JAMES CONEY: If we want equality in our pension system, it's time to change how we calculate final salary benefits

ALEX BRUMMER: Too little about unleashing the white heat of technology and innovation has been heard

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Time to tell politicians to smash this cap on amassing wealth 

The Wall Street party isn't over just yet: MAIKE CURRIE gives four reasons why investors should keep the faith with the barnstorming US

SIMON LAMBERT: Don't expect buy-to-let's interstellar gains to be repeated - 1996 was a much better time to invest in property than today

THE MINOR INVESTOR: An honest look at a year's investing - and the mistakes that I made along the way

CHIEF ECONOMIST AT NEPTUNE: Kate Moss has right idea on short-termism

LEE BOYCE: It's all quiet on the savings front - but how else can banks and building societies offer juicy rates with current accounts?

SIMON WATKINS: Talk in market towns and villages of Weald is now of oil, drilling wells and dreaded F-word - fracking

SAM DUNN: No revolution can ever take place without casualties - but early signs for pensions looking good

SIMON LAMBERT: The words that sum up why saving early for a pension is wise - and the politicians hacking at our aspirations

SIMON LAMBERT: Warren Buffett on Tesco, shares being safer than cash and why you should probably invest in a tracker fund

ASK TONY: Help us cancel the phone deals our son forced his gran to take out

TONY HETHERINGTON: £29,950 for 'fishing village' land ... but there's a big catch 

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JAMES CONEY: Let's make tax simple - but to do so we need to tear down the whole system and start again

James Coney - Daily Mail byline  17.06.11. Photo Chris McAndrew / All Moral Rights Asserted 2011. 07740 424 810

What we really need is an all-or-nothing approach to our personal tax system.

HUGO DUNCAN: The tax rises that will follow election day - no matter what the politicians claim now

The Conservatives are desperate not to be seen as the party of the rich, while Labour promises to soak the rich but refuses to say what other taxes it must increase to balance the books.

DAME COLETTE BOWE: Banks face a rocky road ahead as they grapple to rebuild the public's trust

From payment protection insurance to Libor and foreign exchange dealing, the list of transgressions in the banking sector appear never-ending.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Frustration not freedom will rule as many are thwarted from taking pension cash

Easter Monday marks the start of the new tax year and more importantly the introduction of brand new rules governing how we access our pensions.

TONY HETHERINGTON: The divorce order that's not worth the paper it's written on

I was to pay £3k and my wife would take over responsibility for our overdraft. But she has defaulted and debt collectors want me to assume responsibility.

SIMON WATKINS: Inside RBS there is a good bank struggling to get out - so hurry up and sell off our stake

Inside the mess that is RBS there is a very solid bank struggling to get out. That is why the Chancellor is right to say that we should be able to start selling off this state asset sooner rather than later.

ALEX BRUMMER: Prudential boss Tidjane Thiam tackles a fresh peak

Prudential CEO Tidjane Thiam in Kuala Lumpa with Petronis Towers in background
Handout from Prudential

On paper, Thiam's period at the helm looks to be a triumph. Investors can only marvel at a share price that moved from £3 to £16 under his stewardship, but the firm also missed out on a huge merger.

ALEX BRUMMER: Recognising moment when good deflation becomes bad inflation might be more a matter of judgement rather than science

My own prejudice is to act on the side of caution in case a deflationary psychology develops. That means cutting rates to zero, or following the Swiss and Danish and go negative.

ALEX BRUMMER: Osborne has failed to get borrowing down - but Labour is spouting gobbledygook about his record

The opposition Labour party cannot suggest at one and the same time that borrowing is too high and austerity too strong.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: If ScottishPower's boss were a football manager, he would have got the boot long ago - this ban is not enough

At the very least ScottishPower should have been fined to the hilt - and maybe a fine will be levied once Ofgem gets its act together.

SIMON WATKINS: If taxpayers are to believe the system is fair, then the taxman should dispense with carrot and dish out more stick for evaders

There has been much fury vented about why HMRC has not prosecuted more people for tax evasion given the information provided.

JAMES CONEY: Barclays' closure of Premier Life account shows loyalty counts for nothing - so ditch and switch now

Move to Santander or Nationwide, First Direct or Halifax - whichever suits you best. Do it today and by next Friday Barclays' appalling behaviour will just be a distant memory.

TONY HETHERINGTON: 'Free money' led me to bet away £8,500 on 'once in a blue moon' opportunity with Banc de Binary

Close up of businessman with head in hands. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.

After I opened an account with Banc de Binary, an adviser wrongly predicted poor unemployment figures and that the pound would fall. I came under high pressure to bet more using my credit card.

SAM DUNN: Clumsy political point scoring ahead of General Election highlights the need to untangle our messy tax rules

Make no bones about it, it's a sprawling, complex confection in desperate need of simplification. To cover all the rules, it measures 17,000 pages in total.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Help - I paid doorstep salesman £295 to get my council tax bill reduced, but nothing happened

File photo dated 10/01/07 of money as working parents are being hounded by debt collectors and make up more than a fifth of requests for help dealing with bailiffs chasing payments, a charity has claimed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 13, 2013. The Citizens Advice charity said it dealt with 60,000 "bailiff problems" between April last year and March 2013. A third of the requests made by 38,262 people were asking for help with council tax arrears. On Sunday it was revealed that the value of UK workers' wages has suffered one of the sharpest falls in the European Union, when adjusted for inflation. See PA story CONSUMER Debt. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A doorstep salesman offered to apply for a reduction in my home's council tax band. I later phoned the firm and was told it was submitting my claim to a tribunal.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Unprecedented demand for pensioner bonds has caused NS&I;'s administration to creak at the seams

Despite extra staff being drafted in, alarming groans continue to emanate from the good ship NS&I.;

RBS ECONOMIST: Interest rates won't rise until recovery is much stronger

Low inflation, fiscal tightening and political uncertainty will mean no interest rate rises this year. Our forecast is for the first Bank of England rate hike to come in February 2016.

SIMON WATKINS: Takeovers now sweeping mobile phone sector could produce genuine benefits for consumers and investors

People have been left behind in the digital revolution as signals have been lacking. Rectifying this takes huge investment which larger, consolidated groups should find easier to deliver.

ALEX BRUMMER: New Centrica chief executive Iain Conn fires an opening shot with price cuts, but it's nothing to get excited about

A British Gas bill behind a burning hob.
British Gas's residential arm increased profits by 3.2% in the first half of this year.

File photo dated 00/00/00   PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday July 31, 2013. See PA story CITY Centrica. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

British Gas can hardly expect strong applause for a 5 per cent cut in the gas price for 6.8 million domestic consumers. After all, by some measures wholesale gas prices have fallen by 30 per cent.

JAMES CONEY: Switch, switch, switch - I can't say those words often or loudly enough when it comes to savings 

Switch, switch, switch. I can't say those words often or loudly enough. It is the message we have been giving you for years now on savings.

JAMES CONEY: Being stuck with annuities is unfair, but a greater unfairness is being suffered by those who were mis-sold these products

The Pensions Minister would be better off ensuring they get justice, rather than opening a door for pensioners that most would be better off not stepping through.

TONY HETHERINGTON: You have lost £2,500 and it's hard not to be sympathetic - but you have only yourself to blame

42 New Broad Street, London EC2.
HQ of JNF Capital.
----------------------------------------
©George Jaworskyj 2015
www.urbanimages.co.uk

Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday's ace investigator, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket.

LEGAL & GENERAL BOSS: We do not need a mansion tax - we need to build more homes

New houses under construction in Caldecote, Cambridgeshire. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), led by John Prescott, is among Government departments criticised today for failing to consider water shortage warnings when planning thousands of new homes in the countryside. A powerful all-party House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said the Government had "failed to consider the water management implications of their house building plans at an early enough stage." 
Library filer dated 15/10/2004.
PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday June 6, 2006. 
See PA story POLITICS Water. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA.

A successful housing market needs people to move. The mansion tax threat is already slowing top-end sales - with repercussions down the chain.

ALEX BRUMMER: Beware of the knock-on effects as the rouble goes into freefall

The bigger danger in the case of Russia is that it leads to some act of military bravado by Putin as displacement activity.

ALEX BRUMMER: The missing link in courier's failure - and why clothing chain Next is storming ahead of rivals

A major delivery company with a large workforce of several thousand people calls in administrators over the Christmas period.

SIMON LAMBERT: If the supermarkets don't want their land then let's build houses on it - but make sure people can afford them

Britain made a terrible planning mistake over recent decades that we now have an opportunity to at least start putting right.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: My three dead cert predictions for the year 2015 - and yes, one involves improved customer service at ScottishPower

There are three predictions I am prepared to make this year, confident that they will come true in 2015. Dead certs I call them.

ASK TONY: Barclays wants to hike the interest rate on my mortgage for ten buy-to-let properties to 7.55%

image002.jpg

At a meeting I was told the loan was for five years and was overdue - and Barclays did not intend to extend it. I am ill and since then it has tried to raise the rate to 7.55%

TONY HETHERINGTON: Financial advisers won't pay my £4,517 in compensation

Premises of Phillip Laurence Estate Agents, 107 Lansbury Drive, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 8RP
----------------------------------------
©George Jaworskyj 2008
www.urbanimages.co.uk

My endowment policy was underperforming, but the advisers failed to reply to my letters. I was awarded mis-selling compensation of £4,517 plus interest but have never received the money,

SIMON WATKINS: Prepare for revolution in the aisles as Tesco scraps supplier fees

Senior executive Dave Lewis who, it is reported 21 July 2014 is to replace Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke who is leaving Britain's biggest retailer. Lewis will become the first outsider to run Tesco and will be tasked with turning around the ailing retailer.Tesco issued a major profits warning alongside news of Clarke's exit.  EPA/HO  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

epa04324953

Drastic Dave, as Tesco's new chief executive Dave Lewis is known, could be about to shake up the sector more significantly than anyone could have guessed

ALEX BRUMMER: Tesco's boss Dave Lewis unwraps more nasties

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer.
byline

Cultural change in large organisations does not come easy, as Antony Jenkins at Barclays has found.

