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Brexit-focused Financial Services Bill gets first reading

The Financial Services Bill received its first reading in Parliament this week as the Government focuses on getting the financial services sector ready for Brexit.

The Financial Services Bill is designed to help ensure the UK maintains its “world-leading regulatory standards and remains open to international markets after the UK leaves the EU.”

It was announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019. 

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The Bill has been welcomed by the Financial Conduct Authority which said it will help to maintain high standards and provide greater clarity to firms. It particularly welcomed the Bill’s provisions to amend the Benchmarks Regulation, which is intended to help manage and direct an orderly wind-down of critical benchmarks such as LIBOR. The regulator said it will continue its work with the Treasury during the Bill’s passage through Parliament.

PIMFA, the trade association for the wealth management and financial advice industry, also welcomed the

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Editor’s Column: Financial Planning’s golden opportunity

It’s hard to find a silver lining in current Covid cloud but one of them may be a boost to recruiting the next generation of Financial Planners.

One adviser network, Openwork, has even gone as far this week as urging people working in insurance and banking facing redundancy to retrain as advisers and planners, offering the chance to achieve Chartered Financial Planner status.

This makes a lot of sense. We’ve seen huge cutbacks in the banks’ branch networks in recent years with the inevitable loss of jobs. Some insurance companies

too are increasing automation and shedding staff.

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At the same time the Financial Planning sector has been bereft of recruits and the sector has struggled to grow as a results. A bad press in the past has

deterred bright graduates from considering Financial Planning.

That’s changing. Our Financial Planning Jobs service, for example, has seen a surge in

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Fidelity buys LGIM’s £5.8bn personal investing arm

Fidelity has acquired Legal & General Investment Management’s UK Personal Investing business which manages £5.8bn in assets for 300,000 clients.

The company says the deal, for an undisclosed sum, will double the number of D2C customers using Fidelity’s expanding Personal Investing business.

Fidelity Personal Investing currently has 280,000 customers with £20.3bn assets under management.

The transaction is set to be completed in the next 12 months and follows Fidelity’s recent acquisition of Cavendish Online.

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Fidelity says on transfer, customers will pay the “same or less” than they do with LGIM.

As Fidelity Personal Investing clients they will get access to an investment and pension platform which includes 3,000 funds, shares, investment trusts and exchange-traded funds which can be held in an ISA, SIPP or Investment Account.

The LGIM clients can also access Fidelity’s online guidance services, investment tools and other services.

Stuart Welch, global head of personal investing

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LCF pay-outs reach £38.1m as claims process drags on

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has paid out just over £38.1m in compensation to LCF customers, a substantial increase from the £20m paid out by August when the body increased the team allocated to the case by nearly 80%.

In its latest update, the body revealed that it has worked with Capita to create an artificial intelligence (AI) approach to help review 700,000 telephone recordings. The accuracy of the AI was then checked manually by the team before making any claims decisions.

Without the use of AI, the body said it would not have been able to start paying claims until January 2021. It decided “this timescale was not acceptable given LCF customers had already been waiting many months for us to be able to confirm the outcome of their claim.”

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There has been criticism of the FSCS and FCA for a slow response to the LCF mini-bond

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Quilter reports Q3 recovery in net inflows

 

Wealth manager Quilter has reported a year on year rise in assets and a modest recovery in inflows.

Assets under Management and Administration (AuMA) were £109.5 billion at the end of September compared to £108.2m in Q3 2019.

Year to date net inflows were £1.2 billion compared to £0.2bn in net outflows in 2019.

Third quarter gross sales showed a modest decline on 2019 at £2.7 billion (2019: £2.8 billion).

The company said it saw “solid” Quilter Investment Platform gross flows of £1.2 billion (2019: £1.4 billion).

Figures were less positive at Quilter Financial Planning. In the three months ended 30 September it saw a drop in inflows from £0.6m to £0.4m. Year to date it saw a drop from £2m to £1.7m.

