C19 BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE

by Rob Stokes

Published on 3rd July 2020

The Prime Minister shared the government’s further plans to reinvigorate the economy as a more localised approach to COVID-19 was introduced this week.

Stock markets remain broadly positive as they reflect on the increasing level of stimulus being offered by central banks across the world. Understandably, many are agreed on where we want to go, but the precise details of how that will be achieved remains unclear. So please talk to us about how we can help with planning and “what if” scenarios, taking some time to set targets and reviewing your options is essential just now.   

In this newsletter we remind you to be extra careful about pension scams which are becoming more frequent during these tough times.

AVOID PENSION SCAMS

In these tough times savers might increasingly look to transfer their pension, prompted by the instability of their employer or the financial markets.

Savers could be increasingly targeted by scammers attempting to lure them to ‘safe havens’.

Fraudsters promise high returns and low risk, but in reality, pension savers that are scammed can be left with nothing.

When savers realise they have been scammed, it can be devastating – many lose their life savings. Once the money is gone, it is almost impossible to get it back.

How pension scams work

Anyone can be the victim of a pension scam, no matter how savvy they think they are. It is important that everyone can spot the warning signs.

Scammers try to persuade pension savers to transfer their entire pension savings, or to release funds from it, by making attractive sounding promises they have no intention of keeping.

The pension money is often invested in unusual, high risk investments like:

  • overseas property and hotels
  • renewable energy bonds
  • forestry
  • parking
  • storage units

Or it can be simply stolen outright.

Warning signs of a pension scam

Scammers often cold call people via phone, email or text – this is illegal, and a likely sign of a scam. They often advertise online and can have websites that look official or government backed.

Other common signs of pension scams:

  • phrases like ‘free pension review’, ‘pension liberation’, ‘loan’, ‘loophole’, ‘savings advance’, ‘one-off investment’, ‘cashback’
  • higher returns – guarantees they can get better returns on pension savings
  • help to release cash from a pension before the age of 55, with no mention of the HMRC tax bill that can arise
  • high pressure sales tactics – time limited offers to get the best deal; using couriers to send documents, who wait until they are signed
  • unusual high-risk investments, which tend to be overseas, unregulated, with no consumer protections
  • complicated investment structures
  • long-term pension investments – which often mean people who transfer in do does not realise something is wrong for a number of years

See the FCA and Pensions Regulator ScamSmart guidance on “Four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams“ here:   https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/-/media/thepensionsregulator/files/import/pdf/16423_pensions_consumer_leaflet_screen.ashx

If you are an employer or trustee of a pension scheme you can support the ScamSmart campaign by downloading the Pensions Regulator awareness toolkit and help by:

  • Sharing our social posts
  • Promoting articles in your blogs, intranets or newsletters
  • Sending our leaflets and posters to your audience

However you choose to support is hugely appreciated by the Regulator and goes a long way in helping to protect consumers from harm to their pension pots.

See:  https://b6877e08816e416cb6b1b4391bc6a878.marketingusercontent.com/m/view/etDV7wL5sZPbjvOYG26ekxjS8QuQaUNHmeXx3rk2x08x

ENGLAND – SELF-ISOLATION LIFTED FOR LOWER RISK COUNTRIES

From 10 July 2020 you will be able to travel to several countries without having to self-isolate on return to England.

  • passengers returning to or visiting England from certain destinations including Germany, France, Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival from 10 July 2020
  • FCO will set out exemptions for a number of destinations from its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel, with changes coming into effect on 4 July 2020
  • all passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK

The full list will be published later today (3 July) so keep an eye on:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-isolation-lifted-for-lower-risk-countries-in-time-for-holidays-this-summer?utm_source=f054c448-4e4d-4a8b-a296-73e50ab5d386&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

ENGLAND – INFORMATION FOR FARMERS, LANDOWNERS AND RURAL BUSINESSES

Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier applications – exception requests

The deadline to receive CS Mid-Tier applications is midnight on 31 July. If you have not yet submitted your form, annexes, and any supporting documents, please submit these by the deadline if you are able to do so.

Remember that email is the safest and quickest way to submit your application.

If you believe you will not be able to meet the 31 July deadline due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must email RPA by 31 July to advise of this. Email:  ruralpayments@nulldefra.gov.uk, and use ‘CS 2020 Mid-Tier application exception’ as the subject title. If you are unable to email, call the helpline on 03000 200 301.

Once you have received an automatic receipt to your email, please submit your application, annexes and supporting documents as soon as possible. RPA will not accept any applications, including annexes and supporting documents, after midnight on 31 August.

For Wildlife Offers, there is no exception and we must receive your application before midnight on 31 July.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-farmers-landowners-and-rural-businesses?utm_source=33102a37-9d17-4eeb-9bc2-00c23481af32&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

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