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Election pledges and FCA protests: the week in news

Election pledges and FCA protests: the week in news

There was no escaping the upcoming election this week as the opposition parties released their manifestos, pledging a whirlwind of policies from tax hikes to the abolishment of private schools.

Meanwhile the Financial Conduct Authority was given notice of planned protests outside its HQ in December and the platform market saw further consolidation. It’s time for the week in news.​​​​​

1 Taxing wealth

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A number of political parties have released their manifestos this week, all with a heavy focus on taxing wealth.

Main opposition party Labour pledged to create two new tax bands — one for £80,000+ earners who would pay “a little more” tax alongside a “super-rich” tax rate for those on more than £125,000.

Labour also plans to “end the unfairness” that income from wealth is taxed at lower rates than income from work by taxing income from capital gains at income tax rates, similarly to the Liberal Democrats’ plans to create a single allowance for the two income streams.

The Lib Dems also pledged to raise £7bn in additional revenue through a 1p hike on income tax, while the Green Party proposed a merger of national insurance, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, dividend tax and income tax into one ‘consolidated income tax’ where all income is treated the same for tax purposes.

2 Taper trouble

Tax issues also made headlines when the government announced it would cover the pension tax bills of senior doctors and consultants this week in an attempt to fix the crisis engulfing the NHS pension scheme.

The problems revolve around the tapered allowance, a policy which gradually reduces the annual allowance for those on high incomes and has recently prompted doctors to avoid overtime and leave the pension scheme.

To avoid a winter crisis at hospitals, the tax bills incurred by senior physicians this year will be covered by the NHS Pension Scheme until a permanent fix is found. In Scotland contributions will be recyclable through pay but advisers believe this to be a less favourable option

3 Protestors plan pickets

Meanwhile there is trouble ahead at FCA HQ in London, as protestors accusing the regulator of negligence are planning a protest outside the regulator's head offices in Stratford.

Victims of the London Capital & Finance collapse, Lloyds customers and mortgage prisoners plan to group together on December 6 and call on the watchdog to acknowledge failings and act to rectify the various problems they face.

According to one protestor, the demonstration will feature banners, signs and Andrew Bailey masks.

4 Embark swallows Zurich platform

Embark's expansion in the platform space continued with the acquisition of the Zurich platform this week.

Zurich's plans to sell the business, which has £11bn of assets and 130,000 advised clients, were known in the industry but most bets were on Aegon as the future buyer.

Embark's platform business will have assets of £33bn and 300,000 clients once the deal, which includes Zurich's authorised corporate director and investment services businesses, completes.