Pensions freedom benefits are under threat as insurance companies are withdrawing from providing cover for financial advisers giving advice on retirement, it has been revealed. Under the pensions freedoms brought in by then Chancellor George Osbourne in 2015, it was made more attractive for people to transfer money out of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes (Pension planning).
The Personal Finance Society, the professional body for independent financial advisers, has said that 37,000 members are finding it hard to obtain the insurance required to give out pension transfer advice (Pension planning).
This comes at the same time as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stepped up an investigation into poor transfer advice, due to concerns of a new pension mis-selling scandal.
Return of the 95% mortgage
UK Mortgage Trends Treasury Report data (not yet published) reveals that the number of 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages has increased by 37 in just one month, surpassing the 300 mark for the first time since April 2008. Alongside the expansion of 95% LTV deals, The Moneyfacts UK Mortgage Trends Treasury Report shows that the average two-year fixed rate for a 95% LTV has fallen for five consecutive months, reaching 4.02%. Despite this, they have yet to recover back to the all-time low seen in January 2017. With future base rate rises on the horizon, borrowers should start considering their options now.
Savings gender divide
The idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus is alive and well in the financial services world. While both men and women face a retirement funding crisis in this country, there are some key differences in their financial needs. Women are paid less than men across many companies, but that translates into bigger financial problems for them, particularly later in life. Research for the Pensions Policy Institute found that when compared to men, there is a gap of £7 a week, or £364 a year, for the average-earning woman with two children, even if she takes no break from full-time work. Lower pay, coupled with career breaks, comes with lower savings, investment and pension pots for women throughout their lives – leaving them with less cash in their retirement than men.
London property prices and the Brexit effect
House prices in London are falling at the fastest rate since the depths of the UK’s last recession during the global financial crisis, a survey from Acadata released on Monday showed. Acadata’s report showed that house prices in the capital fell to an average of £593,396 in January, which equates to an annual fall of 2.6%. That marks the biggest drop since August 2009 when Britain was in the depths of the financial crisis. The south-west London borough of Wandsworth performed worst in London. Prices there fell by 2.5% month-on-month or by 14.9% when compared to January 2017. Prices in Southwark dropped 12.2% on an annual basis.
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