15 December 2016

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Rachael Griffin: How to maximise life policy surrenders

Last month’s Autumn Statement confirmed that, from 6 April, HM Revenue & Customs will be allowed to correct the unequal tax positions that can occur when people withdraw money from their life policies. The issue came under the microscope in March 2015, when Joost Lobler won a court case against HMRC. Lobler undertook two large […]

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Tackling the crisis in adviser recruitment

For at least the past decade, there has been a growing awareness that the financial services sector is facing a seemingly unsolvable problem: there are fewer advisers joining the industry than there are leaving. As well as the obvious average age of advisers, there have been wide and varied reasons suggested for why this is […]

Tony Wickenden: How the UK competes on corporation tax

Low corporation tax as a means of differentiation and “national competitive advantage” is in the news. Hungary’s government is to cut its corporate tax rate to the lowest level in the EU in a sign of increasing competitiveness among countries seeking to lure foreign direct investment. The country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says a 9 […]

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‘The world looks very different now’: Pensions suffer death by a thousand cuts

The pensions market continues to undergo a quiet revolution despite the lack of Budget bombshells to contend with. State pension reform, the challenges around defined benefit schemes, and a shift away from guaranteed income in retirement have all been brought to bear in 2016. Hargreaves Lansdown head of retirement policy Tom McPhail says: “2015 was […]

Mel Kenny: Robo-advisers will fail the client service test

Now that technological advances have plateaued, all I want this Christmas is excellent service. I do not need to feel loved by my provider of services but I do need to feel valued. It is that simple. Sitting on hold at length while being told my call is important simply will not do. These automated […]

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The top adviser technology of 2016

This year has seen huge change in all areas of society. In music we lost too many of the people who shaped our lives. In politics, Brexit, Trump and the Italian referendum herald changes that would have been inconceivable 12 months ago. While not on the same scale, this has also been a year of […]

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How the FCA has stepped up adviser oversight in 2016

Advice climbed higher up the FCA’s agenda this year, with a “barrage” of announcements on everything from suitability reports and platform due diligence to compensation scheme levies. With FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey appointed to the role in January, the regulator effectively had a clean slate from which to work. By March the regulator, together […]

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Steve Webb: Re-writing the DB transfer rules

In the past few years, house price inflation has run at such a rate that people’s homes have earned more money than they have. The same has started to be true for some people with defined benefit pension rights. The recent fall in interest rates means the transfer values being offered by many DB pension […]

Have government bonds lost their safe haven shine?

Post-Brexit and post-Trump, investors will be wondering whether they should be putting safety first. And, if so, how? After a year of political shocks, and with elections in France and Germany due next year, taking refuge in a safe haven asset might seem appealing. But what if those havens are not to be found in […]

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Why the Govt’s pensions policy needs reviewing

When Andrew Bailey swept into power as FCA chief executive, it signalled a new regulatory era. He came in and started afresh. The resulting Mission document, which sounds vague in the extreme, stemmed from Bailey’s desire to reassess whether the regulator’s priorities are the right ones and on that basis, the Mission is well founded. […]

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Nic Cicutti: Martin Bamford is missing the point on charges debate

Many years ago, I allowed myself to be lured temporarily from a career in journalism to a more uncertain but far more lucrative opportunity in the world of internet-based financial services. It soon became clear my bosses had a penchant for putting every idea out to be tested by all manner of focus groups. The […]