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As the UK moves into the 7th week of lockdown and the world has changed beyond all recognition, it has also been a time of reflection.

The recent news that the withdrawal charge for Lifetime ISAs (LISA) was being dropped from 25% to 20% was very welcome and a pragmatic move by the Treasury.

It will be no surprise to those of you that know me, or at least read some of my blogs last autumn, that I’m not the biggest fan of default investment pathways, especially when it comes to SIPPs, and most definitely when advisers are involved.

We all know that annuity sales have been in decline for some time with the rise in popularity of drawdown under the Pension Freedoms and the poor value they are perceived to offer.

It is hard to believe that the first SIPP was sold over 30 years ago.

The FCA recently issued its long-awaited policy statement on disclosing costs and charges to workplace pension scheme members – PS20/2. I wrote about this back in June last year, shortly after the consultation had closed and it had all been very quiet for a long time.

It is quite hard to believe that we have just welcomed in the start of a new decade as 2020 begins.

As you will no doubt be aware, we have recently had the budget date announced as 11 March. This is somewhat later than anticipated, not least because the Conservatives pledged a post Brexit Budget in February as part of their election campaign.

Forgetting the taper may be wishful thinking for those of us in the pensions world but most of the general public (NHS aside) may be blissfully unaware. 

Starting a pension for a child is a very long-term investment, and probably one only considered by high net worth individuals who have used every available tax wrapper to the max. Given the most that can be paid in for someone with no earnings is £3,600 gross a year, it’s important that any pension started is low-cost or the tax benefits can quickly be wiped out.
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