Prescient is an independent financial adviser firm that offers bespoke financial planning advice: we operate from offices in Exeter, Glasgow, London and York.

Our team is respected by our clients and our professional colleagues – such as stockbrokers, solicitors and accountants – for not only the quality of the service we provide, but also the strength of our recurring income and balance sheet.

The company was formed by the directors, who previously worked together at Gerrard Financial Services, the sister company of the then largest private client stockbroker in the UK: both part of the Gerrard Group which was purchased by Barclays Bank plc in December 2003.

Since 2004, Prescient has developed a client-focused practitioner team built on the strength of our past experience. The 7 directors have worked together for over 20 years.

Close director involvement, and delivering a bespoke and personal service, have been key to building long-term relationships with both clients and professional connections.

Prescient adds value by providing independent financial information, advice, execution and access in respect of wealth management to over 2,000 private clients, and employee benefit advice to 80 companies and partnerships.

New clients come to us on the strength of our reputation: referred by either an existing client or a professional connection.

Our future success depends on our ability to deliver great value to our clients: that is our commitment.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an agency for arbitrating on unresolved complaints between regulated firms and their clients. The FOS details can be found at


When choosing an independent financial adviser, financial strength and director commitment are key performance indicators. Demonstrating our commitment, the Prescient shareholding directors hold in excess of £400,000 of equity capital in the company.

Our business philosophy is based on generating and maintaining long-term relationships: recurring fees underpin our sustainable business.

Our team is competent, current and motivated: we have hands on experience combined with a deep understanding of client needs and requirements.

The information, advice and execution services we provide are designed to help each client identify and master their key financial issues and opportunities.

Our culture is based on trusted relationships, we inherently treat our clients, our team and our suppliers fairly: for example, we settle all supplier invoices within 3 working days of receipt.

The business employs business undergraduates for one year as part of their 4-year degree course: our intention is to support these young people, and young graduates, with a real experience of the job market.

Prescient strives to contribute fully to society by being efficient, profitable and socially responsible.

Prescient continually produces technical papers to maintain competence and currency. A selection of these papers are available, on request, to professional connections and relevant clients in the form of a monthly Prescient Bulletin.

This section contains links to a sample of papers.

Labour tax oolicy
At their party conference, the Labour Party revealed little of their future tax policy.


Cash gifts to children for house purchase
Cash gifts by parents to children to help them buy a house. Implications of the structure if relations break down. Plan in advance to avoid problems.


Liberal Democrats tax policies
At their party conference, the Liberal Democrats passed three motions related to tax.


Thoughts on tax reform
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) proposals for income tax and capital gains tax would create higher tax bills for many, but some of the logic behind them is worth closer examination.


Insolvency or bankruptcy of a trustee
Given the rising rates of insolvency, bankruptcy and house repossessions it is important to know the consequences of a trustee becoming insolvent.


Warning about pension scams
The FCA and TPR warn that up to five million savers could be at risk from pension scammers.


Lifetime ISAs
HMRC has updated its guidance notes on Lifetime ISAs (LISAs).


Simultaneous death
The law when two people die simultaneously and the special IHT position.


No fault divorce
People receiving Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) will now be able to transfer this support to their new property when moving home.


Charities and trading
HMRC has published updated guidance on charities and trading.


OTS review of tax for smaller businesses
The OTS calls for government to prioritise action to address long-standing concerns about the experience of smaller businesses


Taxpayer numbers
HMRC have just published the latest set of statistics on the numbers of taxpayers and registered traders.


Child trust fund key facts
What can be done with an existing Child Trust Fund (CTF) as well as the advantages and disadvantages of topping up a CTF as compared to making other investments for the benefit of children.


The future of tax
Helen Miller, Deputy Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, looks at how tax has changed in recent decades and what it means to aspire to a well-designed tax system


Key ISA facts
The different types of ISA and the key rules relating to them.


IR35 for private sector workers
The government has published a consultation document setting out its proposals for the transfer of the onus for IR35 decisions away from the worker to private sector businesses.


