Millions of people still unaware of ISA changes.

I read an article the other day that said that 77% of British adults have no idea of the new Isa rules that came into effect in July 2014.

The changes were supposed to make ISA's more attractive to investors and simpler however there is a general feeling that the changes have not been explained well enough. Perhaps the radical changes in pensions and the Lamborghini effect has played its part in distracting us!

Here is a summary of what has changed:

    •     New ISA annual allowance- the ISA allowance (the amount you can invest each tax year) has risen to £15,240.

    • Improved flexibility- historically there were restrictions on how you could split your allowance between Cash ISAs and Stocks & Shares ISAs. Now you can split your allowance as you choose.

    • New death benefits- investments are normally subject to Inheritance Tax (IHT) of 40%, if the total value of your estate exceeds the 'nil-rate band'. This is currently £325,000 for individuals, or up to £650,000 if you inherit your spouse's or civil partner's unused allowance. Changes announced in the Autumn statement mean that surviving spouse's will have an additional ISA allowance, equal to the amount the deceased spouse had in their ISA.

    • Improved transfer options- you can now transfer from a Stocks & Shares ISA to a Cash ISA, and vice versa. Under previous rules you could only transfer from a Cash ISA to a Stocks & Shares ISA. This removes one of the biggest barriers to transferring Cash ISAs to Stocks & Shares ISAs - that you couldn't transfer back again. With interest rates remaining at historic lows, we are seeing increased interest from investors who are happy with the risks and are looking to transfer their Cash ISAs to Stocks & Shares ISAs

    • Earn tax-free interest in Stocks & Shares ISAs- you have always been able to hold cash in a Stocks & Shares ISA, but interest was, in effect, paid net of basic rate tax. Under the new rules interest on cash in a Stocks & Shares ISA is paid gross and is completely tax-free.    Cash ISAs remain unchanged.

If you are interested in making the most out of this new flexibility please do not hesitate on give us a call.

Chris Dixon Dip PFS


The Pre-Existing Condition Clause Trap!

Imagine you have just been offered a great premium for your practice's group locum and you are just about to switch providers . Just before you do you notice something in the small print called a 'pre-existing condition clause'. Most companies now cover themselves with a pre-existing condition clause. This usually means that regardless of who is covered if they have been off work for 5-10 days (varies on provider) for a 'pre-existing condition' then they are not covered for a set period of time.

Now initially this doesn’t seem too bad (depending on time scales) but then let’s consider that recently a competitor has released a policy with a THREE year pre-existing condition clause! However what if you have a bunch of really healthy Doctors and Professionals who haven't been off for the last 3 years? What does it matter then? Well it does, and it’s something I call the pre-existing 'spin cycle'. Let me ask a question, who are the most expensive people to cover for?  I believe it is the individuals who are off with a recurring condition. This could be stress, back or even something like a trapped nerve. Those pesky reoccurring illness's that just won’t go away and makes it challenging for a practice manager to cover as you never know when they are going to strike! To illustrate my point let’s look at this example:

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Annual Allowance update for the NHS pension

The Annual Allowance, set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), is the maximum amount of pension savings you can receive tax relief on each year. HMRC reduced the Annual Allowance from £255,000 to £50,000 from 6 April 2011, with the result that the total tax-free growth in the value of your NHS benefits and other pension arrangements you may have is capped at £50,000.

If the growth in your pension savings is more than the Annual Allowance then a tax charge may be payable on the amount over £50,000. This is the Annual Allowance charge.

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Top 5 Things to Look for in a Good Locum Insurance Policy.

Top 5 things to look for in a good Locum Insurance policy

1.) Premium.

I thought I would put the most obvious one first! Yes it is important to have a competitive premium but this should not be at the expense of the quality of cover especially as there are some policies out there we would NOT recommend as an independent advice company. The best way to find out if your premium is competitive is to get several premiums from different companies or go to an Independent Financial Advisor like ourselves.

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