In brief

Ramesh Sharma

February 11, 2006

Portman Building Society has launched its multi-tie model combining financial planning and products through N4Solutions and The Exchange’s Exweb portal.

Portman has also introduced a back-office business administration system, Officeweb, aimed at streamlining costs and improving management information and enhancing client service.

ARLA reveals market concerns

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has urged letting agents to prepare for the implementation of the Housing Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.

Under new laws to come into effect in 2006, properties will have to undergo checks to assess their suitability. Penalties for breach of these laws include fines of up to £20,000 for failure to get a licence or for breaching permitted numbers.

Mplc starts phase two of On Demand

Mortgages plc has begun phase two development of its On Demand online mortgage system, tailoring its system to the needs of packagers, including the option of adding On Demand to packagers’ own systems.

Peter Beaumont, sales and marketing director at Mortgages plc, said: “Brokers and packagers are telling us it’s fast, easy to use and flexible and are signing up in their hundreds.”

Landlords suffering buy-to-let ‘stress’

A Homebuyer Show survey has revealed the majority of UK landlords suffer from stress, with many putting this down to finding appropriate tenants (36.8 per cent).

Property maintenance and sourcing properties were also prevalent concerns of landlords.

Nick Clark, managing director of The Homebuyer Show, said: “Finding reliable and appropriate tenants is one of the biggest jobs for a buy-to-let landlord. Contracts, references, deposits and inventory checks can all come back to haunt landlords if they are not completely watertight and professional.”

Abbey enhances fixed rate range

Abbey has launched a two-year fixed rate mortgage product at 4.45 per cent.

Available up to 75 per cent LTV, the offer includes the option of a free valuation for mortgage purposes up to £1,100, and standard legal work. A fee of £699 exists on the product.

Personal touch opens toolbox

Personal Touch Financial Services (PTFS) has confirmed its back-office operating system ‘toolbox’ is to be offered to all Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs), mortgage advisers and general insurance brokers for free.

Martin Wilson, chairman of PTFS, said: “Toolbox has been designed by brokers for brokers, and we have taken the step to offer it out in to the whole market place, AR and DA, for free in order to enhance our network proposition.”

MGM appoints AR director

MGM Assurance has appointed Paul Rowell to lead and direct its appointed representative (AR) business.

Rowell will also be responsible for the ongoing development of the direction and strategy of MGM. He said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to rejoin the company. I am looking forward to the challenge of developing the AR arm of the business.”

Investec launches preferential mortgage scheme

Investec Bank ( Channel Islands) Limited has launched a specialist mortgage scheme for trust companies.

Trust companies in Guernsey, Jersey, Geneva and the Isle of Man will all be given the opportunity to sign up to the scheme, which applies to UK residential properties. The scheme is available at Base Rate plus 1.25 per cent up to 70 per cent LTV.

Money seems to be ‘the hardest word’

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has launched a website (www. moneylaidbare.co.uk) to help people get to grips with their finances after FSA research revealed 74 per cent of British couples find money the hardest subject to talk about.

The website includes tips on how to manage money, how to plan ahead and where to get further help and information.

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