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Personal Finance

Counting on your clients »
Client referrals are like gold dust - provided, that is, you've got the right sort of clients.  Karl Hartey suggests how your business can grow from within.  We all like client referrals - a fine way to secure new business.  But they don't happen without a bit of effort on your part.  Here are a few pointers as to how you can make your existing client base work on your behalf...
New life for death-in-service »
The changes associated with pension simplification will impact on the way benefits are paid on the death of a scheme member.  Neil Copeland explains.  From 6 April 2006 scheme trustees, administrators and members must be aware that the level and type of benefits which will be permitted to be paid on the death of a member in an occupational pension scheme will change significantly...
Marketing gets on board at last »
Do marketeers get a fair crack of the corporate whip?  Christine Cryne reports.  For more years than many of us care to remember, marketeers have been claiming that their craft should be on the boardroom agenda.  Well, if it wasn't before, it surely is now with the introduction of the new International Financial Reporting Standards and the FSA's Treating Customers Fairly initiative...
FSA: sub-prime is a 'sub-standard' »
The regulator says parts of the sub-prime lending market are missing compliance targets.  Following its review of comliance by small mortgage brokers in the sub-prime market, the FSA believes there are too many cases where firms are unable to show they are following the required procedure relating to suitability when advising on these contracts...
Longer life »
Research from the Continuous Mortality Investigation suggests a male aged 65 now will live until age 86 years and seven months.
Employer contributions »
HMRC says that it "will be publishing guidance for inspectors in advance of 6 April 2006 which will say that inspectors who want to query the allowability of an employer deduction should first seek guidance from Audit & Pension Scheme Services (APSS)". It does not say what the APSS guidance will be. HMRC has confirmed that an employer contribution made within an accounting period ending after 5 April 2006 will be subject to the new allowability rules, even if the payment is made before A-day. This means companies with year-ends of 31 December have under three months of the old allowability regime left. Note, however, that contrary to some reports, the annual allowance only applies from A-day.
Enhanced protection and life cover »
Any post-A-day contributions made in respect of an individual to a money purchase arrangement (other than a "cash balance" arrangement) will invalidate enhanced protection. HMRC say this restriction includes any life cover contributions, whether funded within the arrangement or by means of a policy with an insurance company. However, if the scheme uses any pre-A-day funds to provide or increase life cover within an existing arrangement, enhanced protection will remain.
Hansard goes »
The Hansard procedure for dealing with tax fraud is no more. The new HMRC process, set out in a revised code of practice 9 (COP 9) explicitly removes the threat of prosecution unless "materially false" information is provided. Thus someone who becomes subject to COP 9 can refuse to co-operate with HMRC, safe in the knowledge that if they say nothing, they will not be prosecuted.
PPI the end of the line? »
Payment protection insurance is under fire from all quarters.  Kevin Pratt sees proponents of independent advice join in the fray to salvage a worthwhile product.  According to consumer champion Citizens Advice, payment protection insurance is failing many of those who need it most.  CA says it adds to debts rather than protecting borrowers against hard times and is little more than a way of generating revenue for insurers and intermediaries...
CII details new exams structure »
The Chartered Insurance Institute is introducing a new framework for financial planning examinations.  Bob Bullivant explains the impact of the changes.  In my July article in 'Financial Solutions' I outlined the apporach that the CII is taking in relation to the new suite of financial planning examinations, with effect from this autumn onwards...
Employers and the new simplified pension regime »
Pension simplification must have beaten even depolarisation for column inches in the last six months, but in most cases the articles have been dominated by figures and run-downs of what will happen and when.  Robert Reid offers a more discursive analysis the biggest change to affect the market for years.  The aim of this article is to give context to some of the more important issues surrounding simplification...
Get to grips with the Handbook »
John Ellis examines the proposed changes to the FSA Handbook and suggests how these will impact on the working lives of the financial advice community.  CP05/10, which appeared from the FSA in July, reviews the Handbook provisions on money laundering, approved persons, training and competence and conduct of business.  The approach to the Handbook now increasingly emphasises high level principles...
Financial sanctions: legal update »
The Bank of England reminds Society members of details of compliance requirements regarding financial sanctions-related legislation in the UK.  The Financial Sanctions Unit of the Bank of England sent the following letter to the Personal Finance Society, and to other organisations such as the ABI, Investment Managers Association and AIFA.  It is important all members read and digest its contents...
Any cure for 'black hole' blues? »
David Davison explains the 'moral hazard' provisions of the Pensions Act.  How often we hear of corporate takeovers danger of collapse because of concerns over the "black hole" in the pension fund.  Clearly, fears over pension scheme liabilities are curbing M&A activity.  Last year saw the collapse of deals involving WH Smith and Marks & Spencer...
Break the code and you are on the way to TCF compliance »
We at the Personal Finance Society have a solution for TCF (treating customers fairly).  It's simple, it's not expensive and it has been tried and tested world-wide.  For anyone not yet up to speed on TCF, this is an initiative from FSA to make firms treat their customers fairly.  Please refer to the FSA website (www.fsa.gov.uk) for more details...

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