24 November 2016

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Malcolm McLean: Simplify pensions once and for all

For almost the entire 20 years I have worked in pensions people have said the same thing: “Pensions are too complicated. I don’t understand them. They need to be simpler.” This inevitably leads on to statements like: “I can’t be bothered with paying into a pension. I don’t trust either the pensions industry or the […]

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How dangerous is the decline of annuity competition?

The stockmarket took just under an hour to decide former chancellor George Osborne’s pension freedoms spelled doom for traditional annuities. The share prices of Just Retirement and Partnership – which, as enhanced annuity specialists, were severely exposed – plummeted in the wake of the announcement. Traditional insurers were also hit, although these more diversified businesses […]

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Claire Trott: The worrying statistics on overpaid pensions tax

Each quarter, HM Revenue & Customs publishes statistics on what has been happening since the pension freedoms came into force. While currently lacking context as they were optional last year, some new figures published this quarter are very interesting. They relate to the amount of tax that has been overpaid by members who have flexibly […]

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Why your advice firm should consider branding itself a wealth manager

I was recently having a chat with a friend who runs his own accountancy practice. He is quite a progressive accountant and likes advising clients on how to run their businesses more efficiently, including using cashflow forecasting. The problem is he is a victim of his own success: once he transforms their record keeping his firm’s fees […]

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At what rate do annuities become a good buy?

In last month’s column, I was downbeat about annuities because of low yields, a disappointing outcome from the FCA’s enhanced annuity review and the U-turn on the secondary market. This month, yields have increased, and I am more upbeat. Let me be clear: annuities are a long way from getting to the level where they […]

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MAS chief: What the new guidance body should look like

Helping people acquire the skills and confidence to handle money issues and manage through critical financial events is one of the great social challenges in this turbulent world. As such, the Government is currently considering the scope and functions of a single body to oversee money guidance in the UK. Many people across socio-economic groups […]

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Steve Webb: The self-employed are in a pensions crisis

When it comes to workers in employment, the last four years has seen a radical transformation in pension scheme membership. Thanks to auto-enrolment, there are now six million more people saving into a pension than there were in 2012, with that number set to rise further as the smallest firms and those formed since work […]

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Reading the small print on treatment of death benefits

Sam and David have been friends all their lives. They live next door to each other, work at the same company and socialise together. They are both married and each have two young children. Looking to the future, they are keen to make sure that, in the event of their deaths, their respective wives would […]

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Stephanie Flanders: End of the road for extreme monetary policy

Two key factors that have shaped the global economic landscape over the past several years are changing. Each points in the direction of falling government bond prices and rising yields. The first big change is the “end of deflation” – or at least the end of fears of global deflation. Inflation in developed economies has not […]