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Financial Adviser L-day update April 2024

We thought it would be helpful to provide you with an update regarding some of the changes that have come in on the 6th April 2024. HMRC have made us aware that there are some issues that they know about with the legislation and are planning to rectify, these may affect whether a client should transfer or take benefits.

All of our Literature has been updated and can be requested from your Account Manager. More information can also be found under our Technical section.

Member benefit forms

We may have already received a member benefits form in for a crystallisation post 6th April 2024. When we identify that we have received the old version of our form we will use this form but we will ask you to confirm the following before we are able to process the tax free cash request:

1) Whether the member wishes to rely on a transitional tax free cash certificate when we do the calculations – if they do, we will need the certificate before the pension scheme is crystallised
2) We will need an acknowledgement that as we only have Lifetime Allowance percentage figures, we will use a standard formula provided by HMRC to convert the Lifetime Allowance percentage figures confirmed in the form to a Lump Sum Allowance and a Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance figure
3) Whether the member has taken a serious ill health lump sum payment from any pension scheme

Members who have already turned 75

The way the standard calculation works at a Relevant Benefit Crystallisation Event (RBCE) would mean that 25% Tax Free Cash would be assumed to have been paid at age 75 from any uncrystallised funds and from the growth in any crystallised funds (because the growth used to trigger further Lifetime Allowance being used up). These members may benefit from applying for a transitional tax free cash certificate before their first Relevant Benefit Crystallisation Event post 6th April 2024 as the certificate will be based on the actual tax free cash paid.

Furthermore prior to the 6th April 2024 any Tax Free Cash paid after a member turned 75 was not a Benefit Crystallisation Event and so not tested against the members Lifetime Allowance.

HMRC have confirmed that there is an issue for members who have turned 75 and have taken Tax Free Cash after their 75th birthday because the current legislation does not consider any Tax Free Cash paid after 75 in the calculations. To ensure that a Transitional Tax Free Cash Certificate is issued with the correct figures on these members will need to wait until the government has amended the legislation to correct this error.

Enhanced Protection and transfers

There is currently an issue for members with Enhanced Protection wishing to transfer to another pension scheme. If these members currently transfer they will lose their Enhanced Protection. HMRC are aware of this issue and will be amending legislation to correct this error. In the meantime we will be asking you to confirm whether the client has Enhanced Protection for a transfer in or transfer out of a scheme.

Enhanced Protection and Primary Protection – protected lump sum rights of more than £375,000

There is an issue with paragraph 1(b) of schedule 29 of the Finance Act 2024 which means that if an individual with Enhanced or Primary Protection with protected lump sum rights of more than £375,000 wishes to take their Tax Free Cash entitlement the way the legislation is currently worded prevents this from happening. HMRC are aware of this issue and will be amending legislation to correct this error.

Lump Sum Death Benefits – payment from funds which crystallised prior to 6th April 2024

The payment of Lump Sum Death Benefits for members who have died under age 75 from funds crystallised prior to 6th April 2024 are currently limited by the permitted maximum. The government will be amending legislation to rectify this so that the payment of Lump Sum Death Benefits from these funds are entirely tax free. Until the legislation has been changed the Legal Personal Representative may wish to delay the payment of a Lump Sum Death Benefit from these funds.

Death Benefits

It is increasingly important for Expression of Wish forms to be up to date. Lump Sum Death Benefits paid from members funds who die under the age of 75, for uncrystallised funds and funds crystallised after the 6th April 2024, will be tested against the new Lump Sum and Death benefit Allowance. If the Lump Sum Death Benefit Allowance is exceeded the excess will be taxed at the recipient’s marginal rate of income tax. However, funds designated to a flexi access drawdown fund will not be tested against the Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance.

Overseas transfer allowance

When someone has crystallised benefits prior to 6th April 2024 their Overseas Transfer Allowance is reduced by 100% of their previously used Lifetime Allowance. If these funds, in drawdown, are then transferred to a QROPS they will be tested against and deducted from the Overseas Transfer Allowance again. Legislation will be amended to remove the double counting and members may wish to defer transferring to a QROPS until the double counting has been resolved.

