Concern about Compliance with MiFID II

Concern that over one third of financial services are unsure if they are MiFID II compliant

What is MiFID II?

MiFID II is an EU Directive which comes into force January 3rd 2018. Its purpose is to offer greater protection for investors and create greater transparency in all asset classes: from equities to fixed income, exchange traded funds and foreign exchange.

How will it affect investment decisions?

The legislation will change how Asset Managers pay for the research they use to make investment decisions. Prior to the Directive, Asset Managers received research for free, although the cost of this service was paid into trading fees. This is generally is paid by Fund Managers’ clients. In a process called unbundling, under MiFID II Fund Managers will have to budget separately for research and trading costs.

Concern over compliance with the Directive

A recent survey, conducted by managed cloud service provider Timico, found 39% of UK financial firms are not sure whether their organisation is compliant with the new regulations, while just 8% of companies said their employees were fully aware of MiFID II’s legal implications and had received relevant training.

MiFID II also places strict controls on all communications; regulated firms will be obliged to document all communications that are intended to result in a transaction.

However, Timico found 42% of respondents said their firms do not currently have a mobile compliant platform in place to record calls, 25% said they are not yet compliant with recording requirements and 29% are still going through the compliance process.

Penalty for failing to adhere to MiFID II

Companies can be fined up to 5m Euros, or 10% of annual turnover, for non-compliance.

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Quick stats

Pensions uncertainty

Almost half of business owners without a workplace pension scheme are still unclear about their responsibilities, with a quarter not confident their business can cope. and FSB pole has found…

26%

The proportion of small firms that say they would recommend their bank to others – up from 23% in 2014.

£255bn

The amount owed by British small firms in late payment according to insurance firm Zurich.

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Will you have to work until you’re 75 or older to claim state pension?

Government review will examine whether pension age should continue to be linked to life expectancy.

State Pension

Speculation is rife that a new review of retirement age will lead to workers joining the workforce now not receiving their state pension until at least their mid-70s.

The study, which will report to the government next May, will be headed by John Cridland, the former CBI boss. It’s a scheduled assessment due to be carried out every five years to ensure the state pension remains affordable and keeps up with demographic changes.  However, it’s the terms of reference for the review that has got people in a lather.

The government said it would consider changes in life expectancy, as well as wider changes in society, and “make sure that the state pension is sustainable and affordable for future generations”. It will also consider whether “the current system of a universal state pension age” rising in line with life expectancy was “optimal in the long run”.

Both the BBC and the Daily Telegraph, informed by comments from Tom McPhail, head at pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said this “suggests the review will look at whether the retirement age should rise even if life expectancy slows”.   McPhail added: “We fully expect state pension ages to go up faster than currently planned and those joining the workforce today are likely to find themselves waiting until their mid-70s to get a payout from the state system.”

There is also the opportunity, however, for the scrapping of a universal state pension age to allow for more local and sector-specific ages to be set and counter criticism that many blue-collar workers in particular will simply be unable to continuing working into their 70s.

The Telegraph said the review “raises the possibility that manual workers in some areas might be allowed to claim their pension earlier than those who have spent their working lives in offices in other places”.

At the moment, the state pension age is 65 for men and 60 for women, with a single age of 66 coming in for both sexes from 2020. It will rise to 68 between 2026 and 2028 – and this review will look at what to do from then on, when the government had previously stated it would be set according to changes in average life expectancy.

A report published recently by pension provider Royal London suggests the average UK person joining the workforce now could have to work until they are 81 to have the same standard of living as enjoyed by the current retirement generation.

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Changes in Law: Pensions & Gender Pay

There are some big changes in employment law in 2016, and companies need to be prepared

Employment law is constantly evolving, as new rules and regulations come into force, and as such it’s imperative employers are informed and prepared. 2016 will see a number of important changes of which all employers should be aware

Pensions

Pensions2

State pensions are set to be radically overhauled in April with the introduction of a new single-tier pension, which replaces the five separate elements of the current state provision.

But the government’s drive to simplify the system means employers will face increased national insurance costs because of the removal of the option to “contract out” of the additional state pension.

Recent research suggests the majority of UK employers have yet to consider the effect this will have on their own occupational pension schemes.

A survey by HR consultants Mercer found 70 per cent of employers with defined contribution (DC) schemes and 57% with defined benefit (DB) schemes have not decided how to deal with the increased costs.

It warned those with DB schemes could see payroll costs increase by up to 3 per cent, and those with DC schemes could find large numbers of their employees are unable to retire.

The message is clear – employers must decide how to deal with these changes as soon as possible or risk finding themselves in a sticky situation in the spring.

Gender Pay

PayGender

Although the UK’s gender pay gap is narrowing, progress is slow, and the government wants to speed up the process.

So from 2016 large businesses – those with more than 250 employees – will have to publish a report on their gender pay gap.

The legislation for this is already in the 2010 Equality Act , but has yet to be enacted.

The government consulted on the proposal earlier this year but has not yet set out exactly what data companies will have to present, or how.

Nevertheless companies should start addressing the issue now, before the new rules are introduced, so they can lessen the risk of reputational damage.

After all, firms with an unequal pay system could face negative publicity, which will affect their ability to attract and retain employees.

This in turn risks significant financial damage resulting from potential employee claims for equal pay, possibly going back over six years to the 2010 act.

Employers would be wise to audit their pay practices now to make sure men and women in their organisation are fairly rewarded.

If a gender pay gap is identified, it would be a good idea to launch an action plan to address it.

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PENSIONS

Pensions

Tasting the Freedoms:  savers have spent the money or held it in cash

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has published its latest wave of research on patterns in retirement following the reforms.

