Our round-up of articles your clients may have read over the weekend includes a row over the upcoming flat-rate state pension, coverage of the mortgage January sales, and another attack on structured products...
State pension 'con'
First thing's first: the government is expected to outline proposals to introduce a "single tier" pension of around £144 a week this afternoon. More than one of the nationals focused on why this deal will be seen as fairer on stay-at-home mums, who historically received a lower state pension than men because they tended to work for fewer years.
However, The Observer reported on the concerns of the National Pensioners Convention, which branded the expected change as a "con trick" for future generations. The convention said women would instead suffer as a result of the new rule because pensioners will have to make national insurance contributions for 35 years, rather than the current 30, to benefit from the new pension. Clients may field one or two questions about how this change, which isn't due to come in until 2017, will affect them.
The mortgage January sales
Meanwhile, you may be entitled to expect a few extra calls from home-hunting customers this week, given the coverage of mortgage lenders' deals in the January sales. Among the offers mentioned in the Times at the weekend was Barclays' Family Springboard mortgage, which offers a three-year fixed rate at 4.69% for those with a 5% deposit, so long as the borrower's family sets 10% of the purchase price aside in a linked savings account. The deal is similar to Lloyds TSB's Lend a Hand scheme. Enticing.
Our round-up of stories your clients may have read over the weekend
Is there a point in making savings and investments if you do not make full use of the tax allowances available to you and your family? Well, yes, there probably is, but it does rather defeat the object. The Sunday Times made a bit of a play this week on how much families could save by utilising their allowances. Its headline tip was that making the most of reliefs on pension contributions could save a top tax-paying individual £100,000 in a year (this example was based on the person carrying over three years of contributions of £50,000 and combining it with this year's contribution, to make £200,000). Expect a call or two on tax tips.
Some of your investment-oriented clients may have read a speculative piece in the Independent over the weekend, which posed a simple question: India or China? "On the one hand China has grown to such a size that it's probably a misnomer to call it emerging," the article states, while "India, which started its recent growth bonanza after China, is powering ahead, overtaking the UK economy last year in terms of gross domestic product and racing up on Germany". Expect some investors to test your macro knowledge this week.
The structured product offensive
Lastly, the onslaught against structured products continued in earnest, with the Daily Mail quoting heavily from a report by consumer group Which? (published a few weeks ago) suggesting the products are both complex and risky, precisely the opposite of what most savers are looking for. Structured products have never been top-sellers, but they attract millions from savers nevertheless. Any clients invested - or thinking about investing - in the products may want your opinion.
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Total of 72 accredited firms
23% fall since Q1
Achievements, charity work and other happy snippets
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