Applying for a transitional tax free cash certificate

For any client if they can provide complete evidence that they have received TFC of less than £268,275 (or if they have protection the amount their protection certificate allows) we can issue a transitional tax free cash certificate. Complete evidence in this case would be evidence of the tax free amounts taken or not taken and any Lifetime Allowance used from any external pension scheme(s) that they have had. If the client only has a pension scheme with us we would require a written statement confirming that they wish to apply and that they haven’t taken benefits from any other pension schemes.

There has to be a Relevant Benefit Crystallisation Event for payment to be made (a crystallisation so there needs to be uncrystallised funds available).

Fixed Protection 2016 and Individual Protection 2016 application deadlines

For the majority of members the deadline for an application for either Fixed Protection 2016 or Individual Protection 2016 has been set at 5th April 2025.

L-day

L-day is upon us and so we are here to help with any queries that you may have. Please see our Technical updates for more information about the changes and our Literature which as all been updated.

Tax year deadlines 2023/24

We thought it would be helpful to provide you with information regarding our deadlines for our processes in relation to the tax year end. If you have any queries please let us know.

Contributions

For existing clients wishing to make an ad hoc contribution we can accept completed contribution application forms and funds by either electronic transfer or by cheque up to and including the 5th April 2024. If the contribution application form is not fully completed the date of the contribution will be the date we receive all the information required to be able to process the contribution, this means that the contribution may fall into the 2024/25 tax year. We are happy to accept contribution application forms by e-mail, with a scanned or electronic signature. We will check the information on the form and will confirm if we require any further information before confirming that payment can be made. Please note that payment must have been received by the end of the 5th April for it to count in this tax year.

Please do not arrange for a contribution to be made without the contribution application form having been completed by the client first. If we do receive funds without a completed form to support the contribution we will be unable to move the funds for investment and the contribution funds will remain in the SIPP bank account until we are able to complete all our checks. Please ensure that clients are completing the latest version of our contribution application form, this can be found at SIPP Money In

New SIPPs

We would ask that all new SIPPs with supporting contributions are received by the 5th April 2024. If you have an urgent SIPP to be set up please contact your Account Manager to discuss the details and to ensure that we receive all the documents that we require to be able to complete the SIPP set up process.

Pension Payments

Pension Payments are paid on the last working day of each month. Please ensure that cleared funds are in your client’s SIPP bank account by the 20th March 2024 for payment on 28th March 2024. If any changes are to be made to a clients level of pension payment or any client wants to start receiving pension payments for the first time please provide us with the completed paperwork by the 20th March 2024. We can accept a scanned copy of the paperwork.

Taking Benefits

We receive a high volume of requests for clients to take benefits from their pension schemes towards the end of the tax year. We may need to obtain valuations from third parties to process a request and this may affect the length of time it takes to complete the process. To be able to make a Tax Free Cash payment or pension payment there needs to be cleared funds in the SIPPs bank account and pension payments will be subject to the cut of date of the 20th March 2024.

Should you have an urgent request for a client to take Tax Free Cash please contact your Account Manager to discuss the requirements in more detail. Please also ensure that clients complete the latest version of our member benefits form which can be found at SIPP Member Benefits

Defaqto 5 Star Rating for our Full SIPP and SSAS

We are very proud to announce that we have again received a Defaqto 5 Star Rating for our Premier Trust Full SIPP and for our SSAS.

Defaqto is one of the UK’s most trusted sources of financial product and market intelligence, supporting financial institutions, intermediaries and consumers to make smarter financial decisions.

The 5 Star Rating means that our Premier Trust Full SIPP and SSAS are excellent products with a comprehensive range of features and benefits. They both provide one of the highest quality offerings on the market.

More information about Defaqto can be found at www.defaqto.com

Useful Tips to Consider for In Specie Transfers

It is quite common for members and their advisors to consider an in-specie transfer of assets from one pension scheme to another. Elaine Turtle, Director at DP Pensions, discusses that certain matters need to be taken into account.

Cash transfers

Firstly, if the assets being transferred are actually going to be encashed once transferred over then there is little point in doing this as an in specie transfer, as the timescale for an in specie transfer can be from 4 weeks to 3 months! So if the plan is to encash rather than transfer in specie, we recommend that you have the SIPP set up and the account opened with the new Investment Manager in advance and at that point you can tell the existing Pension Provider / Investment Manager to sell down the assets and we will request the cash transfer – this usually means we will have funds within 10 days and they can be moved across immediately to the new Investment Manager once received. This is normally the quicker option if the portfolio is being re-jigged.

