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Consolidate your Irish pension

Sunset over rocks on a beachOne of the best pieces of semi-financial advice I ever received was about buying clothes: buy good quality (obviously) and then have the garment altered to fit me specifically; sound financial and sartorial sense. Of course, this means going a little further than one might normally when buying a new outfit, but it’s a little extra that I think is more than justified in the end. Ready-to-wear clothes are great without doubt, but having something that fits you perfectly gives a continued feeling of satisfaction with every wear, it’s so worth it. There are parallels to be made in my professional life as well; it’s such a pleasure to be able to offer clients advice and products that are tailormade to their requirements and fit their circumstances perfectly.

NEWS WRAP – Shadow Foreign Secretary’s Plan for Public Sector Pensions

Money BagLabour MP for Islington South and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has published an article for Politics Home in which she calls for greater pensions freedoms for public sector workers.*

Written as part of her failed leadership campaign, the article named five major policy areas she felt the party needs to address in the future: climate crisis, the NHS, Social Care, affordable housing, and pensions.

In fact, the article was largely concerned with the issue of public sector pensions as Ms Thornberry warned that the country faced a “ticking time-bomb” in respect of the sums which will become payable in future decades. She quoted a 2017 estimate which suggested that public sector pension liabilities had a £1.7 trillion shortfall. She said that the public currently spends around £40 billion a year meeting this gap.

NEWS WRAP – Lost Pensions Worth £37 Billion

Woman searching for documentsMany British retirement savers could retire two years earlier than they realise, according to a new piece of research from pensions advice firm Profile Pensions*.

This, says the firm, is because one in four over 55s have lost track of their pension funds, a fact that helps to account for a significant proportion of the UK’s approximately 1.6 million unclaimed pension pots. It is estimated that these funds have a combined value of around £37 billion.

The situation is even worse for younger retirement savers, with three in ten 25-34 year-olds saying they have lost track of a pension. One in ten respondents were not sure whether they would be able to account for all their pensions.

NEWS WRAP – 2019 Was the Year of the Bulk Pension Transfer

Pension FundsThe value of defined benefit pension scheme transfers in 2018 was an all time-high of £24 billion.

In 2019 the value of pension scheme transfers, according to Willis Towers Watson (WTW)*, is likely to be around £40 billion, which represents a substantial increase and a further record breaking amount.

The figures describe a market in which final salary pension schemes are increasingly transferred in favour of the opportunities and returns to be found in alternative products and investments.

NEWS WRAP – FCA’s Pension Concern for Economic Downturn

The minutes have been published for October's Financial Conduct Authority board meeting* in which the organisation discussed, among other regulatory matters, pension losses and the kinds of situations that might arise in the event of a future economic instability.

TOP TIPS – Pension Drawdown for Expats

Jar of CoinsFor all but the highest net worth individuals, a pension pot will be the most valuable retirement asset in the long-term financial plan. Despite this, many retirement savers take a passive approach to pension planning and ultimately fail to realise the benefits of considering all the options and opportunities available to them.

One such opportunity is to transfer pension savings into a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and then drawdown to access your money.

But what exactly is a drawdown pension, and what should you be mindful of when considering pension drawdown options?

FAQ: How will Brexit affect my pension and should I look at alternatives?

EU and UK FlagsAt the moment, no one can say with complete certainty what will happen in the near future regarding Brexit and pensions.

However, one thing is clear: uncertainty about the future should not be a pretext to doing nothing about your UK pension; it is not automatically the right idea to think to yourself “Will Brexit affect my pension? I’ll just leave it where it is and wait to see”.

HMRC Pension Transfer Guidance May Change

The rules relating to pension transfers and inheritance tax could be set to change after HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced that it is to review its guidance on the matter following a number of concerns raised by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) in a review published on July 5 2019.

One area that the OTS has earmarked for examination involves the rules relating to pension transfers made within two years of a person's death. Such transfers can result in the deceased person's remaining defined contribution pot being subject to 40 per cent inheritance tax unless the estate can prove to HMRC that the pension transfer was made without the intention to deliver gratuitous benefit.

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