Faith Glasgow

FCA pension figures show retirees following high-risk strategies

The latest retirement income market data published by the FCA reveals that 645,000 pension plans were accessed in 2018/19, of which 55% – 355,000 – were fully withdrawn. Just 11% of plans were used to buy an annuity.

Of those pots that were fully withdrawn, 90% were valued at less than £30,000. Meanwhile, among retirees taking a regular income from their pension, 40% were taking out cash at unsustainably high withdrawal rates of 8%-plus.

Supreme Court decision: what could it mean for investors?

The Supreme Court ruled today (24 September) that the prorogation of Parliament by prime minister Boris Johnson was unlawful, meaning that Parliament will sit again tomorrow (25 September).

Sterling has strengthened this morning against the US dollar and the euro on the indication that a no-deal Brexit is now considerably less likely as the government as failed to restrict Parliament’s input into the process.

Editor’s Comment: our new look Money Observer magazine

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.

Five million savers in danger of losing retirement funds to scammers

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.

HMRC self-assessment glitches mean taxpayers could face cash flow problems

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.

Editor’s Comment: why is Lasting Power of Attorney such a big deal?

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.

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.