Covid-19

We will be keeping this page updated over the coming weeks. Please visit this page in the first instance should you have any queries that are as a result of disruption caused by Covid-19.

24 March 2020

We know that many people are concerned about the impact of coronavirus. Like most businesses IPM are monitoring Government advice closely, with the well-being of our team and clients of the utmost importance to us.

We want to assure advisers, clients and our professional connections that we have plans in place to ensure the continuity of our service over the weeks and months ahead. Our office is now closed and our team are working remotely. Please feel free to contact us via email in the usual way, our staff list will help you should you wish to contact a member of our team directly. If you are unsure as to who you need to liaise with, please email info@ipm-pensions.co.uk 

Our switchboard is now closed however we are still available to speak on the phone. In the first instance please email the person you wish to speak with your contact number and they will get back to you as soon as they can. If you are unsure as to who you need to speak to please email alison.jarvis@ipm-pensions.co.uk with your query, Alison will ensure that a member of the team gets in touch with you as soon as possible.

Our aim is to ensure that we continue to provide our usual level of service to the best of our ability. However, as I am sure you can appreciate, our usual turnaround times may be slightly delayed during this period. Please bear with us!

Drawdown Income Payments

Provided that all our usual requirements have been met and there is sufficient monies in the trustee bank account, any clients due to receive an income payment in March can expect this to be cleared in their bank account in line with our usual payment dates. For those clients who elected to received their payslips via post, we will be unable to send these out for March. These will follow in due course, or alternatively if you would like one sent to you via email please get in touch with us.

SIPPs with Commercial Property

We have received a number of calls and emails in relation to SIPPs that hold commercial property. We thought it be useful to detail some of common issues that have been raised and how IPM is dealing with these.

Rent Holidays

These are testing time for many businesses in the UK, and throughout the world.  We fully appreciate that with so many people staying indoors for various reasons, many firms are experiencing significant downturns in trade and unfortunately it seems the situation may worsen over the coming weeks and months.

As both a pension trustee, and a commercial landlord, we have an obligation to act in the best interests of our client’s pension schemes at all times and usually this would involve actively pursuing the recovery of all rent arrears.  However, given the current circumstances we fully accept that some leeway will need to be given to struggling tenants.

Therefore moving forward, for any tenancies to unconnected third parties which fall into arrears, or have fallen into arrears since 1 February 2020, we will allow scheme members to agree a rent free/reduced period, if they feel this is appropriate.  An unconnected third party, is any person/business which is not connected to the scheme member; by either family relation, or through business (fellow directors or business partners).

For connected tenancies, the situation is unfortunately rather more complicated, as under HMRC regulations any unrecovered rent arrears are deemed to constitute an unauthorised payment, which results in significant tax charges for both the member personally and for the pension scheme.  AMPS (Association of Member Directed Pension Schemes), have therefore written to HMRC to request that further discretion be given to pension scheme providers, enabling us to extend the offer of rental reductions to connected tenants.  We are hopeful that HMRC will agree to this request, and we will let you know as soon as a firm decision is reached.

In the meantime, any connected tenant who is struggling to make their rental payments should contact us as quickly as possible, and while we will not be able to offer an immediate rent reduction at this stage, we can at least discuss the situation, agree what if any rental payments can be made at this point, and delay any costly recovery action being taken.

Rates

Many of you will have seen in the news, that the government have already introduced measures to mitigate the impact business rates are having on firms which are already struggling.  This is obviously a major national issue, and therefore our advice for all of our tenants can only be to contact their local council and check if any rates relief is available to them.  The below hyper link will take you to a

useful government webpage providing guidance on COVID19 for businesses, on various issues including business rates.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Mortgages

With many of our tenants struggling to cover their rental charge, it is unfortunately inevitable that certain pension schemes will in turn be unable to make their regular loan repayments.  The government of course recognises that this is a huge national problem, and again you will probably have already seen in the news that all major mortgage lenders have provisionally agreed to help borrowers who are struggling with the effects of COVID19; this help includes the possibility of a three month repayment holiday.  The fine details of this programme are still being agreed, but something concrete will hopefully be in place within the next ten days; we will provide a further update shortly.

In the meantime, if you believe you are likely to require some help to cover your SIPPs mortgage liabilities and would like to request some form of payment holiday, please let us know and we will contact the lender to get the ball rolling.

Again, please follow the below hyper link to find some useful information on this subject, and some others, relating to the government’s COVID19 response.

www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-announces-additional-support-to-protect-businesses

 

Get in touch

Whether it’s a question about a specific client or SIPPs in general, we are here to help. Call us on 01438 747 151, email info@ipm-pensions.co.uk or complete the form below: