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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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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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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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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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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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Editor’s Column: The £1bn business lesson

In 1981 two bored but ambitious accountants started a British investment business from a spare room. Today they are billionaires.

If we were living in America someone would probably have made a Hollywood movie about their humble accountancy roots to fabulous riches story; but sadly we’re not.

Today the founders of Hargreaves Lansdown both live relatively quietly in a very unassuming British sort of way, trying not to make the headlines too much. Stephen Lansdown lives quietly in Guernsey and his business partner, the rather more outspoken Peter Hargreaves, in his comfortable home looking after his garden and business interests.

They have been in the news this week after Stephen Lansdown cashed in just over a £100m of his remaining stake in the business to fund refurbishment of his hotel in Guernsey and pay for some development work on a sports stadium he owns in Bristol, the home of Hargreaves

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FCA to raise fees for new firms

The Financial Conduct Authority is set to increase fees paid by new businesses seeking authorisation, according to its latest consultation paper.

In a paper published this morning, the FCA said that increasing the fees would act as a barrier to market entry and would help “redress the balance of cost recovery” away from existing fee-payers.

If its proposals had been implemented in 2019, the regulator said it would have seen funds from applications increase from £6.2m to £12.8m, a rise of 103%.

In 2019 application fees covered 33% of the cost of authorisations at the regulator, under the new system this would have been 67%.

However, the proposals to increase applications fees would still not recover the full cost of processing applications. Under the proposed system, the consultation paper said 20% of the cost would be passed to existing fee-payers via periodic fees.

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Application fees for new firms

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2 insurers buy MoreThan owner in £7.2bn deal

 

Insurer RSA has recommended acceptance of a £7.2bn cash bid for the company from Canadian insurer Intact and Danish insurer Tryg.

The all-cash offer for the FTSE100 company will involve Intact Financial Corporation of Canada and Tryg, a Danish insurer.

The deal will see RSA’s global operations broken up and significant restructuring and reorganisation.

RSA runs the MoreThan car insurer in the UK and has subsidiaries in several countries throughout the world.

Intact and Trygg will separate the businesses as part of the deal.

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If the deal is accepted by shareholders Intact will take control of the company’s UK, Canadian, and international operations with Tryg taking over most of the Scandinavian business.

The offer price equates to 685p a share, about 50% higher than RSA’s share price before the bid.

RSA chairman Martin Scicluna said the deal was a good one for shareholders.

He said: “The board of

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Fairstone acquires home counties Financial Planner

Fairstone, one of the UK’s largest Chartered Financial Planning firms, has completed the acquisition of Hampshire-based Cube Financial Planning under its downstream buy out (DBO) acquisition model.

Eight firms have joined the DBO programme so far this year.  

Based in Romsey, Hants, Cube Financial Planning is a whole-of-market advice firm specialising in advice and management of investment and retirement portfolios.

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The acquisition brings an additional 153 clients into the group together with Cube’s two advisers and one support staff.

The acquisition also brings gross fee income of £800,000 for Fairstone together with funds under management of over £150m.

Lee Hartley, CEO of Fairstone, said: “We are delighted to complete the final acquisition of Cube Financial Planning, having worked closely with them throughout the integration phase.

“The team are a strong cultural fit for Fairstone, with high quality individuals who really care and put clients at the heart of

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'Fundamental' shift in clients' financial plans – IFA survey

 

Covid-19 has “fundamentally” shifted clients attitudes towards their Financial Planning – with many changing their retirement and wealth transfer plans, according to a new survey.

The study by wealth manager Charles Stanley, which interviewed 203 IFAs, also found that worried clients were contacting their advisers outside normal working hours to seek reassurance.

More than half (52%) of financial advisers reported a “marked increase in out of hours contact with clients” as attitudes towards personal finance shifted in the wake of Covid-19.

Among the findings from the survey were:

• 70% of advisers say they have seen an increase in concern from clients over funding later life

• 63% have seen an increase in concerns around income generation and early retirement (61%)

• 64% of clients were concerned about pension drawdown

The survey also found that 28% of clients wanted to discus delaying life events, such as downsizing, and the same

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