PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS

RETIREMENT ADVICE MOST SOUGHT
Almost half of all consumers seeking independent financial advice last month sought assistance with retirement planning, the professional advice website unbiased.co.uk said this week. Retirement planning has remained on an upward trend since May this year. Consumers are also increasingly looking for specialist guidance on investment and savings. Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk, comments: “With ongoing economic turbulence, many consumers nearing retirement age or thinking about retiring may be confused about their options. Retirement planning is a vastly complex area.”

M&A BOOSTS TRADING AT TD WATERHOUSE
Speculation of further mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity boosted execution-only broker TD Waterhouse’s customer trading by nearly 60 per cent in the week to 7 September. Yell hit the top spot in the buys and sixth place in the sells table as its shares soared to their highest since February this year on the back of rumours about a possible takeover. The resources sector continues to pique investor interest with some new energy and mining stocks entering the tables this week. Sirius Exploration, the only London-listed potash mining group, entered at sixth place in this week's buys table.

SAINSBURY’S LAUNCHES NEW CREDIT CARD
Sainsbury’s Finance has introduced a new credit card that offers a range of benefits including no FX fees, a family travel insurance policy and double Nectar points on their shopping in store, online and in petrol filling stations. The card costs £5 a month and offers a rate of 18 per cent variable. Only 2 per cent of credit cards offer no currency fees. Providing the balance is paid in full and on time, holders will also benefit from interest-free cash withdrawals.

SHARP INCREASE IN OVERDRAFT RATES
More than a quarter of current accounts have seen increases in their authorised overdraft rates over the past 18 months – an-all time high – website Moneyfacts.co.uk said yesterday. The biggest increase has been experienced by Barclays Additions Active customers, who have seen a 8.4 per cent increase since March 2009. A customer with a £1,000 overdraft would have seen her annual overdraft costs increase by £28 to £211, taking into account the £300 buffer.