David Cameron's constituency of Witney is placed at number 322 (with 215 new cases), while Nick Clegg's constituency, Sheffield Hallam, had the fourth lowest number of new personal insolvencies - with just 95 new cases in 2009.  
Posted: 27 September 2010 | 13:28:56
Stephen Ng and 18 others:  Choosing the right client risk profiling software Andy Sheppard and 4 others:  Exams – what next – clear as mud Sean Kelly and 27 others:  Chartered Status – all it’s cracked up to be?  
Posted: 27 September 2010 | 08:07:11
In response to the furore surrounding the British Bankers Association's (BBA) report on business lending, Edward Rimmer, chief executive UK of specialist invoice financier Bibby Financial Services, urges the business community not to lose sight of the bigger picture: "Much has been said of the recent analysis completed by the British Bankers Association's of the credit profiles of small businesses. While I share some of the fears of those who have labeled it "a pointless exercise", I welcome anything that might get the ball rolling in terms of business funding. For too long we have been caught in a stalemate between the banks and the Government and this is not doing Britain's small businesses any favours.  
Posted: 27 September 2010 | 08:05:09
The four million Britons who don't have internet access* are missing out on the best rates for financial products, according to an investigation by Which? The consumer champion found that an online saver could be 37% better off over a year compared with a branch-only saver**. The average rate for instant access savings accounts available in branch is just 0.56%, half of that available to online savers (1.14%), with fixed-rate savings accounts, current accounts and cash ISAs also offering better rates for online savers.  
Posted: 27 September 2010 | 08:02:32
Only one in five of the country's smaller employers have begun to consider the financial impact of new statutory rules from 2014[i] requiring them to auto-enrol millions of extra employees into workplace pension schemes - employees who at present have not joined schemes.  Over half (53%) say the reforms will ‘add significantly to costs' and 29% say they are ‘likely' to level-down (reducing future pension contributions into existing and new schemes) to meet the additional cost of newly pensioned employees; although the scope for levelling-down is limited across the UK's smaller firms as a whole as at least two-thirds do not offer any pension arrangements at present.  Overall, 54% of smaller firms say they support auto-enrolment, but they expect 35% of employees to ‘opt-out' of the new pensions.  These are a few of the key findings of the first report of the 2010 Smaller Firms' Pensions Survey: Auto-enrolment and NEST conducted this summer by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) as part of its input to the current review of auto-enrolment commissioned by the Coalition Government.  The report follows up an earlier ACA survey on the impact in larger firms of the reforms[ii].   
Posted: 24 September 2010 | 12:55:54
One of the largest surveys of its kind with a sample of more than 5,000 adults, the Scottish Widows  Workplace Pensions Report 2010 found  that amongst those who expect to receive an income from a private pension in retirement43 per cent were still in final salary schemes, with 33 per cent relying on these defined benefit (DB) schemes to provide them with more retirement income than any other private pension.  
Posted: 24 September 2010 | 12:54:30
Four in ten adults in Britain (almost 19 million people) are worried about their debt, according to research by R3, the insolvency trade body. The findings show that Londoners are the most likely to be worried, with almost half (49%) saying that they are concerned about their current level of debt. Londoners are followed closely by those living in the North East and North West where forty-four percent of residents are worried about their debts.  
Posted: 24 September 2010 | 12:52:46
Martin Bamford, Philip Calvert and 20 others:  Workshop on how IFAs can deliver a financial proposition to the mass market – add your name if interested Huw Jones and 5 others:  Trustee investments - Collectives v onshore bond v off-shore bond? Andy Sheppard and 2 others:  I’ve got CFP, what else do I actually need?  
Posted: 24 September 2010 | 12:47:04
Social networking site IFA Life has launched the first of three iPhone Apps to great enthusiasm from IFAs.   The App enables both IFA Life members and non members to receive the latest content from the popular IFA Life website direct to their iPhone or iPod Touch. Philip Calvert, Founder of IFA Life said today: "We're really excited about the launch of our first App; it means that IFAs can continue to follow debates and discussions on our website - plus read articles, watch videos, read best practice on marketing and business transition and follow a wealth of IFA related content on Twitter." "IFAs consistently tell us that they can't get through the day without visiting IFA Life, so we can now give them more of the IFA Life experience while they're on the move."    
Posted: 23 September 2010 | 14:11:14
Tony Clarkin and 7 others:  The single most important reason why most advisers are unprofitable Karlene Briley and 2 others:  Concerned about email security – what are your views? Sean Kelly and 8 others:  Have I been lead up the garden path over Chartered Status?  
Posted: 23 September 2010 | 11:51:23
Standards International, the UK’s leading ISO 22222 certification body, today confirmed that they will be hosting an ISO 22222 Training and Gap Analysis Workshop on 19 October 2010. This timely workshop will take place as current Government funding initiatives to help with the costs of achieving the International Standard in financial planning come to an end. Currently available funding allows advisers in some regions to get up to 70% of their ISO 22222 costs met by the state. Standards International has warned that this is likely to be their last chance to get help with the costs of gaining ISO certification as the funding comes to an end this year.  
Posted: 17 September 2010 | 14:48:08
We’re delighted to announce that Guy Stephens - the UK’s leading expert on using Social Media for Customer Services joins us at Social Media in Financial Services 2.  Whether you’re a small IFA firm or a huge financial brand, Guy will reveal how Social Media can help you to improve your customers’ experience of you and your service.  IFAs and Providers are signing up now at  
Posted: 16 September 2010 | 12:31:59
A little bit 'off radar' this morning, given a relatively quite news day, this article about life expectancy in the Chinese city of Rugao (no I'd never heard of it either) has a couple of fascinating statistics. In a population of 1.45 million, have a guess at how many people are aged over 90, and another guess for those aged over 80. I would have been nowhere near!  Good news for those living longer and healthier lives with decent pensions (the sweet); not so good news for those living longer with little or no pension (the sour). See:  
Posted: 15 September 2010 | 13:46:17
Andrew Moore and 10 others:  The client will only pay a fee if the portfolio goes up – what do you suggest? Nick Bates and 21 others:  At what point do we become too ‘pushy’?  
Posted: 15 September 2010 | 13:43:17
Michelle McGagh's article about MPs' staunchly defending their right not to be included in the public sector cuts draws a number of vociferous comments, especially from IFAs. Arguing that their relatively short careers means that a generous pension scheme is necessary and fair, MPs that choose this defence face being accused as greedy and tactless. See:  
Posted: 14 September 2010 | 12:23:30
The CBI today urged the Government to press ahead with reforms to the pensions system, due to come into force in two years' time. Failing to tackle the issue of undersaving for a pension now will cost government, employers and employees more in the long term.    
Posted: 10 September 2010 | 16:39:41
The "Behavioural Insight Team" set up by the Government to encourage responsible behaviour must also focus on boosting retirement saving, pensions experts said today. The new team, dubbed the ‘Nudge Unit' will use behavioural economics and psychology to persuade the public to embrace more responsible behaviour, such as eating healthily.  Joanne Segars, Chief Executive at the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said:  
Posted: 10 September 2010 | 16:03:29
Thread of the Week Philip Wise and 25 others;  “I’m not that type of financial adviser” Ray Prince:  On what basis do you index client retainers – like this? Sarah Turner and 2 others:  What should I ask a Website designer?  
Posted: 10 September 2010 | 10:13:23
Having basked in the sun on holiday last week, I'd missed this little gem of a Press Release from Baring Asset Management. It is a short précis of their most recent research which opens with these powerful statistics about pension provision in the UK: - 38% of pension savers select the default option provided by their pension scheme - 33% do not know where their pension is invested - 13% seek advice from friends or family on asset allocation It goes on to reveal the percentage of pension savers who had reviewed their pension but who didn't know whether they had chosen the default option for their pension contributions. Personally, I was stunned at the figure and I think it shows how much further pension scheme communications and pension education needs to improve.  
Posted: 10 September 2010 | 08:12:31
Latest figures from, the professional advice website, reveal 49% of consumers sought retirement planning advice when using's ‘find an IFA' service in August.  Of these 49%, 11% of consumers were specifically seeking stakeholder pension advice, which has jumped from 4% in July.  Retirement planning has remained on an upward trend since May this year and continues to remain the number one ‘advice driver' for consumers searching for an independent financial adviser (IFA).   The number of consumers searching for an IFA specialising in investment and savings also continued on its upward trend since May this year, rising to 27% in August.  Demand for independent financial advice on these specialist and more complex areas continues to be high as consumers consider their investments and long-term financial planning for the future.  
Posted: 10 September 2010 | 08:10:50
Personal finance website Interactive Investor has launched a new financial advice service, interactive financial adviser (, in partnership with Cambridgeshire based IFA firm Lee Associates. The service uses the internet to make a range of educational information and video content available to site visitors and encourages users to seek advice for complex financial issues where they may not feel confident, or have the time to commit to make a decision on their own.  
Posted: 10 September 2010 | 08:07:12
Recent figures from the Bank of England show overdraft rates at an all time high. In the last 18 months, more than a quarter (26%) of current accounts have seen increases in their authorised overdraft rates, despite no change in the bank base rate. (See appendix for full details) The biggest increase has been experienced by Barclays Additions Active customers, who have seen a 8.4% increase in the last 18 months. An Additions Active customer with a £1,000 overdraft would have seen their annual overdraft costs increase by £28 to £211 (figures take into account the £300 buffer). Michelle Slade, spokesperson for, commented:  
Posted: 08 September 2010 | 19:18:35
The latest findings from independent financial research company Defaqto suggest that fund managers are acting more cautiously than 12 months ago because of growing fears of a double-dip recession. Fraser Donaldson, Defaqto's Insight Analyst for Funds, said: "The level of confidence and uncertainty in the market is usually reflected by the cash element in funds. A year ago we saw these levels falling to less than 5%, the lowest for several years. There was a confidence that the recession was over and that the first green shoots of sustained recovery were being seen. However, the levels of cash in July 2010 - almost 2% more than October 2009 - indicate a dip in confidence."  
Posted: 08 September 2010 | 19:17:21
Friends Provident has launched a new absence tracking system aimed at helping employers monitor absence trends and calculate how much employee absence is costing them. With recent figures showing the spiralling cost of absence to the UK economy, this new system enables employers to monitor absence rates through reporting tools which evaluate absence by department, reason and days of the week.  The tools also include a cost of absence calculator.  
Posted: 08 September 2010 | 19:15:49
Given the property markets' dependence on the scale and sustainability of the economic recovery, fund managers remain cautious about the outlook for property equities funds, says Standard & Poor's Fund Services in its latest review of the sector, available at "The first six months of 2010 have proven sluggish in terms of fund performance, but property markets themselves saw some recovery at the start of the year," said Susan Sworn, lead analyst at S&P Fund Services. "However, this has been very uneven, regionally speaking." This has been particularly true of the residential market, where developing markets have been strong while developed markets have lagged. However, within this, the US looks to be on an improving trend.  
Posted: 08 September 2010 | 19:12:29
Pete B and 5 others:  Should I become a financial adviser – honest feedback needed Steve Amison:  Has anyone enrolled for or taken the STEP exam? Gary Phillips:  ISA Certificate following successful FSCS claim – who should I be contacting at the Revenue?  
Posted: 06 September 2010 | 12:22:54
I watched Ricky Gervais's film Cemetery Junction last night. Described as a 1970s-set comedy centered on three upstart professional men working at an insurance company, it's worth watching if only for the 5 minutes when a trainee salesman watches his mentor convince a middle aged couple that they need life insurance more than their first holiday abroad.  There's a twist to this part of the film too which is revealed later in the storyline. It did, however, immediately remind me of a saying I heard in the 1980s when I first started in financial services: 'You never hear a widow complain her husband had too much life insurance'.  It's a pleasant film in many respects and will be a trip down memory lane for some.  
Posted: 31 August 2010 | 11:45:57
David Braithwaite and 4 others:  Looking for great client reporting software.  What do you recommend? David Braithwaite:  And what do you think about Intelliflo? Ivor Skinner and 5 others:  How should I build up the wealth management side of this Accountancy business?  
Posted: 30 August 2010 | 09:59:55
David Braithwaite:  Before we go ahead with this client reporting software, is there anyone else we should consider? Rachel Charman and 4 others:  FSA rules on pension switching – too heavy-handed? Ivan Hargreaves and 5 others:  What is Financial Advice? HMRC Vs FSA  
Posted: 30 August 2010 | 08:22:08
The second estimate of Q2 Gross Domestic Product released today by the Office for National Statistics showed a minor upward revision to UK economic activity. The economy expanded by 1.2% quarter-on-quarter, rather than the 1.1% initially estimated. Overall, output in the economy was 1.6% higher than in the same quarter a year earlier; the strongest annual growth rate in two years. However, as ever with GDP releases, the devil is in the detail, which reveals re-stocking drove a large amount of growth in the quarter and that business investment remained surprisingly weak.   
Posted: 30 August 2010 | 08:14:50
"The Government are right to simplify the pension tax system.  It will help consumers understand the benefits of saving, and help tackle the chronic under-saving we face. "However, it is crucial that this good work is not undone by setting an annual limit at an unworkably low level.  It needs to work for a range of individual circumstances so that consumers can have the greatest control over how they save towards their retirement.  "The new rules must also avoid new complexity, through reducing the lifetime allowance or capping relief at 40%."  
Posted: 30 August 2010 | 08:09:03
As the Bank Holiday provides the perfect opportunity for DIY-ers and househunters to get stuck in - new research from Halifax looks at the homes we aspire to live in, how they match up to the reality of the UK property market and the work we're prepared to take on to achieve the perfect living space. Halifax asked UK homeowners which homes of the small screen provided the greatest inspiration for their ideal abode. The open plan living spaces of homes on Ramsay Street proved to be the most popular option for most families (40%). Despite its unfortunate happenings, the quaint idyllic cottages of Midsomer would be the property of choice for 35% of people, although the terraces of Coronation Street (8%), New York loft apartments in Friends (8%) and the palatial Southfork Dallas mansion (8%) hold much less sway.  
Posted: 27 August 2010 | 16:40:42
Does pension ‘churning’ still happen and are the FSA rules too heavy-handed? Note – IFA Life Premium members receive requests from journalists first  
Posted: 26 August 2010 | 19:35:54
Philip Calvert and 47 others:  What was your holiday reading? Jeremy Newbegin and 1 other:  is Tweeting a waste of time? Max Spurgeon and 4 others:  How do I research a DFM?  
Posted: 25 August 2010 | 15:37:39
SIPP investors are confidently taking retirement planning into their own hands, according to research from Barclays Stockbrokers, the UK's largest online execution-only stockbroker.  Over a quarter (28%) primarily chose to invest within a SIPP so that they can actively choose how their retirement savings are invested, and one in five (19%) account holders see a SIPP as an ideal way to supplement their main pension savings.  SIPP investors are also confident of their own investment choices, as a third (33%) believe they can outperform a professional pension fund manager.  Further research from Barclays Stockbrokers also reveals that despite the importance of retirement planning, over one ten investors (12%) do not currently have any pension provisions in place.   
Posted: 25 August 2010 | 15:35:54
A report by independent financial research company Defaqto has found that almost one-third of new debts do not have life cover associated with them. In 2009, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) recorded 636,973 new mortgage-related life assurance policies written, but the Council of Mortgage Lenders recorded 925,000 new mortgage advances. Ben Heffer, author of the report and Defaqto's Insight Analyst for Protection, said: "In some cases, there may be prevailing individual circumstances that dispense with the need for life cover. However, the figures suggest that there are many people taking on debt whose loved ones would have no means of paying it off for them if the worst happened.The protection gap does not just apply to life cover but is also a real problem when you look at income replacement products, with so little income protection being sold."    
Posted: 25 August 2010 | 15:33:37
The latest mortgage index from reveals that the proportion of mortgage purchases is at its highest level for many years.  Drew Wotherspoon, director of marketing at, comments on this and other findings. "For the first time in what we believe is decades, the proportion of mortgages for purchases broke the 60% barrier in July, revealing a certain confidence in the future of the market.  There is much talk of a double dip and a large correction in the housing market still to come, but these figures would certainly go some way towards questioning this theory.  The rule book may well have been ripped up when the crunch began, but the old adage of supply and demand still holds true.  Whilst we have limited new stock demand will always outstrip supply in the UK.  The last few years have taught us to expect anything, but a further large drop in prices looks very unlikely, unless the FSA'S proposed rules on affordability are implemented as currently drafted.  
Posted: 25 August 2010 | 11:52:25
Life Planning guru George Kinder has returned to the UK from his home in America and is starting off his stay with a flurry of events.  After leading a 2-day introductory workshop in Manchester on September 2-3, he will host two longer Advanced Life Planning Trainings in Dorset 12-17 September and 14-19 November.  These longer programs offer IFAs an opportunity for detailed practice of Kinder’s revolutionary EVOKE® client interview process. Kinder hosted the same Advanced Training in May of 2010 to enthusiastic reviews.  Clinton Askew, a Director at Citywide Financial Partners was one of the attendees:    
Posted: 25 August 2010 | 11:45:20
Life Planning guru George Kinder has moved to London from his home in America and is starting off his stay with a flurry of events.  First up on September 2-3 in Manchester is his signature “Seven Stages of Money Maturity” workshop, a 2-day introduction to his “life planning” approach to financial advisory services. The workshop is designed to acquaint financial advisors with Kinder’s holistic financial planning methods. The Seven Stages of Money Maturity workshop is one Kinder has been delivering with increasing frequency since he published his seminal life planning book by the same name in 1999.  He reports that the number of advisors adopting the Life Planning credo of enhanced goal-setting continues to expand, especially in theUK. When asked about the workshop, Kinder said:  
Posted: 24 August 2010 | 15:01:42
A poll on Britain's number one comparison site,, shows that consumers are having to dip into their savings pots as the UK continues to feel the pinch because of high inflation. Over half of respondents (56 per cent) revealed that they have dipped into their savings accounts when they hadn't planned to and a further quarter (26 per cent) claimed that they would if they needed the money.  
Posted: 24 August 2010 | 14:59:17
New research from the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA), conducted by NMG's IFA Census, has found that almost half (45%) of IFAs who use platforms have introduced a platform approach to enhance their client proposition. The research also found that over three quarters (80%) of these IFAs chose to implement a platform approach due to the number and breadth of funds available to clients. While six in ten (60%) introduced a platform for financial efficiency reasons. When asked about the current benefits of using a platform over three quarters (77%) saw the ease of administration as a significant benefit to clients. The research has been conducted as part of an AIFA project, in association with Standard Life, to develop a due diligence guide when selecting a platform partner. The full report will be launched on Thursday 2 September. Speakers at the event will include Chris Cummings, Director General, AIFA; Mark Polsen, Head of Customer Management, Standard Life; and Ian Howe, Managing Director, Baigrie Davies. The speakers will also be joined on the panel by Rory Percival from the Conduct Risk Division at the Financial Services Authority and David Ferguson, CEO, Nucleus.  
Posted: 24 August 2010 | 14:57:27
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined the UK branch of Zurich Insurance Plc (Zurich UK) £2,275,000 for failing to have adequate systems and controls in place to prevent the loss of customers' confidential information. The fine is the highest levied to date on a single firm for data security failings. The failings came to light following the loss of 46,000 customers' personal details, including identity details, and in some cases bank account and credit card information, details about insured assets and security arrangements. The loss could have led to serious financial detriment for customers and even exposed them to the risk of burglary.  
Posted: 24 August 2010 | 14:33:53
Andrew Hart and 14 others:  Fantastic resource for IFAs being built – everyone can add something IFA Life:  IFA Tweets is providing a fascinating insight into what IFAs talk about online Philip Calvert and 25 others:  Does anyone believe that an adequate (perfect?) back office solution?  
Posted: 23 August 2010 | 13:05:38
Andrew Hart and 9 others:  Provider Fax numbers for letters of Authority – fantastic resource Stuart White:  Who do you recommend to value this portfolio of With Profit Endowments? Martin Bamford and 42 others:  Amazing enthusiasm for a thread – we may have to re-name the site  
Posted: 20 August 2010 | 15:46:43
If you’re an IFA and thinking about putting on a seminar later this year or next, then you’ll regret missing this. Last few places available "Hands down the best seminar on any topic that I have attended. Phil is an absolute genius when it comes to seminar marketing.  I would encourage every IFA to attend.  I am planning to go again this year!"  Jaime Steele, North Financial Management  
Posted: 19 August 2010 | 12:52:06
The lead story today has to be news that the DWP is considering legislative changes to assist those schemes whose Rules might prevent them switching to CPI increases as and when this takes effect. According to the article, a spokesperson at the DWP is quoted as saying:  "…we need to think carefully about how any proposed legislation would work in practice or whether, indeed, this would be the best way to address the issue. We need to balance protecting pensioners' incomes with the need to ensure that schemes remain viable for companies. We will consult widely before making any decisions on this." To me that sounds like quite a softening in its stance from the original Press Release on 12th July 2010. DWP has to be applauded for that - someone, somewhere appears to have listened to the growing voices of concern! See:  
Posted: 16 August 2010 | 07:47:31
According to the experts at Which?, low credit interest, high overdraft charges and big fees on spending abroad means that while we may not pay a monthly sum for our current accounts, banking is not free.   The consumer champion's new research reveals that consumers could be spending as much as £1,140 a year on unauthorised overdraft charges if they bank with Santander*.    
Posted: 14 August 2010 | 14:23:47
MSN Money today reveals the nation is wasting huge amounts of money every year due to carelessness and neglect.  We've coined the term ‘idiot taxes' to describe these forgetful and stupid acts, like putting the wrong fuel in a car engine and locking keys inside the home, and estimate they are costing Brits an estimated £4.4 billion each year According to an MSN Money poll, the most common idiot tax is the loss or breakage of mobile phones.  A quarter of people admitted to forking out a large amount to replace their phone, in turn costing the nation up to £2.4 billion annually. Most people are aware of credit card charges, but just as dangerous are seemingly unassuming film and book rental charges. One fifth have fallen foul of this idiot tax, with late fees and lost DVDS costing the nation a whopping £7.6 million.  
Posted: 14 August 2010 | 14:21:37
Saga Magazine has retained its crown as the best-selling monthly title in the UK. Despite tough trading conditions that have seen many other titles posting a loss, the average net circulation has risen again - to an impressive 656,080 in the Jan-Jun 2010 ABC circulation figures. "We are all extremely pleased. The performance shows that title is doing very well as the leader in the most interesting and satisfying field of all: intelligent, connected and lively people over 50," said editor Katy Bravery. The title easily tops the ‘paid for' magazine charts, yet is often overlooked by media commentators as Saga Magazine does not appear on newsstands.  
Posted: 14 August 2010 | 14:19:25
As government data last week revealed that the number of people over the age of 65 is set to continue growing to almost a quarter of the population in 20 years time, AXA warns that today's pensioners are hit by escalating money worries that severely affect mental and physical health. Pensioners are no strangers to financial anxiety, but a new report shows that they have to contend with yet more misery as it finds they are the group worst afflicted by Money Sickness Syndrome. While the nation as a whole is suffering the health fallout of worrying about how to cope with the cost of living, everyday bills and debt, the link between wallet and health is no clearer than among pensioners, according to the Money Sickness Syndrome report, published by AXA.  
Posted: 12 August 2010 | 16:07:05
Yes, we reveal how to guarantee that your client seminar will sell out.  IFAs are signing up here:   Jobs and Careers Lucy Shepherd:  Recruiting self-employed IFAs in Surrey, Sussex and Hants  
Posted: 12 August 2010 | 08:16:24
I am always interested in hearing how different people (employers, trustees, advisers) communicate or explain 'risk' when discussing retirement issues with employees and scheme members. Whether this is because of general retirement planning or more complex situations 'risk' will, or should, be a fundamental talking point. This is never more important than when a defined benefit scheme closes to future accrual and a defined contribution scheme is introduced for future provision. Or when an employer undertakes a cash incentive or enhanced transfer value exercise for example. In my experience, risk is often only communicated in terms of what I would call 'financial risk': what most financial advisers refer to as a scheme member's 'attitude to risk'.  
Posted: 10 August 2010 | 17:37:34
"Hands down the best seminar on any topic that I have attended. Phil is an absolute genius when it comes to seminar marketing.  I would encourage every IFA to attend.  I am planning to go again this year!"  Jaime Steele, North Financial Management  
Posted: 10 August 2010 | 17:35:00
The results of research conducted by The Co-operative Bank Current Accounts has revealed that bankers, MPs and estate agents are amongst the most distrusted professions in the UK.  Smooth talking politicians topped the poll with 57 per cent of the vote, closely followed by bankers with 43 per cent.  
