Woodford bows out and new rules for transfers: the week in news

Woodford bows out and new rules for transfers: the week in news

As prime minister Boris Johnson scrambled to get a last minute deal with the EU, elsewhere it was time to throw in the towel.

The empire of former star manager Neil Woodford was given the death knell this week following months of trying to salvage the demise of his flagship fund. But elsewhere the industry saw a glimpse of hope as long-awaited pension reforms were finally given the green light.

It’s time for the week in news.

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1 Woodford's final woes

Mr Woodford’s drawn out fall from grace seemed to culminate this week as he announced the closure of Woodford Investment Management.

On Tuesday (October 15) administrators Link decided the suspended Equity Income fund, initially touted to reopen in December, would be wound down and the former star manager fired from the fund.

He then walked away from his remaining two investment vehicles — Woodford Patient Capital Trust and Woodford Income Focus fund before confirming to close Woodford Investment Management.

FTAdviser took a look at the moment things started to turn sour for the former star fund manager.

2 Pensions plan, social care chasm

New rules for pension dashboards, collective defined contribution schemes and new powers for The Pensions Regulator all got a mention when the government announced a new pensions bill in the Queen's Speech earlier this week.

While the long-awaited bill has finally been given the go-ahead there remain question marks over its future as the government has no working majority and so will rely on the backing of MPs from other parties. And there may yet be a general election in the way too.

Meanwhile the government was criticised over the lack of detail on social care in the speech.

Documents released alongside the speech detailed a 2 per cent precept relating to money collected through council tax to fund adult social care but no further detail was given on what would be included as part of the proposals.

The social care industry called on the government to lay down its plans as a priority, arguing reform has been years in the making.

3 Transfer trouble

Defined benefit issues came to haunt advisers once again when the City-watchdog revealed it has written to 1,600 firms about their DB advice practice.

The firms were the ones in which the FCA had identified risk and the regulator set out proposals within the letters to ensure those risks were mitigated.

Speaking at the PIMFA Summit this week the FCA's director of life insurance and financial advice Debbie Gupta said this was part of a growing effort to crack down on poor advice in the sector.

She added transfer advice would remain a supervision priority for the FCA.

4 Stop the scams

The pensions bill announced in the Queen's Speech will also include new pension transfer rules which will set out the circumstances under which a pension scheme member will have the right to transfer their savings into another scheme.