Posts Tagged ‘pensions’

What Does The 2016 Budget Mean for Pensions?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

What Does The 2016 Budget Mean for Pensions-On 16th March 2016, Chancellor George Osbourne announces the 2016 Budget.

Speculation on what will be changed has been on-going for months with recent reports (BBC, 2nd March) suggesting that the government was considering:

  • Abolishing the 25% lump sum which pensioners are allowed to withdraw tax free when their pensions mature
  • Cutting the maximum annual contribution
  • And perhaps even abolishing the entire tax relief system.

Rumoured Changes to Pensions

Tax relief on pension contributions is a growing issue for the economy. Employees benefit from tax relief because the portion of their income that goes into their pension is not taxed. Currently, the more income tax you pay, the more tax relief you receive on your pension contributions. Changes to this system could save the country a lot of money, and benefit some pension savers too.

HMRC data shows that total tax relief on registered pension schemes doubled between 2001-2 and 2013-14. At the moment, pension contributions are not taxed, but money taken out is taxed. Top rate taxpayers get 45% tax relief on their pension, higher rate taxpayers get 40%, and basic rate taxpayers get 20%. Higher rate and additional rate taxpayers receive two thirds of tax relief. Life expectancy continues to rise, meaning that tax relief on pensions is costing the country more as time goes on.

Flat Rate of Tax Relief on Contributions

One option that was considered was bringing in a flat rate of tax relief on contributions. Changing the system so that everyone gets the same level of tax relief would save the government a huge amount of money and benefit most ordinary people. However, this would be unpopular with wealthier people and, according to some, more difficult to administer.

The second option was to change pensions to resemble Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs). With an ISA or the possible new style of pension, contributions would be taxed beforehand via income tax, but withdrawals from the pension pot would not be taxed.

A less drastic option is for Osbourne to reduce the maximum pension contributions that individuals can make in a single tax year. Currently, everyone can save up to £40,000 per year into a pension. According to the BBC, it is “highly likely” that this will reduce, perhaps to as low as £25,000.

This option is less radical than overhauling tax relief, but it could be significant for people who have fallen behind on pension contributions and want to catch up as they approach retirement. The annual allowance has been reduced previously, being cut from £50,000 to £40,000 in 2014. Savers who want to contribute more than these amounts may want to consider getting pension advice soon, as future budgets may see further cuts to this allowance.

Latest News on Pensions in the 2016 Budget

On the 5th March it was reported that the Chancellor had ditched the proposed changes to tax relief on pensions. This means that upfront tax relief will remain, and there will be no flat rate of tax relief after all. However, these changes may still happen in future. An anonymous source at the Treasury told the BBC that this was “not to right time” to make these changes. The proposed changes would have cost the wealthy but encouraged lower earners to save more for retirement.

The announcement was disappointing for some, including the National Pensioners Convention, but ex-pensions minister Steve Webb said it was the right decision. Eleanor Garnier, the BBC’s political correspondent, speculated that the decision not to reform pension tax relief at this time may be related to the upcoming EU referendum, with George Osborne steering away from upsetting voters.

What Can You Do?

Although tax relief is not being addressed in this Budget, Osbourne still has the option of reducing allowances and making other changes to the system. Pension savers of all ages would do well to monitor their own arrangements, get pension advice from qualified pension advisers, and ensure they are contributing enough to see them through in light of changes that may or may happen next week.

If you are looking for advice on pensions, you can contact the advisers at Maxim Wealth Management for a free consultation: 0141 764 0040 (Glasgow office) 0207 112 8654 (London office)

The Pension Changes You Need to Know

Friday, February 5th, 2016

The Pension Changes You Need to KnowGeorge Osborne delivered his Spending Review and Autumn Statement on the 25th November last year.

In this statement the Chancellor did not announce any radical changes to the private pension system, for the first in this Parliament. He did however set out proposals for other areas regarding pensions which are detailed below.

The full changes will be understood in the March 2016 Budget.

New Basic State Pension

The new basic state pension will increase by £3.35 to £119.30 a week on April 6, the biggest rise in 15 years.

A New Flat-Rate Pension Will Be Implemented

There will be a new flat-rate pension set at £155.65 a week for anyone who reaches state pension age on or after April 6 next year. For someone working full-time today this equates to approximately 60% of the living wage.

The new flat-rate pensions aims to eliminate the current, complicated systems in which people receive a basic pension as well as extra payments based on their NI contributions.

Auto-Enrolment Delayed

A planned increase in the minimum pensions contributions employers would have to give their staff has been pushed back. The auto-enrolment, originally planned for October 2017 and 2018 will now come into force in April 2018 and 2019 instead.

Changes to Pension Credit

People who claim pension credit will have their payments stopped if they are out of the UK for more than four weeks. This replaces the old limit of 13 weeks.

The State Pension Age Will Rise

From 2020, the state pension age will be 66 for both men and women. This will increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028, and will be then linked to life expectancy after that.

ISA Allowance Frozen

The ISA allowance will be frozen at £15,240 and at £4,080 for Junior ISAs.

Are You Confused About Pension Changes?

If you are confused about the changes in pensions, or are unsure what the best saving vehicle is for you and your family, you should speak to a financial adviser who will be able to explain the possible options available to you.

Maxim Wealth Management are an independent financial advice company, with offices in Glasgow and London, covering the whole of the UK. To discuss your pension or retirement please contact us today:


Glasgow: 0141 764 0040

London: 0203 841 9941

Pension Transfer Advice

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Pension Transfer Advice

Pension transfer advice, for the pot that you have accrued.  Most people switch jobs several times during their working life.  When you change employers, it is worth thinking about, combining your pensions into one pot.  It is easier to keep an eye on fund performance if your pensions are all under one umbrella.  A single pension pot will incur less paperwork and administration, and could also generate lower costs and better overall performance.  Sounds like a no-brainer?  In theory yes, however, there are some important issues to consider before taking the plunge seek independent Pension Transfer Advice.

Occpational Pension Schemes

Most occupational pension schemes and private schemes can be transferred, but there are restrictions and potential pitfalls.  It is not usually worth transferring final-salary or public-sector pension schemes the benefits are too good to lose.  You should only transfer if you have actually left a company.  If your current employer contributes to your existing occupational pension scheme, you should not switch.  Also it is worth noting that the money in your pension can only be transferred from one pension scheme to another (until you have retired), and not every new pension scheme accepts inward transfers.

Small Pension Pots

If your pension pot is very small, it may not be worthwhile switching: you will have to pay charges when you transfer, and some providers impose harsh penalties if you leave their scheme.  And, if you are relatively close to retirement, you might not have sufficient time to recover the costs incurred by transferring.

According to the Pensions Advisory Service, the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) is set to publish a consultation paper examining the consolidation of small pension pots.  Possible approaches could see your pension pot moving with you when you change your employer; alternatively, when you change your job, your pension pot could be left behind and – unless you decide to opt out – the cash would automatically be transferred to a central aggregator fund.  The DWP believes the changes would increase the visibility of pensions saving: instead of seeing several small figures, each individual would be able to view one larger, consolidated figure.

Transferring and aggregating your pension pots might generate significant long-term benefits; however, any decision to do so should be taken for the right reasons.  Tread carefully and, above all, take expert advice before making an irreversible decision.  For Pension Transfer Advice contact Maxim Wealth Management  who are well-placed to help you with this.

Retirement Planning

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

When it comes to retirement planning, time is one of the most important assets you have to save for retirement.

It takes a long time to build up the investments needed to provide a comfortable retirement income and the sooner you start retirement planning and saving, the better.  Even putting a small amount away on a regular basis, if done long term, can make a difference.  Both occupational or company pension schemes and personal pensions are tax-efficient.

Your contributions to company pension schemes are deducted from pay before tax is calculated and for contributions to personal schemes, tax you have paid before you make your contribution is reclaimed for you by your provider.  In to each type of plan you can contribute up to £3,600, 100% of your net relevant earnings or £50,000 (for tax year 2011/12), whichever is the greater and you can then use your personal income tax allowances before calculating the tax you pay when that pension finally pays out.

If you work for more than one employer, a financial adviser can help you check your previous company schemes and work out what you are entitled to.  Your retirement planning might also include individual savings accounts (ISAs) which are tax-efficient ‘wrappers’ all profits earned on investments held inside them are paid out to you free of further tax.  The amount of money you can invest in an ISA is also subject to limits (£10,680, tax year 2011/12), but it is worth getting into the habit early.

If you think you could benefit from retirement planning we’d be happy to offer our services.  But don’t delay because the longer you put off planning for your retirement the less retirement income you’ll have.  Call us now on 0141 764 0040 and let’s see if you can help.  Contact Us.

Pension sharing on divorce Scotland

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Pension Sharing on Divorce Scotland

To achieve your fair share of pension rights and a clean break you will need expert legal and financial advice, especially where divorce is taking place between older couples and a considerable pension fund built up over the life of the marriage.

The allocation of pension rights on divorce is a particularly sensitive issue mainly because women are likely to have much smaller pension pots than men.  This is usually for two main reasons – women on average earn less than men and they are more likely to have spent time out of the workplace raising children.  In the event of a divorce, it is as important to consider the fair split of pension provision as it is the division of any other assets.  If one spouse has no pension savings because they have stayed off work to support either house or family, while the other has worked and built a substantial fund, this should be taken into account when determining the settlement.

Pension Sharing

When pensions are to be shared, you may not actually split the pension fund itself but instead, offset your rights to it against the value of something else – perhaps some investments, business assets or even the marital home.  Where young children are involved, for example, the marital home may be a precious asset which will reduce upheaval in the short term.  However, the benefits of this need to be weighted against those more formally related to retirement.

If a longer term solution for pension assets is required, there are a number of available options. The first might be to earmark a portion of your ex-spouse’s pension fund, and defer receipt of that benefit until they retire.  However, such earmarking leaves one partner dependent on the other, reducing the chances of a clean break.  They may also have to wait years before benefiting – and, if your ex-spouse dies before retirement, it is possible you could end up with no formal pension provision at all.

To protect against such eventualities, it is now possible to split a pension at the time of divorce.  A dependent ex-spouse gains access to a specific portion of the main breadwinner’s pension fund which then allows them to move their share away and make a much “cleaner” break. Both parties can then move on and take full control over their own share. In addition, if the main pension holder dies or remarries, all pension rights for the ex-partner remain protected.

The allocation of pensions on divorce requires expert legal and financial advice to achieve a fair split for both parties.  If you could benefit from talking to our financial advisers on this matter please call 0141 764 0040 in complete confidence.  Contact Us.

Is NEST best for your business?

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

NEST, the National Employment Savings Trust launches in 2012.

All employers will be forced to set up a Company Pension Scheme for their employees or auto-enrol their employees into the new NEST pension scheme. Group personal pension schemes (GPPs) have emerged as one potential solution which could help employers keep control of what pension benefits are offered to different individuals.

NEST pension or GPPs?

The main attraction of GPPs is their simplicity. The employer passes contributions straight from payroll to the provider and this is then invested as per the employee’s instructions. Through a group scheme, each employee has their own plan so they benefit directly (and only) from their own contributions and can also decide how this is invested. Contributions benefit from tax relief at the employee’s highest rate and employers can also make contributions to top this up.

This not only helps the employee but also the company tax bill – and can also reduce national insurance contributions. In addition, an employer contribution of at least 3% (which will be phased in between 2012 and 2016) is a requirement demanded by the NEST rules. Note, however, the rules are still being finalised, so may be subject to change.

Finally, at the end of the employment, employees simply take their sub-plan with them and keep contributing themselves. This reduces the need for employers to administer retained benefits and also helps the employee keep their career pension savings in one place.

If you think your business would benefit from a group personal pension scheme rather than being forced to meet the requirement of NEST, our dedicated Corporate Pensions Advisor would be happy to help talk you through the pros and cons.  Call now on 0141 764 0040.

© 2018 Maxim Wealth Management. Web Design Glasgow Adeo Group