Major insurers are spending millions of pounds of cash reserves to win a larger share of the corporate pensions market, despite evidence that much of the business will prove to be loss-making, according to a leading insurance-market expert.
Independent analyst Ned Cazalet warned yesterday that several major firms were locked in a costly race to sell group personal pension plans to employers by offering big commissions to the advisers handling the transaction, ahead of rules banning such commission-based sales, according to The Guardian.
He warned that such huge commissions would undermine the insurers' ability to make a profit.
His view was backed by analysts Bernstein, which said last week that the UK insurance market was "harmed" by its relience on "expensive and disruptive" financial advisers to sell their products. Full story...
STOCK MARKET EXPERTS are warning of another year of dividend famine as some of Britain's biggest dividend mainstays struggle to maintain payments to shareholders.
Dividends from British-listed companies fell by £10 bn, or 15%, last year to £56.9bn, The Times reports.
While they may creep up this year, they will still fall well short of the £66bn distributed in 2008, according to the Capita Registrars Dividend Monitor.
Because of rights issues and other recent capital-raisings, shareholders have been in the unusual position of being net payers to companies rather than recipients. Last year, listed UK companies tapped shareholders for £73bn in new equity, £16bn more than they paid out in dividends. Full story...
SANTANDER'S UK BUSINESS, the remnants of Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester, could return to the stock market under a plan being hatched to list a minority stake of the business in London, according to The Telegraph.
Spanish banking giant Santander is understood to be looking at strategies to raise money to fund expansion in the UK which include floating 25% of its UK business on the London Stock Market.
Although other possibilities such as raising funds through debt are also being worked on, it is understand investment bankers have already sounded out key investors to judge their interest in a float. The UK business would be in the FTSE 100 with a larger market capitalisation than RBS. Full story...
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