Five years ago this week, heading into 22 January, Allied Dunbar announced it was setting up an IFA ...
Five years ago this week, heading into 22 January, Allied Dunbar announced it was setting up an IFA division to deal exclusively with networks.
The company established the unit in an attempt to strike bulk deals with IFAs and develop exclusive branded products. The unit head Andy Young speculated that this could increase IFA business by as much as 10%.
Allied Dunbar was also in the process of launching a long-term care insurance product with PPP Lifetime Care, after research suggested consumers were becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of private provision.
Also hitting headlines early in 1996 was the news that broker funds were soon to be given a Micropal risk grading. Skandia had been the sole provider to give its funds risk ratings until then, but following discussions between insurance companies and the National Association of Broker Fund and Investment Managers, plans emerged for Micropal to extend the scheme to other broker funds.
Following a cut in base rates in the first weeks of January 1996, speculation was that this reduction would have to be reversed before the end of the year to halt sterling weakness and a fall in equity markets. Analysts feared that the then Conservative government would decide not to increase rates so close to the 1997 election and, by reversing the policy of increased independence for the Bank of England, unsettle bond and equity markets and cause a sterling crisis.
With its own impending currency crisis still relatively far off in 1996, Russia was proving popular with many UK fund managers. A survey by Burston Marsteller showed that many managers intended to increase their exposure to Russian risk.
Other high-risk countries finding favour with fund managers five years ago included Poland and the Czech Republic.
Templeton emerging markets fund manager Mark Mobius said that several Eastern European countries were poised for growth fuelled by increased business activity and higher corporate returns.
Entering 1996, solicitors across the country were gearing up to compete with private client stockbrokers and discretionary managers for the management of portfolios. The Association of Solicitor Investment Managers revealed that it had been approached by more than 100 solicitor firms interested in providing portfolio investment services for their clients.
There was speculation that solicitors who started running money in-house could prove a serious threat to private client stockbrokers, especially as law firms were then introducing £3bn in clients' investments to stockbrokers every year.
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What made financial headlines over the weekend?