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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Travel insurer in liquidation
Myrtos Bay, Kefalonia, Greece
Some people will have to arrange alternative cover immediately

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 30 April, 2005 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 1 May at 2102 BST.

Thousands of people could be without holiday insurance following the enforced liquidation of Whiteley Insurance Consultants by the Financial Services Authority on Thursday.

The regulator is concerned the company has been putting consumers at risk by selling policies that were not underwritten by an authorised insurer.

The firm - which acts as an insurance intermediary - also trades under the names Kingfisher Travel Insurance and Kingfisher Insurance Services.

We asked joint provisional liquidator Dan Schwarzmann, from PricewaterhouseCoopers, who is affected and what they should do.

An emergency helpline has been set up for worried policyholders: 08705 234803

Further information:


Trading endowment policies

Pound coin
A year ago few investors wanted to buy second-hand endowments
If people have an endowment policy they no longer want, one option is to try to sell it because they might get more money than if they surrender it to their insurer.

Companies which trade in these policies, known as market makers, say current demand is high and sellers can achieve on average 15% more than if they were simply to cash policies in.

We spoke to Jo Bridger from market maker Policy Plus about current demand and asked Mark Meldon of independent financial advisers RC Gray & Co what customers should consider when deciding whether to sell.

Further information


Endowment action firms under fire

Prudential headquarters
The Prudential has been one of the biggest sellers of endowments
Prudential has said it will no longer pay endowment compensation to agencies acting on behalf of complainants.

The insurer has spoken of its concern at the size of the commission the agencies are charging, which is typically around 25%.

It said it was worried that some people may not realise they can complain direct and avoid this cost.

In future, compensation will be paid direct to the customer, and paying any agent's commission will be up to them.

We discussed this with Prudential Chief Executive Mark Wood, Paul Coopers of complaint handlers CLAIMS, and Teresa Fritz of Which?

Samantha Washington reports.

Further information:


New rules for unit trusts

Glasses and newspaper
The new rules will not be compulsory until the end of September
Investors in unit trusts will be given more information under new rules imposed by the European Union.

In future the funds will have to show details of the total charges made each year for running the fund as well as 10 years past performance data and some indication of how much money comes in and goes out of the fund.

The new rules, which also apply to Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) will start from 1 May, but they will not be compulsory until the end of September.

The Investment Management Association, which represents fund managers who sell unit trusts and OEICs, largely welcomes the changes. But it does have concerns.

We spoke to IMA Chief Executive Richard Saunders, and also to Justin Modray of BestInvest.

Further information


High Court tax ruling

A High Court ruling in favour of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may mean bigger tax bills for thousands of small, family-run businesses.

Further information:


Producer: Paul O' Keeffe
Presenter: Paul Lewis


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