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Whether or not an attorney can appoint a discretionary investment manager is a question that has come up a number of times over the last couple of months. The position on this has changed following updated guidance from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), so maybe it is no wonder confusion still abounds.

I last wrote in my column on SIPPs Professional about the changes to Normal Minimum Pension Age (NMPA) back in October, when the rules were still under consultation. The industry had highlighted many issues with the proposals and asked for a re-think in terms of how the changes were brought in.

One of the big headliners in the Spring Statement was the cut in basic rate income tax from 20% to 19% from April 2024.

With 5 April rapidly approaching social media and inboxes are full of the usual “top ten tax year-end tips” headlines. For those who are organised the planning has long been done, allowances used as fully as possible and it’s time to sit back.

Writing an article on “decoupling” in the same month as Valentine’s Day feels a bit “bah humbug” – but rest assured, I'm talking about the link between taking tax-free cash and using pensions to provide an income that faces the prospect of being torn apart, not any romantic relationship.

Towards the end of last year the FCA published its much-delayed consultation on non-workplace pensions. The consultation proposes two major changes – the first relates to default investments and the second to cash warnings.

Back in May I talked about the FCA’s proposal to get more people using Pension Wise guidance before they accessed their pension. My point then was that the timing of the “nudge” was all wrong – when an individual contacts their provider to access their pension, they have already made their mind up what they want to do.

In the space of 24 hours earlier this month we had two new pieces of legislation which impact pension transfers. The fireworks started early on the anniversary of the discovery of the gunpowder plot, with the publication of the Finance Bill (No. 2) which includes the new rules on changes to normal minimum pension age (NMPA). Bonfire Night itself caused less of a bang with the introduction of the new rules on the statutory right to transfer.

The decision to raise the normal minimum pension age (NMPA) from 55 to 57 was announced back in 2014 at the same time as Pension Freedoms. Clearly this wasn’t the big headline at the time but now we have draft legislation we are seeing news stories as some of the complexities of how the change is being implemented come to light.

The recent announcements on the new Health and Social Care Levy, and corresponding rise in tax on dividend income, will boost the attractiveness of salary sacrifice in the years ahead.

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