Pearson Jones Plc’s wealth management director, John Metcalf.

Member Article

Pensions changes to create ‘new era of business entrepreneurs’ wealth manager says

The millions of pounds which will be easier to access in UK pension schemes following the spring budget can help nurture a new era of business entrepreneurism, a wealth management specialist says.

The removal of many restrictions on how savers can access pension cash and hand down generationally, could boost the economy by creating more business entrepreneurs with access to funds previously unavailable due to legislative restrictions and stimulate alternative investment opportunities, says investment director at Leeds-based wealth management company, Pearson Jones Plc, John Metcalf.

He says: “The Budget’s radical changes to pensions potentially frees up millions of pounds which is likely to be used in many different ways. Wealth managers need to be ready to advise because, as well as the greater freedom to access and use these pension funds differently, the new rules also create greater risks through misunderstanding the implications.“

John Metcalf adds that the penal tax charge for handing down pension funds to the next generation may soon be reduced or even taken away.

He says: “There is a high proportion of well-educated, unemployed young people who could potentially benefit from grandparents or parents able to make investments by using some of their pension funds to back start-up enterprises and help cut joblessness among young people which has been at a record high.

“This could prove especially attractive to both parties, especially as many people are still wary of the banks, which are generally hesitant of business start-ups as high risk, after continuing mis-selling scandals. Private equity funding is for more established enterprises and crowd-funding does not yet have a sufficient awareness and pedigree for what could become a mass market.“

Following the Budget, the maximum which can be taken from existing funds through income drawdown, has increased from 120 per cent to 150 per cent of the Government Actuaries rate. While savers will still be able to access only 25 per cent of their pension fund tax free, there is a reduction, from £20,000 to £12,000, in the minimum income requirement, which must be in place to take ‘flexible drawdown’ with hints that it may be removed next year.

John Metcalf, who leads a 25-strong team of Pearson Jones investment specialists, adds: “George Osborne’s changes will hopefully alter society’s attitude to pensions, which had become less attractive in recent years through deemed forced annuity purchase at 75 and falls in annuity rates, by giving far greater flexibility over how funds can be accessed and used.

“These changes will alter people’s investment strategies and give them a chance to use their imagination, creating a range of alternative investment opportunities such as funding businesses for children or grandchildren or acquiring homes for them and the wealth management sector will have to keep pace with these aspirations and widen its expertise in order to do so.“

Pearson Jones Plc, which also has offices in Sheffield, Bishop Auckland and Reading, also offers wealth management and tax and trust services and is among about 600 IFA businesses in the UK to be accredited Chartered Financial Planners by the Chartered Insurance Institute.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mike Clarke .

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