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Personal Finance

Fading appeal of alternatively secured pensions (ASP) »
The benefits of ASP are starting to look pretty marginal - especially if the aim is saving IHT. If a member nominates someone other than his or her spouse to receive the lump sum death benefit under ASP, there will almost certainly be an IHT charge when the member dies. This will probably be about 20% of the fund, based on the current way HMRC uses for drawdown. If the beneficiary is relatively young, for example, well under 50, there might be no obvious source from which they could pay the tax. This might suggest a need for life assurance on the member's life, where this is feasible.
Coming back to life »
Peter Hales is using his Presidency of the CII to reinvigorate its commitment to life and pensions.  He tells Kevin Pratt that the Institute has much to offer this side of the industry.  The financial services industry has always been a broad parish.  Firms deal variously in life insurance, individual and corporate pensions, mortgages, investments and assorted hybrid plans and policies...
TCF: what it means for you »
Clive Briault explains current FSA thinking on Treating Customers Fairly.  Treating Customers Fairly is a key element in the FSA's retail agenda.  We want retail markets to work more efficiently and effectively, and thereby to deliver through these markets a fair deal for consumers.  Our emphasis is on outcomes and thus on changing the behaviours of firms and consumers...
There's nothing civil about public/private pension split »
Years ago, as the realisation took hold that I was never going to play for Stockport County or cut it as lead vocalist of a prog rock band, I took an entry exam for the civil service.  Today, as the realisation sinks in that my pension plans are in a similar parlous position in my home-town football club, I wish I'd passed.  If I had a public sector pension, I'd be able to retire at 60, with none of the threats of the fund going the same way as Gentle Giant or ELP...
A fair crack of the whip? »
Ian Patterson assesses the impact of Treating Customers Fairly on T&C regimes.  I'm sure it won't have escaped your attention that the Financial Services Authority is currently placing great emphasis on Treating Customers Fairly.  TCF has been firnly located at the heart of the regulatory framework.  There is, of course, nothing new in the principle that firms must treat their customers fairly...
Maximising website marketing »
John Harrison explains how web analytics can help you squeeze more value out of your online marketing efforts.  Web analystics may sound like something you can leave your IT department to deal with, but it is in fact a key part of online marketing.  Its primary function is measuring how well a web site is doing in its job.  The finance services industry, from product providers to advisers, is spending millions of pounds on great-looking web sites...
Hot property? »
The inexperienced, the unregulated and the unqualified are rushing to persuade clients to use their pension to buy property abroad.  Robin Ali sounds warning bells.  Most people reading this will be aware that, under the pension regime commencing in April 2006, residential property will vecome an acceptable investment for a pension fund.  In the UK there has been much talk about the opportunities this may present...
Overseas aid »
Can you meet the protection needs of clients working or living abroad?  Andrew Apps urges advisers to broaden their horizons with international health insurance.  It is estimated that over a million Britons work abroad and even more have retired to the sun.  France has more than 500,000 UK expatriate homeowners; in Spain the figure is around 800,000...
News from the PFS from November 2005 »
News from the PFS from November 2005.
The chosen few »
Is it possible to have too many clients?  If they are the lifeblood of any business, can you ever have enough?  Karl Hartey argues that, in reality, less can be more.  Running a successful financial practice is not a crude numbers game.  We grew our business to over 4,000 clients with a support team of 10.  That meant everyone was allocated 400 clients.  Ultimately, we simply could not cope...
Letters from the PFS from November 2005 »
Letter from the PFS from November 2005.
Getting on course for A-Day »
As Simplification approaches, Financial Solutions reviews services for PFS members.  A-Day is occupying many pages in the popular press.  From Sipps to contribution limits, from annuities to tax-free cash, people are learning about a range of issues and beginning to wonder how the changes will affect them.  Should they be taking action?  What are the benefits?  Are there dangers?
Accrual twist of fate »
David Davison urges advisers to check out the latest pronouncements on continued accrual and enhanced protection.  Pension simplification is becoming widely regarded as anything but simple and this impression was not helped by the recent publication of technical pages in the Registered Pension Scheme Manual on the Inland Revenye website...
Trusts and life assurance »
Barbara Gardener examines some aspects of using life policy trusts in the areas of family protection, inheritance tax mitigation and probate avoidance.  This article is intended for those who already have a basic understanding of life assurance trusts.  Choice of default beneficiaries under a flexible trust.  Under a typical flexible trust used with a life assurance policy that is effected for protection or inheritance tax mitigation purposes...
Training? Take the coach »
Could you boost the quality of your performance, or are you as good as you'll ever be?  Coaching might release your untapped potential, says Dr Charles Woodruffe.  It is reasonable to state that 99% of us could do better than we are doing at present.  No doubt there are some wizards who sustain faultless performance all the time.  But they are few and far between.  Even the best of us have chinks in our armour...

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