Faith Glasgow

The Isa is 20 years old: is it time for a birthday shake-up?

When the then chancellor Gordon Brown introduced Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) as an enhanced, more generous version of tax-free Personal Equity Plans 20 years ago in 1999, his aim was a pretty simple one: he wanted to get ordinary people more engaged with their finances, and in particular promote the idea that stockmarket investment was the best way to build a more prosperous long-term future.

Pension freedoms tax trap catches out up to 150,000 each quarter 

Latest figures from HMRC show that £433 million has been reclaimed in total since pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015.

The changes have enabled people to withdraw as much of their pension pot as they want, but if they withdraw a large lump sum, or even the whole pension, on their first withdrawal they are in danger of being hit by a punitive ‘emergency tax’, which they then have to reclaim from HMRC.

Top manager departs from biggest Europe fund: should investors stick or twist?

Alexander Darwall is to stand down from management of the biggest fund in the IA European ex UK sector, Jupiter European, which he has managed since 2001. The £5.3 billion fund has substantially outperformed the IA Europe ex UK sector over one, three and five years – over five years it has gained 80%, more than twice as much as the sector average (36%).

He is also stepping back from the offshore version of the fund, the £2.4 billion Luxembourg-based Jupiter European Growth.

This cunning tax-year-end plan could help retirees save 20% tax

Up to 75,000 pensioners with annual incomes approaching £50,000 could save 20% tax by delaying their final pension payout of the tax year until after 6 April.

The higher rate income tax threshold is due to rise from £46,350 to £50,000 on 6 April, which means that those with incomes within this range will be paying 20% rather than a marginal rate of 40% tax from next tax year.

What can be done to get rid of the pensions gender gap?

International Women’s Day provides a great opportunity to flag up the gender gap holding women back as far as their retirement provision is concerned.

Women’s pension pots are 40% smaller than men’s on average in the UK, according to a survey carried out by Profile Pensions. They have an average £23,800 in their fund, compared with £39,500 for men.

Government should encourage people to pass on wealth during their lifetime

Research commissioned by wealth manager Quilter shows that younger generations who receive ‘lifetime gifts’ from their parents and grandparents benefit more than those who don’t receive an inheritance until the death of their relatives.

The research shows that more than 60% of those who receive money from living relatives say it makes a substantial difference to their lives, compared with 42% of those who inherit on death.