Tuesday, January 20, 2009

L&G Replaces Freshfields

Legal & General (L&G) has completed a review of its external legal advisers, and replaced Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with Allen & Overy.

Freshfields advised L&G in 2005, when L&G was investigated by the Financial Services Authority for the alleged mis-selling of endowment mortgages.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Norwich Union Cuts Bonuses

Norwich Union Cuts Bonuses

The annual bonus season is upon us again and, unsurprisingly, cuts are in the offing.

Norwich Union has announced a cut in bonus payments on its "with profits" (such an ironic name!) policies. The 2.3 million people who hold a Norwich "with profits" policy suffered a cut of up to 16%.

This means that the majority of Norwich's endowment mortgage customers are likely to face a shortfall when their policy matures.

David Barral, Norwich Union Director, is quoted in the Guardian:

"Our with-profits funds have continued to prove their worth by delivering attractive long-term returns for investors while protecting them from the ups and downs of the stockmarket."

Could someone from the financial services industry care to explain to the millions of hapless "with profits" policy holders why "with profits" smoothing, in poor years, is never applied (as evidenced by the sharp cuts in bonuses); yet in good years it is applied?

Other companies will be announcing their cuts in due course, and it is certain that they will be as bad or worse than Norwich Union.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bonus Cuts

Bonus Cuts

The Times warns that holders of with profits funds will find that their maturity values will be cut again this year, because of poor performance.

Friends Provident will announce bonuses this week, Norwich Union next week.

Standard Life will declare at the end of this month, with Prudential and Legal & General making their announcements in February.

Many "with profits" (a contradiction in terms) policy holders are of course relying on these policies to pay off their endowment mortgages. A fine example, among many (eg PPI, credit card charges, bank charges, commissions etc), of how the City has ripped off the ordinary British citizen.