Author Archives: IFA Shops

The University-Let League Table


This week A-level pupils get their results and University places – and many new and existing students will be go into private rented accommodation for the start of the new semester.

University league tables normally list institutions by academic performance and/or popularity. In Simple Landlords Insurance’s new league table, universities are rated by yield. St Andrews has come out on top with the opportunity to earn up to a 12%p.a. return.

Lancaster comes in second place, with Loughborough and Birmingham taking third and fourth. All have the potential to achieve a yield of more than 10%. Exeter, Durham, Sussex and Nottingham are also good options, with yields in excess of 9.5%.

The full league table can be accessed by clicking here.



At the national level, commercial property capital values increased 0.4% in July 2017 according to the latest CBRE Monthly Index, slowing from 0.6% in June. Following the trend of 2017 so far, the Industrial sector provided a boost to the national average. Rental values increased 0.1% across All UK Property over the month.

Capital value growth in the Retail sector was 0.2% in July, pulled up by steady performances from South East High Street Shops (0.4%) and Shopping Centres (0.3%). Shopping Centres recorded their highest capital value growth of 2017. Retail rental values increased by 0.1% over the month. While Retail Warehouse outperformed the other retail subsectors, no subsector reported falling rental values.

Capital values in the Office sector increased 0.3% on average in July, down slightly from 0.4% in June. City of London and Rest of UK offices pulled up the sector average, recording 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. For the second consecutive month, Central London office rental values decreased, although at a slower rate of -0.1% compared with June’s -0.3%. Central London office have not recorded rising rental values since March.

Industrial capital value growth again outperformed other main real estate sectors with an increase of 0.8% in July following June’s strong performance of 1.5%. South East Industrials again outperformed Rest of UK, reporting a rise of 1.0% over the month compared with 0.4%. Rental value growth was also greater in the Industrial sector than the other main sectors, with rental values increasing 0.4%. Again, South East Industrials pulled up the sector average with a 0.5% rise in July.



IFGL to acquire Friends Provident International Limited (FPIL)

International Financial Group Ltd (“IFGL”) – previously known as RL360 Group, the owner of the RL360°, RL360° Services and Ardan brands – has today announced it has reached an agreement with the Aviva Group to acquire Friends Provident International Limited, subject to regulatory approval.

FPIL, which employs around 500 staff worldwide and services in the region of 180,000 policies, has its head office in the Isle of Man, where IFGL is also headquartered. FPIL has more than 35 years of international experience providing savings, investment and protection products to customers across the globe, with a particular expertise in Asia and the Middle East.

There are no changes to FPIL customers’ policies as a result of today’s announcement.

IFGL was formed in October 2013 to support the management led buyout of RL360 Insurance Company Limited (RL360°) from the Royal London Group, with the support of its financial backers Vitruvian Partners. IFGL has a consistent record of growth in recent years having acquired CMI Insurance Company Ltd (now branded RL360° Services) in 2015 and wealth platform Ardan International the following year.

The acquisition of FPIL further demonstrates the Group’s strategy to become the pre-eminent institution in the offshore savings market.

FPIL has £7.6bn in funds under management and its addition to IFGL will take the Group’s combined assets to £15.9bn and policies to 250,000.

David Kneeshaw, IFGL’s Chief Executive, said: “Welcoming FPIL to the IFGL Group’s already impressive stable fits with our stated long-term goal of high-quality acquisitions to complement our existing international business. FPIL’s strong franchise and its branch structure make the business an ideal fit with IFGL and we see significant opportunities for the businesses to work together and grow.

“The acquisition is an important milestone in our history and will create a combined Embedded Value* of over £1bn, leaving no doubt as to IFGL’s position as an important, key player in the life industry, as well as the offshore consolidation market.

“Our immediate aim, once we have received regulatory approval for the deal, will be to look at how best we can integrate FPIL into the Group.”


*Embedded Value (EV) is the present value of future profits plus adjusted net asset value.

Double Awards shortlisting at Citywealth Brand Management and Reputation Awards


Following Knox Financial Group’s double win at the PR Moment Awards, the group has received another double shortlist at the Citywealth Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2017.

Chief Executive Officer, John Greenwood, is up for the coveted career achievement award. The shortlist signals a career built upon substantial achievements and notes the significant role John has played in shaping current best practice.

The group is also up for the best PR campaign for the Isle of Man-based campaign that led to the group exiting the advisory space on-Island.

John Greenwood commented: “Brand and reputation has, and will always be, at the heart of everything Knox Financial Group does. Our latest successes are testimony to the value it plays in driving commercial objectives. We are thrilled to see ourselves shortlisted alongside other Manx business playing on the global field. A true reflection of the calibre and talent that our small Island is producing.”

The winners will be announced 16th June 2017.

The voting for the awards is now open until 19th May 2017. Please click here to vote.


Aston, PA, USA - September 22, 2016: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers a speech at a rally in Aston, Pennsylvania.

WASHINGTON (Alliance News) – Gold futures were lower Tuesday morning as president Donald Trump prepared to lay out his vision for the US economy in a speech to Congress later today. Trump is expected to offer specifics on his stimulus plans as well as military spending and trade tariffs.

