This is a big year for us at Money Observer: the upcoming October issue marks 40 years since the magazine’s launch as a quarterly supplement to The Observer broadsheet. To ensure it stays trim, youthful and fully on the ball going into its fifth decade, we felt the run-up to encroaching middle age was a good time to take stock and undertake something of a makeover.
New research from the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pension Regulator suggests that 42% of people investing for retirement – amounting to five million people across the UK – are at risk of being conned out of their pension by scammers using a range of tactics.
Alarmingly for Money Observer readers, the research shows that those who consider themselves to be financially astute are just as likely to lose money to these schemes.
The latest figures on the flexible payments withdrawn by those aged 55 and over from their pension funds show a record £2.75 billion was taken out in the second quarter of 2019. That figure is 21% up on the £2.27 billion withdrawn in Q2 of 2018, the previous record.
Incorrect or missing self-assessment statements to taxpayers from HMRC could mean self-employed taxpayers pay the wrong amount at their half-yearly settlement on 31 July, according to leading accountancy firms.
The problem has been flagged up by Moore Stephens and Blick Rothenberg. Both have a number of clients who have either not received their usual half-yearly statement, or who have received it but find it shows a zero balance even though payments were due.
The conversation with elderly parents or friends about putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – a legal document that appoints one or more individuals (attorneys) to make financial and/or healthcare decisions on their behalf if they lose the mental capacity to run their own life – is unlikely to be a particularly easy one to start.
The board of Woodford Patient Capital (WPCT), Neil Woodford’s investment trust investing predominantly in early-stage companies, has announced plans to reduce gearing levels and reduce the discount.
Following discussions with shareholders, the WPCT board plans to address a number of concerns, including gearing levels, the share price discount to net asset value (NAV) and “ongoing developments” at Woodford Investment Management.
Brokers’ buy lists are once again under the spotlight, following the controversy surrounding the lockdown of Neil Woodford’s flagship Woodford Equity Income fund at the beginning of June.
In the third episode of our jargon-free video series on self-invested personal pensions, or Sipps, Money Observer editor Faith Glasgow explains the “beauty of the tax wrapper”, but points out that there is no guarantee that the status quo will continue, so investors ought to reap the rewards while they can.
Savers with large pension pots who have protected their value using the ‘fixed protection’ rules but have accidentally breached the limit could benefit from the outcome of a crucial court case.
It is possible to apply to protect your lifetime pension allowance (now £1,055,000) from previous reductions in the lifetime allowance (LTA) – most recently in 2016, when it was cut from £1.25 million to £1 million.
Prior to the past few months, I have had personal dealings with financial advisers only a couple of times. In my first encounter, several decades ago, I was persuaded it would be a shrewd move to pull out of the company pension and open a personal pension with the Equitable Life. That was not my finest hour, with hindsight, though I was not alone: you would be surprised how many financial journalists in the 1990s lost their savings that way.