A partial in specie transfer

If the plan is to just transfer some assets in specie (and the rest as cash) it might be worth considering doing a partial transfer first of the cash and then go back for the in-specie transfer after the cash is received. The reason for this is that most Providers only transfer cash once the in specie is completed so cash can be sitting for some time out of the market and transferring the cash first can help avoid this. This can only be done if the member is not fully crystallised and the value that is transferred is equal to or below the value of the uncrystallised amount. There will also usually be 2 charges from the existing Pension Provider as there will be 2 transfers. Also note in specie transfers usually incur a charge whilst a cash transfer might not. Always best to check with the investment provider first on your options and charges.

Full in specie transfer

So, if in specie is the best way forward then we will require a list of existing assets before the transfer can be requested to check that all the investments held are in the Permitted Investment section of our Investment List. Our Investment List complies with the FCA’s Standard Asset list. Please note if a stock has been delisted or is suspended, we won’t accept this and, in fact, they can’t be transferred. It means that the account with the existing Investment Manager can’t be closed and so the existing Pension Plan can’t be moved either. It will mean having two Pension Plans going forward until the suspended funds can be moved or are written off and that is the same for delisted stock. During which time you might be charged two sets of fees (one from each pension provider).

Time expectations

Once the stock/ assets have been checked as acceptable to us we will then complete the discharge forms for the other Pension Provider and send these off – please note the Origo system does not deal with in specie transfers.

If the in specie is staying with the existing Investment Manager / stockbroker then this should make matters much quicker. So, it helps if when you send our SIPP opening forms that you send us the account opening forms for the Investment manager / stockbroker so we can have the account opened quickly ready to deal with the in specie transfer. The Investment manager /Stockbroker must wait on instructions from the existing Pension Provider. Once instructions are sent off to the existing Pension Provider, we will leave it 2 weeks before we chase and then chase weekly after that.

Once we have confirmation that the investments/ stock has been transferred we will request a valuation again to review this against the original list to make sure all the assets have been transferred. If cash has been received as part of the transfer, then we will move this across to the Investment manager / stockbroker if that has been requested. This cash will also be used to settle our fees and any fees being paid to your financial adviser.

Pension Scams

One thing we need to look out for on a transfer is that the new Scheme is not part of a scam. Please see our link on our website with regards to We pledge to combat pension scams and protect savers

Metro Bank

Here is Metro Bank’s announcement to the London Stock Exchange.

“Response to press speculation

Metro Bank notes the recent press speculation regarding a potential capital raise. Following Metro Bank’s update on capital planning on 12 September 2023, the Company continues to consider how best to enhance its capital resources, with particular regard to the £350m senior non-preferred notes due in October 2025. The Company continues to meet its minimum regulatory capital requirements and had a total capital plus MREL ratio of 18.1% and a leverage ratio of 4.4% as at 30 June 2023.

The Company is evaluating the merits of a range of options, including a combination of equity issuance, debt issuance and /or refinancing and asset sales. No decision has been made on whether to proceed with any of these options.

For three consecutive quarters ended 30 June 2023, the bank has been profitable on an underlying basis, and it expects the Q3 trading update to show continued momentum in Personal and Business Current Account growth and customer acquisition, in line with expectations. Metro Bank continues to be well positioned for future growth.”  05/10/2023

Source: https://otp.tools.investis.com/clients/uk/metro_bank_plc/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=1352&newsid=1720003

Spring Budget 2023

We thought it would be helpful to provide you with an update regarding the changes that have been announced in the Spring Budget 2023, if you have any queries please speak to a financial adviser. If you do not have a financial adviser we recommend that you take advice from an FCA regulated financial adviser to discuss your options. Please note that we are not authorised to provide financial or investment advice but we are happy to assist with technical issues.

