Amps plea to simplify investment valuation

The Association of Member-directed Pension Schemes plans to lobby the Government to simplify the way providers value pension investments in stocks and shares.

HMRC rules state that prov-iders must follow a complex “quarter up” valuation process when valuing quoted assets held in a pension scheme.

To do this, Sipp firms have to complete two sets of calculations, compare them and take the lower of the two values.

Amps chairman Robert Graves says the trade body plans to lobby the Treasury for simplification of the rules.

He says: “The valuation process is extremely complex and the data is not readily available. The process is pretty messy already and it is only going to get worse as phased drawdown becomes more popular.

“The Treasury is also looking at linking Isas and pensions but at the moment if you want to transfer assets from an Isa to a pension, you are hampered by this archaic valuation process. It would be far easier and more logical if we could go to something like bid price on the previous day because that is what you would fetch if you sold them on the open market.”

Amps is also pushing for simplification of the rules concerning in-specie transfers to allow scheme members to shift investments such as Isas and unit trusts directly into a personal pension.

Current rules force the scheme member to take on a debt obligation to the pension scheme before completing an in-specie transfer.

A J Bell technical marketing manager and Amps member Gareth James says: “The Government has demonstrated a willingness to engage with the industry in removing barriers to saving. The key is to come up with something simple and the removal of the requirement to create a debt is an obvious solution.”