Barclays Wealth issues Regular Income Bond paying 5.75% per annum

Regular income of 5.75% a year or 0.47% a month Capital is at risk if the FTSE falls by more than 50% during the term Six-year investment issued by Barclays Bank PLC Barclays Wealth has launched a Regular Income Bond for investors looking to secure a competitive fixed income over the medium term. Available now, this FTSE-linked product offers investors the option of either a fixed annual payment or monthly income over a six-year period. The annual option pays 5.75% for each year the plan is held, while the monthly option gives investors 0.47% each month. In both options, investors’ capital is lost if at any time during the term the FTSE falls to a level more than 50% below its starting level and is below the starting level at maturity. If this does occur, capital will be lost on a 1:1 basis. Full details of this product can be found at http://www.barclayswealthstructuredinvestments.com Commenting, Lisa Chaudhuri, vice president at Barclays Wealth, says: “Our Regular Income Bond helps to bridge the gap between low return/low risk and high return/high risk investments, offering a competitive fixed income while providing a significant level of headroom for a potential fall in the level of the FTSE before initial capital is put at risk. “With interest rates being held at a record low for the 22nd consecutive month, investors continue to search for products that can offer an attractive, dependable return with limited risk to capital – exactly what the RIB...

Investments and insurance soar in this weekend’s money sections

This week, investments firmly re-established their position at the top of the coverage leaderboard, accounting for 33 per cent of all stories, up from 21 per cent last weekend. Aiding this surge was the numerous stories on commodities this week. In the Telegraph Ian Cowie (@iancowie) looked at how the floods in Queensland are pushing up commodities prices. In the Sunday edition of the paper, Emma Wall noted how the commodity index has hit a two-year high and also looked at which commodity funds investors should aim for. Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph also reported on Anthony Bolton’s belief that gold is currently the only commodity to buy and that investors looking to get involved in the sector are five years too late. The Sunday Times, however, looked at palladium, potentially the ‘new gold’, which is sparking fears of a precious metals bubble. Insurance stories also saw a jump in coverage, tripling to 9 per cent from 3 per cent last week. The Mail on Sunday looked specifically at home insurance and focused on a couple who came home from holiday to find their pipes burst and their insurance failing to cover them as they had not spent enough time in their home that year. A painful lesson in reading the small print. In the Sunday Telegraph, Rosie Murray-West (@rosiemw) also looked at home insurance and how a quarter of homeowners are underestimating how much their contents are worth. Travel insurance was the main focus for the Independent on Sunday as AXA research shows 90 per cent of holiday makers are either uninsured or have purchased the wrong insurance. The...

Ignis appoints Marcia Campbell as Director of Operations

Ignis Asset Management has appointed Marcia Campbell as Director of Operations. Marcia joined Ignis in early January and will be responsible for leading the development of Ignis’ operations to ensure they provide an efficient and flexible platform to support the Company’s future growth. Marcia was previously Group Operations Director at Standard Life, and has extensive experience in the life and investments industry. Reporting directly to Tim Roberts, Chief Operating Officer, Marcia’s key roles will be to manage the operations teams in Glasgow and London and to drive the projects that will implement Ignis’ growth strategy. The appointment follows a number of other key hires in 2010, including; Mark Lovett who joined from Allianz RCM as Chief Investment Officer – Equities, Laura Brown Chief Strategy Officer who joined from McKinsey & Company and Michiel Timmerman who will join in January from Aberdeen Asset Management as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of Ignis Advisers. Tim Roberts, Chief Operating Officer, Ignis Asset Management, says: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Marcia to Ignis. She has excellent experience in our industry and will provide a great addition to our team dedicated to ensuring we advance our strategy and operating...