Contribution Limits

The following changes have been confirmed:

• The Annual Allowance is the maximum amount of contributions (personal and employer) that can be made to registered pension schemes each year. The annual allowance is currently £40,000 and this will be increasing to £60,000 from 6th April 2023 – carry forward will still be available from the 3 previous tax years
• If you have taken a pension payment under flexi-access drawdown from a defined contribution pension scheme, the amount of contributions that you can make to these schemes is reduced from £40,000 to £4,000 per annum. From the 6th April 2023 the £4,000 limit is being increased to £10,000.
• The Tapered Annual Allowance was introduced on the 6th April 2016 and since April 2020 anyone with taxable income over £240,000 wishing to make contributions to registered pension schemes had their annual allowance reduced by £1 for every £2 of income they had over £240,000. This tapering stopped when an individual’s allowance reached £4,000 for contributions. The budget has confirmed that the Tapered Annual Allowance will be increasing from £4,000 to £10,000 from 6th April 2023.
• The adjusted income threshold for the Tapered Annual Allowance is also increasing from £240,000 to £260,000 from 6th April 2023.

Lifetime Allowance

There have been some significant changes announced in respect of the Lifetime Allowance which in turn has affected the level of Pension Commencement Lump Sum (Tax Free Cash) that is available to individuals:

• The Lifetime Allowance is the total amount of money that an individual can build up in their pension scheme(s) before a tax charge is applied. The Lifetime Allowance tax charge is being removed from the 6th April 2023 and the Lifetime Allowance will be totally abolished from the 2024/2025 tax year. This means that an individuals pension fund can build up to any level without any tax charges being applied.
• Although the Lifetime Allowance is being abolished the maximum tax free lump sum that an individual will be able to take from their pension funds will be frozen at £268,275 (25% of £1,073,100 the current Lifetime Allowance). Anyone with tax free cash protection or with valid Lifetime Allowance protection for example Enhanced Protection or Fixed Protection will still keep their entitlement to a higher tax free lump sum.
• Members with Enhanced Protection or Fixed Protection (applied for before 15th March 2023) will be able to accrue new pension benefits with effect from 6th April 2023 without losing their protection.

About this document

This update is based on our understanding of pension’s law and regulation.

Every care has been taken to ensure that it is correct. It is issued by DP Pensions Ltd for use by our pension clients and their advisers.

Please note that DP Pensions Ltd are not authorised to give financial advice. We do not know all of your circumstances or details of any other pension schemes of which you are a member. You should contact your financial adviser for help on how this legislation may affect you personally.

No responsibility to any third party is accepted if this information is used for any other purpose. The legislation and HMRC practice may change in the future.

If you have any queries regarding the information in this update and how it affects your circumstances then please contact your financial adviser.

Consumer Duty

Overview

In July 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published the final rules for Consumer Duty – PS22/9: A new Consumer Duty, with the Finalised Guidance FG22/5.

The Consumer Duty (‘the Duty’) sets the standard of care that firms should give to customers.

There are three layers – the Consumer Principle, cross-cutting rules and four outcomes.

Firstly, the ‘Principle’ itself, which will form Principle 12 in the FCA’s sourcebook:

                     A firm must act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers.

What does ‘good outcomes’ mean? To help, the FCA have published ‘cross-cutting’ rules (which broadly cut across/apply to the four outcomes). These cross-cutting rules are for a firm to:

✔ Act in good faith
✔ Avoid causing foreseeable harm
✔ Enable and support retail customers to pursue their financial objectives

Below are the four areas in which the FCA expects to see good outcomes:

✔ products and services
✔ price and value
✔ consumer understanding
✔ consumer support

Influencing Factors

Target Market

DP Pensions Ltd, as the “manufacturer” of our SIPP products, are required by 30 April 2023 to share appropriate information with “distributors,” such as financial advisers and third party investment providers, which is necessary for them to meet their own obligations under Consumer Duty. For more information on the documents listed below, please see our Literature and Financial Adviser sections:

-Product Specification – Full SIPP
-Product Specification – Single Investment SIPP
-Product Specification – 7IM SIPP
-Financial Adviser Terms of Business
-DP Pensions Ltd due diligence information
-SIPP Adviser Charge Agreement

Contact and Support

Our dedicated project team, governed by Compliance and the Board of Directors, is required to review and identify any gaps within the customer journey in consideration with our SIPP products and service offering.  We are also happy to share information with our distributors.

