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MARCH 2012 |

NEWS SIPP approval scheme set By Geoff Hadwick

A new kitemark-style approval scheme for investments capable of being held in self-invested personal pension schemes (SIPPs) has been launched by SIPP Investment Platform Limited, a company set up by UK-based consultancy fi rms Intelligent Partnership and Enhance Support Solutions. The service will give SIPP-providers

and independent fi nancial advisors (IFAs) an objective product governance audit trail as part of the distribution of these sort of investments. Speaking exclusively to OPP, Intelligent Partnership managing director Guy Tolhurst said that the new service has been set up in response to a growing wave of concerns from the UK’s government-backed regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). According to Tolhurst: “As well as monitoring the promoters the FSA is now focusing in on the SIPP-providers, who are very much within their scope. They are being asked to carry out more detailed and investigative due diligence

Saver | The scheme could help SIPP-providers and IFAs with their products

on the products that they are accepting, as well as ensuring they’re reviewed on an on-going basis.” “For a SIPP-provider it used to be a

question of can this product be held with a SIPP under HMRC guidelines without attracting a tax charge whereas now the remit has extended to monitoring the appropriateness of what is transacted through their SIPP.” And, according to Intelligent Partnership director Peter Robinson, “SIPP providers now have to take more responsibility for product governance …

it is no longer acceptable just to verify if an asset is capable of being held within a SIPP under HMRC guidelines.” This is where The SIPP Investment

Platform service comes in. “Contracting directly with the SIPP providers, we will carry out detailed due diligence on these products, supporting their own technical and compliance teams with their internal product reviews process,” says Tolhurst. And “we will compile investment

reviews and governance reports that will include our own research, opinions and considerations for the SIPP-provider.”

Spain buyers face the bulldozers

BUYERS in the Andalucian town of Albox, Spain, have been given “the devastating news that the courts have again decided that they must face the bulldozers despite the fact that their home was constructed with planning permission,” John Hillen of local protest group Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No (AUAN) told OPP this month. The demolition order fi rst appeared in 2010 after police served notice that


BUSINESS confi dence levels in the U.S. house-building market rose for the fi fth month straight in February, rising from 25 to 29 on the NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This is the highest level the index has reached for more than four years.

their homes were to be bulldozed after their construction was declared illegal. But, says Hillen, “having overturned the demolition orders on the basis that they had not been informed of the proceedings, the homeowners vowed to fi ght on. Since then they have engaged in a protracted and expensive court battle to try and defend their homes.” According to AUAN, “lawyers acting

for the regional government (the Junta de Andalucía) successfully argued that


INTERNATIONAL agency Engel & Völkers is setting up a new division of the company to cater for “fi rst-class historic real estate” globally, a market which, the company told OPP , “has been developing on a very positive upward trend in recent years.”

the property risked provoking an urban nucleus.” Speaking to OPP, AUAN said: “Has the Junta de Andalucía learned nothing? Demolitions damage the beleaguered property market and the international reputation of Spain.” “The response of the regional government to this planning disaster is more tinkering with the laws, creating, in our view, even more confusion, complexity and traps for an unwary purchaser to fall into.”


OVERSEAS property professionals and investors buying in Bali face more stringent property laws this month. From March 20 agents and developers will be forced to report each transaction of over Rp. 500 million (US$55,500) to the PPTAK.


NEWS IN BRIEF Dubai sales up a fi fth

DUBAI property transactions value increased by 20% during 2011 reaching AED143 billion for the year, leading industry experts to believe the market is fi nally getting back on track. The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) said that sales were boosted by 6,400 new property investors who entered the market. Chief executive offi cer of RERA Marwan bin Ghalaita said: “This is a good sign that investors are coming back.

London buyer tax shock OVERSEAS property owners face losing their local council tax discounts in central London. The city’s Westminster council is getting ready to abolish council tax discounts for people who list expensive fl ats as their second homes, according to local press reports this week. The hammer-blow follows outrage at the news last week that only three apartments in Candy & Candy’s high profi le £1.2 billion One Hyde Park development are being used as full- time homes and paying a normal rate of council tax.

Chinese city subsidy end

A CHINESE city has scrapped its housing policy that would subsidise homebuyers in a move that suggests central government is keen to keep prices in check. The third-tier city Wuhu’s government, in the Anhui province, had released a notice saying homebuyers would receive subsidies for the year if they bought homes that were smaller than 90 square-metres in size. However, a statement has been issued on the Wuhu government’s website saying that the policy will be suspended.


BRAZILIAN overseas property buyers are surging into New York says local agent Marcus Cohen, a broker at agency Prudential Douglas Elliman in the city. Cohen told OPP that “for many, Manhattan is their dream town”.

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