Pensions 

Ssas bans and Waspi buzz: the week in news

Ssas bans and Waspi buzz: the week in news

It seems you can’t tell what is fake news and what is real these days but we’ve sifted through it all and put together the week in news.

1) Regulator has some sass

This week The Pensions Regulator urged the government to consider an outright ban on setting up small self-administered schemes (Ssas) to end the “flagrant and often criminal abuse of the Ssas regime”.

TPR executive director Andrew Warwick Thompson described Ssas as an "open goal" for pension scammers, and urged the government to give "serous consideration" to an "outright ban on the establishment of any more Ssas arrangements".

This had the predictable effect of being labelled “drastic and unreasonable” but advisers and providers.

Lucie Gee, a Ssas and Sipp specialist with London-based advice firm Westminster Wealth Management, said a ban was unnecessary and would hurt small and medium sized business owners.

Claire Trott, head of pensions strategy at consultancy Technical Connection, said TPR was failing to acknowledge the positive aspects of Ssas.

2) Waspi petition creates plenty of buzz

The most persistent group of middle aged women in pensions are still fighting.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality movement launched a parliamentary petition this week calling for women born in the 1950s to be granted early access to their state pension.

It has already been signed by more than 6,700 people and calls for the government to "implement optional early drawing of a reduced state pension for the 1950s women".

3) Adviser needed advice on his finances

In perhaps the worst piece of advertising for someone supposed to be responsible for other peoples’ finances, a financial adviser has been handed the maximum bankruptcy restriction order after he breached the insolvency rules.

The case has been described as the worst case of someone disregarding the regime.

Stephen Todd has been handed a bankruptcy restriction order of 15 years after he contravened a previous order by taking up a management position in a limited company.

On 29 April 2013, Todd was prohibited for 10 years from managing or promoting a limited company.

This ban was put in place because of his conduct as a director of an earlier company, advice firm White Square Investments, which went into liquidation.

Back in 2009, the Financial Services Authority cancelled White Square's permissions because the firm did not have adequate capital resources and failed to rectify the deficit.

4) The man from the Pru offers no guarantees

Prudential will stop offering annuities to existing pension customers entirely, eight months after it pulled out of the open annuity market, FTAdviser revealed.

A spokesperson for the life office said, while the exact timescale had not been determined, by the end of 2017 Prudential would no longer be writing new annuity policies.

The news comes less than two years after the introduction of pension freedoms caused annuity sales to plummet, as retirees increasingly opted for flexible products and to cash in their entire retirement pots.

Following the announcement, Moneyfacts shared figures with FTAdviser that revealed the companies offering the best value annuities now tended to be specialist providers, while those offering a selection of annuities and drawdown products tended to offer the worst rates.

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