The FCA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is concerned about the outputs from cashflow planning tools, regulatory consultant and former FCA technical specialist Rory Percival has said.

Speaking at the Great Pension Debate in Port Talbot earlier this week, Percival was asked what best practice would look like should cashflow planning be made mandatory when giving pension transfer advice.

One delegate suggested firms starting with incorrect assumptions would still lead clients to unsuitable outcomes. CashCalc director Ray Adams expressed intent to work with the Personal Finance Society (PFS) to develop a certification on the use of cashflow planning tools.

Percival said: ‘I think the requirement sits with the firm to ensure they are capable of using the tools. With cashflow planning, if it is a tool people are new to, they need to learn and get trained and get guidance on how to do that. It comes back to the importance of using appropriate assumptions.’

Wills

Last month, celebrity chef and famous television personality Anthony Bourdain passed away at the age of 61, in what was deemed an apparent suicide. It was a tragic death surrounded by mystery, and it was an unexpected loss mourned and grieved by many fans, foodies, readers and viewers around the world. And while Bourdain’s life and work affected many, it’s the celebrity’s family and loved ones who are left mourning the most. Even one month later, there are many details left unknown, and it will take a great deal of time to heal.

But one major aspect has now been made clear to the public: who will inherit the celebrity’s fortune after his death. As it is being reported, Bourdain’s estimated $1.2 million fortune will be primarily going to his 11-year-old daughter and only biological child, according to court reports filed in New York earlier this week.

Commercial Finance

The owner of Canary Wharf plans to start construction on a new private members club from the owners of Mayfair’s Arts Club after securing a £30m loan from Metro Bank.

The new club now plans to open in spring 2019, after securing a 60,000 square foot site.

The site has been pre-let to the Arts Club Group, which counts developer Gary Landesberg and the Waney family among its principal shareholders.

The developers gained planning approval for a five-storey design clad in aluminium in January of last year, after originally being rejected following environmental concerns and potential damage to heritage assets.

The loan is Metro Bank’s largest development finance loan since it started lending in the sector 18 months ago.

Metro Bank’s managing director for commercial banking, Mark Stokes, said the loan was a “milestone” for the lender.

Pensions

PENSIONER homeowners are cashing in housing wealth at a rate of almost £10million a day. For the past six months, retired owners have released £9.5million worth of equity in their home every day – a total of £1.71billion. They are taking out an average of £78,000 to boost their pensions, according to data from equity release adviser Key Retirement.

But their families are also cashing in as generous parents and grandparents hand over large sums of money to the younger generations.

About 28 per cent of retired homeowners used some or all of the money for gifts for families, compared with 23 per cent in the first six months of 2017.

The most popular use of the money released in the six months was to fund home and garden improvements, with 63 per cent spending some of the money on their houses while a third used the cash to pay for holidays. Debt remains an issue – about one in five cleared outstanding mortgages during the six months and 32 per cent paid off credit cards or loans. The equity release market is booming as pensioners cash in on a soaring market.

Dean Mirfin, of Key Retirement, said: “Customer demand is driving the expansion in the market to new record highs enabling more retired homeowners to transform their finances.

“More money was released in the first six months of 2018 than in the whole of 2015 as records continue to be broken across the market with expert independent advisers playing a vital role.

“Property wealth is not just helping to transform an individual’s retirement planning but is also helping their families with their financial needs. The growth in gifting underlines how much can be achieved when the average amounts being released are as much as £78,000.

Financial Ombudsmen

An Independent Review has cleared the Financial Ombudsman Service of being unfit for purpose following a probe by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme earlier this year.

The C4 programme in March alleged widespread poor practice and poor training of staff at the Ombudsman resulting in some consumer complaints being handled badly by ill-trained staff who had to check the internet to find out about the products they were scrutinising.

The Financial Ombudsman Service appointed independent reviewer Richard Lloyd after the TV programme alleged staff tales of “low morale and dismay” about “poor culture”.

Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan MP demanded answers from the FOS on key parts of the TV investigation, including whether there was substance to the allegations, were there any other matters for concern and governance.

However the review has found that while there is room for improvement the FOS broadly tries its best despite a huge jump in workload due mainly to PPI cases and there is no widespread ‘institutional bias’ against giving consumers appropriate help.

He also suggested that the funding of the FOS needs to be reviewed and more emphasis on levies rather than fees might be the way forward.

Overall he found that new FOS staff often needed help in understanding products but could get this assistance and training when they needed it.

Insurance

“We thought it was wrong that if I wanted to do a couple of hours work on the side I’d need an annual policy, so decided to do something about it. Insurance had to change.”

These were the words of Zego chief executive Harry Franks when the insurtech launched pay-as-you-go insurance, which is aimed at addressing the coverage needs of about five million freelancers and self-employed workers in the UK.

Zego said the policy provides public liability protection for periods as short as one hour for as little as 4 pence, enabling the likes of babysitters and freelance photographers to be insured only as needed.

“This is about making insurance fit for the modern world where people don’t necessarily work full time or in just one profession,” noted Franks.

Underwritten by MGAM Limited on behalf of Builders Direct SA, the public liability insurance covers up to £1 million in claims. It is available on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.

Brexit

According to the Daily Telegraph, Tory Brexiteers now claim they have 48 fellow MPs who are willing to submit letters to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, triggering a confidence vote of the parliamentary party.

MP Andrew Bridgen said he was submitting his own letter of no confidence in Mrs May to the committee.

The Prime Minister ordered her reshuffled Cabinet to attend a second meeting in Newcastle on July 23 as a way of uniting her ministers with Brexit talks due to enter yet another crucial phase.

A Number 10 source told The Times the meeting was a “regional Cabinet” and not intended to be a continuation of the Brexit plan talks outlined at Chequers last Friday.

After the resignations of Brexit Secretary David Davis on Sunday and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday, Mrs May met her reshuffled Cabinet on Tuesday morning where she hoped to reassert her authority ahead of a crunch few days for her leadership.

Mortgages

Mortgages for Business is among 67 new signatory companies to sign up to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.

The charter reflects the government’s aspiration to see gender balance at all levels within firms operating in the financial services sector.

Jenny Barrett, director of marketing & research at Mortgages for Business, said: “According to the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, although 46% of employees within financial services are women, only 15% are working at the executive level. Clearly this needs to change and I’m very excited to be leading the initiative here at Mortgages for Business.”

Steve Olejnik, COO at Mortgages for Business, said: “Within our firm, I can reveal that 25% of the board is made up of women. Whilst this might be a higher percentage than the average, in reality, that is just two women and we are mindful that over time the figure needs to rise. We are all committed to making it happen and ensure that we have a gender balance throughout the business.”

360 Financial Services Limited is an appointed representative of New Leaf Distribution Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Some commercial mortgages and most buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.