Skandia Investment Group appoints Danske Capital to Skandia European Best Ideas Fund

Skandia Investment Group (SIG) is adding Danske Capital to its top performing Skandia European Best Ideas Fund. Danske Capital, a division of Danske Bank A/S, will take on a €38m mandate to help further boost its top performing Skandia European Best Ideas Fund. Launched nearly three years ago, Skandia European Best Ideas Fund has delivered exceptional performance – outperforming the MSCI Europe Index by over 16% since its launch in April 2008*, so placing the fund firmly in the top decile of the Morningstar peer group. The fund is managed overall by SIG fund manager Lee Freeman-Shor who allocates capital to the leading European equity managers; currently, Crispin Odey of Odey, James Inglis-Jones of Liontrust, Hugh Cuthbert of SVM, Raj Shant of BNY Mellon/Newton, Tobias Klein of First Private, James Buckley of Barings, Terrance Burnham of Acadian, as well as Damien Laternier of Financiere de l’echiquier. Those investment managers have now been joined by Henrik Husted-Knudsen of Danske Capital. Fund Manager Lee Freeman-Shor said:  “Henrik is an experienced and gifted focused investor, who is supported by highly rated colleagues Ivan Larsen and Allan Nielsen. His skill can be evidenced from the consistent outperformance of his stockpicking strategy. This skill, at delivering focused alpha, was evidenced during the 15 months he has managed a ten stock paper portfolio for me over which time he significantly outperformed the MSCI Europe index and peer group. His focus on delta, quality and value across the market cap spectrum should also mean that he is able to adapt and outperform during the ever changing market environment going forward.” Henrik Husted-Knudsen said: “We are delighted...

Prism funds break £100m barrier

A surge in interest from advisers and their clients has seen the three risk-rated multi-manager funds launched by Prism Capital Management Ltd (Prism) less than two years ago break through the £100m AUM barrier. The three funds, which have been specifically designed to deliver the best possible returns within well-defined levels of risk, have consistently delivered for investors since being launched in March 2009. Available through a range of distribution channels and platforms, the funds have all outperformed their respective benchmarks since inception. Figures show that of the three funds IFDS Prism Cautious Growth is leading the way with £44,832,052.47 AUM. The IFDS Prism Capital Growth and IFDS Prism Advanced follow with £42,413,668.49 and £14,896,241.31 respectively. These core funds form part of a risk-based solution for advisers and clients, delivering focused portfolio management on a daily basis in a tax efficient manner. Prism is a fund management company formed in 2009 as a joint venture between the IFA support services business, Paradigm Partners, and Octopus Investments (Octopus), one of the UK’s fastest growing investment management companies. Anthony Morrow, Director of Prism, said: “To have passed the £100m AUM barrier so quickly is a tremendous achievement by everyone involved and testament to the quality of the funds themselves and the way they are managed by the team at Octopus. While the funds’ growth has been fairly consistent since launch, there was a noticeable acceleration towards the end of 2010, something we fully expect to see continue in 2011 as the funds become better established and more widely available.” Guy Myles, Managing Director at Octopus, said: “This is a significant landmark for...

GLG European Alpha Alternative UCITS awarded OBSR ‘A’ rating

London, 14 January 2011 – GLG, a leading global investment manager and division of Man Group plc, is pleased to announce that the GLG European Alpha Alternative UCITS (the “Fund”) has been awarded an ‘A’ rating by Old Broad Street Research (OBSR). Launched on 22 June 2009, the USD $444m Fund, co-managed by Philippe Isvy and Pierre Valade, employs a relative value strategy to take long and short positions in equities and derivatives relating to large cap pan-European companies. Managed with a trading mentality – the average holding period for a position in the Fund is 40 days – the Irish-domiciled Fund aims to deliver a net-of-fees¹ return of 10% per annum with low volatility, irrespective of market and sector direction. The award of the rating follows OBSR’s recent upgrade of the GLG Japan CoreAlpha Fund to ‘AAA’ from ‘AA’. Commenting on the GLG European Alpha Alternative UCITS, OBSR says: “The managers respond to significant relative stock price movements within industries and adopt long or short positions when they believe the movement is excessive and can identify a catalyst for a reversal in the short-term. Despite the relatively short-term investment horizon, the managers are able to articulate a precise thesis for every holding in the fund.” Richard Phillips, Head of UK Retail at Man, said: “Philippe and Pierre take a highly disciplined, fundamental approach to running the fund and we are very pleased to see their efforts recognised by OBSR. Demand for the fund has been very strong since launch and the award further illustrates the appeal of a well-managed absolute return vehicle able to perform in all market...

