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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.
With political parties due to unveil their election manifestos ahead of the 12 December General Election AJ Bell has launched its own election wish list.

The firm has set out a series of proposals designed it says would “radically simplify” the rules savers are required to navigate.

AJ Bell’s ‘manifesto’ includes:

ISAs

·        ISAs, which have become popular with investors partly because of their simplicity, are under threat from the same creeping complexity that has suffocated pensions

·        We now have at least six different types of ISA, each with different rules and restrictions people need to understand

·        The next Government should return the ISA to its simpler roots by creating One ISA incorporating the main features of the existing framework

·        This would include a 25% bonus on the first £4,000 of savings where the money is used to pay towards a first home, payable on completion



Pensions

·        The next Government, whoever it may be, needs to address mounting complexity which risks putting an entire generation off saving for their future

·        In the short-term the annual allowance taper needs to be scrapped to ease strains on the NHS

·        This should trigger a longer-term, independent review of pension tax rules aimed at simplifying the system and encouraging more people to save for retirement

·        The unfair and poorly understood money purchase annual allowance (MPAA) should also be ditched as part of this review. If necessary, the annual allowance could be lowered to compensate for any lost revenue to the Treasury

·        In addition, policymakers should aim to simplify the overall tax structure by moving to a single annual allowance for defined contribution (DC) pensions and a lifetime allowance for defined benefit (DB) pensions

·        Pension death benefits should be formally excluded from the Inheritance Tax net to remove the situation where pension providers, not the customer have discretion over who receives pension funds when someone dies

Andy Bell, chief executive of AJ Bell, said: “All too often election manifestos focus on short term political point scoring, while the savings gap in the UK continues to widen.

“This is one of the biggest challenges our society faces and the next Government will have a huge opportunity to make life a lot simpler for people trying to do the right thing and save for their future.

“Pension reforms in 2006 were supposed to usher a new era of simplification for pensions, but since then politicians have repeatedly tinkered with the rules to the point even an actuary would struggle to make sense of some of them.

“No sensible person would create a pension system from scratch with three different annual allowances, a lifetime allowance and no fewer than seven lifetime allowance ‘protections’.

“Now automatic enrolment has been fully introduced, focus needs to turn to engaging more people to save for their own futures.

“Creating a more straightforward tax system which people understand is a necessary condition for building greater levels of trust in pensions.

“ISAs have similarly morphed from simple beginnings to become increasingly difficult for investors to understand.

“Incorporating the best features of the current ISA system in One ISA, including the bonus for first home purchase, while removing the unnecessary complexity we know puts people off would make life easier for millions of people.

“Furthermore, new investors could be better encouraged to save for their future in a system they can more easily understand.”

Two rival platform 'engine' providers - who run many UK platforms including AJ Bell - have joined forces following a takeover deal.

I joined the industry at the start of 2005, when A-day was approaching and a whole new world of simplified pensions was on the horizon.
I’ve spent the last few weeks travelling the length of the country talking about the Retirement Outcomes Review (ROR) and what it means for advisers and their clients.

AJ Bell has launched a retirement income solution to help financial advisers manage clients taking income in retirement. 

The rapid increase in DB transfer values has been a key factor in the rise in pension transfers and not greedy advisers seeking contingent charging fees, says platform and SIPP provider AJ Bell.
On 1 November we will see the first big changes come into force as a direct result of the Retirement Outcomes Review (ROR) – the FCA’s big piece of work on the post-pension freedoms world. Although the ROR focuses primarily on non-advised clients there are knock-on effects that will be felt by all clients, and their advisers too.
Savers withdrew £2.75billion flexibly using the pension freedoms in Q2 2019, up 21% compared to a year earlier, new figures have revealed.
An independent pension commission is something for which we at AJ Bell have long campaigned.
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