Posted: 10 August 2010 | 17:32:43
69% of savers have had enough of poor savings rates saying they will invest in riskier assets going forward. The latest research by Fair Investment Company has revealed that more than two thirds of investors are prepared to take more risk while rates remain so low in the hope of better returns on their cash. "With the base rate still stuck at 0.5%, savings rates are very poor," says Nick Scarrett, head of pensions and investments at Fair Investment Company. "The average savings rate is currently just 1.63% while the average cash ISA rate is 2.07%. Even the top rates aren't paying much over 4% when you fix for 5 years, so it is not really surprising that savers have had enough of earning such little interest on their cash," he said.  
Posted: 10 August 2010 | 17:30:44
Adviser research by independent financial research company Defaqto has revealed that the majority of investment and pension business is placed through platforms. Fraser Donaldson, Insight Analyst for Funds at Defaqto said: "Platforms are becoming the dominant vehicle for investment and pension business for advisers, so it is no surprise to see the high percentage of this business being placed through platforms in the last year." Defaqto's survey of 126 advisers found that the amount of investment and pension business placed through platforms by IFAs is as follows:-  
Posted: 09 August 2010 | 15:11:46
The Association of Consulting Actuaries has produced its response to the DWP consultation on when the increase in State Pension Age should apply. The short response includes one area that the media reports appear to have missed: the financial implications and effects on members and employers of schemes that have bridging pensions in place.  I spent a while this morning trying to find data on how many people this might apply to and in fact it's quite difficult to establish any meaningful figures. Many schemes that have a Normal Retirement Age below State Pension Age do not provide bridging pensions and a significant number of schemes (mainly public sector) have increased the scheme's NPA in recent years. I did source some very interesting data on public and private sector NPA though and have added a link to the OPSS 2008 document (Table 2.22 makes some interesting reading). See:  
Posted: 05 August 2010 | 17:55:17
"Bold statement - but the most useful seminar that I have ever attended for my business. An absolute must if you are serious about increasing your business." Mike Legassick - IFA, Positive Solutions IFAs are signing up here:  
Posted: 04 August 2010 | 12:40:00
Seminars continue to be the single most effective way for IFAs to find new clients and professional connections, to add value to existing clients and to create new income streams. And in a post RDR world, seminars will play a key role in differentiating your business, communicating effectively with clients and enhancing the perception of an IFA’s expertise and professional credibility. But getting a full house of the right type of clients is often seen as a real challenge, and most IFAs make the same mistakes time and time again when promoting their events.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  There is a step-by-step formula which when followed will guarantee a successful seminar. Join the IFAs who have already signed up, and on 29th September you will learn everything that an IFA needs to know to plan, promote and present successful client seminars  
Posted: 04 August 2010 | 12:37:56
The Guardian website today publishes an article about increasing life expectancy, a subject which is very topical in the media. According to research by Mercer, FTSE 100 companies have increased their longevity assumptions for pensioners for the fourth year in a row. The article reveals that:  Current pensioners are now expected to live another five months while future retirees get another seven months. On average, scheme members aged 45 are forecast to live nearly two years longer from retirement than a 65-year-old member.   The gap between men and women is closing, with women expected to live to the age of 89 while men reach 87.  
Posted: 03 August 2010 | 16:09:39
Financial advisers are forecasting a 7.2% quarter-on-quarter increase in mortgage business during the third quarter of 2010, Paragon Mortgages' Financial Adviser Confidence Tracker survey has revealed. According to FACT, a panel-based survey of mortgage brokers, this is the sixth consecutive quarter that brokers have predicted increased business levels. Nearly a quarter of brokers (24%) expect to handle over 10% more mortgage business in the third quarter than they did in the second, with over a third (34%) forecasting up to 10% growth in mortgage business.  
Posted: 03 August 2010 | 15:50:23
New mobile service makes it easier for customers to shop from their mobile phones PayPal has unveiled a new Mobile Express Checkout service for retailers, which gives their customers the same fast and safe experience on their mobile phones as PayPal Express Checkout.  The service is currently being rolled out on the iPhone and Android 2.0 (and higher) devices for select merchants over the next few weeks before being fully rolled out later this summer. This new service comes at a time when consumers are increasingly shopping on their mobile phones.  According to Juniper Research, mobile payments are due to reach $200 billion by 2012. The rapid growth in the area, along with feedback from PayPal merchants inspired the development of the new service, which aims to revolutionise the way in which businesses interact with their customers.  
Posted: 03 August 2010 | 15:48:15
We heard you’re planning a client seminar for the Autumn, but are wondering where to start. So avoid costly mistakes and learn how to plan, promote and present successful and profitable client seminars "Bold statement - but the most useful seminar that I have ever attended for my business. An absolute must if you are serious about increasing your business." Mike Legassick - IFA, Positive Solutions IFAs are signing up here:    
Posted: 02 August 2010 | 15:36:15
Online stockbroker and fund supermarket Interactive Investor ( has responded to the publication today of the IMA fund statistics for June. Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: "David Cameron is not the only one to take an interest in India as our investors continue to look for more aggressive growth opportunities in established, new and emerging markets. Among the most popular funds so far this year are the First State Indian fund, the Invesco Perpetual Latin America and the Aberdeen Emerging Markets fund. With the BRIC economies continuing to perform well these are likely to remain popular among private investors for the foreseeable future. "Our trading figures for June reflect the year on year increase in investor activity across the industry. Investor confidence remains strong overall with large inflows into funds both inside and outside of the ISA wrappers."  
Posted: 02 August 2010 | 15:30:54
Independent financial research company Defaqto has published a free guide to alternative investments, which has been designed to introduce advisers to some of the asset classes and investment techniques that retail fund managers are now embedding in their investment processes as a matter of course.  
Posted: 02 August 2010 | 12:41:04
As a result of continued demand from IFAs, we are hosting a further workshop on how to plan, prepare and present successful client seminars.  This is consistently our most popular workshop, and will not only help you to attract new clients and professional connections – but will also give you a framework for hosting client communication events in a post RDR world.  
Posted: 31 July 2010 | 15:40:49
Predictably, the media is full of articles about the proposed scrapping of the default retirement age. Some reports are in favour, others look at the potential problems that might occur. All are worthy of a read. The proposals are important for IFAs as they might potentially impact upon any current retirement planning in place for certain clients. However, it is important to note there is an element of doubt about the whether the proposals would actually be workable and to see why, I have added this article from earlier in the week. Topical and very relevant. It might be worth you adding a comment or two about the proposals and issues, when you next communcate with your clients. See:   
Posted: 30 July 2010 | 11:25:46
Just today and tomorrow to take part in our iPad competition.  And don’t forget to chase up everyone you have invited so far What is the Social Media Policy in your IFA firm?  Take a look at this short, but potentially extremely valuable post.  Please pass the link to the most appropriate person in your practice  
Posted: 29 July 2010 | 07:00:03
Two new ways for people to find an IFA (with a third coming soon) Marketing for Financial Planners - How to market and promote your Financial Life Planning proposition  
Posted: 28 July 2010 | 09:29:44
IFAs need to consider the potential impact to clients of the recent DWP proposal to move to using the CPI index for certain pension calculations. The potential repercussions might affect some of your clients NOW.  When Steve Webb MP, made his Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on 8th July 2010 announcing the Government's intention to move to using CPI rather than RPI in regulating occupational pension schemes, I have little doubt that he or the DWP fully considered the wider more immediate consequences of those actions.  
Posted: 28 July 2010 | 07:39:45
Legislation to restrict unhealthy behaviours like smoking and the consumption of alcohol and fatty foods is inevitable by 2020 if we are to retain a free NHS, according to a new report. Our burgeoning and ageing population will force Government to regulate against unhealthy behaviour in a bid to retain free healthcare in the UK, claims Friends Provident in its Visions of Britain 2020, a report conducted with the Future Foundation. ( Penalising unhealthy lifestyles Experts condemn Government health campaigns as 'failing' to persuade individuals to live healthier lifestyles. As a result Visions of Britain reveals that penalties are the most likely solution.  
Posted: 28 July 2010 | 07:37:15
According to a survey of 140 advisers in relation to Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), conducted recently by independent financial research company Defaqto, provider brand strength comes top of the list of considerations.  
Posted: 28 July 2010 | 07:34:53
UK consumers' financial wellbeing improved slightly during Q2 but, despite this, consumers' financial health remains generally weak. In the second quarter of 2010, Alliance Trust's UK Financial Reality Index rose from 77.3 to 77.7, driven primarily by some recovery in house prices and gains in real earnings. At the same time, however, stock market performance has waned, basic costs have increased, and the debt burden has risen. Shona Dobbie, Head of the Alliance Trust Research Centre, said, "Having fallen quite sharply in the previous quarter, this small increase in the UK Financial Reality Index indicates a slight improvement in the financial conditions facing households. The gain in Q2 was largely due to an improvement in house prices and real earnings. However economic activity remains lacklustre, basic costs have risen and stock market growth has cooled. There are signs that housing supply has started to increase, which could put downward pressure on house prices. On top of this, the anticipated cuts in public spending increase the possibility that unemployment could rise further.  
Posted: 27 July 2010 | 17:00:51
If you’re concerned about using Social Media in your IFA business, why not introduce a Social Media Policy? Useful resources here Numbers mean a lot to your customers – something IFAs of all people should be aware of Finding that elusive White Rhino – a story for 2010 - For IFAs and Big Game Hunters  
Posted: 27 July 2010 | 09:15:42
New research from the Scottish Widows Priorities of Life index reveals that despite their best efforts, time-poor Brits are struggling to make space in their lives to look after their health and fitness. According to the survey, over one third of people (35%) are worried they are neglecting their health more than any other area of their life, and nearly half (45%) confess that they don't put as much emphasis on keeping fit as they feel they should. Furthermore, 44% of people said they would ideally like to have more fun but are unable to make enough time for this with so many other day-to-day activities having to take priority. Of those who don't spend enough time keeping healthy, 36% admit this is because they are simply not worried enough about their health at the moment, 23% will always put their family's health needs over their own, and 23% will only start to pay attention towards their body if they get seriously ill. And fitness is on the back burner because they don't have enough time to exercise regularly (37%), don't enjoy it (25%), or can't afford gym membership (23%). But this attitude might be putting people at risk of serious health problems.  
Posted: 26 July 2010 | 14:15:11

Posted: 26 July 2010 | 12:47:48
A couple of provocative articles appeared over the last few days which may easily raise the blood pressure of many readers, and indeed IFAs. Judging by this article I think some advisers might need to review or reconsider their processes and procedures in respect of how they deal with clients who are approaching retirement age.  I'm not suggesting by any means that advisers are involved in any wrongdoing - but I do know of firms that won't deal with open market options that involve small funds.  It is these companies that ought to consider whether they are 'covering their backs' by making sure that clients are, at the very least, aware of the open market option (and perhaps even signposting them towards appropriate solutions). Documentating and recording what actions you take on your client file would go towards minimising any risk of comeback from discgruntled clients in the future.  
Posted: 26 July 2010 | 10:34:09
IFA Life, the social networking site for IFAs and financial planners has launched two new tools to help consumers find, connect with and refer IFAs. With over 5,000 registered on the site and a strong presence on the Internet, increasing numbers of consumers are finding social networking site IFA Life as a valuable source to make contact with IFAs, to assess them and make contact. The first search tool is a simple but powerful location based tool, where consumers can find IFA Life members within specified distances. Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said today: "It's commonplace for people to use the Internet to find an IFA, and increasingly they are also using Social Networking sites such as LinkedIn, Ecademy, Twitter and YouTube - and so we have responded to increasing use of the IFA Life site by consumers."  
Posted: 23 July 2010 | 14:39:18
What’s holding your IFA firm back from building and implementing a robust Social Media Strategy?  Lack of time, fears about Compliance, lack of knowledge or just not sure that it’s relevant? We have just three days available for IFAs in August when we can come into your business and help you to develop your Social Media Strategy.  Either one-to-one, or group together with other IFAs in your area. Contact for details.  First come first served.  
Posted: 22 July 2010 | 10:10:41
The Pensions Regulator has issued a short statement about the proposed change of index from RPI to CPI for certain elements of pension increases before retirement (revaluation) and pension increases during retirement (escalation). Whilst aimed specifically at Trustees, it is also very useful for IFAs as the last part of this sentence suggests: 'Trustees should plan to communicate with members on the impact, as soon as possible, once known, even if the impact is likely to be negligible. They should also give serious consideration to an interim communication, to assist members who may be faced with decisions on transfers or retirement planning, or may be concerned about press coverage.'  
Posted: 22 July 2010 | 08:42:46
Brits fork out more than £18,500 a year on bills, a study revealed yesterday. Each month, the average household parts with £1,541.91 on ultility bills, rent or mortgage payments, the weekly shop and other bills. That's a total of £18,502.86 a year or £962,148.72 between the ages of 18 and 70. The study revealed that the cost of living has risen by £642.12 in the past 12 months, from £17,860.74 last year.  And it is car insurance, rent or mortgage costs and mobile phone bills which have seen the biggest increases during the past year, in comparison to home telephones and utilities which have seen the biggest decreases. A spokesman for, which carried out the study said:  
Posted: 20 July 2010 | 15:40:27
Analysis of new fund launches from independent financial research company Defaqto reveals an 87% increase in the number of funds launched that permit the use of derivatives. Fraser Donaldson, Insight Analyst for Funds at Defaqto said: "The use of derivatives as an investment tool are growing in prominence which is not overly surprising given the uncertainty in the economic and financial climate. The decline in the launch of UK only investment funds is clearly linked to declining demand for the sector with many advisers seeking potentially better returns elsewhere."  
Posted: 20 July 2010 | 15:38:19
Mortgage brokers are handling minimal levels of self-certification and sub-prime business, research from buy-to-let specialist Paragon Mortgages has found. The Financial Services Authority proposed last week to effectively end self-certification mortgages through its ‘Mortgage Market Review: Responsible Lending' paper by requiring verification of borrowers' income in every case. It claimed that income was not verified on 43% of mortgages written in the first quarter of the year.  
Posted: 20 July 2010 | 15:33:55
Citizens Advice Head of Consumer Policy Sue Edwards said: "After the election we called on the government to make a long term commitment to help those borrowers most in need in order to prevent a further wave of repossessions. We are therefore pleased that the housing minister, Grant Shapps, has acknowledged that the risk of repossessions remains high, and has recognised the need to maintain a comprehensive package of support measures that help keep struggling borrowers in their homes.  
Posted: 20 July 2010 | 15:28:33
Following today's announcement by the Chancellor of the creation of the Office for Tax Simplification, Julie Patterson, Director, Authorised Funds and Tax at the IMA, said: "We welcome the Chancellor's announcement of the establishment of the Office for Tax Simplification and the recognition that the UK has ‘one of the most complex and opaque tax codes in the world'. Simplification of the tax system will reduce complexity and administration for individuals and firms, thereby helping to improve the UK as a place to do business. However, simplicity alone will not achieve the Government's stated aim of bringing more international business to the UK. Three other factors need to be considered.  
Posted: 20 July 2010 | 11:58:28
I know I sometimes post articles that have quite tenuous links to topics about pensions, annuities and retirement planning but it never ceases to surprise me how many of our readers enjoy them.  For example, Chris Reilly, at Legal & General recently commented about our news: "I particularly enjoy some of the more off piste articles. Things that focus on overseas pensions or aspects only tangentily related to pensions." So, continuing with that theme I really enjoyed this article which tells a story about jam and - I kid you not - it relates to pensions too for a wide variety of reasons.   
Posted: 19 July 2010 | 11:32:20
New from IFA Life Increasingly people are using IFA Life to find IFAs.  So during this week, we’re delighted to be introducing two new ways to help IFA Life members be found online: A new post code search tool where IFAs can be found by location.  If you’re a member of IFA Life, you will be featured – and there will be no charge to have your website details showing in the search results   A special Twitter page which features every IFA who uses Twitter.  This is a new and innovative way for people to follow IFAs – so if you are on Twitter, don’t forget to add your Twitter address to your IFA Life profile page Watch this space!  
Posted: 17 July 2010 | 08:49:37
New figures show small firms stay loyal to Royal Mail but services need improvement Royal Mail is still not delivering in its service to small businesses two years on from a review into the postal service. In its response to the consultation ‘Review of developments in the postal market and Royal Mail since 2008', the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is disappointed that the situation with Royal Mail remains the same as in 2008, and that the same key issues highlighted then are still prevalent now. Small firms are a loyal customer base that frequently visit the Post Office. In a survey of more than 1,200 members of the FSB-ICM ‘Voice of Small Business' panel, the FSB found that 94 per cent of respondents want a UK-wide postal service and six in 10 (59%) want to continue to receive mail deliveries six days a week.  
Posted: 17 July 2010 | 08:47:24
Consumer Focus figures released today revealing that 1.4 million on pre-payment meters ration their energy is just a symptom of a much wider problem according to, the independent price comparison and switching service. Last winter's bitter weather led 13 million households to cut down on heating to save money, affecting their health and quality of life.  
Posted: 16 July 2010 | 14:31:37
IFA Life Messages IFA Life:  Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  Every IFA firm should take advantage of this Have you been in the Press or Media recently?  Start your own thread here and then add to it over time   Philip Calvert’s Blog Enthusiasm and excitement for the profession is alive and well  
Posted: 16 July 2010 | 11:10:32
Over 5,000 members have now joined the IFA social networking site IFA Life - evidence that social media now plays a key role in the way that IFAs share best practice and access business development resources. The 5,000 mark was also achieved on the website's second birthday, and coincided with a major initiative by Internet giant Google to help IFAs make better use of the Internet. Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said today: "We're obviously delighted that so many IFAs are now using IFA Life. With change and challenges on the horizon, social media is becoming the tool of choice for IFAs to provide help and support to each other - without having to leave the office." IFAs using social media for business development As well as providing an online networking platform for IFAs, IFA Life monitors how financial advisers use the Internet to market themselves and to communicate with clients. The industry is still cautious about how it uses social media as a marketing tool, but has thoroughly embraced it to share best practice, debate industry issues, comment on news and to learn new ways to grow and develop their businesses. Philip Calvert continued:  
Posted: 15 July 2010 | 14:22:14
Congratulations to Jay Tamsitt from Godalming in Surrey who became our 5,000th member today.  Here’s to the next 5,000!  Invite a colleague to join IFA Life by the end of July and you could win a top of the range iPad Why is Social Media so important for IFAs?  Find out at Social Media in Financial Services 2 on 4thNovember 2010.  “Head and shoulders above any conference I have ever attended.” Rebecca Christensen, Nucleus   Forum Messages Philip Calvert:  A gift from Google to help IFAs be more visible in search results.  Get it while you can Mark Lee:  Most financial advisers are unable to work with accountants Cathi Harrison and 1 other:  Breakfast Club for women in financial services in the North East  
Posted: 15 July 2010 | 08:07:18
Despite the apparent complementary nature of their businesses, very few financial advisers are able to establish profitable relationships with accountants. So claims Mark Lee, Chairman of the Tax Advice Network, who is running another of his well received masterclasses for financial advisers who want to get closer to accountants. “Promises of commission, for example, are often more of a turn-off than an incentive. And yet commission or fee sharing is frequently offered almost as soon as the financial adviser meets a local accountant”. Financial advisers tell Mark that they are frustrated by accountants’ reluctance to refer clients who then fail to get the advice they need.  
Posted: 15 July 2010 | 08:00:31
In a recent poll conducted by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, IFAs have cited that the main reason they tend to avoid recommending investment trusts is because their knowledge of them needs refreshing. In the poll, 40% of IFAs said this was their main reason for not recommending investment trusts, 37% said it was due to their lack of availability on platforms, with 33% admitting it was because of a lack of commission or trail fees. This is despite the fact that just 9% of those polled said it was due to a lack of client interest in the investment vehicle. Jasper Berens, Head of UK Retail Sales at J.P. Morgan Asset Management commented: "This is an interesting result, particularly as the Retail Distribution Review specifically states that come 2012, financial advisers wishing to remain independent will need to demonstrate a whole-of-market knowledge. Also, with the introduction of fee-based advice across the board from 2012, IFAs will no longer have to avoid investment trusts on a commission-based remuneration basis. Investors are clearly expressing an interest in investment trusts but it is a concern that their IFAs do not have a sufficient understanding of the investment vehicle."  
Posted: 15 July 2010 | 07:55:25
In spite of mounting concerns about their retirement prospects, Britain's over-50s have reduced their retirement savings by almost £18bn over the last year. The annual State of Retirement Report, now in its third year, from pensions, investments and insurance group LV=, reveals that one in five of those approaching retirement (21%) have decreased their retirement savings by an average of £324 a month, or £3,800 a year. This is more than double the £137 average reduction in retirement savings made by 20% of over-50s last year, suggesting retirement savers are jeopardising their long-term financial security in order to deal with more immediate financial pressures. Women approaching retirement appear to be feeling the pinch most, with nearly a quarter (23%) cutting their monthly retirement savings by an average of £372, or £4,464 a year. By comparison, one in five men approaching retirement (19%) have reduced their retirement savings by an average of £265 a month, or £3,180 a year.  
Posted: 15 July 2010 | 07:53:43
The UK housing market in June saw a rise in demand for property while housing stock levels decreased for the first time in four months, according to estate agents. The National Association of Estate Agent's market report for June showed an increase in the number of house hunters registering with an agent across the country. The figure rose from 265 in May to 279 in June as an average per branch. The percentage of sales made to first time buyers remained the same as in May at 21 per cent, which suggests that although the increase in the Stamp Duty threshold to £250,000 didn't affect this category, it might be attributed to aiding the wider buyers market.  
Posted: 14 July 2010 | 15:53:21
IFA Life messages You lucky people – if you are new to AdWords you can now claim your £50 voucher from Google We’ve very nearly reached our 5,000th member – please help us to reach it and head up to the 10,000th - and maybe win an iPad along the way  
Posted: 14 July 2010 | 08:08:55
  Over the last five years, consumers have witnessed both the highs and lows of the economy - the latter of which culminated in global economic meltdown.  However, figures from, the professional advice website, reveal during this financial rollercoaster nearly 2.5 million* consumers sought details of an independent financial adviser (IFA) by using's ‘find an IFA' search tool. Independent financial advice has never been more important and more valuable for consumers and it is regarded as the ‘gold standard' of advice because it offers access to, and guidance on, a huge pool of products from across the whole market.  However - financial advice comes in many guises - and consumers may think they are getting this gold standard when in fact they are not.  So how many consumers really understand the different types of financial advice on offer?    
Posted: 14 July 2010 | 08:07:06
A recent survey by independent research company Defaqto found that advisers prefer Self Invested Personal Pension Products (SIPPs) which permit full flexibility of investment choice versus those offering a more structured approach to investments. David Abbis, author of the report and Insight Analyst for Wealth Management at Defaqto said: "Cost is often a vital consideration when making a SIPP recommendation, so, although a product with a structured investment approach may initially appear cheaper, it is possible that a flexible product may offer the opportunity to negotiate costs."  
Posted: 14 July 2010 | 07:52:00
This month's official inflation report showed that the official headline rate of inflation fell from 3.4% to 3.2% in June, continuing the declining trend which commenced in May. However, Alliance Trust's monthly study of inflation rates facing different age groups reveals that the over 75 year old age group actually saw a sharp increase in inflation, from 3.3% to 3.6%, driven largely by higher food price inflation. For the ninth consecutive month, it is the 50-64 year olds who face the highest rate of inflation, at 4.5%, while the over 75s face the lowest rate, at 3.6%.   The 50-64 year old age group is facing a rate of inflation which is 41% higher than the official rate, largely due to the fact that this group spends relatively more of their disposable income on transport, where inflation remains relatively high, at close to 9%. In particular, fuel price inflation is currently at a level of 16%. In contrast, the over 75s continue to face the lowest rate of inflation, at 3.6%, helped by the fact that this group spends relatively more of their budget on utilities, where prices are now 2.5% lower than at this time last year. Electricity prices have fallen by less than 1% over the year, but gas prices have fallen by more than 6%.  
Posted: 12 July 2010 | 14:31:00
DWP has released details about the change from RPI to CPI in respect of pension increases(revaluation and escalation) to deferred pensions and pensions in payment. They have included some useful worked examples. In 25 years of being in pensions, I can't think of any other 'retrospective' legislation that will potentially have so detrimental an effect on the preserved benefits of millions of deferred members of defined benefit schemes.  
Posted: 09 July 2010 | 11:37:53
OECD composite leading indicators (CLIs) for May 2010 continue to point to an expansion but with stronger signals of a slowing pace of growth than in last month's assessment.  
