Author Archives: Jack Finesilver - Partner

By now, almost every company and individual employing staff in the UK has had to come to grips with the requirements of Pension Automatic Enrolment.

If you have a new payroll then this problem may still await you at the start of 2018.

This paper does not deal with the advantages and disadvantages of Automatic Enrolment or the problems in choosing the appropriate Scheme provider. It is limited to the minimum cost option available to Employers.

Many schemes have been set up to only pay pensions on the band of income where employees pay the basic National Insurance contributions and at the minimum contribution level of 1% by the employees and 1% by the employers.

Contribution rates

These rates were always intended to rise over time but with so many other regulatory matters to keep up to date with, it seems that this is the appropriate time for a reminder of the imminent increases as set out below.

Date Employer minimum contribution Total minimum contribution
Employer’s staging date to 05/04/18 1% 2% (including 1% staff contribution)
06/04/18 — 05/04/19 2% 5% (including 3% staff contribution)
06/04/19 onwards 3% 8% (including 5% staff contribution)

What if a member of staff decides they can’t afford the increased contribution?

If a member of staff decides that they do not wish to pay the increased levels which reach 5% by 6 April 2019 then they can opt out at any time and the Scheme provider will have given guidance on how this is achieved.

However, the employee cannot gain a repayment of the pension contributions paid to date.

This option is only available during the first month after each individual has been enrolled in to the Pension Scheme.

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It would be interesting to know how many readers of Blogs such as this are old enough to remember Edwin Starr singing War in 1970. Those who are, will remember the chorus – War, what is it good for! Absolutely nothin! (Please forgive the American idiom).

But the question remains, for professionals working in the UK today – Social Media, what is it good for?

Now I’m not an expert on Social Media, IT or the internet but I use all of them every day. Not just every working day! I have a laptop, an iPad, an iPhone and a Kindle!

I have just shy of 5,000 connections on LinkedIn, I have 390 followers on Twitter and numerous friends on Facebook.

But I was challenged last week to justify the time and attention I give to these new forms of communication. Am I an enthusiast or an addict?

The truth must lie somewhere in between. I do most strongly believe that you either use the Social Media or you do not. You can’t keep dipping your toe in and out. Without missing opportunities and information which may never be repeated. This is instant access and as ephemeral as the spoken word.

I’m not a natural marketer or networker and it took me many years to come to grips with public speaking, even to the smallest audiences, but what I have learnt is simple to communicate.

If someone needs your skills, they think first of the need and secondly of the provider.

In my world it goes like this: I’ve got a tax problem, who should I ask for advice?

The object of all marketing, networking and regular contact is to try to ensure that when someone within my sphere of contacts thinks, I’ve got a tax problem; the answer to the second part of the question is me!

In this context, my question to my fellow children of the 20th Century is not Social Media, what is it good for? But, Social Media, how do you continue to survive without it?

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On 15 July, Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced the launch of the Transparency & Trust discussion paper.

The full document is called “Transparency and Trust: enhancing the transparency of UK company ownership and increasing trust in UK business” and is available online.

This document, whilst being targeted at criminals and international money launderers and terrorists, will impact on every UK private company and particularly on overseas companies looking to set up trading subsidiaries in the UK.

The Executive Summary runs to over 10 pages but I can cover it in a few lines:

 

    1. Every Company & LLP will be required to maintain a Register of Beneficial Owners (those who control 25% or more of a company). The only debate is on who will be entitled to access this Register.

 

    1. Corporate directors are likely to be outlawed.

 

    1. Nominee directors will have to disclose publicly the full details of their Instructor or Principal.

 

  1. New Bearer Shares are to be banned and existing shares to be converted to Ordinary Shares.

 

Whilst this is a consultation document there should be no doubt legislation will follow.

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