Tucked away in spreadsheet Phil’s Budget were a few nuggets – good and bad – that will impact on the retail financial services industry and its clients.
UK life assurance bonds (and endowment policies) have now become a tad less tax efficient with the abolition of indexation relief on corporate capital gains – which will be frozen from 1 January 2018 at the RPI figure for December 2017. Royal London have hit the headlines with a whinge about the impact on regular premium policies.
UK life assurance bonds – especially with profits bonds – were the staple investment product of most financial advisers until relatively recently and are still home to many billions of pounds. Some say this tax change could knock as much as 50bps a year off investment returns. The case is now that much stronger for offshore bonds and, of course, OEICs and other collectives where the funds are internally free of tax on capital gains.
Every year HMRC fights to tighten the rules for VCTs and EISs to make the tax reliefs reward for the risks of early-stage investing. The stated aim in the Budget is to stop the tax privileges going to investments where there’s no real risk to the capital. We will have to see if the government finally achieves this ambition. If they do, the tax-driven investment community will lose out to those selling more plain vanilla investment funds.
And pensions did not suffer the onslaught many feared. Mr Hammond obviously could not count on the support of his party for a raid on pension tax privileges. The annual allowance was untouched – as were the IHT breaks and tax-free PCLS cash. The lifetime allowance was even indexed by £30,000 to £1.03 million next year. A sigh of relief all round.
Watch this three minute video to hear directly from Danby as he discusses the Budget.