Faith Glasgow

Board plans tighter controls and reduced gearing for Woodford Patient Capital

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.

Getting to grip with Sipps: what about the tax perks?

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.

Revenue court climbdown offers hope for pension Lifetime Allowance breaches  

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.

Editor’s Comment: what I learned when I met two financial planners

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.

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.