The recent Covid-19 pandemic (Coronavirus) may be causing you to assess your finances, including your James Hay pension and investments. The following information is designed to support you in this difficult time, whatever decisions you choose to make.

Please note that this guidance does not replace professional financial advice, and we recommend that you speak to an FCA regulated financial adviser before taking any action.


Potential impact of Covid-19 on investments

How are my investments affected?

The value of certain investments may have fallen significantly over the last few weeks, and there may be further market volatility as Covid-19 continues to have an impact on the economy. When markets fall in this way, people are often tempted to withdraw their money in an attempt to protect it.

However this can result in people incurring losses that might have been avoided if the investments were held for the long term. If you sell when the market is down, you will likely suffer a loss in the value of your investments and could miss out on any increases in value in the future if markets recover.

What does fund suspension mean?

As a result of the pandemic, a number of property funds have suspended trading due to uncertainty in the values of the physical properties held by the funds. This measure is designed to protect investors in the funds.

As this happens, we will write to impacted investors and their financial advisers, but given the volume of such fund suspensions this may take a few days.

If you have any regular trades set up for these funds (regular buys and/or regular sales), these will cease. You will therefore need to amend the regular instruction, which can be done through James Hay Online or by notifying us in writing (including Secure Message).

If your sale proceeds from these funds are used to pay your pension income, you will need to instruct us to make alternative sales or the income payments may fail.

 

Withdrawals from your SIPP or SSAS

What do I need to consider before taking money from my SIPP or SSAS?

  • Sustainability - Your pension is designed to provide you with a sustainable level of income throughout your retirement. Accessing large lump sums or withdrawing too much income now may mean that your pension fund is depleted too soon.

  • Tax - Whilst 25% of your pension is normally available tax-free, any further money you take out will be subject to income tax. Withdrawing too much in a single tax year could place you in a higher rate tax bracket, and/or result in a large tax bill. In addition, if you attempt to access your pension before age 55 and you do not have a protected retirement age, or are not eligible due to ill health, then you will incur a tax bill for more than half of the withdrawal.

  • Contributions - Flexibly accessing your pension through an Uncrystallised Funds Pension Lump Sum (UFPLS) or flexi-access drawdown will limit how much you can pay in to any pension scheme in the future to £4,000 a year (the Money Purchase Annual Allowance).

  • Scams - Our 'Avoiding Pension Scams' page covers common warning signs to look out for, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator offer additional guidance to keep you alert and confident during this pandemic and beyond.

  • Alternatives - If you need money in the short to medium term and have alternative options available, you might wish to consider making withdrawals from these sources instead, such as bank accounts, non-pension investment accounts or ISAs.

How do I take money from my SIPP or SSAS?

Before taking any money out of your pension, you should seek advice from your financial adviser. You can also receive free, impartial guidance from the the Government service Pension Wise by visiting their website at www.pensionwise.gov.uk or by calling them on 0800 138 3944.

When you are ready to proceed, please complete the relevant 'Benefit Payment Form' for your product, which is available form our Literature pages.

Please fully complete this form and return it to Dunn's House, St Paul's Road, Salisbury, SP2 7BF, along with any supporting documentation listed on the form, or attach it to a secure message sent from your James Hay Online account.

 

Withdrawals from your ISA

What do I need to consider before taking money from my ISA?

  • Subscriptions - In each tax year, you may subscribe to one cash ISA, one stocks and shares ISA and one innovative finance ISA only. You can split the amount you pay into each as you choose, up to a total £20,000 limit (for the 2020/21 tax year).

    Withdrawing money from your ISA does not increase your allowance, and so any money that you take out may not be able to be put back into your ISA within the same tax year.

    The Modular ISA and Wrap ISA are stocks and shares ISA as defined under ISA Regulations.

How do I take money from my ISA?

If you wish to take a single withdrawal from your ISA, you can request this by sending us a secure message from your James Hay Online account.

If you wish to set up regular withdrawals from your ISA, please complete the 'Regular Withdrawal Request Form', which is available from our Literature pages.

Please fully complete this form and return it to Dunn's House, St Paul's Road, Salisbury, SP2 7BF, or attach it to a secure message sent from your James Hay Online account.

 

Withdrawals from your GIA or Investment Portfolio

What do I need to consider before taking money from my GIA/Investment Portfolio?

  • Tax - Your GIA/Investment Portfolio has no limits on the amount you pay in or take out, and so it may allow you a degree of flexibility if you need immediate access to funds. However, capital gains tax may apply if you need to sell investments to fund your withdrawl, so you should speak to your financial adviser to assess any tax implications before proceeding. 

  • Charges - Although there are no additional charges for making cash withdrawals from your GIA/Investment Portfolio, you will need to have cash available within your product bank account to cover the charges for any services that you are continuing to use. For the Wrap Investment Portfolio, this amount may need to be slightly higher as the charges for your Wrap ISA (if you have one) are also paid from the product bank account associated with your Wrap Investment Portfolio. 

    To see the charges associated with any of your products, you can find the relevant Charges Schedule on our Literature pages.

How do I take money from my GIA/Investment Portfolio?

If you wish to take a single withdrawal from your GIA or Investment Portfolio, you can request this by sending us a secure message from your James Hay Online account.

If you wish to set up regular withdrawals from your GIA/Investment Portfolio, please complete the 'Regular Withdrawal Request Form', which is available from our Literature pages.

Please fully complete this form and return it to Dunn's House, St Paul's Road, Salisbury, SP2 7BF, or attach it to a secure message sent from your James Hay Online account.

 

James Hay Online

What can I do myself through James Hay Online?

By setting up an account with James Hay Online, you can:

  • Begin or review a new product illustration
  • Apply for new products using a digital signature
  • Use online investment tools to conduct fund research
  • Buy, sell or switch investments within the James Hay Investment Centre, our in-house fund platform
  • Send and request money to be transferred between your product and an investment manager/stockbroker
  • Monitor your investments and view valuation reports
  • Amend the level and frequency of any existing income payments
  • Send and receive queries and instructions with James Hay via a Secure Messaging service.

 

Contacting James Hay

How can I contact James Hay at this time?

You can contact us via Secure Message from your James Hay Online account, or via email to jhcontactcentre@jameshay.co.uk. Please do not send any personal information via email. You can also contact your financial adviser.

You can also call our Virtual Contact Centre on 03455 212 414.

If you need urgent support from us because of your health, wellbeing or any other life-altering situation, please call 07849 090 015 and a member of staff will be able to help you.

To get in touch with us regarding your SSAS, please email us at SSAS@jameshay.co.uk, or contact us on 03333 205 392 to leave a message and we will call you back. 

 

Additional guidance and support

Where can I find further information and help regarding my financial situation?

  • Before taking any action, you should speak to your financial adviser. If you do not have one, you can call Unbiased on 0800 023 6868 or visit www.unbiased.co.uk to find financial advisers in your area.

  • Six pension bodies have jointly published a new guide called 'Covid-19 and your pension: Where to get help'. This document explains how pensions are protected and how to avoid scams at this time, and is available from the Pension Protection Fund website.

  • The Government service Pension Wise offers free and impartial guidance regarding pensions. You can call them on 0800 138 3944 or visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk to book a free appointment.

  • The Government has also announced a range of measures offering support to people during the pandemic. You may wish to investigate whether you are eligible for this support before withdrawing money from your investments. Please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for further information.

  • Please note that you cannot be forced into taking money out of your pension in order to settle outstanding debts. Should you have any concerns of this nature, you may wish to speak to Citizens Advice by calling their advice line on 03444 111 444 or by visiting www.citizensadvice.org.uk.