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Technical articles

Jitters abound despite the solid economic data »
Markets are gaining in confidence that the global economic foundations are solidifying and threats are receding, although jitters remain near the surface. Uncertainty about economic and other policies may be among the most relevant sources of drag for the world economy. Currently, some of the open issues include: who will be the next US President? Will the Fed re-start its normalisation process in June or July? Will China continue with broad and aggressive stimulus? Will the UK remain a member of the EU? Is policy in Brazil likely to get a fresh start? Will Japan be the first advanced economy to attempt helicopter money?
A Matter of Life and Death »
The introduction of more flexibility in the way retirement benefits are taken from money purchase schemes (and by implication, defined benefit schemes), has been accompanied by significant changes to the rules relating to death benefits. The taxation of those death benefits is arguably a simpler topic now although greater flexibility has brought more complication in the area of survivor pensions.
Reform of the rules on the taxation of chargeable event gains on part surrenders »
At the March 2016 Budget, the government announced its intention to change the tax rules for calculating chargeable event gains on part surrenders and part assignments for value under life assurance policies.  The problem here is that under the current chargeable event system, chargeable event gains can arise which are disproportionate to the policy's underlying economic gain.  Following this announcement, HMRC has released a consultation document looking at ways in which the current position can be improved.
Deflation threat creates opportunity »
At the March 2016 Budget, the government announced its intention to change the tax rules for calculating chargeable event gains on part surrenders and part assignments for value under life assurance policies.  The problem here is that under the current chargeable event system, chargeable event gains can arise which are disproportionate to the policy's underlying economic gain.  Following this announcement, HMRC has released a consultation document looking at ways in which the current position can be improved.
What is value for Money? »
Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) have been with us for a year now. They are required in respect of workplace group personal pension plans and fill a gap that would otherwise be filled by trustees of an occupational pension scheme. They are designed to offer protection to members who have little practical knowledge of what is 'on offer'. The Office of Fair trading identified problems in the market including a weak demand side and potential for conflicts of interest.
Trust investments in tax year 2016/17 »
Last month we considered the key tax changes taking effect from 6 April 2016 and how they affect trustees of the various types of trust.
Keep up, Keep up! The Current State of Pensions »
We have had the headline changes to pensions over the last 18 months or so, now for some more of the detail.
Diversification – Currency is key »
The idea behind diversification is quite simple. It is the fundamental principle behind multi-asset investing (which 7IM is a firm believer in). Most investors have embraced it in one form or another - spreading your investments across companies, sectors and geographies reduces the likelihood of one chance event affecting all of your holdings. An earthquake in California might hurt Silicon Valley-based tech stocks, but have no impact at all on German bonds, or the price of industrial copper.
Bonds -v- Collectives reconsidered »
The changes to CGT rates from 6 April 2016, together with the pre-announced introduction of the changes to dividend taxation taking effect also from 6 April 2016, combine to cause investors and their advisers to seriously reconsider investment decision making.  The resulting conclusions reached may not necessarily be different from what they would be before these changes take effect but this does not diminish the importance of reconsideration.
New tax year for trusts, trustees and beneficiaries »
Although the March 2016 Budget did not include any specific  announcements in relation to trusts, the announced  changes to the capital gains tax (CGT) rates, with effect from 6 April 2016, do of course affect trustees as much as any other taxpayer. In addition to the CGT changes, the key tax changes taking effect from 6 April 2016 are those announced in 2015 and which relate to income tax, namely the introduction of the personal savings allowance (PSA) and dividend allowance, as well as gross payments of interest from banks and building societies and the new dividend tax rates coupled with the abolition of the dividend tax credits. This month we will review all of these changes and consider how they may affect trustees' decisions, in particular in relation to the investment of trust funds. 
Some less frequent aspects of the taxation of chargeable event gains »
As will be widely known chargeable event gains arising on life assurance policies, capital redemption policies and purchased life annuities are subject to income tax under the chargeable events regime.
Settlor-interested trusts without the gift with reservation provisions »
This month we continue the thread of settlor-interested trusts but we explore one area which is frequently overlooked.
What does leaving the EU mean for investors? »
About two years ago, Boris Johnson, wrote a biography of Winston Churchill. Over the past couple of weeks, this has led to a number of articles looking for similarities between the wartime leader and one of the headline acts in the EU referendum show. As opposed to shedding much light on Boris' political manoeuvrings, these comparisons served mainly to remind me of a relevant Churchill phrase. David Cameron's return from Brussels, negotiation complete and agreement in hand is almost perfectly described as "…not the end...not even the beginning of the end. But…perhaps, the end of the beginning." In the run-up to June 23rd, we will be very short on certainty about the outcome, but incredibly well supplied with speculation and opinion, from every corner of the country. The "will-they, won't-they?" aspect of the question is unanswerable at this stage, so we'll try to look through the noise.
The taxing problem of pensions and divorce »
You could be forgiven for thinking that the UK legal system is preoccupied with divorce. The newspapers feed us an endless supply of rather sordid stories of financial settlements involving all sorts of wealthy (before they started proceedings) people from all walks of life and, increasingly all sorts of nationalities. This is not real life as most of us know it.
Tax-year-end planning for individuals »
The run up to the tax-year end is a good time to consider tax planning to maximise the use of an individual's allowances, reliefs and exemptions for the current tax year.  Some of these will be lost if not used before the tax-year end.  For those people who currently pay higher rate (40%) income tax and  additional rate (45%) income tax, tax planning at the end of this year is absolutely vital as a means of minimising tax payable and so maximising net income, capital gains and wealth.

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