SDLT rate if second property is not suitable for occupation
The First-tier Tax Tribunal has ruled that the higher residential rates of SDLT do not apply to properties that are not suitable for use as a dwelling at the time of purchase.


Updated guidance on property subject to the ATED
The annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) is payable mainly by companies that own UK residential property valued at more than £500,000. The dwelling is said to be enveloped because the ownership sits within a corporate wrapper or envelope. The ATED is charged in respect of chargeable periods running from 1 April to 31 March each year.


Tax on crypto-assets
HMRC has published a new policy paper on crypto-assets, like bitcoin and other crypto-currencies.


Benefits and pensions in a no-deal Brexit scenario
DWP guidance explains the rights of UK nationals living in EU Member States to benefits and pensions if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario).


A future for online wills?
As part of the consultation on reforming the law of Wills the Law Commission is looking at how digital technology can be used to support will making.


Private residence and capital gains tax
Private residences – CGT on sale of private residences that have been let – important changes in Budget 2018.


Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief
The 2018 Budget announced two key changes to entrepreneurs’ relief that could have a significant impact on the number of shareholders benefitting from the relief.


CGT changes to private residence relief
Changes to restrict the benefit of private residence relief for capital gains tax purposes.


NS&I index-linked certificates
NS&I have announced an important change to index-linked savings certificates.


Tax return: Income from collective investments
The tax liability on dividends and savings income: declaring the income to HMRC.


HMCR EIS guidance updated
HMRC has updated its EIS guidance for the new ‘risk to capital’ restrictions.


CGT on second homes
More people are selling second properties. This could give rise to substantial CGT liabilities. How are those CGT liabilities calculated? Advance planning can reduce those CGT liabilities.


NS&I interest rates
NS&I have announced increases to some of their variable interest rate products.


Gifting assets and local authority assessment
The practical implications of gifting assets on the local authority provision of care. Rules on deliberate deprivation. Relevant case law.


Buy-to-let slowdown
The buy-to-let market is continuing to cool.


End of life decision backed by Supreme Court
Supreme Court rules that legal permission will no longer be required to end care for patients in long-term vegetative state.


CGT payment window for residential property gains
HMRC has issued a policy paper regarding changes to payments on account for CGT within 30 days of the sale or disposal of a residential property and disposals of interests in all UK property.


New HMRC 12 year assessment time limit
HMRC is extending the time limit over which it can go back and assess undeclared offshore income, gains, and chargeable transfers.


Donor benefit rules for gift aid
Simplification of the donor benefits rules that apply to charities who claim gift aid on donations which will replace the current thresholds that charities have to consider when determining the value of benefit they can give to their donors without losing the entitlement to claim gift aid.


NS&I fixed rate bonds - limit slashed
NS&I has reduced the maximum purchase limit on its 1-year and 3-year Guaranteed Growth Bonds and Guaranteed Income Bonds by 99%.


Personal representative liable for IHT
Recent case highlights the importance of knowing your obligations when acting as a personal representative.


Frequently asked questions: the transferable nil rate band
The most frequently asked questions about the transferable nil rate band.


The 0% starting tax rate and the PSA
An explanation of how the 0% starting rate is implemented.


Key CGT planning points for those leaving the country and those considering leaving the country to save tax.


Q&A on relevant life policies
A series of questions and answers on relevant life policies.


HMRC defeats taxpayer in IR35 ruling
The first tier tribunal ruled that a TV personality’s contract was caught by IR35 resulting in a £420,000 income tax and National Insurance bill for her company.


How to remove an uncooperative executor
In a recent case the High Court in England ordered a removal of an executor despite finding that the executor had not been at fault.


Cash gifts and deprivation of capital
Interesting decision of whether gifts to family made by someone in care constitute deliberate deprivation of capital.


LPA fee refunds
The Ministry of Justice is offering partial refunds to those who registered a lasting power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.


April auto-enrolment changes
The rise in auto-enrolment contribution rates in April, from 1% to 3%, coincides with the Budget changes to income tax and NICs for 2018/19. So far, little attention has been given to the interaction. It looks as if the people worst hit in terms of the greatest extra deductions from pay will be those with earnings marginally above the 2017/18 higher rate threshold.