ASK TONY: Prudential say they paid me too much pension income - do I have to pay it back?

I took early retirement from Prudential 15 years ago. I recently learned that elements of my pension had been incorrect for seven years and they have had the nerve to claw back £321.14 of overpayments.

ALEX BRUMMER: Banks give Chancellor a budget lifeline just in time for the Autumn Statement

The Chancellor can be thankful that at least the financial sector is still paying its way, even if Starbucks, Google, Amazon et al are not.

ASK TONY: My sick brother signed up for expensive TV and broadband under the influence of medication - now Virgin Media won't let us cancel

My brother has been appealing to Virgin to reconsider his agreement for a very comprehensive Virgin package, including high-speed broadband, phone and TV, without success.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Cyprus-based Banc de Binary charged £750 to withdraw £2,500

I opened an account with £2,500 and got a bonus of £2,500. I traded and my balance rose to £5,080. But my husband lost his job and we needed our deposit back. I had to sign a waiver and lost the £750.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: If Harriet Green was a man, would she still be boss of tour operator Thomas Cook?

The official line on her departure is that her expertise is in picking up companies from the floor, and that having brought Thomas Cook back from the brink, both sides are ready to move on.

ASK TONY: Please stop NatWest asking about my son who died 11 years ago

I need to inform them each time I will be using my card outside the UK. But they keep asking a security question involving my son. I've asked them to remove this question, as I find it distressing, but they won't.

ALEX BRUMMER: Rise of no-frills airlines offers some fascinating lessons for Britain's fast-changing grocery market

What is patently clear is that the quoted grocery chains need to respond fast to the no-frills challengers if they don't want to become commercial dinosaurs.

JAMES CONEY: The pensions revolution was supposed to put an end to scandals but all the mistakes of the past are being repeated

The main reason Money Mail has been a supporter of George Osborne's pensions revolution was because of the message it sent - that you should be able to spend that cash as you want

The chart that shows UK shares are near the cheapest they've been in 40 years - but could the Footsie still slide to 5,000?

UK shares are cheap but also carry a sizeable risk of falling much further. Simon Lambert takes a look at the investor's dilemma.

SIMON WATKINS: Why breaking up is hard to do... dismembering banking giants would not solve our problems

The confirmation last week that the Competition and Markets Authority is to launch an investigation into banking has been widely welcomed - except by most of the banks.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Santander won't pay £5,300 PPI refund without my ex-husband's agreement - even though he left us and our divorce says it's mine

Santander insisted I get my ex-husband's agreement before it will pay the £5,300, or it will only pay me half - I've now turned to the FOS but it is being no help.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Just when you need some straight shooting here comes banking that's straight out of the Wild West

A graduate advised Nationwide that he was off on a trip across America using his debit card, but it wrote to him at home to say his overdraft was being reduced AFTER he'd left for the States.

MARK SLATER: Six undervalued shares with the potential to become takeover targets

It is always best to be positioned in a stock before it becomes the subject of takeover rumours, says leading fund manager Mark Slater. He reveals six shares he likes and explains why.

ASK TONY: My brother had to go into a home and his final energy bill showed £237 credit - but nPower just won't send a cheque!

image002.jpg

I completed the sale of my brother's property and supplied nPower with final meter readings. After four months nPower said he was £236.99 in credit. Several months later I am still waiting for a cheque.

SIMON WATKINS: Standing up for banker bonuses is risky thing to do - but I am going to take my life in my hands and do so

Bonuses are the correct model for paying bankers and the European authorities are entirely misguided in trying to force a bonus cap.

TONY HETHERINGTON: We wanted to invest £39k in a property in Brazil, but were asked to lend it in Spain instead - now we can't get it back

My wife and I intended to invest 50,000 in property in Brazil through Ready2Invest and were instead asked to lend to Spain. We have not seen a penny back.

SIMON LAMBERT: Banks must do more to stop the phone fraudsters coming after your life savings

SIMON LAMBERT: This is Money has stepped up its campaign to stop bank phone call fraudsters

Today This is Money is stepping up our campaign and calling on banks and building societies to do more about the rising tide of vishing by bank phone call fraudsters.

'Can this £147 DVD offer really earn me £25k a month for a few hours' work? And if it doesn't can I get a refund?' TONY HETHERINGTON on Streetwise Publications ...

Tony Hetherington

I received a mailshot from Streetwise Publications, offering a DVD for £147, which they claim can earn me up to £25,000 a month for a few hours' work each day.

ASK TONY: We were promised £40 for being bumped out of our hotel - but Thomson won't pay up

Overbooked: Thomas Cook took months to compensate our readers

Our hotel was overbooked and we were told we would receive £40 compensation per adult, which would be paid on our return. But I still do not have the money.

JAMES CONEY: You don't become immune to con men just because you open a small business - Ofgem is dragging its feet again

James Coney

There are about 2,000 energy brokers in the UK - and though many are part of a trade association that has a voluntary code, many are unaccountable.

SIMON LAMBERT: The long-life mortgage game keeps high property prices afloat - but remember the house always wins

This is Money editor Simon Lambert

Getting your mortgage cleared as early as possible used to be a prized ambition, but that mood seems to be going the way of the Ford Escort and tape machine.

JAMES CONEY: Make insurers pay for their mistakes that give savers a false impression of their retirement income

James Coney

As our story proves, these kinds of admin problems can seriously jeopardise the rigorous plans of diligent savers.

TONY HETHERINGTON: 'Mint' left our coin gift short after it sold us LIV and ERP but not the OOL

The LIV coin as bought by a reader who ended up short

We wanted coins that should spell Liverpool, but while the first two arrived and we paid for them, the third coin never did.

SIMON LAMBERT: Building your own home can beat high house prices, so let's make it easier to find somewhere to do it

Grand Designs: Kevin McCloud's Channel 4 property show has put building your own home on the minds of many more people, but finding somewhere to do so is a problem.

'Buy land, they're not making it anymore.' The only problem is that if you're looking to buy any of it to build your own home on then you'll find it heavy going.

SALLY HAMILTON: These days the old Sell in May, return on St Leger Day adage for investing is a non-starter

Sally Hamilton

Sell in May and go away, come back on St Leger's Day. This popular methodology for investing in the stock market served investors well for many years.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Like fine wine, good customer service should be savoured - so here's some praise for a star

jeff prestridge

Today, I would like to pat on the back Barclays staff - and in particular the friendly Paul Collins - at its all mod-cons branch on Kensington High Street.

ASK TONY: I got a £2,106 tax bill when really I was owed £3,349!

Tax demands: If an error is not picked up, it can grow into a bewildering and devastating problem

HMRC and my pension provider are making my tax affairs impossible to understand. I'm a 77-year-old widow and my family are too far away to help.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: How to survive the bonfire of the Barclays cash Isas - flee to providers with better rates

jeff prestridge

From Bonfire Night (how appropriate) 1.6million of its customers will see the interest they receive from their cash Isa reduced as the bank consolidates its products.

JON REES: Oil price resilient in face of Middle East turmoil

Jon Rees

Time was that any sign of a crisis in the Middle East and the price of oil went through the roof - and with it the chances of future prosperity. Not any more.

ASK TONY: 'I've put £24,000 into a life insurance policy since 1999 but I've just been told it is worth around £20,000'

Life insurance: The reader paid in £24,000, but now the policy is only worth around £20,000

I took out a life insurance policy with Scottish Amicable in 1999 and I have paid in more than £24,000. When I asked about cashing it in, I was told it was only worth around £20,000.

ED MONK: Grown up customer service still tops current account bells and whistles - and why Sky really is the limit

Different animal: First Direct has made its reputation on customer service.

Recent experience reminded me the theoretical gains from bank's premium account offer do not always outweigh the less flashy selling points, like customer service.

SIMON LAMBERT: House prices are already too expensive, so will we see another 1980s or 2000s-style boom?

spt_house-price-to-earnings.jpg

Many readers may ask 'Boom, what boom?' but the property market is now picking up across the UK. The big question remains how far will house prices keep rising from here?

ASK TONY: My insurance with Sainsbury's bank went up 70% for a crash that wasn't my fault

Increased premiums: Sainsbury's Bank raised my premium from £38.48 to £85.03 a month. It said the increase was due to the accident.

I was involved in a car accident on January 7, 2013. A witness confirmed that the other car cut straight across a mini-roundabout instead of going round it.

ALEX BRUMMER: RBS spins the revolving door... Hampton's departure to set off interesting chain of events

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer

Sir Philip Hampton will shortly be joining the board of GlaxoSmithKline where he becomes the lead contender to succeed Sir Christopher Gent as chairman.

HUGO DUNCAN: The 'normalisation' of interest rates may not turn out to be as smooth as the Bank hopes

Hugo Duncan, Economics reporter for the Dailymail.

The big worry is the housing market and the level of household debt.

