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Schroders launches £4bn model portfolio business

Schroders has launched a £4bn Investment Solutions business offering model portfolios and multi-asset funds.

Schroder Investment Solutions’ range of funds and model portfolios will be available on a range of platforms from May.

The range will include fully active, blended active-passive and sustainable solutions.

Schroders said they launched the new business in response to demand from financial advisers for low-cost funds and model portfolios.

The model portfolio service, available from 5 May, will consist of the Schroder Active, Strategic Index and Sustainable ranges, offering an annual management charge of 15bps. Each range will have between six and nine model portfolios covering a spread of risk ratings. An income model portfolio will also be available.

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Schroder Investment Solutions will include two ranges of Multi-Asset funds, available from 27 May, the Schroder Tactical Portfolios and the Schroder Blended Portfolios.

The Schroder Tactical Portfolios, which will be capped at 29bps, will

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Keith Richards to step down as PFS CEO

Keith Richards is to step down as chief executive of The Personal Finance Society (PFS), the professional body which runs the Chartered Financial Planner designation, on 30 June.

Mr Richards was appointed as CEO in 2013 following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review.

It is not yet known what his next role, will be nor in which sector, and no details have been released so far about his replacement.

Over the past eight years he has overseen the growth of the PFS and has become a respected voice with regulators and governments, representing the voice of UK Financial Planning professionals both in the UK and internationally.

He has been an advocate of several key consumer initiatives including the pro bono programmes of MoneyPlan with Citizens Advice, Forces MoneyPlan for Veterans of the Armed Forces and My Personal Finance Skills, working with schools across the country.

He has also overseen

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M&G dumps Ascentric and Pru FP brands 

M&G Wealth has axed the brand names of its recently-acquired wealth platform Ascentric and its advice business Prudential Financial Planning (PFP) to bring the businesses under the M&G Wealth name.

The company also revealed today that it is readying a low-cost ‘hybrid advice’ set to launch later this year.

M&G Wealth has not yet revealed details of the new hybrid service but it will join a number of similar ventures by other providers and is likely to marry digital engagement with consumers with access to human financial advisers when needed. The new service is currently under development.

M&G created M&G Wealth after it acquired Ascentric in 2020. It has integrated the company with existing businesses, Prudential Financial Planning and M&G Direct. 

Prudential Financial Planning (PFP) was formed in 2011 and focuses on direct engagement with customers through an employed restricted advice salesforce. 

In 2019 PFP announced plans to launch The

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Utmost to acquire Quilter International for £483m

Life insurance specialist Utmost Group is to acquire Quilter’s cross-border platform Quilter International for £483m cash to add to its wealth solutions arm.

Utmost Group has agreed to buy Quilter International from the wealth management and Financial Planning firm Quilter, subject to regulatory approval.

Quilter International, with £22bn of asset under administration, will be added to the Utmost International arm.

On a combined basis, following the acquisition, Utmost International will have £52bn of assets under administration, 220,000 life policies and would have written over £330m APE of new business in 2020.

Quilter International has a footprint and distribution network across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and LatAm, with branches in Singapore and Hong Kong and a regulated distribution office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

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Following the completion of the acquisition, Quilter International will be merged with Utmost International’s operations in the Isle of Man,

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Savers invest £2.4bn into funds in February

Savers invested £2.4bn in funds in February, according to trade body data published today.

In February, gross retail sales through UK intermediaries (including Financial Planners) were £7bn, representing a market share of 22.4%, according to the figures from the Investment Association.

In February, gross retail sales for UK fund platforms totalled £15bn, representing a market share of 48.1%.

Direct gross retail sales in February were £1.8 billion, representing a market share of 5.8%.

Fixed income was the most popular asset class in February with £1.4bn in net retail sales, according to the figures.

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Mixed Asset was the second best-selling asset class with £838m of inflows.

Responsible investment funds continued to see growth, with funds under management standing at £61bn as at the end of February, in comparison to £56bn at the end of 2020. However, their overall share of industry funds under management was 4.3%, a drop from

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IWP acquires 3 Planner firms as expansion continues

Independent Wealth Planners (IWP) has acquired 3 Financial Planning firms, increasing its number of acquisitions to 22 since its launch two years ago.

The 3 firms being acquired are: Aberdeenshire-based Buchanan & Associates, Moss and Roberts located in Norfolk and Buckinghamshire-based Principal Financial Planning.

The deals will boost IWP’s assets under management by around £400m taking total assets administered by IWP to almost £4bn.

IWP’s number of financial advisers is up to 80, with group headcount of 250.

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Buchanan & Associates is based in Stonehaven and was established over 10 years ago with an independent and dedicated team of eight. 

Andrew Buchanan will remain as director of the firm, continuing to lead the firm’s team of Paraplanners and administrators. Buchanan & Associates forms part of IWP’s Aberdeenshire office, continuing recent expansion in the area.

Directors and Financial Planners Michael Moss and Lloyd Johnson head Norwich-based Moss and Roberts.

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Shock as judge overturns Carey Pensions case

A Court of Appeal Judge has overturned a previous High Court ruling to side with claimant Russell Adams against Carey Pensions in the long-running and pivotal ‘Adams’ SIPP case.

The case addresses the question of provider responsibility when accepting investments into a SIPP.

In a judgement published today, the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned its previous ruling and found that Adams was advised by CLP Brokers, an unregulated introducer based in Spain.

The court said that as CLP was not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to give investment advice, or make arrangements relating to investments, this was in contravention of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

As the SIPP was entered into as a consequence of advice given by CLP, the High Court declared that the SIPP agreement is unenforceable against Adams and he is entitled to recover the money he paid into it as well as compensation

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FOS to raise case fee by £100 to £750

The Financial Ombudsman is to increase its case fee by £100 to £750, according to its new budget and financial plans published today.

The increase in the case cost and its planned levy is due in part to a surge in Covid-19 related cases but the FOS has promised no increase in its fee or levy after this year for at least three years.

The FOS levy will rise in the coming year by £12m to £96m. 

The FOS says that it received 45% more new complaints than it expected over the past year due to the pandemic. Many of these case are complex and include client vulnerability issues, it said.

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The FOS says it will maintain its 25 free case allowance which it says will ensure that nine in ten firms whose customers complain to the FOS will not pay any case fees.

The FOS expects to

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Life insurance claims rise 17% at Aegon

Life insurance claims rose by 17% in 2020 at protection provider Aegon.

The provider paid a total of £139.74m on over 1,584 individual protection claims, paying 94% of claims received in 2020.

Some £81.3m of this was for life claims paid in 2020 to 807 families and businesses. The average claim paid was £100,751 and the average age at claim was 63.

Coronavirus was listed as a factor in 12% of life claims.

While the proportion of claims for cancer and heart-related deaths remained in line with 2019, the proportion of respiratory-related deaths doubled from 7% in 2019.

Critical illness claims were down by 14% over the course of the year.

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Aegon paid 93% of critical illness claims, which represented payments of £34.4 million. The provider said that drop on previous years was unlikely to be because there were fewer people becoming critically ill, but more likely because

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Court blow for LCF mini-bond victims

London Capital & Finance (LCF) mini-bond victims hoping for compensation have been dealt a blow by a court judgment.

More than 11,600 investors lost over £236m when LCF collapsed in 2019 and only a small proportion have so far been compensated.

Hearing a judicial review on the compensation issue, Mr Justic Bourne decided that due to the ‘non-transfer’ clauses in the bonds they were not a “transferable security” for regulatory purposes and therefore not subject to FSCS compensation.

The FSCS, which has so far paid out £56.3m in compensation to 2,878 LCF bondholders who held 3,815 regulated LCF bonds, said it was pleased that the judge had agreed with the FSCS and had helped to resolve a legal issue about whether the majority of the mini-bonds were regulated or not.

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In a statement the FSCS said: “We are still able to pay compensation to LCF bondholders who received

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