Posts Tagged ‘Charity & Not for Profit’

David Davison

Fortunately my expectations for the Green Paper published last week weren’t high which was good as at least I didn’t have to deal with crushing disappointment. I did have some hopes that after a myriad of working parties and consultation on Section 75 and multi-employer schemes over the last few years, that expectant charities at last may see some revelation on an issue that has been dogging the sector for well over a decade. There was indeed a revelation, of sorts! It was just that they needed more consultation!! How could anyone not understand the issues here? The problem isn’t about lack of understanding of the issues, but about lack of will to do something about them.

The commentary on multi-employer DB schemes is contained in paragraphs 400-407 in the ‘Consolidation of Schemes’ section, which is somewhat ironic given that most of the necessary change for multi-employer schemes results in anything but consolidation!!

In point 405 there is one tantalising comment, namely “We intend to consult on a new option employers can consider to manage the employer debt in these circumstances.” Ah, what could this be, and why was it not actually in the Green Paper?

My greater concern is that at the end of the Consolidation section there are three key questions posed in relation to multi-employer schemes:- Read more »

David Davison

In our fast paced society no one really likes waiting for anything, however for those financial directors of charities participating in local government pension schemes in England & Wales I’m sure they wouldn’t mind waiting a bit longer for their valuation results given everything else going on around them.

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Alan Collins

This week, George Osborne kept up his pension reform theme and proposed the abolition of the so called “death-tax” on pension pots.

In doing so, he has further tipped the pension balance away from collectivism and defined income towards flexibility and individualism.

Summary of proposed changes

The changes only affect money purchase/defined contribution arrangements.  There are no changes proposed for final salary/defined benefit schemes.

Also, pension pots above the Lifetime Allowance will be subject to the same tax system as before.  That is, the excess above the Lifetime Allowance is taxed at 55% if taken as a lump sum (or 25% if taken as income, in which case income tax is levied in addition).

Currently, an “untouched” pension pot can be passed to a dependant free of tax if the deceased individual is under age 75.  If the deceased individual is 75 or over, the pot is subject to a 55% tax charge.

For pension pots that have already been accessed (i.e. the deceased has taken payment from the pot), the remaining pot is currently subject to a 55% tax charge irrespective of the age of the deceased (unless the beneficiary is a spouse/child less than 23, in which case there is no immediate tax charge, but (marginal rate) income tax is payable on any income received).

Come April 2015, the above will change radically:
•    Untouched pension pots will be passed on free of tax at all ages;
•    Pension pots that have been accessed will be passed on completely free of tax if the deceased is under 75; and
•    If the deceased is 75 or over, pension pots that have been accessed will be passed on with no immediate tax charge, but (marginal rate) income tax is payable on any income received.

What are the likely consequences?
Well, it is certainly trying to kill off collectivism by stacking all the cards in favour of an individual approach.  What are the chances of someone saying “Happy to join this group scheme and pass on my assets when I die to a bunch of random individuals instead of my wife and kids”?  Not likely, not likely at all.

We have had long debates in the office about the merits or otherwise of Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) schemes.  However, I suspect this may now be academic.  This is already a popular move and if it gets people more into the habit of pensions saving, then that in itself must be a good thing.  Like it or not, people will generally want to put themselves and their family first before they look to share their wealth for widely.  As such, employers are likely to keep away from CDC and focus on arrangements that will be more appreciated and valued by employees.

The further attractiveness of money purchase arrangements should also provide encouragement to employers seeking to manage their legacy defined benefit pension liabilities.  Employers should also review existing arrangements to make sure they are best aligned with the new pension freedoms.

 

David Davison

With many charities now facing full balance sheet disclosure of their multi-employer pension scheme liabilities for the very first time trying to get a handle on the potential impact can be daunting. We’ve already put together a guide for charities in these schemes which explains the technical details and the key choices charity FD’s are likely to face. In addition we’ve designed a FRS102 liability calculator which will allow organisations to enter their deficit recovery contributions and recovery period and obtain an estimate of the net present value figure they’ll be likely to have to include on their balance sheet. Based upon this the calculator will also provide a proxy figure for a full disclosure equivalent to that calculated currently derived under FRS17.

From this charities should be able to see the potential financial impact and begin to consider if steps need to be taken to protect the balance sheet position. For some the steps could be relatively straightforward however for others, particularly those where this change could have a material impact, and potentially even result in a negative balance sheet, more bespoke action could be required and planning needs to begin early to consider all the alternatives.

The calculator will allow multiple calculations to be carried out, saved and printed and we hope it will provide access to a valuable resource for charities to better understand their obligations.

David Davison

When encouraging change to the approach taken with charity pensions I’m constantly asked the question by large schemes and regulators – have you got any analysis of the issues. This has often been difficult to obtain and as a result the pension difficulties charities face are often all too easily ignored. Charities really need to have their voice heard and here is your chance. Charity Finance Group are carrying out a pension survey to use to better inform on the issues faced and to assist in negotiations with DWP and LGPS for a change in legislation and approach.

This is a great opportunity for charities to influence future pension policy and thinking, and to really get their views across at a high level.

I would strongly encourage charities to participate by following the link and providing your experience.

But don’t delay as the survey closes on the 7th April.

 

Will Davison

Spence & Partners Head of Charity & Not for Profit advisory services David Davison was set the challenging task of presenting a session entitled “Pensions Made Simple” at the 22nd annual Charity Accountants Conference held in Birmingham on the 19-20 September 2013. The talk covered defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, private and public sector schemes and provided the audience with an overview of the issues charities face and the potential solutions available to them. The talk was well received by the audience and slides are available here : The Charity Accountants’ Conference – Pensions Made Simple

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