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FCA to tighten rules on crowdfunding

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has given an update on the post-implementation review of the loan-based and investment-based crowdfunding market. The earlier call for input raised a number of issues for discussion; the feedback statement provides a first response to the feedback received and sets out next steps.

Based on a review of the feedback received, issues seen during the supervision of crowdfunding platforms currently trading and consideration of applications from firms seeking full authorisation, the FCA believes it is appropriate to modify a number of rules for the market.

 

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PI and providers in firing line as FCA publishes long-awaited FSCS proposals

 

The FCA has released its long-awaited consultation on reforming the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Among a number of options, the regulator is considering introducing mandatory wording on professional indemnity insurance policies for personal investment firms.

The consultation also contains further options for strengthening PI cover, including ensuring policies provide cover for any FSCS claims, restrictions on policy excess levels and restricted use of exclusions for some products.

 

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Govt scraps Lifetime Isa exit charge for 2017/18

 

The Government will scrap the Lifetime Isa’s 25 per cent exit charge in its first year.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate, financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison said that the Government had decided to waive the charge for 2017/18 because people could be charged the exit fees before they receive their first Government bonus on the product.

After the 2017/18 a 25 per cent exit charge, including on growth, will still apply however.

 

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Govt raises personal allowance and higher rate tax threshold

 

The Government has confirmed the tax-free personal allowance will increase to £12,500 by the end of the current parliament.

Announcing the Autumn Statement today, Chancellor Philip Hammond says the higher rate of income tax threshold will also move to £50,000 over the period.

 

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Treasury to scrap tax relief on employee shareholder status

 

The Government will abolish tax advantages for shares awarded under the “employee shareholder status” due to evidence suggesting it is mainly being used for tax planning.

The measure means the capital gains tax exemption and the income tax and National Insurance contributions relief for shares awarded under Employee Shareholder Status agreements will be closed down.

 

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New FCA reporting requirements set to cost pension providers up to £20,000 a year

 

New FCA reporting requirements are set to cost the pensions industry between £600,000 and £1.2m to put in place, the regulator has said.

In a consultation paper, the FCA says it plans to make providers of retirement income products provide more data to the regulator about the types and volumes of products they are selling from September 2018.

 

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State pension to rise by 2.5% in April 2017

 

The government has confirmed state pension will rise by 2.5% in April 2017, as a report shows that the “triple lock” promise on payments could push up the cost of providing the benefit by more than a third over the next three decades.

From April, pensioners on the new flat rate pension will see their weekly payments increase to £159.55 from £155.65 currently, while the old state pension will rise to £122.30 from £119.30.

 

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PFS (Personal Finance Society) calls for guidance providers to get authorisation

 

Guidance services should only be offered by authorised firms that commit to professional standards and treating customers fairly frameworks, the Personal Finance Society has said.

While the PFS is backing the Treasury’s plans to redefine regulated advice to just advice involving a personal recomendation, the professional body fears the increasing the scope of unregulated guidance could lead to consumer detriment without further safeguards.

 

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HMRC is changing the way they confirm land registry applications

 

To help customers process their work and save time, HMRC has reduced the amount of documents they send to confirm their application.

Customers who receive postal confirmation that their application has been completed will now receive a single Register Completion Sheet. This will contain important information that used to be on the Title Information Document. The Title Information Document duplicated much of the information in the Register Completion Sheet and contained information that is no longer relevant.

 

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National minimum wages – October 2016

 

From 1 October 2016 the rates for the national minimum wage are as follows (figures in brackets show the previous rates):

•     Workers aged 21 to 24: £6.95 (£6.70)

•     Workers aged 18 to 20: £5.55 (£5.30)

•     Young workers aged under 19 but above compulsory school age who are not apprentices: £4.00 (£3.87)

The new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour which applies to workers aged 25 and over is unaffected, although it will be uprated in April 2017.

 

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IR35 reform: What the future holds

 

The consultation on the proposed changes to IR35 closed on 18 August. If the changes are approved, from April 2017, the responsibility to ensure you are paying the correct employment taxed would switch from you (the contactor), to the public sector body or agency you are working for.

Well, it’s certainly not going to be scrapped, but it is about to change and in quite a major way.

 

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Commission extends the application date of the PRIIPs Regulation by one year

 

The European Commission has today proposed an extension to the date of application of the Regulation on Key Information Documents for Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs).

This one-year extension is being proposed exceptionally in the interest of ensuring a smooth implementation for European consumers and to ensure legal certainty for the sector.

The PRIIPs Regulation is a key piece of legislation that aims to improve the quality of information provided to consumers. It introduces a standardised factsheet, known as a Key Information Document (KID), which is designed to present the main features of an investment product in a simple and accessible manner. Thanks to the KID, EU consumers will, for the first time, be able to easily compare the potential risks and rewards of investment products, funds and investment-linked insurance policies.

 

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