Today we are amongst others developing 3 solar projects with 185 MW, 2 biodiesel plants with 140 000 tons and a starch wheat processing factory, total value €625 million.
Besides these large projects, we develop also a range of smaller projects in specialty food production and agriculture, with investments from about 1 million Euro and up.
MDT was set up at the end of 2014, as a result of merging several companies, which have been active since the beginning the 1990#s in Ukraine, Hungary and Russia.
The company specialises in infrastructure, agricultural and food production projects. Agriculture and food production in particular are booming because of the sanctions. This gives our investors much higher returns and values than similar projects in Europe.
MDT are working with Russian as well as European industry and private investors. We are especially working with private investors and family offices, who are now increasingly interested in participating in our projects, as they normally do not have any possibility to directly participate and profit from such economic developments today in Russia. According to the Prequin Infrastructure and Alternative Investor Outlook for 2016, 42% of investors that invest directly are looking to increase this
type of exposure and none are looking to decrease their direct allocations. These tendencies we feel very much as interest and requests for investments are continuously increasing.
Therefore, we also invest into the development of our firm’s staff, which are a group of specialists in project development, trade and finance, all with long standing experience in the Russian as well as international business. The challenges that lie ahead in 2016 for MDT concern finalising some
of the financing pools for our projects. For the achievements of our work, we have recently been awarded the 2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the National Foundation for Business Development, which has been set up by order from President V. Putin in 2015.
Of the 2,000 people surveyed, almost half (47%) said they are confused by the rules associated with ISA accounts, over two fifths (44%) said they didn’t know what the maximum amount is they could put into an ISA and over a third (36%) didn’t know what the new Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) was.
The research revealed a clear lack of understanding on the savings landscape, one in five people admitted they didn’t save at all (19%), with one in ten of this group stating it is because they don’t understand enough about the different types of savings products (10%).
The research also shows that it’s not just savings rules that are confusing the nation, a fifth (22%) stated they didn’t know how ISA differed from standard savings accounts, and surprisingly one in ten (10%) said they didn’t even know what the acronyms ISA or PSA stood for.
Kris Brewster, Head of Products at Skipton Building Society, says:
“It is clear from our research that the nation is confused when it comes to saving. With the different types of savings accounts out there it seems that this confusion is not only preventing people from making the most of their tax free savings options, for one in ten, it’s a barrier to saving – full stop.
“And with the introduction of the new PSA this week and the Lifetime ISA, which the government has introduced to encourage people to save for the future, we believe these will add only more confusion and concern for consumers. The savings landscape is becoming too complicated, especially with multiple types of ISA products.
“At Skipton Building Society, we’d encourage the government to think about really helping savers by ending tax on all savings interest, and in doing so, abolishing the need for ISAs, putting an end to this confusion and creating a nation of lifetime savers.”
The Age of Saving
It seems the younger generations are the more savvy when it comes to savings knowledge, as half of the people surveyed aged 18 – 24 knew what a PSA was, compared to the 74% of people aged 45 plus who didn’t.
Over 80% of people aged 45 and over said they were not clear if they could invest in multiple ISA during each tax year. And 40% of this age group didn’t know what the maximum amount is that they could put into an ISA.
Saving Confusion across the Nation
The research showed some regional variations when it came to savings knowledge across the nation, with over half (53%) of people in Yorkshire and the Humber admitting they didn’t know what the ISA rules are.
When compared to any other region, more people in the South West didn’t know what the acronym ISA stood for and over two fifths (46%) didn’t know what the PSA was.
The Economic Secretary was today the first government minister to visit the construction site of HSBC UK’s new 9.2 acre location – 2 Arena Central – and hailed the creation of up to 1,000 new financial services jobs in Birmingham and the significant boost to the Midland’s construction industry as a direct result of the move.
The relocation is partly seen as a result of new government legislation coming into force in 2019 requiring banks to separate their investment arms from their retail and business banking operations to offer more protection to consumers.
The Midlands is already the UK’s 4th biggest financial services hub, coming in slightly behind the South East and the North West, and HSBC’s relocation will bring the Midlands even closer to gaining the 3rd position.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin said:
“HSBC’s decision to move 1,000 jobs from London to Birmingham is clear proof that the government’s plan to rebalance the economy is bearing fruit.
