The tricky task of dividing pensions fairly in a divorce and stamping out ‘unintended discrimination’ against women is tackled by top lawyers in a newly published guide (divorce pension).
Pensions are often a family’s second most valuable asset after a home, but the legal experts found a widespread lack of confidence among colleagues in the profession about how to split them, and a substantial proportion of unfair outcomes. Previous research has found divorcing women could be forfeiting thousands of pounds of pension cash, and a charity has called for lawyers to prompt couples to discuss the topic during the process. The new good practice guide seeks to address this by demystifying pensions jargon, encouraging fairer settlements, and reducing the risk of claims against lawyers by former clients. The aim of this guide is to help judges and practitioners navigate their way with more confidence through the tricky field of pensions on divorce, and ultimately improve the fairness of outcomes for those going through divorce. Additionally the Government plans to tackle the causes of financial inequality in later life by intervening at points where women are likely to face disadvantage from school to employment, divorce and retirement. It will target inequalities in the labour market that lead to women to retire, on average, with pension savings up to 40% lower. This will include by reviewing equal pay legislation, redundancy protection and maternity discrimination.
A golden opportunity?
When one of the world’s leading fund managers, renowned for his passion for equities, says every investor’s portfolio should have a heavy dose of exposure to gold, it is time to sit up and listen. That is exactly what happened last week when veteran manager Mark Mobius, a long-time investor in emerging markets, said he ‘loved’ gold and that investors should have at least 10% of their assets in the precious metal. His comments came as its price climbed to a six-year high of more than $1,413 (£1,125) an ounce. According to experts at trader BullionVault, gold prices for UK savers have only ever been higher on 20 other occasions throughout history. It confidently predicts that by the end of the year, the all-time peak of £1,195 – reached in the summer of 2011 when debt crises were sweeping across Europe and the United States – could look ‘cheap’. The surge in gold prices has been fuelled by a number of factors including mounting geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, the continued trade war between the United States and China, and downward pressure on interest rates. This basket of concerns has highlighted gold’s status as a store of value and a safe haven during times of uncertainty. Commentators believe that over the next decade deflation will dominate the economies of the United States and Europe, resulting in suppressed interest rates. In times of deflation, he says gold is a ‘good asset diversifier’ and proves popular as investors search for real, physical financial assets.
London property prices to benefit from proposed stamp duty changes
Stamp duty change could revive prime property prices by £700,000, helping the top end of the housing market to recover from the current slump which is attributed to the high level of tax and Brexit uncertainty. Boris Johnson, the favourite candidate to become the next Prime Minister has pledged to abolish the property tax on homes under £500,000 and reverse the rise on prime and super prime homes that was introduced in 2014 by the then Chancellor George Osborne. New research by prime London property portal Vyomm, has revealed the extent of this initial decision on the market and says that a reversal in stamp duty tax thresholds at the top end could help boost buyer demand and increase high end house prices by as much as £700,000. Before December 2014 the stamp duty rate for properties between £1 million and £2 million was 5%, rising to 7% from homes sold for £2 million or more. This was increased to 10% on homes from £925,000 to £1.5 million and 12% over £1.5 million. As a result the average sold price for homes above £1.5 million in London fell by 3.41% or £101,410 in a year and for properties above £10 million it fell by 4.66% or £738,653 over the same period.
Financial Advice Including Pension Advice, Bristol
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