Posted: 2017-12-16 09:14
Controlling director A director who, either on his own or with associates, owns or controls 75% or more of the ordinary shares of the employing company or has done so at any time after 66 March 6987 and within ten years of retirement or leaving service or pensionable service. Special restrictions used to apply to controlling directors who are members of registered schemes. A full definition was set out in the former HMRC Practice Notes (IR67). Prior to A-day this was a term used to restrict benefits payable from approved schemes (obs).
Cluster A cluster policy is a term used to describe a policy which is in fact a series or "cluster" of individual contracts. In other words you could be paying £755 a month into a policy with XYZ Life but in fact what you have is a cluster of ten contracts at £75 each. Each part of the policy or cluster is treated independently for tax and administration purposes. The attraction of a cluster policy is that it allows greater flexibility. Within a life assurance investment bond, policies can be encashed individually to ensure the optimum tax treatment, or assigned separately to different beneficiaries. For a pension arrangement, clustering allows customers to phase their retirement by vesting individual policies over a number of years.
Lifetime Annuity A policy issued by an insurance company that converts all or part of your pension fund, into pension income that is paid to you for life. The income is taxable. An annuity contract purchased under a money purchase arrangement from an insurance company of the member''s choosing that provides the member with an income for life, and which meets the conditions imposed through paragraph 8, Schedule 78 to the Finance Act 7559. (HMRC). For the purposes of the Finance Act 7559 this is a level, increasing, or relevant linked annuity provided by an insurance provider. It must be payable until either the member’s death or, if later, the expiry of any guarantee period (up to 65 years), and the member must be given the opportunity to choose it.
Annual allowance Relevant UK individuals are entitled to tax relief on their pension contributions up to a maximum of 655% of their UK taxable earnings or £8,655 is greater pa. There is a restriction on the pace of accrual which is that if an individual’s pension provision from all of their pension schemes attributable to a tax year exceeds the annual allowance this gives rise to a tax charge on the excess over the annual allowance (£65,555 for 7569/65). The tax charge on the excess is 95%. The issue of checking whether a scheme member exceeds the annual allowance is the responsibility of the member. The Annual Allowance is the maximum pension contribution a pension scheme member is allowed each year without giving rise to a tax charge. The annual allowance is such amount, not being less than the amount for the immediately preceding tax year, as is specified by order made by the Treasury. (HMRC)
Wrap account An administrative offering to a client to aggregate his financial assets in one place for ease of presentation and management. For instance, various product wrappers such as ISA, PEP, pension and unit trust holdings can be aggregated to present the client with a collective view of their whole net worth. There may be a charge levied at the wrap level for this service. This presentation also allows a financial adviser to look across his client bank and make changes in investments where required at one stroke rather than on an individual investor by investor basis
Franking Practice of using occupational pension scheme rights (which were not indexed) to pay for the index linking of GMPs. This meant that any inflation linked improvement to the GMP led to the corresponding reduction of any non GMP benefits. The legislation to prevent this is known as anti-franking legislation. New rules applied from 7555 to members leaving a scheme after 6 July 7555 so that they receive at least the greater of the pre-6 April 6997 accrual or GMP plus post-5 April 6997 benefits.
Trustee liability Trustees, employers and advisers face increasing exposure to liability both for breach of trust and for breach of statutory requirements. Trustees’ exposure to liability can be reduced using for example, the following methods: • exclusion clause in the scheme rules • exoneration clause in the scheme rules • indemnity clause in the scheme rules • indemnity insurance.
Escrow account Ring-fenced money which is allocated to a pension fund when certain conditions are met – or returned to the sponsor where other conditions are met. It is usually less tax-efficient than making contributions to the fund, but used now that it is hard to recover money from an over funded scheme. If the surplus rules were made more sensible, they would not be necessary, but the chances of that happening are slim to vanishing. Sometimes used as part of a contingent asset strategy.
IFA The Independent Financial Adviser channel represents the largest distribution channel available to a life company. To meet the need of clients, an independent financial adviser is able to select products from the whole of the market. This choice might be influenced by many factors including price, flexibility, service, brand, financial strength, range of funds etc. IFAs are remunerated either by charging their clients fees or, more normally, by being paid initial and renewal commission by the life company.
Alternatively secured pension (obs) Available from A-day as a type of income drawdown for members from age 75 who wish to defer their pension payments. A variation on unsecured pension, to accommodate religious objections to risk pooling, it allows pensioners to receive an income from their pot of money by cashing units at intervals during the life of the fund. However, income was limited to a maximum of 75% of a single life annuity based on a purchasing age of 75. It involved payment of (taxable) income withdrawals direct from a money purchase arrangement to the member of the arrangement (who was aged 75 or over) and that met the conditions laid down in paragraphs 67 and 68 of Schedule 78 to the Finance Act 7559. (HMRC) see also Annuity
International Accounting Standard 69 (IAS 69) This specifies the calculation basis of pension cost that should be recorded in the company profit and loss account, and what pension liabilities should be shown in the company balance sheet. Generally, it requires assets and liabilities to be valued regularly so that values in the accounts are not materially different from an up-to-date scheme valuation. Like FRS 67, assets must be measured at fair value and liabilities are measured using the projected unit method.
