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Why would a bank close a baby's account?

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 19th November 2011 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

Money Box has been contacted by a couple whose account for their 6 month old daughter has been closed just a week after it was set up without any explanation at all.

The case raises some worrying questions about how information regarding alleged fraud is acted on by financial institutions. Bob Howard's been investigating.


Virgin's set to buy Northern Rock

The Government has announced that Northern Rock is being sold to Richard Branson's Virgin Money for £747m. The former building society was bailed out by the taxpayer in 2008 after its near collapse at the onset of the global credit crunch.

Northern Rock plc will be re-branded as Virgin Money and its customers will see no change to their accounts for the time being. In addition to the £747m the Government will get back following the sale, there is potential for the Treasury to receive a further £280m over the next few years from Virgin Money. The latter says it hopes to open more bank branches ''as the business growth allows'.

But will this tiny new player on the High Street offer the competition to challenge the 7000 branches of the big five? The closest bank in size to the new Virgin of the North is the Swedish owned Handelsbanken.

Peter Hahn from the Cass Business School and Andy Copsey, chief operating officer from Handelsbanken join the programme.


Tax Reforms

Online access to tax records, an annual breakdown of what you owe and pre-filled in tax returns. These are just some of the changes to the current tax system that the government is considering. They say they want to simplify the way that income tax operates. But has it turned its back on the greatest simplification of all - merging income tax with national insurance?

We're joined by David Gauke, Conservative MP and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

Pension charges

Pension charges have long been a point of contention for investors. Initial administration fees, annual management charges, switching fees, the list goes on. Though very small percentages, over a 20 year period they can significantly reduce the value of your fund.

Research by Alan Miller, founding partner of wealth management company SCM Private has suggested that the commission costs of simply buying and selling stocks could be costing 4-5% of the total value of the fund each year. A figure he calculates as being more than £3 billion.

So are these management companies as transparent as they should be about their charges? And do they offer value for money?

Paul Lewis is joined by Alan Miller, Founding Partner of wealth management firm SCM Private.

Inflation busting savings accounts

With inflation at 5% are there any savings accounts that really pay? We consider whether inflation linked accounts are always best or whether you might be better off with other high interest accounts. Paul Lewis is joined by David Black, Insight Analyst for Banking at Defaqto...

BBC Radio 4's Money Box is broadcast on Saturday at 1204 GMT and repeated on Sunday at 2102 GMT.

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