Bonds in 2017
UK shares had a reasonable year, but bonds offered relatively unexciting returns, particularly at the short end of the market.


Protect your pension fund from scams
The FCA has published a reminder of their alert with regards to possible pension scams and risky investments.


Holiday pay: important ECJ case
Does a worker who does not take paid annual holiday, because the employer refuses to pay, carry over his entitlement to paid holiday or is it lost at the end of each holiday year?


Faster cheque clearing system
The phased roll out of a new image-based cheque clearing system will speed up cheque processing significantly for customers across the UK.


NS&I interest rates
NS&I have announced increases to their variable interest rates.


Spanish inheritance tax and gift tax
Subject to confirmation in the 2018 Andalusian budget, inheritances of up to €1M passing to spouses and children and other descendants are in most cases to be tax free.


The triple lock
The triple lock state pension increase for 2018/19 will be 3%.


Pre-paid funeral plans
Individuals who take out pre-paid funeral plans should be aware what protections are offered by their providers after the FSCS confirms it will not cover failed firms.


2016/17 ISA statistics
The latest HMRC data on ISA holdings and contributions show stocks and shares ISAs gaining ground over their cash counterparts.


NS&I launches a Junior ISA
National Savings & Investments have at long last launched a Junior ISA, but are closing an alternative children’s investment


Taylor Review on employment practice
New tax categorisations affecting the taxation of the rewards for labour (work) could result from the “Taylor Review”.


Married couples, civil partners and CGT
Basic CGT planning points for married couples and civil partners.


Scottish and English trusts
A glossary of Scottish terms and their English equivalents.


Student loans
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published a new paper looking at the system of student loans as it operates in England. It shows that the Labour’s election pledge to abolish future fees is, in reality, more an extension of current government policy.


China and MSCI
After several years of saying no, the leading emerging markets provider, MSCI, has now decided to include some Chinese mainland shares in its leading Emerging Markets indices. However, the process remains gradual.


HMRC Let Property Campaign
HMRC has recently updated its guide to making a disclosure with the Let Property Campaign.


Comparison of VCT, EIS and SEIS
A comparison table for VCT, EIS and SEIS.


The Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure was 100 in January 1987 and the CPI figure was 100 in May 2005 and 2015.


New NS&I guaranteed growth bond
NS&I have finally launched the new savings bond originally announced by the Chancellor last November and re-announced in this year’s Budget.


Dividend, bonus, pension alternatives
This paper examines some typical calculations for 2017/18.


Tax-free childcare
New tax-free childcare scheme could save thousands but the rules are not that simple.


National minimum wage
National minimum wage rates from 1 April 2017.


Gift aid and dividend tax
The abolition of tax credits on dividends from 6 April 2016 has had some potentially serious consequences for donors whose income is largely made up of dividends as well as for charities receiving gift aid.


NS&I interest rates
NS&I have announced cuts to their variable interest rates.


More than one residence?
Key CGT planning points for those with more than one residence.


Lifetime ISA v pension
Summary of a Lifetime ISA versus a pension.


Digital assets
Dealing with online accounts and cloud-stored treasures is a new topic to be included in will and IHT planning


Cash basis rules for landlords
HMRC recently consulted on a new tax system for property rental income and expenses. When will it apply and will it save landlords any tax?


Buy-to-let property taxation
An overview of recent Budget and Autumn Statement announcements affecting buy-to-let investments.


Changes to succession rules in Scotland
The Succession (Scotland) Act 2016 modernises and clarifies some of the aspects of the law relating to succession in Scotland.


Deposit protection limit to increase
The declining value of the pound against the euro means that depositor protection will rise back to £85,000 in January 2017.


HMRC guidance on residence nil rate band
HMRC has published detailed guidance and case studies on the residence nil rate band and the downsizing provisions which explains how the new rules will operate in some of the more complex scenarios.


