Producing some of the best product technical support in the industry. Our fully equipped, top of the range technical studio mixes all pensions, taxation, trusts and investments information perfectly.

Our skilled product technicians have over 65 years' experience, giving you the expertise you want, first time around.

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The pace of change for pensions never slows. Our technical team are here to break down the complex rules into simple bite-size pieces making pension legislation easy to understand.

With the rules for Isas growing ever more complicated, with new types of Isa and new features, our technical team are here to help you navigate the maze of rules.

Understanding the complex rules for on-shore and off-shore investment bonds and how they integrate with UK tax is essential. Our technical team are here to give you the low-down on the full range of investment bonds and the advantages they may offer your clients.

`Trusts are an effective way of managing assets, enabling clients to control and protect family assets, and to pass on assets in the most tax-efficient manner. Our technical team can help you understand the technical aspects of trusts.

We aim to make the complex simple by taking rafts of technical legislation and regulations on pensions, investment bonds and investments, and translating them into simple bite-size pieces which are easy to understand. We know you need be able to find the right up-to-the-minute technical information quickly and simply so we have put together a suite of tools to help you do just that - whether that’s factsheets, case studies, and videos, as well as face-to-face presentations.

Download the autum budget 2018 factsheet

On Monday 29 October, Philip Hammond delivered his third budget as chancellor. Although it wasn’t a stand-out budget speech for pensions and personal finance, there are a few elements advisers and their clients need to be aware of. This factsheet gives a summary of the main headlines. 

Are we ready for drawdown as the new normal?

In June we hosted a panel of leading industry experts in a roundtable discussion about retirement income and how advisers should adapt to meet the evolving needs of clients in a post-pension freedoms world. The discussion focused on the increase in clients turning to pension drawdown as an income in retirement.

We produced a report with the key points from the discussion as well as a short video summary of the key discussion points, both of which are avaialble to download below.

What you need to know about the FCAs retirement outcomes review

Is three years a long time in financial services?

On one hand it seems like an age since pensions freedoms were introduced in April 2015. My fundamental worry is that the market framework should have been developed by now to help the 1.5 million consumers who have already made their retirement choices.

On the other hand, three years is just a blink of an eye, and we are only just now beginning to understand exactly what these changes mean and how this market could evolve.

Read more....

May update on db transfers

The FCA recently published a raft of new rules to give advisers a more robust framework for giving advice on defined benefit (DB) transfers.

Alongside this, the regulator is consulting on a number of other ways it can improve the quality of pension transfer advice overall.
Nucleus product technical manager Rachel Vahey has pored over the FCA documents and pulled out some of the key takeaways for advisers. These include the role of the pension transfer specialist, the debate around contingent charging and the next steps for the regulator.

Check out an overview of the FCA’s stance on DB transfers, as well as watch Rachel talk through the implications of the new rules. For more information, we’ve also put together a handy factsheet with more detailed information about the regulator’s expectations around DB transfer advice.

Tax year start 2018/19

Tax year end, where advisers around the UK breathe a collective sigh of relief, is firmly behind us.

But it is now that that tax and financial planning for the 2018/19 tax year begins in earnest. Here, Nucleus product technical manager Jon Gwinnett outlines the five changes you need to be aware of across savings, pensions, tax and investments.

Jon discusses the treatment of Isas on death, and in particular the additional permitted subscriptions (APS) rules that apply to transferring the value of the Isa to a widow or widower. Importantly, he also clarifies the definition of 'living together' as it relates to the APS rules.

He recaps changes to the lifetime allowance and to Scottish income tax rates, and why the latter will mean platforms and pension providers will be scrutinising information like National Insurance numbers that much more closely.

Jon also touches on changes to the dividend allowance and capital gains allowance, and the implications of these changes for investment and planning strategies.

Pensions and Scottish rates of income tax

In depth: defined benefit transfer advice

Nucleus hosted an illuminate roundtable debate in late November 2017 to discuss the DB transfer market and how advisers should approach DB transfer advice. The panel consisted of:

  • Claire Trott, head of pensions strategy, Technical Connection

  • Tim Eadon, Director, Tuto Associates

  • Matthew Connell, Director of policy and engagement, Personal Finance Society

  • Rachel Vahey, Product technical manager, Nucleus

  • Mike Seddon, Managing director, Grayside Financial Services

Autumn budget 2017

Product technical team

Tracyann Kneen – head of product technical

Tracyann is a senior product technical manager at Nucleus. She is a tax, trust and product technical specialist. Her role at Nucleus includes providing technical expertise, particularly in the areas of bonds and trusts, across the business. She also enjoys delivering technical training within the business and to advisers, as well as writing on technical matters.

Rachel Vahey – product technical manager

Rachel is a product technical manager at Nucleus where she delivers technical training to users of the platform and, also provides technical expertise in the form of factsheets, blogs and other content. She also has a policy role working with government, regulators, industry bodies and advisers. She has over 20 years’ experience of working in pensions. She’s well known within the pensions industry, and writes, presents and tweets widely on the subject. All of which she thoroughly enjoys.

Jon Gwinnett – product technical manager

Jon is product technical manager at Nucleus and supports the customer relations and wrap operations teams on pension matters, maintains oversight of third party pensions processes and assesses the legislative changes in the marketplace.

Ali Sturgeon – product technician

Ali is a product technician where she provides support to areas of the business, such as the client relations team and the account management team, on a wide range of product technical matters. She also helps progress change and enhancements to our suite of wrapper products, and supports the regulation and governance of products.