If you would like further information on Consumer Duty, or find out ways in which DP Pensions Ltd can support existing (and new) financial advisers and third party investment providers that market/distribute our SIPP products, please get in touch with:

Elaine TurtleDirector01580 762555elaine.turtle@dapco.co.uk
Sally NorthCompliance Manager01580 762555sally.north@dapco.co.uk

We pledge to combat pension scams and protect savers

The pensions industry plays a vital role in protecting saves and helping fight pension scammers.

We will raise awareness, educate and protect pension savers. We pledge to combat pension scams. We will:

  • Regularly warn members about pension scams
  • Encourage members asking for cash drawdown to get impartial guidance from Pension Wise
  • Get to know the warning signs of a scam and best practice for transfers by completing the scams module in the Trustee Toolkit and encourage all relevant staff or trustees to do so
  • Study and use the resources on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ScamSmart website, our scams information and the PSIG code
  • Consider becoming a member of the Pension Scams Industry Forum by contacting PSIG
  • Report concerns about a scam to the authorities and communicate this to the scheme member

What this means for you and your pension

Scammers can be difficult to spot and might seek to exploit your trust. We’re already committed to protecting our members, but we want to go one step further. Working together, we will help protect you by pledging following the principles of the pledge to combat pension scams. We have self-certified to The Pensions Regulator that we meet the standards of the pledge.

For more information:

www.tpr.gov.uk

Don’t let a scammer enjoy your retirement

Scammers are targeting pension pots of all sizes. Make sure you know how to spot the warning signs and how to keep your pension safe.

Pension scams can be hard to spot. Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

How pension scams work

Scammers usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text, or even advertise online.

Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them (or to release funds from it). It is often then:

• invested in unusual and high-risk investments like overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units;
• invested in more conventional products, but within an unnecessarily complex structure which hides multiple fees and high charges; or
• simply stolen outright.

The warning signs

Scam offers often include:

• Free pension reviews
• Higher returns – guarantees they can get you better returns on your pension savings
• Help to release cash from your pension, even though you’re under 55 (an offer to release funds before age 55 is highly likely to be a scam).
• High pressure sales tactics – the scammers may try to pressure you with ‘time limited offers’ or even send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents.
• Unusual investments – which tend to be unregulated and high risk, and may be difficult to sell if you need access to your money.
• Complicated structures where it isn’t clear where your money will end up.
• Long-term pension investments – which mean it could be several years before you realise something is wrong.

4 simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams

Step 1 – Reject unexpected offers:

If you’re contacted out of the blue about a pension opportunity, chances are it’s high risk or a scam. If you get a cold call about your pension, the safest thing to do is to hang up – it’s illegal and probably a scam.

Be wary of offers of free pension reviews. Professional advice on pensions is not free – a free offer out of the blue from a company you have not dealt with before is probably a scam.

And don’t be talked into something by someone you know. They could be getting scammed, so check everything yourself.

Step 2 – Check who you’re dealing with:

• Check the Financial Services Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and they are permitted to provide those services in relation to pensions.
• If you don’t use an FCA-authorised firm, you also won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. So you’re unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong. If the firm is on the FCA Register, you should call the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check the firm is permitted to give pension advice. Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from a firm authorised by the FCA, as it could be what we call a ‘clone firm’. Use the contact details provided on the FCA Register, not the details they give you.

Step 3 – Don’t be rushed or pressured:

• Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’. Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true and don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.

Step 4 – Get impartial information or advice:

You should seriously consider seeking financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements.

MoneyHelper – provides free independent and impartial information and guidance. www.moneyhelper.org.uk
Pension Wise – If you’re over 50 and have a defined contribution (DC) pension, Pension Wise offers pre-booked appointments to talk through your retirement options at: www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/pensions-and-retirement/taking-your-pension/pension-wise
Financial advisers – It’s important you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances, so you should seriously consider using the services of a financial adviser. If you do opt for an adviser, be sure to use one that is regulated by the FCA and never take investment advice from the company that contacted you or an adviser they suggest, as this may be part of the scam.

If you suspect a scam, report it.

• Report to Action Fraud – If you suspect a scam you should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
• If you’ve agreed to transfer your pension and now suspect a scam, contact your pension provider straight away. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet. If you are unsure of what to do contact MoneyHelper for help on 0800 011 3797.

Be ScamSmart with your pension. To find out more, visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

Download

Pensions Scam Leaflet