Member Since: 24th Jan 2014
I'm best known for helping small employers and business advisors with their problems with pensions. These are typically over choosing the right pension for auto-enrolment though through my work with First Actuarial, I get involved with big occupational schemes too.
I'm on this site as I see accountants as the missing link between the pensions industry and the business community - especially small businesses.
I've a Cambridge MA and 30 years in finance behind me, but I'm looking forward to the next ten to twenty years (my flexible "corridor to retirement") to help restore people's confidence in pensions.
Director- First Actuarial
Writer- www.HenryTapper.com and many magazines and papers,
Manager; Pension Play Pen linkedin group, Pension Auto-Enrolment Linked In Group
Choices Champion; Friends of Auto-enrolment
Managing Director Pension Playpen
26th Sep 2014
The taxation of your pension will be as earned income, you will be able to take a quarter of you fund tax-free if you choose. (perhaps slightly more if it is a really old plan- speak to your provider or adviser about the s226 tax legislation)
You will be taxed at your highest marginal rate on income from an annuity or from a drawdown plan,
You can defer drawing your pension by transferring your pot to a new style plan (if the old plan has no facility to defer drawing your money.
However there are things to think about
The "old pension" may have some very old-fashioned features which you might value
1. Guaranteed annuity rates which make annuities a more attractive option
2. Life cover or ill health benefits
These "old" plans need to be treated as if they might be valuable antiques and I would strongly suggest you take expert advice from someone who specialises in this work.
I am not an adviser- this is no advice - but I am sure there are advisers on here who can help you - if you don't get any offers- please drop me a line and I'll find you one in your area. [email protected]
25th Sep 2014
Advice on the pension
It's becoming a bit of a saga this one! The official line (FCA and tPR jt statement in March 14) is that advice to employers is unregulated (but advice to employees isn't). To be really helpful, the Regulator's pointed out that where the employee is the employer and vice versa you've got to be careful (don't you love regulators).
The Regulator's warning is that if you haven't got "skill and knowledge" you shouldn't be advising, but your practice's ethics code (and your PI insurer) can tell you that!
For a employer to choose NEST because it's there is risky. No one may have got sacked for choosing IBM but there have been a lot of employees who had to use IBM machines who wished they hadn't!
www.pensionplaypen.com is not the only pension comparison service, they do exist and employers , accountants and IFAs use them to research the market, rate providers and get an audit trail on the decision taken.
As the cost of this kind of search is £500 or less, it seems to be a sensible solution for employers who want to take the right decision n are worried about the consequences of getting it wrong!
10th Jun 2014
Should be alright
In the old days , you'd have to have some net relevant earnings to contribute against but now, you can continue to get tax relief at source on contributions even if you have no earnings
Nowadays you can pay up to £2880 into your personal pension even if you don't pay tax and the taxman will top this up to £3600.
So if all you're getting as income is the state pension but you've got capital to burn, it's possible to build up a pension pot with the help of a taxman you don't otherwise trouble!
19th May 2014
I think you will qualify with Standard Life as the calculation is made on the potential contributions once the phasing is over but you should be aware of the heavy £100pm charge for the payroll and communication interfaces they provide - this is an on going cost and not just at set up.
Smarter Pensions are highly rated on www.pensionplaypen.com After a sticky start they have got their administrative act together and now offer a highly rated investment package at a very reasonable cost. If you are charity , third sector or social housing organisation they must be considered
15th May 2014
Providers quoting to everyone
Whilst there appears to be some of the life offices offering a full service to larger employers that are starting to move into requiring to adopt AE, there appears to be a very limited provision for the much smaller employers that will require to act later in the process.
The two I have to date found that are offering service irrespective of number of employees/monthly contribution, are NEST and NOW. Anyone know of anyone else?
The following providers will quote on anything coming their way
A number of insurers including Standard Life,Scottish Widows ,Legal & General and Friends Life will quote terms on anything above five lives
If you are in the Third Sector, a Charity or in Social Housing you will be quoted by Smarter Pensions (run by Pensions Trust)
you can do a search for your client via www.pensionplaypen.com/register
15th May 2014
The pension poor
Old Greying Accountant wrote:
To me the most criminal part of AE is that those below the LEL will have no right to have their employer contribute, yet these are the most vulnerable and least likely to have spare income to invest in a pension. To my mind these employees should have the ratio's reversed so 3% them and 5% employer, of which they may opt out their portion, but the employer must still pay theirs.
Those on lowest earnings have the highest replacement ratios- they get most from the new single state pension which will be fully in force in 2016 and they continue to benefit most from welfare.
I'd argue that it is those in the private sector with median earnings and median pension pots who will be most squeezed.
13th May 2014
Two different things
Everyone has the right to take 25% of their accumulated pensions as a tax-free sum (regardless of their marginal rate). This withdrawal is not counted against anything.
There's a great tax planning opportunity after that. You should be able to fix it so you draw down money from your pension pot as you see fit (the pension technicians I'm talking to are building this into next year' products o you can change the rate of drawdown to suit cash requirements - and optimise your tax position).
So you could draw down up to your nil rate band or 20% band etc. (if tax efficiency is your main driver).
This is so much more flexible than the old rules.
What George Osborne would love you to do is drawdown all your pension at once- almost certainly triggering a fat tax demand from HMRC.
These are the kind of discussions that Money Savings Expert and Money Box will be full of com next year. It's why any accountant who has a client about to buy a lifetime annuity should be putting up big sign saying "think about it!"