ALEX BRUMMER: Will Osborne be able to regenerate the industrial heartlands or is he just electioneering?

Problems: Whitehall¿s solution to the North in the past has been to parcel out routine civil service jobs

Whitehall's solution to the North in the past has been to parcel out routine civil service jobs, such as HMRC to Bootle, and think job done.

ALEX BRUMMER: HSBC boss Douglas Flint and other bankers need to learn the value of tough regulators keeping an eye on their affairs

Problems: It is in the nature of banking that some degree of risk is involved in lending

Six years on from the financial crisis, public anger at the behaviour of the bankers, and the crushing effect it has had on the living standards has yet to dissipate.

TONY HETHERINGTON: The timeshare contract that even death will not save you from

Costly beauty: Timeshare fees at Elmers Court are 'in perpetuity'

I own a timeshare run by Macdonald Resorts. My husband has died and I can no longer afford the fees. I am very that the debt will pass to my children.

ALEX BRUMMER: Is Mark Carney trying to nudge nation into behaving more cautiously?

Alex Brummer

In his Mansion House speech Mark Carney's assertion that interest rates might need to rise soon almost looked like a throwaway line.

SIMON LAMBERT: You probably haven't got £15k to spare and rates are still awful - but you should use New Isa tricks to boost returns

Simon Lambert

Even if you come nowhere near to being able to save or invest £15,000, this is a golden opportunity to stop the taxman taking another bite out of your money.

JAMES CONEY: Banks' savings tricks mean it may pay to throw the Isa rulebook out of the window

James Coney

I suspect we are going to get a fair bit of stick from some banks for advising readers to cash in their Isas to get the best rate. But to us, the logic of it stacks up.

BUSINESS TIPS: I made it through the recession and now I'm adapting - How to steer your business through boom and bust

Boom and bust: How to navigate your way through the harder times

There are very few businesses that escaped the credit crunch and subsequent recession totally unaffected - it was felt by companies of all sizes and from all sectors.

HAROLD TILLMAN: Britain needs to encourage business with our own version of the US Chapter 11 breathing space

Failure: Britain should adopt a version of the US Chapter 11 process, that gives firms a breathing space to reorganise themselves

Britain should adopt a version of the US Chapter 11 process, that gives firms a breathing space to reorganise themselves.

ALEX BRUMMER: Super Mario Draghi cannot fix all Europe's woes and we must be careful of issues lurking in EU banks

Alex Brummer: Markets are convinced  that the problems of euroland have broadly gone away on his promises

Markets have convinced themselves that the problems of euroland broadly have gone away with the promises by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.

ASK TONY: I was mis-sold, so why has HSBC cut my compensation?

Ask Tony cartoon

I believed my CardGuard policy had been mis-sold and was told that my claim would be split into two parts: pre and post-2005. But the pre-2005 claim was rejected!

ED MONK: Mark Carney is sharpening his tools to halt house prices - but it doesn't mean he'll use them

Tools for the job: Bank Governor Mark Carney has warned he can act to cool house prices - but it doesn't mean he will.

The Governor of the Bank of England has been rattling his toolkit loudly this week. But I wouldn't bet on any of them making it out of the box.

TONY HETHERINGTON: I had heart attack when high-risk bet went wrong

Control: Banc de Binary chief
Oren Laurent operates in Cyprus

I wanted to supplement our pension. I found the Banc de Binary and invested in binary options but we lost heavily and the company took more money than agreed.

JAMES CONEY: Brace for Isa chaos as switching process has makings of utter disaster

James Coney

With transfers of cash Isas from one provider to another, the rules are, at least, fairly rigid. With the new shares-to-cash transfers, it is all a little more opaque.

ASK TONY: Orange sold me a phone that didn't work - then sent in debt collectors

Nightmare: Money Mail reader had a terrible time trying to get through to Orange

I closed my account with Orange after a new phone they sent me didn't work. Then I received a letter from debt collectors demanding I pay £42.13, but I never accessed the line.

ALEX BRUMMER: Mark Carney reveals the long-debated interest rate rise 'could come sooner than markets currently expect'

Alex Brummer: The Mansion House speeches, have been occasions for great monetary expositions

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney did not disappoint. He pronounced that an interest rate rise 'could come sooner than markets currently expect.'

LEE BOYCE: Premium Bonds adds an extra £1m prize, but wouldn't four new mini-jackpots have been better?

Prize payout: An added £1m jackpot comes into play from August - but it be better to be split into four mini-jackpots?

NS&I; will rewind the clock in August when it introduces a second £1m jackpot alongside another it already has. It will mean two guaranteed millionaires each month.

THE MINOR INVESTOR: Is a fund manager worth paying for?

One step beyond: If your fund manager doesn't stand out from the crowd, then they probably aren't worth paying high fees for.

Invest in trackers and you remove the risk that you pick a dud fund manager who charges you for the pleasure. Yet I still hold tight to the belief that a good one is worth paying.

SIMON WATKINS: Pressure on companies to accept later and later payment or cut prices is potentially disastrous for industry

Simon Watkins

Claims that global giant Mars is putting the squeeze on British suppliers are just the latest in a litany of cases where larger groups are abusing their muscle.

JAMES CONEY: If you buy a newly built home you would reasonably expect it to be in pristine condition

James Coney

There is a house-building boom in Britain just now. Yet if so many homes are going to be built, we need to ensure that they are of reasonable quality.

LEE BOYCE: Why does it cost the same for Virgin to fly me to New York as it does for it to take me to Preston on one of its trains?

Plane vs train: We now live in an age where a return to Preston is nearly the same price as crossing the Atlantic

It takes just over two hours to get to Preston on Virgin Trains. The price? £332. Last month, I almost booked a return on Virgin Atlantic to New York. The price? £350.

ALEX BRUMMER: You have to work hard to find much optimism in Marks & Spencer results

Alex Brummer

As much as one respects Marc Bolland's turnaround efforts, as a long-standing, supportive shareholder, I can only imagine that he is in the last chance saloon.

ASK TONY: We retired to Italy in 2009 - why did Barclays demand we cut up our overseas credit card?

Barclaycard: We have been using this card for five years without a problem

We retired to Italy in 2009. Two days ago, we received a letter from Barclaycard saying that as the address on our account is in Italy, they plan to close it!

ALEX BRUMMER: Lord Harris shows why we should roll out the rug for bosses who're in the habit of giving

Alex Brummer

Lord Harris of Peckham, who's spent 57-years at the top of the floor-coverings business, is finally picking up his carpet stretchers and heading for the exit.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: A bung of £1,000 isn't enough to bank at the Co-operative - Metro is leading the way on customer service

jeff prestridge

Given a choice between a Co-op Bank account and one with Metro, I'd choose the latter every time - even if the Co-op increased its 'bung' for joining from £100 to £1,000.

SIMON LAMBERT: Why would you pay a High Street estate agent so much money to sell your home?

Simon Lambert, Editor, This is Money

Considering how easy it now is to be a DIY seller, it's astonishing we still pay estate agents thousands in fees - so does that mean we actually think they are worth it?

ADAM UREN: Thought the 'pasty tax' was bad? Well, the Isle of Man gives you...the Toilet Tax!

Caught short: The Isle of Man is implementing a £50 tax on each property to pay for sewerage, rising to £100 next year.

Residents in the Isle of Man now have to pay a £50 sewerage tax, rising to £100 next year. This is Money has taken a look at other deeply unpopular taxes.

TONY HETHERINGTON: 'Debt collector' exposed as fake in timeshare row

La Quinta Club in Spain

Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday's ace investigator, fighting readers corners, and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Current account switchers should not fall for the Co-op Bank's £100 bribe

jeff prestridge

Despite its parlous financial state the bank continues to offer a 'bribe' of £100 to anyone thinking of jettisoning their existing bank in favour of the Co-op.

TERRY SCUOLER: Independence would be a disaster for Scotland, economically and politically

Vote no: I believe Scottish independence would be damaging to our country

I know the implications of a yes vote would be deeply damaging for the Scottish economy, and thereby the living standards of ordinary Scots, for decades to come. We must preserve the union.

ASK TONY: BA left us stranded for 24 hours - and gave us just £30 compensation

My flight from Phoenix to London was cancelled as a part had to be flown in from LA. We eventually flew out 24 hours later, but all I've been offered is £30 of High Life shop vouchers.

ALEX BRUMMER: We must let the Conservatives finish repairing the economy - but they need to give capitalism a better name

The Tory-led coalition has delivered on growth and jobs and pressed on with the work of reforming the financial system and the City. It would be bonkers to change direction at present.

LEE BOYCE: My resolution to watch local sports teams for £10 has rekindled my love for live football and rugby

The adage of you get what you pay for can definitely be used when it comes to the quality of players at smaller sports teams, but not when it comes to friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

SALLY HAMILTON: They've even got peer-to-peer loans in Ambridge on radio soap The Archers!

The fact P2P - where ordinary folk lend direct to other individuals or businesses - is worthy of a mention in the script surely means this newest form of lending has reached the mainstream.

JAMES CONEY: Pension savers find freedoms are barred by unnecessary barriers and poor communication

It really comes as no surprise that some firms are failing to explain the options to retirees. You might even think it was a attempt to get us to hand over more money than we need to.

THE MINOR INVESTOR: Prince was right about the party ending after 1999 - but there is a reason UK shares look good value now

A line in Prince's famous 1999 chorus said: 'Two thousand zero zero, party over, oops out of time.' For UK shares that was true, but now some measures indicate decent prospects.