Andrew Masson – product technician

Andrew is our newest product technician, having joined from our CRM area. He works across a range of wrappers and provides assistance to advisers, our Client relations team and other Nucleus teams across all our wrapper types, and hopes that some of the knowledge of our resident gurus will rub off on him.

Iain Paulin – personal tax specialist

Iain is a personal tax specialist and the newest member of the product technical team. He joins Nucleus with over a decade of experience in various accountancy and professional services firms. Iain draws on his knowledge, skill and experience as a tax adviser to bolster the team’s technical expertise as well as support the wider platform operations function and many other areas of our business.

“In our industry having the right technical information at your finger tips is a must. The Illuminate Hub already offers the opportunity to assemble knowledge and share information about developing a business. We wanted to build upon this to give financial advisers and paraplanners access to a mass of technical information that’s easy to navigate and understand.

Illuminate Technical is packed full of technical support – factsheets, case studies, videos – all designed to help you understand the technical details of pensions and savings. Because this is the kind of granularity you need to help your clients plan their future.”

David Ferguson, founder and CEO


This section discusses the rules when pension scheme members die.

Pensions – dependants, nominees and successors

Explains how pension benefits can be passed on to whoever the member chooses

Death benefits

An overview of the rules when a pension scheme member dies

Case study: death benefits

An overview of the rules when a pension scheme member dies

From age 55, individuals can withdraw as much of their pension benefits as they want, whenever they want.

Pensions and divorce

A summary of the three options on how to treat pensions on divorce

Flexi-access drawdown

This option allows individuals to take their pension commencement lump sums and keep their remaining funds invested

Flexi-access drawdown – case study

Case study of how flexi-access drawdown could work in practice


This factsheet examines how the pension freedom rules change the options for annuities

Ill health and early retirement

This factsheet examines the options people have to take some or all of their pension benefits when they need to stop working due to ill health

Tax on lump sum pension payments

If pension providers don’t have a tax code for an individual, any lump sum payments will be subject to ‘emergency tax’ rates

FCA retirement outcomes review

This factsheet summarises the FCA’s finding of the retirement income market and its proposed remedies

Isas are a key part of a client’s financial planning.

The single-tier state pension

The single-tier state pension was introduced in April 2016 for all those who retired after this date

This section discusses how much individuals can pay into pensions and receive tax relief

Defineded benefits and the MPAA

This factsheet explains how the money purchase annual allowance (MPAA) affects defined benefits pension savings.

Contributions – an overview

An overview of the rules for contributing to a pension

Pension input periods in 2015

Special rules were introduced creating two pension input periods for 2015

Tapered annual allowance

The annual allowance for those who earn more than £150,000 is gradually reduced to £10,000

Carry forward of unused annual allowance

Individuals can carry forward unused annual allowance to offset against bigger contributions

The money purchase annual allowance

Explains what the MPAA is and how it may be triggered

Pensions and Scottish rates of income tax

The possible implications for pensions of a different income tax structure for Scottish residents

This section discusses how much individuals can withdraw from their pensions and the protections introduced.

The lifetime allowance

An overview of the rules of how much an individual can withdraw from their pension schemes

Enhanced and primary protections

Primary and enhanced protection were introduced in 2006 to help individuals protect their benefits from the new lifetime allowance

Protections from 2012

Fixed and individual protections were introduced to help individuals protect their benefits from falls in the lifetime allowance

Pensions and age 75

Pension freedoms, introduced in April 2015, changed the way UK pension savers could take their income
Information on tax-year-end investments.

The FCA and advice on defined benefit transfers

Outlines the new rules for advice on pension transfers from defined benefit schemes, as well as considering the questions the new consultation raises.

Pension transfers – an overview

An overview of the rules applying to transfers of pensions


What you need to know about tax

Requirement to Correct (RTC) tax due on offshore assets

Taxpayers with any offshore component to their financial affairs should review their position now to determine whether they need to make a disclosure under the RTC before 30 September 2018.

The tax-free dividend allowance – what options do clients have?

Individuals can act now to shield their dividend income from possible increased tax charges from April 2018

Capital gains tax – the fundamentals

Comprehensive guide to understanding capital gains tax

Isas are a key part of a client’s financial planning.

Lifetime Isa

Explains the rules for the lifetime Isa and discusses who could find it a useful way to save

Comparing the different types of Isa

A comparison of the rules for different types of Isas

Isas – the basic rules

A broad overview of the rules to help navigate the Isa regime

Additional permitted subscriptions

This factsheet gives more information about how additional permitted subscriptions (APSs) work on the death of an Isa account holder


There are key differences between onshore and offshore bonds, meaning they may be more appropriate for different types of investor.

Offshore vs onshore

There are key differences between onshore and offshore bonds, meaning they may be more appropriate for different types of investor


There are key differences between onshore and offshore bonds, meaning they may be more appropriate for different types of investor.

Online registration of trusts factsheet

Explains more about the new online registration of trusts, and when trustees need to register

Have you seen illuminate online?

Illuminate online is designed to help you build and share knowledge in areas that are vital to the successful development of your businesses. The online hub is updated daily and includes interactive, motivational learning materials across articles, videos, white papers and events written and shared by experts from across the industry. Contributors include Carl Richards, Lucian Camp, Abraham Okusanya, Mark Polson, Pete Matthew, Steve Bee, Bridget Greenwood, Phil Billingham and many more. You could be one of them.