Budget reverses HNWI update and ups Economic Crime Levy

Among the announcements relevant to regulated financial services in Jeremy Hunt’s budget are:

  • a bizarre U-turn to reinstate the previous eligibility criteria for high net worth and sophisticated investors, when the new thresholds have been in place for only a matter of months – and with no explanation.  He also said the government will carry out further work to review the scope of the exemptions. The announcement formed part of the section of the budget setting out help for SMEs;
  • the upcoming FCA consultation on Value for Money in pension schemes (previously announced);
  • a new NS&I product with a guaranteed interest rate, fixed for three years, which will come on sale in early April 2024;
  • a new “UK ISA” into which investors can pay up to £5,000 in addition to the current £20,000 ISA allowance. He did not say when the government will consult on this;
  • a plan to offer some of the government shareholding in NatWest to retail investors;
  • adjusting the economic crime levy so that entities within the AML regulated sector with UK annual revenue over £1bn will pay £500,000 as the annual levy from 1 April. The government says it needed to make this increase because of “lower than expected” receipts.

Emma Radmore