Giant fund houses and pension drama: the week in news

Giant fund houses and pension drama: the week in news

The floors of Westminster were well trodden this week in a display of British politics which still left most scratching their heads as to the future of Brexit. 

Closer to home two asset managers agreed to merge this week in a deal set to create a £11.5bn fund house giant and a national IFA firm agreed to give up its defined benefit pension transfer permissions following a review by the regulator. 

It's time for the week in news. 

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1) Boris backs review of controversial tax 

Hope was given to those campaigning against the taxman's controversial loan charge this week when the Prime Minister promised a thorough review of the process. Debuting at his first Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday (September 4) Boris Johnson promised a review of what he described to be a "very, very difficult" issue following mounting pressure from MPs and campaigners in recent months. 

The loan charge relates to individuals who worked and received their remuneration via loans, which are not taxable, rather than a salary, which is. The loans were never intended to be repaid resulting in the tax office treating them as tax avoidance, although campaigners maintain the loans were legal, with the government confirming in the 2016 Budget it intended to ban the practice and have the tax repaid. 

In April HMRC reported itself to the police over the death of an individual who had been notified of a loan charge bill, in the first case in which the taxman, according to FTAdviser's sister paper the Financial Times, felt it had been given sufficient evidence to link a death to the policy.

2) UK asset managers agree £11.5bn merger 

Asset managers Miton Group and Premier Asset Management announced this week they had agreed to merge, creating a fund house managing £11.5bn. According to Premier the combined company - which will be called Premier Miton - would have been the fifth largest net seller of retail funds in the UK market in 2018. 

Shareholders of Aim-listed Premier will own 66 per cent of the combined company with Miton shareholders owning the remainder. 

The merger is expected to complete in the final quarter of 2019 with Mike O’Shea, chief executive of Premier, stating the merger would "bring together two complementary and culturally-aligned businesses". 

He added: "The combined group will create a company with greater scale and financial strength to invest for future growth, with broader and deeper investment capabilities, enhanced distribution and a more efficient operating platform.

"Ultimately, this should position us well for continued growth and deliver value for clients, shareholders and employees."

3) LEBC gives up DB transfer permissions after FCA review

There was a shakeup in the defined benefit market this week with national IFA firm LEBC voluntarily relinquishing its pension transfer permissions to the FCA after a review of its advice by the regulator. 

In a market update on Monday LEBC's owner BP Marsh & Partners – which holds a 59.3 per cent stake in the firm – stated that as part of its market-wide review of the DB transfer market the FCA had undertaken a review of LEBC’s pension transfer advice. It said following the review LEBC had voluntarily agreed to cease the provision of DB pension transfer advice and projects.