16 March 2005
The Government is investing £4m in marketing its stakeholder suite of financial products to consumers.
1.1 RATES OF TAX1.1.1 THE STARTING RATE OF INCOME TAXThe starting rate of 10% for the tax year 2005/2006 applies on the first £2,090 of taxable income (i.e. after allowances and reliefs). It should be noted that the starting rate does not apply to trusts.
10.1 RATES OF CORPORATION TAXNo changes to corporation tax rates were announced so the rates we are working with for the financial year starting 1st April 2005 are as follows:
The Government continues to use tax as a lever to encourage particular activities or behaviours. Businesses as well as individuals benefit from the tax reliefs offered. Capital allowances are an obvious example of how substantial (sometimes 100%) tax relief on expenditure can positively affect investment decisions made by businesses.
Nothing new has been proposed in the Budget that will affect the numbers involving this important issue.
There is no surprise that the Budget contains little new on pensions as the major changes have already been set out in the Finance Act 2004 and the Pensions Act 2004.
The Chancellor made changes in the following areas in respect of Stamp Duty.
In the 2003 Budget, the Chancellor announced that there would be a review (and possible consultation) on changes to the residence and domicile rules affecting the taxation of individuals.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 will be brought into force on 5 December 2005. The broad effect of the Act will be to give equal rights to same-sex couples who enter into a civil partnership with each other.
Last year the Government announced their intention to get much tougher with schemes designed to enable people to avoid tax. This was achieved by the implementation of a rule that required details of certain schemes or arrangements with a tax avoidance purpose to be disclosed to them. The precise scope of the rule was dealt with by regulations published in the Summer of 2004.
4.1 COMPANY CARS, VANS AND EMERGENCY VEHICLESCars
Very little change was announced on capital gains tax (CGT) in the Budget as far as UK domiciled and resident individuals are concerned. It was however confirmed – presumably to combat the speculation of recent weeks – that gains arising on the disposal of a principal private residence will continue to be exempt from CGT.
6.1 OVERVIEWWhen managing ones investments (incorporating appropriate asset allocation) to produce acceptable returns whilst managing risk takes absolute priority in portfolio planning, maximising the tax efficiency to minimise tax on investments can substantially add to the bottom line. This year the Chancellor tinkered with some of the rules of existing tax efficient investments.
For the first time in a few years no changes have been made to the taxation treatment of life assurance policies.
The reform of the tax system for trusts has been continuing since the Pre-Budget Report in December 2003. The progress is slow but the good news is that the Government continues to work with the industry to secure consensus on the best way to simplify trust taxation still further in order to help people manage their affairs, whilst ensuring that trusts are not used to achieve an unfair tax advantage.
9.1 NIL-RATE BANDThe inheritance tax (IHT) nil-rate band has been increased from £263,000 to £ 275,000 which is more than statutory indexation. The increased threshold will apply to chargeable transfers occurring on or after 6 April 2005.
I left Barclays just over a year ago having become disillusioned with its steer towards multi-tie. I have always been a believer in true independence, where customers are offered best of market.
Philip Scott assesses the outsourcing move at Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust.
I have been reading a great deal of press comment recently, about depolarisation and the benefits of using an independent "financial planner"who would be prepared to work on a fee basis rather than take commission from product sales. Can you explain to me how this works and how I would benefit?
The ABI is looking at what effect an equalised tax relief rate of 30 per cent for both higher-rate and basic-rate taxpayers would have on pension savings.
The Association of British Insurers is to go ahead with another mystery shopping exercise to probe commission and has committed itself to a new benchmarking initiative to measure what customers think of firms' service.
Self-regulation by actuaries has failed and the profession should be regulated by an independent body, says Sir Derek Morris.
Sub-prime mortgages have traditionally been regarded as the dirty end of the market, catering for customers on the breadline who no one else will touch.
The Pension Protection Fund will pay only income and not lump sums, which could make transferring out more attractive and pose a dilemma for IFAs on giving advice.
I now have all of 37 days' experience working at Aifa. If there is such a thing as a "honeymoon period" for the director general of a trade association, I guess mine is over.
Click on the link below to download the appendix as a PDF document.
Artemis has sold its multi-manager Premier Funds business to Credit Suisse Asset Management.The management of the funds is expected to transfer to Credit Suisse in May.
Berkeley Berry Birch is relaunching its directly authorised channel as Berkeley Direct, offering IFA firms a core service with a 2.5 per cent charge.
When considering the marketplace for advice on capital investment, most attention is, understandably, given to individuals but not just any individuals, only those who value and can pay for advice - and there is much advice that is needed.
Britannic Group has bought Century Life's closed life funds in a deal that will boost the assets managed by Britannic Asset Management by over 1.7bn.
