Employer contributions »
HMRC says that it "will be publishing guidance for inspectors in
advance of 6 April 2006 which will say that inspectors who want to
query the allowability of an employer deduction should first seek
guidance from Audit & Pension Scheme Services (APSS)". It does
not say what the APSS guidance will be. HMRC has confirmed that an
employer contribution made within an accounting period ending after
5 April 2006 will be subject to the new allowability rules, even if
the payment is made before A-day. This means companies with
year-ends of 31 December have under three months of the old
allowability regime left. Note, however, that contrary to some
reports, the annual allowance only applies from A-day.
Enhanced protection and life cover »
Any post-A-day contributions made in respect of an individual to
a money purchase arrangement (other than a "cash balance"
arrangement) will invalidate enhanced protection. HMRC say this
restriction includes any life cover contributions, whether funded
within the arrangement or by means of a policy with an insurance
company. However, if the scheme uses any pre-A-day funds to provide
or increase life cover within an existing arrangement, enhanced
protection will remain.
Hansard goes »
The Hansard procedure for dealing with tax fraud is no more. The
new HMRC process, set out in a revised code of practice 9 (COP 9)
explicitly removes the threat of prosecution unless "materially
false" information is provided. Thus someone who becomes subject to
COP 9 can refuse to co-operate with HMRC, safe in the knowledge
that if they say nothing, they will not be prosecuted.
News from the PFS from October 2005 »
News from the PFS from October 2005.
CII details new exams structure »
The Chartered Insurance Institute is introducing a new framework
for financial planning examinations. Bob Bullivant explains
the impact of the changes. In my July article in 'Financial
Solutions' I outlined the apporach that the CII is taking in
relation to the new suite of financial planning examinations, with
effect from this autumn onwards...
Employers and the new simplified pension regime »
Pension simplification must have beaten even depolarisation for
column inches in the last six months, but in most cases the
articles have been dominated by figures and run-downs of what will
happen and when. Robert Reid offers a more discursive
analysis the biggest change to affect the market for years.
The aim of this article is to give context to some of the more
important issues surrounding simplification...
Get to grips with the Handbook »
John Ellis examines the proposed changes to the FSA Handbook and
suggests how these will impact on the working lives of the
financial advice community. CP05/10, which appeared from the
FSA in July, reviews the Handbook provisions on money laundering,
approved persons, training and competence and conduct of
business. The approach to the Handbook now increasingly
emphasises high level principles...
Financial sanctions: legal update »
The Bank of England reminds Society members of details of
compliance requirements regarding financial sanctions-related
legislation in the UK. The Financial Sanctions Unit of the
Bank of England sent the following letter to the Personal Finance
Society, and to other organisations such as the ABI, Investment
Managers Association and AIFA. It is important all members
read and digest its contents...
Any cure for 'black hole' blues? »
David Davison explains the 'moral hazard' provisions of the
Pensions Act. How often we hear of corporate takeovers danger
of collapse because of concerns over the "black hole" in the
pension fund. Clearly, fears over pension scheme liabilities
are curbing M&A activity. Last year saw the collapse of
deals involving WH Smith and Marks & Spencer...
Gill Cardy meets Walter Merricks »
When Personal Finance Society member director Gill Cardy met the
Financial Ombudsman, she found him to be sympathetic to the
Society's ambitions to spread professionalism through the advice
community. "The process of professionalising advice will help
improve the advice process," says Walter Merricks. "There is
a clear need for advisers to exhibit professionalism as a way to
improve consumer confidence...
Maximise your motivation »
Has your get-up-and-go got up and left? Motivation is
essential for success, but even for the best of us it can sometimes
be in short supply. Karl Hartey suggests how you can find the
desire and commitment to achieve your targets. We all need
motivation. We need something to get us out of bed in the
morning, to get us into the car or onto the train, something to
force us to pick up the telephone or take the book down from the
Developing assessment skills »
In the first of a two-part series, Ian Patterson suggests how
supervise can get to grips with the key skills the FSA expects them
to demonstrate. Do you supervise someone who provides
investment advice to individual clients? If so, do you know
that the FSA specifically expects you to be able to demonstrate
Valuing your business process »
Austyn Smith continues his series on re-engineering adviser
businesses. Many clients have been badly educated by our
industry and by personal finance press over the years. For
too long our profession has delegated responsbility for too many
important issues, and it's time we reclaimed our reputation and
marketed ourselves in a positive fashion...
Pensions term assurance »
The FSA has proposed that pensions term assurance should move
from the COB (investment business) to ICOB (general insurance)
framework from 6 April 2006. This would give non-investment firms
the opportunity to rebroke life term cover from A-day. Pension term
rates will normally be higher than life term because expenses are
not tax-relieved, but tax relief on premiums should tip the scales
in favour of the pension route.
Empty shops »
Commercial property funds are still delivering attractive
returns. The average life fund is up 13.5% in the last 12 months to
1 September, while the average pension fund has risen 15.8%.
Nevertheless, the retail sector has clouds gathering around it.
According to one leading agent, vacant shop space has increased by
45% in the past year.