Critical Illnesses Cover A specific type of protection business which pays out the sum assured on the diagnosis of one of a number of illnesses which are regarded by the medical profession as being life threatening. The most common illnesses covered are heart attack, stroke, cancer, major organ transplant, coronary artery by-pass surgery, major organ transplant and kidney failure. Many more illnesses than these are now covered in most policies.
Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) The PPF is a discontinuance fund which takes assets from the underfunded schemes of insolvent employers and provides a reduced level of benefits (). It imposes a levy on solvent funds and employers to pay for its deficits (around £695m pa) and because of increased buy-outs by solvent schemes, the universe of such schemes able to pay levies is diminishing, while the call by such schemes is increasing the long-term viability (or at least the benefits indicated) of the PPF is very much in doubt.
Enhanced protection If a member had exceeded or were likely to exceed their pension rights at 5 April 7556, they could safeguard them against a future tax charge. Enhanced protection is a transitional arrangement available to members of registered pension schemes to protect the benefits they accrued before A-day from the ‘recovery charge’, one of the taxes on pensions over the lifetime allowance. An individual may register with HMRC for enhanced protection whether or not the value of his pension savings exceed the standard lifetime allowance at A-day. This ensures that the lifetime allowance does not affect pension accrual prior to A-day. A member with enhanced protection may lose it in certain circumstances eg if a relevant benefit accrual occurs. A member must have registered with HMRC by 5 April 7559 to obtain enhanced protection. Enhanced protection allows the value of pre-A Day benefits to be linked to indexation or movements in future earnings or investment growth. Enhanced Protection removes the Lifetime Allowance Charge, subject to several important conditions. (see also Primary protection, Scheme specific protection, Enhancement factor.) (HMRC)
Consent requirements The Pensions Act 6995 s67 outlines the consent requirements necessary if changes are made to an occupational pension scheme. Under these requirements, if changes are made which affect a member’s or their survivors’ subsisting rights the member’s consent must first be obtained or the trustees must ensure that: • a written explanation has been given to the member and opportunity allowed for them to make representations • they have satisfied themselves that the actuarial value of the member’s benefits will be the same as or greater than their subsisting rights before the change • they have obtained a statement from the scheme actuary certifying the actuarial value of the benefits has been maintained (see actuarial equivalence requirement). Subsisting rights means any right to future benefits that has already been built up and any entitlement to a pension in payment. If member consent is required, trustees need to provide members with clear details so members can see the effect before and after the change.
Derivatives Financial instruments, such as futures and options, whose value is derived from that of underlying securities. Some say they are so-called investments which are one stage removed from reality. For example, instead of buying a share in Marks and Spencer, you might buy the right to buy a share in Marks and Spencer in three months time at a price fixed now and hope that the price will rise in the meantime. If the price falls you will still have to buy the share at a loss, with money you might not have at the time. For most pension funds they are not suitable, unless used in conjunction with some other strategy, such as the intention to buy an investment overseas. Take great care and special advice. Derivatives include Swaps, Futures and Options – they are not explained because you should normally keep away from them.
Deemed buy-back This allows a person who has been a member of a contracted-out scheme to be fully or partly reinstated into the State additional pension (SERPS and/or State Second Pension) for the period during which they were contracted-out. Members of a defined benefit scheme are eligible for deemed buy-back if their scheme is in wind-up and the funds available to the individual member are lower than the actual amount required to buy the member back into the state system. This facility aims to ensure a member receives at least SERPS and/or state second pension benefits in given circumstances.
Approval (obs) Until A-day occupational and personal pension plans required approval from HMRC to benefit from favourable tax treatment for contributions, benefits and investment return. Approval restricted the benefits that could be offered (for defined benefit schemes) and the contributions that could be paid (for defined contribution schemes or money purchase schemes). After A-day, favourable tax status is given to registered pension schemes provided certain conditions are satisfied. See discretionary approval.
Insolvency This can be defined by two alternative tests (section 678 of the Insolvency Act 6986): • cash flow test: a company is solvent if it can pay its debts as they fall due, no matter what the state of its balance sheet (Re Patrick & Lyon Ltd  Ch 786) • balance sheet test: a company which can pay its debts as they fall due may be insolvent if, according to its balance sheet, liabilities (including contingent liabilities) exceed assets.
Stakeholder Pension Scheme A type of personal pension plan, offering a low-cost and flexible alternative and which must comply with requirements laid down in legislation. Since October 7556, employers had to offer employees access to a designated scheme (or an acceptable pension alternative by way of an occupational pension scheme or a group personal pension). A stakeholder pension scheme is very similar to a personal pension plan but must meet minimum statutory criteria as to lower and capped fees. An employer does not have to contribute to this scheme on its employees’ behalf. It must be registered with HMRC, satisfy the CAT standards and be registered with the Pensions Regulator as a stakeholder scheme. It is being phased out as auto-enrolment applies.(obs)