TOP INSURANCE companies are calling for urgent talks with the FSA over the possible risks to customers of the government's drive to allow more choice for pension investment from next year, says the Scotsman .
Firms say they are concerned the new rules mean many of those selling assets for self-invested personal pension schemes (Sipps) are virtually unregulated and their tactics could bring a fresh wave of mis-selling claims, the paper says.
Industry giants Standard Life and Norwich Union are among those seeking new regulations to cover advertisements from estate agents and others which will be able to promote the sale of assets ranging from second homes to vintage cars as pension investments from next April.
EQUITABLE LIFE chairman Vanni Treves last night appealed to policyholders to let him "finish the job" amid signs rebels are preparing an attempt to oust him, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Treves pledged, however, he would leave as soon as the remaining issues facing the troubled insurer have been dealt with, which is likely to be towards the end of 2006.
His comments came as Emag, the hardline policyholder action group, mulled a request from members to call an extraordinary meeting to fire him and chief executive Charles Thomson, in the wake of the insurer's failed £2bn action against former auditor Ernst & Young.
A THINK-TANK will this week issue a report challenging many conventional assumptions policymakers have made in the debate about pension reform, including the notion more generous state pensions require sharp tax increases, according to the Financial Times.
The report, which will be submitted to the Pensions Commission this week, was prepared by Tomorrow's Company, a business-led think-tank which previously produced the Sykes Report on restoring trust in the UK's investment industry.
The report disputes the significance of the old-age dependency ratio. This is the ratio of the number of people over 65 years old to those under the age of 16 - which is set to rise by 42% by 2041.
AND BANKS ARE to come under fresh scrutiny from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over the services they offer to small businesses just three years after the government imposed price controls which cost them an estimated £800m, says the Times.
The OFT has set up a task force which will consider whether the controls have been enough to improve competition among Britain’s biggest banks.
If the investigation finds that the measures have failed, banks could face even tougher financial sanctions. The OFT has the power to impose further remedies, or the issue could be referred to the Competition Commission for another lengthy inquiry.
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The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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