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The FCA has ruled out - at least for the time being - a complete ban on short selling as it works closely with international regulators to ensure that financial markets remain “open and orderly.”

Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb has urged the Treasury to scrap or relax rules which will limit people’s ability to ‘rebuild’ their pensions when the Coronavirus crisis ends.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reprieved Entrepreneur’s Relief from a predicted chop but cut it from £10m to £1m.

Defined benefit pension transfer values rose in February with Coronavirus fears spurring the rise, according to the XPS Transfer Watch Index, a monthly study of transfer values.

A record 77% of UK employees were in a workplace pension in 2019, according to latest ONS figures released today.


This compares to only 47% in 2012 when auto-enrolment began and is the highest membership rate for workplace pensions since 1997.

ONS says participation in occupational defined contribution (DC) pensions has grown in recent years to the extent that more employees have a DC pension than other type.

The youngest employees, those aged 22 to 29 years, have seen the most growth in workplace pension membership since 2012, rising from 31% of younger workers enrolled to 80% in 2019.

ONS says that in 2019, the gender gap in public sector pension membership disappeared. In the private sector a gap still persists with more men (77%) having a workplace pension than women (69%).

In 2019, some 78% of employees with DC pensions contributed at least 3% of earnings, up from 37% in 2018. ONS says this is likely mainly due to minimum auto-enrolment contributions rising.

Eleanor Levy, director of Marketing and Communications at NOW: Pensions, said: “It’s fantastic to see that 77% of UK employees are members of a workplace pension scheme, and auto enrolment is at its highest membership rate ever. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that everyone has the ability to save for a successful retirement.

“While DWP’s pledge to lower the auto enrolment age to 18 is a great start, we must ensure that we maintain this momentum and scrap the £10,000 auto enrolment eligibility criteria which is penalising those who simply don’t earn enough. This criteria disproportionately affects women who work part-time while they care for the younger and older generations.

“We are very supportive of Baroness Jeannie Drake’s family carer top-up, which will help approximately three million women, in addition to 300,000 men, to top up their pension savings whilst taking time out of work to be carers.”

Government-backed financial guidance body the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) has appointed 11 leaders tasked with transforming UK financial wellbeing over the next 10 years.

LEBC Group, the pensions and financial advice company founded by a Chartered Financial Planner, remains in “buoyant mood” despite making a financial year loss of £401,000 last year and having to withdraw from DB transfer advice.

 

More than half of workers (54%) are ignorant about the size of their pension pots, according to a major survey by pensions industry trade body the PLSA.

The latest data suggests that only 14% of divorcees are splitting retirement assets when they break up, according to a national wealth manager.


Wealth manager Quilter says that many divorcing couples may be missing out on a valuable benefit as a result.

With relaxation of divorce rules on the way the company believes more people may choose to divorce without seeking financial advice and will lost out as a result.

The company, which includes Quilter Financial Planning, says it is possible some divorcing couples may be choosing alternative arrangements, for example where one party keeps their pension but relinquishes the family home, but this still ignores the possibility that a retirement pot may be the most valuable asset.

Quilter has looked at the latest figures from the Family Law Courts. These show that there were 118,408 petitions filed for dissolution of marriage in 2018, but only 14% contained “some sort” of pension settlement order.

This is despite a recent trend in people getting divorced later in life, it says. According to the Office for National Statistics, the median age of divorce for men and women has increased by 10 years between 1987 and 2017, says Quilter.

As people divorce later, this group has less time to build a retirement income if they did not have a pension of their own, meaning dividing this asset could be key to avoiding “pension poverty”, says Quilter. ONS data shows that 45% of women aged 65 or over have no private pension wealth. 

Since 2015 the use of pension attachment orders has increased by 61%, while pension sharing orders have risen by 41%. However, while both types of pension orders have increased in popularity, they still represent a relatively small percentage of total divorce cases, says Quilter.

Year

Petitions filed for dissolution of marriage

Pension sharing orders

Pension attachment orders

Total pension settlements

2011

129,313

9,152

2,283

11,435

2012

124,453

9,841

3,100

12,941

2013

117,508

9,538

2,888

12,426

2014

112,603

9,039

2,855

11,894

2015

114,571

8,197

2,993

11,190

2016

114,127

10,394

4,243

14,637

2017

109,353

11,822

4,351

16,173

2018

118,421

11,532

4,817

16,349

2019 (Q1-Q3)

88,217

8,586

3,395

11,981

Source: Quilter

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, said: “Divorce is an emotional and stressful period for those who have to go through it. However, it’s important that people think of these valuable assets when considering how they split their money. This is particularly problematic given the average age of divorcees and it is more likely that a woman will not have any sizable pension of their own.

“With rules around divorce potentially becoming more relaxed in the future via no-fault divorce laws, we could see a further increase in do it yourself divorces where specialist advice is not sought. This could see many miss out on important pension benefits.”

Chancellor Sajid Javid is likely to tackle some thorny pensions problems in his first post-election Budget which will take place on Wednesday 11 March.

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