SIMON WATKINS: Talk in market towns and villages of Weald is now of oil, drilling wells and dreaded F-word - fracking

My home is on the eastern edge of the area identified as a possible oil bonanza, but I am prepared for that to change. I am still relaxed.

SIMON WATKINS: Financial markets are under-pricing political risk as election campaign gets underway

Some economists have been warning that the uncertainty of a hung parliament with a minority government of whatever persuasion will cause markets to gyrate.

ASK TONY: Currys told me to fix my faulty new fridge-freezer with a hairdryer

I had trouble with the thermostat but the engineer was full of bluster and suggested it was because my kitchen was too cool and advised me to blow warm air into it.

SIMON WATKINS: Woodford's calculations that turn a surplus into a deficit, show the risks in a sunny forecast

Journalist Simon Watkins

Forecasting the risks and opportunities of the online revolution may be even harder than predicting the national debt.

ALEX BRUMMER: Don't delay on cutting interest rates - it's time the UK considered going to 0% or negative

My own prejudice is to act on the side of caution in case a deflationary psychology develops. That means cutting rates to zero, or following the Swiss and Danish and go negative.

TONY HETHERINGTON: I paid for a six-week volunteering adventure in China but now I feel cheated

Last May, I paid £695 to Frontier for a six-week volunteer placement at a summer camp in Beijing in China. But I ended up in a small town. I feel I have been mis-sold from the start.

SIMON WATKINS: Inside RBS there is a good bank struggling to get out - so hurry up and sell off our stake

Inside the mess that is RBS there is a very solid bank struggling to get out. That is why the Chancellor is right to say that we should be able to start selling off this state asset sooner rather than later.

FORUM OF PRIVATE BUSINESS BOSS: Save suppliers from the bullies in big business

Some of our largest and well known UK companies are operating tactics which damage the very supply chains that do so much to support them.

Volatility is back but that could be an opportunity. MAIKE CURRIE'S five ideas to shock-proof your investments

CFC4E8 Storm on Tofino Beach, Canada with lighthouse in silhouette and lone individual on rock in background.

If the market's ups and downs are making you a little bit more uneasy than usual, there are ways to ride out the storm - and maybe even profit, says Fidelity's Maike Currie.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Homeowners and buyers have never had it so good... fix your mortgage rate right now, preferably for five years

Despite the best efforts of the City's regulator to squeeze the pips out of the mortgage market with draconian lending rules, most homeowners or aspiring buyers have never had it so good.

ALEX BRUMMER: Flawed choice to choose Sir Howard Davies as next chairman of RBS

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer.
byline

It shows a bankruptcy of imagination in the City and Whitehall, and a forgiveness of past mistakes of biblical proportions.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Homeowners and buyers have never had it so good... fix your mortgage rate right now, preferably for five years

Despite the best efforts of the City's regulator to squeeze the pips out of the mortgage market with draconian lending rules, most homeowners or aspiring buyers have never had it so good.

SIMON WATKINS: Eurozone once again brings Greece back from the brink...but for how long?

In the stand-off between Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, both blinked. But Greece gave more ground.

ASK TONY: Air France lost our suitcase and we are still out of pocket for emergency clothing 

The suitcase is still missing and we are out of pocket for emergency clothing. On top of this, we have lost everything in the suitcase.

SIMON WATKINS: Pressure on Ed Miliband to convince business he will not take us back to confrontation that existed in 1970s

Sir Martin Sorrell is right that Miliband is trying to tap into a public mood that has become distrustful of business after a banking crisis, rising energy bills and a raft of other scandals.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Investment trusts have generated wealth for us for nearly 200 years - long may they continue

jeff prestridge

Despite the occasional unpleasant hiccup, most notably the awful split capital misselling scandal of the late 1990s, investment trusts have served investors extremely well.

SIMON WATKINS: Pressure on Ed Miliband to convince business he will not take us back to confrontation that existed in 1970s

Sir Martin Sorrell is right that Miliband is trying to tap into a public mood that has become distrustful of business after a banking crisis, rising energy bills and a raft of other scandals.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Unprecedented demand for pensioner bonds has caused NS&I;'s administration to creak at the seams

Despite extra staff being drafted in, alarming groans continue to emanate from the good ship NS&I.;

JAMES CONEY: The taxman is getting it wrong despite new computer systems - if it wants us to be accountable, it must be too

James Coney - Daily Mail byline  17.06.11. Photo Chris McAndrew / All Moral Rights Asserted 2011. 07740 424 810

If it wants us to be accountable, it must be prepared to take responsibility, too. But, really, what we need is a rethink of the whole bungling tax system.

ALEX BRUMMER: Is invincible image of Reckitt Benckiser losing its shine following series of regulatory run-ins?

Good performance has, over time, made Reckitt Benckiser one of Britain's untouchable global companies.

SIMON LAMBERT: Is the falling oil price good or bad news? The danger for investors that lies in cheap oil

There is another side to this story that it pays to be aware of - the danger that lies in the oil price slump for over-priced junk bonds.

TONY HETHERINGTON: I transferred my pension savings of £158,000 into carbon credits, which have gone up in smoke. Have I lost my pension?

I was persuaded to transfer my pension savings into carbon credits. Now the company has gone into liquidation - have I lost all my money?

ASK TONY: AA bent my car door getting my keys out - but won't pay to fix the damage

ASK TONY (28-01-15 final AW.jpg

The AA helped me get back into my car but the door wouldn't shut properly and now they won't pay the repair bill

JAMES CONEY: Scottish Power's spiral of failure - and how you forced it to confront its customer service problem

Our Wooden Spoon award winners have largely had the same thing in common. Service levels have plummeted either after trying to recruit customers too quickly, or a computer meltdown.

ASK TONY: I paid a tip for a meal twice, now I want my money back

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For eight of us, we paid more than £300 for a meal that cost almost a quarter less and feel cheated. Can I get this back?

ALEX BRUMMER: Losing some Magic & Sparkle at M&S; as hopes for online shopping in 2014 may have failed to materialise

A long succession of quarters in which sales have fallen will not make life easy for M&S; chief executive Marc Bolland.

Metro Bank lost our cash Isas, took eight months to get our statements right and now it's ignoring us...

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My wife and I are having problems with Metro Bank regarding one-year cash Isa bonds.

ASK TONY: My wife and I own a buy-to-let we want to gift to our daughter, but can't afford to pay the capital gains tax - how can we do it?

My wife and I own a rental ­property which we would like to gift to our eldest daughter. However, we don't have the ready cash to pay the capital gains tax.

SALLY HAMILTON: Whether you plan to spend retirement canoeing rapids or growing roses, it's crucial to save

Skipton BS is trying to get savers more engaged in retirement planning - not only so they do not end up in financial need but so they can actually achieve their retirement aspirations.

SAM DUNN: 2014 has been a year of revolution with an extraordinary upheaval in the way millions of Britons manage their money

Over the past year there has been an extraordinary upheaval in the way millions of ­Britons manage their money.

MONDAY VIEW by REV. GEORGE PITCHER: Leaders have to shine a light on the shady side of business 

george pitcher.jpg

All too often, I fear, chief executives are keen only to shine the light on the good parts of their business, which are well enough lit to the public by advertising and PR in the first place.

JAMES CONEY: It's a miracle - after a few bumps along the way, all of my investment funds are up this year

It's a considerable improvement on this time last year, and just goes to highlight what a successful time this has been for most mainstream investments.

STEPHANIE FLANDERS: The interest rate and inflation bombshells in Osborne's plans ahead of next year's election

George Osborne didn't have much spare cash to give away in his Autumn Statement. But the forecasts that went with his speech gave away plenty about the future shape of the recovery.

SIMON WATKINS: Oil industry must be safeguarded as drop in the price of oil triggers firms to freeze pay, shelve investment plans and cut jobs

The recent drop in the price of oil - and therefore petrol - will make for a slightly happier Christmas for most of us, but it is casting a dark shadow over the North Sea oil industry.

SIMON WATKINS: Corporation tax is not fit for purpose - it will raise just £40bn this year, less than 10% of total tax revenues

Simon Watkins in Nariman Point, Mumbai, India
Pix George Jaworskyj

Corporation tax is not fit for purpose. It is time for a serious debate on whether it should be abolished altogether. The case against the tax is simple. It is difficult to collect and easy to avoid.

SIMON LAMBERT: Savers are being told rates must be cut, but the savings market squeeze has turned into a nice little earner

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Next time you read an excuse about the difficult low interest rate environment consider this, Britain's banks and building societies are doing quite nicely.

JAMES CONEY: The three obvious tax grabs you could face after the General Election

National Insurance, tax relief on pension contributions for higher-rate taxpayers and VAT are three obvious taxes that could be targeted after the General elections.

TONY HETHERINGTON: 'Diamonds with an 8% return' are not your best friend - so be wary of Russell Knight Asset Management

Diamond.

A brochure I received said the market in diamonds is worth considering. An 8 per cent annual return could be expected and this is underwritten. The letter's aim is to forewarn any potential investors.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Debt management plan left me £500 in arrears as my repayments were swallowed up in fees

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I signed up to a debt evaluation plan and paid £178 a month but was horrified to find I was £500 in arrears when I thought GRF Debt had been passing on my payments to lower my debt.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Eureka! I'm no Alan Turing but I think I have solved the home loan crisis with MMR=M³

MMR=M³. For non-mortgage geeks, this is not an equation I have stolen from one of my son's engineering textbooks that he scatters around the house like confetti at a wedding.

