The Week in Numbers – 28/05

The Week in Numbers – 28/05Website Photos 062

0.1% – Fall in the Consumer Prices Index in the year to April compared with no change in the year to March

4,000 – Number of individual advisers Garry Heath aims to recruit for his new trade body, Libertatem, in the first 15 months

4 – Number of Labour MPs that remained on the Treasure select committee following the election. Some industry experts say Labour has lost much of its financial services expertise.

29% – Rise in the number of Annuity Complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service in the past year, from 601 to 776

Less than 1 in 10 – Proportion of Hargreaves Lansdown customers that have bought an annuity since 6th April

8th July – date set for Chancellor George Osborne’s second budget of the year

£227m – amount Deutsche Bank was fined by the FCA over Libor manipulation in April. A former trader has this week brought a case against the regulator claiming he was improperly identified in the FCA report

£10bn – amount the Government plans to cut business red tape by, as announced by Business Secretary Sajid Javid


Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 21st May 2015
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The Week in Numbers

The Week in NumbersWebsite Photos 062

£15bn – Potential annual cost of maintaining the state pension triple-lock, according to the institute for fiscal studies

47% Size for the stake in Tenet owned by the enlarged Aviva/Friends Life Group. Money Marketing reveals this week that Aviva is considering selling its stake in the network.

37% Drop in annuity sales seen by Just Retirement in Q1

56 number of seats won by the SNP in Scotland, out of a possible 59.

326 – number of seats needed for a majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives stunned the pollsters last week by securing 331 seats

£1.4bn – level of premiums written for unit-linked guarantees at their peak in 2012. Industry experts have branded the products ‘almost criminal’ and argue changes are opaque.

3 – number of party leaders who quit in the wake of election results. UKIP leader was reinstated as leader after the part refused to accept his resignation

£1.2bn – Size of the legacy annuity book to be transferred from Zurich UK Life to specialist insurer Rothesay Life for an undisclosed sum.


Originally published in Money Marketing magazine 14th May 2015
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The Week in Numbers – 13th May

The Week in Numbers

12m – Number of actions taken by MAS users in 2014/15 – far higher than the organisation’s 4.5 million target

1% – cashback offer for first-time buyers launched by Halifax this week

8 – Number of advice firms issued with Section 166 reports (also known as a skilled persons report) by the FCA in relation to insistent transfers

£11bn – Outflows seen by Aberdeen Asset Management in the six months to the end of March

11% – fall in profits reported by Lloyds for the first quarter after it took a £660m hit following the sale of TSB

£4.1m – Price paid by advice consolidation firm AFH financial to acquire national firm Independent Financial Services (UK)

65% – Proportion of 55 to 64-year-olds who are not aware of changes to pension death tax rules, a survey commissioned by Old Mutual says

£1.4bn – Annual slump in retail fund sales in March, according to the IA

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Originally published in Money Marketing magazine, 7th May 2015

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April Employment Survey News

Key points from the April survey:office seating

  • Strongest increase in permanent staff appointments in eight months
  • Acceleration of pay growth for permanent and temporary staff
  • Candidate availability deteriorated further


The main findings for April are:

Permanent placements growth accelerates…

The number of people placed in permanent jobs by recruitment consultants continued to rise in April. In fact, the rate of expansion quickened to an eight-month high. This reflected a stronger increase in demand for staff, with permanent vacancies rising at the fastest pace since October 2014. This made it the strongest growth of demand for permanent staff in 6 months.

Pay growth strengthens…

Growth of permanent staff salaries accelerated to a nine-month high in April, with panellists highlighting a combination of strong demand and skill shortages. Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff meanwhile increased at the fastest pace since July 2007.

…amid tight candidate availability

The availability of staff to fill permanent roles deteriorated further in April, with the rate of contraction accelerating to the sharpest in five months. As much as around 41% of panellists reported lower permanent candidate availability versus 9% noting an improvement. Temporary/contract staff availability meanwhile declined at a marked pace that was similar to that seen in March.

Public & private sector vacancies…

Private sector demand for staff continued to rise at a stronger pace than that for public sector workers in April. The fastest rate of growth overall was signalled for private sector permanent employees.

