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AE will be savings catalyst for small employers: Tisa

AE will be savings catalyst for small employers: Tisa

Auto-enrolment will be a catalyst for small and micro-employers to engage with employees about short and long-term savings, the Tax Incentivised Savings Association said.

Carol Knight, Tisa operations director, told FTAdviser that she believes workplace saving will have an “increasing focus” as the auto-enrolment staging dates for smaller businesses come into force in 2015 and 2016.

“Continued enhancements to the Isa regime will help to reinforce the savings habit and we expect peer-to-peer lending to be a key feature of the developments during the year.”

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The government announced in this year’s Autumn Statement that individuals lending through peer to peer platforms will be able to offset any losses from loans which go bad against other P2P income, with effect from April 2016.

Isas also joined other retirement products by being no longer taxed when passed on to a surviving spouse or civil partner.

Ms Knight said that few would have predicted the government’s “seismic” at-retirement changes announced in 2014, or the scale of the greater flexibility introduced to the Isa regime.

“While it’s unlikely that we will see changes of this magnitude in 2015, pensions, retirement and decumulation are still likely to dominate.

In particular, key issues surrounding guidance guarantee will need to be resolved ahead of April’s introduction, she stated, adding that the industry and regulators will need to be vigilant in order to combat fraud and unregulated schemes.

“We are already working to provide guidance to those affected by pensions liberation. However, there is much to do if we are to change the culture in the UK from one of debt to saving.”

Tisa’s savings and investments policy project will be presenting the first phase of its policy recommendations in early 2015.

“Personal financial wellbeing, especially amongst the young and lower paid, is in our national interest if we are to ensure growth, stability and prosperity. “

She noted that the general election, set to take place in May, will put the “spotlight” on Europe.

“It was clear at Tisa’s recent EU seminar that the prospect of Britain exiting the EU is a major consideration, whatever side of the argument you are on.

“The seminar also highlighted the impact of the new EU regulatory proposals. Mifid II, for example, poses real challenges, not least in the short lead-times for firms to make the necessary systems and procedural changes to accommodate the new regulations. It’s imperative that the industry tackles this in 2015.”

Ms Knight added that a “constant theme” for Tisa in 2015 will be technological innovation.

“Financial services lags behind other industries in the use of technology to interact with its customers, but it’s clear from our innovation forum and project groups that this is about to change. Firms that fail to keep pace will be at a serious disadvantage.”

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com