ALEX BRUMMER: Energy moves to centre stage as George Osborne prepares Autumn statement

Oil price decline provides a key backcloth to the budget. It will keep downward pressure on inflation, and offers the prospect that the decline in real earnings could start to be reversed.

SIMON WATKINS: Cognac and all, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker must go

If Juncker was a British politician, his position would be untenable. Eurosceptics will agree, but so should those who believe the EU can still be a force for good, if only it can show some integrity.

ALEX BRUMMER: You don't have to be on left to regard BG pay affair as bonkers

Helge Lund's potential pay package of £25m will be ten times that earned at Statoil for running a firm with one-fifth of its revenues. This is the economics of the madhouse.

PETER CAMPBELL: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney vows to halt future bailouts for failing banks

City Focus Graphic (Read-Only).jpg

Carney is proposing new rules that will enable banks to cope with an economic meltdown without having to go cap in hand to the Government.

SIMON WATKINS: Why breaking up is hard to do... dismembering banking giants would not solve our problems

The confirmation last week that the Competition and Markets Authority is to launch an investigation into banking has been widely welcomed - except by most of the banks.

ALEX BRUMMER: The Competition & Markets Authority has launched a fitting probe for the banks

Much of the competition in the current account market is designed to blind consumers with short-term offers that fall away in the blink of an eye.

THE MINOR INVESTOR: Is it time to buy on the stock market dips or run for the hills?

If you heed the investing wisdom that the best time to buy is when shares are unpopular, then it may be time to shop in the stock market sale. Is that a wise move right now though?

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Millions of pounds worth of refunds due to Tesco Bank customers who were not sent statements on time

Tesco Bank customers are beginning to get compensation for the bank's failure to send out personal loan and credit card statements on time.

ALEX BRUMMER: Resits for eurozone lenders as fears over banking system's safety persist ahead of stress test results

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer.
byline

Until the banking system is repaired the eurozone will be forced to fight the twin enemies of stagnation and deflation.

ASK TONY: Insurer Aviva has taken six months to repair my scooter and now I got to pay for the courtesy car hire

Aviva lost the photos I sent after thieves smashed up my new scooter. I then had to pay £121 after my courtesy car hire was terminated.

SIMON LAMBERT: Is it time for a northern supercity? Why ManSheffLeedsPool could be the answer to our skewed economy

FOOTBALL. Manchester United v Swansea (1-2)
Wayne Rooney scores

A fighting force combining the might of our northern powerhouses has emerged as part of the solution to Britain's dangerously Londoncentric economy.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Someone stole my cheque for £938 - why won't the police or watchdog investigate?

I sold my Standard Life shares via a link on it's website that took me to Capita, which sent a cheque for £938, which was paid into Lloyds Bank. The problem is that I never received the cheque.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Widow asked to hand over £15,000 because of a mistake made by the bungling and insensitive Financial Assistance Scheme

This publicly funded body has asked Marlene Cheshire to pay back £15,635.68 it has overpaid her as a result of its own administrative incompetence (she is blameless).

HUGO DUNCAN: The only ways to fix Europe are fiscal union or a eurozone break-up - but leaders won't consider either

The European Union suffers from a crisis, visualised by the European flag struck by lightning during a storm.
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While Britain and the US are, in the IMF's words, 'approaching economic lift-off', the eurozone is back in intensive care. The frustration is palpable. But so too is the fear.

ALEX BRUMMER: Now Tesco alienates world's greatest investor Warren Buffet

Alex Brummer

The Sage of Omaha originally spent just over £1billion on the shares, which was the only one of his 15 biggest holdings to show a loss in 2013.

TONY HETHERINGTON: We wanted to invest £39k in a property in Brazil, but were asked to lend it in Spain instead - now we can't get it back

My wife and I intended to invest 50,000 in property in Brazil through Ready2Invest and were instead asked to lend to Spain. We have not seen a penny back.

ALEX BRUMMER: Don't divert resources away from the SFO - let it complete the job

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer.
byline

The SFO finally is using existing law such as conspiracy to defraud, as well as new bribery and banking legislation, to make some inroads with financial and business wrong-doing.

ALEX BRUMMER: Unlocking a Chinese puzzle as investors gear up for Alibaba flotation

Alex Brummer

New York investors cannot wait for Alibaba's initial public offering, and the issue is well oversubscribed and priced at the top of its range.

THE MINOR INVESTOR: Are shares too expensive to invest? Not in Britain it seems

The price is right: This map highlights where the world's major stock markets are expensive and cheap, it was compiled by Cordant Wealth Partners. The darker the green, the cheaper the country - the darker the red, the more expensive.

Investors are wondering whether a potential Scottish Yes vote to split from Britain could derail them, but some are pointing to UK shares as decent value.

ALEXANDER JUSTHAM: How the LSE went from the 17th century coffee house to an international exchange group

With the Stock Market Show approaching, Alexander Justham, chief executive of the LSE explains how the exchange has evolved since its opening 300 years ago.

STEPHANIE FLANDERS: The eurozone needs to be able to survive without relying on ECB stabilisers

Stephanie Flanders

Now the expectations around the ECB are high, and so are the risks of disappointment.

JAMES CONEY: End the Isa fees farce and offer savers a better rate on their cash

James Coney

Many people should be investing - but fear, lack of knowledge and in some cases, let's face it, laziness, has stopped them from doing so.

SIMON WATKINS: Tesco and our retail giants need to realise size isn't everything - and being a smaller but better business can pay off

Simon Watkins

Tesco needs to find a place for itself in this new world because trusting that the old days will come back is hopeless.

JON REES: We thought we'd struggled through a humdinger of a recession, but apparently we were wrong

Jon Rees

The fact that the recession was a fraction less bad will make little practical difference to our view of the past six years.

THE MINOR INVESTOR: Five of the best investing books

Five of the best: There's a wealth of great investing books out there - I've picked five that are entertaining reads

The great investing books are a way to learn how to spot good (and bad) investments and understand your place in the herd. Simon Lambert picks five.

RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: I admit it - I paid £8 to jump the queue for tickets to see Cumberbatch as Hamlet - but it only goes to show why ticketing sites are madness

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Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: 07/12/2013 - Picture Shows: Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) - 
(C) Hartswood Films - Photographer: Robert Viglasky

I was 6,000th in the queue until people started saying on Twitter there was a way to book tickets in minutes. All I had to do was cough up a £4 per ticket 'admin fee'.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Rising cost of airport delays needs to be tackled

Ruth Sunderland

Air links are vital, yet there has been no significant new capacity in the South of England for 50 years.

ASK TONY: I cancelled my iPhone contract with Orange more than a year ago, so why has it charged me more than £600?

Phone troubles: Orange failed to cancel both the iPhone and iPad contract

Unbeknown to me, Orange had only cancelled my iPad contract and not my iPhone. However, I had originally asked for my contract to end for both.

SAM DUNN: Don't be scared to ditch the Big Six - 'better the devil you know' is not a good way to manage your financial affairs

Dunn: I will never forget her response to my suggestion that a switch to a new provider would be a good start. 'I know I should, but they're all just like each other, aren't they?'

Don't fall into the same trap as a reader who called for help and believe that all energy companies are the same and it's not worth switching, that's not true.

SALLY HAMILTON: Even a rise in interest rates won't rescue savers

Sally Hamilton

Even when rates do start to rise it could take hard-pressed savers some time to see their rates get back to pre-2012, never mind pre-financial crisis levels.

ASK TONY: Have I lost £299 to rogue PPI claims cold-callers?

Rogue: Last year, I was cold-called by a payment protection insurance claims company called Aims Review

Although I couldn't remember taking out any loans, I couldn't see anything to lose, so agreed to pay the money on a card.

JAMES CONEY: Is HMRC up to the job of giving pensioners the details they need on the tax they'll pay on their nest eggs?

Advice: Who is going to advise pensioners on the amount of tax they¿ll pay if they draw varying sums from their nest eggs?

There was much concern that the new freedoms would lead to splurging their savings on a Lamborghini, we should be more concerned about tax.

ALEX BRUMMER: Fingers on the pause button... Households and businesses can breathe a little more easily as interest rate hike is likely to be delayed

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer

The big question arising from the August Inflation Report is when will interest rates begin their 'gradual' rise?

VICKY PRYCE: Greece is not out of the woods yet and Europe's banks can learn from new crisis

Vicky Pryce

In Greece banking is now dominated by just four main banks. But the fear is that soon the Greeks will be saying: 'and then there were three'.

TOM BECKET: Summer wobble brings a dose of reality for investors, but while it's time to be cautious the bull market isn't over yet

Outlook: Tom Becket is positioning his portfolio for bumpy times

is this the time to start freaking out? Possibly but probably not, says Tom Becket of Psigma, who explains why markets are due a healthy correction.

RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: Do you know the price of gold? It's worth checking before you renew home insurance - as one reader learned the hard way

Most of us will tell our insurer when we buy or receive a valuable item. But how many of us consider how the value of items we've had for years may have changed?

LEE BOYCE: Using Airbnb instead of hotel in Australia was a disaster - but it won't deter us from using it again

Bad Neighbours: Yes, television show Neighbours still exists. Here's Danielle and I at fictional Ramsay Street

On a visit to Australia last year, my girlfriend and I chose to book a room staying with strangers in Melbourne. What transpired was a less than comfortable stay.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Weak pound is poor medicine ... FTSE giants rail against 'strong' sterling but a devalued currency is no panacea

Ruth Sunderland

It is a stock market tradition for companies to blame the weather when their profits miss the mark, but the climate has been supplanted by a new culprit: sterling.