Other vacancy indicators…

Latest official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) signalled that vacancies rose 19.8% on an annual basis in the three months to March. That was the slowest growth since January 2014.

Meanwhile, internet-based recruitment spending was up 4.5% on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter of 2014. This was the weakest rise since the first quarter of 2013.

Top Permanent Staff Sectors for Recruitment…

Good news for candidates in the financial services job market as Executive/Professional was the most in-demand category for permanent staff in April, with Accounting/Financial in second place.

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Snap Shot Headlines 7th May

Snap Shot News Headlines

“Advisers seek end to ‘galling’ FSCS levy hikes”blue news

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has announced a shock increase to the levy required of Pensions Advisers. Originally expected to be £57m, it has now risen to £100m. The Life and Pensions advisers have attacked these increase charges amid concerns that firms could be forced out of business.

A further concern is that the increase hike designed to protect consumers if the firms were to fail, could mean an increased cost will be passed onto consumers in the future.

The FSCS cited complaints against the advisers over pension transfers as the main cause for the rise in the levy and it is charged for all firms with permissions to act as life and pensions intermediaries.

“Basi & Basi Financial Planning managing director Michale Basi adds: ‘There is something fundamentally wrong with the way the system works and it’s unreasonable to keep disrupting a market economy by introducing bills from a body that has little or no accountability”


“St James’s Place sales leap 13% on back of Pension Freedoms”

“Wealth management giant St James’s Place saw sales rocket 13% in the first three months of the year, from £205.4m to £232.2m as funds under management hit £55.8bn.

New Investment business surged from £132.7m to £140.8m during the period, while pension sales were up 26% from £72.2m to £90.0m.”


“IFS Slams Tory and Labour tax relief proposals”

This year, both Tory and Labour have pledged to limit pension contribution ceilings.

The Tories:

  • plan to gradually decrease annual allowances for people earning more than £150,000
  • Those earning £210,000, would have capped annual contributions at just £10,000


  • Plans to restrict tax relief for top rate taxpayers down to the basic taxpayer rate
  • The relief reducing from £150,000, tapering down to £180,000 where the relief would be 20%

“But the Institute for Fiscal Studies calls the plans ‘misguided’ offering Labour the most criticism: ‘If Labour’s reforms are implemented, then – like many reforms to pensions taxation by the fovernment and those proposed by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – tney would add further undesirable complexity and be a missed opportunity to rationalise parts of the pensions tax system that are overly generous.’”



Original articles by Tom Selby and Mark Sands, originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 30th April 2015

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The Week in Numbers

The Week in Numbers

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12% – Drop in mortgage lending reported by Santander in its Q1 results

0.3% – GDP growth in the UK in Q1 2015, according to the ONS

£100m – FSCS levy for life and pensions advisers in 2015/16, up from £24m in 2014/15

£80m – value of 40% stake in a property joint venture sold by Henderson to TIAA-CREF

£85m – Estimated market capitalisation of SIPP provider Curtise Banks, which plains an AIM flotation next month

£55.8bn – funds under management held by St. James’s Place at the end of Q1

£227m – FCA fine for Deutsche Bank for rigging Libor. The Conservatives say they will use the money to create 50,000 apprenticeships

66% of Money Marketing Readers do not see the value in Adviser Trade bodies.


Figures originally published in Money Marketing Magazine, 30th April 2015

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The Week in Numbers

The Week in Numbers – 23/04

£35m – Customer redress hit taken by Wonga in 2014 following an intervention by the FCA. The payday lender made a pre-tax loss of £37.3m during the year.

56% – the drop in pre-tax profits at Towry during 2014, from £9.8m to £4.3m year on year

£4bn – value of Lloyds shares that would be sold to the public under Conservative plans outlined by David Cameron

£800m – Funds raised by Neil Woodford’s Patient Capital Investment Trust – the most for a new issue in the UK’s Investment history

£106bn – Assets on the Allfunds platform, making it the largest mutual fund platform in Europe according to the Platforum

1.99% – Five year fixed-rate mortgage deal launched by HSCB this week – the first sub 2% product in the market



Figures originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 23rd April 2015

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March Employment News

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 Key points in March:

  • Further marked increases in permanent placements
  • Salaries for permanent hires rise at sharpest rate in six months
  • Candidate availability tightens further.

