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Last Updated: Friday, 20 February, 2004, 15:40 GMT
Standard Life results
Standard Life Chief Executive Sandie Crombie
The insurer has recently begin a strategic business review

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 21 February, 2004, at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 22 February, 2004, at 2102 GMT.

UK mutual insurer Standard Life has announced it is now in a "secure financial position" following the publication of its annual results for the 12 months to November 2003.

The insurer said it now has a realistic surplus of more than 4bn which should "reassure both policyholders and bondholders that we have sufficient capital to support our business".

We spoke to Standard Life Chief Executive Sandie Crombie and IFA Andy Cowan from Charcol, Aitchison and Colegrave.

News and further information:


Debt collection

Have you been chased for money you do not owe?

Many people are being pursued by debt collection agencies for money they do not owe, despite new rules to tighten up the debt industry. Louise Greenwood investigated.

Further information:


Savings accounts

Halifax has announced details of a new savings account which will offer 6% interest to customers.

Halifax Regular Saver will offer new and existing customers the ability to save set amounts on a monthly basis from March 2004.

Find out the best rates
Visit one of the below websites for best buy tables

Meanwhile, internet bank Egg has announced it is offering a new bonus savings rate which has a 0.75% higher rate than existing clients' accounts, for a six month period.

For existing Egg customers to benefit from the bonus rate they have been told they must open a new account.

We spoke to Nick Robinson, Head of Savings at Halifax, and Stuart Glendinning from Moneysupermarket.com.

Further information:


US dollar plunge

With the US dollar hitting new lows we spoke to Peter Chaffe of Thomas Cook Foreign Exchange, about what it means for you.

Further information:


OTHER NEWS

New protection for precipice bondholders

Sellers of 'high income' bonds must fully explain the risks, and give regular updates on how the fund is performing, following new rules laid out by the Financial Services Authority.

A quarter of a million people have bought such bonds in the last five years, and have lost on average 8000 each.

The bonds can offer investors a high rate of income but it has not always been explained that the capital is at risk.


Insurer warns government on pensions

Norwich Union has warned the government that its plans to simplify pension tax law cannot be implemented by April 2005.

The insurer has alerted the government to "significant risks" of an expensive fiasco unless it delays the changes until 2006.


Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Louise Greenwood
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles



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