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A fine time for us to go our own way

When faced with a problem our government has never been dynamic or renowned as a provider of innovative solutions. And while the grey men at Westminster dither over how best to solve the liquidity crisis strangling the market, the rest of us are wondering whether what they come up with will be too little, too late.

In the same week as the US government bailed out its two main mortgage suppliers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bank of England governor Mervyn King warned Prime Minister Gordon Brown against a similar move for fear it might undermine the banks.

Heaven forbid the government or BoE should interfere in the running of the banks, the firms they are supposed to be monitoring that got us into this mess in the first place. All our hopes hang on the findings from Sir James Crosby’s review of mortgage finance.

Brown and co came up with a mortgage rescue plan of sorts at the beginning of the month, but as we show in this week’s cover story, it has been put in the shade by US plans.

Even if the suggestions put forward by Sir James are enough to save the market, will chancellor Alistair Darling and Brown have the guts to follow them through?

The UK has always adopted a follow-the-leader approach when it comes to the US and many a bad decision has been made because of it.

We’ve blindly followed the Yanks into war, adopted their fast food culture and even embraced David Hasselhoff. So why, when it comes to bailing out lenders – one of the US’ better ideas – do we suddenly choose to go our own way?

The US may have got us into this mess but at least it has a plan. What do we have – the not-so dynamic duo of Brown and Darling waiting on the conclusions of a report that may or may not recommend a solution. And the government wonders why we have lost faith in it.

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Freddie Mac reported today that the average rate for 30 year fixed rate mortgages fell further this week to stand at 5.78%, down from 6.35%just prior to the Fannie & Freddie nationalisation and the lowest rate since Feb 14. It said this was fuelling a boom in remortgaging, with remortgage applications up 58% from the […]

Guide

Guide: how to change your auto-enrolment support

As we approach the two-year milestone of auto-enrolment, employers have had the opportunity to truly assess the capabilities of their chosen support. They are also now realising that getting to the staging date was the easy part, and that support is required for almost every aspect of the day to day running of their scheme. With the three-year re-enrolment window coinciding for many with the total removal of commission and Active Member Discounts from pension-related products and services, as well as the introduction of the pension charge cap in April 2015, many employers will have no choice but to review their support options. But, what is involved in transitioning your auto-enrolment scheme away from your current support options? This guide from Johnson Fleming aims to outline some of these key areas and provide information and discussion points on what you need to consider.

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