The main indicators for March are:

Recruitment continues to rise strongly…

March survey data highlighted further marked growth of recruitment activity across the UK. Permanent staff placements rose at a rate unchanged from February’s considerable pace.

…supported by robust demand for staff

Job vacancies rose to a five-month high in March, signalling strong demand for staff. Marked rates of expansion were indicated for both permanent and short-term workers.

Salary growth fastest in six months…

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent job roles increased further in March. The latest increase was the strongest since last September. Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff rose at a robust pace, albeit slightly slower than in February.

…amid falling candidate availability

The availability of staff to fill vacancies continued to decline in March. The latest drop in permanent candidate supply was the sharpest in four months, while temp availability deteriorated at the fastest pace since last October.


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Research Section: A Candidate’s Experience

How a candidate’s experience of your recruitment process can have long lasting consequences.

 Why is this so important?

Getting the candidate experience right is so important. Mystery Applicant research shows 48% of candidates said they had a poor or very poor time when seeking a new role.

Where is it going wrong?

The two main areas where businesses seem to get it wrong are in keeping candidates informed during the process, mentioned by 58% of applicants, and how the candidate was meant to feel during the whole journey. Just over half of respondents said they didn’t feel that they were treated as an individual.

Stats and Facts:

  1. Recent data from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) shows that candidates who have a positive experience put in more effort in the job, to the tune of 15%.
  2. Those who have a positive experience are also 38% more likely to stay with that employer than those who didn’t.
  3. Candidates share their poor experiences with others. An amazing 83% tell friends and family while 64% take to social media.


So we know it’s important, but what are the main steps we can take to resolve the problem?

  • Be Explicit: if you explain what the recruitment process will be like before they apply, candidates are far more likely to feel more relaxed about the steps needed to be taken.
  • Early Self-Screening: when a job specification is clear, it helps prevent candidates applying for a job they know wouldn’t be right for them. Make the requirements obvious and easy to understand and you’ll see the dual benefits of cost saving with fewer applications that wouldn’t fit but you but also fewer candidates barking up the wrong tree.
  • Keeping on top of it: especially challenging when recruiting large numbers, but nothing is more disheartening for a candidate than simply never hearing back. Even generic feedback like missing qualifications or the wrong experience is far better than nothing. So ensure your application tracking technology or systems can help you keep an eye on your responses.
  • Be on the same page: make sure line managers are fully aware of how long a recruitment process is likely to take, let the candidate know from the start and set deadlines.
  • Communicate throughout: make it clear internally, whose role it is to meet the candidate, when? As a rule of thumb, there should be a follow up email or phone call after every significant contact, but who in your firm will make sure that happens?
  • Feedback: why not consider asking candidates for their view on your recruitment process? Whether they received the job or not, their opinions can help encourage a continuous improvement mentality, which in the long run could save you time and money.

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Original article by the Institute of Recruitment Professionals first published by Kevin Green, Chief Executive on HR Magazine’s Website.
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The Week in Numbers – 16th April 2015

0% – Rate of Inflation in the UK in March, according to the Office for National Statistics

£10K – Annual allowance for savers earning more than £210,000, under plans outlined in the Conservative Manifesto

£21K – Maximum government loan a person can receive under Help-To-Rent plans unveiled by the Liberal Democrats last week

42,200 – Number of PPI complaints that may have been rejected unfairly by Clydesdale Bank, according to the FCA

£7.5bn – Amount Labour says it will raise through policies to reduce tax avoidance and evasion

4 – Number of FOS complaints upheld against advice firms relating to investments in Harlequin since the beginning of the year.

Net balance of 4.2% – of small firms have taken on new staff, up from a balance of 2.1% a year ago

Businesses who have applied and been approved for a loan from their bank is up to 57% compared to 45.3%, 12 months ago

37% – of firms say a lack of skills are a barrier to growth compared to 25.4% 12 months ago.

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Figures and articles originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 16th April 2015 or the magazine of the Federation of Small Businesses

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