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Fos fireworks and tax troubles: the week in news

Fos fireworks and tax troubles: the week in news

As befits the week that kicked off with bonfire night, there has been plenty of fireworks in the advice profession this week.

And if pensions and investments are your idea of a sparkling evening out, you are going to be dazzled by our top read stories of the week.

1) Putting the "crap" back into… crapital appreciation?

One of top stories this week came from the pension investment world.

At The Great Pensions Debate, held (fittingly enough for the run up to Remembrance Sunday) at the RAF Museum in North London, providers of self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) were told to take more responsibility when accepting business from clients.

Solicitor Philippa Hann said the Berkeley Burke ruling last month, which the company is seeking to appeal, would lead to an increased amount of Sipp provider complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

FTAdviser reported this week that the Fos has already received 1,000 complaints relating to Sipp due diligence this calendar year.

Clients have a responsibility for their actions, sure, but they also need an experienced voice to explain why what they think might make them millions from a £50,000 investment probably (definitely) won’t.

2) Fossie (bug) Bear

Sticking with the impact of the Fos, advisers got all hot under the collar this week over its increase of DB pension transfer compensation to £350,000 from £150,000.

Almost all respondents to a survey run by Panacea Adviser said the increase was unreasonable, with only slightly fewer saying they would have to increase fees to absorb the cost of rocketing insurance premiums.

Is it going to be the death knell for smaller firms? Some certainly think so and only time will tell, but it certainly touched a nerve.

It is likely this topic is going to be a theme until April, when the new system kicks in.

3) Shock to the tax system

Shocking not for our readers, maybe, but that pension pots are taxable if taken as a lump sum came as a surprise to more than a quarter of the UK population, we learned this week.

A Legal & General survey of more than 2,000 over-55s, found 27 per cent thought their pension withdrawals would be tax free.

It must have been quite a thing to find out – but not as shocking as the Secretary of State for Brexit realising the UK was an island.

Plenty in our community of commentators had sympathy with these over-55s (others didn’t), but the survey findings certainly expose where there are gaps in the advice market that need filling.

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing, according to the adverts, but it often is – and whose responsibility is it for educating the nation about it?

4) (Un)Testing times

Staying with education and shocks, those taking their AF7 Pension Transfer exam in early September were surprised to find no questions relating to recent changes to advice.