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Industry donates £7m to tackle mental health crisis 

The insurance and long term savings has made a donation of £7m to mental health charities Rethink and Mind to help provide 3.5m people with mental health support during and post the pandemic.

The money will go towards community-based mental health care and support and will be administered by Rethink Mental Illness and Mind. 

The money has been raised by the  industry’s Covid-19 Support Fund set up by providers with ABI backing.

The UK insurance and long-term savings industry launched the Covid-19 Support Fund to help support people hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The fund has raised £104m, with £83.9m pledged in voluntary contributions from firms within the sector and £20m provided by government-matched funding. 

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Research from Rethink Mental Illness found that 79% of people living with mental illness said their health had deteriorated due to the pandemic. 

A survey by Mind of 16,000 people showed that

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SJP CEO sees £325,000 cut in earnings

St James’s Place CEO Andrew Croft saw his earnings fall from £1.017m in 2019 to £692,788 in 2020 as the pandemic hit the company.

His base salary at the wealth manager dropped from £548,990 the previous year to £537,049 and no bonuses were paid during the year, according to the company’s annual report published this week.

Directors of the wealth manager agreed to a 20% salary cut in May, June and July last year as the Coronvirus pandemic hit finances.

The firm says that despite the impact on its earnings in 2020 it remains resilient and is positive about growth prospects, with signs of recovery under way.

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The firm, which employs more than 10,000 people, is currently pushing through 200 redundancies from support staff although some may be redeployed.

The company is also rolling out a new adviser remuneration scheme over the next few months after being stung

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Scottish Friendly CEO Galbraith dies 

Scottish Friendly CEO Jim Galbraith has died after over 30 years at the mutual.

Tributes have poured in for the much respected CEO who became chief executive in January 2017 after a period as deputy chief executive.

His role at the Glasgow-based mutual will be taken by the current deputy chief executive Martin Pringle, the society announced today.

Scottish Friendly said Mr Galbraith had been at the “heart” of the society for over 30 years, showing unlimited passion for the mutual life office and helping build its success.

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Recently he won the IoD Scotland Director of the Year award, capping several years of growth for the business.

He had worked for Scottish Friendly for 33 years and prior to that at Scottish Life as a marketing actuary.

Mr Galbraith was known for his “presence, dry humour and friendship,” the society said. He had built an experienced team focused

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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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