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State Pension to rise by 2.5% in April

The State Pension will rise by 2.5% in April, the Government confirmed today.

Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, confirmed the increase in a House of Commons statement.

The new rates will apply in the tax year 2021/22 and will come into effect for England and Wales from 12 April.

Although there has been no growth in earnings the triple lock means the increase will be 2.5% because the increase is set at the higher of three elements: inflation, average earnings growth or 2.5%.

The new State Pension will rise from £175.20 to £179.60 per week. The Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit will also increase by the same cash amount as the basic State Pension, rising by 1.9%.

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All other benefits will be increased in line with CPI – which was 0.5% in the relevant reference period, Ms Coffey said. This includes working-age

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It’s the age of the mega fund

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Good morning, Term Sheet readers. Finance reporter Anne Sraders here, filling in for Lucinda. 

VC fundraising just booked a new record: U.S. VC funds raised a total of $69.1 billion so far in 2020, beating the high set in 2018 of $67.8 billion, according to PitchBook

And we have Andreessen Horowitz to thank for that. The firm closed two massive funds on Friday: one $1.3 billion fund for early-stage consumer and fintech companies, and another $3.2 billion fund focused on later-stage investments. (Mega funds over $1 billion like a16z’s made up a record 15% of all U.S. VC funds raised this year as of September.)

Part of the funding frenzy owes to the “move from on-premise to cloud, from laptops … Read the rest

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Couples fail to seek retirement planning advice

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of over-45s have failed to seek help with retirement planning from a financial adviser, either together or on their own, according to new research.

The majority (84%) of couples do not have a figured in mind for how much annual joint income they expect to have in retirement, according to the research from adviser network Openwork.

More than a third (34%) of Britons have never discussed with their partner how much they have in pensions savings.

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Even among those who had taken advice just one in eight (12%) had seen an adviser together with the rest either going alone or saying their partner had seen an adviser by themselves.

Those who had seen an adviser were most likely to be recommended one by family or friends. Just over a quarter (26%) of adults saw one recommended by a friend or family member while a fifth

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It’s the great San Francisco exodus

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The pandemic is the last straw for some San Francisco-based tech leaders. 

Startup investor Keith Rabois recently revealed plans to leave the tech hub in favor of Miami, telling Fortune, “I think San Francisco is just so massively improperly run and managed.” Now Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Splunk CEO Douglas Merritt reportedly plan to make Austin their new permanent residences, per The Information, and Brex co-founders Henrique Duburgras and Pedro Franceschi have landed in Los Angeles.

Oh, and Palantir co-founder and 8VC Founding Partner Jon Lonsdale has decamped for Austin

Each has his own motivations—be it the city’s management, the wildfires, the high taxes, or some combination of all of the above—but here’s a notable excerpt from Lonsdale’s … Read the rest

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New social impact trust aims to raise £100m

Schroders is aiming to raise £100m for a new Social Impact investment trust to be floated on the London Stock Exchange.

The Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust aims to be the first London-listed investment company to deliver “measurable positive social impact as well as long term capital growth and income.”

It will invest in a portfolio of social impact funds and similar investments.

Social impact investment firm Big Society Capital Limited will be a partner in the trust and the portfolio manager. A specialist in this area, it has worked in social impact investing for a number of years.

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The trust is being marketed to institutional investors, wealth managers, advisers and private investors in the UK.

Among the investments likely to be selected are high quality affordable housing for a wide range of groups, including people who have experienced homelessness or survived domestic violence, to low income renters

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Autonomous delivery startup Gatik raises $25 million in Series A funding

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Autonomous vehicle startup Gatik announced today that it has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round led by Wittington Ventures and Innovation Endeavors. The company did not disclose its valuation in the deal.

Gatik also announced a new agreement with Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest supermarket operator, to create a fleet of self-driving delivery vehicles. The announcement follows a ten-month pilot in Toronto. Gatik already has a similar agreement with U.S. giant Walmart.

Gatik cofounder and CEO Gautam Narang describes his company’s goal as addressing the “middle mile” of autonomous transport, between long-haul trucking and last-mile delivery robots. Gatik’s fleets will also be limited to fixed routes, which Narang describes as a realistic approach to the current state of self-driving technology.

“Over the last few years … Read the rest

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Pension scam 'red flags' high in October

Pensions transfer data showed a high proportion of ‘red flags’ in October with over 60% of transfers showing signs of possible scams.

Data from consultancy XPS showed that the Coronavirus pandemic seems to be causing an increase in the proportion of red flags being identified at the point of pension transfer.

According to the data, 38% of transfers showed signs of possible scams at the start of the first lockdown in April.

October data from XPS Pension Group’s Transfer Watch also saw transfer values moving marginally over the month and activity increasing slightly.

Average transfer values in October were £257,000 in comparison to £256,000 in September. This compared to £246,000 in January.

The Transfer Activity Index increased from 0.52% in September to 0.62% in October. This compared to 1.03% in January.

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XPS Pension Group’s Transfer Watch monitors how market developments have affected transfer values for a typical pension

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COVID put electronic trading to the test. It’s never buckled, Goldman Sachs says

Elizabeth Martin is betting on engineers to automate trading but not necessarily to make things faster.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s global co-head of futures and equities electronic trading says that the ‘Flash Boys’ era of the past decade has ceded some ground to customizing trading for clients.

“I’ve never in my career bet against innovation or smart people being able to make things faster,” she says. “There will be some amount of improvement in speed and latency but in terms of the differentiated drivers of what a broad base of clients need in order to deliver execution for them, it’s less important, because most of the big scale providers offer those services.”

Martin, a 20-year Goldman veteran, relocated to London three years ago and oversees the Wall Street bank’s electronic stock trading business. Martin spoke with Bloomberg about the pandemic, the future of finance and zipping around the city in … Read the rest

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Local MP backs planners’ FSCS levy fight

Sheffield-based Financial Planners Belmayne have enlisted their local MP to help them fight rising FSCS levy costs which have seen the firm hit with £2,000 bill increase.

Belmayne says it is taking its campaign for fairer industry regulation to Westminster with the help of local MP Lee Rowley.

Mr Rowley, who worked previously in financial services, is to write to industry regulators and the National Audit Office expressing concern about the actions of the FCA and raise the issue with the Treasury Select Committee, Belmayne said.

The firm, a member of LinkedIn lobbying group Financial Planners United, is urging an urgent review of the FSCS funding model.

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The company says on top of a unexpected FSCS levy bill this year of £2,000 it has also been hit with a 300% increase in the cost of professional indemnity insurance and a 76% increase in FSCS and FCA charges in

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Hawaiian paradise controlled by billionaire Larry Ellison is hit hard by COVID

Larry Ellison controls just about every part of Lanai, a Hawaiian island that for months was shielded from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

As Covid-19 swept across the U.S. mainland in the spring and summer, Lanai didn’t have a single case. Its 3,000 residents avoided mass layoffs while tourism plunged, protected by the billionaire who owns 98% of the island.

Now, the gorgeous paradise, about 2,500 miles southwest of Los Angeles, is confronting a tough reality.

Ellison’s two Four Seasons resorts, which employ nearly a quarter of the island’s residents, laid off or furloughed almost all workers in August. Some employees returned last month for a reopening to tourists — which was then followed by a wave of virus infections. More than 100 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last two weeks of October. Four have been helicoptered off because Lanai’s lone hospital isn’t equipped with a critical care unit.

“They’re … Read the rest