In normal times it’s fair to say the British are reluctant to engage with death. We avoid it as a topic of conversation, and we are not keen on making preparations for it – as evidenced by the 54% of Britons who had not written a will, according to a report commissioned by Royal London just over a year ago.
Pension freedoms figures: notable rise in withdrawals, but five-year data shows more measured approach being taken
Pension freedoms figures released today by HMRC revealed 348,000 people accessed their defined contribution (DC) pension pot in the first quarter of 2020 – an increase of 23% over the same period last year.
The figures also showed that the total amount withdrawn from pensions over the first quarter, £2.46 billion, is up 19% year on year. However, the average amount withdrawn fell by 3%, to £7,100 from £7,300.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that it will put back the introduction of the so-called investment pathways, designed to help people at retirement and entering income drawdown.
Pension providers had been looking at August as the deadline for provision of investment pathways for pension investors, but it has been delayed until February 2021 in the face of disruption to the industry as a result of the coronavirus.
Following concerns last week that expatriates and UK non-residents who find themselves stranded in the UK as a result of the coronavirus shutdowns could end up with unexpected UK tax bills, HMRC has published guidelines on what counts as “exceptional circumstances”.
Like almost every other investment trust, the value-focused Scottish Investment Trust (SCIN) has suffered painful double-digit price falls over the past month. Its share price had declined 30% as of 19 March (although it has bounced 10% today, 20 March), as investors ran for the hills.
British expatriates and non-residents who are stranded in the UK because of coronavirus travel restrictions could face unexpected tax bills, warns accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.
Under what’s known as the statutory residency test (SRT), non-residents and British expats pay UK income tax only on UK earnings; they pay no tax on their overseas earnings, provided they have been absent from the UK for one complete tax year and spend a maximum of 183 days in the UK in any tax year.
Early in January, I came across a tweeted witticism that ran along these lines:
1 January: 2020 off to a good start!
2 January: Australia on fire
3 January: WWIII declared
As part of a big push to deliver prosperity in today’s Budget, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced plans to increase the national living wage (NLW) to reach two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. This means it should stand at more than £10.50 an hour by that tax year.
The end of the tax year is fast approaching, and investors will be finally getting around to dealing with the Isa investment they’ve been meaning to sort out for the last few months.
But the market falls of the past week – the largest since the financial crisis of 2008 – will have made the whole job a much more troubling business for many.
Ten years ago, who’d have predicted that the number of online accounts belonging to direct investors (those without a conventional adviser) would more than double in three years, and rise by 800,000 – 16% – over the course of just 12 months?
Yet those are the findings of a survey of the direct online investing market recently released by consultancy Boring Money. It found not only that direct investor numbers have rocketed, but that the past year alone has seen a 20% rise in assets under administration (AUA) for online providers dealing directly with investors.