Posted: 09 July 2010 | 11:36:30
From today, anyone can go to the new Spending Challenge Public engagement website and submit their ideas.  
Posted: 07 July 2010 | 12:00:21
Poor understanding and control of personal finances is damaging the well-being of up to 42 million adults, from high-level managers to low earners and pensioners, says a new report by AXA. Millions of managers and workers are failing to take financial advice even when falling victim to money worries - a growing scourge in the current economic climate. This is despite the fact the harmful effects of financial troubles on the nation's health are increasing at a disturbing rate, according to new research [1] commissioned by AXA. Few are immune to the spread of Money Sickness Syndrome [2], with nearly nine out of 10 adults suffering physical and psychological symptoms caused by money concerns and as many as two-thirds experiencing increased levels of stress in the last 12 months.  
Posted: 07 July 2010 | 11:57:50
Research from the latest quarterly Birmingham Midshires' Saving Britain research suggests Brits are increasingly raiding their saving pots. Brits have shed the saving pounds with two in five British adults (38%) confessing to raiding their savings during the three months to July 2010. The average raiding amount has increased to £1,870 from £1,499. However, this is far short of the all time raiding high in July 2009 of £2,191. In the three months to July 2010, Britons saved an average of £764, compared with £1,031 during the last quarter.  This is over a quarter (26%) less that the previous quarter.  
Posted: 06 July 2010 | 09:26:35
The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) have warned that proposals to cut the hours that the Government's tax helplines operate will make life harder for taxpayers, especially those on low incomes. The proposals include closing all HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Contact Centres (which field tax support calls) on Sundays and reducing hours on Saturdays, bank holidays and (for some services) during the week. LITRG Chairman John Andrews said: "This is a backward step for an organisation that is supposed to be customer focused. "We all understand that there is pressure across government to reduce costs. But HMRC have failed to fully assess the impact of these changes. "HMRC's long-term strategy is to grow their online services. But for this to work taxpayers need access to support and to be able to ask questions of HMRC. This is particularly the case for taxpayers on low incomes who cannot afford to pay for professional tax help. Some of these people will work long hours during the week and may only be able to sort out financial matters during unsociable hours or the weekend. Taking away access to HMRC helplines at these times will make the task considerably harder."  
Posted: 06 July 2010 | 09:24:41
It is getting harder for people on low incomes to meet a minimum standard of living, according to new research published today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).   A Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2010 shows that people on low incomes face a much higher inflation rate than shown in the official Consumer Prices Index, which the Budget announced as the future basis for uprating benefits. This means that in real terms, people out of work, relying on these benefits, could become worse off. For people in work, the gap between the minimum wage and the wages needed for a minimum household budget has widened. The Minimum Income Standard shows how much various households need in 2010 to reach a minimum standard of living, according to members of the public. A single person now needs to earn at least £14,400 a year to reach this standard, and a couple with two children £29,200. These have increased from £13,400 and £26,900 in the past two years.  
Posted: 05 July 2010 | 14:41:44
The law of unintended consequences (Murphy's Law?) sees HMRC publish notification that it intends to bring forward regulations to remove the unauthorised payments tax charge where an individual aged 50 and over but under 55 transfers their pension in payment to another pension provider. See: - Pension transfers for people aged 50 to 55 (HMRC) (pdf-1 page) (Monday) Elsewhere, another survey (it's that time of year) reveals the dire state of pension planning in the UK, with almost one in three people having made no provision for retirement.  The marketeer in me, however, sees a more positive headline - 'Two thirds of Britons saving for retirement'. Imagine headlines like that!   
Posted: 03 July 2010 | 10:12:23
  With more than 5.5 million fixed rate products worth over £110 billion maturing in 2010 - the largest number maturing in July (581,044) -  HSBC warns investors that with savings rates languishing at historic lows, many UK "re-investors" will see their investment income fall off a ‘savings precipice' this year. Indeed, those investors in the over 2.7 million fixed rate products that have matured thus far in 2010, will have lost £722 million in income if they simply re-invested their savings pot in to similar products (see table 1 below for details).   This steep loss is due to the falls of up to 3.01% in average best buy rates for these types of investments (see table 3 for details).     
Posted: 03 July 2010 | 10:07:36
Children from a selection of schools in Salisbury had the chance to meet former England and Surrey star Graham Thorpe at South Wiltshire Cricket Club. The Salisbury Cricket Festival, in association with Friends Provident, is part of The Cricket Foundation's initiative to educate children through cricket. Over 60 children from local schools will take part in the cricket tournament day, with a chance to test the skills they have honed throughout the year. The Cricket Foundation's campaign, "Chance to Shine supported by Brit Insurance" - now in its fifth year - aims to help young people acquire important life skills, and values for their future lives through the sport. Karen Burrell, Head of Marketing Services at Friends Provident, commented:  
Posted: 02 July 2010 | 11:26:10
More holidays abroad, remaining in education for longer and smoking less: these are just some of the changes that have shaped our society over the last 40 years as highlighted in Social Trends 40, published today by Office for National Statistics (ONS). Social Trends 40, which marks four decades of social reporting in the UK, contains five previously unpublished chapters of statistics and analysis covering:  
Posted: 01 July 2010 | 07:56:26
  Today, 1st July, marks the third anniversary of the smoking ban across England and Wales, when many smokers chose to pack in the habit for good. New research from Santander Savings has found that a 20-a-day smoker who gave up in 2007 could have amassed an ash-tounding £6,883 if they'd opted to put their cigarette money into a Santander savings account. The average smoker currently spends around £180 a month on their habit but, by giving up today and putting the money to better use, smokers could reap the benefits from a much more rewarding habit.  For example, if they put that money each month into a high interest paying savings account such as the Santander Fixed Rate Monthly Saver, currently paying 4.00 per cent gross fixed for one year, they could build up a gross balance of £2,394.60 over the term. And for those struggling to get on the property ladder, stubbing out the ciggies could even prove a great way of boosting the bank balance and getting that deposit.    
Posted: 30 June 2010 | 14:32:17
We can squeeze in one more to next week’s Marketing workshop for IFAs.  Learn what IFAs who are consistently effective at marketing all have in common and create your own Marketing Plan Google’s webinar for IFAs is launched tomorrow.  Have you signed up? We are looking for a Compliance expert who is universally liked and respected by the IFA community.  If you have a suggestion, please post here It’s IFA Life’s birthday next week.  Help us to celebrate and you could win an iPad courtesy of Scottish Life. Hundreds of IFAs have taken part here  
Posted: 30 June 2010 | 14:28:15
If you're an IFA focusing upon pensions and retirement planning there are two must read reports published by the DWP this week. Great CPD too, see: - Likely treatment of different types of worker under the workplace pensions reform: Qualitative research with employers (DWP Research Report No 662) (pdf-88 pages) - Consultation on workplace pension reforms: Qualitative research with small and medium sized companies (DWP Research Report No 652) (pdf-124 pages) They almost dovetail with what is an excellent and thought-provoking article published at With the announcement that the BBC is to consult on changing its pension provision for employees, I'm amazed that there has never been a legal challenge on behalf of employees performing the same job but with different pension arrangements.   
Posted: 30 June 2010 | 08:04:36
The year-long countdown starts today (30th June 2010) to the closure of the UK Domestic Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme. This means that after 30th June 2011, it will no longer be possible to guarantee a cheque using a plastic card. To help businesses and consumers, the Scheme has today published two fact sheets available from Banks and building societies with customers who have cards carrying the cheque guarantee function - indicated by Shakespeare's hologram or logo - will be managing its removal in different ways. Typically cards will be issued without Shakespeare's logo on renewal: this may be before or after the closure date. This means that although Shakespeare will still be on many customers' cards after 30th June 2011 it will be redundant. In all instances customers can still pay by cheque but just cannot use a plastic card to guarantee it.     
Posted: 30 June 2010 | 08:00:14
On June 30 2010, Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) officially launches the Certificate in Paraplanning, the first qualification in the UK to test the specific knowledge and skills relevant to the role of Paraplanner.  The launch will form part of IFP's "Financial Planning in Practice" Conference, taking place on 30 June at the Village Hotel, Solihull. The qualification brings well deserved recognition to this important role and will differentiate successful candidates from other Paraplanners carrying out a more administrative function. It has been developed by IFP over the past couple of years during which time it has consulted broadly within the Financial Planning community. The support of Scottish Widows with this development has been invaluable.  
Posted: 29 June 2010 | 14:23:08
The OFT today announced greater transparency over interest rates and a significant reduction in the time it should take to transfer between cash ISA providers, following agreements with the industry. The changes come as part of the OFT's response to a super-complaint from Consumer Focus about the cash ISA market. Consumer Focus asked the OFT to look at concerns including the time it takes to transfer a cash ISA, the transparency of interest rates and introductory bonus rates. After a 90-day investigation, the OFT has secured agreement from the industry to:  
Posted: 29 June 2010 | 14:20:58
Service brings together leading independent experts from the world of social enterprise. Coutts & Co is today announcing the launch of a new Social Enterprise Advisory Service - the first ever to be provided in the UK - which is aimed at encouraging and assisting many of its 20,000 successful entrepreneurial clients to develop enterprises that give something back to the community. Social enterprises are a vibrant and diverse group of organisations which often reinvest the majority of their profits back into a social purpose. Some of the best known include the Eden Project, the Big Issue, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and Fairtrade company Divine Chocolate.  
Posted: 29 June 2010 | 14:06:32
Commenting on today's Bank of England mortgage approvals, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said: "Mortgage approvals for new home purchase in May were broadly unchanged from the previous months reading. They remain above the lows seen in the early part of this year following the ending of the last stamp duty holiday but are still well down on historic norms. The relatively weak numbers released today may in part be a reflection of the political and economic uncertainty that prevailed ahead of the general election.  
Posted: 29 June 2010 | 14:02:29
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today published the findings of its comprehensive review into the operation of with-profits funds. The review focused on whether firms are treating their with-profits policyholders fairly, looking specifically at how senior management in firms have implemented FSA rules. The review showed the performance of firms is mixed. Some firms are performing satisfactorily; however, a significant number of firms are not adequately demonstrating the practices the FSA expects from a well-run with-profits business. The two main areas of concern are:  
Posted: 29 June 2010 | 13:58:24
Stephen Smith, Legal & General's Director of Housing said: "Around a third of mortgage advisers think that business will be better over the next three months as the previous quarter, but this figure has dropped and advisers are slightly more pessimistic this time around. "Looking at the split between house purchase and remortgage business, advisers expect house purchase mortgages to represent an average of 51% of their sales over the next quarter. This is the highest level since the index started at the beginning of 2008. Remortgage business is forecast to be about 31% - the lowest level since the start of 2008.  
Posted: 28 June 2010 | 13:42:24
There was a degree of déjà vu about the England match yesterday and to some extent, it was just as well Germany won 4-1 rather than had the score remained at 2-1 when Frank Lampard's goal was disallowed. I was disappointed but the result was fair.  I suppose I suffered from a Loss of Expectation. That expression will become all too familiar in financial services if millions of would-be-retirees do not re-engage in planning for their retirement.   
Posted: 28 June 2010 | 10:52:04
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today published the final list of qualifications retail investment advisers will need to pass before 1 January 2013.  This provides the certainty advisers need to prepare for the implementation of Retail Distribution Review (RDR) requirements. Qualifications and ongoing study form part of the FSA's plan to enhance the reputation of the retail investment market by instilling greater professionalism and ethics. Increasing customers' trust and confidence in the sector is vital for its future. The FSA is consulting on whether advisers will also be required to hold a Statement of Professional Standing confirming that they are qualified to give advice, have kept their knowledge up-to-date and subscribe to a code of ethics. The statements will be issued by FSA-accredited professional bodies.  
Posted: 28 June 2010 | 10:49:18
Paul Campion and 2 others:  I’m doing the IMC, are you?  Please help Ewart Matthias and 6 others:  Is there conflict between what the CII says and the FSA wants? Simon Hodge and 4 others:  What’s the best way to get a foot on the ladder of the profession?    
Posted: 28 June 2010 | 10:29:19
Activity in UK financial services grew in the last three months at the fastest rate since September 2007. But this growth was much lower than expected and firms still considered levels of business to be well below normal, a new survey reveals today (Monday). The financial services sector saw its fourth consecutive quarter of improving profitability, though the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey shows firms expect this to level off in the coming three months. Concern about the impact of regulation and legislation on future business remains high, with a large proportion of firms expecting to spend more on compliance in the coming 12 months. Asked how their business volumes fared in the three months to June, 38% said that volumes rose and 29% said they fell. The resulting balance of +9% is the most positive since September 2007, but was far weaker than expected. In the next three months, a balance of 63% expects a rise in business volumes, the most positive expectation since December 1993 (+65%).  
Posted: 28 June 2010 | 10:24:00
A new study from Saga Equity Release today reveals that a fifth (17%) of over 50s have little money left over to enjoy their retirement once they have paid off their debts and more than two fifths (41%) of retirees find clearing their debts difficult, highlighting how hard it is for many people to fund their dream retirement.  However, an increasing number of over 60s are now using equity release to unlock money so they can enjoy a better quality of life in retirement. With more than one in ten (13%) over 55s retiring in debt, equity release is being used to clear these and alleviate financial worries, leaving people better off in real terms and free to get on with enjoying their retirement.  The research shows that two fifths (40%) of this age group have used equity release to clear borrowing, whilst a third (31%) use it to re-mortgage.  
Posted: 28 June 2010 | 08:25:57
Capita Financial Software (Capita) has announced its new online platform comparison service, ‘Synaptic Comparator’, will launch with the support of 16 leading fund supermarkets and wrap platforms. On target to go live by mid July, Synaptic Comparator covers over 85,000 funds and 124 wrappers on offer from 46 product providers.  Platforms which will be available on the service at launch include: Aviva, AXA, Cofunds, Fidelity FundsNetwork, Macquarie, Nucleus, Seven IM, Skandia, Standard Life and Transact. Capita Financial Software (Capita) and The Platforum, supported by leading distributors and platforms, are holding a series of free adviser briefings to unveil the industry’s first comprehensive platform comparison service.   
Posted: 26 June 2010 | 15:25:10
Protection specialist LifeSearch has unearthed what they believe to be some of the best policy features that offer free additional cover to customers. Taking out a financial protection product is important to protect an income against death, illness or disability, but there can be much more to a policy than the payout. Some car insurance policies include Breakdown Cover and some home insurance policies provide Accidental Damage cover. Protection is no different and some policies include much more than consumers first realise. Here, in no particular order, is a selection of the top unsung protection benefits:  
Posted: 26 June 2010 | 15:23:33
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) today announced further details of the process to appoint a replacement for Director General Chris Cummings. The Director General will also have overall responsibility for the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) and the Association of Finance Brokers (AFB). An appointments committee, chaired by the Rt Hon. John Gummer Lord Deben, has been formed with representatives from AIFA, AMI and AFB Boards.  
Posted: 25 June 2010 | 10:24:42
The Office for National Statistics has produced another must-read document which has particular relevance for anyone involved in pensions, retirement planning and death-in service benefits. The document, Marital status population projections, 2008-based quotes some very interesting projections such as: - Over the period to 2033 there is projected to be a fall in the married population aged less than 65, and an increase in the never married population.  - The proportion of men aged between 45 and 64 who have never married is projected to more than double between 2008 and 2033, whilst the proportion of women of the same ages who have never married is projected to triple.  
Posted: 24 June 2010 | 12:04:47
The Social Media sites that really are worth IFAs’ time and effort.  Inside tips that you need to know Google’s White Paper IFAs in the Digital Space is available now.  Don’t forget to sign up for Google’s webinar for IFAs too How significant was the Budget for IFAs - are your views the same as these?  
Posted: 24 June 2010 | 08:03:24
Today Resolution announced the agreed acquisition of the majority of AXA's UK life assurance business (protection, corporate benefits and annuities) in a deal worth approximately £2.75bn. The deal will lead to the creation of one of the market leading providers in the corporate pensions and protection markets in the UK. The synergies between Friends Provident and the AXA operations to be acquired mean that the integration of the two organisations will deliver an enlarged group with a focus on profitable new business and key product areas, able to benefit from cost efficiencies while continuing to deliver high levels of service. The AXA UK life business will be acquired and held by Friends Provident Holdings (UK) Ltd. This transaction is a logical next step in Resolution's consolidation strategy in the UK life and asset management sectors. Combined with the Friends Provident business acquired in November 2009, the deal today creates a platform with a wide range of options for future consolidation.  
Posted: 23 June 2010 | 10:28:35
Commenting on today's emergency Budget, Edward Rimmer, UK chief executive at specialist business finance provider, Bibby Financial Services, said: "Osborne's pledge to reduce the budget deficit by focusing on lowering public spending rather than increasing taxes wasn't demonstrated by what many commentators would agree was the focal point of today's Budget - the increase of VAT to 20 per cent.  
Posted: 21 June 2010 | 09:06:11
The recession has accelerated UK online demand for financial advice. There were over 50,000 searches for the term ‘IFA' alone in Q1 2010 [1]. However most IFAs are not doing enough to be found online and are missing the opportunity to capture these leads. Financial advice searches have grown strongly in the last 18 months - the search term ‘unbiased financial advice' had 84% more queries in February 2010 than in February 2008 [5]. As the internet becomes an integral and even primary component of financial planning, companies with a strong online presence offering products or advice are benefiting hugely from the growing demand, whilst those who continue to rely solely on traditional sources of leads such as word of mouth and directories risk falling behind. Whilst query volumes have increased, the majority of IFAs have failed to step up their internet presence either through maintaining a healthy website or through promoting themselves with online advertising.   
Posted: 18 June 2010 | 18:28:01
Research from Tesco Bank reveals that dads are expecting to feel hard done by on Father's Day. Less than a quarter (22%) believe that their family will make them feel special on Father's Day and almost two thirds (59%) believe that their family spends more on Mother's Day. However, it seems most dads aren't waiting around for presents from their family. The research has identified a generation of ‘dadolescents' who enjoy treating themselves to the latest gadgets, designer gear and games consoles. The top five wish list for dadolescent spenders is:  
Posted: 18 June 2010 | 17:34:48
A recent straw poll conducted by business finance provider Bibby Financial Services shows that the majority of UK firms feel the new coalition Government will improve the outlook for businesses in the UK. With the emergency Budget due to be announced on Tuesday, almost 90 per cent of the firms surveyed by the invoice finance provider feel that the recent switch in leadership will bring about an improvement in conditions for businesses, despite public sector spending cuts and an increase in National Insurance being high on the agenda.  
Posted: 18 June 2010 | 17:30:50
Failure to consider the impact of banking reforms on the real economy could hold back global recovery according to an international meeting of bankers and regulators held in London today (18 June) The Fifth City of London - Swiss Financial Round Table discussed key topics common to both countries' financial services sectors. The topics and conclusions drawn were: Financial stability:  Tackling restoration of global financial stability presents considerable challenges for regulators and is a key task for all stakeholders. The primary objectives should be to minimise the risk of a bank failing; minimise the immediate and ultimate cost to the taxpayer of a bank's failure; and minimise market disruption and further contagion caused by the failure of a bank. Additional capital should not be the automatic answer to gaps in regulation. Macro-prudential supervision, greater shareholder and board engagement, and greater in-house risk control are just as important. It is crucial that regulatory bodies use the right mix of tools and react in a measured way.  
Posted: 17 June 2010 | 08:33:05
Banks recognise there need to be changes to banking regulation and they support moves to strengthen and streamline the system, give clarity to roles and responsibilities and ensure regulation is effective and efficient. Banks have already made substantial changes to how they operate and are at the heart of reform, working with government to help shape the nature and pace of change the BBA said today.  
Posted: 16 June 2010 | 16:40:34
With the emergency budget scheduled for next week (22 June 2010), Aviva reminds decision-makers that 64% of over 55s are worried about an increase in taxes over the next five years.These were the findings of Aviva's quarterly Real Retirement Report which looks at the finances of the three ages of retirement - pre-retirees (55 -64; retiring (65-74) and long-term retired (75 and over). This sector of the population which will swell to 18 million by 2011* is particularly vulnerable to taxation changes as they generally have a fixed income, some significant assets and spending patterns weighted to taxable items.   Indeed, should the Government increase VAT, this group which spends the majority of their income on food (% of income: 27%), fuel and light (13%), entertainment (10%) and motoring (9%) will be hard hit.  
Posted: 16 June 2010 | 16:39:17
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA), the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) and the Association of Finance Brokers (AFB) today announced the departure of Director General, Chris Cummings. Chris will take up a new role as the Chief Executive of TheCityUK, a new body set up to promote the UK based financial services industry. A process is now underway to appoint a replacement. An appointments committee, chaired by the Rt Hon. John Gummer, will be formed with representatives from the trade body's membership. Rt Hon. John Gummer, Chairman of AIFA, AMI and AFB, said:  
Posted: 16 June 2010 | 16:35:22
New analysis from professional advice website highlights that search engine optimisation for IFA businesses can be a complex task. looked at the 100 most common variables to the search term ‘independent financial advice' over the last 12 months, to compile a list of relevant key words that IFAs could use to make the most of their online presence. The list highlights that while ‘financial advisers', ‘financial adviser' and ‘independent financial advisor' occupied three of the top five search terms (2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively), ‘mortgage advice' took the actual top place of terms used by consumers looking for independent financial advice online. In addition to the top place, product and needs specific terms such as ‘pensions advice' (5th), ‘mortgage advisors' (8th), ‘equity release calculator' (9th) featured in the top ten key word list.    
Posted: 15 June 2010 | 14:59:48
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has today written to the Chancellor, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP ahead of the Emergency Budget on 22 June, urging the Coalition Government to ‘think small first'. While the FSB understands that this is an emergency budget for emergency times and that difficult decisions have to be made to tackle the debt, it has urged the Chancellor to temper this with measures which will inspire confidence in the future and allow businesses to innovate, grow and employ. There is a distinct possibility that VAT will be increased. If this is the case, the FSB urges the Government to recognise that a decision on timing is vital for small firms' cash-flow. The move to reduce VAT to 15 per cent in 2008 cost the average small business £1,500 in administration alone. Small businesses do not have the financial buffers available to be able to absorb an increase in VAT as big businesses do. The FSB has urged the Government to include a sunset clause which would allow small firms to plan for the eventual reduction and send a strong message that while tax increases are necessary in the current climate, that this Government is a low tax administration.  
Posted: 15 June 2010 | 14:57:46
According to the latest research from Standard Life, only 46% of consumers ‘care' about their pension, but over half (54%) ‘care' for their car.  The average cost of a used car sold in March this year was just £5,791, a very small figure when compared to something that could safeguard your financial future. The lack of interest in financial assets is not just about long term savings products such as pension funds. Over half of the population (53%) said they would need to have more than £10,000 in any type of savings (cash ISA etc.) before they would seek financial advice on how to invest.  Even if someone has spent time setting a pension up and still has a fund in place, almost a quarter (23%) admit that they just don't care about their pension.  Just over one in four (26%) never think about their fund with almost a  third (32%) admitting they do not even know how their pension is invested. One in ten (10%) even said they had not reviewed their fund since they started contributing to it and can't be 100% sure how they are invested.  
Posted: 15 June 2010 | 14:56:23
The headline rate of UK inflation has slowed, dipping to 3.4%, according to data released this morning. This figure is marginally below market forecasts, having hit a 17-month high in April.  As a result, there has been a knee-jerk sell off in the pound as the prospects for an early interest rate rise ebb further away. The Bank of England has been persistent in holding its line that inflation will begin to fall, despite its continued rise over the past six-months. Today's figure will certainly come as a relief for the Governor, whose stance was becoming increasingly undermined. Duncan Higgins, senior analyst at Caxton FX explains, "Mervyn King can perhaps now breathe slightly easier. Pressure was mounting, and officials were beginning to speak out about the unnerving rate at which inflation was rising. Today's figure may be the turning point that the Governor was looking for and inflation may now begin to steadily fall back."  
Posted: 14 June 2010 | 10:28:45
The CBI sees the recovery in the UK economy staying on track, but warned it will be protracted as urgent action is taken to reduce the budget deficit.  
Posted: 11 June 2010 | 13:01:28
Attractive investment location for research and innovation within electronics and communications as well as pharmaceuticals and financial services.  
Posted: 11 June 2010 | 11:07:21
As the Friends Provident t20 tournament gets underway, the life and pensions provider has commissioned a new iPhone application to enhance enjoyment and engagement with the t20 Cricket season.  
Posted: 10 June 2010 | 10:31:17
The proportion of buy-to-let remortgage business being handled by brokers fell to its lowest level for five years during the first quarter of 2010, research from Paragon Mortgages has revealed.  
Posted: 10 June 2010 | 10:28:31
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of the emergency Budget, the CBI has urged the Government to increase confidence in the public finances by bringing the deficit rapidly under control in a way that does not undermine the economy's ability to grow.  
Posted: 06 June 2010 | 13:57:39
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) comments on the Consultation paper on 'Competence and ethics' published today by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Andrew Strange, Policy Director of AIFA, said: "Today's proposals will have a wide ranging affect on all advisers, from mortgage and general insurance brokers to IFAs. At a time of significant change in the advice profession the regulator should be extremely wary of introducing yet more stringent measures on firms and individuals. The objective of the regulator must be to increase access to financial advice not restrict it.   
Posted: 06 June 2010 | 13:56:31
The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) has won the prestigious FT Sustainable Bank of the Year award, beating runner-up HSBC and 110 other financial institutions from 44 countries in the process. The highly contested global award recognises leadership and innovation in social and environmental banking and was announced at a ceremony in London last night attended by business leaders from all continents. The awards are backed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, and judged by a panel of the world's leading financiers.  In winning the top award CFS was praised for its unwavering commitment to sustainability, which had seen it maintain strong profitability, growth and ethical leadership over a prolonged period of time.    
Posted: 03 June 2010 | 09:56:54
The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) has achieved OFT approval for its code of practice under the Consumer Code of Approval Scheme (CCAS). The IPW is a trade body for Will Writers whose members provide consumers with will writing services, assistance in estate planning and related legal services. The IPW currently has 190 full members representing an estimated 20 per cent of independent will writing businesses in the UK. The approval means that consumers using an IPW member to make a will are safe in the knowledge that code approved members operate to a higher standard of consumer protection than the law requires. IPW code members are are required to:  
Posted: 03 June 2010 | 09:53:48
Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced an action plan to bring an end to the excessive regulation that is stifling business growth. He detailed the first phase of the Coalition Government's action plan to reduce regulation following the Prime Minister's commitment last week to "re-open Britain for business". The action plan: Creates a new Cabinet "Star Chamber" that will lead the Government's drive to reduce regulation which is stifling growth, especially of small businesses. This Reducing Regulation Committee will be chaired by the Business Secretary and will enforce a new approach to new laws and regulations, ensuring that their costs are being properly addressed across the entire British economy. Announces an immediate review of all regulation in the pipeline for implementation which has been inherited from the last Government. The cost of implementing this amounts to £5bn annually before April 2011 and £19.1bn per annum thereafter. This will be the first action for the new Cabinet committee. Establishes a new "challenge group" to come up with innovative approaches to achieving social and environmental goals in a non-regulatory way.  This team would work with experts including Richard Thaler, the US behavioural economist. Introduces a new approach that will control and reduce the burden of regulation.  A "one-in, one-out" approach, designed to change the culture of government, would make sure that new regulatory burdens on business are only brought in when reductions can be made to existing regulation.   Business Secretary Vince Cable said:  
Posted: 03 June 2010 | 09:48:10
Direct Line's annual wedding cost survey has found that this wedding season will be even more expensive than last year, with costs rising as the invitations drop onto the mat. Wedding guests plan to spend £215 getting ready for each wedding, including attire, travel, and accommodation, childcare, drinks at the reception and other costs of attending - and all of those costs come before they spend an average of nearly £80 on a gift for the betrothed couple. A wedding with 75 guests paying a total of £294 each would mean a massive £22,050 was spent by those invited, which might be much more than the amount spent by the couple getting married. Some wedding guests are prepared to make financial sacrifices to celebrate the nuptials of their friends or family members. More than half (52%) said they would still attend the wedding but would consider not buying a new hat or outfit if they were short of cash, while 44% of cash-strapped guests would consider spending less on the gift than they otherwise would.    
Posted: 02 June 2010 | 10:47:06
Research by independent financial research company Defaqto dispels the myth that only very wealthy clients can be considered for a discretionary managed service and suggests there is room for negotiation with an increase in service options being offered. As advisers continue to look at their business strategies in the run up to implementation of Retail Distribution Review policy at the end of 2012, it is clear that outsourcing the management of clients' portfolios to a discretionary manager is becoming a real option for some advisers. Defaqto's latest free guide describes several levels of service from the model portfolio through to the fully bespoke, individually tailored solution. Fraser Donaldson author of the guide and Insight Analyst for Funds said: "Access to discretionary management depends on the level of service required by the client. For example, a service providing a portfolio individually tailored to the client using a full range of investment vehicles and instruments coupled with regular face to face meetings with the portfolio manager is likely to require minimum investments of at least six figures."  
Posted: 02 June 2010 | 10:40:12
Our political and economic lives may be uncertain, but when it comes to home life it's good to know that some things are as traditional as they ever were. A study of ten years worth of data from Aviva, the UK's largest insurer, reveals the most common British house name is the very conventional "The Cottage" and it is occupied by the "Smiths" who reside in the "High Street." There are two cars in the drive, one of which is a Ford Fiesta and the most popular holiday destination is still good old Spain. But some more modern-day traits are creeping in - while we may no longer be a nation of smokers, most of us don't exercise and dinners are mainly eaten in front of Eastenders on a 32-inch wide telly. Home sweet home The Aviva data shows that Mr and Mrs Smith are most likely to live in a three-bedroom detached house, built around the turn of the 20th Century, nestled between their neighbours Mr & Mrs Jones at "Rose Cottage" and Mr & Mrs Williams at "The Bungalow".    
Posted: 02 June 2010 | 10:36:47
Balances held in savings accounts at mutual institutions increased by £929 million in April compared to an increase of £534 million in March. After interest credited to accounts is excluded, mutuals had a net receipt of £537 million in April. Important media note: From 1 March 2010, in relation to data for the month of January 2010 onwards, theBank of England has combined figures for building societies and mutually owned banks. This new data is reported as the 'mutual sector'. Previous data will not be restated and therefore it is not possible to make comparisons with previous periods. For more information about this change please see   Commenting on the savings figures, Adrian Coles, BSA Director-General, said: "Mutuals have been able to attract savers by offering competitive rates, especially on popular ISA products. However, maintaining positive inflows will remain a challenge while the Bank Rate remains low as savers may seek higher returns elsewhere, albeit at greater risk, or may opt to repay debt instead."  
Posted: 28 May 2010 | 13:13:51
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA), in association with Legal & General, today announced that it is to produce a report on alternative business models for IFA firms.  
Posted: 27 May 2010 | 10:21:01
The Investment Management Association (IMA) is calling on the Government to undertake a comprehensive review before making any further piecemeal changes to pensions and savings incentives.  This is the main element of the IMA's submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the Budget on 22 June.  
Posted: 27 May 2010 | 10:11:56
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA), working with AEGON UK, the leading life assurance and pensions company, urge the new Government to take steps to rebuild Britain's savings culture.  
Posted: 25 May 2010 | 11:56:20
The majority of IFAs (61%) are confident the coalition Government is good news for the adviser market but acknowledge there are some issues to be resolved, according to new research from Sun Life Financial of Canada.  
Posted: 25 May 2010 | 10:18:10
The UK economy grew more than expected in the first quarter of 2010 according to official statistics released this morning. An upward revision to 0.3% from the lacklustre first estimate of 0.2% gave the pound a slight boost - up 0.04% against the euro to 1.1671.  
Posted: 22 May 2010 | 11:58:30
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has today published its response to the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) consultation paper on the ‘Mortgage Market Review: Arrears and Approved Persons'. AMI supports the desire to improve standards in the industry, increasing transparency and reducing levels of fraud. However, to achieve this the individual register will need to cover all those involved in the mortgage process and not just intermediaries. Robert Sinclair, Director of AMI, said: "We have consistently argued for the introduction of an individual register for the mortgage industry. This increased transparency will help build consumer confidence. But any register must be applied equally across the industry and include all sales staff as well as intermediaries. The register must also make clear exactly what each individual's role is so consumers know who they are dealing with and what actions they are permitted to perform.  
Posted: 22 May 2010 | 11:56:11
John Heron, Paragon Mortgages' managing director, comments on the suspension of Home Information Packs (HIPs) and the implication for UK landlords: ‘The decision to suspend HIPs is a welcome move and long overdue. The original policy objective to improve the house purchase process was sound, but HIPs were simply the wrong vehicle. They added a new, expensive layer of bureaucracy and did the opposite of what they were intended to do.  
Posted: 22 May 2010 | 11:54:47
They should use more than one platform to meet customers’ needs Research from Aviva shows that financial advisers are turning to wrap platforms ahead of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) implementation - and Aviva is urging advisers to act now and ensure their selected platforms meet the requirements outlined in the FSA's Thematic Review of Platforms. The survey of more than 300 advisers shows that 83% of advisers have adopted a wrap platform or fund supermarket and about half of advisers (53%) say their use of wraps will increase. Aviva agrees with the FSA's view that advisers should adopt more than one platform to ensure they can meet the needs of all their clients up to and beyond the introduction of RDR. At present one in five (20%) advisers use only one platform, 40% use two wrap platforms or fund supermarkets, 28% use three and 11% use four or more.  
Posted: 21 May 2010 | 12:56:07
Business Chameleon, a newly established financial advice organisation specialising in the field of business transition, in particular the ever present retail distribution review. Julie Ampadu, Business Chameleon’s Managing Director, based in the North West has a wealth of experience in the financial services industry with several years in compliance, T&C and personal and business development and as a result of this has an in-depth understanding of the IFA communities needs and key issues. With the recent Government changes it has become clear that the Retail Distribution instigated amendments to the financial services sector are here to stay and Business Chameleon are offering specially designed services to assist in this transformation.  With unique 1-2-1 support, bespoke packages and an interactive, practical and fun training programme Business Chameleon can provide all the support required to modernise financial businesses.  
Posted: 20 May 2010 | 13:35:14
Coalition Government plans for pensions reform were today given a broad thumbs up by the NAPF, which represents Britain's workplace pensions funds and their 15 million members.  
Posted: 20 May 2010 | 13:32:56
In an important step at a point of fragile recovery in the housing market, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Housing Minister Grant Shapps today announced that with immediate effect, they are suspending the requirement for homeowners to provide a Home Information Pack (HIP) when selling their homes.  
Posted: 20 May 2010 | 13:29:55
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries welcomed new figures from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, which show that the intermediary sector continues to dominate the UK mortgage lending market and is responsible for introducing nearly two thirds of all mortgages.  
Posted: 19 May 2010 | 18:11:48
As part of its growing commitment to the development of the Financial Planning profession, IFP is pleased to announce that Rory Curran has been appointed to the IFP board. This appointment is designed to complement the existing board structure, currently consisting of ten key individuals from within the Financial Planning profession, all of which are CFPCM Professionals. Curran, not a CFPCM professional himself and formerly of 1st Software, becomes the IFP's first public representative on its board, which fulfils the role of providing vital strategic direction and thinking to IFP and its staff.  Nick Cann CFPCM is CEO of IFP and comments "As the professional body for Financial Planners in the UK, it is crucial that the IFP has a broad representation within our board structure to challenge the executive and to ensure balance between the governance of the profession and our own strategic direction. Rory has a very strong connection with the financial services sector in the UK, and built an excellent business as CEO of 1st software. He is very highly regarded within our profession and I look forward to working with him.  As IFP continues to grow, other similar appointments to the board are likely to be made."  
Posted: 19 May 2010 | 11:41:50

Posted: 17 May 2010 | 13:26:49
  IFA Life, the Social Networking site for financial advisers is announcing a full day, intensive marketing workshop for IFAs in a post RDR world. With research from IFA Life revealing that less than 5% of IFA firms have any formalised marketing strategy, it is vital that if their client proposition is to be clear and to stand out from the crowd, IFAs must address their marketing activities as a matter of urgency. Founder of IFA Life and host of the workshop Philip Calvert said today: "Travelling round the UK meeting IFAs, it's clear that many financial advice firms are now looking closely at their business models with RDR in mind. They all know that a clear client proposition will be essential, but most have thought little about how they will communicate it to existing clients, prospects and professional connections." Best practice A key element of the workshop will be sharing of marketing best practice amongst IFAs. Calvert, who has been working with IFAs for over thirty years both with Providers and as an independent marketing consultant, says that the IFA firms who are effective at marketing all have key things in common which will give them a competitive edge in a post RDR world.    
Posted: 17 May 2010 | 11:37:19
The economic downturn has led advisers to recognise that they need to challenge the traditional IFA business model and focus more on financial planning, according to a new report out today from Russell Investments and the Institute of Financial Planning. The report ‘Examining Today's Financial Advisory Business: Investment Approaches and Current Practice' surveyed the investment approaches of financial advisers in the UK and the changes they have experienced as a result of the global financial crisis.  
Posted: 17 May 2010 | 10:35:09

Posted: 14 May 2010 | 11:47:33
Something really exciting may be about to happen to UK pensions policy.  At last, we may have real hope of remedying the dreadful damage of the past 13 years.  I understand that Steve Webb has been appointed as the new Government's Pensions Minister - what a great choice.  
Posted: 12 May 2010 | 10:36:46
David Cameron replaced Gordon Brown as the UK's new Prime Minister yesterday evening as it had become evident that Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrat party favoured entering a coalition government with the Conservatives, rather than the outgoing Labour Party.  
Posted: 12 May 2010 | 09:32:24
The housing market experienced a post-Budget boost in April that saw increased numbers of buyers and sellers and strong sales, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).  
Posted: 12 May 2010 | 09:30:14
From tomorrow (13 May) borrowers with only a ten per cent deposit will be able to get a mortgage with the Post Office through a range of new 90% LTV deals, including two market leading rates for the two year and five year fixed rate products. In addition, Post Office Mortgages now offers 85% LTV deals, has cut rates across its other mortgages for the fifth time this year, and introduced a new ‘fee free' five year fixed mortgage for existing homeowners looking to change their lender.  
Posted: 11 May 2010 | 11:50:21
Sylvia Perrins, Chief Executive, National Skills Academy for Financial Services (NSAFS) has been named as one of the finalists in the First Women Awards 2010 in the Finance category.  
Posted: 11 May 2010 | 10:10:30
SB snap poll shows that 54 per cent of firms will not move forward with plans to expand following election results and 49 per cent want another election in six months  
Posted: 05 May 2010 | 16:20:08
Nearly a quarter of all self-employed workers have been their own boss for less than two years, according to research carried out on behalf of Kensington. The survey found that 24% of people who are self-employed have been so for less than two years. Given that the research also found there are 5 million self-employed workers in the UK, this means that 1.2 million people have started working for themselves since March 2008, during which period the UK economy contracted for six consecutive quarters.  
Posted: 04 May 2010 | 09:56:12
IFAs around the UK are hailing IFA Life's Introduction to Financial Life Planning workshops as a big success. Two workshops in London completely sold out, resulting in a third having to be organised. Workshops in Manchester and Bristol were also well attended, as IFAs sought to learn more about whether Life Planning techniques would work as part of the way they build relationships with clients. Co-presenter of the workshops Philip Calvert said today: "With RDR on the horizon, it's great to see so many IFAs opening their minds to new ideas. There has been a lot of hype about Life Planning in the UK, but with many IFAs assuming that simply because it is popular in the USA that it won't work in the UK." "The purpose of the workshops was specifically to cut through the hype and to examine what Life Planning really is, what it isn't and the business case for introducing it into an IFA's business"  
Posted: 03 May 2010 | 09:04:30
From food to fashion, the 1980s still influences more than 50% of British adults according to a new study by M&S Money, commissioned to mark the company's 25th anniversary. Favourites from the ‘Yuppie' decade are lasting the test of time, with people enjoying music and films from 1985 - the year that M&S launched into financial services - and household gadgets such as food processors and video recorders still being used 20 or more years on. Colin Kersley, M&S Money Chief Executive, said;  "So much has changed since M&S made the decision to launch into financial services a quarter of a century ago, but our research shows that many elements of 1980s' culture have lasted the test of time.  Some values from 1985 are as relevant today as they were back then.  For example, the first real mass-market fundraising event was Live Aid and this really set the standard for multi-media fundraising projects such as Children in Need and Sport Relief that are now commonplace  
Posted: 28 April 2010 | 12:15:21
As the leaders of the three main political parties join for the final of the groundbreaking televised debates tomorrow (Thursday 29 April), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has raised key arguments which it believes are vital to strengthening economic recovery that each party leader should answer to.  
Posted: 28 April 2010 | 09:46:36
The Professional and Financial Lines team of Zurich in the UK which provides insurance cover for breaches of professional duties to customers, has launched a new Technology and Telecommunications insurance product.  
Posted: 28 April 2010 | 09:45:18
Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP), the equity release providers' trade body, has urged each of the main political parties to go further in their pledges to tackle the issue of how to fund Britain's ageing population.  
Posted: 28 April 2010 | 09:43:49
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is taking tough action after finding weaknesses in five banks' handling of customer complaints.  
Posted: 26 April 2010 | 11:35:24
Whilst the most pressing issue for the Government in power come May 7th will be to set about reducing the budget deficit, at the same time, it should not lose sight of the importance of encouraging the savings habit in the UK.
Posted: 21 April 2010 | 18:53:39
AEGON has produced a new guide to help advisers understand everything they need to know about protection claims, ensuring cases of non-disclosure are reduced further. The guide includes valuable information explaining the reasons behind why some claims are declined, with checklists to help advisers ensure the customer discloses as much detail as possible on the application form to avoid non disclosure issues.   The claims guide also helps advisers manage their customers' expectations, ensuring they are aware of what illnesses they are covered for when taking out a protection plan.    
Posted: 21 April 2010 | 18:51:57
Aviva, the UK's largest insurer, paid out 1,499 critical illness (CI) claims during 2009, totalling almost £118 million paid to people in need. This contributes to a total of £343 million paid to Aviva customers since 2007. The average amount paid out has increased to £79,000 in 2009, compared to £75,000 in 2008. A further £151 million has been paid to the families of people who have died, or been diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2009. This takes the total Aviva has paid out to over £1 billion pounds in critical illness and life insurance claims since 2006.  
Posted: 19 April 2010 | 16:15:55
Sammedia Limited, the web solutions provider to the financial services industry, today announces that it has agreed heads of terms to acquire technology firm FinQS. By acquiring FinQS, Sammedia will expand its services to include TCF Centre, the leading client feedback solution, currently used by over 100 professional advisory firms, providers and networks to gather, collate and analyse client feedback. Delivering automated client feedback, it improves client service, gains more referrals and monitors business performance, as well as providing strong evidence to support TCF. This acquisition brings together a strong team of talented individuals with a wealth of financial services and technology expertise between them.    
Posted: 15 April 2010 | 09:17:19
80% of accountants and solicitors believe there is potential to increase their current level of referrals to IFAs* but, according to a detailed report undertaken by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, it is incumbent upon IFAs to forge these relationships and show exactly how they can add value to the businesses of their fellow professionals.  The report examines the current preferences of accountants and solicitors, and also highlights the huge opportunity for IFAs to build a greater level of professional interaction with solicitors as a result of forthcoming legislation. Over 70% of solicitors already refer clients to IFAs on an informal basis, but there is huge potential to establish stronger professional connections as the legislative building blocks are put in place. The forthcoming Legal Services Act (2011) will make it possible for new entrants to challenge traditionally structured legal practices. Solicitors will come under greater competitive pressures and will increasingly need to establish a more valuable client proposition. There is clearly an overlap between many areas of tax, legal and financial advice and the Retail Distribution Review, which addresses areas such as qualification levels and professionalism within the IFA market, comes at a time when these legal businesses are looking for lucrative client sharing or even joint venture possibilities.  
Posted: 13 April 2010 | 07:17:24
Friends Provident paid £34.5 million in critical illness (CI) claims in 2009 the company revealed today. Friends received 624 claims last year; of these 578 (92.6%) were paid and 46 (7.4%) were declined. The percentage of claims declined due to non-disclosure fell by nearly half from 4% to 2.1%. Just 5.3% of claims were declined due to the definition not being met. The statistics reveal an increase in the number of children's critical illness claims the company has received and paid since 2007. Children's claims now account for the fifth highest reason for claims.  
Posted: 13 April 2010 | 07:14:03
The Resolution Foundation is delighted that the Financial Services Bill received Royal Assent during the wash-up process. The Bill will establish the Consumer Financial Education Body which will be responsible for running Money Made Clear – the new financial advice service aimed at low earners.  The Foundation has been championing the ‘advice gap’ that low earners face and is delighted that Money Made Clear was rolled out nationally in March. Crucially it now has an independent body to run it, giving it a strong footing in its first year of delivery. Now, more than ever, low earners are in need of help before they miss their first payment.   
Posted: 13 April 2010 | 07:09:52
They say money can buy you anything, but that may be one step closer to being proven true today as new analysis by longevity experts Club Vita reveals the full extent of the link between high affluence and increased life expectancy.  Club Vita analysed the correlation between how much people earn and life expectancy levels on a national scale to reveal direct links between the two. As the maps below show there are clear parallels between areas of high income and the chance to enjoy a long retirement. By contrast, many poorer areas of the country face a much shorter life after work, particularly with the State Retirement Age set to rise in the coming years.  
Posted: 13 April 2010 | 07:07:59
British businesses are more hopeful about their economic prospects than at any time since January 2008, but remain wary about the overall economic outlook, according to the latest Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets Business Barometer. The overall picture The survey - a monthly snapshot of company views on the outlook for the economy - shows that more than half of UK businesses (54 per cent) expect their business activity to increase over the coming year, while only one in twenty (5 per cent) believe trading will slow. The resulting balance of +49 is three per cent higher than February's balance of +46 per cent. Firms are still cautious about the economy as a whole, with the balance of firms saying they are more optimistic about the economic outlook than they were three months ago falling back 12 per cent to 43 per cent. However, these figures are still in line with the recent monthly average of the survey, indicating that sustained economic recovery is likely to continue during the first half of the year.  
Posted: 08 April 2010 | 14:59:18
2plan Wealth Management (‘2plan’), the UK’s fastest growing national IFA today announced the launch of its first ‘m-commerce’ initiative with a mobile version of its popular adviser portal, ‘Nexus’. Already used by over 200 advisers, the Nexus portal ( is a comprehensive secure extranet providing some of the richest functionality and real-time information available on any bespoke adviser website. The newly developed m-commerce service now gives advisers with mobile phones, smart phones and PDAs 24/7 on-demand access to Nexus functionality including:  Commission payments Case checking reports Flagged policies Policy information and notes Provider contact details  Chris Smallwood, chief executive, 2plan wealth management comments:  
Posted: 07 April 2010 | 11:32:08
Tina Weeks of Serenity Financial Planning in Barnet has today been confirmed as the first female Registered Life Planner® in the United Kingdom. The RLP® designation from the Kinder Institute of Life Planning in the United States represents successful completion of a comprehensive curriculum in client‐centred financial planning, including a two‐day Seven Stages of Money Maturity workshop, a five‐day Advanced Life Planning training and six months intensive personal mentoring. As the financial advice profession enters a period of profound change, many IFAs believe that integrating Financial Life Planning into their businesses will not only become a key marketing differentiator but also vital in demonstrating to consumers that financial advisers are not sales people – but trusted professionals who are integral to helping them achieve their most important life goals. Tina Weeks said today: “The importance of professionalism through examination has never been more important, but so too are a financial planner’s inter‐personal skills. I, like many IFAs thought I was already Life Planning, but it was only when I started on the Kinder training that I realised there was very much more to it.”  
Posted: 07 April 2010 | 07:17:29
It has been one of the worst-kept secrets in political history, but today we finally have confirmation that the UK General Election will be held on 6 May, the same day as local elections in England. In spite of widespread predictions of a hung Parliament, or at the very least the closest election result since 1974, late last week bookmaker Ladbrokes was offering odds of 1-6 on a Conservative victory, with Labour at 7-2 at the Liberal Democrats a 200-1 long shot. But what does the election augur for markets? Research by F&C Investments looking at market returns (as measured by the FTSE All-Share Index) in the month following an election indicates that an uncertain outcome is likely to be unpopular. In the last election to produce a hung Parliament - February 1974 - the All-Share fell 14.52% in the month following polling day, while the narrow Labour victory in the second election of October that year saw the All-Share rise by 1.67% in the following month. (It is worth remembering, however, that 1974 was an exceptionally bad year for stockmarkets, with the FTSE All-Share ending the year more than 50% below its starting position.)  