DWP auto-enrolment analysis
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published an update of the 2015 analysis of the impact of automatic enrolment on pension saving, the number of workers affected by automatic enrolment and more detailed analysis of the characteristics of this population.


Secondary annuity market scrapped
The government has confirmed the creation of the secondary annuity market will not go ahead.


Dividend or salary?
The position for lower earners.


Buy-to-let tax on disposals
HMRC has reassured the National Landlords Association that gains on disposals of buy-to-let properties will continue to be subject to capital gains tax in the majority of cases - despite an unannounced amendment to the Finance Bill which prompted concerns that property disposals would be charged to income tax if one of the main purposes in acquiring the land was to make a profit.


Commercial property valuations
Post-Brexit commercial property monthly valuation indices.


BREXIT and pensions
Whilst the detailed implications of Brexit for pensions are as yet unknown, this note brings together initial responses from relevant organisations.


Problems with a policy trust wording
A recent case is a perfect example of what can go wrong when the words used to create a trust are deficient or where more than one trust document is executed in relation to the same policy.


Concession for renting landlords
Those who sold their main residence before the announcement of the higher rates of stamp duty on 25 November 2015, have until 26 November 2018 to acquire their replacement main residence.


MSCI and Chinese shares
The leading emerging markets provider has again chosen not to include Chinese mainland shares in its leading indices.


Beneficiaries right to information
The recent case of Blades v (1 ) Isaac & (2) Alexander (2016) provides a good summary of when a beneficiary has a right to information but also confirms that, even if the beneficiary is right, costs may be awarded to be paid out of the trust fund so that any victory in the court may prove to be expensive for the beneficiary.


Electronic IHT filing requires a mobile phone
HMRC will verify identity of those filing an online inheritance tax return by sending an access code to their mobile phone.


Personal savings allowance and bank rewards
Rewards paid by banks are deemed by HMRC to be annual payments: that means that the payment is fully taxable and will not benefit from the personal savings allowance.


Minor intestacy
The current rules under which both natural parents benefit seem unfair to single parents and there have been calls for new rules to be introduced.


Granny-annex tax dropped
The recent stamp duty increase for second homes will not apply to the majority of ‘granny annexes’ despite the fact that they may be treated as a separate dwelling.


NS&I rates to reduce
NS&I have announced cuts to their variable interest rates.


Changes to law on wills and testamentary capacity
The England and Wales Law Commission is considering plans to reform the will-making regime, including the rules for validity of wills and testamentary capacity.


The Budget in brief
A summary of the Budget announcements.


Dividends and tax codes
HMRC have started to code out the extra dividend tax due in 2016/17.


Deprivation of assets
There is anecdotal evidence that local authorities are paying closer attention to lifetime gifts of property where a subsequent application for assistance with care is made. We review the rules regarding the so called “asset deprivation”.


Polygamy and pensions
Polygamous marriages, immigration issues, social security benefits and pension entitlement.


Additional property stamp duty rules
The Treasury has published a consultation paper on the Autumn Statement’s proposals for higher SDLT on additional property purchases.


Innovative finance ISA
HMRC has published draft regulations, which are subject to consultation, to establish a new type of ISA - the innovative finance ISA.


State pension benefits
The DWP has issued some ad hoc research on the impact of the new single tier pension.


House of Commons paper on pension tax relief
The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper entitled ‘Restricting Pension Tax Relief’.


Remortgage varies beneficial ownership
A cohabiting couple who bought a house as joint tenants with equal shares have ended up with one party owning 85 per cent of the equity, although no express declaration to vary beneficial ownership was ever made.


HMRC on Scottish taxpayer status
HMRC has today published technical guidance on who, from 6 April 2016, will be a Scottish taxpayer – note the rate will not be announced until January 2016.


NAPF on pension taxation
To help inform the debate on the topic of pension taxation, the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has issued a pension taxation myth buster.


Non-resident residential property owners and tax
SDLT or ATED + CGT? Tax arbitrage at the top end of the property market.


