There is fierce media speculation including in the Financial Times that the government may well turn its attention to higher rate tax relief in the Budget. There is also discussion of a wealth tax which may leave some Conservative voters raising an eyebrow and asking who they voted for?
It is clear that the short Conservative manifesto despite widely being regarded as a safety first document did make some big promises around keeping most taxes low along with spending increases.
Advisers will know that at just about every Budget, there is talk of changes to reliefs and allowances. My view is that this is one of the more serious threats. The last time things got close was in early 2016 under George Osborne. Backbench pressure usually kiboshes a flattening of reliefs but money is extremely tight.
Hargreaves Landown founder Peter Hargreaves increases his share sell off from £500m to £550m in light of investor demand.
He will have sold 34,375,000 shares at £16 per share but retains 24.3% of the firm worth about £2bn, though with no executive role. Interesting to note the still significant investor demand. The markets may be ‘looking through’ the noise about HL and Neil Woodford.
Mr Hargreaves himself cites asset allocation as the driver behind the move. It always makes good sense to be diversified.
Of course, last week the FCA did choose to send out a Dear CEO letter to platforms which looked at best buy lists including discussing ‘preference for funds offering discounts over formal and objective criteria’ and ‘lack of independence of research teams and associated governance’.
It was a very short letter but does seem to be pretty much directly related to HL.
Advisers will also be interested in the fact that the letter asked that platforms manage replatforming better with less disruption and better processes.
Campaigner Robin Powell challenges advisers to get more interested in ESG as clients become more concerned about climate change.
It’s not all criticism from the regulator. It can be criticised too. The Complaints Commissioner hits out at wholly unacceptable response times, with the FCA having recently taken six months to review a complaint.