“The financial services industry in the Midlands is going from strength to strength and is great success story. It makes an important contribution to the local economy, employing around 210,000 people in total, a tenth of the entire financial services workforce.”
The Economic Secretary’s visit to the site is part of day long tour to the West Midlands where she is also visiting Aldermore challenger bank and Coventry Building Society, which are just two of the Midlands-based financial institutions adding to the Midlands’ pull as a financial services hub.
The Economic Secretary is undertaking a series of regional visits across the UK, including to Cardiff, York and Bristol, to showcase the huge growth opportunities available for financial services firms in regional hubs. A key aim for government is to encourage diversity in all aspects of financial services. This includes geographical diversification and more competition in the sector with the government introducing numerous measures to help challengers, such as Aldermore, compete with incumbent financial services firms.
Chief Executive at Aldermore, Phillip Monks said:
“We are delighted to welcome the Economic Secretary to Aldermore to see first-hand the support our expert team is providing to SMEs in Birmingham and across the West Midlands region. The majority of our SME customers are based outside London and the South East, and Aldermore aim to provide a range of lending services including working capital and funding for assets across a range of industries including manufacturing and construction.
“Ensuring small businesses, the backbone of the UK economy, receive the capital and support they need to grow is absolutely essential for the future of the UK economy, and this is something we aim to discuss at length with the Minister.”
While in Birmingham the Economic Secretary attended a roundtable with representatives from HSBC and RBS, as well as Birmingham University, to discuss skills, recruitment and apprenticeships in the financial services sector. The government has committed to reaching 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020 and the Economic Secretary believes the financial services sector is crucial to delivering this commitment.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin said:
“It is great to see firms in Birmingham taking such a proactive approach to the development of talent and skills in the younger generation. Apprenticeships are hugely important for attracting a greater diversification to the financial services sector and for enhancing its broader reputation and standing.”
Are you unemployed and low on cash, in need of debt advice to help you stay afloat? You may be wondering whether you can manage to make payments on credit cards and other debt, and what will happen to your credit rating if you can’t keep up. It can be hard when it feels like you’re choosing between survival and your credit score.
Here are five tips to help you navigate the sea of debt while you’re out of work and looking for your next job.
1. Minimize Expenditures
Revisit your spending plan and slash any unnecessary expenses to free up funds so that you can make at least minimum debt payments. Start with all the items you can stand to go without, such as cable television, manicures and dining out. If you don’t yet have a budget, take a look at our Budgeting Basics guide.
2. Don’t Ignore Your Creditors
If you haven’t got the needed cash for minimum payments on some debts, immediately reach out to those creditors to discuss your employment situation. You don’t want things to reach the point where debt collection calls take over your phone line. Your creditors may be able to enroll you in a special program that will reduce or suspend your payments for a specified period of time. Otherwise, the delinquent accounts could be reported to the credit bureaus and remain on your credit report for up to seven years. Even worse, the creditors could accelerate their collection efforts by filing a lawsuit and dragging you to court.
3. Make Payment Arrangements
If a creditor offers a payment arrangement, propose an amount that you’ll actually be able to pay each month until you find work. Be sure to uphold your end of the bargain by keeping up with your payments, and let your creditors know if something comes up and you need to modify the agreement. Otherwise, they may be reluctant to help you out should a financial emergency arise later on.
4. Remit Minimum Credit Card Payments on Time
To protect your credit rating, you must make the minimum payments on time. If an account reaches 30 days past due, it can be reported to the credit bureaus and tank your credit score. If you can’t afford the minimum payment, call the credit card issuer to see if it can reduce the amount until you are back on your feet. You can also request that the due date be moved to ensure the funds from your unemployment check are deposited before the payment is due.
5. Preserve Your Emergency Fund
Cash is definitely king when you’re unemployed because a lack of it can bury you even deeper in debt. Simply put, if you use all your cash to pay off debt, you’ll be forced to borrow money from others or incur even more debt by swiping your credit card or taking a cash advance. Hold on to as much cash as possible.
