Around 3,000 funds are listed in the Investment Association’s sector classifications and are readily available to private investors, so it’s easy to understand why many people trying to set up or add to a portfolio may feel like rabbits in the headlights, overwhelmed by far too much choice. And that’s before you throw in another 400-plus investment trusts and the ever-expanding universe of ETFs tracking market indices or ‘weighted’ versions of them.
If you’re in your early 60s and looking forward to retirement, the past couple of months have hardly been a time for celebration of the approach of your golden years – indeed, quite the opposite. On 6 November 2018, the state pension age (SPA) for men and women was briefly equalised as women’s SPA rose to 65. It’s the latest hike in a series of adjustments that started in 2010 and were accelerated in 2011, designed to bring men and women into line in state pension terms.
In a financial world where transparency for consumers has become a huge buzzword in recent years, one of the biggest relics from a past, non-digital age is the platform exit fee.
For the past two decades or so, as final salary schemes have declined and it has become increasingly clear that the state pension alone will be barely enough to scrape by on, we have been exhorted by the powers that be to take control of our own financial destiny.
The 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which precipitated the global financial crisis in mid-September 2008, has provided a great opportunity for the financial services industry’s statistics geeks to wheel out some impressive figures demonstrating the power of long-term equity investment to dull the pain of market crashes – and the extent of people’s capacity to be wise after the event.
The Lifetime Isa (Lisa) has been surrounded by controversy ever since its adoption in April 2017. It’s the seventh member of the Isa family, and one that appears to have been set up specifically to squabble not only with at least one of its siblings, but also with its pension cousins just down the road.
More than three years have passed since George Osborne announced a raft of pension freedoms leaving us in charge of our own financial destinies for retirement. Now, a review by the Financial Conduct Authority, focusing on consumers who have not taken professional advice, has revealed how we’re getting to grips with our new opportunities and responsibilities.
We have run queries on the letters pages of previous issues of Money Observer from readers concerned about the safety of the investments they hold on broker platforms in the event of their broker going to the wall. We’ve reassured them that rules set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) mean their funds (and cash) must be held in a separate nominee account that cannot be raided by a broker or its creditors if the firm goes out of business.
Passwords. We all know they have to be there to keep the data we put online safe – but everyone hates them, and as more and more aspects of our lives have become digitally governed, the problems they bring have got worse. Not only do we need them for growing numbers of accounts, but there’s increasing pressure to make them more secure by introducing kooky characters or making them longer or more random.