Press Releases

December 2018

Popularity of VCTs amongst High Net Worths continues to grow

The increase in funds raised through Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) last year shows the appetite for fast-growth companies amongst High Net Worths remains high. Funds raised through VCTs rose 31% to £745m in 2017/18, up from £570m in 2016/17.

VCTs are popular due to the attractive tax breaks on offer; High Net Worths can access Income Tax credits and tax-free dividends, and do not have to pay Capital Gains Tax when they sell VCT shares.

The strong performance of the tech sector in recent years may have also driven the increase in funds raised as High Net Worth investors look to get greater exposure to fast-growing tech companies.

As well as the attractive tax breaks on offer, fund raising may partly have been influenced by new rule changes under the Patient Capital Review.

These rules, introduced in April 2018, put greater scrutiny on investment activity to ensure a focus on companies with long-term growth and development aspirations. Some investors may have decided to rush through their investment before these rules came into effect.

The maximum annual amount that can be invested in knowledge intensive companies was also doubled from £5m to £10m.

From April 2019, the period in which gains from investments must be reinvested will be increased from 6 months to 12 months to encourage investments. This is designed to encourage a long-term view from investors and to ensure fast-growth companies have secure funding streams.

VCTs remain a popular tool amongst High Net Worths and new rule changes should not change this. If anything, the Patient Capital Review will ensure investors get access to genuine fast-growth companies and maximise their returns through an increased exposure.

By Tim Holmes, Managing Director at Salisbury House Wealth

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth:

https://www.professionaladviser.com/professional-adviser/news/3068064/vct-fundraising-in-2018-19-hits-second-highest-on-record

State pension payments hot spots revealed – but is the state pension enough?

The state pension hot spots in the UK have been revealed with pensioners in the Home Counties receiving the highest average payments and those in London boroughs receiving the lowest.

However, what our analysis really shows is how low state pension payments are across the board, highlighting the importance of building a private pension pot to supplement them.

Our analysis of 183 local areas in the UK shows that areas in the Home Counties occupy 9 of the top 10 spots with the highest average pension payments, whilst London boroughs occupy 9 of the 10 bottom places.

Pensioners in Chiltern, Buckinghamshire received the highest payments but that is just £8,310 on average whilst pensioners in Newham, East London received the lowest payments at £6,910.

An average UK state pension of £7,870 will not be nearly enough to fund a comfortable retirement, with Which? suggesting that an annual income of at least £13,500 - £19,000 is needed per person. For higher earners even that £19,000 will mean a dramatic drop in lifestyle and spending in retirement.

The importance of building a private pension pot is particularly acute for women who receive lower state pensions than men. Average payments to men (£8,650) were 20% higher than women (£7,220) last year, which likely reflects the gender pay gap as well.

The key to building a private pension pot is starting to save early. Incrementally saving and benefiting from the effects of compound growth can make a huge difference in terms of flexibility in retirement, increasing spending power and potentially leaving something for the next generation.

By Tim Holmes, Managing Director at Salisbury House Wealth

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth:

FT Adviser:

https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2018/12/12/london-dominates-areas-with-lowest-state-pensions/

November 2018

Tough at the top for females? Only 2,200 women earn over £1million compared with 16,800 men

 The gender pay gap is in the news a lot at the moment, with women earning on average 10% less than men across the whole population.

 But in the top income brackets the discrepancy becomes even more stark, with an 87% gender pay gap for those earning over £1million. Just 2,200 women earned over seven figures in 2016/17 compared with 16,800 men.

 Women are still more likely than men to take time out of their careers for childcare, which means many miss out on the promotions that take men to the top of their careers and the highest wages.

 There is a real push to narrow the earnings gap in Government and across the private sector. Reporting regulations now mean that large business need to publicly disclose their gender pay gap and there is a drive to get more females on the boards of businesses.

 This is good news in the long term, but we need to do more to address this wealth gap, as it can have an effect in all walks of life.

 With women earning less at the top, it makes financial planning even more crucial to maximise returns from their investments.

