View more on these topics

Six in the City – 31 March 2008

The FSA must work hard to ensure stability in the savings sector, says Laura Stavro-Beauchamp

Just look at that – the Financial Services Authority has accepted responsibility for the Northern Rock debacle.

Last week the regulator revealed that it had failed to keep tabs on the bank to ensure that its risks were being properly assessed.

But this mea culpa is balanced by a statement from Hector Sants, chief executive of the FSA. He’s unsure whether better supervision could have stopped the NR crisis.

But as Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Vince Cable says, did the FSA have any choice?

The question now for everyone in the industry is where do we go from here? It’s a positive development that the regulator is assessing its role and admitting its shortcomings but is this going to boost confidence in the market?

Will this encourage savers to tuck their nest eggs away in the banks when the regulator arguably is unable to protect their money or guarantee the stability of the institutions involved?

I certainly hope so. After all, in these days of limited liquidity more savings can only be good news for lenders.

One only needs to turn on the television to see that banks are gearing up to fight for consumer savings business.

Abbey has launched a series of advertisements featuring a cape-wearing ISA squirrel and Barclays is toting its tax-haven ISA – a product that offers tax-free interest.

And with ISA policies flagged up by chancellor Alistair Darling in the Budget and credit horror stories popping up left, right and centre to scare the average punter to death, let’s hope the message starts to get through.

It may not be too optimistic to hope that consumers take the hint and put away their pennies for a rainy day.

The mortgage boom of the past four years has ended and savings have become more important.

Lenders are diversifying, consumers are wising up and the question facing brokers is how to make the best of the prevailing market conditions.

Can brokers get a slice of the savings pie? And will the FSA regulate it better so that it does not end up all over the face of Sants, Darling and Bank of England governor Mervyn King?

The tripartite authority has work to do.


CML backs cautious lenders

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has rejected Vic Jannels’ call for lenders to abandon their cautious approach to business.Last week, the chairman of All Types of Mortgages said lenders should throw off the shackles and reintroduce affordable deals to build consumer confidence in the mortgage market.He says: “Many of the rates offered by balance sheet […]

Housing crash bets are off

Betting exchange service Cantor Spreadfair has revealed a shift in confidence among its clients, with most saying that a housing market crash is unlikely.In January, Spreadfair bettors predicted that the average UK house price would fall to £181,000 by the end of the year but the same clients have since changed their minds. They now […]

Distributors join force in open letter to intermediaries

Distributors in the mortgage market have joined forces and written an open letter to all intermediaries, asking them to be patient with lenders.The letter, which is written by John Malone, managing director of Premier Mortgage Service, has the backing of Pink Home Loans, Sesame, Personal Touch, Home of Choice, Openwork and Legal & General.The letter […]

The proc fee dilemma

Natalie Martin The mood seems to be picking up in the packager market this week, with two firms reporting record months for mortgage applications. It still remains to be seen whether these are one off cases or the market is indeed starting to show signs of recovery. The biggest stumbling block for packagers though still […]

Pension savings-2015

Overseas transfer charge

By Jim Grant, Senior Product Insight & Technical Support Analyst, Royal London Transfers to overseas pension schemes are not recognised transfers unless the transfer is to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). A transfer to an overseas pension scheme that isn’t a QROPS is therefore an unauthorised payment and taxed accordingly. However, even if the […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up