Stephen Little

Buying premium bonds for children just got easier

Anyone can now buy premium bonds for children, including aunts, uncles and family friends.

Previously, only a parent, grandparent or guardian could buy premium bonds in a child’s name.

This change to premium bonds was first announced in the October 2018 Budget and is aimed at creating a stronger savings culture.

This latest improvement to premium bonds follows the reduction of the minimum investment from £100 to £25 in February this year. The maximum that you can spend on premium bonds is £50,000.

Risk of recession as UK economy shrinks in second quarter

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.2% between April and June following a “robust” first quarter of 0.5% growth, according to the Office for National Statistics. On an annual basis economic growth fell to 1.2% from 1.8%.

Following the announcement, the pound fell sharply, after the figures raised fears of a recession. Despite output falling, it is not technically a recession until GDP has fallen two quarters in row.

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Fraudsters using fake celebrity news in ‘get rich quick’ investment scam

Scam artists are using fake news stories on social media featuring celebrities such as Holly Willoughby to trick unsuspecting people into signing up to “get rich quick” investment schemes.

The criminals are using photographs taken from Ms Willoughby interviewing Akshay Ruparelia, who became a millionaire after launching his online estate agent while still at school.

However, instead of the actual interview in which Mr Ruparelia talked about his business, the story explains how people can sign up to an online trading platform that does not actually exist.

Billions lost while just 10 FCA staff dedicated to pension scams

The Work and Pensions select committee is calling on the financial regulator to devote more resources to pension scams after it emerged that pension companies are swindling billions from customers.

A parliamentary inquiry has found that unscrupulous advisers are fleecing pension savers out of £2 billion in unnecessary fees and charges.

Defined benefit pensions: FCA seeks ban on advisers’ contingent fees

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is putting forward proposals to ban financial advisers from getting paid only when a customer moves a pension pot – also known as contingent charging.

At the moment, anyone looking to transfer out of a defined benefit pension scheme needs to get financial advice before doing so, if their pot is worth more than £30,000.

HMRC investigates one in four inheritance tax payers

A quarter of all estates that are paying inheritance tax are being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). 

Over 5,000 inheritance tax (IHT) investigations are opened by HMRC each year, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from wealth management firm Quilter.

There were around 22,000 estates liable for IHT in the 2018/19 tax year according to HMRC figures. This means around 25% of estates were investigated.