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Need To Know: Your Business Updates for April 2019


Welcome to the April 2019 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on intellectual property, Brexit preparations and pensions.

Intellectual Property after Brexit
The Government’s Intellectual Property Office has issued new guidance on the future of Intellectual Property laws following the United Kingdom’s expected exit from the European Union.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) says it has a clear goal of ensuring an effective IP regime that supports UK innovation and creativity.

You can read more here;

CMA launches funerals market investigation

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an in-depth market investigation into the funerals sector. 

The CMA remains concerned about the effectiveness of competition in the funerals sector and will therefore carry out an in-depth market investigation. The investigation will focus on the supply of services by funeral directors and the supply of crematoria services.

The CMA’s concerns include:

• The rise in cost of organising a funeral, the essential elements of which have increased by 6% each year – twice the inflation rate – for the last 14 years. Funerals typically cost several thousand pounds which is a significant outlay for households.

• The vulnerability of many people when organising a funeral, which may mean that they are not in a position to look at a range of choices. This appears to have made it easier for some funeral directors to charge high prices.

• Reluctance of firms to publish/disclose clear prices, including online, or to provide comprehensive information on quality and range, making it difficult for people to compare funeral directors.

• Low numbers of crematoria providers in local areas, and difficulty for new companies to enter the market due to the planning regime and high fixed costs.

• High prices in relation to crematoria services – the largest private operators have implemented average price rises of between 6% and 8% each year for the past 8 years and some local authorities have also implemented large increases in fees.

You can read more here;

Female business owners say finance applications denied because of gender

Nearly one-fifth of female bosses at UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), believe they have had an application for finance denied because of their gender.

The latest Aldermore Future Attitudes study, which surveyed more than 1,000 business decision-makers across the UK, found that a further 18% of female business leaders felt their applications had been denied because of personal opinion.

15% felt they struggled to be taken seriously, with 18% saying they had pushed themselves too hard because of their gender.

You can read more here;

Half of job hunters feel pressure to lie on their CV

Research from The University of Law reveals changing attitudes to exaggeration on CVs to secure a role. Over half of working Brits have felt the pressure to lie, but only one in 10 have done so and gone on to land the job.

When asked why they would exaggerate on their application, nearly one in five (17%) said they’re concerned their experience won’t be enough to land the job. Similarly, 14% said they would lie to ensure their CV stood out.

The study also looked into the areas of a CV people feel the most pressure to embellish with nearly a third saying the previous experience section, while one in four claimed it’s the skills section they feel the need to boost. Other areas Brits feel the need to exaggerate include education history and interests outside the workplace. More than one in 10 men admitted to feeling pressure to lie about their age, in comparison to only 7% of women.

You can read more here;

Pensions funding code changes could add £100bn to deficits

An new code of practice on funding defined benefits (DB) pensions is intended to strengthen funding standards and reduce risk to members and is viewed as likely to usher in a ‘comply or explain’ regime.

Pension schemes will also be tasked with setting a low risk long-term funding target and managing investment risks better. The first draft of the code is set to be available this summer and will be in force for 2020.

Employers will need to be prepared for stronger funding standards and member protection, and in the absence of any other actions, KPMG’s analysis estimates an average pension scheme could see its deficit rise by 50%, with an aggregate increase in deficits of £100bn across all UK schemes.

In addition, deficit contributions for a typical scheme are predicted to double, reflecting the intention for higher deficits to be met more rapidly than the current typical seven year plan. Strong employers who currently rely heavily on investment returns could be forced into even greater increases in contributions.

Mike Smedley, pensions partner at KPMG, said: “The new code will benefit members in the long term but could have a significant impact on pension schemes and employers.

“The Pensions Regulator wants members to be better protected and is increasingly telling schemes and employers how that should be achieved. But at the moment the details of the new code are sketchy.”

You can read more about the changes here;