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Brown reckoned to be moving to axe or tax Asps

Fears are growing that Chancellor Gordon Brown will introduce plans to reduce the attractiveness of alternatively secured pensions or scrap them entirely in this year’s pre-Budget report.

The Treasury originally raised concern in September by warning Money Market- ing that it would scrap Asps if advisers continued to “wilfully abuse” them to avoid inheritance tax.

The intention of Asps was to offer an alternative to people with religious views objecting to annuiti- sation, such as the Plymouth Brethren.

Money Marketing now understands that one Government source has revealed plans to announce the removal of Asps in the next pre-Budget report, a year after its infamous U-turn on residential property in Sipps.

But persistent market rumours also suggest the Government will alter Asps, making them far less attractive to people outside the Plymouth Brethren.

Some commentators, including Scottish Widows head of pensions market development Ian Naismith, believe that a complete ban is unlikely as the Government will breach human rights legislation by not catering for those with objections to annuitisation.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “First, the Government is guilty of blatant religious discrimination without any apparent awareness of the unacceptability of its behaviour and then, rather than simply confirming that Asps can ind- eed be used by all and not just by a minority of relig- ious fundamentalists, it compounds its error by moving to close it down.”

The Treasury declined to comment.


Alliance & Leicester launches offshore bond

Alliance & Leicester International has launched a one year fixed rate bond with a fixed interest rate of 5.5 per cent.Customers can deposit between £5,000 and £1m into the bond which matures on October 31 2007.Savers have a choice to have their interest paid on the maturity of the bond or on a monthly basis. […]

Just Retirement reveals good consumer knowledge of equity release

Most customers believe they understand equity release, according to a study from Just Retirement.It found consumers carrying out research both well before the sale and during the purchase, reading information and discussing the decision with family and friends as well as professional advisers. Additionally, the majority of customers appeared to be well aware of the […]

Matter of principles

Investment management is a crowded, highly competitive field in which everyone is trying to be different but the real opportunities for innovation are rare. Most of them turn out to be, at best, reinventing the wheel. At worst, they are blind alleys encased in the jargon of the times, which leave the client worse off […]

MEPs in probe on Equitable Life

A delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament committee of inquiry is to visit London on October 16 to take evidence on whether UK regulators supervised Equitable Life’s practices rigorously enough.

Cricket - thumbnail

England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.


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