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Platform updates

Here you’ll find all the latest updates to our Zurich Intermediary Platform. These recent changes are aimed at supporting you through the most recent regulatory change as well as using your feedback to improve our platform experience for you and your clients.

Changes to drawdown illustrations; Tax year end tweaks

We have made a few changes to the Zurich Intermediary Platform following the FCA’s Retirement Outcomes Review and the end of the 2019/20 tax year.

  • Changes to drawdown illustrations

    The Retirement Outcomes Review sought to investigate how consumers and providers were responding to the pension freedoms introduced in 2015. Among the changes the FCA made was an obligation on providers to make the cost of drawdown products clearer and more comparable for consumers. As a result, we will be making some changes to Illustrations.

    What is changing?

    Currently we use nominal terms in our drawdown illustrations but, from 6 April, we will use real terms (inflation adjusted). When a client requests it for either drawdown or UFPLS, the first page of an illustration will also provide a summary, including details of their first-year charges in monetary terms and the projected date of when their crystallised pot within their Retirement Account will run out.

    What does this mean for my client?

    This adjustment means customers in drawdown will see a reduction in the projected figures in the illustrations in their April quarterly statements. The changes will also apply to any drawdown Illustrations produced on the portal after 6 April.

    Is anything else changing as a result of the ROR?

    There are further changes recommended by the regulator coming into effect in July 2020. One of these is to supply MiFID-style costs and charges for any customers invested in a drawdown arrangement. As we have been supplying this information since 2019, there is no additional disclosure we will be providing.

  • Budget 2020: An update on allowances

    Any changes to allowances made as a result of Budget 2020 will also be included on the Zurich Intermediary Platform at the same time as the changes to illustrations. This includes changes to the lifetime allowance and income tax bands, as well as the increase in the Junior ISA limit to £9,000.

  • Confirmation of payee

    From 31 March 2020, there will be changes within the banking system for payments made by CHAPS or TT.

    Banks will check that the name of the account holder matches the name we have provided on the payment. This is the name entered when the bank account is added to the platform, and is to aid prevention of fraudulent claims or payments.

    For every payment, the banks will determine if the bank account holder’s name is an exact match, a partial match, or no match.

    We will then have a procedure in place to check we are paying the correct account. This means there could be a delay in the payment reaching the client if we do not hold the exact account name for TT or CHAPS payments.

Scottish and Welsh Rate of Income Tax

With both the Scottish and Welsh now being able to set their own Tax rates, we have made some changes to the new business journey, when a Retirement Account has been selected. This is in readiness for when we are able to instantly look up the clients UK Tax Jurisdiction with HMRC. The link to HMRC to establish the client’s tax residency is not yet available, so currently the new business journey will show and use the rest of the UK rate. The client’s tax residency is based on where they lived when the first PRAS claim was made in the current tax year and will apply to the rest of the tax year. The tax jurisdiction are Scottish, Welsh, Rest of the UK and unknown. If no National Insurance number has been input at the point of selecting PRAS, unknown will be returned from HMRC (when the link is established) and we will use the rate for the rest of the UK. Currently rates are all the same so there will be no difference for the gross payment amounts.

HMRC will send updates at the start of each tax year, confirming the UK Tax Jurisdiction that we will need to use for each client for that tax year.

We will confirm when the link with HMRC is fully operational.

Scottish and Welsh Rate of Income Tax

Pensions Illustration Wizards

We have removed Pension Illustration wizards. The use of this wizard has reduced so significantly since the changes to the new business journey was implemented in 2018 that they are no longer required.

Fixing reported Issues

We also made a number of fixes based on feedback provided, and those who have reported it are in the process of being contacted.

Improving the Zurich Intermediary Platform

On occasion, the changes we introduce centre on improving the back office services of our Platform and these don’t significantly impact advisers, their clients or the services we are providing.

In this latest release and following the introduction of GDPR last year, we will no longer hold client data that has been collected on the Platform for which we do not have a signed declaration from a customer and there has been no activity for six months.

This Release introduces a rolling programme of deleting un-submitted plans which have been sitting in Work in Progress (WIP) for more than six months when we do not have a signed contract with a customer and there has been no activity for 6 months.