 Women who are earning over £250,000 for a few years before taking a break from work will have their pension contributions capped at £10,000 in those years. This is a real issue as it means they only have a few years to cram their pension savings into compared with men.

 As a result, it is crucial that people are getting the right investment advice to meet their financial needs both for now and in the future.

 By Tim Holmes, Managing Director at Salisbury House Wealth

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth:

Spears:

https://www.spearswms.com/gender-pay-gap-hnw-salisbury-house-wealth-study/

October 2018

High earners should urgently review ‘carry forward’ rules to boost pension pots

  Recent changes to the Annual Allowance have led to many high earners feeling the squeeze in terms of what they can pay into their pension, with some using ‘carry forward’ rules in order to boost the amount they can contribute each year.

 The Annual Allowance represents the most someone can pay into their pension without a tax charge being applied. In 2016, the tapered Annual Allowance was introduced for high earners which means anyone earning over £210,000 now has their allowance capped at just £10,000.

 To escape punitive tax charges, high earners should make use of ‘carry forward’ rules which allow them to utilise their unused Annual Allowance from the previous three years to increase their allowance for the current year.

 The use of ‘carry forward’ rules helped drive a 262% increase in the amount savers paid into their pensions that exceeded the Annual Allowance last year, to £517m, up from £143m in 2015/16.

 This growing use of ‘carry forward’ rules is perhaps unsurprising given how many people are getting caught out by the tapered Annual Allowance. The amount of tax levied from breaches of the Annual Allowance has jumped 55% in over the past year to £102m, up from £66m in 2015/16 – a record high.  

 It may be the case that many high-earners were unaware that they could use carry forward rules to increase the amount they can contribute but have since cottoned-on. 17,000 made contributions that exceeded the Annual Allowance in 2017/18, up from 5,000 in 2015/16.

 The complicated nature of the Annual Allowance means it can be easy to get caught out. If you want to have one less thing to worry about as you head towards retirement, speak to Salisbury House Wealth to get professional advice and clarity.

By Tim Holmes, Managing Director at Salisbury House Wealth

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth:

FT Adviser:

https://www.ftadviser.com/investments/2018/10/31/tricks-and-treats-contained-in-fiscal-phil-s-budget/

Independent:

https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/budget-2018-what-means-wallet-tax-benefits-property-savings-pensions-chancellor-a8607716.html

Daily Express:

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1038122/budget-2018-what-it-means-pensions-working-families-students-income-tax-explained

September 2018

Long-suffering savers are still not benefiting from higher interest rates; what does this mean for you?

 The failure of many banks and building societies to pass on August’s interest rate rise means savers will need to look elsewhere to get inflation-beating returns on their savings.

At Salisbury House Wealth we did some research to look at this problem and found that since August, the average interest rate on new savings accounts has increased a mere 0.08% to 1.2%, despite the Bank of England raising interest rates by 0.25%.

 Unless banks increase their interest rates on new savings accounts further, savers will miss out on £408m in interest in the next year alone.

 The failure on the part of banks to pass on rising interest rates highlights the need for savers to diversify their methods of saving money. This is especially true given that research has shown cash consistently under-performs all other asset classes and our research suggests that we shouldn’t expect rising interest rates to solve that problem.

For those saving for retirement, the need to look beyond cash remains as important as ever. Relying on cash and other cash-like assets is unlikely to generate the inflation-beating returns needed to retire comfortably.

Building a balanced investment portfolio is crucial to get the most from your savings. The sooner you do this, the more you will benefit from the beneficial effects of long-term returns that exist outside of savings accounts.  

By Tim Holmes, Managing Director at Salisbury House Wealth

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth:

 Daily Mail ‘This is Money’:

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-6290241/Customers-miss-408million-year-rate-rise-not-passed-on.html

 July 2018

Why cash isn’t always king when it comes to retirement

 Pensioners are over-investing in cash when withdrawing funds from their pensions, which can affect their living standards in retirement.

 Solely or predominantly investing savings in cash can be detrimental as cash has historically generated much lower returns that other asset classes. Lower returns mean savers will likely have smaller pension pots to live on.