TIM MAY: Shares are not just for the rich! Widening ownership would boost business and everyday investors

Investment: The London Stock Exchange value the shares of the UK's main markets at almost £2.3trillion, compared to almost £1.4trillion in May 2004

To an outsider, understanding the stock market is not always the easiest of tasks, but owning shares is a great way to grow your wealth and healthier for society too.

ADAM UREN: Think twice before signing away your final salary benefits for the lure of 'pension freedom'

Freedooooooom: Unrestricted access to your pension is an attractive proposition, but you'd have to have a brave heart to sign away your final salary pension.

Barring exceptional circumstances, I think you'd be mad to give up the income offered by a defined benefit pension - even if you are tempted by a big lump sum.

JAMES CONEY: Make no mistake - banks are getting rid of counters and cashiers to make you, the customer, do the donkey work

Coney: What is so wonderful about self service?

It happened this weekend. Almost every single item either failed to scan properly or caused the machine to have a hissy fit when I tried to put it in a bag.

ASK TONY: Did Lloyds stop me having a credit card because I'm over 75?

Murky law: Banks and insurers can still use your age when assessing risk and deciding how much to charge you

I recently visited my local Lloyds Bank branch to apply for a new credit card. But staff there told me I couldn't get one because I'm 85.

JAMES CONEY: Forget loyalty, let's get ruthless with our banks as they axe even more branches: switch and they will get the message

James Coney

Forget loyalty, let's get tough and show the banks what we want.

SIMON WATKINS: Royal Mail privatisation fiasco bad for sell-offs

Simon Watkins

In a damning verdict, the Business Select Committee stated baldly that the Government lost out on as much as £1billion.

SIMON LAMBERT: Wilsons offloading their empire tells bond, buy-to-let and lend-to-save investors something about buying low and selling high

Simon Lambert: The Wilson's selling up says something about buying low and selling high on income investments

The Wilson's sale of their almost 1,000 homes might not call the top of the property market, but it has something to tell those engaged in the hunt for yield.

ADAM UREN: It's people like me, and 24 million others, who will be the real victims of the new state pension

Action: Public sector workers strike over changes to their pensions, but most of them will be much better off than those in the private sector.

The real scandal of the new state pension system is that it will shaft the 24 million private sector workers who stood to gain the most from the two-tier system. People like me.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Current account empires of Big Four could crumble as Nationwide and First Direct lay siege

Nationwide Building Society and First Direct: These two banks' were praised by customers

Survey after survey indicates a couple of current account providers are now head and shoulders above the competition - Nationwide and First Direct.

ASK TONY: I paid a £2,000 deposit for a camper van on eBay - but have I been conned?

Ask Tony cartoon

The owner wanted the other £2,500 before delivery. I refused but my request for a refund was ignored. A solicitor's letter has been returned 'not known'.

SIMON WATKINS: Secrecy over Mike Ashley's million-pound pay deal from Sports Direct is a disgrace

Simon Watkins: This lack of transparency is a disgrace and will fuel fears that in some boardrooms, the lessons of the recent past have not been learned

How many millions of pounds will Mike Ashley earn from the bonus pool at Sports Direct? The scandalous answer is we do not know.

ALEX BRUMMER: Long-suffering taxpayers deserve a proper tribunal into what went wrong at banks

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer

It is still so important for there to be a judicial inquiry into the panic and its aftermath, with interviews conducted under oath and full disclosure of documents.

FUND MANAGER BOSS: Pension shake-up means careful saving is no longer enough - risk is necessary to give the retirement income we need

Nest egg: Will your savings be enough to see you through retirement?

Annuities have become more expensive due to increasing life expectancy, coupled with record low yields on the assets that underpin them.

LEE BOYCE: The new long-awaited Tesco Bank current account is another nail in the coffin of savings products

Cash battle: Banks are luring current account customers with top interest rates

The new current account from Tesco Bank is the latest to offer interest on in-credit balance rates. Why are banks concentrating on this rather than low savings rates?

SIMON LAMBERT: Don't fear the effects of deflation, we've been feeling them for years

The Bank of England's quarterly inflation report may prove to be a deflation report, with a forecast of negative CPI in the months to come. I'm not so sure we need to worry.

MARKET STRATEGIST'S VIEW: 'Stay invested, shares have further to go but watch out for currencies'

Instead of choosing what area to emphasize, investors should stay diversified and instead focus on currencies, says David Stubbs of JP Morgan Asset Management.

ED MONK: There's one step our leaders could take to show they're serious about helping young home buyers - crack down on buy-to-let profits

Aerial view of modern housing estate, Norfolk, England. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.
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We can now say with certainty that a sizeable class of people who would have been able to buy in the past will be renting their whole lives.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Timeshare reclaim company based in Harley Street traced to a Torremolinos pub

Torremolinos Malaga Province Costa del Sol Spain La Carihuela beach promenade with Monument to the Mediterranean Fishermen:
Holiday makers/tourists walking along the promenade

I was contacted by WTC Administration Limited of Bristol, which said it was taking timeshare sales companies to court to reclaim customers' money along with interest and compensation.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: If ScottishPower's boss were a football manager, he would have got the boot long ago - this ban is not enough

At the very least ScottishPower should have been fined to the hilt - and maybe a fine will be levied once Ofgem gets its act together.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Banks and building societies launch another round of horrible savings rate cuts

jeff prestridge

Bad news to report, I am afraid to say, for those looking to earn more than a meagre return on their hard-earned savings.

TONY HETHERINGTON: I was promised big returns from buying and selling rare earth metals... but now company says it has no buyers

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T.M. Harris Associates Limited called me out of the blue, promising returns of between 15 and 20 per cent from buying and selling rare earth metals, with their company taking 20 per cent of the profits.

SIMON WATKINS: Britain is now enjoying a good recovery, but keep bubbly on ice

The resurgence of the construction industry - seen in recent company results and reinforced by our report opposite - is one of the most promising indicators.

ALEX BRUMMER: Flawed choice to choose Sir Howard Davies as next chairman of RBS

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer.
byline

It shows a bankruptcy of imagination in the City and Whitehall, and a forgiveness of past mistakes of biblical proportions.

ASK TONY: Mum paid £5 a month into a mystery policy for 23 years - so what happened to the money?

She has had a standing order deducted since November 1991. Lloyds has now cancelled it. Could you investigate why £1,366 has been deducted.

ALEX BRUMMER: Bullying Greece's newly mandated politicians into submission is in interests of no one

The eurozone is damned if Greece leaves or stays. If it goes, others might want to follow; if it stays then Portugal, Spain and others might demand a bit of the leeway Greece has enjoyed.

SIMON LAMBERT: Islington Council's £96-a-year diesel tax on the cars it encouraged people to buy

Nissan Qashqai diesel 2014 car.

Islington pushed people to buy diesel cars since 2007 with emission-based residents parking permits. Now it has whacked them with an extra £96 for doing what it wanted.

SIMON WATKINS: Takeovers now sweeping mobile phone sector could produce genuine benefits for consumers and investors

People have been left behind in the digital revolution as signals have been lacking. Rectifying this takes huge investment which larger, consolidated groups should find easier to deliver.

ALEX BRUMMER: HSBC seeing Green following disclosures of industrial size cheating at Swiss private bank 

HSBC has come under close scrutiny in recent years for its practices, including drug money laundering in Mexico and, more recently, helping Britain's tax avoiders keep away from authorities.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Collapse of City Link, Comet and Peacocks shows we need to give ailing firms more breathing space

The row over the collapse of City Link is yet more evidence that the treatment of troubled companies in this country leaves a great deal to be desired.

SIMON LAMBERT: Islington Council's £96-a-year diesel tax on the cars it encouraged people to buy

Nissan Qashqai diesel 2014 car.

Islington pushed people to buy diesel cars since 2007 with emission-based residents parking permits. Now it has whacked them with an extra £96 for doing what it wanted.

ALEX BRUMMER: Farewell to the zero society as Ed Miliband's job claims debunked

Labour leader Ed Milliband addressing business leaders at the annual CBI conference in London.

How frustrating it must be to be an Opposition politician. No sooner do you find a narrative than the carpet is wrenched from beneath you.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: I'd bet my gas bill on who's last for customer service - crunch time looms for ScottishPower

jeff prestridge

In six days' time, the deadline imposed on Scottish Power by energy regulator Ofgem for reducing customer call waiting times to acceptable levels will expire.

ALEX BRUMMER: Hitting big energy for six - Oil prices have tumbled... but why aren't industry giants bringing tariffs down?

When wholesale prices rise the utilities act almost in lockstep to raise tariffs for consumers. This winter as wholesale prices have fallen the pass through to the consumer has been non-existent.

SIMON WATKINS: Voters will go to the polls across the EU this year - institutions must be willing to listen to the people in 2015

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) smiles at a pub in South Benfleet, England. 
British politician Nigel Farage has defended a hotel that insisted a breast-feeding mother cover up, suggesting women might "sit in the corner" while they feed their babies. Farage told LBC radio Friday Dec. 5, 2014 that women should breast-feed "in a way that is not openly ostentatious." 

FILE - In this Friday, May 23, 2014 file photo, 
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

The year 2015 is the year that Europe must learn to bend to democracy. Elections in a number of EU states - including of course Britain - will put the single currency to the test.

JAMES CONEY: Could the cruel rate game played by banks and building societies be about to turn back in savers' favour?