Of those adults aged 55-70 surveyed, the majority, 63%, had started to look at how they would take their pension, and 23 per cent had done nothing.

Of those that accessed their pension, 18 percent spent it all and 19 per cent saved or invested their pension pot.  Of those who saved their pension, 23 per cent put it into a savings account and a further 20 per cent paid their pension into a cash ISA.

The Numbers:

18%

Proportion of savers who have accessed their pension pot who have spent it all

25%

Proportion of those who paid for advice on withdrawing money from their pension

73%

Proportion of those who are weighing up how to access their pension who plan to go to their provider

 

 

 

Information taken from an article in Money Marketing Magazine 4th February 2016

 

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The Week in Numbers – 13th January 2016

The Week in Numbers

225 – Number of Investment Advisers Santander expects to employ by the end of Marchblue news

7% – Fall in China’s CSI 300 index on Monday, triggering newly-introduced “Circuit-Breakers” that halted trading for the day

21% – Rise in mortgage approvals year-on-year in November, according to Bank of England Figures

13k – Number of new affordable homes the Government plans to build this year through directly commissioning “small and up-and-coming” building companies

£50k – Amount raised by two landlords seeking to fight Government plans to raise taxes on buy-to-let investments

105,153 – Signatures backing a campaign to ease the transition for women affected by increases in the women’s state pension age (figure correct at time of original writing)

£615m – Amount by which Government has undershot its tax avoidance revenue raising target, according to the Office for Budge Responsibility.

£4m – MAS marketing budget for 2016/17

£30.1m – Budget for “money guidance” in 2016/17, down from £34.1m in 2015/16

 

“I would be worried if we went back to the bad old days” – Independent pensions expert Alan Higham on the prospect of a return of commission-like charging structures.

 

Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 7th January 2016

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The Week in Numbers – 30th Nov

The Week in Numbersadmin chart

5 – Number of organisations that should merge to become a single trade body, according to a review chaired by former Ofcom chief Ed Richards. The list includes the CML and the BBA

£3.7m – Amount in Hargreaves Lansdown shares sold by investment marketing director Ian Hunter

99 – Number of companies that have defaulted on their debt this year, according to Standard & Poor’s. Global defaults are at their second-highest level in a decade

£4tn – Amount the Government plans to spend over the course of this Parliament

3 mins – Average time spent by consumers on the Pension Wise website

7 years – Length of time but-to-let lender CHL Mortgages has been out of the market. It is understood it will start lending again early next year

20,000 – Number of RBS branch staff who will have their cash bonuses scrapped under plans to reduce misspelling risks

£119.30 – New weekly state pension following a 2.9% increase

 

Quote of the week: “Issuing new staging dates to people who have already had them would cause mayhem” – Former pensions minister Steve Webb on the risks of delaying auto-enrolment for small firms.

 

Originally Published in Money Marketing Magazine 26th Nov 2015
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The Week in Numbers – 26th October

The Week in Numbersblue news

34% – Year on year rise in SIPP claims reported by the Financial Ombudsman Service, from 210 in Q3 2014 to 281 in the same quarter this year

10 Years – Length of SIPP administration deal agreed between Curtise Banks and Zurich

100 – Number of Sanlam Wealth Planning employees whose jobs are under threat after the firm placed its Rhyl and Worcester offices under review

£49 – Annual cost to members of using the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s new automatic enrolment guidance service

£5.3m – loss reported by Nutmeg in its 2014 annual accounts

£11.3m – Profit recorded by Woodford Investment Management during its first year of trading

£263m – Losses on investments held by Brooks Macdonald in the three months to the end of Septmeber

One – Number of advisers on the 15-strong expert panel advising the Treasure and the FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review

 

“There is only so much you can chuck at an industry and expect it to cope” – Apfa director general Chris Hannant on the regulatory burden of extending the senior managers regime to advisers .

 

Originally published in Money Marketing magazine 22nd October 2015
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The Week in Numbers – 13th Oct

The Week in Numbers – 13th Oct 2015Website Photos 059

6 – Number of former brokers standing trial at Southwark Crown Court facing charges of Libor rigging

80% – Proportion of cash lump-sum withdrawals since pension freedoms made by savers under 65, according to the ABI

£35K – Funds pledged by the CISI to promote financial planning following its merger with the IFP

£3.5m – Cash injection secured by adviser reviews website VouchedFor. The fundra
ising was led by Octopus Investments and supported by private equity group Samos Investments

£296m – Positive inflows achieved by Standard Life Investments’ Global Absolute Return Strategies OEIC in August

1,340 – Whistleblowing disclosures received by the FCA in 2014/15. The regulator this week unveiled details of a new whistleblowing regime to be introduced in September 2016

£2bn – Value of shares in Lloyds Banking Group the Treasury plans to offer to retail investors

Original Figures Published by MoneyMarketing Magazine 8th Oct 2015
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The Week in Numbers – 23rd Sept 2015

51% – Proportion of people who do not know if their provider levies charges for admin chartmanaging their pension pot.

0% – CPI inflation in August, down from 0.1% in July according to the Office for National Statistics

80% – Proportion of investment houses that publish out-of-date fund data, research by fintech company Instinct Studios shows

5.2% – House price growth in the year to July 2015, down from 5.7% in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS

59.5% – Proportion of Labour members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party

23,000 – Jobs to be cut by Deutsche Bank, a quarter of its workforce, reports say

£2.4bn – size of the longevity swap deal agreed between Friends Life and Heineken this week

2 – Number of ABI members which have left the trade body in the past 13 months, with Aegon following in L&Gs footsteps this week

 

Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 17th Sept 2015
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