Markets will also assess a bevy of economic data.

Gold was down USD5 at USD1254 an ounce, easing from a yearly peak.

The Commerce Department’s Gross Domestic Product or GDP data for the fourth quarter will be presented at 8.30 am ET. The economists are looking for a growth of 2.1%, compared to 1.9% growth last month.

The Census Bureau’s international trade in goods advance report for January will be published at 8.30 am ET. The forecasters are looking a decline of USD66 billion in balance, slightly better than a drop of USD65 billion last month. Exports were up 3% last month.

The Institute for Supply Management – Chicago’s Purchase Manager’s Index for February is scheduled at 9.45 am ET. The consensus is for 53, up from 50.3 last month.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence survey report for February will be published at 10.00 am ET. The forecasters expect 111.3, slight down from 111.8 last month.

Crude oil prices were slightly lower Tuesday morning Ahead of US inventories data.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX



LONDON (Alliance News) – Old Mutual PLC on Tuesday said it has reached a conditional agreement to acquire financial adviser network Caerus Capital Group, as the wealth management firm reported 2016 results for its South African banking subsidiary, Nedbank Group Ltd.

The company said Old Mutual Wealth has agreed to buy Caerus Capital Group, without providing any financial details, and said the deal should close in the second quarter of 2017, subject to conditions. The Caerus board has recommended the offer.

More than 300 advisers are authorised through Caerus and are responsible for more than GBP4.00 billion of assets under advice, Old Mutual said. In August last year, Old Mutual Wealth had said it was expecting to acquire further scalable advice businesses to grow its controlled distribution capability.

“The acquisition will complement Old Mutual Wealth’s existing controlled distribution footprint in the UK, which includes Intrinsic, and Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers, the branded national adviser firm established in 2015,” said Old Mutual.

Separately, Old Mutual posted annual results for Nedbank, in which it has a controlling stake.

Nedbank reported headline earnings of ZAR11.46 billion in 2016, rising from ZAR10.83 billion in 2015. The South African bank’s return on equity in the year dropped slightly to 15.3% from 15.7% in 2015.

Nedbank associate, ETI, held back Nedbank’s earnings in 2016, suffering a ZAR374.0 million loss compared to a ZAR644.0 million profit in 2015.

Nedbank reported a CET1 ratio of 12.1% at the end of December, comparable to 11.6% at the end of June 2016 and 11.3% at the end of December 2015. The internal target range stands at 10.5% to 12.5%.

The Tier 1 ratio in December stood at 13.0%, comparable to 12.5% in June and 12.0% in December 2015, above the internal target range of 12.0%.

Together, those made the total capital ratio of 15.3%, comparable to 14.5% in June, 14.1% in December 2015, and the internal target range of 14.0%.

Old Mutual shares were trading down 1.4% at 216.60 pence per share on Tuesday.

By Joshua Warner;; @JoshAlliance

Copyright 2017 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.


LONDON (Alliance News) – Stocks in London opened higher on Tuesday morning, with defence outsourcer Babcock International leading the FTSE 100, but the gains in the blue-chip index were being limited by miners and wealth manager St James’s Place.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.1%, or 8.59 points, at 7,261.59 points. The FTSE 250 index was up 0.1% at 18,685.53, but the AIM All-Share was marginally lower at 907.96.

The BATS UK 100 index was flat at 12,294.12 points, and the BATS UK 250 was 0.1% higher at 16,964.44. The BATS UK Smaller Companies index was flat at 11,062.92.

St James’s Place was down 5.0%, the worst blue-chip performer, after the news that Chief Executive David Bellamy will resign at the end of 2017 offset the announcement of an 18% increase in the dividend for 2016 to 33.0 pence from 27.96p in 2015.

The company said it has chosen Andrew Croft to replace Bellamy, after 12 years as chief financial officer, while Croft will be replaced by Craig Gentle, who joined the group in 2016.

St James’s Place said funds under management rose to GBP75.3 billion in 2016 compared to GBP58.6 billion. Net inflow of funds under management rose to GBP6.8 billion from GBP5.8 billion a year ago. Net income increased to GBP11.35 billion from GBP3.11 billion in 2015. Pretax profit increase to GBP486.3 million from GBP174.1 million in 2015.

Fresnillo was down 1.1%. The miner reported revenue of USD1.90 billion in 2016 compared to USD1.44 billion in 2015, saying that its gross profit doubled. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were USD1.03 billion, up from USD547.50 million in 2015.

The miner reported a pretax profit of USD718.20 million in 2016 compared to USD212.4 million a year ago, while it declared a final dividend of 21.5 cents, above the interim dividend of 8.6 cents.

Fresnillo said it aims to produce in 2017 between 870,000 and 900,000 ounces of gold, down from the 935,513 ounces the miner produced in 2016.

Other mining stocks were lower as well, the main drag for the FTSE 100, with fellow gold miner Randgold Resources down 3.0%, Anglo American down 2.3% and BHP Billiton down 1.6%.

BT Group was down 1.0%. UK regulator Ofcom said it plans to force the telecommunications giant to cut bills for customers that only have a landline by between GBP5 to GBP7 per month to return line rental prices to 2009 levels.

