Pension Freedoms or Investment Management Conundrums?

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There is no doubt that the new flexible rules given to defined contribution registered pension schemes from 6 April 2015 have been welcomed by many investment advisers and their clients.

 

However, these amendments potentially create a change in emphasis on the use of accrued funds. A lot of discussion has focused on the client’s ability to gain access to their full pension pot at any point after the age of 55, or to have a great deal more flexibility in the level of withdrawals that can be made each year. For many of those with larger sums invested though, the use of another change could be equally or perhaps even more important.

 

Since 6 April 2015, it has also been possible to pass a defined contribution fund on death to nominated beneficiaries (who now don’t even have to be financially dependent on the member) through generations without any liability to tax. This is regardless of the option that the client has chosen in respect of either taking or not taking retirement benefits. Tax at 45% is currently payable where the deceased is over 75 years of age, if the fund is paid as a lump sum. This liability can be avoided by passing the fund to beneficiaries who use it to take income drawdown. In such circumstances, income tax may only be payable if the beneficiaries withdraw amounts from the fund. Even then, no tax would be payable if the income falls within their personal income tax allowances. The rules are thus a lot more flexible and HMRC appear less greedy than before April 2015.

 

So what does this mean for investment managers advising or running the portfolio of a defined contribution fund such as a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) on a discretionary basis?

 

At the very least, the client’s situation should be reviewed as soon as possible. They need to understand what their options are and how these fit with their objectives and the use of alternative assets and income.

 

For instance, an individual with other investments may now wish to re-position their pension fund and use it as a succession planning tool. In this case, there would often be a desire to maximize its growth potential and possibly upscale the level of risk being taken, resulting in the need to rebalance the portfolio of assets within the arrangement. In these circumstances, it would be no surprise to see the client wanting to contribute further amounts in accordance with their available annual allowance (up to £40,000 per annum). The investment manager should therefore allow for a constant inflow of potentially large sums into the overall portfolio strategy.

 

Of course, where a client decides to take this route, they may want an income from elsewhere once benefits start to be drawn. Investment managers should also re-balance portfolios being managed outside the pension fund, to accommodate immediate cash requirements and a longer-term income stream. This should ideally be done by using tax efficient wrappers where available and appropriate, such as ISAs, or VCTs, if they are likely to fall into their chargeable estate on death for inheritance tax purposes. It would also be advisable to consider using other resources that may get caught but which could release funds from which to draw an income such as the individual’s principal private residence if say, they wish to trade down.

 

Even where a client wants to retain a registered pension fund as a primary income source in retirement, investment managers still need to review their portfolios to ascertain how any of the new benefit options and their intended use will affect the balance of the portfolio.

 

To summarise this, investment managers and advisers alike need to re-appraise all their clients with pension funds that may be directly affected by the recent rule changes. This should be done in terms of their objectives and also with regards to the sources they are likely to use to provide cash and income in retirement, alongside any succession planning on death.

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  • Dan RoddyTraining & Development Manager, Rowan Dartington

    Our firm has worked with Glascow Training for several years now, during which time we have called on Cris’s considerable expertise numerous times. Cris has coached CISI exam candidates at all levels and the results have been excellent. The feedback from colleagues who have sought assistance has always reflected his excellent knowledge of both the technical topics and of exam craft. As a training manager I particularly value Glascow Consulting’s responsiveness and flexibility in providing us solutions that fit our needs and Cris’s insight and advice is highly recommended.

  • Richard BeardRelationship Director

    The Pension Transfers revision course was highly informative and well structured including time to practice past questions. The mock exam provided was also very useful and very detailed answers. What has also impressed me is the speed and quality of response from Cris to technical questions which I have asked following my attendance on the course. I believe that Cris’s help was instrumental towards me achieving a pass particularly as I had no practical experience in the subject.

  • John RadcliffeRelationship Director

    Cris thanks for your help during and after the CISI Pension Transfers and Planning Advice course, I found the course and your support invaluable.  My understanding and approach to answering the questions was much improved giving me more confidence in approaching the exam.  It was good to be able to have a wider debate and discussion around the aspects of the syllabus for which I needed more clarification particularly when I don’t work in the industry.

  • Mark RobinsonDirector & Chartered Financial Planner

    I attended a 2 day workshop in London with Cris in preparation for the first sitting of the new CISI Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning exam (March 2020). Having come from doing CII exams Cris was able to clearly explain how the CISI exams differ and guide me through the key parts of the syllabus. His style of teaching had the right balance of intensity and detail without overloading or confusing me and I left feeling in a much more confident and focused position. As a result I passed the exam with Merit and would have no hesitation in recommending Cris to anyone looking to improve their chances of passing.

  • Charlotte MetcalfeAssistant Investment Manager

    I was lucky enough to have Cris Glascow as my tutor for the Chartered Wealth Masters. I cannot recommend him enough, I really believe there is no other tutor like him.  His approachable and relaxed nature made the whole learning experience really enjoyable. The depth and breadth of his knowledge is truly incredible and unique. I believe this gave us the real X factor to pass. No question was too much trouble for Cris. His clear teaching style with multiple methods, wealth of experience and speed and efficiency in responding to queries really makes him stand out from the industry. Cris played a momentous part in helping me qualify and I am forever grateful to him.

