It's been emotional. While 2008 started out on a semi-high, it is ending on one of the bummest note in history. IFAonline looks back on a year that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons...
Although the mortgage market was deep into a US-driven slump that would last all year, the UK economy and the financial services industry saw in 2008 with a degree of optimism.
The FTSE was healthy, the economy buoyant, and every high street bank, bar Northern Rock, looked to be in good shape.
But January was a sign of things to come for the financial markets. While London's blue-chip index began the month at the 6,400 mark, it ended it almost 600 points lower at 5,830.
Elsewhere, the under-fire mortgage market's troubles looked set to worsen. As well as forecasts of more defaults, the CML said lending had peaked in 2007 just as analysts revealed hazardous lending in the US had been the root cause of the problems.
The FSA was also having a busy time, sifting though responses to its Retail Distribution Review (RDR), as the ABI and Skandia went to war over 'assisted purchase'.
Société Générale also made it way into the news after rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel lost the bank up to €4.9bn.
A new term - 'credit crunch' - was on everyone's lips in February as Northern Rock was finally nationalised and investment banks, asset managers and mortgage lenders began to feel the heat.
Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, UBS and Citi all bemoaned profits slumps while the troubles that would soon swamp HBOS began to surface. The FTSE, however, began and ended the month just below 6,000, successfully masking the approaching storm.
Alistair Darling's first Budget prompted fierce criticism from the financial advice industry for its stance on capital gains tax (CGT). Other measures announced included stamp duty cuts, pensions tax relief and the rejection of a £2.8bn plan for UK non-domiciles.
Elsewhere, critics of the Personal Accounts scheme, including Fidelity International, said it could wipe out the current pension benefits of as many as 300,000 employees.
As the words 'economic turmoil' began finding their way on to newspapers' front pages, President George Bush told the world everything would be fine. Problem was, financial guru George Soros said something rather different.
Log on to IFAonline on Monday 29 December for Part Two of our 2008 round-up.IFAonline
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