Mortgage experts and opp-osition politicians have attacked the Chancellor's increase in the stamp duty threshold to 120,000 as offering nothing to most first-time buyers.
Surprises were unlikely in a pre-election Budget and were not forthcoming.
Britannic Asset ManagementUK Property Fund
Mortgage brokers bearing the brunt of inflexibility of buy-tolet lenders are concerned that the sector may be heading for a significant fall.
Cheltenham & GloucesterTwo Year Premium Tracker Mortgage
Clerical Medical is setting a business consultancy service to help IFAs adapt their business models to be more competitive.
Close Property Investment is aiming to raise 10m for the Romulus high income fund, an unauthorised unit trust investing in high-yielding UK business centres.
Close Property InvestmentRomulus High Income Fund
Compensation eligible to investors arising from the FSA's split-capital investment trust agreement will be able to be retained in Pep or Isa accounts.
The Financial Services Consumer Panel chairwoman has warned that current marketing of VCTs could open up the potential for future misselling cases.
High levels of personal debt and pension shortfalls could fuel a stormy economic climate, says BBC business editor Jeff Randall.
Dover Street CapitalDover Street VCT
FSA regulation introduced a new participant to the mortgage world - the whistleblower. This, I like. Having seen some multiparty electioneering starting to manifest itself, it is time to expose some gross derelictions of duty. I am talking about the Government's performance on mortgages and associated issues.
Elderstreet InvestmentsElderstreet VCT C Shares
Venture capital manager Elderstreet is raising up to 15m through a C-share issue for the Elderstreet venture capital trust.
Investment Management Association chairman Lindsay Tomlinson told the ABI conference that contracting out has been "an unmitigated disaster" and should be scrapped.
The head of the insurance and financial institutions unit at the European Commission has called for better and less financial regulation across Europe.
The chief of the IFA Defence Union says terrorists have more rights than IFAs bec-ause of the Financial Services and Markets Act and he wants it overhauled but, while committed to fighting the IFA corner, he is also quick to ack-nowledge that those who flout the rules are indefensible.
F&C is setting up a 965m closed-end property trust which it says will be the biggest listed property trust launched in the UK.
Imagine if Madam Tussauds had a gallery dedicated to fund management. Which canny investors would make the podium?
I have considered with interest the debate over commission v fees and it seems to me there are three camps.
I would like to use your pages to correct some significant inaccuracies in the letter from David Parker regarding the exam framework.
The Hampton review has held up the FSA as a model for reducing the regulatory burden across UK businesses.
A new inheritance tax planning portfolio service is aiming to offer the advantages of Aim and Ofex investments to IFAs seeking an alternative approach.
With the Turner Commission's second report not due until autumn, the chances of getting anything radical on pensions were going to be limited although there were a couple of interesting developments.
The Government is to introduce long-term bonds with durations of up to 50 years from May, Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced in this year's budget.
Halifax is calling for increases to the inheritance tax threshold of 263,000, following research finding that 108 constituencies have one in four property transactions beyond the threshold.
An Inland Revenue plan to harmonise tax-free cash allowances for pensions and lifetime annuities could boost annuity provision for women.
Seven out of 10 callers to the Pensions Advisory Service's dedicated women's helpline are not making any private pension provision.
Simple cost-effective data solutions are now available to help IFAs serve the HNW market.
Conservative leader Michael Howard says Chancellor Gordon Brown has produced a "vote now pay later" Budget.
We ask IFAs what they would like to see from the Chancellors budget today. Here are some of their thoughts -
Noble director Patrick Booth-Clibborn is calling on IFAs to consider VCTs as a credible alternative to top-up pensions, for those willing to take on the risk.
IFAs have expressed mixed feelings to the change in the lowest threshold for stamp duty although all welcome it as a step in the right direction.
Ingenious VentureIngenious Music VCT
I have noted with interest the antics of some of the more struggling fund supermarkets. I am reliably informed that each quarter, one particular fund supermarket claims astronomic figures but no one can work out why they do not ever seem to get very far ahead.
Invesco Perpetual is employing market research consultants to find out whether it should change its name back to Perpetual for the retail market.
Investors who spot opportunities and get into a sector early can get big returns but can face big risks, says BRIAN TORA
Judging the Best Use of New Media section in the recent Money Marketing awards involved probably the most diverse range of entries that I have ever seen.
It is sensible for all higher-rate taxpayers, and those who expect to be, as well as investors who may become capital gains tax-payers, to invest in an Isa.
Investment experts say the Chancellor needs to do more than extend the existing Isa limits to 2010 to encourage long-term saving.
Legal & GeneralAccelerated Growth Investment Plan
Lincoln Financial Group is relaunching its protection package with a menu of long-term benefits.
Morgan StanleyFTSE 250 Simple Growth Plan
Demand for multi manager products from the public is very high. It is a concept that is easily understood and popular. The principle concern is cost. Multi manager clearly adds another layer of cost, so the payback has to be able to justify this.
Norwich Union will remain the dominant player in life and pensions and will increase its market share to 20 per cent over the next few years, claims the firm's UK chief executive Gary Withers.
Like me, many of you will have noticed the gradual but relentless increased focus on this seemingly new concept over the last eight months.
It would seem that there is a hardening of attitudes from the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Spotting the next misselling scandal has become a bit of a national sport in financial services circles.
Pensions credit will rise by 13 per cent, in line with earnings, between now and 2007 meaning pensioners will be guaranteed a minimum weekly income of 119 a week in two years time.
The introduction of equal treatment on all matters tax through full recognition being granted to civil partnerships creates a series of planning issues on which professional advice will need to be sought.
PlatformBuy-To-Let Five Year Fixed Rate With Cashback
Insight is planning a new multi-manager absolute return fund which aims to provide a positive return under all market conditions.
Is it possible to make a positive return,regardless of market conditions? This seems a tricky proposition, particularly when you are investing in the bond market which has a big question mark hanging over it at the moment.
Over three-quarters of the public do not trust the Government to deliver on its pension promises, according to research from the ABI.
Industry experts say increases in the inheritance tax threshold are not keeping up with house price inflation.
Our panel of experts give their views on guaranteed rates, the future for online business and the evolution of CI cover.
I read Money Marketing's Leader last week and glimpsed Mr Cheung's piece (will read fully later).
Rensburg Investment ManagementRensburg Aim VCT
I and others have written about the possible outcomes of statutory regulation for those selling protection products yet among the many advisers I speak to, I sense that the majority are focused only on the short-term effects of simply meeting the required pre-sale and sale processes in the belief that if they get these right, then everything will be OK.
Hundreds of Northern Rock customers have been plunged into mortgage arrears after the company failed to set up direct debits.
By Mark Chilton
The pension simplification programme will increase the need for independent advice rather than reduce it, said experts at the Pensions Management Institute spring conference.
The Government is aiming for a radical reform of investment trusts and Oeic investments in an overhaul of the investment sector on a par with the pension revolution.
The Government says it intends to legislate for a UK real estate investment trust in the 2006 Finance Bill. The IMA says this amounts to a delay in the timetable for the introduction of Reits.
I would like to refute strongly the allegation by an IFA in last week's Money Marketing that Skandia is not adding other multi-manager funds to our platforms.
Smith & Williamson Childcare Corporation 8
Abbey for Intermed-iaries head of pensions and retire-ment Mike Brown says clients going through a divorce will need advice on pension issues in the run-up to A-Day and this is where IFAs should take the chance to link with solicitors.
Standard Life is the most attractive multi-tie partner and Zurich is the least attractive, according to US broker Bear Stearns.
By John Woolley, director, Technical Connection
This year’s Budget was bound to be a bit different. With a General Election around the corner, it was clear that the March 2005 Budget would primarily be used for election sweeteners with some of the proposed more technical measures reserved for the Budget that will inevitably follow the General Election.
Thames River CapitalProperty Growth & Income Fund
The political rumour mill is buzzing with speculation about when exactly the general election will take place.
IFAs have differing opinions over whether the tax advantages of National Savings & Investments products outweigh their generally low rates of return.
SMEs insure their material assets but often neglect to cover key staff adequately.
The Scottish National Party has promoted the idea of a citizen's pension. Under our prop-osals, each single pensioner would get 110 a week, with each couple getting 168.
Many people have been reading the plethora of comment extolling the virtues of self-invested personal pensions. Mr Brown clearly had other more pressing issues to talk about and so the concept of the "family Sipp" did not appear at the despatch box.
Financial training company fe4 is driving a campaign for improved financial education by working with employment, government and education organisations using IFAs as tutors.
Tele-underwriting can help IFAs save time and costs on bringing in protection business.
You might have read in the financial press in the last couple of months the spat going on between Aberdeen and Close Venture Managers over the management of the Murray Johnstone family of VCTs.
Chancellor Gordon Brown ignited the fire among VCT providers but he seems to have failed to get the fire roaring among investors and IFAs.
Pensions minister Malcolm Wicks has asked the Pensions Management Institute to co-ordinate the establishment of a trustee panel to advise Government thinking.
Scottish Widows Bank will not be drawn into a rate war with rival HSBC which is offering an 8 per cent deal and online banks, says managing director Graeme Hartop.
The closure of Investment Strategies Limited by Bankhall has put into sharp focus the choice between network membership and direct authorisation.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Willetts has revealed that he only suppor-ted the idea of stakeholder pensions after the ABI urged him not to oppose it.