  • Jonathan DilleyAssociate Investment Manager

    I had the pleasure of learning from Cris as I was studying towards my CISI Level 7 Diploma in Wealth Management. Whilst studying with Cris I was continually impressed by his depth of knowledge, his wealth of experience as well as his ability to teach and encourage everyone on his courses. He adapts his tuition and material to the groups strengths and weaknesses which I feel is crucial when undertaking such qualifications that require a depth of understanding beyond that which most candidates would possess when begging the qualification.

    I would give Cris and Glascow consulting my highest recommendation, I not only completed my qualification in a timely manner but also learned gleaned valuable skills from Cris that without his tutelage I certainly wouldn’t possess today.

  • Kevin Bray, FPFSFinancial Planning Director

    Having recruited two trainee advisers for the company I wanted to be sure they were given the best possible training for their level 4  qualification. The decision was taken to find the budget to bring in someone who could help them get through this first time. I had concerns that a centrally organised workshop may not be the answer from previous experience as larger groups are not always effective for every individuals learning style it also meant I could not dovetail the training with their work commitments. I needed something bespoke and I needed the right trainer with the right attitude. 

    I ascertained that Cris Glascow came with CISI approval so that satisfied my due diligence. I made contact with him and found him to have a flexible attitude and a professional approach. We agreed that he deliver bespoke training events for my trainees as part of their exam preparations. 

    I never had any doubt in the fact they would pass all elements required first time with the expert help of Cris. They are now level 4 qualified with an embedded knowledge of financial services which they could not have gained from just reading the workbook.

    I was sufficiently impressed with Cris that I subsequently asked him to train myself and a newly hired Senior Adviser colleague in the new CISI Pension Transfer & Planning Advice exam. This presented a fresh challenge as it was a new exam and he had to teach us in a subject neither of us had experience in ( DB Pension Transfers) With his help we both passed this exam at the first time of asking which just goes to show " you can teach old dogs new tricks!

    Cris Glascow is an excellent financial services trainer. He has had a 100% success rate with our team and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

  • Victoria YungPerformance Measurement

    Cris Glascow was my tutor when studying for the CISI Level 7, Chartered Wealth Manager qualification, which I achieved in 2014. Cris was a brilliant tutor, not only did he cover relevant topics but he explained them in a very clear and concise manner. One of the most valuable parts of the support were the mock exams provided. They were set at the appropriate level, they were marked quickly and relevant feedback was provided. To have a well prepared, approachable and knowledgeable tutor is so important when studying for the CISI exams especially at higher levels and as such I would strongly recommend Cris as a tutor to anyone studying for CISI qualifications. He is an excellent tutor.

  • Robert ClarkeInvestment Advisor

    I am very grateful to Cris for helping me with my studies for the Applied Wealth Management CISI exam. Cris is an expert in all areas of course material and I have no doubt in recommending him to anyone looking to pursue financial qualifications.

    Cris was also very approachable outside of teaching hours which showed his genuine passion for teaching.

  • Samuel TaylorAssistant Investment Manager

    Cris tutored me through the CISI Wealth Management program and under his guidance I passed all three modules on first attempt. His advice and tutoring were invaluable, and he made himself available to answer questions and help out at all times of day. His customised questions and detailed answers were particularly useful. Thanks Cris, I'm sure I couldn't have done it without you

  • Matt DickinsonInvestment Manager

    Cris stands out as someone that genuinely understands both the content of his training material and the individual needs of those taking the course. His training sessions are well paced and flow naturally between topics, with sufficient time reserved for open conversations and individual questions. Cris succeeds in creating an engaging learning environment which is supported by an impressive pass rate. I would happily recommend him to anyone and will certainly be working with him again.

  • Neil WinkworthSenior Manager 

    I was fortunate enough to have Cris deliver training to me for a number of CFP modules to me at a big 4 consultancy. Cris was fantastic from start to finish - most notably he knows his subject matter inside-out, delivers this knowledge and responds to questions in a logical and methodical manner - breaking complex concepts down into manageable chunks - and with a sense of humour. I highly recommend Cris to anyone considering training within his fields of expertise.

  • Katherine TaskerInvestment Manager

    I had the pleasure of being taught by Cris for my Chartered Wealth Manager Qualification. Cris is enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable on his subject matters and teaches in a way that is easily understood. He is incredibly supportive, not only whilst in the training session but also by responding to questions on the material in personal study time. I felt well prepared for each of the exams I sat having been taught by Cris. Cris’ achievement record speaks for itself and I would be happy to recommend him to anyone who is looking for an excellent trainer for financial services exams

  • Sebastian TaylorInvestment Adviser

    I was fortunate enough to be taught by Cris for the revision course for Portfolio Construction Theory and the Applied Management course. His level of knowledge was second to none and I found his teaching methods to be very clear and easy to understand. Any questions I had out of class were answered very thoroughly and timely, even late at night and also on the weekends. I have no doubt that my pass success was attributable to Cris. I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking to study towards a financial exam.

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