Our Services

Our job is to make help you achieve your goals and aspirations and to recommend the right products to match that plan

Our areas of expertise:

Wealth Management

Our Wealth Management Service is designed for clients with at least £250,000 of invested assets. Wealth Management clients are primarily concerned with minimising the amount of tax they pay on their investments and wealth preservation, ensuring the keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible.

We will assess your existing investment portfolio and review this against your current financial position, objectives and risk tolerance.

Recommend and establish the most tax-efficient structures through which to hold your assets.

Access the individual funds within the portfolio to make sure they are still performing well.

The most important part of managing an existing portfolio is on-going tactical asset allocation, monitoring, and reporting. What might have been a brilliant investment when initially taken out, may not still be the case. Fund managers change and the investments held within funds change. It is important to review funds regularly.

Retirement Planning

Accumulation

No one wants to work forever and in the current financial climate planning ahead has never been so important. While you are likely to accrue a basic state pension throughout the course of your working life, in many cases this is far less than the amount most people would be comfortable living on. Retirement Planning is necessary in order to meet the objectives that you set for yourself when you retire

We can help you determine your long-term future goals and put strategies in place to ensure you are able to realise them. With the right planning, you give yourself the best chance of enjoying the retirement that you have always dreamed of.

Starting early

It is never too early to start thinking about your retirement, and in most instances, it is a case of the earlier, the better. There are many various questions you will need to ask yourself to make sure your objectives are the right fit for you. These will likely include:

  • When do I want to retire?
  • What level of assets do I want to have when I retire?
  • What do I want to do when I retire?
  • Where do I want to live when I retire?

The answers to each of these questions will be dependent on the assets you are able to protect and accumulate. By working with a professional adviser at an early stage, you can ensure you are best placed to work towards achievable goals and obtain the results you desire.

When it comes to planning your retirement and setting your objectives, it is important to consider:

  • Which pension savings vehicle is the best for you
  • How inflation may affect your savings
  • The different options available to you
  • Your attitude to risk and how this may affect any investment decisions you make

Decumulation

Decumulation is simply the term used to refer to the stage in your investment lifecycle when you begin to draw retirement income from your portfolio. Managing income in retirement has become a conundrum for our times

It’s reasonable for retirees to want the best of both worlds; flexibility, access, and control over their retirement savings along with the reassurance that their money will last for as long as they do.

The bedrock of pension planning, and delivery of income in retirement, in the UK has up until recently been state pensions, defined benefit schemes, and lifetime annuities. The common characteristic of these sources of income is durability. Clients have never really had to confront the possibility of running out of money during retirement.

The pension freedoms introduced unfettered drawdown. Now people can take as much as they want, whenever they want. With greater freedom comes greater responsibility on the individual

Decumulation investors often need to take a different approach to asset allocation as they have different objectives. This means that the traditional models used by accumulation investors may be inappropriate.

Decumulation cannot be solved with a one size fits all approach and it is imperative that advisers have a robust understanding of the differences between the accumulation and decumulation stages so that they can offer their clients strategies that are appropriate to their individual needs.

While some decumulation investors may want to draw down their portfolio’s capital in retirement, others may wish to leave it untouched and rely solely upon any income it generates. In any case, a decumulation investment strategy should seek to generate income and grow capital to guard against inflation.

Other clients may wish to have the certainty of a guaranteed income, in the form of a traditional annuity.

Defined Benefit Pension Transfers

We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to make the right decision when it comes to deciding to retain or transfer benefits held in a defined benefit pension scheme.

Get the decision right and for many the results can be life-changing; providing greater flexibility, allowing earlier retirement and potentially creating a valuable legacy. Get it wrong however and the results could create a financial disaster, running out of money before you die is a real risk if you spend too much at the wrong time or expose your fund to excessive risk.

A deferred member of a Defined Benefit scheme will have built up pension benefits to become payable at the scheme retirement age. These will be based upon the salary that you had while employed and the number of years you worked for the company. There will also be a scheme accrual rate which determines how the number of years and salary figures are converted into pension benefits.

