SESAME, THE IFA NETWORK, has made the national press this morning, after announcing to the Daily Telegraph it would no longer be selling Standard Life with-profits products.
Staff at Sesame told the Telegraph the decision was taken in light of a ratings downgrade by ratings agency Standard & Poor's, and would only reconsider once Standard Life has presented its strategic review.
Mark Peters, head of research for Sesame, is quoted as saying: "We have a financial strength requirement for our panel of recommended providers of with-profits policies. It requires them to have a credit rating of AA. Standard Life has been taken off the panel because its credit was downgraded to single A plus."
ABERDEEN Asset Management lost the first of three FOS test cases brought against one of its split capital trusts yesterday, just days ahead of an important meeting between the FSA and split caps providers, says this morning’s Scotsman.
A provisional ruling by the Financial Services Ombudsman has ordered AAM pay compensation to one particular investor in Aberdeen Progressive Growth Unit Trust, however, Aberdeen’s response so far suggests it is still not prepared to accept the decision.
AAM vowed to appeal, says the Scotsman, arguing the decision "does not reflect the weight of evidence which Aberdeen has supplied to substantiate its position", yet the decision could now provide 266 investors who have also lodged complaints against this particular trust with grounds for compensation.
LEGAL & GENERAL has also announced it is unlikely to offer the Government's controversial child trust fund, adds the Telegraph.
David Prosser, the chief executive, told investors and journalists yesterday it would be "virtually impossible"” to make an acceptable return from CTFs, based on the Government endowment of between £250 and £500 per child and the allowance of very small top-ups by relatives.
BANKS have been told by the OFT to "stop pocketing the interest" they earn over two days when money is removed from customer accounts for standing order payments, continues the Scotsman.
The Office of Fair Trading says banks must continue to pay interest-bearing accounts until money - which is taken to pay for standing orders, telephone banking and internet payments orders – is actually credited to the payee’s account.
The OFT recognised it was unfair practice by the banks because it can take several days for payments to appear from one account to another, without grounds for holding assets so long, which costs consumers £30m a year in lost interest.
The Times says Abbey is the latest firm to criticise the FSA’s tough new stance on solvency requirements, after the banking group yesterday announced it has had to set aside £373m to support their long-term investments.
Abbey told investors it may even have to set yet more money aside as FSA rules on accounting practices for guarantees on savings policies have yet to be finalised.
This is in part, however, because Abbey Life, Scottish Mutual and Scottish Provident have higher guaranteed liabilities than the industry average, says the Times, but another investor is quoted as saying the FSA has "cajoled" firms into selling equities at the bottom end of the market.IFAonline
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