Posted: 07 April 2010 | 07:15:28
The number of UK dads staying at home to care for young children has risen 10 times in as many years, according to new research revealed today.  A new study from Aviva reveals that an increasing number of men are taking hold of the apron strings while their partner goes out to work, often simply because the woman earns more than her ‘significant other'. One in six couples (16%) with dependent children say that the main wage earner is female.  Compared to only 60,000 men who took on the role of the primary parent 10 years ago**, Aviva found that now more than 600,000 UK men - or 6% of men with dependent children - regularly look after their children while their wife or girlfriend works, signifying a ten-fold increase. A further 18% of parent couples say that they share childcare equally in their household.   
Posted: 06 April 2010 | 15:29:16
The majority of financial advisers are not worried by the recent crackdown by the FSA on pension switching according to a new online survey.  The survey found that of those advisers active in the pension switching market, over 70% claimed to be unconcerned about the impact of the Thematic Review on their pension switching business.  This comes after high profile FSA fines in past weeks for the likes of Financial Limited and Tenon. The survey carried out by found that less than 30% of respondents were concerned about their pensions switching procedures.  The vast majority of these claimed to have reviewed their procedures and had plans to deal with the FSAs requirements, but a small proportion (5%) said they were not sure what action to take to avoid similar fines being directed at them.  
Posted: 03 April 2010 | 12:10:09
First-time buyer traffic up 15 per cent in the week following the Chancellor’s decision to abolish stamp duty on properties below £250,000 Analysis from has revealed that the Chancellor’s Budget cornerstone - the abolition of stamp duty for anyone purchasing their first property under £250,000 - has provided a welcome kick start to the housing market, while the rest of the population have given the Chancellor’s plans a big thumbs-up in principle. In the week immediately following the Budget, moneysupermarket saw a 15 per cent jump in the number of prospective first-time buyers visiting its mortgage comparison channel.  
Posted: 03 April 2010 | 12:08:16
Aviva, the UK's largest insurance provider, today reveals that the traditional inheritance is on the wane and being replaced instead with a ‘pre-inheritance'. Nearly half (46%) of British adults say they have received a pre-inheritance, where the benefactor passes on some of their estate to beneficiaries before they die, compared to only 37% who have received the more traditional inheritance*. People are most likely to receive their pre-inheritance when aged 18-25 years old (29%), followed by those in the 31 - 40 year old age group (19%) and 26 - 30 year  olds (18%). However, as the pensions crisis continues to bite, only 17% of over 55s are currently planning on leaving a pre-inheritance to their loved ones, with one in five (20%) saying they don't have enough money to pass an inheritance early and 21% saying they need to keep hold of the money to be financially secure for the future.  
Posted: 03 April 2010 | 12:06:30
The majority of people in the UK (81%) haven't let the recession affect their life plans for 2010, such as getting married, planning a family or setting up a business, according to new research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank. In the UK-wide survey, the Banks' research revealed that, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of people were not deterred from big decisions for 2010, such as tying the knot, getting divorced, having a child or even taking a year out to go travelling, by the economic downturn.  
Posted: 30 March 2010 | 17:16:20
Standards International, the UK’s leading certification body for ISO 22222, today confirmed that they will be holding a free evening seminar to explain the benefits of being certified to the only international standard for best practice in financial planning. Lockton, the world’s largest privately owned independent insurance broker, will be sponsoring the event which means financial advisers and their guests can attend at no cost. Standards International Directors Michelle Hoskin and Melanie Blackmore will set out the many benefits of achieving ISO 22222 as well as detailing how ISO 22222 can help advisers to meet RDR requirements and gain competitive advantage.  
Posted: 27 March 2010 | 13:21:34
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has responded to today's publication of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) final rules paper from the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Chris Cummings, Director General, AIFA said: "The original intent of the RDR was far bolder than the announcements contained in today's publication. I see very little in it that will reach out to encourage more people to save more, invest for their future, or better protect themselves in an uncertain world. The reforms are largely focused on parts of the industry that were already in transition. I am extremely concerned about the substantial increase in the estimated costs of the measures proposed in the RDR.      
Posted: 25 March 2010 | 16:53:05
Alistair Darling delivered his third Budget on Wednesday 24 March 2010. After the fireworks of the last Budget and December’s Pre-Budget Report, the 2010 Budget was (thankfully) a bit of a damp squib for pensions, largely confirming what we already knew:    -       the freezing of the personal allowance at £6,475 and of the basic rate tax band to the next £37,400. Higher rate tax of 40% will apply to taxable income over £37,400 and a new additional rate of tax of 50% will apply to taxable income over £150,000 -       the tapering of tax relief, from April 2011, for pension contributions for those with income of £150,000 or more and the anti-forestalling measures that will apply to prevent abuse in the intervening period.  
Posted: 25 March 2010 | 11:48:45
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has responded to today's Budget statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Chris Cummings, Director General, AIFA said: "Today's budget only tells half the story for the future of the economy. The real question of how to address the current Government deficit will only be tackled after the election. The next spending review will really set the future direction of travel for the economy.  
Posted: 25 March 2010 | 11:43:40
As Chancellor Darling delivered his 2010 Budget speech in Westminster yesterday, forward thinking IFAs and financial planners were tweeting his key announcements using the social networking tool Twitter. The micro-blogging tool has seen explosive growth over the last four years, and is now the fastest growing application on the Internet. With cash-strapped consumers and recession-weary investors wanting clarification on how the budget will affect them and looking for expert comment on the financial markets, Twitter is proving a powerful and valuable new tool to keep clients informed. Founder of the financial advisers' social networking website IFA Life, Philip Calvert said today:  
Posted: 24 March 2010 | 11:22:22
Easter bank holiday sees the number of consumers seeking advice increases by 10%.  Analysis from,’s lead generation business, reveals that over the Easter bank holiday weekend, 10 per cent more consumers go online to look for financial advice from intermediaries. But despite more consumers applying for financial advice over the Easter weekend, last year there were significantly fewer intermediaries online to respond according to  Data shows that on Good Friday 2009 there were nearly a third (28%) fewer advisers ready to respond to queries via than on an average day.  This increased to 35 per cent fewer advisers who were online on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Easter weekend.  
Posted: 24 March 2010 | 09:45:20
A significant majority of advisers believe a fully independent model is the most attractive option under the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). On a scale of 1 (not attractive) to 6 (highly attractive), 83% rated the fully independent model at 4 or above, with 71% awarding a rating of 5 or above. No other option received a rating of 5 or above from more than 9% of advisers. In fact, 72% of advisers believed that removing the designation "independent" would have a high or very high impact on their business. The next most significant impact was believed to be the proposed professionalism and qualification requirements, which 36% thought would have a high or very high impact. Advisers were far more relaxed about the possible requirement to use more than one platform to retain independent status, with 22% believing this would have a high or very high impact.  
Posted: 24 March 2010 | 09:43:18
1st-The Exchange today announced it is working with brand consultants, Uffindell, to undertake a complete re-brand of its business, as part of the company’s future strategy and growth. The new change of name is expected to be unveiled in the summer, subject to consultation and legal planning. David Child, managing director of 1st – The Exchange explains:  
Posted: 23 March 2010 | 16:24:25
Alistair Darling must innovate housing policy in the Budget or freeze out thousands of potential first time buyers (FTBs), the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) warns today.  
Posted: 23 March 2010 | 16:21:26
"Britons are becoming increasingly divided between those who are able to obtain credit and those who either can't, or can only do so at a price - and the financial services industry must work harder to become more effective at satisfying consumer needs across the credit spectrum."  
Posted: 23 March 2010 | 16:16:12
With a general election around the corner, research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) suggests tax is very much on the agenda for investors.  When asked what they consider to be the biggest threat to their finances, 45% of active investors and 21% of the general public said changes in the tax rates were the biggest threat.   
Posted: 22 March 2010 | 11:14:36
Demand amongst IFAs in the UK for information on how to introduce Financial Life Planning into an IFA business continues to grow with a second London workshop selling out rapidly. After the first Introduction to Financial Life Planning workshop in London this week, co-presenter Philip Calvert said: "We've been delighted with the response to these workshops. We knew that many IFAs have been considering introducing Life Planning into their businesses, but we're taken aback at just how many." Philip Calvert continued: "The first workshop sold out within hours, so we added a second - and that has sold out too!"  
Posted: 20 March 2010 | 13:59:38
Self-employed 35-44 year olds have pension pots less than a third of the size of their employed counterparts Currently, the average pension savings of a self-employed 35-44 year old are £24,500, with half having pension savings of less than £3,500.  In stark contrast, the average 35-44 year old employed worker has a pension fund of £73,000, with half having built up a fund of £20,000.  This gap is increased when you consider the self-employed will not receive the additional state pension (S2P) at retirement.  To provide the income an average male age 65 receives from S2P today, a self-employed person would need an additional pension pot of £30,000, over and above any other savings.  Andrew Tully, Senior Pensions Policy Manager, Standard Life comments:    
Posted: 19 March 2010 | 18:01:42
IFP has this week sent its response to the FSA in respect of the consultation paper containing its proposals for enhancing the professionalism of advisers under the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).      
Posted: 17 March 2010 | 08:31:10
Scottish Widows fourth annual Savings and Investments Report examines people's attitudes to, and understanding of savings and investments.  It aims to give some insight to the issues people are facing when it comes to savings behaviour and investigates how the industry can help them build their financial understanding and expand the appropriate use of savings and investment products. It looks specifically at savings habits: who is saving and why, how people are saving, and the barriers that prevent people from putting their money into savings and investment vehicles. Iain McGowan, savings expert at Scottish Widows comments: "The fourth Scottish Widows Savings and Investments Report gives us the opportunity to gauge the nation's views on savings at a time when people are reassessing their finances post recession. The downturn of the last two years has adversely affected the finances of many households whether through reduced earnings, increased everyday expenses or debt repayment. This all means that people have had to work harder than ever to put money aside for the future. While it is encouraging that many people have met or exceeded their savings goals, the proportion of people saving nothing has doubled from the previous year, highlighting how much still needs to be done to get the nation saving."  
Posted: 17 March 2010 | 08:17:16
PayPal has upgraded its iPhone application, adding a feature that lets users make payments by bumping handsets together.   PayPal today unveiled a new Send Money application for iPhone. Version 2.0 of the PayPal Send Money app gives PayPal and iPhone customers around the world secure mobile access to their money and convenient features for everyday life, including "Bump" money transfers, Split Cheque and Collect Money. With "bump" users can put two iPhones together, and funds are quickly transferred between their PayPal accounts. The Split Cheque feature lets users conveniently divide and quickly reimburse each other for the cost of a meal, including tip and tax, for up to 20 people. Collect Money allows users to request money from multiple people for a joint gift, team dues, concert tickets, and more. Users can send gifts of money on the spot for birthdays, anniversaries or any moment of impulsive generosity.  
Posted: 17 March 2010 | 08:15:33
New research from YouGov commissioned by HSBC and the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) shows that children have been strongly impacted by the recession.  Over a third of the children (34 per cent) interviewed have heard adults say they cannot buy something because of the recession more than once a week, whilst a quarter of them have actually reduced their own spending because of the recession. The survey was unusual as it not only covered over 1,000 children aged 9 -10 but it also interviewed their parents as well.  The survey looked at children's understanding of money and was commissioned as part of the What Money Means programme, an initiative to expand financial education in primary schools.  
Posted: 15 March 2010 | 12:27:41
Growth in sustainable and ethical investment is set to accelerate this year after new research from The Co-operative Investments revealed that 13 per cent of investors are likely to go green with their ISA allowance.  The potential for a double digit share of the ISA market follows a decade that has seen ethical investment grow almost two and a half times, and confirms it is no longer seen as an area of investment just for the principled.     
Posted: 15 March 2010 | 12:26:31
Standard Life plc ("Standard Life") has today announced that it has purchased the remaining 75% stake in the intermediary support services business, threesixty LLP ("threesixty"), having held a 25% stake in the firm since May 2007. The acquisition was effective from 12 March 2010. threesixty is one of the premier intermediary support services firms in the UK with 575 high quality IFA clients firms who are responsible for 5,160 regulated financial advisers. The business has an excellent reputation for providing compliance, technical help and training, as well as technology advice and support to top quality intermediary firms and has grown successfully since its formation in March 2003. Standard Life has worked closely with and fully supported the IFA market for many years and the further investment in threesixty demonstrates our continuing belief and long-term commitment to the IFA sector as we approach the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). We believe this agreement will further strengthen our understanding of advisers and what we can do to further meet their needs and requirements in the future.  
Posted: 14 March 2010 | 11:19:19
A Just Retirement survey of advisers reveals that the majority are committed to providing a comprehensive service to their retiring clients, even those with small funds. 72% of advisers surveyed maintain that providing a full service was a major factor in advising on annuities. The vast majority continue to advise on small funds to obtain a better income for their clients, with 64% having no minimum fund size and a further 15% being willing to advise on funds of only £10,000. 88% maintain that they now take into account a client's full medical history in every case. Given the extension of enhanced annuities to cover a wider range of medical and lifestyle conditions over the past few years, this is a very encouraging sign that awareness has increased and that more retirees stand to benefit from a significant improvement in their income.  
Posted: 14 March 2010 | 11:18:00
Welcoming the launch of a nationwide service for money guidance developed by the FSA, the Consumer Panel today urged all political parties to ensure the Bill to establish the new Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB) gets through in this Parliament. Adam Phillips, Chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel said:  
Posted: 12 March 2010 | 15:03:50
Independent wrap platform Ascentric today announces the launch of a new branding service that will enable advisers to offer a seamless branded experience to clients.  
Posted: 10 March 2010 | 13:59:13
The main stories from the John Charcol Index for the first two months of 2010 are the beginning of a revival in the remortgage market and the stabilization of fixed rate take up, but at the very low level of around 20%. The John Charcol Index revealed that the market share taken by remortgages (including product transfers) increased for the third month running and the dramatic fall in the take up of fixed rates since the middle of last year has come to an end. The remortgage market returns "Purchases took only 47.3% of mortgages sold by John Charcol in February, down from a peak of 58.5% in November. The February figure is the lowest market share taken by purchases since April of last year and provides evidence that activity in the remortgage market has bottomed out. After the normal seasonal lull in December John Charcol placed significantly more business in January and February, adding to the other evidence that the downturn in mortgage approvals and lending reported by the Bank of England and the Council of Mortgage Lenders for January will be reversed when the February figures are released," comments Ray Boulger of John Charcol.  
Posted: 10 March 2010 | 12:16:26
Mobile internet boom favours investment in components suppliers and network developers Corporate IT spend is expected to return to growth in 2010 and beyond A decade after the technology bubble burst, the convergence of a number of trends is expected to drive growth throughout 2010 and beyond for the previously unloved sector, according to Fidelity International. Dmitry Solomakhin, portfolio manager at Fidelity International, believes the technology sector is at the start of a number of product cycles from which investors can benefit. The key opportunities are:  
Posted: 10 March 2010 | 12:14:15
Defaqto's new guide to critical illness published today reports that despite declining mortgage sales, critical illness sales have not suffered as much as expected. The two have historically been interlinked but in 2009 gross mortgage lending fell from £362,632 million in 2007 to £143,506 million. Mortgage related critical illness sales fell by 19.5% but total critical illness sales by only 4.7% . Ben Heffer, Insight Analyst at Defaqto and author of the new guide, said: "Protection policies are ‘sold' not ‘bought' and protection advisers have simply had to work harder for their sales. Advisers have had to increase their sales efforts to counter the difficult conditions caused by the recession and householders' desire to rein in spending.  
Posted: 10 March 2010 | 12:12:10
The UK economy, it seems, can't catch a break. Data released this morning has shown a sharp fall in output for UK manufacturing. Figures revealed a 0.9% drop in production in January, against expectations of a 0.3% rise. It also marks a stark difference from December's data, which showed a surprise 0.9% expansion in the sector, supporting UK economic growth in the final quarter of last year. Today's figure marks the steepest fall since August 2009 and will renew concerns that the UK economy could dip back into negative growth.  
Posted: 09 March 2010 | 12:57:33
IFA Life and Financial Weeks are delighted to announce that they are partnering with Russell Investments to deliver a series of five Introduction to Financial Life Planning workshops to IFAs around the UK. With the financial advice community entering a period of significant change, many IFAs are looking for new ways to enhance their client proposition and to make it more appealing and relevant to today's consumers. IFA Life reports that following extensive media coverage on Life Planning in the UK, there has been significant interest amongst IFAs in how it can help their businesses and add value to clients. But whilst IFAs are intrigued by Life Planning, most do not know what to do next and have questions around:  
Posted: 09 March 2010 | 12:51:39
Data this morning has shown that the UK trade deficit widened by one billion pounds, more than had been expected in January. A deficit of £8 billion was recorded for the first month of this year, a long way from the median forecasts, which in fact called for a modest narrowing of the deficit to £7.0 billion. It has come as a greater surprise, given the comparative weakness of the UK currency recently, which experts had anticipated would lead to an improved trade balance.  
Posted: 09 March 2010 | 11:46:21
Standards International today warned that many advisers eligible for Government funding to help with the costs of achieving the international standard in financial planning (ISO 22222) would miss out on the funds if they didn’t apply soon. The “Train to Gain” funding will no longer be available after August 2010. Until then some advisers may be eligible to have two thirds of the cost of obtaining ISO 22222 certification paid for by the Government.   
Posted: 06 March 2010 | 13:53:20
Andrew Hagger of comments on the latest fixed rate savings products from Northern Rock. Following the recent announcement that the 100% state guarantee on Northern Rock savings balances would end on May 24th, it was interesting to see the bank increasing rates on its one and two year fixed rate bonds yesterday. Whilst existing variable rate savers are still fully protected until 24th May and existing fixed rate accounts until maturity, any new accounts do not come with this added level of comfort.  
Posted: 06 March 2010 | 13:51:21
The Government’s pensions tax relief reforms for those on higher incomes are ill thought out, complex, costly to implement and will damage the pension prospects for those on middle and low incomes... In a detailed response to the HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs consultation paper Implementing the restriction of pensions tax relief, the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) has said that the policy is ‘seriously flawed' with each attempt to try to make it fairer only increasing the complexity and adverse impact on pension schemes. Whilst identifying ways in which some of the worst anomalies could be avoided in the response, the ACA has called for an evidence-based impact assessment of the real costs of the reforms -properly identifying how this hits the private sector, and the remaining defined benefit schemes in particular - few believe the consultation paper's figures are at all realistic.    
Posted: 04 March 2010 | 15:15:44
IFAs are increasingly intrigued by Financial Life Planning and are taking steps to learn how it can be integrated into their service proposition. Workshops in London, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast are filling up fast, with one London workshop selling out in hours. Whilst keen to know more about Life Planning and how it can work in an IFA's practice, to date teaching of the skills and methodology has only been available from US based providers, and many IFAs are unsure as to whether it is appropriate for UK IFA practices.  
Posted: 03 March 2010 | 16:17:44
Legal & General has launched an online ‘key person' valuation tool to help advisers use the most appropriate method of calculating the sum assured for key person protection.  
Posted: 03 March 2010 | 09:33:57
Half of all married men at retirement purchase a single life annuity despite risk of leaving their spouse without any private pension income should they pass away sooner
Posted: 02 March 2010 | 10:57:41
Just six months after its launch, over 100,000 people are now saving in pension schemes that have the Pension Quality Mark. They now have a simple way to see that the pension scheme they are offered at work is a good one.
Posted: 02 March 2010 | 07:26:21
Firms operating in the UK's service sector saw volumes of business stabilise in the last three months, according to the latest CBI Service Sector Survey. However, the situation differed between the Consumer Services sub-sector, where there was a slight improvement in business, and the Business and Professional Services sub-sector where conditions were more difficult. The quarterly research, conducted between 27 January and 10 February, covered 180 service sector firms. They are divided into Business and Professional Services, such as accountancy, legal and marketing firms, and Consumer Services, including hotels, bars and restaurants, travel and leisure.  
Posted: 02 March 2010 | 07:23:05
The importance of the UK as an international financial centre was brought home to EU officials when a high level group of British bankers met the new EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier today. The dinner was hosted by Angela Knight of the British Bankers' Association. The meeting covered the: cumulative impact of regulatory change; need for international co-ordination and co-operation which reflects that banking is an international industry operating across national boundaries; and importance of the EU and the need not to operate a ‘go-it-alone' policy.  
Posted: 01 March 2010 | 14:31:06
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today published its new penalties policy, which establishes a consistent and more transparent framework for the calculation of financial penalties, and which could see enforcement fines treble in size. Under the new framework, fines will be linked more closely to income and be based on:   Up to 20% of a firm's revenue from the product or business area linked to the breach over the relevant period;   Up to 40% of an individual's salary and benefits (including bonuses) from their job relating to the breach in non-market abuse cases; and   A minimum starting point of £100,000 for individuals in serious market abuse cases.   
Posted: 01 March 2010 | 14:25:32
FSB and ICM survey shows that three quarters of businesses would grow their business if the tax regime was easier to understand Research carried out by the FSB and ICM of over 1,600 small businesses showed that 75 per cent of small businesses believe that they would be able to grow their business if the UK tax system was simplified.  Over a third (34%) of businesses surveyed said they found income tax the most difficult issue to deal with, while 52 per cent citied taxable allowances - the amount a person is taxed on - hardest to get to grips with. Over half (52%) said VAT is the easiest type of taxation to understand.  
Posted: 25 February 2010 | 14:29:54
Baring Asset Management’s (Barings) latest global economic research reveals that the US recovery is still well below ‘normal’ for the current point in its economic cycle.  It warns that the economy still has to pass several key tests to prove it can stand on its own feet as the authorities withdraw support.  For example, the auto sector has proved resilient following the end to the ‘cash for clunkers’ programme, but now the test will be how it performs when the Fed ends quantitative easing. Also, mortgage rates are expected to rise by 25-50 bps and the impact this will have on the housing sector will be followed carefully.  Similar arguments apply to the employment situation – layoffs have eased back but there is little sign of job creation.   Percival Stanion, Head of Asset Allocation at Barings explains: “We think that the US should be able to weather the strain, but it needs watching carefully.”  Commenting on core Europe, Barings says it has been relatively resilient, but there is little sign of a pick-up in consumer spending in Germany despite tax cuts.  On the fringe meanwhile, it warns that things are likely to get worse before they get better.   
Posted: 24 February 2010 | 14:41:34
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued a warning following the dramatic increase in overseas fraudsters selling shares using the names, registration numbers and addresses of FSA authorised firms and individuals.  
Posted: 24 February 2010 | 09:27:29
New research from Aviva has shown that the average British household may only have enough cash to cover bills for 14 days if they or their partner fell critically ill or died. One in four (24%) of British households say they could only access £100 without further borrowing.
Posted: 23 February 2010 | 13:54:50
IFA Life, which studies the use of Social Media in Financial Services, has been monitoring how IFA firms and providers are using websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy, YouTube and Facebook. News that Positive Solutions may be planning to ban use of Twitter by advisers could prove to be a problem for them in the medium to long term. Whilst at corporate level, most are struggling to understand if Social Media has any relevance within financial advice, increasing numbers of IFAs themselves see few problems with it. Social Media speaker and Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said today: "It's understandable that companies might be concerned that IFAs will be using the likes of Twitter to market and sell investments, but it just doesn't happen like that."  
Posted: 22 February 2010 | 15:27:39
Nine in 10 (90 per cent) UK firms intend to seek external expert advice to help them understand the impact of the Government's workplace pension reforms due to be introduced from 2012. Forthcoming research from the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), the body charged with delivering NEST (National Employment Savings Trust), a new national pension scheme being set up as part of the reforms, clearly indicates the important role intermediaries and other professionals have to play. Small firms - those with 2 to 49 employees - are most likely to say they will seek guidance from accountants. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) say they will look to accountants to help them understand the onset of automatic enrolment and what they will need to do to comply.  
Posted: 22 February 2010 | 15:25:09
Adding Life Planning to an IFA's service proposition is growing in popularity, with an Introduction to Financial Life Planning workshop selling out in record time. Following recent visits to the UK by Life Planning gurus George Kinder and Dr Maria Nemeth, IFA Life has seen growing demand from IFAs for further information on how including Life Planning as part of their proposition can add value to their clients and help their IFA practice. IFA Life's Philip Calvert said today: "IFAs are increasingly intrigued by Life Planning, though the majority are still not quite sure what it is, what it isn't and specifically how it can help them and their clients." IFA Life's first Introduction to Financial Life Planning workshop on 19th March sold out rapidly, and new workshops have had to be added for the end of April in London, Bristol, Manchester and Scotland.  
