• From The Pensions Regulator:

    Having considered the responses to its consultation paper, the Pensions Regulator has today published final guidance to assist trustees in calculating

    From 1 October 2008, it will be the responsibility of trustees to take the decisions on which the calculation of cash equivalent transfer values (CETV) is based – as set out in government legislation. Previously, the calculation had to be certified by the scheme’s actuary.

    While many of the consultation responses have been taken into account for clarity in the final guidance, there are no new principles involved and its primary purpose is to assist trustees with their new responsibilities. The guidance covers:

    Chris Dobson, Pensions Regulator executive director of strategic development, said: “Trustees will need to produce transfer values appropriate for their scheme. We have produced this guidance to help trust…

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  • From The Pensions Regulator:

    The Pensions Regulator today published

    The regulator announced earlier this summer that, in response to feedback from the industry, it was deferring the introduction of its new approach. Today’s full response:

    Announcing the approach, Pensions Regulator chairman David Norgrove said: “Our consultation has sparked a lively and much-needed debate on the impact of longevity on pension scheme funding. We have listened with interest and taken on board the responses to our consultation.

    “Nobody is disputing the evidence on continuing mortality improvements – people are living longer and this will impact upon pension scheme costs. Despite some of the headlines, our focus is on achieving clarity over how pension schemes recognise the accrued costs of their existing liabilities – and not about identifying new costs or imposing new duties….

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  • From This is Money:

    Almost £26,500 has been wiped off the value of the average property since September 2007 ? a fall of 13.3%.
    This outstrips the 13.2% peak-to-trough fall registered by the Halifax House Price Index from 1989 to 1995.
    The Halifax report, released today, showed the average home fell by 1.3% in September and now costs £172,108 ? compared to £198,533 a year ago.
    Halifax’s annual price change figure was -12.4%. This is lower than a monthly year-on-year comparison as it measures a three-month year-on-year moving average.
    September’s monthly fall was the smallest seen since the start of 2008, providing a glimmer of hope that price drops may be slowing.
    Howard Archer, chief UK economist at analysts Global Insight, has predicted a 33% fall in prices from the August 2007 peak to the first half of 2010, leaving the average home worth £133,750 by the Halifax measure.
    He said: ‘House prices seem poised to fall substantially further as the fundamentals remain largely ne…

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  • From This is Money:

    Just hours after the Bank of England announced the 0.5% cut in a combined move with other central banks, Cheltenham & Gloucester and its parent bank Lloyds TSB, withdrew small deposit tracker mortgages, which are linked to the bank rate.
    Both the deals were available to those with 10% deposits and would have been most attractive to first-time buyers looking to benefit from yesterday’s cut and speculation that interest rates will fall again.
    C&G and Lloyds said they had no immediate plans to offer new deals for those with smaller deposits and claimed the decision to remove the deals was taken before yesterday’s shock rate cut and that first-time buyers typically preferred fixed rate deals.
    Tracker mortgages become more attractive to homeowners as the Bank of England reduces the cost of borrowing, as their repayments fall directly in line with any cuts.
    Other lenders are reported to be considering similar moves to reduce their tracker ranges.
    While C&G and Lloyds’ decision to…

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  • From This is Money:

    The Bank’s half-point cut is the first such move since the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in November 2001. It is hoped that it will feed through to the mortgage market and there will be heavy pressure on banks to cut their standard variable rates.

    This is Money will bring you lenders’ mortgage rate cuts as they happen.

    • Cheltenham & Gloucester has cut its SVR by 0.5% to 6.5%

    • Halifax has cut its SVR by 0.5% to 6.5%

    • Natwest has cut its SVR by 0.5% to 6.69%

    • RBS has cut its SVR by 0.5% to 6.69%

    • Woolwich has cut its SVR by 0.5% to 6.64%

    • What happened last time: April’s rate cuts

    Will your rate fall?
    Borrowers on variable rate mortgages will see their repayment costs fall, while those on fixed rates will remain on the same rate until their deal period runs out, although it is hoped the cost of new fixed rate deals will fall following the rate cut.

