26th February 2014
Nearly one in five clients of financial advisers are in danger of breaching the £1.25m pension lifetime allowance according to research from VCT provider Albion Ventures.
In a survey of 151 advisers, the firm found that 56% of IFAs have clients breaching lifetime limit this tax year while 43% of IFAs advising clients to consider VCTs as a pension supplement.
Advisers estimate that 19% of their clients are in danger of breaching the reduced pension lifetime limit by the time they reach retirement age.
Some 57% of IFAs are particularly concerned about higher earning younger clients breaching their lifetime limits and are advising them to diversify their retirement investments.
Over two thirds or 68% are advising clients who are in danger of exceeding the limit in future years and 56% are dealing with clients who will do so this tax year.
Albion has calculated that a 40 year old who plans to retire at 65 and who currently has a pension pot of £351,551 can make no additional contributions without expecting to breach the £1.25m threshold.
The survey shows that advisers are pessimistic about what will happen to the lifetime allowance limit in future: over four in ten (41%) anticipate that it will be reduced further compared to just 7% who think it will increased. However, almost a quarter of advisers (23%) predict it will be inflation-linked.
As a result of the pension lifetime limit, almost half (43%) of IFAs believe that VCTs are becoming increasingly important as a pension supplement to some of their clients and 35% are recommending their clients consider investing in them. When ranking the most important aspects of a VCT, IFAs ranked tax-free income, portfolio diversification and the prospect of capital growth as their top three choices.
Advisers were almost unanimous in their belief that there is a lack of awareness of the potential implications of breaching the lifetime limit with 94% believing this to be the case.
Almost two thirds (63%) of advisers think the lifetime allowance should be scrapped altogether compared to 31% who believe it should remain in place.
Patrick Reeve, Managing Partner of Albion Ventures said: “The reduced pension lifetime limit will ensnare a significant part of Middle England and the findings clearly show how many advisers are taking action on behalf of their clients. Diversification has become a retirement watchword and as a result VCTs are becoming an increasingly popular pension supplement, particularly given their ability to deliver a regular tax-free income.”