It is important to note the six month period starts when the WIP is last saved. If the Account/Wizard is opened and resaved the clock is reset and there is no deletion of information when we have received a signed declaration, even if no money has been received.

These changes have been made to ensure we meet with GDPR requirements.

Tax Year End 2019

Ahead of the end of the 2018/19 tax year, we have updated the Platform ready for the new 2019/20 tax year.

  • MiFID II costs and charges -ex-post disclosure

    From April 2019, there will be an additional statement included with the April quarterly statement. The annual Charges Information Summary will cover 12 month disclosures from April 2018-April 2019.

    One summary will be produced for each account in a portfolio. The summary will show the total cost and charges deducted from the accounts as a pound value. In addition it will display a percentage value, based on the average value of the account over the statement period.

    The calculations include all:

    • Money in
    • Money out
    • Switches
    • Rebalances
    • Phased investments
    • Daily cash fluctuations
    • Discretionary Fund Managers (DFM) costs and fund charges
    • Adviser charges
    • Platform fees
    • Fund Management fees.
  • FCA inflation assumptions in illustrations

    The FCA inflation assumptions have reduced from 2.5% to 2%. This has the effect of increasing the projected value. If you have any illustrations already in progress within the Platform and would like to reflect the new 2% assumption, please regenerate your illustration, by going back into the wizard and a new illustration will generate.
  • New pension scheme

    From 6th April 2019, following an internal restructure of our pension schemes all Retirement Accounts will be part of the new scheme. When any additional money is added to an existing Retirement Account and the client hasn’t already been notified of the change, a declaration will be included in the client’s summary of plan changes.

  • Client Summary updates

    We have implemented a series of system fixes to the client summary document of the platform.

  • Changes to Lifetime Allowance

    The life time allowance will increase on 6th April to £1,055,000.

  • Increase to Junior ISA Allowance

    The Junior ISA Allowance will increase on 6th April to £4,368.
  • Improved illustrations for Re-registrations

    You will now be able to add more than 35 funds for re-registration illustrations.

Introducing the Junior Portfolio

In this release we have launched our Junior Portfolio for under 18s. The Portfolio will include a Cash Account and can also include a Junior ISA and/or Junior Retirement Account.

  • Junior Portfolio

    To set up a Junior Portfolio, click on the menu and select New junior portfolio.


  • New Client Summary

    In order to try and make it easier for you to find information about your client’s portfolio we have introduced a Client summary PDF to the dashboard screen. Click on the PDF link and enter the date range (maximum 12 months) that you wish to view.



  • Costs and Charges and Dual Priced Funds

    As part of this release we have amended our approach to the calculation of Costs and Charges and it is now able to accurately reflect the cost of dual priced funds.

  • Other Changes

    As we continue to improve the user journey through the platform a number of other changes have been made as part of this release:

    • A confirmation messages on submission of new business will now display.
    • The product provider address is now pre-populated on the transfer authority form, if it has been entered manually.
    • Portfolio name will now accept “&”.
    • Investment Life Cover will now only show in the new portfolio journey.

Improving the Zurich Intermediary Platform

In this release we have made some significant enhancements to the way the platform looks and feels and taken on your feedback about the way you want to use the platform with your customers. This is the first phase of the changes we are making, and in this release we have updated the dashboard and the screens that you use to submit new portfolios and top-ups to existing portfolios.

  • New dashboard

    In this release we have made some significant enhancements to the way the platform looks and feels and taken on your feedback about the way you want to use the platform with your customers. This is the first phase of the changes we are making, and in this release we have updated the dashboard and the screens that you use to submit new portfolios and top-ups to existing portfolios.

  • Search Function

    A new search function at the top of the dashboard page allows you to search more quickly for a customer’s portfolio.

  • Quick links

    On the firm dashboard pages and the portfolio dashboard pages we have introduced quick link functions which will enable you to quickly access areas of the platform that you use most often.

  • User names

    We have introduced the ability for the platform to automatically remember user names to ensure that signing in is quick and hassle free. The next time you log in tick the, “remember me on this computer” box and your user name will be pre-populated next time you come to our site.

  • New Portfolios and Top-ups to existing portfolios

    Placing new business onto the platform will now be easier, more flexible and quicker. We have changed the journey from a fixed input basis through a number of screens to a single page application with expandable sections.