    Those on bank rate tracker mortgages will see…

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  • From This is Money:

    A high-profile advertising campaign and luxury London boutique hotels attracted hundreds of investors to GuestInvest, but the company announced it had gone into administration today.
    The business was a joint venture with Bank of Scotland and is likely to have been hit hard by parent group HBOS’s forced rescue merger with Lloyds TSB.
    Launched in 2004, by businessman Johnny Sandelson, GuestInvest offered investors the chance to buy hotel rooms on long leases, which were then let out to guests for up to £1,000 per night.
    Its first venture was a hotel in London’s trendy Westbourne Grove, where 20 rooms went on sale for £235,000 each on 999-year leases.
    Investors got a 50% share of the income from their room and were entitled to use it for up to 52 nights per year.
    Returns of around 8% per year were reported by investors, however experts said that the market for reselling hotel rooms was likely to remain niche and could be seriously affected by an economic downturn.
    GuestI…

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  • From This is Money:

    Stephen Womack joined insurance agent Derek Lomax on his rounds in rural Cumbria to see how this seemingly old-fashioned way of business survives and finds a man whose working day includes a visit to a brewery, lunch overlooking a milking parlour and saving sheep.
    8.00am Kendal
    Derek Lomax’s working day starts at 8am in his sparkling new offices on the edge of Kendal, Cumbria. He is an agent with rural insurer NFU Mutual and moved into the offices – complete with a wind-turbine and solar panels – in June.
    The agency looks after insurance for 2,500 customers, of whom just under half are in farming.
    It is a stand-alone business, operating in the same way as a conventional insurance broker but selling only the products of NFU Mutual.
    The agency is owned by Derek, 55, together with two partners. They employ seven staff, including Derek’s wife Catherine, 51, who helps out in the office three days a week.
    The day starts with a cup of tea and a look through the post. ‘I watch wha…

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  • From This is Money:

    Malcolm Tarling at the Association of British Insurers told me: ‘Centuries ago it was not uncommon for people to insure the life of another person and then bump them off and collect the insurance payout.’ Happily, this example of private enterprise was outlawed by the Life Insurance Act of 1774.
    The only time someone else can take out this type of insurance is when they can show that they have a significant financial interest that would suffer if you were to die.
    This so-called ‘life of another’ policy would still require his signature as ‘the life to be assured’.

    • Life insurance policy finder…

    Click to read the full article »

  • From This is Money:

    ‘With regards to breeding, a standard pet insurance policy may not cover any medical complications during pregnancy or whelping. However Petplan is one of the few pet insurance providers to offer a specialist Show Breeder policy. ‘Under this cover, once the bitch has been insured for six months and had a first litter, Petplan will pay for any vet’s fees incurred as a result of medical complications during pregnancy and whelping.
    ‘Of course, Petplan’s other policies including Cover for Life would be available to you, but not in relation to breeding. Please call 0800 072 0004 for additional information.’

    • Use our insurance finder to get the best deal for your dog…

    Click to read the full article »

  • From The BBC:

    Mortgage providers have been dropping the cost of their home loans following the emergency cut in UK interest rates.
    Halifax said it will be reducing its standard variable rate (SVR) from 7% to 6.5% from 1 November.
    Lloyds TSB, which also lends under the Cheltenham & Gloucester brand, said it would cut its SVR by half a percentage point to 6.5% on the same date.
    Woolwich will also cut its SVR, but experts say that house prices will fall despite the respite for homeowners.
    First Direct, part of HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest all later announced they were going to cut their SVR by half a percentage point.
    “All this decisive action augurs well for an improving market situation looking ahead, even though no one is pretending the tough times are over yet,” said Michael Coogan, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
    About 7% of mortgage holders have a SVR mortgage.
    Cheaper deals
    In a co-ordinated move with five other central banks, the Bank of England cu…

    Click to read the full article »

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