View more on these topics


There has been no summer lull for anyone wanting to keep up to date with the Government’s pension movements. The industry has been showered with a huge number of consultations and reviews by a new administration keen to make its mark.

Scrapping Labour’s proposed complex restrictions to higher-rate pension tax relief in favour of a lower annual allowance has gone down well.

However, a growing number of commentators say they would rather see this allowance lowered further in exchange for tax relief being kept at the marginal rate.

It may well be that the annual allowance changes are just a stepping stone to more radical reform of the tax relief system as the Government looks to slash costs.

In this month’s Retirement Strategy, Lee Jones hears from some industry voices, including Scottish Widows head of pensions market development Ian Naismith, who believe that fundamental reform of pension tax relief is required.

In our cover interview, Centre for Retirement Reform director general John Jory also suggests that the money currently spent on higher-rate pension tax relief could be put to better use.

There is no doubt that pensions tax relief spending is going to come under greater scrutiny from politicians but they should be very cautious that any alternatives do not damage parts of the pension system that are working pretty well. It is always worth repeating the fact that, on many occasions, the full level of tax is simply deferred rather than relieved and that any alternatives do not lead to individuals facing double taxation.

A central aim of Jory’s thinktank is to push for a universal state pension at or above the current means-testing level, an expensive move which, as Jory acknowledges, will have to be self-funded through other pension changes. The thinktank suggests this could be partly funded by a more radical increase in the state retirement age although tax relief reform could also be added to this equation.

A higher basic universal pension has got to be the best foundation for every other aspect of pension reform and we know current pensions minister Steve Webb believes this to be the case.

With Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith squabbling over money, it may be a tough argument to win with the Treasury. But the success of other pension reforms, particularly Nest, may rest on creating this solid foundation.

Paul McMillan
Retirement Strategy



Misplaced trust in banks

I heard a tale the other day of a 70-year old pensioner who recently popped into his local Barclays to complain about the poor service he had been getting (a cheque had been mislaid) but, more important, to moan about the paltry 0.1 per cent he was getting on several years’ worth of cash Isas. […]


Darling admits failure of banker bonus tax

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted that his tax on banker bonuses failed to change industry behaviour, because banks were able to work around the levy. Speaking at a Nomura conference yesterday, Darling (pictured) said it is is unlikely that the tax will be revived by the coalition Government, but warned the industry could face […]

Intelligent Pensions bolsters management team

Intelligent Pensions has recruited Andrew Pennie as marketing director.  Pennie joins Intelligent Pensions from Santander Private Banking, where he was marketing director for James Hay and Cater Allen Private Bank. Pennie previously spent 10 years at the likes of Ernst & Young, HSBC and Lloyds Private Banking. Intelligent Pensions managing director Steve Patterson says: “Given […]

Open-ended property funds caution

Investors who cannot afford a decent spread of individual property investments should avoid the commercial sector, claims Tritax, a specialist firm. Anthony Wyld, the head of marketing at the group – which manages £2 billion in commercial assets – says while there are talented managers running open-ended property vehicles, the influence of fund inflows and […]

Harris Associates' view on the UK’s vote to leave the EU

By David Herro, Partner, Deputy Chairman, Portfolio Manager and Chief Investment Officer of International Equity at Harris Associates Britain’s vote to exit the European Union has led to significant uncertainty across global markets. We believe market impact of this uncertainty, though severe, is more of a shorter-term phenomenon which will provide an opportunity for long-term […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm