April 21 2014 Latest news:


Adam Aiken

ICB report spells good news for consumers

At last, there could be some good news for bank customers.

The big lines that emerged from the Independent Commission on Banking’s report concerned the ringfencing of the banks’ retail operations, and the call for extra funds they would need to hold as a buffer in case of a future financial crisis.

But there were also a number of other ideas put forward that should help improve our overall high-street banking experience.

One of these is the ICB’s desire to open up the market to greater competition.

The likes of NBNK have been looking to get a piece of the action for some time, and the commission’s report has confirmed its view that Lloyds Banking Group should sell more of more of its branches than the 632 it is already planning to dispose of.

The ICB wants a new player on the high street to have a market share of at least 6pc of the current-account market, taking the number of major retail banks to six.

On the face of it, having six major players instead of five might not seem like a huge leap forward...

Peter Sharkey

Presented with pension freedom, what can savers do?

Ordinarily, the only Budget-related announcements capable of remaining newsworthy for more than a couple of days are those that have an immediate impact upon our purses or wallets.

Furthermore, most of us accept price hikes on ‘luxuries’ such as alcohol or petrol uncomplainingly, permitting ourselves little more than a mild grumble at the unfairness of it all...

Robert Clarke

Can canny Chancellor celebrate?

I suspect that Britain’s adult population has learnt more about annuities since the Chancellor’s dramatic Budget than it has in the past few decades.

Prior to 19th March, most people in their forties and fifties had no idea that there was a legal requirement for retiring pensioners to buy an annuity, a compulsion which has hardly served retirees well recently...