 Research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that consumers could increase their annual income by over a third if they invested in a mix of assets, rather than just cash, over a 20-year period.

 Obtaining the right advice when withdrawing, or thinking of withdrawing, from pensions is therefore key. The FCA has revealed that 33% of savers who do not take advice end up investing all of the funds they withdraw into cash or ‘cash-like’ assets.

 A significant contributor to this over-investment in cash is that pension providers don’t offer savers an ‘active’ choice of what to do with their funds when they withdraw and instead default funds straight into cash. Many savers remain unaware this has even happened.

 In response, the FCA has launched a consultation to address this over-investment. It proposes introducing the following measures:

-        Ensuring savers make the ‘active’ choice of investing in cash, rather than doing so by default

-        Providing warnings to savers about investing mostly in cash or cash-like investments

-        Contacting savers if they remain invested mainly in cash for a year

 Read more from Salisbury House Wealth in the The Times:

 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/some-of-us-are-paying-too-much-for-pension-freedoms-l2k0nshx5

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pension-warning-packs-for-all-workers-pbpw39rrt

 

May 2018

Transfers from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution schemes become increasingly popular – doubling in a year

 The value of transfers from Defined Benefit schemes to Defined Contribution pension schemes has more than doubled in a year. Data we obtained from the FCA shows that the value of pension transfers increased to £20.8bn in 2017, up from just £7.9bn in 2016.

 The rise in transfers has largely been driven by the incentives on offer from employers. Many employers are keen to cap their spiralling pension liabilities and, as a result, are offering employees and other pension fund members six-figure sums to transfer benefits into private pension schemes.

 Incentives on offer from employers include cash payments on top of the transfer value or a rise in the transfer value of the benefits on the condition that those benefits are transferred.

 Additionally, some savers may be drawn to the fact that the value of Defined Contribution pensions can be passed on to financial dependents at death, including spouses and children. Whilst Defined Benefit schemes only allow you to transfer benefits to your spouse.

 The rise in transfers also partly reflects the growing number of savers looking to use 2015 reforms to access their company pensions and reinvest it elsewhere. The reforms, known as ‘pension freedoms’, individuals over the age of 55 can draw a regular income, withdraw lump sums or make ad hoc withdrawals from their private pensions whenever they want.

As a result of the increased flexibility, individuals can now withdraw funds to invest in shares, bonds and even property. This flexibility allows individuals to potentially increase the value of their savings long before they actually retire.

Statistics from HMRC show that a record 222,000 people withdrew funds from their Defined Contribution schemes in the first three months of 2018, the highest number since pension freedoms were introduced.

However, savers need to be careful and the decision to transfer funds from final-salary pension schemes should not be taken lightly. There is concern that savers are accessing their pensions for the wrong reasons and are not getting the right advice.

Many final-salary schemes represent substantial pots of wealth and it’s crucial the right decision is made because transferring is a one-way ticket and there is no way back.  

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth in the Financial Times:

https://www.ft.com/content/a5e8041c-59d1-11e8-b8b2-d6ceb45fa9d0

 

Careful planning to help you avoid HMRC’s pensions ‘supertax’?

 Careful planning could help savers avoid HMRC’s costly pensions ‘supertax’. The amount collected through the 55% tax charge has increased 24% in the last year alone to £41m, up from £33m in 2015/16.

 The tax is levied on savers who breach the maximum amount of money that can be saved into a pension pot, which is known as the Lifetime Allowance (LTA). Savers pay a tax charge on the amount that exceeds the LTA limit; if this amount is taken as a lump sum the tax charge is 55% and if the amount is taken as income the charge is 25%.

 As well as the £41m collected from the 55% tax charge, HMRC collected an additional £73m from savers from the 25% charge last year.

 As a result of these punitive tax charges, savers need to be very careful before drawing lump sums from their pension. To do this, savers could closely monitor their pension pot levels, which includes keeping track of the performance of investments as well as any contributions made.

 As many savers will already know, it’s no longer just the super-rich that are falling foul of this tax – average earners are at just as much at risk. This is particularly true following the steady decline in the LTA over the last few years.  

 The LTA was reduced from £1.5m to £1.25m in 2014/15 and for the 2018/19 tax year, the LTA will be £1.03m.

To reduce the chance of getting charged, savers could also look at alternative saving options such as ISAs which would allow them to continue to make investments without being caught out.

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth on this topic in The Times:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/past-six-days/2018-05-05/money/pension-allowance-windfall-for-thetaxman-z0nbczj2l

 

More women using ISAs but the wealth gap isn’t closing

Recent data that Salisbury House Wealth has studied shows a growing number of women are investing through ISAs, but the wealth gap in the value of savings between men and women is widening. We think that might be due to what women and men are picking for their ISAs.

 According to the latest figures from HMRC, the number of women investing through ISAs has increased by 272,000 in the last year alone to 11.3, up from 11.1m in 2014/15. In fact, there are now more women with ISAs than men, at just 10.8m.

 However, despite more women investing through ISAs, the gender gap in the average market value of savings is actually widening. In 2015/16, the gender gap was 11%, up from 9% in 2013/14.

 A key reason for the growing gender gap may be that many women are investing in what you could argue are the ‘wrong’ type of ISA. The data shows that last year, 82% of women invested in a cash-only ISA compared to just 75% of men.

 Investment in cash-only ISAs is less likely to generate the higher long-term returns needed to close the wealth gap on men than stocks & shares ISAs. With interest rates on cash ISAs at historic lows, savers with cash ISAs risk seeing the value of their savings reduce rather than rise, due to inflation.

 As a result, although cash ISAs may be seen as the ‘safer’ option, it may not be the best for growth. This raises the question as to whether some women should consider a less cautious approach when investing to increase the possibility for real growth over the longer term.

 Maximising savings is particularly important for women because statistically they have a longer life expectancy and can therefore expect to rely on their savings for longer than the average man.  

 Overall, it’s great to see a growing number of women investing through ISAs but moving forward, it’s important the right steps are taken to start closing the wealth gap. Read more from Salisbury House Wealth in FT Adviser and Moneywise:

FT Adviser: https://www.ftadviser.com/article/63479/print-view

Moneywise: https://www.moneywise.co.uk/news/2018-04-30/women-remain-cautious-about-stocks-shares-isas

 

April 2018

 The Gender Pay Gap is a Pensions Problem Too

 With the news out last week that large companies in the UK have a 9.7% gender pay gap, there was even more startling news from HMRC in relation to pension income. Data from HMRC shows that women only received 37% of all pension income in 2015/16, down 2% since 2012/13.

 In total men received £79.3bn in pension income compared to women who earned just £46.5bn.

 Given that pensions are a vital tool in providing a financially secure retirement, investing in pensions needs to be encouraged.

 Typically women have found themselves leaving their careers to start a family, meaning they have made less in pension contributions over their lifetime.

 But it is just as important for women to invest in pensions as it is for men, as they are still one of the most tax efficient ways of saving and investing available.

 However even if you are on a career break and still not paying tax, you can make pension contributions of up to £3,600 per year and receive tax relief on those payments.

 Starting a pension when you are young can set you up for retirement and provide you with the financial security you want when you stop working.

 If you are unsure about the right pension option for you, speak to Salisbury House Wealth who can help set you on the right path to reaching your retirement goals.

 Read more from Salisbury House Wealth in The Times and the Guardian:

 The Times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/your-financial-spring-cleaning-checklist-70v00nh98

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/apr/05/1500-uk-firms-miss-deadline-to-report-gender-pay-gap

 

Salisbury House Wealth – Daily Telegraph

Personal pension pots are becoming an increasingly important tool for passing on wealth from one generation to the next.

 The amount of money inherited by the relatives of pensioners that die under the age of 55 rose by a third (33%) last year to as much as £2.1bn, up from £1.6bn in the previous 12 months.

