It's our round-up of the stories your clients may have read in the nationals over the weekend and this morning...
With-profit endowment policyholders should brace themselves for yet more poor bonuses over the next few weeks. That's according to the Independent, which reported on how 70% of financial advisers expect this year's annual bonus rate to be 2% or less. It is expected many funds will make zero bonus declarations for certain groups of policyholders, with low interest rates hampering the life companies.
The new BRICs
Pakistan, Vietnam and Qatar don't necessarily role off the tongue when discussing the most attractive places to invest, yet they could be the next big things. That's according to a piece in the Sunday Telegraph, which looked at who will drive global economic growth. Apparantly, the days of the Brics - Brazil, Russia, India and China - are over, and frontier markets such as Kazakhstan, Oman, Nigeria are now being talked about. However, investors are warned to expect some ‘volatility'.
Equity release advice
Which? released the results of an investigation into the cost and quality of advice given by IFAs, and the Mail on Sunday lead with a warning that pensioners are being let down in the area of equity release. Out of the 22 advisers mystery-shopped, only one met all the Consumer Credit Counselling Service's best practice rules - that they should go through a full questionnaire about a consumer's assets and outgoings, explain fully how deals work and raise alternatives such as moving to a cheaper home. Meanwhile, four gave "wholly inadequate advice".
Smart investors buy when others panic and sell. That was the thrust of an article in the Sunday Telegraph, looking at how timing is everything, which explained how, even though the FTSE 100 index rose by 1.5% during November, British investors pulled out a record £864m from equity funds over the course of the month. The paper actually accepts it is almost impossible to predict the peaks and troughs of the market, although it provides a classic piece of advice: investing is about being in it for the long term.
The American Dream
Less than six months after its national debt was downgraded, things seem to be looking up for the US economy. According to experts cited by the Independent on Sunday, it outperformed all other major developed markets last year, with even the housing market and automotive industries showing signs of a recovery. Crucially, it should not be too sensitive to a eurozone recession and problems in other countries should see a flight to the dollar.
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