WMA’s 2015 Autumn Statement Submission
25th November 2015
The Wealth Management Association (WMA) welcomed the opportunity to submit our Autumn Statement representation and proposals for change.
The first of which is a proposal to remove Stamp Duty/SDRT from equity purchases within Individual Savings Accounts.
Remove Stamp Duty/SDRT from equity purchases within Individual Savings Accounts
Successive governments have used tax-efficient investment schemes – from TESSAs to PEPs to Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) – as their chief device to try to encourage a long-term savings culture among the public. ISAs have been particularly successful because they have also helped businesses, as people have been encouraged to invest directly in UK companies. More recently, this concession has been extended to shares in growth companies on junior markets such as AIM.
We believe the ISA is not only the latest but also the best of the schemes designed to encourage people to build their wealth incrementally over months and years, along with its predecessor, the PEP. It has always been a tax concession designed to encourage people to save or invest gradually. The introduction of the Junior ISA affords families the opportunity to extend this benefit to their children, and has been a welcome development.
The ISA could in time become a more versatile policy tool, helping the Government to achieve other goals while always ensuring it encourages direct investment in UK businesses. The stamp duty exemption on AIM shares could be extended usefully to equity purchases in tax-efficient long-term investments such as equity ISAs and Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), with negligible impact to the Exchequer but providing a further boost both to investors and to the companies in which they invest.
The cost to the Exchequer is difficult to quantify precisely but when WMA commissioned work in this area in 2014 it was estimated that so-called bought ISA consideration of £15.7 billion would result in loss of SDRT revenue at £78.6 million. It would however enable the Government to market the ISA as a truly tax-free savings and investment wrapper.
The Second is the proposal for a Government-led industry review of the process of bringing companies to market.
Government-led industry review of the process of bringing companies to market
We propose a Government-led industry review of the process of bringing companies to market (both SMEs to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and larger companies to the main market of the London Stock Exchange) to establish whether anything more can be done to help growth businesses raise the capital they need.
This could look at a number of areas including:
- The role of corporate advisers, in particular understanding why equity issues which would be attractive to retail investors are only made available to institutions. The float of ScS, the furniture retailer is a recent example.
- The role of nominated advisers (nomads) on AIM, to better understand the processes by which they decide whether to proceed with institutional placings or full flotations.
- Particularly on AIM, individual investors provide much of the liquidity but are shut out of too many flotations and have to purchase shares in the secondary market, often at a considerable premium.
- The role of the UK Listing Authority (UKLA), in particular whether UKLA’s listing requirements and guidelines are disincentives to marketing equity and bond issues to retail investors.
- Existing and proposed EU legislation, in particular MiFID II, the CSD Regulation, and the Capital Markets Union, to consider whether they will impose barriers on the ability of companies to raise equity capital from retail investors as well as looking at the impact on those providing a secondary market in SME Growth Market shares.
Notes for Editors
About the Wealth Management Association (WMA)
- The Wealth Management Association (WMA) is a trade association that represents 186 wealth management firms (full members) and associate members who provide professional services to our full member firms.
- WMA members firms look after over £670 billion of wealth for over 4 million retail investors.
- WMA full members deal in stocks, shares and other financial instruments for individuals, trusts and charities through a range of services spanning execution only, advisory and discretionary fund management.
- The WMA exists to support its members and their clients in the following ways:
- To be an advocate for the sector with governments, regulators and the wider financial services community;
- To influence policy and also decision makers within the wider sector to the benefit of WMA members and their clients;
- To research and provide definitive information about the sector as required for members and in support of the influencing and advocacy objectives;
- To be a thought leader, to lead and stimulate debate and make members aware of emerging trends; challenging and provoking change.
- Facilitating the sharing of good practice, enabling the membership as a whole to benefit from the latest developments affecting the sector as well as providing support to enable them to develop good prescribe and overcome challenges.
- WMA firms operate across more than 580 sites, employing over 32 000 staff.
- These firms also run over 5.5 million client portfolios and carry out over 20 million trades a year.
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