Here are three rookie mistakes to avoid:
Trying to Get Anyone, Everyone as a Client
Don’t live in scarcity. Prospects can feel when you’re desperate for their business and frankly, it’s a turn-off. Choose what clients you want to work with (as far as net worth goes) and then screen them to see if you’re both a good fit together. I use the three P’s. Does the client participate in the initial planning process with honesty? Does the client’s personality work well with mine? Is this relationship mutually profitable for both of us?
Not Taking Time for Yourself
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation with wellness and overall job performance. I’m walking proof that focusing on your health and lifestyle changes everything about your life. I was a soda pop and French fry addict years ago. After I got sick and ended up in the hospital, I started to make some changes. Now 14 years later, I’m healthier, happier, and clearer than I’ve ever been and I’m still a passionate health and fitness nerd.
Living a healthy lifestyle provides higher energy levels, better focus, brain clarity, and it exudes confidence and positive energy. From a client’s perspective, health is big topic of conversation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been a resource to my clients who want to make lifestyle changes. Taking care of yourself is a win-win for everyone.
Not Taking the Time to Continue Learning
Learning to learn and increasing the speed at which you learn significantly increases your chances of success. And I’m not talking about reading and digesting market news everyday; what I’m speaking of is learning about yourself, relationships, human behavior, human biases, psychology and the soft sciences that are neglected within our industry. Find a mentor to help guide you through your career as a financial advisor. It’s beneficial to learn from someone else’s mistakes rather than make the mistakes yourself. Be curious, love knowledge, and grow thirsty for more.
When long-term care insurance was first introduced a few decades ago, the insurance companies largely did a poor job of designing the policies. In short, they did not charge enough to cover their costs. Accordingly, many insurance companies have raised premiums on existing policyholders. But there’s still some good news about long-term care.
Hybird Life Insurance
Two options have emerged that allow policyholders to exert control over premium increases. The first is hybrid life insurance and long-term care policies. By making a single or scheduled series of payments, you purchase cash-value life insurance that can be used to cover long-term care costs.
Consider a 60-year-old married female with a lump sum available for long-term care expenses. With a single premium of $79,000 (or 10 annual payments of $9,100), she purchases life insurance that has an initial death benefit of $149,000. More importantly, the policy has a long-term care reimbursement rider that can be used for up to $225,000 in expenses. Moreover, this benefit increases 3% annually on a compounded basis, meaning that once she turns 75 the maximum benefit will have increased to $352,000. Her husband’s premium would be slightly less, as males tend to be a better long-term care insurance risk. All of these costs include the couples discount, meaning both of them would need to take out policies.
Of course there are downsides to this policy. If you change your mind after a year, the surrender value of the policy is $63,000 meaning you’re out $16,000. Of course the same is true with a traditional long-term care policy. You have also made a lump sum payment for benefits that may not be payable for 25 years or more into the future so you’re reliant on the insurance company to stay financially healthy. Just be sure you pick one with sterling financial ratings.
Long Term Care Policies
The second option is the return of fixed costs with traditional long-term care policies. New entrant National Guardian Life now offers single premium and so-called 10-pay policies. As a comparison, consider a 60-year-old couple in a preferred rate class purchasing a traditional policy with a four year shared benefit period at $150 maximum per day, 3% compound inflation, a 90 day elimination period (which is like a deductible) and lifetime premiums.
These shared policies have the advantage of giving either spouse access to the combined benefit. So in essence either one of the spouses could have an eight year claim. To cover both of you, the initial annual premium would be $4,368. If you want more control over premium costs, you make 10 annual payments of $10,417, which may increase but are less likely to do so than lifetime pay policies.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll attest that there’s a lot of complexity when it comes long-term care insurance. I recommend you go to an agent that specializes in long-term care insurance and that works in consultation with you rather than having a traditional sales approach. While there hasn’t been much good news lately with long-term care insurance, seeing new entrants into the market with more competitive prices offers hope that the pendulum is swinging back toward more affordable policies.
The biggest problem today is that banks are not giving entrepreneurs the chance to invest in any businesses, but Allied Wallet invest in them and enable them to succeed. By doing this, Allied Wallet are creating more jobs and helping entrepreneurs fulfil their dreams. Dr. Andy Khawaja’s message is for entrepreneurs not to give up, but to have hope, even if they fail and encounter problems on the way. would you introduce your services to someone who has never heard of Allied Wallet before? I would describe Allied Wallet in three steps. Firstly, we are a company who can accommodate B2B merchants in a single shopping cart used for transactions. Secondly, you can be in anywhere in the world and we can carry out your transaction in its local currency. Lastly, but certainly not least, we have a state-of-the-art gateway to handle any sort of transaction or payment method, and is also one of the safest tools for the prevention of fraud and ensuring the safety of our customers.
As a result of the quality of the services we provide, we have expanded our company to having offices around the world, including London, California, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and India. In a nutshell, Allied Wallet’s astounding Next Gen Payment Gateway allows for simpler integrations. Following on from the firm’s recent 10th anniversary, Dr. Andy Khawaja reflects on the phenomenal impact his firm has had and where he sees it going in the future, such as plans to put it on the New York Stock Exchange by the second quarter of 2017.
The biggest problem today is that banks are not giving entrepreneurs the chance to invest in any businesses, but Allied Wallet invest in them and enable them to succeed. By doing this, Allied Wallet are creating more jobs and helping entrepreneurs fulfil their dreams. Dr. Andy Khawaja’s message is for entrepreneurs not to give up, but to have hope, even if they fail and encounter problems on the way.
“I would simply say to have hope and do not give up. If all the doors are closing on your face, still do not give up.”
Following on from celebrating Allied Wallet’s 10th year anniversary earlier this year, what reflections do you have about the growth of the company?
Allied Wallet are constantly growing and I am pleased to say that we signed up with Merrill Lynch six months ago, and we are also looking at putting Allied Wallet on the New York Stock Exchange by the second quarter of 2017. The future of the company is based on creating even more opportunities for entrepreneurs and allowing an even greater number of merchants to process online. I want to make sure that we can spread to more regions and make sure that everybody will have the access to secure payments via mobile or online.
How does Allied Wallet approach clients?
Allied Wallet serve all of our clients in a very professional way. We try to understand what is they are selling, what it is they have and trying to achieve, and where their customers are located so we can accommodate them. For example, if you try and serve customers in Germany and Scandinavian
countries, they tend to use payment methods like Giropay or Klarna, instead of Mastercard or Visa. So what we do, is include that as a payment option for our services, and in this way we can increasingly accommodate them. The view of Allied Wallet is that we do not have any competition, as I believe that what we are doing in the market is very unique. We provide services centred on what the customer needs, and customise them in a way that can accommodate the merchants and make sure that they do not shop around. When you go to a bank, all they do for you is to activate an account for you. With Allied Wallet, we can accept almost every payment on the earth, and customise it to work for them. We have 155 million users worldwide, so when you have the Allied Wallet logo on it, you have options that our wallet members can start using. It is a no brainer really!
Based in Austria, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG is a leading specialist bank, covering the entire spectrum of services and products around equities and certificates. We are a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International AG. and are focussing on our core regions in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), also including Russia. Raiffeisen Centrobank AG covers approximately 130 equities in the CEE region, as well in Russia and Turkey.
In total, the company research universe of Raiffeisen Centrobank AG contains approximately 130 equities on the cash equity side, and we are the leader for structured financial products, particularly certificates, in our region. We are currently issuing up to 4,500 products, of which the majority are custom-made products for retail customers. These products range from 100% capital guaranteed to highly leveraged products. In terms of our history, Centrobank itself was founded in the 1970s, whereas the cash equity and certificates side of the bank began in 2002, when we were taken over by Raiffeisen.
Raiffeisen Centrobank AG also focuses on trading, which does not mean proptrading in a common sense but pure market making. This is quite important for Raiffeisen Centrobank AG, because we can offer liquidity on all exchanges for equities and all the structured procuts we are issuing. Essentially, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG is a bank by definition and an equity house, which is quite rare today in Europe. The firm’s strong regional focus is on Central Eastern Europe, Austria and Russia. All the companies that we cover and many of the investors we are servicing are located in this region.
As a result of having two separate business lines, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG has a highly diverse range of clients. On the cash equity side, we offer our research and corporate access to institutional clients only, as pension funds, insurance companies and portfolio managers. It is mainly institutional investors where we offer both research and corporate access. On the certificate side, this is focussed on retail private banking, mainly specialising on the network of banks we are located in across Europe.
Raiffeisen Centrobank AG works in a highly demanding industry, which is why we always hire staff who are highly motivated and are hungry for success for both themselves and the business. We are highly specialised, so we have staff that are dedicated to one specific area too. Due to our relatively small size, our staff have to take on a high level of responsibility in comparison to larger corporate banks, but I view this as a positive aspect which is certainly a highly motivating factor.
A Capital Markets Fellow
There are a number of issues facing banking at the moment, Brexit being one of them. From my perspective, I was expecting a much deeper impact after 23rd June but I do think there is a growing need to establish confidence in the Euro again. I found the market reaction to be surprisingly soft, and was even more surprised at how the issue has been completely ignored in some respects. I feel that the market has not yet realised that it will weaken the Eurozone, and the fact is that there is still little knowledge about what will happen, and it can be difficult to judge what happens next.
In terms of how this impacts us, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG’s business model means that it will not have much of an effect. Of course, one of the most important markets for cash equity is London and I think this will continue to be the case, but if this changes we will simply follow our investors if they are willing to change their location. It is definitely not good for Europe, but having said that it is not something that directly impacts our business.
Looking ahead, there are many obstacles Raiffeisen Centrobank AG will need to overcome in order to continue to succeed. The main challenge facing us, are regulatory issues, which are impacting our business. This results in issues such as how portfolios are defined and which product is allowed to be sold.
Personally, I think the amount of new regulations needs to come to an end and should be executed in a proportional way, which keeps in the mind the size of the bank too. I believe that governments should view capital markets as something that can benefit them rather than a threat, and I also cannot stress enough the many benefits that it can bring.
A stocks and shares ISA can be a great way of saving money. Every adult now has a £15,240 allowance for 2016-17, so you can save quite a large sum.
However, stocks and shares ISAs remain quite complicated to understand. In this post, we take a look at everything you need to know about stocks and shares ISAs.
What is a Stocks and Shares ISA?
You can split your £15,240 allowance between a stocks and shares ISA and a cash ISA. Or you can select one or the other for your entire investment. A stocks and shares ISA is very different to a cash ISA. Whereas a cash ISA is simply a savings account you don’t pay tax on, in a stocks and shares ISA, you’re actually investing. This could be in anything from corporate and government bonds to shares.
In a stocks and shares ISA, your money is invested into ‘qualifying investments’. With some companies who offer stocks and shares ISAs, you can also get flexible ISAs. This allows you to withdraw some of the money in your account and reinvest it at a later date.
Are They Tax Free?
Unlike a cash ISA, a stocks and shares ISA isn’t tax free. Instead, it’s tax efficient.
You don’t pay capital gains tax on gains made within an ISA. However, you only pay capital gains tax on any investment when you make total gains of over £11,100 anyway, so this is only useful if you exceed this allowance.
Is Investing Right for Me?
The decision about whether to invest in a stocks and shares ISA is one that only you can make. Due to the fact that the value of investments can go up as well as down, you do stand a chance of losing money as well as making it.
Although historically stocks and shares have outperformed cash ISAs, there’s no reason to believe that this will always be the case, especially with current volatility. Poor Chinese economy figures as well as a potential Brexit and the election of a new US President mean that there’s a lot of market turbulence at present.
If you do decide to give a stocks and shares ISA a go, then you should consider sticking with it for the long term. Market turbulence generally seems to even out over long periods, so if you keep your ISA for 3-5 years you should get an accurate reflection of your investment.
A large majority of customers want innovation from their banking suppliers, according to a survey produced by technology firm Sopra Banking Software. The report was compiled using data from a survey of 5000 customers in six European Countries (France, UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands).
While 69% say it is important to have an innovative bank only 12% of consumers surveyed fully agreed that their bank is innovative. Additionally, out of the respondents Interested in new technology 33% of customers are ready to switch banks for the latest technologies.
Consumers are willing to share more data such as their personal information in exchange for clearly identified benefits. Interestingly, the results showed the generation gap might not be as large as we would expect. Remarkably, the openness to sharing more data holds across generations, i.e. in the whole 18-75 age range. According to Forrester, the typical company only tags 3% of their data and only analyses 0.5%. Most companies are throwing away 99.5% of their leverage with the customer.