Around 2.3 million people who buy only a landline telephone service from BT would see their monthly bills cut. The regulator said these customers “are often elderly or vulnerable” and are “unlikely to switch”. Almost 80% of the UK’s 2.9m landline-only customers are with BT. Ofcom said it has found that BT’s market power has allowed it to increase prices without much risk of losing customers. Other providers have then followed BT’s pricing lead, it said.

“We expect that our proposed cut in BT’s prices would lead to other providers following suit and reducing theirs. This would mean savings for landline-only customers across the market,” said Ofcom.

In the green was Babcock, up 3.1%. The defence firm said its outlook for its full financial year remains unchanged, noting trading in the second half of its year to date has been in line with expectations.

Babcock said that, since the end of its first half, on September 30, it has continued to make progress with its existing contracts and its new order intake remains strong. Babcock said its order book and pipeline have been maintained at GBP30.80 billion.

New orders include the manufacture of 22 missile launch tube assemblies for the joint US-UK Trident nuclear submarine replacement programme, as well as a new EUR500.0 million contract for the provision and maintenance of training platforms and related services for the French Air Force.

In Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.3% and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt was 0.1% higher.

In Asia on Tuesday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended up 0.4%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong finished down 0.8%.

Wall Street ended higher on Monday, with both the Dow 30 and the S&P 500 up 0.1%, both indices reaching record closing highs. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%.

In the US economic calendar, preliminary fourth-quarter GDP figures are at 1330 GMT, as is the goods trade balance. The Redbook index is at 1355 GMT, while the Chicago PMI is at 1445 GMT. US consumer confidence is at 1500 GMT while the API weekly crude oil stock data are at 2130 GMT.

Investors are awaiting a key policy speech by US President Donald Trump to Congress scheduled for at 2100 EST Washington time Tuesday, or 0200 GMT Wednesday.

The market will look for Trump to provide details on his promises of tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending. The US president promised at a meeting with airline executives earlier this month “something…phenomenal in terms of tax” to be announced soon.

Ahead of Trump’s speech, the White House said on Monday the US plans to hike defence spending by about 10%. The spike in military spending is to be offset by equal cuts to other federal discretionary spending, according to an official from the Office of Management and Budget.

By Daniel Ruiz;

Copyright 2017 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.


BRUSSELS (Alliance News) – The British pound continued to be weak against the other major currencies in the European session on Monday amid fears that the Scottish government may call another referendum.

According to a report from the Times of London, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s team is preparing for Scotland to call a second independence referendum to coincide with the triggering of Article 50 in March.

Investors also preferred to stay on the sidelines as they await more details on US President Donald trump’s fiscal stimulus plans. Trump is set to make his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

In the Asian trading today, the pound had fallen against its major rivals.

In the European trading, the pound fell to a 1-week low of 0.8534 against the euro, nearly a 2-week low of 1.2384 against the US dollar and a 6-day low of 1.2484 against the Swiss franc, from early highs of 0.8461, 1.2474 and 1.2557, respectively. If the pound extends its downtrend, it is likely to find support around 0.86 against the euro, 1.22 against the greenback and 1.23 against the franc.

Against the yen, the pound slipped to 139.08 from an early high of 139.96. This may be compared to an early near 3-week low of 139.01. The pound is likely to find support around the 137.00 region.

Looking ahead, at 7:30 am ET, Swiss National Bank Governing Board Member Fritz Zurbrugg will deliver a speech titled “Cash – tried and tested, and with a future” at the World Banknote Summit, in Basel.

In the New York session, US durable goods orders and pending home sales data, both for January, are slated for release.

At 11:00 am ET, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan is expected to speak at the University of Oklahoma’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX



LONDON (Alliance News) – London Stock Exchange Group PLC said its proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse AG is unlikely to be approved by the European Commission.

EU had requested that LSE divest MTS, an electronic trading platform for European government bonds. LSE said it couldn’t commit to such a divestment and would not submit a remedy proposal.

“Based on the commission’s current position, LSEG believes that the commission is unlikely to provide clearance for the merger,” LSE said Sunday in a statement.

“The LSEG board remains convinced of the strategic benefits of the merger and recognizes the strong support from shareholders for the transaction,” the company said. “LSEG will continue to take steps to seek to implement the merger.”

Separately, Deutsche Boerse said on Sunday, “LSEG has resolved tonight to not commit to the required divestment of LSEG’s majority stake in MTS SpA.The parties will await the further assessment by the European Commission and currently expect a decision by the European Commission on the merger of DBAG and LSEG by the end of March 2017.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX



WASHINGTON (Alliance News) – Gold futures continued to rise Friday morning, extending 3-month highs as the dollar weakened versus major rivals.

Gold has risen sharply since Wednesday’s release of the minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve meeting.

Although the Fed said it was ready to raise interest rates fairly soon, traders found the minutes to have a dovish bias, as policy makers want to know more about Donald Trump administration’s fiscal spending plans.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was poised to break a stunning win streak that propelled stocks to record highs.

Gold for April was up 8 dollars at USD1258 an ounce, the highest since early November.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX