As a new year dawns, here are some of the key developments that will affect the world of financial services in the next 12 months:

  • January 9 – The pensions cold call ban. The first significant development of the year has already occurred, and firms can no longer make unsolicited calls to consumers to market pension products and services. Calls can only be made to clients who have given explicit consent to receiving them, or who have a relationship with the firm that means they expect such calls to be made. Sending unsolicited texts and emails is now also illegal. Small advisory firms which use the services of lead generation firms to gain new clients could be significantly affected by the new law
  • March 29 – Brexit. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union at 11pm on March 29. What happens after that time remains anyone’s guess. At the time of writing, Parliament still had not voted on the Prime Minister’s proposed exit deal, and the media are still suggesting Theresa May has little chance of winning that vote. If the Commons vote goes against the PM, all options remain possible, including: a postponement of Brexit, an alternative withdrawal deal being negotiated, the UK remaining in the single market and/or customs union, a second referendum and the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit
  • April 1 – FCA regulation of CMCs. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes over from the Ministry of Justice as regulator of the claims management industry in England and Wales. The FCA will also regulate claims companies in Scotland, bringing them into a regulatory environment for the first time. Additional disclosure requirements and an obligation to record client phone calls are just some of the changes that will apply to claims companies under the stricter FCA regime
  • April 6 – New tax thresholds. The income tax personal allowance will increase, so no tax will be paid on the first £12,500 of annual earnings. The threshold for the 40% rate of income tax will increase to £50,000
  • April 6 – Workplace pension contribution increases. At present, employers must contribute a minimum of 2% of an employee’s earnings to a workplace pension, with the employee contributing 3%. From April 6, these will change to 3% and 5% respectively
  • April 6 – New junior ISA limit. In the 2019/20 tax year, the maximum amount that can be invested in a junior ISA increases from £4,000 to £4,368. The limit for a standard adult ISA remains unchanged at £20,000
  • April 6 – Rise in the lifetime allowance. The lifetime allowance – the amount someone can contribute to their retirement savings without incurring additional taxation – will increase from £1,030,000 to £1,055,000
  • August 29 – PPI deadline. Except for complaints about service and administration, and about policies sold after this date, August 29 will be the last day on which consumers can submit a payment protection insurance complaint to the firm who sold it.
  • December 9 – SM&CR. From this date, the FCA’s Senior Managers & Certification Regime is introduced across the industry. Under this Regime, responsibilities of Senior Managers will be clearly defined, and if something within their remit goes wrong, then they can be held personally accountable by the FCA. Once approved by the FCA at the time of their appointment, senior managers will then need to be re-approved by their firm on an annual basis


The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article