A MAULING IS being meted out to the government over its ineptitude in bringing about changes to the ...
A MAULING IS being meted out to the government over its ineptitude in bringing about changes to the UK's savings culture, The Daily Telegraph reports, citing comments from NU Life executive chairman Philip Scott.
Both Stakeholder and the Sandler Suite get short thrift from Scott, who says they "will not deliver what is expected".
"If you were to come to England from Mars and you were expected to find the designer of financial products, I don't think you would expect the Treasury to be the place where consumer financial products are being designed," Scott says.
"In that context, you have got regulatory influence on things which would probably produce a better result if left to the free market. Look at the stakeholder [pension]. Has it been to the benefit of consumers at this stage? I would say no, because it has not changed the arena of pension savings as was envisaged."
The complexity of the UK regulatory approach is also lambasted, with Scott saying he prefers the French model with its "light touch", and adding that the expense of doing business in the UK now means Aviva is set to focus on Spain and Italy rather than its home market.
ACCOUNTANTS ARE set to pounce on criticisms issued by the Inland Revenue, which has accused them of helping to drive tax avoidance.
The Telegraph reports that Revenue deputy chairman Dave Hartnett has said: "If advisers were not so busy developing and promoting avoidance, avoidance would not be such a problem."
Reactions have already focused on the Revenue's own lack of morals when it came to doing its massive property sale and leaseback scheme involving offshore companies.
And the department's own "avoidance" scheme when it came to notifying people about lack of NI contributions - highlighted last week - is also likely to figure highly on any response to charges of "ethical behaviour".
FSA PLANS TO FORCE investment companies to be provide more transparent charging structures could force the asset management industry to pay an additional £150m VAT bill each year, The Scotsman reports.
The extra tax would come about because the changes would force fund managers to ask clients for permission to charge fees for services "above and beyond buying and selling shares", the paper says.
That means research notes would become "business services" for tax purposes, rather than be counted at "financial services" as at present, resulting in the higher tax bill.
INCOME RATHER THAN growth may be in favour with UK investors at present, but the recent decline in the US dollar will hit many hard because it is leading to declining dividend yields, The Times writes.
BP and HSBC both declare dividends in dollars, the paper points out, because of the international nature of their respective businesses, and together these two alone account for 20% of the dividend income from the FTSE 100 index.
The dollar has declined by 15% against the pound since the start of 2002 - accelerating its decline recently after comments by US treasury secretary John Snow that the Bush administration would not intervene to prop up the currency.
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