James Coney - Daily Mail byline  17.06.11. Photo Chris McAndrew / All Moral Rights Asserted 2011. 07740 424 810

The savings market has become a game for banks and building societies ever since the introduction of Funding For Lending.

ALEX BRUMMER: Lord King did live in 'exciting' times but he should pick his words more carefully

Economist Sir Mervyn King the outgoing governor of the Bank of England.
Mervyn King was denied his parting wish for more money-boosting measures eafter being outvoted in his final Bank of England rate-setting meeting. 

PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 19, 2013. See PA story ECONOMY Rates. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire

One of the great virtues of Lord Mervyn King was that he never lost his capacity for diversion even at the height of the financial crisis.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Vote on astounding £25m pay package for BG's Lund will be watershed moment for shareholders

If they wave through this award at the extraordinary general meeting, they will make a laughing stock of corporate governance in the UK.

ASK TONY: My bank accidentally cancelled my credit card - and won't give me a new one

image002.jpg

Santander accidentally closed my credit card account. We had to use our debit card on holiday. Santander promised to reimburse all expenses. But they insist they cannot issue me with a new card.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Political posturing aside, the Chancellor has made my day - now you can too

jeff prestridge

Given the continued parlous state of the country's finances last week's Autumn Statement was far more personal finance-friendly than I ever thought it would be.

SIMON WATKINS: Hear this Mr Osborne - act on business rates now or risk hampering economic growth even more

The Chancellor is facing, as ever, a raft of demands from various business groups and others for action in this week's Autumn Statement.

JAMES CONEY: It's time to right wrongs and demand all insurance firms investigate historic annuity sales

spt_aviva.jpg

When it comes to to doing the right thing by pension ­savers, Aviva is one of the best ­insurers in Britain.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: If Sir Hector Sants is going to gain our trust on credit and savings he must try harder

He has outlined plans to encourage primary school children to get to grips with money matters, but many will not have forgotten his lackadaisical leadership of the FSA in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Has Marc Bolland reached a turning point in his quest to transform Marks & Spencer?

Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland
AFP/GETTY IMAGES

At the start of this year, he might have been seen as one of the contenders in the retail CEO's sack race, with the clock ticking on his efforts to transform the chain.

ASK TONY: My pension fund went bust now no one knows what I'm owed

ASK TONY (05-11-14) final AW.jpg

My main pension is to be finalised through the Financial Assistance Scheme but they cannot calculate it as my data does not fit the standard scheme format

TONY HETHERINGTON: His ex's fraud could cost my partner his home... now I have to represent him in court like Erin Brockovich

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage
 Mandatory Credit: Photo by Snap Stills/REX (1934811g)
 Julia Roberts
 Erin Brockovich  - 2000

His ex-partner took out a loan of £56,000 without his knowledge, and later consolidated other debts, bringing the total to £89,000.

ALEX BRUMMER: The case for eurozone default should be considered against calls for QE

Daily Mail City Editor Alex Brummer.
byline

Many euroland economies simply are loaded down with too much debt. The 'troika' solution offered by the IMF, European Commission and ECB to this has been austerity. But still the debt levels rise.

The Diary of a Private Investor: Hunting for the best shares and revealing the winners and the losers, by This is Money's new columnist

Meet This is Money's new investing columnist John Rosier. He is a former fund manager who spent 26 years in the City and is now sharing the secrets of his own portfolio.

SIMON WATKINS: Long shadow of uncertainty makes it far too early to call bottom on Tesco shares

Existing investors, however, may gain some comfort from knowing that if there is one person who feels their pain and will be as eager as they to see the shares bounce back it is the new chief executive.

JAMES CONEY: Why do banks and building societies continue to sell customers 'structured products'?

The Yorkshire Building Society advertised its account as paying up to 40 per cent interest, when it knew there was zero chance of it delivering this. It has - rightly - been fined for this fib.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Bank codes that make you £600 in minutes - be Streetwise and avoid this money-making idea!

I have been sent an offer from Streetwise Publications about bank codes that can make you £600 in five minutes. It is one of the craziest mailshots I have received.

JAMES CONEY: It's time for the authorities to crack down on energy firms' blunders that make customers' lives a misery

The case of Stuart Palmer is typical of the kind that regularly fills our postbag about energy firms. All he wanted to do was switch provider. But somewhere along the line his supplier botched it.

SIMON LAMBERT:The below 3% five-year fixed rate mortgage has staged a comeback - but be warned this could be its last hurrah

BG088R Arabic Monopoly Game

The chance of a second crack at a golden opportunity is a rare occurrence. With that in mind, home owners should take a good look at today's five-year fixed rate mortgages.

JAMES CONEY: Let's leave the Dark Age of banking rules with new regulation allowing recall of rogue payments

James Coney - Daily Mail byline  17.06.11. Photo Chris McAndrew / All Moral Rights Asserted 2011. 07740 424 810

Banks put all kinds of nasty stings in their small print, but here finally is one that can actually work in your favour.

SALLY HAMILTON: Not enough parents teach children about personal finance, but help is coming in the classroom

Sally Hamilton

If so many families treat money as a taboo subject at home, then it should be a relief that there is at least help in the classroom.

JOHN LANCHESTER: Financial jargon makes us all poorer, says the plain-speaking author of How to Speak Money and Whoops

Play on words: This language of finance may be efficient, but it's excluding and disempowering for people who don't speak it. Perhaps that's the other reason why the money people are so addicted to it

QE, CDO, RMBS, no field of human activity has a bigger jargon problem than finance and economics - and the players seem to want to bamboozle us on purpose.

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Let business have its say on debate over British exit from EU

Ruth Sunderland

The nature of our relationship with the EU will have far-reaching consequences for companies and the economy.

SIR JOHN PEACE: UK exports are lagging behind... So we need a new approach to increase trade

Sir John Peace

Despite the UK's illustrious history as a trading nation, the past few decades have seen us lagging behind other major economies.

SIR RONALD COHEN: Investments CAN be a real force for good

Sir Ronald, chairman of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce

We're calling for changes to the law so businesses can recognise a social mission as part of their governance. The case for social impact investment is compelling.

ALEX BRUMMER: Sterling takes the low road as opinion moves towards 'yes' in independence referendum

Alex Brummer

The UK economy may be booming but like Germany, as a result of the Ukraine conflict, business confidence will be plagued by our home made geo-political vacillations.

ALEX BRUMMER: Santander boss Emilio Botin's death brings to fore ownership and control at UK arm of Spanish bank

Alex Brummer

Ana Botin inherits a complex enterprise. But there may be real issues about the point of owning Santander UK, which is run with a regulatory iron curtain around it.

SAM DUNN: Insurers must stop making it as difficult as possible for ill customers to make a genuine claim

SAM DUNN

Insurers should look at every such case as a whole - not pin their rulings on isolated statements from customers that suit their refusal to pay out.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Chief executive David Cutter lives up to his name at Skipton Building Society

Jeff Prestridge

It is time to hand out a little (not a lot of) praise to the country's fourth-largest building society after it announced it was cutting its mortgage variable rate.

ROS ALTMANN: Leaving older workers on the scrapheap will damage businesses and growth in the long term

Dr Ros Altmann CBE is a leading pensions expert and campaigner and the government's Older Workers Champion

People are simply not 'old' in their sixties any more. They have experience, energy and skills that we should not allow to go to waste, says Dr Ros Altmann CBE.

SIMON LAMBERT: Why are low interest rates good for you? Perhaps it's time the Bank of England clearly explained its thinking

Why are low interest rates good for you? The Bank of England should explain its thinking, says Simon Lambert

The Bank should set itself a new task and explain in easy to understand terms whether more than six years of low rates has worked and what the future benefit will be.

SIMON WATKINS: Interest rate rises will wreak havoc as too few households are planning for a hike in mortgage costs

Simon Watkins

My view is that rate rises now or in the near future could be extremely damaging. Too few households are planning for a rise in the cost of their mortgage.

DOGBERRY: The linguistic equivalent of stuffing the engine with sawdust from Trevor Finn of Pendragon

Dogberry

Constable Dogberry in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing mangles every word he utters - and so do many business leaders.

SAM DUNN: Airlines are wasting everyone's time over flight delay compensation - the airlines regulator needs more teeth

Powerless: The CAA's biggest weapon is a risible £5,000 fine for badly behaved airlines

What the CAA desperately needs is a similar power to that of other regulators such as Ofgem, which can hit errant companies with million-pound fines.

TERRY SCUOLER: The UK's infrastructure is out of date and we desperately need a new age of invention

'Ageing infrastructure': Terry Scuoler is chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation

When it comes to putting in place the essential foundations on which a successful trading nation is dependent - infrastructure - we lag behind.

VIEWPOINT: Why Alex Salmond is deluded... Vote against political union is also a vote against currency union

Scottish leader: Alex Salmond

Why would the rest of the UK wish to support Scotland with their taxpayers' money, ask Sir Andrew Large and Sir Martin Jacomb.

SIMON LAMBERT: How inflation ate your pay rise - will the Bank really raise rates before this squeeze stops?

spt_wages_.jpg

For six long years inflation has been eating pay rises, should the Bank of England add to that problem with interest rate rises that will gobble up a little more?

Siren warning that asset shock could plunge global markets into fresh crisis should be heeded, by ALEX BRUMMER

Alex Brummer:Investors should not ignore this warning on the asset price bubble

Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist of the IMF, is warning that the world faces another crash at a time when it is less capable of absorbing the impact.