 Pensions have become a useful way to pass savings onto relatives IHT-free and have become an important part of inheritance planning.

 The increase comes following reforms introduced in 2015 which allow for pension pots to be passed onto the next generation largely tax-free. Under the new rules, if the pension holder dies before the age of 75, a beneficiary can inherit some or all of the fund as a tax-free lump sum – up to the Lifetime Allowance of £1.25m.

 Read more on this topic from Salisbury House Wealth in the Daily Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/inheritance/families-turn-pensions-avoid-death-duties/

 

Salisbury House Wealth – Sunday Express

 The amount savers withdrew from their pensions pots through ‘income draw downs’ increased 14% to £15.3bn in 2016/17, up from £13.5bn in 2015/16.

 The amount withdrawn has increased 173% over the last five years, up from £5.6bn in 2012/13.

 Income draw downs enable savers to draw a regular taxable income from their pension pot. Many savers are increasingly drawing incomes, ad hoc withdrawals and lump sums from their pension early, before reaching retirement age.

 Read more on this topic from Salisbury House Wealth in the Sunday Express:

https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/917563/stock-market-crash-income-drawdown

 

Savers withdrew £15.3bn from their pensions pots last year – up 14% from £13.5bn in 2015/16.

The amount withdrawn has now increased 173% in the last five years, up from just £5.6bn in 2012/13, as a growing number of savers take advantage of rule changes to take control over their pensions.

These new pension freedoms have opened the door to the increased use of Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), a government approved scheme. A hybrid SIPP offers savers the flexibility to manage their investments and purchase property with their funds.

Savers are now better able to diversify their investments and gain exposure to other asset classes and risk profiles. However, it is important anyone drawing from their pension spends the money wisely and makes informed decisions.

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth on the topic in the Financial Times:

https://www.ft.com/content/36ad9f6e-df2c-11e7-8f9f-de1c2175f5ce

 

The number of people earning over £250,000 has increased by 36% in the last five years – to 137,300 up from 100,700 in 2010/11*.

15% of these individuals (21,200) are under the age of 40. Rising total pay in the UK’s financial services and technology sectors is likely to be behind the trend.

This growing affluence, however, has a sting in its tail. New pension rules introduced in 2016 limit annual pension contributions for those earning £210,000 or more to just £10,000. So these high earners are finding the options to make highly tax efficient pensions savings much more limited.

Chancellor Philip Hammond could again target high earners in his upcoming Budget by further reducing pension-related tax benefits for the wealthy.

As pension savings opportunities for high earners become increasingly limited, it is important that they explore the other long-term savings options available to them.

This can help ensure that individuals that during their career have been relatively high earners have enough money to continue to support their lifestyles in retirement.

Read more from Salisbury House Wealth on this topic in The Daily Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/income-tax/hammond-expected-attack-higher-earners-stealth/

 *Latest figures available are 2014/15

 

Savers are turning away from cash as an investment – new figures out today show that cash ISAs saw a 33% drop in amounts invested in the last year.

 Investments in cash ISAs fell to £39.2bn in 2016/17, down from £58.7bn in 2015/16. The numbers subscribing to cash ISAs fell by 16% over the same period.

 The fall is partly due to the low interest rates offered on cash ISAs which are now negative real interest rates – ultimately leaving savers in danger of their investments devaluing over time.

Savers are cottoning on to the fact that cash ISAs simply do not offer the investment value they need to achieve their long-term financial goals…

 Read more from Salisbury House Wealth in The Independent and Money Expert:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cash-isas-money-flow-drop-low-interest-rates-uk-bank-england-british-households-a7922426.html

https://www.moneyexpert.com/savings/cash-isa-investments-plummet/

 

High earning women are starting to gain ground on men, as the number earning £1million or more has doubled in the last five years to 1,400 in the most recent tax year up from 700 in 2010/11.

 According to Salisbury House Wealth, women now make up 9.2% of £1million-plus earners, compared to just 7% five years ago.

 The increase comes as diversity at the top rises up the corporate agenda and entrepreneurship amongst women has increased. There are now 1.6million self-employed women in the UK compared to 1.2million in 2011.

