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Mini-bond ban and pension tax trouble: the week in news

Mini-bond ban and pension tax trouble: the week in news

Political party leaders took to the stage this week as closer to home the Financial Conduct Authority took centre-stage.

Among other things the regulator clamped down on mini-bonds and told advisers what it expected from their PI policies.

It's time for the week in news.

1 Ban on bonds

The watchdog's long-awaited action on mini-bonds was announced this week when the FCA said it would introduce a ban on the marketing of mini-bonds to retail investors.

The temporary measure will come into force on January 1 and stay in place for 12 months while the FCA consults on permanent rules.

According to the regulator, the risk to consumers of mass-marketing which focuses on high rates of returns with insufficient emphasis on risk was "serious and immediate" enough to justify its intervention without consultation.

2 A Tory take on tax 

This week it was the Tories' manifesto which hit the headlines with plans to tackle the pension problems affecting both low- and high-paid workers.

The Conservatives pledged to fix a tax relief anomaly which means the lowest earning workers, on less than £12,500, could miss out on pension tax relief if their scheme uses a certain method to deliver said relief.

They also promised to fix the tapered annual allowance, which affects doctors' pensions and has caused some consultants to turn down overtime.

3 Tax bills galore

It was revealed this week some savers could face large tax bills as a result of failing to report pensions growth on their tax returns.

The taxman said it was aware some individuals had failed to report breaching the £40,000 annual allowance, so asked pension scheme administrators to remind members exceeding their annual allowance for 2018/19 to declare this charge on their self-assessment tax return.

Sir Steve Webb, former pensions minister now director of policy at Royal London, warned the ramifications of this oversight could be "huge".

4 Equities exodus

Invesco's Mark Barnett was the fund manager most damaged by the fallout following Woodford Investment Management's demise, FTAdviser revealed, as data showed investors pulled £648m from his UK equity income funds in Q3.

But even the best performing fund in the sector over the past three months, J O Hambro Capital Management’s UK Equity Income fund, saw a hefty £343m pulled from its portfolio in the three months to September.

Other fund houses to see outflows from their equity income funds included Artemis, LF Miton and Threadneedle.

5 PI positions

The FCA clarified its position in the advice market at the Personal Finance Society's annual conference this week.

Speaking to conference delegates Debbie Gupta, director of life insurance and financial advice at the regulator, said she appreciated the matter of PI insurance was one which was "very, very live" in the sector but reiterated PI was in place to protect both firms and consumers.

She said the FCA expected firms offering DB transfer advice to have appropriate PI insurance in place and that those without appropriate cover should not be advising on DB transfers now or in the future.