Taxation of buy-to-let properties
The July Budget 2015 and the subsequent Finance Bill clauses make substantial changes to the way buy-to-let investors will be taxed in the future if they have a mortgage and are higher/additional rate taxpayers. We examine the implications of the proposals


Facebook users can appoint an online executor
Facebook users in the UK can now either appoint a post mortem representative to manage their account on their death or choose to have their account permanently deleted.


Digital legacy
Growth in digital media and the use of online accounts means that there is an increasing need for testators to give consideration to an individual’s ‘digital legacies’ on their death. Leaving clear instructions in this respect will enable executors to access and close accounts as necessary and implement the deceased’s wishes as regards their intellectual property.


Tax avoidance receipts
A record £26.6 billion secured by HMRC in revenue from its tax avoidance and evasion clampdown in 2014/15.


Definition of a Scottish taxpayer
HMRC has published draft technical guidance for consultation on the definition of a “Scottish tax payer”.


New ROPS notifications list
HMRC has updated and posted the Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes notifications list.


Premium Bond limit rises
The maximum investment in Premiums Bonds increased to £50,000 on 1 June.


Deed of variation rectified
The High Court has rectified a deed of variation that did not include an inheritance tax statement because it did not achieve the parties' intentions.


HMRC guidance on income from property
HMRC has updated guidance on income from property.


Family fail to overturn suspicious will
The family of a deceased man have failed to have his will overturned on the grounds of lack of knowledge and approval despite the fact that he left his entire estate to a builder with whom he had been friends only a short time.


Final rules for inheriting an ISA
New rules have been published explaining how the additional ISA allowance available to the surviving spouse or civil partner of a deceased ISA holder from 6 April 2015 will operate. The final regulations provide more flexibility than draft regulations published in January 2015 and are supplemented by updated HMRC guidance for ISA managers.


Online IHT returns
HMRC has published regulations to enable the electronic submission of IHT returns and online payments.


Tax revenue
Where tax revenue is expected to come from during the next year, subject to political change.


Human capital as an asset class
Factoring in the impact of continued income generation is increasingly essential in developing a realistic and meaningful financial plan.


Swiss accounts + Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility
Many with Swiss accounts with undisclosed income may consider the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.


State pensions and married women
The position of married women in the light of the changes in April 2016 to the new single-tier State Pension.


ISA transfer to surviving spouse
The government has published draft regulations to implement the ability to transfer ISA benefits to a surviving spouse/civil partner.


Online wills
HM Courts & Tribunals Service has launched a searchable online database that will allow the public to obtain copies of wills without having to visit the probate registry.


Agricultural property relief
An overview of the rules applicable to individuals: what qualifies for relief, how it applies to lifetime transfers and the position on death.


Principal private residence relief evidence
Another case highlighting the importance of retaining documentary evidence when purporting to make a claim for principal private residence relief.


Scotland: Proposed tax changes
Details of the powers over tax and benefits that could be devolved by the UK government to the Scottish government have been released.


Taxation of residential property
A summary of the main changes that are taking place as regards the taxation of residential property.


National Insurance Fund to go bust?
The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has published a paper examining the finances of the National Insurance Fund. The CPS says that the fund will run out of money imminently and that the situation offers an opportunity both to scrap NICs and to revisit the idea of a single combined earnings tax, covering income tax and NICs.


Principal private residence relief
Budget 2014 confirmed that the final period of relief will be reduced from 36 months to 18 months in most cases. However, there are some exceptions to this rule as we explain.


Abolition of 55% pension tax charge
Chancellor has announced that the 55% tax charge on lump sum pension death benefits on crystallised funds or death after age 75 will be abolished from April 2015.


Spanish inheritance tax and gift tax
On 3 September 2014 the European Court of Justice ruled that the Spanish legislation that charges higher inheritance tax and gift tax rates to foreigners than it charges Spanish residents is discriminatory.


Transgender State pension age
In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeal has rejected a transgender person’s claim that they should be entitled to their State pension from the age appropriate to a female.


Premium bond return increases
The rate of underlying ‘interest’ on the premium bond prize fund is rising to 1.35% when the number of £1m monthly prizes increases to two.


