With the past decade have driven the base rate to just above zero, and now the Bank is debating whether to follow the example of the eurozone, Japan and several other countries in setting a negative interest rate.
A new report from PwC has outlined how banks and lenders should prepare for the possible introduction of negative interest rates. In the report, PwC says that "noises from the Bank of England suggest the chances of it dropping its base rate below zero have gone from “don’t count on it” to “anything’s possible” and for banks, that’s a big deal.”
The government has been criticised for it’s "woefully inedequate response" to the issue of tens of thousands of married women receiving the wrong amount of state pension. A research paper published by pension consultants Lane Clark & Peacock suggests that tens of thousands of older women may be entitled to a higher rate of state pension than they are currently receiving.
The FCA has banned contingent charging as part of a new package of measures to "address weaknesses" across the defined benefit (DB) pension advice market. The FCA says the ban on contingent charging will "reduce conflicts of interest" which arise where a financial adviser only gets paid if a transfer goes ahead and will help "good advisers, who will often advise to stay put, to compete".
£2.5 billion was withdrawn from pensions flexibly in Q1 - a 19% increase from the £2.1 billion withdrawn in Q1 2019, according to the latest HMRC statistics. The total value of flexible withdrawals from pensions since flexibility changes in 2015 has now exceeded £35bn. Q1 2020 saw 348,000 individuals withdraw from pensions, a 23% increase from 284,000 in the same quarter of the previous year. There has also been an increase in the number of individuals withdrawing compared to the previous quarter Q4 2019 (327,000) – which reflects normal seasonal patterns.