The Financial Ombudsman has upheld complaints about the role of an authorised company in selling failed mini-bonds that cost investors millions, offering hope that they may get their money back.

Secured Energy Bonds collapsed in early 2015 after taking more than £7m of investors’ cash, intended to fund solar panel installations with an advertised return of 6.5% annually. The investment itself, as with all mini-bonds, was not regulated nor protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The fate of the SEB bond investors is good news for other retail investors who have been lured to mini-bonds by the promise of relatively high returns.

Landlord backlash to 3 year tenancy plans

The main body representing landlords’ interests has reacted angrily to government plans to introduce mandatory three-year tenancies, with a six-month break clause, to give tenants more security.  The National Landlords Association (NLA) says that the new proposals will be too “rigid” and that it has been “misled”. Richard Lambert, the NLA’s chief executive, said that when plans for a consultation on longer tenancies were announced last October, he believed the tone of the discussion was one of consultation and encouragement. He now says he feels misled as he believes the new plans should be about making existing tenancy agreements more flexible rather than introducing a minimum three-year rental contract. In particular landlords have highlighted that the research on which recommendations are based found that although around 40% of tenants want longer tenancies, just as many are perfectly happy with the status quo.

Savings help Britain keep on spending

Households have significantly depleted their savings, bringing them to their lowest level since 2005, official figures have revealed. A rise in consumer spending was behind the sharp decline in savings, according to the Office for National Statistics. The amount tucked away for a rainy day fell by £68.9bn between 2015 and 2017. Now, UK households are £8.4bn in the red. The saving ratio – the amount of money households have available to save as a share of their disposable income – also fell to the lowest level on record.

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