NS&I to refuse Scottish savers
National Savings & Investments has said that unless Scottish savers have a bank account south of the border they will not be able to invest in its products although existing holdings could be retained


Group life and fixed protection
Individuals who have an election for Enhanced Protection and both forms of Fixed Protection need to be aware that the protection may be lost if they join their employer’s Group Life Scheme.


NISA today
The 2014 Budget announced the introduction of a new simplified product, the NISA, and as of today all existing ISAs will become NISAs. What are the rules in relation to savings already made and the ability to transfer funds?


Negative interest rates in the EU
European banks will now have to pay to deposit money with the European Central Bank following its latest moves to stimulate the Eurozone economy.


Premium bond investment limit rises
The maximum investment in premiums bonds is increasing to £40,000 on 1 June and the number of £1m prizes will double in August.


HMRC toolkits
HMRC has published five updated toolkits to help practitioners avoid common mistakes in preparing returns.


Lib Dem mansion tax
The Liberal Democrats have revealed plans to revamp mansion tax for the wealthy.


Increase to JISA limits
The increase to the JISA investment limit to £4,000 from 1st July offers an opportunity to re-visit tax efficient investment for higher education and first property purchase. But is a JISA the best option?


Employment allowance
The new employer’s NIC allowance could change employing the spouse decisions.


After the Budget: Pension or ISA?
The big changes to pensions and ISAs in the Budget means that individuals may need to reconsider wrapper choice.


ISA becomes NISA
From 1 July 2014 a new, simpler product, the 'New ISA' (NISA), will be available with an overall annual subscription limit of £15,000 and greater investment flexibility.


Persuasion is not undue influence
An overview of two recent decisions that illustrate the Courts’ tests for claims that a testator lacked knowledge of, or did not approve, the contents of a will.


High income parents child benefit charge
Many parents opted out of receiving Child Benefit – but what about those who did not, and what consequences might they face?


A question of capacity
In the case of Vegetarian Society & Another v Scott 2013, the defendant lost her case despite arguing that her brother lacked testamentary capacity as he suffered from schizophrenia.


Gifts out of surplus income
The normal expenditure out of income exemption is relatively well known but often overlooked. This paper provides a reminder of the conditions for this valuable relief, and highlights some practical eligibility issues.


Scottish income tax: Pension contributions
HMRC agree to increase deadline to implement changes to the relief at source (RAS) process for pension contributions.


Fixed Protection 2014 deadline 5 April 2014
The standard lifetime allowance is reducing from £1.5 million to £1.25 million with effect from 6 April 2014. Relevant individuals need to take urgent action.


IHT and services for furnished holiday lettings
Whilst the overall tax benefits of furnished holiday lettings (especially loss relief) have been restricted in recent years, the holders of such property still benefit from several tax reliefs. The availability of IHT business property relief was considered in a recent case.


Retaining the personal allowance
Which investments can be used to reduce an individual’s income for the purposes of the £100,000 personal allowance test?


Higher rate relief on pension contributions
A recent survey has uncovered that many higher rate taxpayers do not claim their higher rate relief on pension contributions


ISA limits under attack
Reduction in amounts eligible for favourable tax treatment under the registered pension regime: Newspaper report of possible imposition of a maximum ISA fund value.


Personal Allowance increase?
The Conservatives have made it clear that an increase of the personal allowance to £12,500 is a firm aspiration. So what are the financial planning ideas?


Returns from Premium Bonds
Given the rates that most savings accounts currently offer, could investing in Premium Bonds be an option?


The Dow Jones Index
The Dow Jones Index is undergoing a big change.


Cost of raising a child
Research indicates that the cost of bringing up a child has risen to £148,000.


Fixed protection 2014
HMRC has issued a number of further documents regarding fixed protection 2014, including a link to the online application and member guidance.


Flat rate pension tax relief
The Pension Policy Institute has published a paper calling for flat rate tax relief on contributions.


Online lasting power of attorney
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has launched its online service for making lasting power of attorney (LPA) applications in England and Wales.


NS&I revised rates
NS&I are cutting rates on three variable rate products.


FCA statement on UCIS
The FCA has published a final statement on the promotion of UCIS and similar products.


A bad month for bonds
May was a bad month for bonds because of QExit fear.


Government not to regulate will writing
The Lord Chancellor decides not to regulate will writing, despite the recommendation of the Legal Services Board and the Law Society.


Interest only residential mortgages
The FCA has published results of reviews into interest only mortgages and new guidance.


Revised rules for NS&I income bonds
The two tier rate for income bonds has been scrapped, as part of a programme to simplify and modernise the NS&I savings range.


Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Bill
The government has issued a draft Bill, based on recommendations published by the Law Commission in December 2011. The new proposals will go some way to reflecting the needs and expectations of modern families.


Labour plans for tax
Labour is considering transforming the tax treatment of shares in a bid to encourage long-term investing.


Refund of excess contributions
HMRC is indicating that any refund of excess contributions will no longer be regarded as pension input for annual allowance testing purposes.


Gifts from joint bank accounts
How are gifts from joint bank accounts treated for inheritance tax purposes?


Reform of long term care funding
The government's proposals for the reform of long-term care funding have been met with a mixed response.


NS&I make changes
NS&I make changes to their products and access, to reduce operational costs.


Bereavement benefits
The draft Pensions Bill 2013 contains changes to bereavement benefits.


Labour to reduce pension contribution relief
Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, has indicated that Labour would reduce the tax relief on pension contributions made by additional rate taxpayers to 20%.


IHT and foreign domiciled spouse: new rules
An outline and analysis of the proposed changes.


Drawdown and the GAD rate
The return to 120% of the GAD rate for pension drawdown will still leave shortfalls.


Solicitor referrals to financial advisers
There is a difference of opinion between the Solicitor's Regulatory Authority and the Law Society over referrals to financial advisers who, from new year, will be independent or restricted.


Child Benefit charge
HMRC is sending about 1m letters out in November to families that may be subject to the tax charge on Child Benefit, which takes effect from 7 January 2013.


UK economy grows
Office for National Statistics estimates GDP growth in the third quarter.


Increase in EIS investment
Investment in EIS coincides with a fall in VCT investment.


Unisex drawdown
HMRC introduce unisex drawdown rates in response to unisex annuity rates.


Income tax and jointly owned property
In August 2012, HMRC published updated guidance on joint ownership and income tax. As a result of this, Form 17 can now be issued with bank and building society accounts as well as with other forms of property.


Annuity rates v drawdown
A gap between drawdown rates and annuities is emerging.


CGT planning for couples
Basic CGT planning points for married couples and civil partners.


Statutory residency test
HMRC are keen to introduce changes to the tax rules on residence: in particular, to introduce a statutory residence test. A consultation process took place last year. HMRC have now responded to the issues raised during consultation.


Scotland could amend Stamp Duty Land Tax
The Scottish Finance Secretary has proposed Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) reform for Scotland.


New tax calculator app
The government has launched a new tax calculator enabling people to work out how much tax they pay, and how the government spends it.


All time low for pension drawdown
The drawdown interest rate for June 2012 has reached a new low.


Property trusts and residential care fees
The planning options that seek to protect the main residence from residential care fees.


UNscheduled and retrospective tax changes
The government has made promises on how it will limit unscheduled and retrospective tax changes.


High Court judgement changes the pension and bankruptcy position
The High Court ruling in the case of Raithatha v. Williamson is likely to significantly change the circumstances where a trustee in bankruptcy can make a claim against a bankrupt individual’s ‘approved’ pension benefits.


EU law on cross border inheritance
Of the four and a half million people who die each year in the EU, about ten per cent leave estates in more than one country. Britain and Ireland opt out of the new EU law.


Base rate birthday
5 March marked the third anniversary of the Bank of England setting base rate at 0.5%.


Cash ISAs and bait-pricing
Individuals investing in cash ISAs need to be aware of ISA providers that benefit from investor apathy at the expense of investors.