Posted: 21 February 2010 | 11:50:05
People across Britain are not yet planning for the changes to ISA entitlements from April this year and risk missing out on tax-free returns, according to new research from NS&I's Savings Survey. Just 15% of Britons surveyed say they understand the new limits, which enables individuals to save up to £10,200 per year tax-free. Research shows: A quarter (25%) incorrectly believe ISA allowances will remain the same in the new financial year 24% are aware new changes are due, but are unsure what these will be 10% think the ISA limit will be higher for over 50 year-olds only, which is no longer the case once the changes come into effect It is not just the changes to the ISA entitlement that Britons are unsure of, but ISAs in general.16% of those who are aware of ISAs say the reason they haven't invested in an ISA is because they find it confusing, while one in ten people (10%) admit that saving money in an ISA this year has never occurred to them.  
Posted: 21 February 2010 | 11:47:15
Saturday 20th February marked this year's Debt Freedom Day, according to new research by, the professional advice website.  As a nation we will spend the first 50 days of 2010 just to earn enough money to pay off the interest on our debts.  This means that so far we haven't even started re-paying the actual debt itself!'s figures highlight that credit card debt has increased by just over £4billion in 2009.  It is now reached over £54billion.  Personal loan levels in the UK have remained constant from last year, despite the increased levels of repayment and restrictions being placed on consumer lending by the banks.  This suggests that more loans are now running their full terms.  
Posted: 19 February 2010 | 17:20:11
CII Research shows scale of the challenge facing the Financial Services Sector - and sets out framework for regaining trust.  
Posted: 17 February 2010 | 12:02:51
Financial planner Sylvia Bentham of Chorley based "1st Chartered" financial planners has become the first adviser in Lancashire to meet new international standards in providing financial advice by gaining ISO 22222 certification.  ISO 22222 was created in 2005 with the aim of achieving and promoting consumer confidence by providing an internationally agreed benchmark for high standards of personal financial advice.  The achievement is a considerable success given that less than 100 advisers in the UK have gained the prestigious ISO 22222 certification.   
Posted: 17 February 2010 | 09:17:17
IFAs have just 2 weeks to protest about new tax penalties for giving IHT advice. Those who talk about IHT saving schemes will be subject to new tax penalties as the definition of 'tax agents' is widened by new legislation published by HMRC last week. The penalties could be upto 100% of the IHT saved as a result of an IFA’s advice. Previous publications in HMRC’s ‘Working with tax agents’ project were thought to be focused on accountants and tax advisers. The latest in a stream of consultation documents on the subject was published last December. This has now been supplemented by draft legislation, published on 8 February, that extends HMRC’s influence to penalise anyone who talks to clients about reducing any tax liabilities. Financial advisers have very little time to review the draft legislation and to formulate their responses and comments. The consultation period expires on 3 March 2010.  
Posted: 17 February 2010 | 07:49:02
The first workshop An Introduction to Financial Life Planning - Cutting through the Hype is confirmed for 19th March in London, with a third of the available tickets being snapped up in hours.  Details are at this link:  
Posted: 16 February 2010 | 13:26:30
In the year to January, the consumer prices index (CPI) rose by 3.5 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent in December.
Posted: 16 February 2010 | 11:45:16
Zurich UK Life is urging advisers to remind their clients with families about the benefits of critical illness cover as organisations across the globe host fundraising events and seminars to mark International Child Cancer day (Monday 15th February 2010).
Posted: 16 February 2010 | 11:42:35
This morning, Barclays kicked off the banking season by announcing a 92 per cent rise in full-year profits to £11.6bn. Nick Raynor, investment adviser at The Share Centre, comments on the bank's results and explains what they mean to investors.
Posted: 12 February 2010 | 16:02:04
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) responds to today's announcement from the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) of their annual funding requirement for 2010/11.  
Posted: 12 February 2010 | 15:59:14
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has today responded to the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) announcement of its annual funding requirement for 2010/11.  
Posted: 11 February 2010 | 10:52:04
Mortgage lenders took 10,200 properties into possession in the fourth quarter of 2009 - 13% lower than in the third quarter, and 2% down on the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.This figure reflects the number of possessions taken by first charge lenders on both home-owner and buy-to-let mortgages.
Posted: 11 February 2010 | 10:49:26
New research from Scottish Widows has found that most intermediaries believe that wrap platforms will come within the scope of the RDR.
Posted: 10 February 2010 | 16:51:35
2plan Wealth Management, the UK’s fastest growing national IFA, today announced its preliminary corporate results for 2009, showing a record 144% increase in turnover. Adviser numbers doubled over the past 12 months with more than 200 IFAs on board by December ’09. Following an excellent year for the company, 2plan’s chief executive, Chris Smallwood, also revealed its plans to launch a new company share scheme:  
Posted: 10 February 2010 | 14:26:03
The proportion of landlords remortgaging their investment properties continued to decline in the final quarter of 2009, research from Paragon Mortgages has revealed.  
Posted: 10 February 2010 | 13:16:00
The world economy continued to recover, although global activity remained well below pre-crisis trends.   
Posted: 09 February 2010 | 13:48:18
The ABI is reminding financial advisers to check arrangements for clients that may be affected by the change to the National Minimum Pension Age.
Posted: 09 February 2010 | 10:43:13
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) today announces that Hector Sants will leave the organisation in the summer of 2010, after three years as chief executive officer (CEO). 
Posted: 09 February 2010 | 09:35:36
House prices rose again in January but buyer interest and new instructions to sell property fell as bad weather hit activity in the market, says RICS UK Housing Market survey published today.
Posted: 08 February 2010 | 12:06:54
Protection advisers in buoyant moodLegal & General's fifth report in a quarterly series looking at IFA confidence levels in the Protection industry shows that advisers have experienced a bounce in confidence.
Posted: 08 February 2010 | 10:22:57
Torquil Clark, one of the Midland's leading providers of independent financial advice has been awarded the prestigious ‘Chartered Financial Planners' title by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
Posted: 08 February 2010 | 09:42:03
IFA Life, the social networking website for IFAs and financial planners has launched a new marketing guide which aims to help financial advisers to market and promote both traditional financial planning and Life Planning within their businesses.
Posted: 03 February 2010 | 12:32:41
Financial advisers are predicting a significant return to the stock market in 2010, with almost three quarters (72 per cent) expecting an increase in the number of clients looking to invest in equities over the coming 12 months, according to new research commissioned by Prudential.
Posted: 03 February 2010 | 11:54:15
Platform, the intermediary mortgage specialist of The Co-operative Bank, has reduced rates in its range on fixed and tracker deals.
Posted: 03 February 2010 | 11:26:40
The achievement of ISO 22222, the international quality standard for providing financial advice, has been made compulsory in some countries yet the UK's Standards International remains the world's only organisation that is dedicated solely to the certification of financial advisers to international standard IS0 22222.
Posted: 01 February 2010 | 16:34:01
Even before delegates had returned home from IFA Life's Social Media in Financial Services conference in January, IFAs were already demanding that a second conference be held in 2010. Delegates described the event as "groundbreaking", "stunningly successful" and "industry changing" as speakers from Google, YouTube, LinkedIn and others revealed how financial advice will change over the coming months and years and how IFAs can benefit from it.  
Posted: 01 February 2010 | 13:09:42
Research from, the professional advice website, shows that 2010 could be the year of the home buyer. Consumers no longer expect house prices to fall as only 3% are holding off buying a property until prices have fallen. Despite over half (51%) of people saying that house prices wouldn't recover until late 2010 onwards back in January 2009, nearly a third (29%) of Brits now say that house prices are starting to rise and 18% say that they have reached their lowest level.  
Posted: 01 February 2010 | 10:56:22
IFA Life launches Introduction to Life Planning workshops and Life Planning consultancy for IFAs Big increase in online discussions on the benefits of Life Planning within IFA businesses IFAs must re-invent themselves to make financial planning more relevant and appealing to consumers eBook released to help IFAs market and promote a Financial Life Planning proposition Financial Life Planning guru George Kinder's recent visit to the UK has sparked renewed excitement amongst IFAs in developing a Life Planning proposition as part of their businesses.  
Posted: 01 February 2010 | 10:00:08
Gross mortgage lending by building societies was £1.8 billion in December, compared to £1.6 billion in November, an increase of 15%.
Posted: 29 January 2010 | 12:27:24
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today confirmed that it will require firms to publish information on how they handle complaints, to help people see how firms are performing in this important area and to drive up complaints handling standards across the industry.
Posted: 29 January 2010 | 12:25:10
Friends Provident is committed to treating the holders of its 1.1 million with profits policies fairly and this bonus announcement ensures payouts from the With Profits Fund reflect the value of the underlying investments.
Posted: 29 January 2010 | 12:22:08
Prior to the banking crisis, mortgage deals offered through brokers were not that different and in some instances more competitive than those offered through branches.
Posted: 29 January 2010 | 12:16:42
House prices rose by 1.2% in January and are up 8.6% year-on-year Recent economic data has been a mixed bag for the housing market Inflation uncertainties highlight interest rate risk
Posted: 28 January 2010 | 10:30:44
More than two-thirds of advisers believe structured products are more attractive investments than 12 months ago, according to recent research from Barclays Wealth.
Posted: 28 January 2010 | 10:27:25
Homeowners in England and Wales saw a 20 per cent drop in the proportion of their take-home pay spent on monthly mortgage repayments in 2009, according to the latest mortgage affordability research released by Woolwich, the mortgage arm of Barclays.
Posted: 26 January 2010 | 08:38:02
Dealers’ Group is delighted to announce Portfolio Construction 2010, a one-day conference aimed at progressive advisers looking to develop expertise in asset allocation and portfolio management. We have brought together an elite group of speakers to provide insight into practice and theory in portfolio mechanics. These include;   
Posted: 24 January 2010 | 11:07:31
The UK's latest GDP figures will also be released next week The lingering question about whether the UK is in or out of recession could be put to bed next week. On Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics will report the latest Gross Domestic Product figures for the final three months of 2009. According to a recent forecast by Ernst & Young ITEM Club, the UK economy may have grown 0.4% between October and December  
Posted: 24 January 2010 | 11:05:49
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are being urged to do more to alert people that they may have been sent the wrong tax code. The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is calling on HMRC to be proactive and mount a publicity campaign to highlight that wrong information is being sent out to huge numbers of people that, unless corrected, may cost them hundreds of pounds.  
Posted: 21 January 2010 | 13:11:33
Bupa Individual Protection has won praise for its tele-interview service in a survey of more than 800 independent financial advisers.    
Posted: 21 January 2010 | 13:09:36
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has sent a letter and report to the chief executive officers (CEOs) of major insurance brokers and investment firms which are able to hold money or assets on behalf of clients.   
Posted: 20 January 2010 | 16:27:42
As we begin a new decade, Halifax has looked over the past 50 years and identified the key changes in the UK housing market. The analysis starts at the end of the 1950s and commences with the record growth in housebuilding through the 1960s. This was a time of significant social investment.  
Posted: 20 January 2010 | 16:23:38
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable has today written to Lord Mandelson about the takeover of Cadbury by US company Kraft being part financed by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Commenting, Vince Cable said:  
Posted: 20 January 2010 | 16:22:11
Campaigning tax advisers are calling on the Government to correct a tax quirk which is unfairly hitting elderly widows and widowers. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has highlighted the fact that a small number of older people, those whose husband or wife died before March 1972, are being excluded from the ‘transferable nil rate band' inheritance tax (IHT) relief introduced in 2007.  This relief allows the inheritance tax allowance of the first person in a couple to die to transfer to the surviving partner, and can effectively double the amount they can pass on tax-free when they die.  
Posted: 19 January 2010 | 10:11:29
Mortgage intermediaries could be losing out on a market worth a potential £30 million in sales commission this year if they do not exploit the profitable General Insurance market, according to Abbey for Intermediaries.
Posted: 18 January 2010 | 11:42:28
Business confidence slipped last month, but is still at a sharply higher level than at this time last year, according to the latest Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets Business Barometer. The survey - a monthly snapshot of company views on the outlook for the economy - shows that the number of firms claiming to be more optimistic about economic prospects fell in December. Just over half of businesses (52 per cent) said they were more upbeat than they were three months ago, and a fifth (19 per cent) said they were more pessimistic, resulting in a total balance of 33 per cent. Last month, by way of comparison, two thirds (67 per cent) were more optimistic and 16 per cent were more downbeat - a balance of 51 per cent.  
Posted: 18 January 2010 | 11:40:37
A mortgage milestone was passed last week when the number of mortgage products available surpassed 2,500 for the first time since May last year. Figures from show available mortgage products have increased for the third month in a row.    
Posted: 18 January 2010 | 11:39:17
Speakers from Google, YouTube, The Gate, Fincision, the BBC, Ecademy and LinkedIn revealed why and how the Internet is rapidly changing financial services distribution. Organiser of the event Philip Calvert said today: "The opportunity for IFAs is clearly immense. All they need to do is to admit and learn what's happening on the Web and to apply it in their own businesses. It's a learning and training issue - nothing more" "We saw once and for all that all consumers of all ages are now actively using Social Media, and IFAs who assume otherwise are in for a nasty shock."  
Posted: 14 January 2010 | 07:52:22
Consumer confidence in the economy took a knock in the last quarter of 2009, with one-in-three consumers expecting the economy to worsen in 2010 according to research published today by the ABI.  
Posted: 13 January 2010 | 16:19:50
Friends Provident has launched a new trust toolkit to help advisers ensure that trusts are high on the agenda for their customers to consider.  
Posted: 11 January 2010 | 17:25:05
  IFA Life, the social networking site for IFAs and financial planners confirms an amazing line up of expert speakers at its Internet marketing conference in London this week. Keynote speakers from Google, LinkedIn, YouTube, Ecademy, the BBC, the Gate and BT Tradespace will be speaking alongside established IFA industry experts such as Nick Bamford of Informed Choice and Father of Life Planning George Kinder.    
Posted: 09 January 2010 | 13:36:56
New cebr forecasts for the United Kingdom economy imply that end of recession parties can be pencilled in for 26 January when the Office for National Statistics releases its fourth quarter GDP estimate. The end of de-stocking and expenditure brought forward ahead of the VAT cut reversal prompted a mini-bounce in economic activity and return to quarter-on-quarter growth in the fourth quarter.  
Posted: 09 January 2010 | 13:34:11
Equifax research suggests renewed confidence although there are still worries over job security.  News at the beginning of the year is starting to suggest a level of new confidence amongst consumers when it comes to their finances. Retail sales in December were higher than expected for several major brands and consumer lending also picked up with improved levels of credit being extended compared to earlier in the year. The latest research from leading instant online credit information provider, Equifax, provides further indications that consumers are feeling more optimistic about their finances for 2010.  
Posted: 09 January 2010 | 13:31:55
As the 31 January deadline approaches for self assessment tax returns, the Charities Aid Foundation estimates that higher-rate tax payers are missing out on over £250m of tax relief on their charitable donations [1].  
Posted: 07 January 2010 | 10:08:36, the professional advice website, announces the launch of its new Financial Calendar tool, designed to help consumers create their own personal finance calendar and help them keep track of their key financial dates.   Users can add in all of their important financial dates and create their own financial planner, enabling them to see when future payments are due throughout the year and giving helpful reminders. The calendar can be hosted on desktops to be revisited and updated at any time with the option to transfer dates in to a Microsoft Outlook calendar.  
Posted: 07 January 2010 | 10:04:38
With many consumers looking to reduce their New Year debts, Richard Napier, Nationwide's head of credit cards and personal loans, talks about the options consumers have to help them get over their Christmas debt hangover "Citizens Advice Bureaux acrersonal loans, talks about the options consumers have to help them get over their Christmas debt hangover.oss England and Wales are dealing with an ongoing increase in debt problems. Their most recent figures show that debt problems were up by 26% when comparing July - September 2008 with the same period in 2009.      
Posted: 07 January 2010 | 10:02:50
The Saga generation will have a decisive influence on the outcome of the coming General Election. Saga has used its unique insight into this demographic and created a Saga Generation manifesto which is being presented to the leaders of the UK's main political parties. Propensity to vote rises with age - 63% of the over 55s say they are certain to vote compared with just 21% of those aged 18-24 or 37% of those aged 25-34. Whilst a separate poll of 14,000 Saga customers showed 80% saying they were certain to vote. So for the first time the Saga generation is likely to be the majority of adults going to the polling booths come the General Election.  
Posted: 04 January 2010 | 06:57:59
As New Year headaches begin to ease, many consumers will experience a hangover of a different sort as their spending over the Christmas season catches up with them. Those with New Year Resolutions to sort out their finances will use the Internet to find an IFA, but many IFAs' online presence will do little to attract people to make contact because their websites are dull, lifeless and do little to communicate professionalism. Despite IFAs working very hard to reach the highest levels of professional standards by examination, consumers can see little evidence of it from many IFAs' websites.  
Posted: 03 January 2010 | 16:30:48
Home affordability for potential first-time buyers (FTBs) has improved significantly.   In 2009, the average price paid by an FTB was affordable for someone on average earnings in nearly four in ten (39%) of local authority districts, according to this year's Halifax First-Time Buyer Annual Review. In 2007, only 6% of areas were affordable. Nearly a quarter (24%) of local authority areas became affordable between 2008 and 2009.   
Posted: 02 January 2010 | 09:20:48
More than 4.5 million Britons (10 per cent) are planning to move in excess of £3.2 billion pounds between credit cards in the first three months of 2010, to take advantage of introductory balance transfer periods, new research from Santander Cards has revealed.  
Posted: 31 December 2009 | 12:18:21
As the end of the stamp duty holiday looms on properties sold for between £125,000 and £175,000, the CML has looked at which regions have benefitted most and least from the temporary concession. London and the South East are the relative losers, and the total cost of the concession will be much less than the Treasury originally estimated.  
Posted: 31 December 2009 | 12:16:32
The spending habits and values of the British public changed in 2009 in response to the recession. Many people are spending less on going out and on holidays and are thinking more about the needs of their families and the environment according to new research released by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) carried out by Gfk.   The findings reveal that whilst half of us (52%) think having money is seen as more important than before the recession, over a quarter (29%) feel that having possessions is now less important to people.  
Posted: 31 December 2009 | 12:13:04
The final quarter of 2009 saw a slowing in the quarterly rate of house price growth across the majority of UK regions, but most regions ended the year with average prices higher than at the end of 2008.  For the UK as a whole, prices rose by 1.6% in the fourth quarter, leading to an increase in the annual rate of change from -3.0% in the third quarter to +3.4%  
Posted: 27 December 2009 | 11:55:55
As you relax and enjoy the last of the festive cheer, spare a thought for those people who are spending the winter break hard at work. According to the annual Post Office® Travel Services' Holiday Entitlement Index, 41 per cent of UK workers will be working at some point over the festive period, and almost one in ten (seven per cent) of these people will be missing out on their holiday entitlement as a result.  
Posted: 26 December 2009 | 11:29:38
A year of recession has made Brits aware of the value of unwanted Christmas gifts and more inclined to try to turn them into cash, according to new research from, the independent price comparison and switching service. While almost half (47%) of consumers admit to previously shoving unwanted presents to the back of the cupboard and forgetting about them, this year sees a quarter of thrifty Brits (25%) more likely to try to make money from them instead.    
Posted: 24 December 2009 | 14:26:41
Despite the apparent complementary nature of their businesses, very few financial advisers are able to establish profitable relationships with accountants. So claims Mark Lee, Chairman of the Tax Advice Network, who is launching a survey to ascertain whether anecdotal stories are reflected across the UK.  
Posted: 23 December 2009 | 17:05:09
Ouch! If you're a pensions adviser then reading this article is not for the faint-hearted, so be warned.  On the other hand if your a retirement planner then this could be manna from heaven.  KPMG has released some interesting pension statistics that make grim reading.  
Posted: 23 December 2009 | 08:37:37
The United Kingdom Economic Accounts released today showed that GDP fell by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 compared with the second quarter. This is upwardly revised from the previous estimate of a 0.3 per cent contraction, and was slightly worse than market expectations of a 0.1 per cent contraction.  
Posted: 23 December 2009 | 08:35:39
OFT may've given up, but there're other laws they can't access which may still win the day Today the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced it will take no further action against banks over unauthorised overdraft charges.  Martin Lewis, creator of, where over 6m bank charges template letters have been downloaded, comments:  
Posted: 22 December 2009 | 08:57:31
Commenting on the announcement by the OFT that it is to end its investigation of bank charges, Kevin Mountford, head of banking at said: "There's a sense of inevitability about this climb down by the OFT after it lost in the Supreme Court last month.  Whilst this is a blow to the millions of people who are trying to reclaim overdraft charges from their bank, in truth the OFT's campaign has actually forced the banks to cut their charges already, so millions of customers will be better off in future.  There is also the threat of future legislation hanging like a sword of Damocles over the banks.  
Posted: 22 December 2009 | 07:52:09
In a turn around from this time last year, Emerging Markets are now the preferred equity market for the majority of IFAs, however the typical UK investor portfolio is underweight in the region.  Research, conducted at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Investment Summit 2009 amongst over 150 of the UK's top investment advisers, revealed that almost two thirds (61%) favour Emerging Markets compared to the US (23%), Japan (13%) and Europe (just 10%).  
Posted: 22 December 2009 | 07:50:12
More than one in five parents have been borrowing from their children's savings account, with 44% of them borrowing between £200 and £500, the majority taking money over five months or less it was revealed today (21 December). The survey of 3,000 parents, conducted by child trust fund provider Engage Mutual Assurance, reveals that British families blame the recession for their gloomy financial outlook, and that some have resorted to withdrawing their kids' cash to stay afloat.  
Posted: 22 December 2009 | 07:48:31
Analysis from has shown that the supply end of the mortgage market has gradually recovered since reaching its nadir in August this year. However the total number of mortgage products available are still 27 per cent down since the start of the year.  
Posted: 20 December 2009 | 13:29:11
Commentators have been puzzled by the fact that British Airways has not closed its pension scheme to existing members. In the case of BA, it may be that the company is unable to do so because staff are covered by a 1948 Redeployment Agreement which means the company cannot cut pay (or pensions).  This Agreement does not seem to widely known about.  
Posted: 20 December 2009 | 13:26:38
Brits spend up to 26 times longer shopping for Christmas gifts than they do looking for the best deal on their retirement income, according to latest research from Aviva. On average, UK adults spend three days, six hours and 35 minutes per year shopping around for Christmas presents for their loved ones, pets and even their bin collectors. This amounts to six months over a lifetime. In comparison, research showed proved that Brits spend just seven days in total shopping for the right annuity or pension product.  
Posted: 18 December 2009 | 14:49:36
2009 was the year when social networking finally took hold amongst financial advisers as a medium to share best practice and as a platform for them to market and promote their services. By the end of 2009, IFA Life the social networking site for IFAs and financial planners will have reached four thousand members, a third of IFAs will have opened a Facebook account, hundreds of financial advisers have started using Twitter - whilst YouTube has now also become a powerful way for IFAs to promote their services.    
Posted: 18 December 2009 | 08:14:51
The proportion of first time buyers (FTBs) looking to put a foot on the property ladder has reached its lowest level for twelve months according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).  The monthly market survey of the NAEA members found that in November, only 19 per cent of registered buyers were FTBs, the lowest since December 2008 when levels plummeted to 11 per cent.  
Posted: 18 December 2009 | 08:12:08
A quick heads up for those who might have missed it due to the Christmas build-up. HMRC has published another Pension Schemes Newsletter, the third of 2009. It focuses on the change to the Normal Minimum Pension Age from April 2010 and includes worked examplesand the following issues (including what to do for those aged 50 on the Bank Holiday weekend of 2nd-5th April):  
Posted: 18 December 2009 | 08:10:29
Years ago when I helped some pilots do a detailed pension analysis of their retirement provision, I remember that one of the more unusual benefits of being a member of the British Airways pension scheme was that you received free flights anywhere around the world.   
Posted: 16 December 2009 | 07:16:53
A new independent survey has found IFAs are rated by consumers as the “most fair” of the financial services professions. The ‘Fairness Index’, produced by the Financial Services Research Forum at Nottingham University Business School, looks at consumer perceptions of fairness with regards to financial services. The Index takes into account a wide range of measures including impartiality, familiarity, courtesy and communication.   
Posted: 15 December 2009 | 06:38:16
Part of the problem with the credit crunch crisis is that the public has been bombarded daily withfigures that are so enormous they are difficult to grasp hold of.  No longer are some of our largest employers' pension deficits measured in hundreds of millions, rather they are now running into the billions.  
Posted: 14 December 2009 | 12:33:07
In stark contrast to the Pension Regulator's comments on 10 December, 56% of trustees would be happy to consider a transfer value exercise, according to a survey of trustees of the UK's biggest pension schemes carried out by Winmark Research and commissioned by Hymans Robertson and the PensionChair Network.
Posted: 14 December 2009 | 12:30:41
Everyday Financial Solutions Ltd has become a business partner of Legal & General having agreed a sole-tied partnership for protection.
