Blog

280 – ANNUITY RATES HIT 25 YEAR RECORD LOW

Annuity rates hit their lowest level since 1994 in September, with implications for those making retirement decisions. Since the introduction of pensions flexibility in 2015, annuities have become much less popular as a way of converting a pension fund into income. The most recent figures from the Financial Conduct Authority show that over five times…

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278 – CRACKING DOWN ON COMPLIANCE PAYS FOR HMRC

New figures show HMRC’s “customer compliance” efforts are yielding substantial sums. In early August, HMRC issued its annual report and accounts for 2018/19. While not everyone’s choice of holiday reading, it did contain some eye-opening information about the “compliance yield” - how much HMRC raised from its work in countering tax avoidance schemes, tax evasion…

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275 – A BUMPY RIDE FOR AUGUST ON THE MARKETS

Stock markets, as well as some family holidaymakers, experienced a roller coaster August. The traditional holiday month proved to be anything but quiet on the world’s investment markets. Inevitably the downward trends attracted more attention, particularly the fall in US share values on 13 August. “Dow drops 800 points” is a headline that newspaper editors…

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274 – MONEY PURCHASE ANNUAL ALLOWANCE PENALTIES

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed a gap in HMRC’s knowledge about how many people have been hit with penalties around the annual allowance. The annual allowance, which effectively sets the tax-efficient ceiling on annual pension contributions, used to be a subject of little interest, even among pension professionals. When it started life…

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270 – STUDENT FEES MAY BE CALMING DOWN

A government-commissioned report has proposed significant changes to the funding of university students in England. Students resident in England (different rules apply in other parts of the UK) pay a maximum university tuition fee of £9,250 per year, financed by a student loan. Further loans to cover maintenance plus interest at RPI+3% mean that at…

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264 – DIVIDENDS WOBBLE WITH 40% CUTS

A new set of proposals for funding long-term care has emerged from a significant source. The funding of long-term care is an issue that beats even Brexit in terms of protracted political procrastination. A Royal Commission on the subject was established in 1997 and reported in 1999. Its proposals were rejected by the then Labour…

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