Cofunds exceeds £30bn AUA milestone

Cofunds, the UK’s leading independent platform, has broken the £30bn assets under administration (AUA) barrier.  This increase in AUA follows on from a very successful past 12 months where Cofunds reached £25bn in April 2010 and consolidated its lead as the highest selling platform for the sixth quarter running in Q3 2010. Cofunds launched services such as the research and financial planning tools as well as the Cofunds Pension Account over the last year which helped contribute to the c.£7.5bn increase in AUA since 1st January 2010. Alastair Conway, Sales & Marketing Director at Cofunds said: “Reaching this milestone is a great achievement for the business, which would not have been possible without the endorsement of advisers, who we continue to work with closely. “We recognise that we need to continue to invest in the platform to maintain our position in the market as we head towards the deadline of January 2013. Our profitability and increasing AUA puts us in a great position to ensure we focus on the heart of our business, enabling advisers to carry out their work more...

Utilities, mortgages and savings in the mid week money blog

This week’s money sections saw an increase in mortgage and utility stories, with both sectors doubling in their frequency to account for 20 per cent from 10 per cent last week. Savings articles also increased this week to account for 27 per cent, up from 20 per cent last week. These column inches were snatched away from insurance, investment and tax stories which all saw a fall in their number. Tax especially fell from accounting for 20 per cent of all money stories to no articles at all. Savings stories included Tricia Phillips (@Triciaaphillips) in the Daily Mirror who informed readers of 10 steps to save £10,000, urging consumers to look at a plethora of expenditure including their mortgage, credit cards, energy bills and home insurance. Mortgage articles ranged from Rosie Murray-West (@rosiemw) in The Telegraph writing about ways to avoid costly mortgages by adding value to homes, to Holly Thomas in the Daily Express informing readers of ways to step on to the housing ladder by clearing debts to make themselves  more attractive to lenders. Energy bills was also an emerging theme with Esther Shaw in the Daily Express looking at the trend for providers raising the cost of power, with EON mentioned as the latest company to do so. On a more positive note, Tricia Phillips in the Daily Mirror covered the good news that British Gas will be giving £37million to help those struggling with energy bills. Also worth a mention is the Wooden Spoon Awards by the Daily Mail. James Coney (@jimconey) set out the worst offenders for customer service with Talk Talk coming in...

Platform transparency to take centre stage in 2011

2011 will be the year that transparency takes centre stage in the platform market according to Nucleus founder and CEO David Ferguson. Ferguson, who set up Nucleus with a group of like minded IFA firms just over four years ago, believes that while 2010 was a monumental year in terms of boundary setting for the long-term future of the platform industry, 2011 will be the year when advisers and their clients hold providers to account regarding costs and control. With Ferguson at the helm, Nucleus has long set the standard for transparency in the platform market, actively campaigning for others to follow suit. The business, which is owned and controlled by the IFA firms that use it, is currently working with member-firms to create a ‘transparency charter’. The charter, to be produced by the platform’s IFA Advisory Board, headed by Central Investment managing director John Moore, is designed to help advisers make greater sense of the various propositions on the market and which is most suitable for their business. “For too long platform providers have kept the nature of their commercial relationships under wraps,” says Ferguson. “While many advisers were happy to accept this situation in the past those days are well and truly numbered.  Modern, forward-looking, and truly independent advisers appreciate how difficult it is for them to claim to be acting for the client (who is paying for the service) when the infrastructure being used to execute the advice is ridden with bias. The transparency we have always campaigned for is about bringing those biases out in the open to create a level playing field so that...