The Quilter Investment Platform re-platforming project is on track, the firm says, with around 80% of platform assets to be migrated by year-end.

Major second migration will

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£20.5m investment scammer is jailed after 6 year probe

 

A fraudster responsible for a £20.5m Ponzi-style investment scam has been jailed for 5 years and 4 months at Southwark Crown Court after a six year investigation.

Joseph Lewis, 65, of Thearne Lane, Yorkshire, ran a fraudulent investment scheme for a decade and pleaded guilty to 19 counts of fraud by false representation in September.

Many of the victims of his Ponzi-style fraud were saving for retirement and some were rumoured to include professional footballers and golfers.

More than 800 people were ripped off and many investors were in their 70s and 80s and left in financial ruin.

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Instead of investing the money in foreign exchange transactions Mr Lewis’s company transferred the funds to his personal accounts and he spent the money on a lavish lifetyle, paying some investors back when he had to or investing in his own risky investments.

His conviction follows a six year investigation

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DWP to mandate 2-page pension statements

 

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman plans to introduce simpler 2-page annual pension statements.

He said the move will build on pensions Automatic Enrolment and give millions of pension savers a better understanding of their pensions.

While the statements will first be introduced for DC schemes they could be extended to all pensions schemes.

The two-page statements will use a consistent format and will highlight key information such as the size of the saver’s pension pot and a forecast of their retirement.

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The Department for Work and Pensions says it will now develop draft regulations to introduce the simpler annual statements for defined contribution schemes used for automatic enrolment.

The simpler statements will include “a line” on costs and charges and a signpost for more detailed information elsewhere.

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Mr Opperman said: “For too long pensions have been shrouded in complexity and technical jargon, limiting

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Expect more adviser acquisitions soon says IWP

The Financial Planning community can expect to see more acquisitions soon from Independent Wealth Planners, chief executive David Inglesfield has told Financial Planning Today magazine’s latest issue.

A number of sellers are “exploring their options” with the group, said Mr Inglesfield in an interview with Financial Planning Today.

He said that the group’s strategy has remained largely unchanged as it continues to look for more acquisitions, despite the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Mr Inglesfield was interviewed as part of the Cover Feature for our most recent edition of Financial Planning Today Magazine.

Nigel Stockton, chief executive of wealth manager Ascot Lloyd, also revealed in the feature that his firm continues to look for acquisitions.

The feature looks at the firms resolutely focusing on growth despite the pandemic and asks several Financial Planners to share their tips for weathering the pandemic.

The feature looks at how a strong

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Brewin and Barclays Wealth execs join CISI board

The CISI has appointed four new board members including executives from Brewin Dolphin, Barclays Wealth and Rathbone.

Three of the four were elected by members and one is a new independent non-executive director.

The new independent non-executive director is Jane Valls who has a distinguished background in corporate governance, women’s empowerment and social justice.

The four new directors are:

Jane Valls (independent NED). She is an accredited corporate governance trainer with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, and is an accredited trainer with the Ethics Institute, as well as being a Certified Ethics Officer. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of Middlesex for services to business, women’s empowerment and social justice.

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Robert Hughes-Penney, Chartered FCSI, investment director of Rathbone Brothers, a CISI Chartered Fellow and a Chartered Wealth Manager with over 27 years’ experience managing portfolios for wealthy private

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Editor’s Column: Retirement ignorance is far from bliss

 

A couple of surveys we reported on this week reminded me about the epic scale of pension ignorance among the great British public.

Just to be clear, I do not blame pension savers for this ignorance. They have some responsibility for failing to consider their retirement properly but most of the blame

must fall on successive governments and the pensions ‘industry’ for utterly dismal efforts in this area.

The two surveys were from SunLife and Aviva. They looked at pension savers from different ends of the timescale, those who had already retired some time ago and those still saving for retirement.

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SunLife’s survey found that over 85% of retired people over 50 think they retired too early. This rose to 88% for those who now aged over 70. On average, those that are retired or semi-retired said they did so two and a half years too early.

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