GDPR Changes

As part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented on 25 May 2018, we’ve made changes to the Zurich Intermediary Platform to remain compliant.

  • Client Data

    To ensure the Zurich Intermediary Platform is GDPR compliant we have amended the Portfolio Declaration to provide your clients with clearer information on how their data is used. We have also updated our Data Protection Leaflet – Your Privacy is Important to us. These are available in the document library on and available as an appendix to the Zurich Portfolio Terms and Conditions.

  • Data Retention

    GDPR also means changes to our data retention policy. For any Portfolios that are closed we will hold onto personal data relating to that Portfolio for 10 years after the Portfolio closure date. After that the data will be removed from the system and we will not be able to identify the Portfolio holders, Third party payers or anyone else associated with the Portfolio (for example a Power of Attorney).

    For any Portfolios that are submitted but not activated we will remove the personal data after six months. In the next few months we will have a cleaning up exercise to remove any that are over six months old.

    In addition we will delete new business work in progress wizards once they are six months old to ensure the personal data is no longer held in the Zurich Intermediary Platform. As part of this release all work in progress wizards have been deleted.

  • Platform Tools

    You should also be aware that when you use the E-Value and FE fundinfo Tools on the Zurich Intermediary Platform, the platform shares your Client’s personal data with some of the tools; including the FE fundinfo Portfolio Report. You should make your clients aware of this when using the tools.


Tax Year End 2018

With the new tax year that started 6 April, 2018, we’ve updated the Platform to remain in line with changes made by the HMRC.

  • Lifetime Allowance Changes

    In the 2017, Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced that the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) would increase annually in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).  As a result of this change the Lifetime Allowance will increase from £1million to £1,030,000 from 6th April 2018.

    Any crystallisations into drawdown or any uncrystallised fund pension lump sum (UFPLS) from 6th April 2018 will be based on the new allowance.
    For any policies that have already had crystallisations in previous tax years, the percentage of LTA used remains unchanged.

    Some of your clients will of course need to take pension benefits in this tax year, but for other clients it might be advisable for them to wait for the higher LTA in the 2018/2019 tax year.

    We will not be deleting any work in progress crystallisation wizards, so if you have saved a partially completed wizard in the 2017/2018 tax year you can submit it. However, you should be aware that the figures for the LTA displayed on the screen during that wizard may not have been correct.  The percentage of LTA used and any tax on excess LTA will be recalculated on submission of the wizard using the 2018/2019 LTA.  If you want to see the correct figures on the screen before submitting the wizard you should start the wizard again.

  • Scottish Rate of Income Tax

    From 6th April, we will be required to hold an indicator on the platform confirming whether the portfolio holder is subject to Scottish Rate of Income Tax or the Income Tax rate applying to the rest of the UK.

    We will obtain this information from HMRC by way of our end of year tax reporting.  We send HMRC our RSPComm100 report and they return it to us with the tax status for each Retirement Account holder. This information will then be used by HMRC to determine the amount of PRAS reclaim for the following tax year.

    As the PRAS reclaim for Scottish tax residents will remain at 20% for the tax year 2018/19, you will not notice any difference this tax year. If, however, this changes in the future you will see a different rate of PRAS claim for Scottish tax residents.  At that time, we will also ensure that we have the functionality to access the HMRC Gateway from the platform to look up the tax residency status of any new Retirement Account customers to ensure the correct PRAS reclaim rate is reflected in illustrations.

  • Changes to Output

    As part of this release we are making some small wording changes to illustrations. We have changed the words pension income to annuity, to ensure we clearly differentiate between annuity payments and drawdown payments from a pension.

    In addition we have added the some declaration words to the Transfer forms required by Origo for electronic transfers.

  • ISA tax advantages after death of an account holder

    From 6th April 2018, the savings of a deceased person in an ISA will continue to benefit from tax advantages during the administration of the estate, up until the earlier of:

    a) The completion of the administration of the deceased’s estate,

    b) The day falling on the third anniversary of the death, or

    c)The closure of the account.

    However, during this period:

    a) No subscription or qualifying addition is to be made to the continuing account, and

    b) No transfer is to be made of a continuing account, except in prescribed circumstances.

  • Additional Permitted Subscriptions (APS) into ISAs

    Since 6 April 2015, a surviving spouse or civil partner has been able to inherit a one-off additional ISA allowance, equivalent to the value of the deceased’s ISA at the date of their death. This is known as an Additional Permitted Subscription (APS). However, any growth on the ISA after the date of death is taxable.

    From 6th April 2018, in order to compliment the extension of ISA tax advantages after death of an account holder, this APS can include the growth on the ISA and will be known as a ‘continuing ISA’.

    The amount of the Additional Permitted Subscription into the partner’s ISA can be the higher of the value at the date of death or the value of the continuing ISA.

    We currently handle Additional Permitted Subscriptions through Customer Operations and we will continue to handle them in this way.

Supporting you through regulatory change

In 2016 the FCA introduced new rules affecting the advice process for pensions, including that advisers must show clients what effect a change to their retirement benefits would have before it is made.

We already have functionality to allow you to run an ad-hoc illustration to show benefits before any changes.

The changes were outlined in PS16/12, which followed a consultation on the pension freedoms introduced in 2015.

  • Illustrations available pre-submission

    To help you meet these requirements we have made illustrations for drawdown accounts available prior to you submitting changes through the existing pension payment out options – income review, change payment and one-off payment.


    Within each function, you will be given the option to produce an illustration prior to submitting the changes being made. An example from the One-off payment function is shown below.


  • Multiple income changes illustration (coming soon)

    We are also working on a new illustration function that will be available soon. It will allow you to illustrate multiple income changes. For your clients who already have a Retirement Account in drawdown, you will be able to illustrate changes to regular income and ad-hoc income payments in the same illustration. This will allow you to show your client the impact of these changes and give them the clearest view of their options. This illustration will also be available to illustrate UFPLS on accumulation Retirement Accounts. Any changes you then wish to proceed with, you can make in the normal way.
  • Adding flexi-access drawdown and UFPLS capability

    You asked, we listened. We have made a number of changes in the drawdown illustration function, now renamed as ‘Crystallisation event Illustration’.

    • You can now Illustrate UFPLS through this function, allowing you to provide UFPLS illustrations without selling the investments to cash first.
    • We have removed the age restriction of 55 too, allowing you to illustrate drawdown and UFPLS in advance of your client’s 55th birthday.



  • Illustration calculations

    You may also notice a slight variation in illustration figures post PS16/12 implementation. This may affect those with particularly large holdings in cash or assets with high growth rates.

    PS16/12 has introduced some regulations that mean:

    • The charge on cash interest rates has to be included in the illustration
    • Changes to the way we have to cap fund growth rates assumed in illustrations as specified by FCA maximum rates.
  • A reduction in the Money Purchase Annual Allowance

    Building on the recent delivery of our ‘edit regular payments in’ function, you can now add cash to the asset strategy when you go to edit a client’s regular payment. This means you don’t have to stop and start the regular again if you wish to add cash as part of your asset strategy.


Improving the customer journey

We've taken on board your feedback and done something about it. The changes we have made are all aimed at providing you with a smoother, more efficient service.

  •  Adding cash option when editing regular DD

    Building on the recent delivery of our ‘edit regular payments in’ function, you can now add cash to the asset strategy when you go to edit a client’s regular payment. This means you don’t have to stop and start the regular again if you wish to add cash as part of your asset strategy.

  • Nomination of Beneficiary form


    To prevent you filling in unnecessary paperwork and to make it clearer when you need to send this in, we have changed the point at which we present you with the Nomination of Beneficiary form. The messaging has also changed to be more informative, so you know exactly where and when in the process the form is required.

  • Improving usability in disclose and authorise journey

    We have improved the usability of our ‘disclose and authorise’ journey for bulk switches, rebalances and upgrades based on feedback we have received. Now you can see how many accounts you have selected to process to ensure all are authorised appropriately.



  • Fixing reported issues

    We also made a number of fixes based on feedback provided, and those who have reported it are in the process of being contacted.

We’d love to hear more from you. Please do get in touch with your Business Account Manager if there is anything you feel could be improved about our service. We ensure all your comments are captured and used when prioritising developments.

If you have any further questions about any of these updates and how they will impact you, please speak to your Business Account Manager on 0808 554 6546.