Under a Defined Benefit scheme, the pension benefits payable at the scheme retirement age are fixed and guaranteed by the scheme and employer. There is no element of investment risk and as long as the scheme does not fail, the benefits will be paid as promised.

The transfer out of benefits from a Defined Benefit scheme effectively exchanges this future promise of pension benefits for a cash lump sum, which represents the current value of the future benefits. This is known as a cash equivalent transfer value (CETV).

If you choose to transfer your pension, then it must be moved into a registered pension scheme (typically a personal pension), which is a form of defined contribution arrangement. You will cease to be a member of the Defined Benefit scheme and cannot transfer back in the future; the decision is irreversible and as such must be carefully considered!

Defined benefit pension review service

It is apparent that the review of a defined benefit pension scheme is a highly complex area of financial planning advice, with multiple factors to consider. The design of our service has been based on the following key requirements:

  • Holistic: In our view, a defined benefit pension transfer should only be considered as part of a holistic review of your overall circumstances and objectives.
  • Educational: A lack of knowledge can lead to decisions being made without the implications being fully understood. We, therefore, want our clients to learn throughout the process and to be fully informed when the time comes to decide how to proceed. This will include a detailed overview of how investments behave for those with limited previous experience of investing.
  • Step by Step: We have designed our review process to reach one of the following two outcomes:

 

Outcome We believe that the transfer is suitable We believe that the transfer is not suitable
Why We can clearly show it’s in your best interests We cannot show that it’s in your best interests;
or
We can clearly show that it’s not in your best interests
Then We will be happy to process the transfer on your behalf We will not process the transfer even if you insist

 

Our review process over and above normal financial planning:

Step 1 – Client Assessment:

  • Considers your inherent suitability as an individual to undertake a transfer from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution replacement scheme.

Step 2 – Scheme Review:           

  • Examines the features and benefits of your existing defined benefit pension scheme and analyses the pros and cons of transferring it to a defined contribution arrangement.

Step 3 – Financial Planning

  • Evaluates the flexibility and planning opportunities that might arise as a result of undertaking a transfer away from your defined benefit scheme, including lifetime cash flow modeling

Step 4 – Recommendation

  • Our final advice on whether or not to transfer your defined benefit scheme to a new arrangement can only be made once we have completed the three steps above.

Timescales

We expect the review of your pension scheme to take between six and nine months to complete. This is due to the amount of information we need to gather from you and the scheme and the complexity of the analysis.

The main time-sensitive aspect of the process is after we receive the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) from your scheme, as this will be guaranteed for a 90-day period. Unfortunately, many schemes do not provide all the information we need at the outset and slow to respond to further information requests which is one of the major factors which causes delays in the process. Some schemes will only issue one CETV per year, and others will charge for a new one. This means that we would prefer you do not request a CETV yourself as this could significantly reduce the amount of time we have to analyse your pension and make our recommendations.

Inheritance Tax Planning

Inheritance tax can cost your loved ones hundreds of thousands of pounds in the event of your death, however, early planning can help to prevent your inheritance from making its way into the government’s hands.

Inheritance tax is payable on everything you own, above a certain threshold, once you die. This can include your home, jewellery, savings and/ or investments, pieces of art, cars, as well as properties or pieces of land, even if they are overseas. If you do nothing, approximately 40 pence in every pound of your inheritance, above your assessed threshold, could make its way to the taxman.

In order to make sure your wealth is passed on to the people you choose as opposed to the government, early planning is required. Inheritance tax is complex and there are severe penalties associated with breaking tax rules when incorrect or incomplete information is given to HMRC, which is why the best professional advice is crucial. That’s where we step in.

We can help to reduce the effect of inheritance tax on your estate. Having an up-to-date will is an important aspect of limiting inheritance tax; by preparing a will, you have the ability to determine what happens to your money after you die.

