Personal portfolio bonds

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 17 Hydref 2017.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Walker. Clause 10 provides the power to amend by way of statutory instrument the property categories that the holder of a life annuity, life insurance policy or capital redemption policy can select without making that policy or contract a personal portfolio bond.

The personal portfolio bond rules introduced in 1999 countered avoidance arrangements where an individual could select personal investments, such as property portfolios, in life insurance policies to defer the tax charge on any resulting income or gains. The legislation treats a policy as a personal portfolio bond if it allows the holder to select the property held in that policy. A policy will not be a personal portfolio bond if it permits only the selection of property specifically listed in the legislation. The categories of property listed in the legislation have features that ensure that the policyholder cannot customise them to allow personal property to be placed within the policy.

The list of permitted property has not materially changed since the rules were introduced in 1999. Since then, various new types of investment vehicle have been developed that similarly cannot be manipulated to include personal property. Up to now, those have not been added to the list. That unnecessarily narrows the range of investment choices for policyholders.

The clause provides the power to make secondary legislation to amend the categories of property listed. The power will ensure that, in future, the rules can be updated more quickly to accommodate new types of investment vehicles. Following Royal Assent, the Government will lay regulations using the power to add three investment vehicles as permitted property: real estate investment trusts, overseas investment trust companies and authorised contractual schemes. Draft statutory instruments have been provided to the Committee. The power will allow the Government to respond quickly as new methods of investment develop, to enable legislation to keep pace with changes in the financial services industry and ensure that tax rules do not needlessly impede innovation and competition in the sector.

Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I am grateful to the Minister for providing clarification. Is there any evidence of the extent of awareness among fund advisers regarding the existing restrictions, and how will they be made aware of the new rules? That is particularly important if new rules are to be adopted through secondary legislation. We have heard about the new categories of property that might be incorporated, but there is likely to be less spotlight on them in future if we do not discuss them in the context of a Finance Bill. At present, it is possible for fund advisers to accidentally acquire non-permitted assets for a client’s policy, which rules it out as a PPB and means that the rules on yearly deemed gain do not apply.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

I reassure the hon. Lady that there has been extensive consultation on the measure. The consultation on reviewing the list of properties ran from 9 August to 3 October 2016 and explored adding three types of investment vehicle. The majority of respondents welcomed the proposed addition of the investment vehicles discussed. Many suggested further additions, which will require further review before any recommendation is made.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 10 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 11