Morning Papers: Gov’t to lift ban on CTF transfers

Chancellor George Osborne has finally confirmed that a ban on child trust fund transfers to a junior Isa will be lifted following lobbying from across the industry, the Daily Mail reports.

The announcement, which is expected today, has been supported by major banks, investment firms and financial advisers. Transfers are expected to be allowed from April 2015.

In May, FTAdviser sister publication Financial Adviser reported the government was consulting on lifting the ban on transfers between the two products.

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The government had said it is “committed” to supporting savings and ensuring that families have access to suitable, tax-advantaged savings products that would allow them to save for their children’s futures in “a clear and simple way”.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of financial planning Danny Cox said: “The days of the Child Trust Fund have been numbered since the launch of the Junior ISA. Child trust funds have been in terminal decline since 2011, seeing millions trapped in expensive products or suffering lower interest rates than their Junior ISA counterparts.

“This change will pave the way for a significant improvement in choice and outcomes for over 6 million children and ultimately lead to a full merger.”

Whistleblowing hits record high

Tough regulatory penalties emerging from this year’s financial scandals, including manipulating the London interbank offered rate, has led to a record number of whistleblowers, the Financial Times reports.

In the year to the end of October, the Financial Conduct Authority opened 72 per cent more cases based on intelligence from whistleblowers than its predecessor. FCA figures reveal that the regulator launched 254 new cases on the back of whistleblowers’ information between November 2012 and October 2013, compared with 148 cases a year earlier.

Cable: Interest rates should rise to constrain housing boom

Vince Cable, business secretary, has warned that interest rates may have to rise to constrain what he described as “a raging housing boom”, reports The Guardian.

Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Cable said that if the Bank of England failed to increase interest rates, there was a danger that large parts of London could only be inhabited by foreigners and bankers due to spiralling house prices.

However, if the Bank of England did take heed then this would have a negative impact on UK manufacturing since exchange rates would increase, making exports harder, Mr Cable admitted.

He also called for the government to take another look at its Help to Buy scheme, adding this was thought up in entirely different circumstances.

Former BT head pledges support to SMEs

Lord Livingstone, former BT chief executive and new minister for trade and investment, has vowed to offer each of Britain’s 10,000 medium-sized companies personal advice on overseas expansion in an attempt to boost exports to £1,000bn a year by 2020, the Telegraph reports.

He said that officials will be asked to be in personal contact with medium-sized businesses so they know how to successfully expand overseas, adding that if they do not export officials will ask if they can consider this avenue. If they do, then officials will be on hand to offer them help in widening their remit, Lord Livingstone added.