James Coney  

Mortgage lenders must innovate to survive

James Coney

James Coney

This will help to reflect changes in the property market, where structures previously known as non-standard are becoming increasingly common – flats above shops and so on.

Lenders have to move with the times and they are providing loans for the types of business that is needed.

This is progress and it is to be welcomed. It is also innovate or die.

Trusting insurers

I just can not trust the insurance industry.

It demolished any faith I had in it during the widespread mis-selling of annuities, and then continued to eat away at it with the hokum pricing on general insurance products.

So when the Association of British Insurers issued a report on the pension freedoms, excuse me if I did not jump around with glee.

The ABI has much work to do before it ever convinces me that it is on the side of consumer protection, rather than the safeguarding of its own members’ interests and profits.

Five years into the freedoms and we have not seen the dash for cash as was predicted, but that is not to say some consumers are not at risk of draining their pots.

So the FCA must conduct a proper study so we can see for good what really is happening.

Pensions ‘success’

There was much crowing from the Department of Work and Pensions about the success of auto-enrolment in an annual assessment recently.

While the numbers enrolled are terrific, we must not be complacent.

When defined benefit schemes were more common, the average total contribution of employer and employee was around 22 per cent.

Today the average total contribution across defined contribution is 5 per cent. You do the maths.

James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times