 However, Salisbury House Wealth says that the recent furore over the BBC’s disclosure of its top earners’ pay, which revealed that many female stars are being paid far less than men, highlights that there is still much progress to be made on equal pay.

 Read more in the Financial Times today:

https://www.ft.com/content/92960d36-73a0-11e7-93ff-99f383b09ff9

 

Salisbury House Wealth research has revealed that there has been an 80% increase in tax levied by HMRC on savers who breached the Lifetime Allowance last year.

 The amount collected by HMRC increased to £36m in 2015/16, up from £20m in 2014/15.

 The Lifetime Allowance (LTA) represents the maximum amount of money that a saver can save in their pension pot before incurring an additional tax charge of up to 55%. The LTA was reduced to £1m in April 2016.  

Salisbury House Wealth says that savers can avoid being charged for exceeding their LTA by closely monitoring their pension pot levels. This includes keeping track of investment performance – as well as contributions. 

From the age of 55, savers can also start withdrawing from their pension pot early through the drawdown facility – but this alone is unlikely to solve the issue and needs its own consideration.

https://www.ftadviser.com/Articles/2017/07/21/FTA-Pension-savers-caught-by-lifetime-allowance-trap

http://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/831486/Pension-tax-Lifetime-allowance-savings-income

 

Salisbury House Wealth research has found that pension liabilities held by SMEs jumped 7.5% in 2016 – to £4.3bn.

The figures highlight how SMEs are struggling to fund their pension obligations.

They also highlight the risk that employees of SMEs face should their employer become insolvent. If this happens, employees’ retirement income could fall very short of expectations.

It is advisable that employees have in place a back-up plan – such as a personal pension – just in case.

Read more in the latest edition of the Mail on Sunday:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/smallbusiness/article-4657540/Pension-scheme-liabilities-rocket-smaller-firms.html

 

The number of young-people earning more than £250k has increased 60% over the last year – Salisbury House Wealth explores the driving factors behind this trend in the Financial Times

https://www.ft.com/content/29f3c6b6-5289-11e7-bfb8-997009366969

 

The pro’s and cons of taking a defined benefit / final salary pension transfer is reviewed a little here

https://www.professionaladviser.com/professional-adviser/opinion/3010875/tim-holmes-the-pros-and-cons-of-taking-the-db-transfer-carrot

 

More women than men are investing in ISA’s and more are choosing to invest in stocks and share ISA’s as discussed in this article

http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/business/gender-investment-gap-in-the-uk-revealed/15545.article

 

Woman are at the sharp end of the pensions crisis, as new figures show that men have almost three times the amount of retirement savings.

http://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/793644/pension-news-women-crisis-retirement-savings

 

Workers in their 50’s see biggest rise in £250k earners

http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/business/workers-in-their-50s-see-biggest-rise-in-250k-earners/15499.article

 

Always worth reviewing the funds you hold in case you are being overcharged for under performing funds. Actively managed funds operate differently to passive funds and require more attention.

http://www.cityam.com/255913/why-you-may-overcharged-underperforming-actively-managed

 

Pension contributions jumped by almost a 1/5th last year but the concern is that the self-employed are contributing up to 50% less. Some of the reasons are explored in this article

http://www.professionaladviser.com/professional-adviser/news/3006925/pension-contributions-hit-all-time-high-salisbury-house-wealth

 

The number of under 30’s earning above £1m per year has jumped over a 1/3rd from 2015 – 2016 and some of the details are mentioned in these articles

http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/newswire/number-30s-earning-1m-third-last-year/

 

Research compiled by financial advisory service Salisbury House Wealth found that some 400 under 30s have now reached the huge milestone, this is up from 300 in 2015.

http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/business/more-brits-in-their-twenties-rake-in-1m-a-year/13256.article

 

The banks are still getting away with paying as little as 0.05% in interest on savings, new regulations are trying to improve the detail people receive so this trend ceases.

 http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/rules-saving-money-just-changed-9373605