Posted: 12 December 2009 | 09:52:21
I never imagined The Pension Regulator's comments about Enhanced Transfer Values would have captured so many headlines. Contentious or what? Maybe, but I suspect most IFAs advising in this area will have considerable expertise and experience to avoid the obvious pitfalls.  I particularly liked the blog from pension lawyers Allen and Overy and I added the following comment to it:  
Posted: 12 December 2009 | 08:49:29
Home ownership loses appeal The British love affair with property ownership could be waning, according to Scottish Provident, one of the UK's leading protection providers.  
Posted: 11 December 2009 | 08:46:48
With most people planning a cut price Christmas, families face a new dilemma this year - what do they tell the children? According to new research from there will be less presents, fewer gadgets and more traditional children's gifts. But despite such noticeable changes, only a third (32%) of those who are cutting back on children's presents intend to tell kids the reason why:  
Posted: 10 December 2009 | 10:34:01
2009 appears to be ending in a similar fashion to 2008 for savers, with many top deals being withdrawn or having rates reduced. Since the beginning of November, 62% of product changes to have been product withdrawals. While many of these products have been replaced, in the majority of cases the replacement products are offering lower returns.  
Posted: 10 December 2009 | 10:32:46
The number of loans for house purchase in the UK reached 55,000 in October, its highest level since December 2007, according to new data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The amount of buyers has risen from a trough in January 2009 when only 23,000 loans were advanced. Itis now up nearly 100% from that low point.  
Posted: 09 December 2009 | 10:24:16
Despite discussion of the inheritance tax (IHT) threshold changing after the next general election, AXA is warning investors that they might still be hit with estate planning issues. Inheritance tax experts from AXA do not foresee any significant increases to the IHT threshold in the foreseeable future.  
Posted: 09 December 2009 | 09:45:32
Latest research from,’s lead generation business, reveals that advisers are very optimistic about their business growth prospects in 2010. In its monthly member survey, found that 62 per cent of advisers feel the outlook for their business over the next 12 months is very strong with their businesses in a good position to grow.   Fewer than one in ten (8 per cent) forecast a negative outlook for their business.  
Posted: 09 December 2009 | 09:04:26
The Office for National Statistics has released its latest dataset on UK population trends. As usual, it is insightful and required reading - particularly for anyone involved in the running or administration of medium to large pension schemes where pensioner life expectancy is one of the specific concerns. IFAs might also like to point their clients to this - especially the younger ones who might be less inclined to plan for retirement because it seems a long way off.  
Posted: 07 December 2009 | 16:41:39
First time buyers may be hit hard at the end of the stamp duty holiday in January, however there is some good news to be celebrated.  Figures from show that the number of mortgage products available for first time buyers is at its highest since May this year with 1,354 products now available; an increase of 18.3 per cent since August when products were at their lowest levels.  
Posted: 07 December 2009 | 11:55:43
In 2005, the UK was the 4th largest economy in the world. China overtook in 2006, France in 2008 and Italy in 2009. So now the official figures suggest that we have dropped to No7 (although I still have some doubt about the Italian figures that are incorporated into this analysis). Projecting forward, the combination of economic growth and population growth, plus a likely rising real exchange rate mean that Brazil and Russia will overtake us sometime soon, perhaps in 2012.  
Posted: 07 December 2009 | 11:53:19
Managers of UK based emerging market funds will face stiff competition from early 2010 when offshore-domiciled funds are included in the UK's Investment Management Association (IMA) sectors, say two leading fund management groups.  
Posted: 04 December 2009 | 07:48:19
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has recently confirmed that Standards International - the UK's leading certification body for ISO 22222 - have been reaccredited (to ISO 17024) in order to continue to certify financial advisers for the ISO 22222 international standard.  
Posted: 03 December 2009 | 14:16:01
FinQS, the software company behind The Customer Feedback Centre has expanded its automated client feedback solution to provide a ‘pay per click’ option for product providers and insurers.   
Posted: 03 December 2009 | 13:31:21
An interesting article in Professional Pensions today focuses on a survey conducted by Hewitts. Looking at responses from 80 trustee groups, the survey '...found attitudes towards covenant monitoring had undergone a "dramatic" change during the past 12 months'.  
Posted: 03 December 2009 | 10:48:00
According to research from Scottish Widows, 84% of IFAs intend to continue to offer whole of market advice while only 5% said that they intend to offer restricted advice after the RDR proposals have been implemented.  
Posted: 03 December 2009 | 09:25:20
IFA Life is delighted to announce that ‘Father of Life Planning' George Kinder will keynote at the Social Media in Financial Services conference in January 2010 and lead a debate on ‘hi touch, hi tech' financial planning. Widely acknowledged as a key visionary in the financial planning world, George Kinder's work is rapidly attracting large numbers of UK financial advisers to his methodologies.  
Posted: 02 December 2009 | 10:38:28

Posted: 02 December 2009 | 10:15:49
Surveyors expect to see rent rises in the New Year as the number of rental properties coming onto the market fell for the first time since January 2008, says the latest RICS Lettings Survey published today. 
Posted: 02 December 2009 | 10:06:29
The Boards of Yorkshire Building Society and Chelsea Building Society announced today that they have agreed to merge, creating a second major force in the building society sector.
Posted: 01 December 2009 | 12:36:32
A High Court ruling on the Ilford Pension Scheme will, I'm sure, have a few boards of trustees reviewing member enhancements that have taken place over the last couple of years (or indeed proposed enhancements that were intended to be brought into effect shortly).  
Posted: 01 December 2009 | 10:32:05
Today first direct announces the launch of its new market leading offset tracker which tracks 2.08% above the Bank of England base rate (currently 2.58%).  The lowest lifetime tracker and one of the few below 3%, the mortgage has a maximum loan to value of 65% and an arrangement fee of £999.
Posted: 30 November 2009 | 14:30:16
  IFA Life is delighted to announce that ‘Father of Life Planning' George Kinder will keynote at the Social Media in Financial Services conference in January 2010 and lead a debate on ‘hi touch, hi tech' financial planning. Widely acknowledged as a key visionary in the financial planning world, George Kinder's work is rapidly attracting large numbers of UK financial advisers to his methodologies. Founder of IFA Life Philip Calvert said today: "George Kinder's approach to financial planning is the most exciting development in financial services in many years. Those IFAs combining Life Planning with a strategic approach to using the Internet will have an incredibly compelling proposition."    
Posted: 30 November 2009 | 13:37:14
Fortis Life UK has continued its phased distribution roll-out with the launch of a new partnership with Sesame.
Posted: 30 November 2009 | 12:09:45
Total net lending to individuals rose by £0.3 billion in October. The twelve-month growth rate fell to 0.7%, and the three-month annualised growth rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 0.5%.
Posted: 30 November 2009 | 09:52:11
In its Pre-Budget Report submission TISA - Tax Incentivised Savings Association - is reiterating its support for the concept of a Workplace ISA as part of a more flexible savings approach to finance retirement.
Posted: 30 November 2009 | 09:49:45
Following an extensive consultation, the ABI is planning to rebrand and standardise definitions of the Total Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit in Critical Illness (CI) insurance policies, to improve clarity for consumers.
Posted: 27 November 2009 | 13:49:21
My favourite article this week is written by Ian Naismith, Head of Pensions Market Development at Scottish Widows. He discussed and challenges the value of pushing the boundaries to take advantage of loopholes in legislation.  
Posted: 27 November 2009 | 13:47:07
Well if you wanted some Continuous Professional Development (CPD) material for the weekend, there's plenty to choose from. And, whether you like or hate the idea of Personal Accounts I think it would serve most pension professionals well to keep abreast of how they are progressing.   
Posted: 26 November 2009 | 12:22:02
Leading protection specialist LV= today announced that it will be distributing its Mortgage and Lifestyle Protection plan through Openwork, the second largest financial adviser network in the UK.
Posted: 26 November 2009 | 09:32:17
Fidelity International has announced today that Anthony Bolton, one of the most successful investors of his generation, has decided to return to managing money in 2010.
Posted: 24 November 2009 | 11:30:22
Economic activity in the UK has picked up significantly from recession. Duncan Higgins, senior analyst at Caxton FX says that, "The pound has mirrored this improvement, gaining 8% from its lowest point in December 2008, when it hovered just above parity with the euro. As we near the end of this year, sterling is trading in a far stronger position with economic figures continuing to show improvement."  
Posted: 24 November 2009 | 11:28:25
Economy is literally a pain in the neck The effect of the downturn has begun to manifest itself on the physical and mental health of the nation. A new phenomenon - Recession Strain Injury - has been identified by Experian's and Chartered Physiotherapist Sammy Margo following a 25% increase in stress related injuries seen in her clinic - suggesting that many people are suffering physically as a result of increased financial strain.  
Posted: 24 November 2009 | 11:26:27
A recent survey commissioned by the direct bank first direct reveals that 40% of homeowners don't understand the basic idea of an offset mortgage and a further 35% only roughly know how they work. This worrying trend highlights how consumers may be missing out on saving money and reducing the term of their mortgage with just two in ten (21 per cent) seeing offsets as a way they can save money on their mortgage.  
Posted: 23 November 2009 | 12:13:06
The UK's banks could yet be flooded with another 8 million bank charges claims, says Which? New figures from the consumer champion show that, of around 12 million people that have been hit with bank charges since July 2001, over three in five (63%) haven't asked for their money back.  
Posted: 23 November 2009 | 12:11:45
New research from Aviva - the UK's largest insurer with 7 million life and pensions customers - reveals that 35% of UK consumers believe their retirement funds have been depleted by the recession, forcing them to look for additional ways to supplement their retirement income.  
Posted: 21 November 2009 | 08:09:03
  Quantitative easing: has it worked, how long can it continue and what happens when it stops? Is the banking crisis over? Should the central banks and governments balance their books and allow the economy to heal itself? Should central banks and governments inflate their way out of economic difficulties? Lessons from Japan's ‘lost decade'. The shape of recovery. Inflation and deflation. The role of emerging markets in shaping economic recovery. The outlook for global currencies. John's three year economic outlook The outlook for gold.    
Posted: 21 November 2009 | 08:07:11
Almost a fifth of 18-24 year olds are put off starting a pension purely because they don't like the word, new YouGov research commissioned by AXA has found. If that number - almost a million 18-24 year olds - continue to delay starting their pension provision by just 5 years, they are potentially looking at a combined shortfall in their retirement income of £44.1bn, (£44,362.30 per person), making ‘pension' one of the most costly words in the history of the English language. In total almost one in five UK adults - over 10 million people - are being put off by the word pension.  
Posted: 19 November 2009 | 07:12:02
Standards International, the UK?s leading ISO 22222 certification body, today highlighted the fact that any financial adviser who gains certification for ISO 22222 will be exempt from the Chartered Insurance Institute's Financial Planning Process exam paper (AF5).  
Posted: 18 November 2009 | 17:17:10
Annie Shaw of comments on the creation of a new money guidance service and consumer advice agency included in the government’s legislative agenda.  
Posted: 18 November 2009 | 15:33:50
Simply Biz is recommending the use automated client feedback tool TCF Centre to its members.  FinQS, suppliers of the TCF Centre, have created the PI compliant questionnaires alongside compliance professionals and advisers with input from PI Insurers to dispel fears that client feedback could encourage complaints.   Recent statistics show over 99% of feedback received via TCF Centre was extremely positive and FinQS has capitalised on this by developing functionality encouraging respondents to post their positive comments on social networking sites.  
Posted: 18 November 2009 | 13:42:20
I was surprised by the reaction to my commentary which accompanied Friday's pension news update (13th November) which I had amended specifically for IFA Life. It was picked up by Laura Miller, a financial journalist with Incisive Media, who later called me to ask why I thought Personal Accounts presented an opportunity for advisers to build up new relationships with small employers.   
Posted: 18 November 2009 | 08:30:25
Growing number of IFAs are using video to raise their profile online. Social media expert predicts that YouTube will be a key distribution route for financial advisers
Posted: 17 November 2009 | 13:59:30
A new feature on business social networking site LinkedIn, is giving financial advisers startling new opportunities to raise their profile on the Internet. Until recently, an IFA or financial planner could use LinkedIn's ‘status update' tool to communicate with their network, clients or professional connections on the LinkedIn website. But a small and important change in the facility is opening up exciting new opportunities for financial advisers who use the site.  
Posted: 17 November 2009 | 12:16:09
BBC News has today appointed its first social media editor, to develop the way we gather news from our audiences, and make more of our journalism available on social networks.   Audiences have always contributed directly to the BBC's newsgathering, especially on breaking stories. But the technology allowing people to share and send photos, video, and eyewitness accounts is developing all the time.  
Posted: 17 November 2009 | 07:35:57
Aviva today announced a series of enhancements to its innovative Income Protection Solutions product, including a unique temporary accident cover benefit that provides up to 90 days' accident cover whilst the policy is being underwritten.  
Posted: 17 November 2009 | 07:05:37
With the FTSE 100 breaking through the 5,300 barrier it's little wonder that press articles over the last few days have focused upon where funds might be invested in terms of achieving that delicate mix ofsecurity and performance.   
Posted: 15 November 2009 | 13:29:11
This should be of interest to IFAs that are targetting small businesses to build up their corporate client base. As an adviser, you will be aware that there has been quite a lot of speculation about whether Personal Accounts will actually get off the ground.  
Posted: 12 November 2009 | 10:47:02
Having anticipated 75,000 repossessions in 2009 in last year's housing market forecasts, the forecast had already been revised down to 65,000 in June, but is now being cut again in recognition of lender forbearance, government measures and the beneficial effect of continuing low interest rates which are helping most borrowers facing difficulty to keep their homes.
Posted: 12 November 2009 | 10:43:58
In the last few weeks a number of lenders including Abbey, Halifax, Leeds BS, Nationwide BS, Northern Rock and Woolwich have made moves to cut mortgage rates, but rates are still a long way of the low reached earlier in the year.
Posted: 12 November 2009 | 10:41:25
Education charity, the National Skills Academy for Financial Services (NSAFS), will officially launch in the West Midlands on 12 November 2009 at an event bringing key regional employers and providers together to recognise achievements to date and encourage new employers to get involved.
Posted: 11 November 2009 | 16:46:35
Argos, the UK’s leading general merchandise retailer, today announced the launch of its new financial services price comparison website, Argos Compare ( At launch, the service will be the only comparison site offering cash-back on both home and car insurance.   
Posted: 11 November 2009 | 10:48:36
Data released today, shows that the overall unemployment rate in the UK has remained steady at 7.8%.
Posted: 11 November 2009 | 10:45:18
One third of first-time buyers escaped paying stamp duty in September as a result of the government's temporary £175,000 nil-rate threshold, according to new data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Posted: 11 November 2009 | 09:26:29
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced proposals to simplify the structure of the fees it levies on regulated firms and to enhance fairness and transparency.
Posted: 10 November 2009 | 16:10:57
UK businesses are bracing themselves for a surge in staff looking to delay retirement with around 1.8 million people expected to be working beyond traditional retirement ages in just 10 years. The findings from new research commissioned by Prudential among finance directors at UK businesses found nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of companies expect staff to work beyond retirement age in the next 10 years, with the proportion of people in the workforce who are past traditional retirement ages expected to more than double to 1.8 million people.  
Posted: 10 November 2009 | 16:09:04
The Pensions Regulator today published the latest edition of its annual analysis of recovery plans from defined benefit and hybrid pension schemes. This analysis updates previous publications in 2007 and 2008, providing an overview of scheme recovery plans with valuation effective dates from 22 September 2005 to 21 September 2008. This represents the first near complete triennial cycle of the regulator's scheme funding regime - with schemes divided into three "tranches" based on the effective date of the scheme valuation.  
Posted: 10 November 2009 | 16:07:23
Investors have revealed their uncertainty over the future of the FTSE in a poll conducted by Barclays Stockbrokers, the UK's largest stockbroker.  While nearly two fifths (39%) of those surveyed say the market is too difficult to call at the moment, a third (34%) are bullish believing that recent market rallies are a sign of recovery, whereas three in ten (27%) say they are bearish and do not believe that there will be a market correction.  
Posted: 10 November 2009 | 13:06:46
In the UK, estimates for 2008 showed that approximately 60% of the population were of working age - that's 36.8m people. What must be of concern is that in 2009 it is expected for the first time that the number of people of retirement age will be greater than the number of children below 16 years old.  
Posted: 09 November 2009 | 11:59:30
Only 8% of advisers think that their clients have taken out adequate Income Protection (IP), according to research commissioned by Friends Provident.
Posted: 09 November 2009 | 11:57:11
Lloyds Banking Group has further underlined its support for UK businesses, with the launch of a new 2012 Charter, setting out a series of commitments to help small and medium sized businesses grow as the recovery gains momentum.
Posted: 09 November 2009 | 11:54:56
Pensioners who've overpaid tax on their interest from savings could be eligible for a tax windfall, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced today.
Posted: 09 November 2009 | 11:50:09
Friends Provident is launching a new financial education and support service aimed at helping employees understand how to manage their money effectively.
Posted: 06 November 2009 | 16:01:33
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has today outlined the main points made in its formal response to FSA's Retail Distribution Review (RDR) Consultation Paper, 'Distribution of Retail Investments: Delivering the RDR'.  
Posted: 06 November 2009 | 11:05:25
AEGON is calling on the FSA to make wider access to trusted financial advice the top priority as it makes its final decisions on implementing the RDR proposals.  
Posted: 06 November 2009 | 11:04:05
Independent wrap platform Ascentric today announces the addition of Debbie Steer to their Business Development team. Reporting to Sales Director, Richard Goodall, Debbie will engage with IFAs in supporting adoption of the wrap.  
Posted: 06 November 2009 | 11:03:03
Joshua Raymond, Market Strategist at City Index commented:  
Posted: 06 November 2009 | 10:33:23
Demand is exceeding supply across the UK housing market, with estate agents registering five house hunters to every available property.
Posted: 05 November 2009 | 07:07:53
Annie Shaw of comments on the break-up of Lloyd TSB and RBS  
Posted: 05 November 2009 | 07:01:26
The articles about the Church of England's pension deficit don't surprise me too much. I remember reading many years ago about its deficit caused mainly by an aggressive investment strategy  
Posted: 04 November 2009 | 10:30:56
Aviva, the UK's largest insurer, has today lifted restrictions on withdrawals from its unit-linked UK Property Fund.
Posted: 04 November 2009 | 09:27:13
The Government has made a number of changes to the benefit rules that may reduce the impact that equity release could have on income related benefits  says SHIP - the equity release industry body.
Posted: 03 November 2009 | 12:40:19
The Government is today announcing the conclusion of discussions with Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) regarding their participation in the Government's Asset Protection Scheme (APS).
Posted: 02 November 2009 | 16:55:15
There is no ‘silver bullet' to address the problem of banks being ‘too-big-to-fail', but instead the answer lies in a combination of different policies between which trade-offs can be made, according to Adair Turner, speaking this morning at the FSA's Turner Review Conference.  
Posted: 02 November 2009 | 16:53:52
The Bank of England face a difficult decision this Thursday as they contemplate further measures to stimulate Britain's ailing economy in the wake of worrying third-quarter GDP figures.  
Posted: 02 November 2009 | 16:52:49
European markets closed higher to start the week positively after US Pending Homes Sales and factory activity both outperformed market consensus by some way to help settle investor's nerves on the strength of an economic recovery.  
Posted: 29 October 2009 | 15:22:35
Consumers' financial wellbeing improved for the third successive quarter as inflation eased and the stock market rallied, according to Alliance Trust's ongoing study.  
Posted: 29 October 2009 | 15:20:10
As a voluntary adviser for TPAS, I recently successfully mediated on a case to gain compensation for bad advice. The complainant was a man whose retirement funds had plummeted due to the property funds he was advised to invest within. Without going into the reasons why, the client was left with a £27,000 pension pot and asked me what he should do with it. Of course, TPAS advisers can't give financial advice so I advised him to seek out an IFA.   
Posted: 28 October 2009 | 16:17:05
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) will begin regulating banks' and building societies' day-to-day contact with their customers from 1 November 2009, covering everything from direct debits, payments, instant access and savings accounts through to unauthorised transactions and notification of interest rate changes.  
Posted: 27 October 2009 | 15:13:31
The Pensions Regulator has published a review of defined contribution schemes' processes for scheme members approaching retirement.  It's packed full of businesss opportunities for those IFAs that have the ability, wherewithall and inclination to launch themselves into the growing 'at retirement' market.  
Posted: 27 October 2009 | 06:52:59
As part of its work to support the learning of the Financial Planners of the future, the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is launching the 2010 IFP University Team Challenge competition along with sponsors Seven Investment Management (7IM).  
Posted: 27 October 2009 | 06:50:53
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has today set out the core principles by which it will judge the outcome of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).  
Posted: 27 October 2009 | 06:49:06
Informed Choice Chief Executive Nick Bamford has been confirmed as a speaker at the Social Media in Financial Services conference in January 2010.  
Posted: 24 October 2009 | 11:11:32
Investors shrugged off weak UK GDP figures to push the FTSE 100 1% higher on Friday. The focus this week has been purely on earnings and investors have largely shrugged off the majority of macro economic data.  
Posted: 24 October 2009 | 11:09:14
As recession-induced frugal finances take effect on British households, new research from Friends Provident has revealed that Brits are becoming ‘social-nesters' and taking their nights out indoors.  The study revealed that one in three (35%) people say they now go out less, often choosing instead to socialise at home.  
Posted: 24 October 2009 | 11:06:51, the professional advice website, announces the launch of ‘Write a Will Week' - starting on 26 October.'s latest stats reveal that 57% of the adult population (28 million adults) currently do not have a will, leaving no guarantee their assets will be passed on to whomever they wish and running the risk of their family having to pay thousands of pounds in inheritance tax.  
Posted: 23 October 2009 | 14:46:04

Posted: 23 October 2009 | 12:45:27
Leeds Building Society has launched a range of offset mortgages from only 5.49% that includes a number of market leading products. Furthermore, borrowers can access mortgage funding with only a 15% deposit and there are fee assisted options for those customers who require help with up front costs.
Posted: 23 October 2009 | 12:43:14
The UK's third quarter GDP figure was revealed to be a 0.4% contraction, which now means that the UK has suffered 6 consecutive quarters of negative growth. Market participants had speculated that the UK economy would grow by 0.2% in the months from July to September and had taken the pound slightly higher this morning.
Posted: 22 October 2009 | 09:39:35
In the future, more pensioners are likely to receive retirement income from private pensions as a result of Government reforms to introduce auto-enrolment into workplace pensions, according to new research published today by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), sponsored by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.  
Posted: 21 October 2009 | 11:18:46
Legal & General has launched an online calculator to enable advisers to demonstrate the benefits of Salary Sacrifice to their clients.
Posted: 21 October 2009 | 10:17:25
Commenting on The Woolwich's decision to lower mortgage rates, Hannah-Mercedes Skenfield, mortgage spokesperson at, said;
Posted: 21 October 2009 | 10:09:15
With over 50s now enjoying the ability to save up to £10,200 in their  ISA, new research from Fidelity International reveals that 54% of over 50s ISA investors with more than £10,000 in savings have a positive outlook on the stock market.
Posted: 21 October 2009 | 10:06:54
With industry experts predicting the ‘at retirement' market  is set to increase by sixty per cent in the next five years and falling investment markets affecting accumulated pensions savings, the need for retirement planning has never been greater.
Posted: 20 October 2009 | 12:14:31
If you've not read the Institute of Directors latest publication, Roadmap to Retirement Reform 2009, I'd recommend it  
Posted: 20 October 2009 | 10:51:18
Research from reveals that almost half of UK consumers (45 per cent) are worried about funding Christmas this year. Their fears may be justified as two thirds of the population (66 per cent) will not save enough cash in time to cover their Christmas costs, meaning credit cards, overdrafts, loans and December income will be used to take up the slack.
Posted: 20 October 2009 | 10:48:02
Gross mortgage lending totalled an estimated £12.5 billion in September, a 2% rise from the £12.3 billion in August but down 27% from September 2008, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Posted: 20 October 2009 | 08:00:19
Commenting on’s Recovery Watch, Dean Jones, head of, said:  
Posted: 19 October 2009 | 12:38:05
The Times reminds us that today (Monday 19th October) is the twenty second anniversary of Black Monday when the FTSE fell by a fifth in just two days - in tandem with a similar fall in New York.   
Posted: 18 October 2009 | 10:58:38
Next week we could have official confirmation that the recession has ended  
Posted: 18 October 2009 | 10:52:07

Posted: 18 October 2009 | 10:49:04
AXA PPP healthcare has today launched a Dedicated Nurse service - providing personalised support and medical guidance by qualified nurses, free of charge, for all of its UK medical insurance customers diagnosed with cancer.  
Posted: 16 October 2009 | 12:07:33
Two new guides to improve the operation of pension schemes are published today by the NAPF at its Annual Conference.  
Posted: 16 October 2009 | 12:05:55
'Belt-tightening' to become a thing of the past' Despite today's era of ‘new austerity' being beneficial for the nations' health, two in three people (65%) will slip back into unhealthy pre-recession habits, research released today by Aviva reveals.  
Posted: 16 October 2009 | 11:54:44
British businesses, still reeling from the effects of recession, are ill-prepared to face a return to economic growth, even though they are aware of the need for action, according to a new study from Lloyds TSB Commercial.  
Posted: 16 October 2009 | 07:22:15
DWP consultations don't usually stir the imagination but a couple out this week are indeed worthy reading for almost anyone involved in the pensions arena. First, we have The Pension Protection Fund and Occupational Pension Schemes (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2010 (DWP)  
Posted: 14 October 2009 | 11:22:51
2009 sees the emergence of the age of openness according to new research released today by first direct.  The latest research into online behaviour shows that Brits are now catching up with their American counterparts when it comes to using the web - 79 per cent of the population are now regularly active online. 
Posted: 14 October 2009 | 10:26:08
As unemployment figures reach 2.47 million, Scottish Provident, one of the UK's leading protection providers, launches a step-by-step guide for IFAs, outlining the best ways to communicate the need for Unemployment Benefit to their clients. Its guidance campaign outlines areas such as understanding the detail of Unemployment Benefit, eligibility criteria and gives some simple guidance on the claiming process.
Posted: 14 October 2009 | 10:03:25
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has today published its latest Quarterly Economic Bulletin that sets out its view of the economy, including the mortgage and housing markets.
Posted: 14 October 2009 | 09:24:44
In a speech to the Building Societies Association today, Adam Phillips, Chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, called on the financial services industry to develop product design criteria to improve consumer confidence in the industry.
Posted: 13 October 2009 | 12:56:40
Given £1,000 to invest today, 56% of IFAs would place the money in emerging markets according to the results of the first Jupiter's i-barometer, a live survey of the attitudes of advisers.  
Posted: 13 October 2009 | 11:31:48
The amount of money UK adults hold in cash savings accounts has fallen by more than a fifth since March 2009  
Posted: 13 October 2009 | 11:29:43
The time is right for supermarket banks to really shake up the market with many of the traditional High Street giants on their knees in the wake of the recession  
Posted: 13 October 2009 | 11:25:32
The office for National Statistics has just released the latest consumer price data. This is particularly relevant to pensions as the September RPI figure is widely used for pension increases for the forthcoming year (escalation and revaluation).  
Posted: 12 October 2009 | 14:35:56
A mixed bag of pension articles over the weekend with most focussing upon the Conservative's proposal to bring forward the raise in state pension age. However, I think if you're going to read anything this week about pensions, then I'd recommend HSBC's research report about pensions and retirement planning.   
Posted: 10 October 2009 | 13:42:20
New research from PruHealth, the health insurer that rewards you for being healthy, has found that today's 20-somethings feel three years older than their birth certificate states and the average 30-something feels their actual age, but the average Brit aged 40+ feels 11.5 years younger than their actual age.  
Posted: 10 October 2009 | 13:41:16
Nick Raynor, investment adviser at retail stockbroker, The Share Centre, gives his thoughts on what to expect from companies announcing results w/c 12 October.  
Posted: 10 October 2009 | 13:39:58
Asset manager triumphs in UK's largest ‘mystery shopping' exercise  
Posted: 10 October 2009 | 13:38:55
Independent wrap platform Ascentric is running its own series of conferences for the first time that will give advisers the opportunity to hear from well known industry names including Steve Bee about key topics affecting their market.  
Posted: 08 October 2009 | 11:58:18
I walked into my lounge last night just as the adverts came on after Eastenders. I, nor my family, watch the programme but the TV had been left on that particular channel. The first ad immediately caught my attention so much so that I stopped what I was going to do (fill up the log burner), turned around and watched.   
Posted: 07 October 2009 | 11:34:25
Scottish Life, the pensions specialist arm of the Royal London Group, has introduced a new service to allow IFAs to monitor the progress of new business cases.
Posted: 07 October 2009 | 10:03:11
Aviva - the UK's largest insurer with 7m life and pensions customers - is proposing a series of reforms to the pension system to make retirement saving more flexible, relevant and attractive to UK savers.
Posted: 07 October 2009 | 09:18:54
The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index rose by six points in September, increasing to 71 from 65 in August. The Index is now 24 points higher than it was a year ago.
Posted: 07 October 2009 | 09:17:18
Commenting on Tesco's move into full service banking, Kevin Mountford, head of banking at, said; "We welcome this news and although it had been strongly rumoured it is good to hear it formalized."
Posted: 06 October 2009 | 10:56:23
Just raising pension age may be good headlines but is not good policy:   The sudden announcement of proposals to increase the state pension age to 66, with the aim of saving billions of pounds of public money, does not appear to be carefully thought through.  There are significant potential savings to be made by simplifying our pension system, but just raising the state pension age is not the answer.  It may make easy headlines, but it does not necessarily make good policy. 
Posted: 06 October 2009 | 09:32:25
Following on from the successful launch of its Discussion Paper in July, SHIP - the equity release trade body - is asking all stakeholders to become part of the evolution of the sector by signing up to their ‘Equity Release' development forum.
Posted: 06 October 2009 | 09:29:56
In what has been a dramatic 12 months for most, this has been an exceptional year for the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP). This is being celebrated at the Annual Conference being held at the Celtic Manor Resort this week, 5-7 October.
Posted: 05 October 2009 | 12:46:05
Research conducted by has found that whilst more people are paying off their non-mortgage debt than increasing it, more than half of the UK's 50+ population is still carrying an average of £6,734 non-mortgage debt.
Posted: 05 October 2009 | 12:42:09
With its latest savings initiative, the Government estimates it is going to give away an extra £85 million over the next couple of years or so. For those aged 50 or over, the ‘'Great Tax Giveaway' starts on 6th October 2009, for those aged under 50 the good news is a few months down the road.
Posted: 04 October 2009 | 08:25:58
Prudential has recently released new research that shows that one in four investors have ruled out a return to stock market investment in fear of losing money.  
Posted: 04 October 2009 | 07:58:57
First year of retirement is best year of life yet but also most expensive Romance and socialising have replaced bird-watching and bowls as a new generation of ‘Go.A.Ps' rips up the rule book on retirement - the first year post-work is the best year yet, according to a new study.  
Posted: 04 October 2009 | 07:57:36
"Europe's markets endured a poor week after investors digested a weaker set of US economic data that suggested the global economy is not out of the woods just yet."  
Posted: 02 October 2009 | 15:56:41
Following the release of a press statement from Park Row’s PR consultancy at lunchtime today, 2plan Wealth Management, one of the UK’s leading national IFAs, today issued its response: Chris Smallwood, chief executive of 2plan wealth management, explains:  
Posted: 02 October 2009 | 15:44:18
Dentons Pensions Management Ltd, one of the UK’s top self-invested personal pension providers, announces the launch of the Flexible Pension Scheme as part of its new wider product range.  
Posted: 02 October 2009 | 09:17:05
More than half of firms who are advertising sale and rent back schemes via the internet may not have obtained the required Financial Services Authority authorisation. Specialist compliance consultancy firm, Advzr Ltd, has today warned consumers to be careful in their selection of Sale & Rent Back (SRB) firms after it issued a report showing that more than half of firms advertising SRB schemes might not have the correct FSA authorisation.  
Posted: 02 October 2009 | 07:34:37
In today's news, there are three inter-connected articles linked to investment performance and which interest me.  Why? Well I recently attended a seminar with around 100 trustees, advisers and other pension professionals. One of the questions posed to the audience was to list the factors/concerns that they felt were important to them.   
Posted: 01 October 2009 | 17:16:15
New research, from user experience company Foolproof, shows that consumers’ desire to research and apply for mortgages online has increased over the last two years. Foolproof’s Online Shopping Survey into the way in which consumers shop for mortgages online found that 42% of those who currently have a mortgage had used the internet when they originally arranged it. It also discovered that the number of people who said they had applied for their current mortgage online had risen dramatically from 9% in 2007 to 18% this year. And, when asked about their next mortgage, nearly half (45%) said they would expect to go as far as apply and buy online.  
Posted: 30 September 2009 | 13:54:16
Described by the article leader, Dame Joan Bakewell is the Government's voice for older people. As a respected broadcaster it's not surprising that when she speaks, people listen.   
Posted: 30 September 2009 | 10:00:13
There is a rapidly increasing awareness that the digital revolution is fully underway. The challenge given by Martha Lane Fox (the UK Government’s Digital Champion) to “get as many of the 17 million currently without access to the net online by the time of the Olympics in 2012”, and the recent report ‘Digital Britain’ from Lord Carter, confirms that serious political attention is now being paid to the digitalisation of households throughout the UK.  There have been winners and losers even in these early days of what’s now being called the ‘Digital Economy’. 'The Revolution in Self-Service Channels in the Financial Services Sector' report analyses the growth of consumer self-service channels in key areas of the Financial Services market and looks at who is winning and who could lose out. This new report examines the recent emergence of new operating models and highlights the transformation of more established business models in those parts of the Financial Markets most affected (e.g. General Insurance, Wealth Management and Retail Banking).  
Posted: 30 September 2009 | 09:26:56
All consumers, but particularly young people, continue to value the financial documents they receive in the post alongside on-line access concludes a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh.  The study shows that consumers value personalised marketing on their documents online but even more so on paper, indicating an overlooked opportunity for marketers to increase brand and customer loyalty with promotions on documents such as banking, utility and mobile statements.   
Posted: 29 September 2009 | 07:04:19
Swing a tennis racquet or a golf club? Check. Walk the dog? Check. Live in a city? Check. How to add years to your life – the underwriter way.  Policy Selection looks at the factors determining life policy pay outs   
Posted: 29 September 2009 | 06:44:48
Over half (56%) of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) in the UK have taken deliberate steps to diversify their business in order to survive the recession according to new research by Aviva. Diversification through new products or services, opening at weekends, trading for longer hours and targeting new customer groups were the most common actions taken by SMEs to weather the economic storm, compared to additional promotions and increased discounts (28%).   
Posted: 29 September 2009 | 06:42:29
In its latest Consultation Document, DWP is seeking to add 'pensionable earnings' to the inventory of 'listed changes' which requires employers to consult members. It explains that:   
Posted: 28 September 2009 | 11:48:15
  Following presentations to 1,000 IFAs over a three week period in September 2009, IFA Life has discovered that whilst almost all IFAs believe that marketing is important to their business, only 5% have a formal marketing plan. And whilst the majority of IFAs now accept that the Internet is becoming increasingly important in finding new clients and professional connections, a staggering 99% admit that they do not have an Internet marketing plan. Many IFAs are now making greater use of Internet marketing tools such as social networking websites, but for the most part it is unstructured and without a plan.    
Posted: 28 September 2009 | 10:36:31
The residential rental market is beginning to stabilise with property oversupply decreasing across the UK and the number of new tenancies increasing, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). Results from the latest ARLA survey of its members show that the historical decline in numbers of tenants, which led to a surplus of properties to rent, is coming to an end.  
Posted: 28 September 2009 | 10:34:59
Around one in four potential investors - equivalent to 11.9 million people - are ruling out equity investments because of a lack of confidence in the stock market or because they don't want to lose more money, new research from Prudential shows.  
Posted: 25 September 2009 | 10:09:54
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has today has warned the Financial Services Authority (FSA) that the current Retail Distribution Review (RDR) proposals for the corporate pensions market risk restricting access to advice.
Posted: 25 September 2009 | 10:00:47
Britons have dipped into £11 billion worth of ISA cash in the last 12 months, according to Abbey Savings, whose research discovered Britons withdrew almost three times as much compared against the previous 12 months.
Posted: 24 September 2009 | 11:06:15
Gartmore is to invite 15,000 IFAs to an independent IFA roadshow at nine venues around the country during the first two weeks of October.  
Posted: 24 September 2009 | 11:04:30
AEGON will be running a series of personal protection workshops across the country entitled ‘Opening Doors' in October and November this year.   
Posted: 24 September 2009 | 11:02:33
Figures from Fidelity International, the UK's leading ISA provider, show that 6 out of 10 investors are currently reviewing their portfolios and a further 28% intend to do so within the next 6 months.  
Posted: 24 September 2009 | 11:00:30
Despite recent talk of green shoots, a new report* reveals that as many as 12 million Brits (25%)**are currently struggling to cope with their monthly bills. A figure that could increase to 18.8 million (39%) if bills rose by up to £50 per month.  
Posted: 23 September 2009 | 18:59:06
Last night I watched ITV's Your Money programme which I'd taped. Jonathan Maitland reported on three families whose retirement plans have been turned upside down for different reasons.  Final salary and money purchase pensions came under the spotlight and I have to say it made depressing viewing.  
Posted: 23 September 2009 | 14:04:48
Scottish Life, the pensions specialist arm of the Royal London Group, has produced an "instant expert" support pack, including case studies, a planning tool and client-facing material, to help IFAs maximise the business opportunities generated by the impending change to the minimum retirement age.  
Posted: 23 September 2009 | 13:57:12
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today issued a feedback statement reaffirming its regulatory approach to balancing the responsibilities of consumers and firms, which it first set out in Discussion Paper 08/05.  
Posted: 23 September 2009 | 13:50:32
Legal & General has enhanced its Inheritance Tax (IHT) offer with a competitive re-price of its Whole of Life Protection Plan.  
Posted: 22 September 2009 | 18:12:27
I enjoyed this article from The Guardian's website because of the interesting facts that it reveals. Dissecting a recent report issued by The Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (IFLL), it relates that the IFLL recommends splitting the population into 4 key groups for education purposes: 18-25, 25-50, 50-75, and 75+.  
Posted: 22 September 2009 | 09:06:16
Risk remains the overriding factor in setting mortgage rates, with competition amongst lenders continuing to take a back seat.  
Posted: 22 September 2009 | 09:02:54
A study launched by Saga reveals that just 5% of over 50s know what the new ISA limits being introduced on 6th October 2009 will be, demonstrating that the Government and the savings and investment industry need to do more to advise people of the increase.      
Posted: 22 September 2009 | 09:00:18
The CPS has released a 97 page report listing eight proposals to improve retirement provision in the UK. Some are obvious but the third on the list is more radical: replace Personal Accounts with Flexible Retirement Savings Accounts (FRSAs).  
Posted: 21 September 2009 | 09:14:17
IFA Life sailed past the 3,000 member mark this week, as the social networking website for IFAs and financial planners increasingly becomes recognised as a serious and respected industry resource.  
Posted: 19 September 2009 | 09:59:11
Brands are being warned to monitor their online reputation closely as consumers increasingly rely on web reviews and ratings to aid their purchase decisions. As National Consumer Week draws to a close, Graeme Crossley, CEO of brand communications agency Brand Reputation believes that many brands are still failing to realise the emergence of 'Google Enabled Choices' or appreciate just how many consumers are now relying on web reviews to aid their purchase decisions, with some opting to have no contact whatsoever with brands offline prior to deciding to buy.  
Posted: 18 September 2009 | 12:13:03
The latest Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Thinkpiece Risky Business: "Nudging" you to make the "right" choices, written in partnership with RSA Insurance Group and the thinktank Reform, explores politicians' current love affair with nudge theory and spells out how the public could benefit from its use by the financial services sector.  
Posted: 18 September 2009 | 09:54:51
Gross mortgage lending totalled an estimated £12.6 billion in August, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This represents a decline of 13% from July's revised total of £14.5 billion, but a seasonal fall in lending activity in August is to be expected.
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 12:40:01
Legal & General business partners (sole-tied to Legal & General for protection) have sold more than 500 Over 50s plans since it was launched in the channel in March.  
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 12:37:31
AEGON has announced further improvements in the financial underwriting limits for its personal and mortgage protection proposition by increasing the sums assured at which the main residence mortgage offer letter is required for life and critical illness cover.  
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 12:35:23
As part of an ongoing campaign focused on addressing the risks facing defined contribution scheme members, the Pensions Regulator and the FSA have today jointly published a new information leaflet for employers - 'Guide for employers: talking to your employees about pensions'.  
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 12:33:39
Friends Provident has enhanced its online member tools ("Etools") to help members of corporate pension schemes better understand their finances and manage their pensions online. The additions were made following feedback from customers, employers and intermediaries.  
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 12:31:27
Financial education charity the ifs School of Finance today opened registrations for the 2009-10 ifs Student Investor competition and confirmed they were expecting more than 40,000 teenagers to participate.  
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 09:56:33
As the qualifications development process for the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) moves into its final stages the ifs School of Finance have announced they will hold a number of RDR related events for Financial Advisers at their City campus.  
Posted: 17 September 2009 | 07:46:13
Just Retirement, the specialist retirement solutions provider, today calls on the main UK political parties to show clearer leadership on policies regarding pensions, retirement and social care and specifically calls on the Government to consider the appointment of a Cabinet level Minister to be exclusively responsible for all aspects of retirement, in order to face the many challenges of our ageing society.  
Posted: 16 September 2009 | 07:52:08
Average amount saved monthly has increased 26 per cent since January Savers now putting aside on average £206 each month But 40 per cent of Britons are still saving nothing at all  
Posted: 16 September 2009 | 07:50:33
The latest Lloyds TSB Scotland Business Monitor shows the Scottish economy on track to exit recession later this year  
Posted: 15 September 2009 | 10:20:27
A report published today by the Pensions Policy Institute commissioned by Prudential UK and Europe considers the role that housing wealth could play in supporting retirement for today's pensioners and for future generations of pensioners.  
Posted: 15 September 2009 | 10:14:40
Following a year of extensive public consultation and planning, the Financial Ombudsman Service today makes available for the first time a range of complaints data relating to individually named financial businesses - including banks, insurance companies and investment firms.  
Posted: 14 September 2009 | 18:43:56
Last week was national Financial Planning Week. This consumer awareness campaign is run by the IFP to help consumers learn more about how to improve their financial fitness by taking some simple steps themselves.
Posted: 14 September 2009 | 18:40:45
The number of residential mortgages available is slowly increasing, but still the market is dominated by deals for customers with more than a 25% deposit.
Posted: 14 September 2009 | 18:38:20
While property values remain uncertain, the third annual Scottish Widows Savings and Investment Report reveals that the nation's view of investing in property has been impacted by the unprecedented economic environment in last couple of years.  However , investors' actions do not necessarily mirror their sentiments.
Posted: 13 September 2009 | 12:10:37
I have to say that I'd missed the fact that the House of Lords is being replaced by a Supreme Court in respect of the ultimate 'court' in the UK. So, I was interested to read this article  
Posted: 13 September 2009 | 12:08:23
Watson Wyatt has released a research report entitled Journey planning - a more engaging approach. It looks at ways of how best to encourage greater engagement of members of defined contribution schemes. The report breaks down what it classes as a typical retirement journey into three common elements: contributions, investment risk and retirement date.  
Posted: 12 September 2009 | 10:19:20
Day 4 of this year's Financial Planning Week campaign run by the IFP,  focused on the needs of those individuals whose families have grown up and are now in the position of making choices about their own future, goals and dreams - including their approach to retirement.  
Posted: 12 September 2009 | 10:18:19
Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Financial Ombudsman Service (Ombudsman) have been looking at the potential detriment this has caused for investors in the UK structured products market.   
Posted: 12 September 2009 | 10:16:36
House prices in rural areas have fallen by less than in urban areas over the past year, according to the latest annual Halifax Rural Housing Review.  
Posted: 10 September 2009 | 09:55:17
Nick Serff, Market Analyst, City Index commented: European equity markets reversed earlier losses to finish with a rally of 1%. UK Trade figures this morning showed British exports accelerated in July coming in at -6.479b. This was the fastest monthly rise since the start of 2008, but slightly lower than analysts forecasted. However the market reversed early weakness to head higher and trade above 5000 for the first time since October 2008.  
Posted: 09 September 2009 | 10:33:04
As the average total cost of dying now exceeds £7,000, nearly half the population are leaving themselves and their families financially unprepared to meet this ever-increasing cost.
Posted: 09 September 2009 | 10:29:47
Consumer confidence rises
Posted: 09 September 2009 | 10:26:09
The poll results would indicate some reluctance among respondents to assess their financial goals
Posted: 08 September 2009 | 11:35:03
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Barclays Capital Securities Ltd and Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays) £2.45m for failing to provide accurate transaction reports to the FSA and for serious weaknesses in systems and controls in relation to transaction reporting.  
Posted: 06 September 2009 | 09:48:07
While most in the UK eagerly await the end of the recession, a group identified as the ‘resilient rich’ are remaining positive and continuing to spend. At the same time, they’re keeping on top of their finances and many are considering changing their savings accounts and insurance policies.  
Posted: 06 September 2009 | 09:46:33
New research by Ordnance Survey amongst the UK’s leading Insurance Fraud Investigators (IFI’s) reveals that insurance fraud is continuing to rise, despite soaring to record levels in 2008. Nearly three quarters (74%) of those interviewed have seen an increase in fraudulent claims since the beginning of 2009 and the problem is showing no signs of levelling out.  
Posted: 06 September 2009 | 09:44:40
Just Retirement Solutions, the equity release advice specialist, today reveals the scale of the challenge facing pensioners as one in four admit to not knowing about state benefit entitlements that could considerably bolster their income in retirement.    
Posted: 05 September 2009 | 08:52:06
The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is today launching 2009's Financial Planning Week (September 7-13) in association with Scottish Widows, and is championing employers to offer better guidance on planning for retirement within the workplace.   
Posted: 05 September 2009 | 08:12:26
I'm just a little surprised that the media hasn't made more of the KeTech pension situation.  Even though it appears to have been triggered by an administrative hiccough, the fact that it was scheme members who raised the alarm bells doesn't look good to a public currently suspicious of anything to do with pensions.  
Posted: 05 September 2009 | 08:09:21
I think advisers need to carefully consider about whether or not they get involved with advising clients about 'cash for pension increase' exercises.  
Posted: 05 September 2009 | 08:01:31
The high street is quickly becoming the last resort for shoppers who prefer to browse the internet for cheaper sales and avoid poor customer service, according to retail sales expert Richard White.  
Posted: 01 September 2009 | 11:08:07
Data released by the Bank of England today showed that total net lending to individuals fell by £0.6 billion in July, showing a net repayment for the first time since the series began in 1993.  
Posted: 30 August 2009 | 08:16:00
Following IFA Life's recent announcement that it would be hosting an in depth lead generation workshop, over seventy IFAs quickly signed up - plus an additional event has had to be added in Manchester.  
Posted: 28 August 2009 | 11:59:58
If you ever hear anyone say that pensions are boring, don't believe them. It's a bit like the hanging debate - if you get into that one you just sit back and watch people merge into two groups very quickly: those for and those against.   
Posted: 28 August 2009 | 11:57:45
As the Summer holidays come to an end, IFA Life reports growing demand from IFAs and financial planners for skills and business development training to help them attack the last few months of the year with renewed vigour and optimism.  
Posted: 27 August 2009 | 09:01:56
It's like watching sand castles on the beach just waiting for the tide to wash them away. From a trickle to a flood, companies with defined benefit schemes are announcing that they are entering into consultation with employees with a view to ceasing or changing future accrual.   
Posted: 27 August 2009 | 08:58:39
Friends Provident has launched an online Income Protection toolkit to help advisers make Income Protection a priority with their customers.  
Posted: 27 August 2009 | 08:52:53
A list of the luckiest regions for winning Premium Bonds prizes has been unveiled by NS&I showing that those firstly in the South West, and then in the East Midlands, win more Premium Bonds prizes of £1,000 or more, than the rest of the UK.  
Posted: 26 August 2009 | 09:49:11
1ST - The Exchange, a leading provider of technology and e-commerce solutions to the financial services sector, today announced it has received the backing of Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC) to accelerate its continued growth.  
Posted: 26 August 2009 | 08:52:54
One of the greatest disincentives for retirement planning, for lower earners at least, is the fact that we have an income safety net that provides for those who don't save at all. Scrapping means-testing in retirement is a significant move for any government to consider.   
Posted: 26 August 2009 | 07:00:29
Homeowners in England and Wales aged 65 and over have retained £611 billion of equity in their property and a further £43bn is held in Scotland as the housing market begins to show signs of stabilising following two years of decline