We can work with your existing solicitor to work out the best solution to any potential tax issues, as well as making sure you are making full use of all allowances available to you during your lifetime.

‘The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice’

Intergenerational Planning

Planning for your future generations

When putting together a financial plan for yourself, it often makes sense to consider the possibilities for other members of your family at the same time, or perhaps to put arrangements in place for future generations.

What is intergenerational planning?

Intergenerational planning is an important part of a financial plan if you have children or grandchildren for whom you want to continue to provide, or if you want to put arrangements in place to ensure the wealth of future generations.

We will ensure your plan is realistic, meets the needs of you and your children and doesn’t leave you paying more tax than necessary.

We believe that intergenerational planning is not just about inheritance tax planning; in fact, we believe the two are very different and that intergenerational planning should centre on ensuring the right amount of money goes to the right people at the right time. When it comes to gifts, there are certain barriers that can prevent you from giving everything that you would like to.

The term ‘bank of mum and dad’ was coined for a reason. There are so many things to consider here, from saving for your children’s education to setting up a savings plan for longer-term events, such as helping your kids up onto the housing ladder.

Why do I need help with intergenerational planning?

At certain times in life, you may be asked for a loan by certain family members, or feel the need to ask for one yourself. Consider this with caution – is it a loan, or would it serve a better purpose defined as a gift (if, for example, you are trying to reduce your estate value for inheritance tax purposes)? If you are the one lending, what rate of interest has been agreed and are you both clear on the repayment terms?

Gifts

However, not many people realise that when it comes to giving gifts to your children, grandchildren or siblings, you haven’t got entirely free rein either. There are limits to the amounts you can gift each year in order for them to be exempt from inheritance tax, so bear in mind how early you want to start handing out your annual gifts and remember that while certain life events, such as weddings, are exempt from inheritance tax, there is again a ceiling.

Property

Your property is another thing to consider. While you can’t just give your house away and live in it rent-free with no repercussions, there are other options, such as transferring it into your children’s name and paying rent, or selling your house and gifting your children the proceeds. Obviously, the seven-year survival rule applies in terms of inheritance tax liability.

We can help you understand your options and every aspect of your finances that you need to consider when it comes to intergenerational planning.

Savings and Investments

Building an effective investment portfolio

If you’re looking to invest for the future then we can help put together an investment portfolio that meets your objectives.

Whether you like to take risks with the aim to generate higher returns, or you don’t like to take risks but still like the idea of potential improved returns from your money than what’s available via traditional savings accounts, we’ll recommend the most suitable investment/savings solutions for you.

This could include investment bonds, unit trusts or even the latest WRAP (a service that combines or ‘wraps’ all of a client’s investment into a single manageable account) and asset management systems that put together and manage a range of different funds that all work together to meet your needs. It goes without saying that we’ll help you make the most of any tax allowances that are available, such as the annual allowances into Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) which enable you to shelter some of your savings from the taxman.

Trusts

A trust is a legal holder of assets that can be used for many purposes, including financial planning. Our advisers will talk to you about how they can be applied if we feel that a trust arrangement is suitable for you.

Trusts can be used to control and protect assets. Here are some examples of where a trust might be of benefit:

  • Money could be put into a trust for children or grandchildren when they get married or reach a certain age.
  • A family home could be put into trust to ensure it stays in the family in the event of a divorce.
  • Specialist gift trusts can be used to reduce Inheritance Tax liabilities.

We will ensure that any trust arrangement is properly set up to protect your best interests and those of the trust beneficiaries. If needed, we will work with solicitors and other professionals to achieve this.

Trusts are governed by trustees who are responsible for the funds in the trust. If you are a trustee, we will advise you about your financial responsibilities and appropriate investment routes for money held in trust.

Divorce

Financial Planning for divorcees

We understand that going through a divorce or separation is extremely difficult and one of the hardest things you will have to deal with in life.

Divorce has the power to change much more than just your personal life. It is important to understand how your separation will affect you financially so that you can prepare accordingly. A divorce will likely involve a complete review of your finances, as well as your spouses. Afterwards, financial aspects will need to be co-ordinated and jointly-owned assets, such as properties and life policies, may need to be sold or transferred.

Having an adviser that understands not only the financial complexities associated with divorce but also the emotional aspects is highly important. It may be the first time you have ever needed to consider financial planning or the splitting of your assets, which is why you will need to feel sure that you are receiving advice you can trust so that you can make informed choices as a result.

We will work closely with you and your other professional advisers for the best outcome possible. Once your divorce is complete, you can begin your new life. With this comes untold possibilities, which make it more important than ever to have regular review meetings with us to keep your financial planning aligned with your circumstances.

Our team will be there to support and assist you every step of the way throughout your divorce.

We consider your income requirements and position your assets with the aim of helping you to achieve your desired standard of living.

We share our knowledge and expertise with you to allow you to make informed decisions that are right for you.

Business Exit Strategy

Business Advice

Financial planning is crucial to help you become financially independent of your business so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

Running your own business is something that you should be rightly proud of, and is the source of huge wealth creation in the UK, but many directors or partners are too busy in their business to spare the time to think about all the relevant financial planning matters.

The consequences of this oversight may simply result in paying more tax than necessary, or it can be much more serious in that events which can and should be insured against are left uncovered, with possibly disastrous consequences for the firm and its owners.

You should remember that businesses can also be the cause of family disputes.

What about retirement?

Maybe you have created the business from scratch and invested your life and soul with the intention that it will be your ‘pension’.

Unfortunately, this makes you financially dependent on your business, rather than making you financially independent.

What happens to you if your business fails before you retire? Starting and running your own business is high risk and high reward, and none of us know what is around the corner, so having all your eggs in one risky basket is not always the best idea.

Also, if your family business is your pension how are you going to use this to fund your retirement? Are you going to sell the business, or ask your children to run the business so you can continue to be paid an income in retirement?

What lifestyle goals do you have?

Even if you are able to sell your business based on your valuation, have you looked at your current lifestyle, analysed your expenditure, worked out how much income you need in retirement, and considered whether or not the sale proceeds (after-tax) will support that income?

Would you like to hand your business on to your children?

If you cannot sell the business, either for financial or emotional reasons, you may decide to pass the business onto your children with them paying you an ‘income’ for your retirement. Unfortunately, this approach is sometimes fraught with danger. Ignoring the continued risk of business failure, arguably increased due to new management (your children), you have to consider if the business has not been sufficiently profitable to support your lifestyle and fund a separate pension pot for you, how can you expect it to now support your lifestyle and your children?

Once you’ve done this you should be able to pass the business onto your children without needing to draw an income from it and ensure you don’t become a burden on your life’s work.

Our financial planning for business owners includes:

  • Pension planning including SIPPs and SSAS advice.
  • Exit planning strategies.
  • Directors’ Share Protection to ensure that the business survives you and your family is protected.
  • Keyman Insurance.

Family Planning

Protect the things that matter – “Your family, your health, your lifestyle”

The aim of life protection is to protect you against the unexpected. It will provide money for you or the people who financially depend on you. You need to consider the impact and consequences your death would have on the people closest to you.

There are many different types of policies to choose from:

  • Term Assurance
  • Family Income Benefit
  • Whole of Life Assurance
  • Critical Illness Cover
  • Income Protection

It is essential that the protection policy is written into the correct type of trust. This will ensure that the money, ends up in the right hands, at the right time with minimal or no tax to pay.

Tax Planning

Tax legislation is complex and ever-changing

We are very fortunate to have a firm of Chartered Accountants, as a sister company within the same building. This means we can offer comprehensive tax advice on a much higher level than most other financial advisers. helping you deal with the intricacies tax.

Get in touch with us

For further information about all our services, please contact us