TOM BECKET: China is unfashionable, unloved and suffering - that makes it time to buy

C00DJK A blue Chinese Dragon at a Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration

Writing off China is a perilous move and ignoring the deep contrarian value opportunity is an easy mistake to make.

No pound, no euro: With a vote on Scottish independence imminent, why Scotland needs a plan C

The Scottish First Minister, pictured, insists the country can keep the pound if it votes to leave the UK in the referendum in September

The Scottish First Minister insists the country can keep the pound if it votes to leave the UK in the referendum in September.

THE MINOR INVESTOR: Neil Woodford revealing all is a victory for investors - more fund managers should follow

Simon Lambert: Neil Woodford's decision to reveal his holdings is a victory for investors

If investors are paying for a fund or trust they deserve to know a lot more about exactly what's in it - Neil Woodford's recognition of that is a bold move.

LEE BOYCE: Should Premium Bonds hold an annual draw for holders for decades who've never won a prize?

Popular product: NS&I have been running a prize draw for nearly 60 years. Is it time to stir up some interest in those who have never won?

There are millions of Premium Bonds that have never won a prize. One reader believes it is time for a draw for these unfortunate bond holders - would NS&I; do it?

ALEX BRUMMER: Barclays' decision to contest charges by New York attorney general over alleged fraud in LX 'dark pools' market is bold

Alex Brummer

The speed with which lawyers Sullivan & Cromwell have come up with the application for dismissal is impressive by the standards of US legal process.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Low rates offered by banks and building societies on savings accounts shame even Arfur Daley

Jeff Prestridge

According to website SavingsChampion, cuts have been made to more than 2,000 savings accounts over the past two years.

TOM BECKET: The signs point to a correction being due, so despite low returns it's time to hold more cash

Caution: Tom Becket says that while cash offers a poor return it will protect against a potential correction.

Tom Becket, chief investment officer of Psigma says that although the party could continue for some time, markets are too complacent so he's holding more cash.

JAMES CONEY: What happened when I tried to find the interest rate on these three cash Isa accounts?

Merry dance: A truly transparent organisation would make the current rates on all accounts as readily available as possible

Finding out what you are earning on old accounts remains difficult. I suspect that for bank staff it remains a game in which they can lead customers a merry dance.

TONY HETHERINGTON: You can complain to the crook, bank tells victim of Google Wallet van fraud

Tony Hetherington

I lost £4,000 when I tried to buy a Volkswagen van. My bank, Lloyds, contacted Barclays, where the fraudster had his account, buut Barclays says it can do nothing.

RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: British families could teach the government a thing or two about budgeting - and sharing costs fairly

rachel rickard straus byline pic.jpg

When faced with lots of expenses at once, families will consider them all together and prioritise. The government is planning each of its infrastructure projects separately.

TONY HETHERINGTON: Tow-truck driver bashed my broken-down car but RAC won't pay up

Tony Hetherington: Flyde Motor Company office in Southport: RAC Recoveries had subcontracted the towing to Fylde Motor Company, which subcontracted it to a self-employed truck operator

I am caught in a merry-go-round involving the RAC. I called the company last December to get my broken-down car to a local garage in Merseyside.

ED MONK: Wonga sending fake lawyer's letters to its own customers shows what it really thinks of them

Fictional: Wonga sent legal letters to tens of thousands of its borrowers - but the solicitors were as real as the Wonga puppets.

'How can we scare them?', you can imagine bosses asking before signing off on the plan. What other other motivation could have been in their minds?

SIMON LAMBERT: Are investors with short memories ignoring the warning signs again - or could shares continue their stellar run?

Simon Lambert, This is Money editor

Investors tend to make the same mistakes over and again. And at the moment it's more than reasonable to ask if we're doing so yet again.

SIMON LAMBERT: What makes a business great - can it really be as simple as following these three rules?

Simon Lambert, This is Money editor

Many people will offer to tell you the secret of building a great business, but one study claims the recipe lies in a simple philosophy that cuts across all exceptional firms.

ASK TONY: Dodgy British Gas meter charged our student house £2,000 for a few months' electricity

Ask Tony cartoon

We gave an electricity reading and British Gas said the meter must be faulty. But it's not resolved and we'll soon go our separate ways, so need to get this sorted.

ASK TONY: Orange sold me a phone that didn't work - then sent in debt collectors

Nightmare: Money Mail reader had a terrible time trying to get through to Orange

I closed my account with Orange after a new phone they sent me didn't work. Then I received a letter from debt collectors demanding I pay £42.13, but I never accessed the line.

RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: British families could teach the government a thing or two about budgeting - and sharing costs fairly

rachel rickard straus byline pic.jpg

When faced with lots of expenses at once, families will consider them all together and prioritise. The government is planning each of its infrastructure projects separately.

JAMES CONEY: Stay one step ahead of online crooks by protecting your personal information

James Coney

You'll never know as much about the web as these tech-savvy crooks, but you can stay one step ahead of them by protecting your personal information.

ASK TONY: Why is Amazon charging £79 for a service I used to pay £49 for?

Ask Tony cartoon

I've complained over the decision to raise the Amazon Prime annual subscription by £30 to include video-streaming. I don't want it, and wouldn't use it.

TONY HETHERINGTON: 'So that'll be your full refund - less our £1,795 booking fee' - Illegal property investment firm pulls a fast one after being rumbled by regulator

Tony Hetherington

I invested through Property Horizons in a hotel room to be rented out to oil workers. I became concerned so took a refund but the company kept some money back.

STEPHANIE FLANDERS: European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi cannot deliver quick fix for eurozone

Stephanie Flanders

Politicians are fond of saying there are no 'quick fixes'. Unfortunately for Draghi, many investors still seem to believe in quick fixes from our central banks.

ASK TONY: I just want my £4,000 pension - not letters full of gobbledygook

Ask Tony cartoon

My husband's pension scheme was wound up and the liabilities were taken over by the Pension Protection Fund. It says he cannot take the benefits at 55.

ALEX BRUMMER: Quaker-founded bank Barclays continues to live in sin

Alex Brummer

As the skeletons come tumbling out of the cupboard at Barclays, only the most naïve of City observers could disregard what has happened.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Work hard and save - then get hit by care bills - the current system is a disaster

Jeff Prestridge

I am always suspicious of policy announcements that will not be enforced until after an Election. It's why I remain sceptical we will ever a cap on the bill for long-term care.

SIMON LAMBERT: Buying a home is the best investment most of us ever make, but ask yourself these questions first

Home protection: A house is a great long-term investment but how can you guard against short-term wobbles?

The beauty of a repayment mortgage is that it provides the kind of discipline most investors just don't have - and at the end you'll own an asset worth a small fortune.

SIMON WATKINS: Be brave, give bankers their bonuses

Simon Watkins

As I have always argued, the bonus cap is unlikely to cut the money going into bankers' pockets.

SIMON LAMBERT: Don't worry about the Lamborghini, it's banks we need to watch out for when it comes to blowing a pension

Simon Lambert

I'm a firm believer that people can be trusted with their money. The problem is more likely to lie with those trying to prise the cash away from them.

ASK TONY: My bag went up in smoke after a coach in which I was travelling caught fire - but I can't claim on insurance

Emergency:  I saw smoke billowing out of the front so immediately got off, leaving behind my bag containing a change of clothes

Last August, the coach in which I was travelling caught fire. I saw smoke billowing out of the front so immediately got off, leaving behind my bag.

SIMON LAMBERT: Interest rate decisions are about to get tougher, but will the Bank of England act on house prices?

Simon Lambert, This is Money editor

Five years into the great 0.5% experiment, the pressure is piling on. House price inflation is back near double-digit levels and the economy is growing at a robust rate.

JAMES CONEY: Paying less tax was effectively a pat on back for helping to reduce burden on state - now it's a slap in face

James Coney

Many over-50s are going to get less than £155 a week in state pension as they were in final-salary schemes and contracted out of the State Second Pension.

JAMES CONEY: The new stringent mortgage rules could prove to be a hard test to pass for many first-time borrowers

Test: Officially starting on Saturday, many banks and building societies will implement time-consuming detailed probes

Officially starting on Saturday, though many banks and building societies have already implemented them, the rules are onerous, time-consuming and detailed.

ADAM UREN: Banks have short-changed customers on their PPI payouts, is anyone really surprised?

Closed doors: Card companies are too secretive when challenged by customers about how they calculated their compensation.

It's another depressing example of the behind-closed-doors manoeuvering of financial companies giving the bare minimum to wronged customers.

SIMON LAMBERT: The World Cup shares trade and why Brazil will win it but England won't get out of their group

Short-lived: England's joy at getting to the World Cup won't last, according to Goldman's predictions

Bank gives Brazil an almost 50% chance and has identified a stock market trade on the winners - but investors have been warned the shine soon wears off.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: NFU Mutual might be much-loved by rural customers - but bosses' inflated pay is eating into members' payouts

Jeff Prestridge

Many of its policyholders are also kept sweet by their share of a 'mutual bonus' that is declared every year and which in effect provides them with a discount off their premiums.

TONY HETHERINGTON: I lost £27,000 with risky trader banned in US

Tony Hetherington

I opened a small trading account with Banc de Binary and was contacted by broker Simon Sachs, who convinced to deposit my money, which I can't get back.

ASK TONY: Mum paid £5 a month into a mystery policy for 23 years - so what happened to the money?

She has had a standing order deducted since November 1991. Lloyds has now cancelled it. Could you investigate why £1,366 has been deducted.