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ASA probes NatWest advice

The NatWest Moneysense website
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 9 May 2009 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

A formal investigation has been launched into NatWest's MoneySense TV campaign which promotes its free advice service at branches.

The Advertising Standards Authority probe follows the results of a Which? investigation that found the bank's service was sometimes failing on its promise of delivering impartial advice.

NatWest began the MoneySense programme at the end of 2008 with the aim of giving people access to advisers in 1,000 of its branches.

NatWest insists it has done nothing wrong.

Money Box speaks to Which? principal policy adviser Dominic Lindley.

Further information:


Soaring markets

A pen on a newspaper
Could this be a sign of real recovery after months of dramatic swings?

Stock markets are soaring. April saw the FTSE's best month in six years - up 20% from its low at the beginning of March.

That is after months of dramatic swings as markets reacted anxiously to bad economic news.

Now there is even talk of a new "bull market".

Legendary fund manager at Fidelity, Anthony Bolton, turned bullish on equities some months ago, arguing that bank shares, in particular, had fallen too far.

But is this a real recovery in the stock market or a temporary rally?

Independent financial economist Michael Hughes and market commentator at Fidelity Tom Stevenson debate the issue.

And Money Box reporter Bob Howard talks to individual investors at the UK Shareholders' Association annual conference in Bournemouth.

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Tips and the minimum wage

A waitress in a bar
The move will benefit workers in hotels, bars and restaurants

Using tips to "top up" staff pay to meet minimum wage levels will be banned from October, the government has announced.

The move aims to give thousands of workers fair wages and boost consumer confidence in the use of tips.

However, there may be some loopholes in the government's initiative.

Meanwhile, the British Hospitality Association argues that a recession is not the time to increase restaurant costs so significantly.

We hear from pub owner Gerry Price and speak to Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden.

Further information:


Equitable Life

Ann Abraham
Ann Abraham has been critical of the government response

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has criticised the government for sidestepping compensation for some investors in Equitable Life.

Ann Abraham identified maladministration by various government departments in her first report into the near-collapse of the private pension provider.

She called for compensation for more than a million policyholders but the government responded with a plan to help only those hardest hit.

She now wants Parliament to debate the matter following her second, special report into the government's reponse.

We speak to Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves about the latest development.

Further information:


OTHER NEWS: Lehmans investigation

People who lost money after the collapse of the US bank Lehman Brothers have been given new hope.

Further information:


BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 9 May at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 10 May at 2102 BST.



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08 May 09 |  Moneybox


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