Extend the fixed protection deadline, says Axa Wealth

Axa Wealth is urging the Government to delay the fixed protection deadline by 12 months due to concerns about advisers’ workloads ahead of the retail distribution review and regulatory change.

Last year, ministers set out sweeping changes to pension rules which saw the annual allowance for tax-privileged pension saving cut from £255,000 to £50,000 from April last year.

The lifetime allowance will also be reduced from £1.8m to £1.5m from April 6 this year. Savers have until April 5 to apply for fixed protection in order to retain the £1.8m allowance for their fund.

Failure to apply for fixed protection will result in savings above £1.5m being taxed at 55 per cent.

Axa Wealth head of technical sales Andy Zanelli says: “Advisers have a huge amount to deal with at the moment. They are preparing their business for the RDR while coping with an economic crisis and a huge overhaul of pension rules and regulations.

“Given all these pressures, I think HM Revenue & Customs needs to look at the rationale for the April 2012 fixed protection deadline. Pushing the deadline back by 12 months would not burden the Revenue and would also give IFAs breathing space.”

Wingate Financial Planning director Alistair Cunningham says: “The deadline for applying for fixed protection has been short, so a delay would be welcome but any adviser doing their job properly should be on top of this issue.”