Schemes designed to avoid the costs of care
Some advisers are exploiting client fears and uncertainties over paying for care.


Government to allow commutation of small pension funds
The government has set out the circumstances where individuals aged 60 or over with small pension pots of £2,000 or less will be able to draw these as a lump sum.


Gradual retirement
What are the perceived barriers?


Valid execution of wills and deeds
Recent cases with surprising results.


Swiss tax agreement
A one time deduction, authorised to settle past tax liabilities, to supplement the new withholding tax applicable to the Swiss bank accounts of UK residents that have not been previously disclosed to HMRC.


Deferral of state pension
To consider whether it is attractive for an individual to defer the taking of the basic state pension.


Life expectancy
The Department of Work and Pensions announce that 17% of the current population would reach 100.


Public pension liabilities hit £1.3 trillion
The Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) first Fiscal Sustainability Report is frank about the net present value of future public sector pension liablilities.


Should pension ages be scrapped?
Oxford University professor of gerontology Sarah Harper believes the pensions age should be abolished.


NS&I index-linked certificates
Worth considering...could be a limited edition.


Overturning will provisions
The interesting Ilott v Mitson case.


Customers complain
The FSA has published details of complaints: not surprisingly, banks take the top 15 spots in the league table.


Cash ISAs: poor value for the majority of investors.
£127bn is estimated to be held in cash ISAs: much of this cash is earning derisory rates of interest: providers benefit from bait-pricing.


Equitable Life terms finalised
The government has confirmed its intention to make compensation to eligible Equitable Life policyholders.


February is scams awareness month: not a lot of people, who should, know that.


Credit card claims
Credit card companies regularly give customers false or misleading information when they call to make a credit card claim enquiry.


Financial Services Compensation Scheme
The FSA has confirmed an increase in compensation cover for deposits, to £85,000.


The Governor of the Bank of England writes to the Chancellor
Another letter from the Governor defending above target inflation.


Rectification of a deed of variation
What are the remedies if a deed is executed with the intention that it should have certain consequences but the actual consequences of the deed as executed are completely different?


State pension age to be equalised
The government has set out the new phasing-in details for bringing forward the date on which the State Pension Age will be equalised at 65.


Pre-nuptial agreements
A landmark majority decision by the Supreme Court.


Equitable Life
The coalition government announces their compensation plan for the Equitable Life policyholders.


Cheaper coins
New coins are to enter circulation from April 2011: that will save money for the Royal Mint and encourage the development of "contactless payment".


Furnished holiday lettings
25% of the 65,000 people owning furnished holiday lettings are set to lose valuable tax relief from 6 April 2011.


HMRC demands for underpaid tax
What to do when you receive an unexpected demand for allegedly underpaid tax.


Index-linked investments
Index-linked gilts are not a simple replacement for index-linked savings certificates.


Bare trust returns
HMRC claim that most tax returns for bare trusts are completed incorrectly.


To incorporate or not?
The June 2010 Budget changes to income tax, NICs, the small profits corporation tax rate and capital allowances mean the tax efficiency of incorporation has increased.


Unit trust pricing
One major investment group has changed the basis of its unit pricing.


Investment yields
Relative investment yields suggest UK shares are cheap.


VAT to rise
Value added tax looks set to rise, whatever the shape of the next government.


Party policies
A brief summary of the financial planning points from the three main party manifestos.


Monopoly on will writing for solicitors proposed
A report to the Legal Services Board proposes a solicitors monopoly on will writing.


Proposals for reform of succession law in Scotland
The Scottish Law Commission’s proposals for changes in succession law, including the rules of intestate succession and legal rights, are welcomed by the Scottish Government.


Proposals to reform the law of intestacy and family provision claims on death in England and Wales
On 29 October 2009 the Law Commission published a Consultation Paper setting out proposals to amend the law. The key proposals concern an increase in the statutory legacy for a surviving spouse and automatic entitlement for co-habitants in certain circumstances.


European certificate of inheritance
The European Commission adopts a regulation to define pan-European law on cross-border succession and wills.


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