Tax and mortgage stories on the rise in the weekend money section review

This weekend’s money sections saw a sharp drop in pensions-related articles (halving from 20 per cent down to 10 per cent) and this slack was taken up by mortgage and tax stories, which increased from 7 per cent to 16 per cent and from 9 per cent to 13 per cent respectively. In the Telegraph, Emma Simon (@SimpleSimonEmma) highlighted the difficulties facing home owners who are thinking of remortgaging this year. Many are facing higher interest rates and mortgage lenders now reserve their best rates for those with at least 40 per cent equity in their home. James Charles (@jcharles) also picked up on this theme in the Sunday Times. He warned against the increasingly bizarre criteria that banks are using to refuse loan applications for mortgages – including keeping chickens in your garden. Unsurprisingly, the VAT increase caused a rise in tax articles. According to Jonathan Moules (@Jonathan_Moules) in the FT Weekend, the VAT rise will hit many business owners hardest in the fuel tank and the increased travel costs will affect smaller businesses the most. However, the VAT rise could actually benefit the self-employed. As Chiara Cavaglieri reported in the Independent, the flat tax rate means that those who have lower than average expenses charged at the standard rate will actually save money under the new scheme. It wasn’t just the VAT increase that caused the rise in tax stories, the approaching tax return deadline (on 31st January) bumped up the tally too. In the Independent, Neasa MacErlean (@neasam) advised taxpayers to be particularly careful this year in ensuring that their returns are accurate due to a...

Cofunds doubles team dedicated to RDR support

Cofunds, the UK’s leading independent platform, has doubled the size of its platform consultancy team.  The team will grow from eight to 15 people in January following five external appointments and several internal promotions. The extra resource means that the team now comprises regional platform consultants, office-based platform consultants and trainers.  They will continue to support Cofunds’ 25-strong sales team across the country by providing practical, hands-on support covering a multitude of areas – from transitioning to a fee-based model to adopting and embedding the tools and services available on the platform. The new recruits include four ex senior e-business specialists from Skandia: Andy Higham, Damian Bryant, Brian Moffat and Simon Warr. Alastair Conway, Sales & Marketing Director at Cofunds said; “We’re really committed to supporting advisers through the RDR and expanding this team will add momentum to the already well-received platform consultancy service. “Many advisers have asked us for help with client segmentation, pension consolidation, investment processes and client service propositions, and this shows that we are responding. We know it’s important to support our clients, so we’ll be focusing on platform implementation, user forums, ongoing support and hands-on training right across the country. “We’re delighted to add further expertise into the team. With significant financial services experience each, our new colleagues will provide solid support for advisers working to position their businesses in readiness for...

MRM recruits head of digital

London PR agency MRM ramps up its online marketing and PR with appointment of ‘head of digital and social’ . The 14-strong consultancy, which specialises in financial services media relations and marketing, has recruited Michael Taggart from Brighton and Hove City Council to the new role. As head of media at the local authority, Taggart was responsible for developing the social media strategy and embedding social technologies into customer services in areas as diverse as libraries, benefits and rubbish collections. During his tenure, the council employed local government’s first full-time ‘social media offer’ and won plaudits for its communication with residents on social networks during the severe cold weather last January. Taggart, a former staff reporter at the Daily Mail, will integrate digital into all parts the consultancy’s business and offer clients strategic advice on disciplines such as community management, online marketing and mobile. Agency director Richard Wheat says of Taggart’s appointment: “We don’t intend to become a digital agency.  The new media communications democracy of social and so-called traditional media relations don’t operate in isolation – a good agency is one that knows how to blend the two disciplines to form a complete PR and marketing package “The internet is becoming central to customer and client engagement in all industries. Michael brings a wealth of ideas in this field and complements our current proposition perfectly. ” Taggart says: “This is a dream move for me – not just because I know social media can help organisations of all size and type become successful but because MRM is a forward-thinking agency that will push boundaries, while offering solid, trustworthy...

Wilson to step down as Helm MD

Bruce Wilson has stepped down as managing director of IFA firm Helm Godfrey, passing the baton onto Graham Cross, the current COO. Wilson, who will continue to work for Helm Godfrey as one of its most senior and experienced advisers, took charge of the business in 1999 following a management buyout when he became the founding management director. He has guided the business through a number of acquisitions and initiatives that have turned Helm Godfrey into one of the largest and most respected IFA firms in the country. The business, which currently employs 55 people, has been consistently profitable since 2002, peaking in 2007 with a net profit of £775,000 on a turnover of £6.7m. Last year the company reported a net profit of £360,000 on a turnover of £5m. Following his retirement from the role of MD, Wilson aims to spend more time dedicated to advising his current clients and representing Helm Godfrey’s interests within Nucleus, the IFA-owned and controlled wrap platform the business is a founder member of. He will also dedicate more time to the Institute of Financial Planning where he is vice president and to Project Eve, the collaboration of UK life and financial planners he set up with Jeremy Deedes, Tina Weeks, Adam Young, James Harvey and Dennis Hall earlier this year, which aims to help consumers with decisions about their money driven solely by their most profound life goals. Commenting, Wilson said: “Running an IFA business over the last 11 years has been hugely challenging at times, but very exciting and immensely rewarding. I couldn’t have done it without the help of the...

What were they thinking?! The Friday Links blog

Happy New Year Friday Links lovers, we trust you made it home for the festivities, wherever in the world home might be. In getting there were you perhaps on one of these planes on this timelapsed footage of all flights in a 24 hour period? A simultaneously amazing and horrifying first link of 2011– respectively the beautiful pollen-like nature of planes congregating en masse and the mind boggling environmental impact of such a humungous carbon footprint. Or as one MRMer put it ‘I hate flying so this scared the bejesus out of me’. Quite. See for yourself here. Assuming, snow permitting, you made it home to spend Christmas in the bosom of your family we hope Santa was good to you. If not, you might want to think twice about shlepping half way round the globe, or even around the corner, for a family Christmas next time. Alternatively, bookmark this site. If you’ve been similarly blighted then Ebay is clearly also an option, that is if humiliating your nearest and dearest for having poor taste isn’t your thing....

Savings and tax take top spot in the first week of 2011

The first mid-week money sections of 2011 saw savings stories falling significantly, from 30 per cent in the last tally of 2010 to 20 per cent, sharing the top spot with the week’s biggest riser, tax, which rose from zero to 20 per cent of all coverage. Meanwhile credit cards, utilities and investment stories all saw a resurgence from zero at the end of 2010, with each amounting for 10 per cent this week. On the topic of savings, Rosie Murray-West (@rosiemw) in the Telegraph highlighted research from First Direct in which 18 per cent of people cited over-spending before Christmas as their biggest financial regret, and outlined how to start the new year saving money instead of losing it. In the Express, Holly Thomas looked at how the OFT ruling regarding ISAs (with providers having to complete transfers within 15 working days) could see customers no longer losing out on interest. With the recent rise in VAT dominating tax stories, James Coney (@jimconey) in the Daily Mail looked at how the change is just the beginning of a number of planned tax changes expected this year, with customers set to feel the effects come April. Ruki Sayid in the Mirror advised readers to buy their big ticket items now, emphasising how the VAT rise will affect the price of a range of popular products. Full tally of scores below: Charity  0% Credit cards 10% Fraud/scams 0% IFAs  0% Insurance   10% Investment  10% Mortgages   10% Pensions    10% Regulation   0% Savings   20% Tax    20% Utilities ...

Barclays Wealth launches new structured deposit

  New structured deposit issued by Barclays Bank PLC Potential return of more than 31% at maturity Lock-in feature can ring fence returns at annual anniversaries Barclays Wealth has reissued its flagship structured deposit aimed at those seeking a compelling alternative to traditional deposit accounts. Linked to the FTSE 100, the Wealthbuilder aims to provide depositors with a maximum return of 31.20% after six years. The deposit, which was first launched for retail investors in September, locks in 5.20% on each anniversary that the Index is at or above its starting level. If the Index is below its starting level on any anniversary, no return will be locked in. Investors’ full capital is returned at maturity irrespective of market performance. However, if investors withdraw from the product before maturity, some of their capital may be lost. Full details of this product can be found at http://www.barclayswealthprotectedinvestments.com. Lisa Chaudhuri, vice president, Barclays Wealth, says: “Wealthbuilder is designed to offer an alternative to traditional deposit accounts as it offers the opportunities to lock in profits, therefore giving the chance to ring-fence growth during the term. It will return a potential 31.20% over the term while also offering the same capital security as a traditional deposit. “With alternative savings products still thin on the ground, a product that offers attractive returns in a low interest rate environment is likely to be desirable to...