“This highlights a lack of engagement on the customer side as well as a lack of added value on the bank’s side,” said Dr David Andrieux from Sopra Banking. “From the findings, customers are happy to switch if they find better offerings demonstrating that playing it safe is the riskiest strategy of all.”
Despite the 2008 financial crisis, trust and customer satisfaction levels are remarkably high at 82% and 85% respectively and 90% of consumers have no immediate intention to move banks.
However, they are also open to change, willing to share more data and interested in new technology. Only 12% of customers agree that their bank is different from other banks while 33% ‘somewhat agree’.
This figure varies between countries and although Spanish banks are amongst the most innovative banks in Europe, Spanish customers are more demanding and less satisfied with their banks.
78% of respondents consider it to be important to have an innovative bank and 58% are ready to switch to a bank providing the latest technologies. “Perhaps, once people get a taste of the possibilities enabled by modern thinking and technologies, they can’t get enough,” explained Dr David Andrieux from Sopra Banking. Interestingly, it was evident from the findings that technology and innovation is important not just for the younger generation (18-24), but also for the whole 18-44 age range.
Traditional banks are losing their appeal. Customers are looking for something more or something different with 54% of banking customers open to choosing a ‘non-traditional’ bank such as Pure Online Banks, Ethical Banks, Community Banks and a New Twist on the traditional bank.
The interest of customers in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and crowdfunding is significant, with 21% and 27% respectively proving of interest.
Alternative finance now constitutes a sizeable market, especially in the UK, but increasingly so in other EU countries. Despite remaining questions regarding its profitability, the European alternative finance market as a whole grew by 144% – from €1,211m in 2013 to €2,957m in 2014.
– ‘Traditional banks are losing their appeal’
– ‘There is a lack of engagement on the customer side as well as a lack of added value on the bank’s side’
– ‘Consumers across countries and age ranges are open to personal data sharing’
– ‘The Spanish and young customers have higher expectations regarding banking technologies’
Banks must innovate and create value for their customers through exciting nonconventional products and initiatives that use a platform designed for the digital age. For example, offering a digital wallet management platform, in which banks can integrate services from third-parties.
Jonathan Russell, Partner at UK200Group member firm ReesRussell, a Witney based business accountancy and advice firm, has commented on how an ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote will affect small businesses in the UK.
Jonathan Russell said:
“Uncertainty is the key word. At the moment we have uncertainty over what the vote in the referendum might bring. If the vote is to remain, then there will be a period of uncertainty as to what fall out there might be in government for those MP’s who supported the leave vote and the continuing uncertainty of the EU itself, with other countries suggesting disquiet as well.”
“It is campaigns such as the UK200 Group’s Campaign for Clarity, which might hopefully bring better balance to the information.”
The UK200 Group is the UK’s leading membership association of quality-assured independent chartered accountancy and law firms, they are concerned that the country would be likely to face a long period of uncertainty if it left the EU, which would dampen demand and impact on UK assets. Acknowledging that the coming months will be a challenging time for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the UK200 Group has launched its Campaign for Clarity to help SMEs understand the impact of an ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote.
The UK200Group itself has no political bias and its members seek to provide guidance and advice to the SME community – a group whose importance to the UK economy cannot be understated.
Collectively, the group’s members support over 150,000 SMEs, many of whom are already asking their accountants and lawyers how a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote will affect their businesses
The UK200Group is aiming to educate and inform a large number of business leaders across a wide range of industries, so has launched a campaign to clarify the views of both sides.
Central to the project will be a live-streamed debate between high-profile members of the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns at Coventry University London Campus, University House, 109-117 Middlesex St, London E1 7JF from 4.30PM to 6.30PM (debate itself 5.00PM to 6.00PM) on 11 May.
The debate will be chaired by leading futurologist and author Dr James Bellini, who spent 25 years in the broadcasting industry presenting programmes such as The Money Programme, Newsnight and Panorama, and as a studio presenter with Financial Times Television and Sky News. James’ experience in using the perspectives of history to explore possible futures will give him unique insight to the Campaign for Clarity debate.
