Welcome to our new Website!

I’m delighted to introduce the latest version of our website – our 4th or 5th iteration if I remember correctly.

We’ve had great help from Rachael at Clooti and Bill at Wing Design in bringing this to life. They’ve be instrumental in helping us get the correct message about what we do across and how this has evolved over the last 12+ years. The journey has quite fascinating.

The aim of the business was always to provide the best financial guidance and planning that we could, but in the early days we were in a product-sales led rather than advice led environment.

We had a strong belief and conviction that there was a better way to provide a better experience and outcomes for our clients and that has led us to the approach we take today.

The tools, support, processes and systems were admittedly there, but you had to go digging to find them and work hard to implement them in the business process, but the feedback we were getting about what we doing for clients, convinced us it was the right thing to do.

It’s reassuring to see how many other financial planning firms now adopt a similar approach to us and have a client service ethos at the heart of their businesses.

Our new website reflects the distillation of what we’ve tried to do since the business started, and we aim to provide as much information and education on financial matters, regulations and taxation along with the latest thinking on smart investing as we can.

We hope that you find the new website a true reflection of what we are about as a business. We’d be delighted to hear any comments that you have and any ideas of items or ideas you’d like to see more of.

Roland Oliver
May 2019

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Want to save the planet?

As parts of America suffer record cold temperatures and after the previous years’ devastating hurricanes and the terrible fire in California, you might be inclined to believe there is something in the scientist’s dire warnings about climate change.

Donald Trump thinks it’s a hoax, but the evidence points to something serious going on.

As any individual concerned about trying to their bit to help out, we do have some choices and lifestyle decisions to make. Continue reading “Want to save the planet?”

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EU Referendum – What now?

Brexit – What does it mean for my investments?

Following last week’s EU Referendum vote, there is a high level of uncertainty over what this will mean for the country on many levels.

To attempt to calm market fears, there have been statements made from the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney and this morning from George Osbourne.

At this time there is no clear understanding what leaving the EU will mean for investing in short term, but I believe that the long term nature of our investment philosophy and approach would recommend that although these are uncharted waters, staying in your investment seat at this time is the correct approach.

I work closely with Dimensional Fund Advisers and I share an extract from their newsletter which
better puts in to context our current situation:

“Dimensional has nearly 35 years of experience managing portfolios, including during periods of uncertainty and heightened volatility. We monitor market events—including their impact on trading and trade settlement—very closely and consider the implications of new information as it comes to light. We are paying close attention to market mechanisms and they appear to be functioning well. Our investment philosophy and process have withstood many trying times and we remain committed.

We urge caution in allowing market movements to impact long-term asset allocation. Long-term investors recognize that risks and uncertainty are ever present in markets. A drop in prices is generally due to lower expectations of cash flows, higher discount rates, or both. In some cases, a drop is also due to investors demanding liquidity. In the current situation, some investors and economists may expect lower cash flows due to possible trade barriers that may not be implemented. Higher discount rates may be occurring due to uncertainty about changes in the economic landscape and regulations. We have seen markets increase discount rates in times of uncertainty before, resulting in lower prices and increased expected returns. However, it is difficult to know when good outcomes will materialize in the future. By attempting to time the right moment to invest or redeem, one risks not enjoying the potential benefits of such materialisations. Many of those who exit the markets miss the recoveries. What we have often seen in the past is that investors who remained in well-diversified portfolios were rewarded over time.”

I appreciate you will have questions as to how this event may impact your own financial situation and I’d be happy to hear from you at anytime to discuss this further.

Please either phone me or email to get in touch.

We will provide further information as and when things become more clear.

Roland Oliver

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Ethical investing: How to do it

When it comes to investing, keeping an open mind about new opportunities, new approaches and seeing new trends are all valuable things to be able to do.

There is a growing public demand for businesses that they deal with to act in a socially responsible manner.

It’s clear that public sentiment towards companies that appear to flaunt the law, act in their own self-interest is strengthening. Companies like Amazon and Starbucks, whose tax strategies are deemed less than moral, can lose customer confidence.

Continue reading “Ethical investing: How to do it”

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Plan now to avoid a big tax bill on your pension savings.

Are you building a fund for your retirement in a company pension scheme? If so, forthcoming changes to the taxation of pension savings could cost you dearly – unless you act swiftly.

From April, the maximum pensions saving that anyone is allowed to build, before it becomes subject to punitive taxation, reduces from £1.5m to £1.25m. This cap is called the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) and applies to an individual’s entire pension savings (apart from the state pension).

The figure may sound high but many thousands of people fall into the category – especially those in final-salary schemes who have built their entitlement through many years’ work.

But don’t despair, if you are affected, there are actions you can take before April to mitigate the potential tax charge down the line.

Saving into a pension scheme has for years attracted tax relief. However it was felt that wealthy people were getting too much tax relief and building up enormous pension pots and the LTA was introduced at £1.8m in 2012 reducing to £1.5 in 2013 and now to £1.25m in April this year.

It would be a brave man that did not anticipate further reductions in years to come.

When first introduced, the LTA used to apply only to a few thousand high earners in the UK who could afford to grow seven-figure pension pots. But the reduction in the limit, coupled with the increased costs of funding retirement promises for those who retire on final-salary-type pensions, has now pushed hundreds of thousands of people into the net.

There is some key information you need to know or find out quickly!

You need to find out what the total value of your pension savings will be, as at April 2014. This should include any legacy pension schemes with previous employers. If the total is already over £1.25m, or likely to grow beyond that sum before retirement, you can take action to retain the £1.5m LTA, subject to certain conditions.

If you are in a final salary scheme and expect to receive a pension in excess of £56,000 on retirement, this could take you over the LTA and should prompt you to take action now.

As ever HMRC have produced detailed guidance on the changes and impacts (see link below) but if you need assistance to understand the impact on you then please get in touch.

HMRC http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/understanding-la.htm

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