Yvette Cooper MP will make the case for remaining in the EU. One of the most respected members of the Labour Party and a former Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette is the Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
Lucy Thomas, Deputy Director of Britain Stronger in Europe, will also be arguing the case for continuing our membership of the EU.
Making the case for exiting the EU will be David Davis MP, the Member of Parliament for Haltemprice & Howden, and an important and consistent voice at the right wing of the Conservative Party.
Douglas Carswell MP, Member of Parliament for Clacton, is also arguing the case for Brexit. Douglas was the first elected member of the UK Independence Party, in a by-election triggered by his high-profile defection from the Conservative Party in 2014.
Although the UK200Group remains impartial and unbiased, a poll of its members’ views will be taken before and after the debate, giving a unique indication of the success of the speakers’ arguments and the views of the UK SME community.
This will officially launch the UK200Group’s referendum survey, which will continue to provide real-time analysis of the changing views of SME leaders in the UK. It will continue until the referendum on 23 June.
James Abbott, President of the UK200Group, said, “As a membership association and a mutual organisation, we are committed to providing non-partisan information to our members and their clients.
“We represent two of the most trusted groups of professionals in the world of business: solicitors and accountants. At the moment, many of them are being quizzed by worried clients about the consequences of a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ outcome.
“The Campaign for Clarity debate, featuring some of the leading proponents of both campaigns, will clarify the key messages of the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ camps and discuss how SMEs will be affected by either outcome.
‘The Future of Private Pension Saving’ warns the Government against reforming the pensions system in a way which would disincentivise saving, in particular, arguing that switching to a ‘Pension ISA’ system where tax is paid upfront and income in retirement is received tax-free (known as a TEE or taxed-exempt-exempt system), would be highly damaging to saving.
The report highlights research that has shown that under a TEE system, employers would expect their staff to save less and would place a lower value on employer contributions. There is a very real risk that a TEE system would ‘kill’ pension saving, as people would not find the promise of tax exempt withdrawals forty year later to be credible.
Instead, the report concludes, the Chancellor should use this opportunity to encourage pension saving by reforming tax relief to make it fairer to lower earners, and explain the roles of both Government and employers in helping people to save.
The report, ‘The Future of Private Pension Saving’, makes a series of recommendations based on a discussion held between industry experts, consumer and business representatives on Monday 25th January in the House of Lords.
David Sinclair, Director at the International Longevity Centre – UK said:
“Despite the success of auto enrolment, too many younger people are saving far too little to give them a decent income in retirement. The Chancellor must ensure that future generations have access to the best incentives to support saving. We need long term savings policy, not one where the goal posts move from Budget to Budget. But developing a long term savings strategy to avoid future pensioner poverty will go far beyond tax incentives. Government needs to work with employers and savers to create this savings strategy. We must plan now for the long term.”
Caroline Abrahams Charity Director at Age UK commented:
“We fervently hope that all the talk about moving towards an ISA-style pensions system with contributions made after tax remains just that – talk: we are wholly unconvinced that such a scheme would benefit this or future generations and extremely worried that it could, in fact, put off lots of people from saving for a pension at all.”
“The stakes are extremely high: dignity in retirement for millions of people in this country depends on us having a good, well-functioning pension system, and we undermine that at our peril.”
Eminent US pensions expert David John, Senior Strategic Policy Adviser at the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) presented evidence from the US experience, where TEE systems do not provide a savings incentive. He said:
“Evidence shows that only 15% of retirement savers are ‘active savers’, i.e. those who respond to tax subsidies and move their assets accordingly”.
The report also calls on the Government to maintain the existing system of tax relief up front and to consider other ways of incentivising private pension saving beyond the tax system.
Yvonne Braun, Director of Long Term Savings at the ABI added:
“There is a strong case for reform of the pension tax relief system to make it fairer and more sustainable. At present more than 70 percent of tax relief goes to higher earners. Moving to a single rate of tax relief, reframed as a Savers’ Bonus, would spread that more evenly, increasing the incentive to save for Basic Rate taxpayers.
“In contrast, a Pension ISA would damage the economy and lower savings, making it unsustainable given the UK’s looming demographic challenges.”