Asset Allocation

Why is it that some people achieve investment success, but others do not? Failing to find a winning strategy for your investment and pension portfolios can cost you many thousands of pounds, resulting in a lifestyle that is less than ideal.

Who Gets My Pension When I Die?

I think we can all agree that, despite the complexity of pension rules, when you die, you would like to ensure that your pension is passed on to your beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient way.

What and where is the best place to invest in 2020?

What are the global stock market predictions for 2020, and what are the stock market trends? These are some of the most frequently asked questions I am hearing from clients.

Pension Contributions – A Useful Guide

I could not have picked a better day for my day off. I am enjoying a coffee and almond croissant, catching the early morning sun, when my reverie is interrupted by my phone…

Top Independent Financial Adviser Award

What Achievements Are You Most Proud Of? At the beginning of any new year, it’s good to look forward to what lies ahead, it’s also a good time to look back at your past achievements.


The last financial crash in 2008 gave the global economy a brutal beating, governments felt compelled to take measures to provide monetary stimulus to the financial markets.

Investments have Bombed, so How Did You Do?

Looking back at our records, you have been a client for XX years now, during those years you have enjoyed a high level of “income” by way of making regular capital withdrawals from your investment accounts. Your previous investment holdings would not have provided such a generous level of “income”, you would have had to […]

“You cannot have a cake and eat it too.”

“You cannot have a cake and eat it too.” (Baugman). Try telling that to the shareholders of Pattisserie Valerie – epic code (CAKE), for the Directors of that company have been busy selling shares, over the past two years. Presumably the recent bombshell that are financial “irregularities” within the company , leading to a £20m […]

Investment Trusts are not always best?

Investment Trusts are not always best? That was the title of a recent article by IT Geek in the Investors Chronicle, an investment periodical that has not enhanced its reputation this year by making a strong case to BUY Conviviality and published it the same day as Conviviality collapsed! The article then compared five pairs […]

Investment Questions That Make Sense

Many potential investors ask questions at an initial meeting, these often relate to the cost of the service being provided not the value being delivered. They will often query the number of employees that you have as a lot of investors prefer to invest with large companies as this gives them a feeling of security. […]

Financial Journalists & Investment Trusts

The average employment period for financial journalists is eighteen months, so its not surprising that many of the pieces they submit for publication demonstrate a lack of knowledge of the subject they are writing about. Misleading articles merely add to the levels of financial confusion, the blind leading the blind. My advice to journalists, if […]

Spending: What to Do When You and Your Spouse are NOT on the Same Page?

Spending: What to Do When You and Your Spouse are NOT on the Same Page? Many inexperienced financial planners may assume that couple’s attitudes to money are aligned. Invariably they are not, money issues are one of the biggest sources of marital strife, and a leading factor in divorces. The financial disparity between a couple […]

Large Pensions and Lifetime Allowance

Large pension funds need to consider the Lifetime Allowance, that is the total value you can accumulate in pensions before incurring additional tax penalties. The Lifetime Allowance (LA) was introduced in 2006/7 at £1.5M, the LA figure has changed over the years and it was reduced to £1M in 2016/17. However, for future tax years […]

Stock Market Valuations and What to do in 2018

The valuations of stock markets are at an all-time high, recent research by Schiller states that the Cape Schiller index at 30 has only been reached twice before and that coincided with massive subsequent drops in stock market values. Not surprisingly we have re-iterated this to our clients, who have taken appropriate action. Our review […]

Organising Your Investments and Pensions

Every financial adviser and individual investor has a different point of view on how to organise investment and pension portfolios. FINANCIAL ADVISERS Many financial advisers will rely upon guidance from the FCA that requires them to invest as per their clients Risk Profile into a model investment portfolio, regardless of market valuations. They will also […]

Best Investment Of Time For Business Owners

BEST INVESTMENT OF TIME FOR BUSINESS OWNERS I want you to give some advice to my son, who is starting up his own business. What’s the best steps he can take to make sure the business is successful. Well although I have never met your son and don’t know his background – but I am […]

Dunedin Enterprise Investment Trust (DNE)

Dunedin Enterprise Investment Trust PLC was established in 1973 and provides equity finance for management buyouts, management buy-ins and growing businesses worth £20-£200M. Their stated investment objective is to achieve substantial long-term capital growth from our investments and we aim to achieve a rate of return on equity in excess of 8% per annum over […]

Will Stock Market Trend Sideways ?

Will Stock Market Trend Sideways ? Although there have been numerous warnings about the high valuation levels of the global stock markets (including from ourselves) – we have yet to see a firm indication of a stock market collapse. Instead the stock market appears to be entering a sideways trend. If you are having trouble […]

Avoid the Iceburgs

Some time ago, I went on holiday to Ireland with my family, we had some difficulty driving around the country lanes looking for our guest house. The road map was of little help as apparently the locals took delight in removing signposts, especially at crossroads. Outcome? We were lost. The sat-nav indicated that we were […]

How to Avoid Financial Success …

How to Avoid Financial Success … What is financial success? I believe that it is creating a level of wealth that you are comfortable with and passing that wealth on intact to the next generation. Yet many individuals choose to press the self-destruct button, and rationalise their destructive behaviour with bizarre statements, that defy logic. […]

Investment Fears in Berkshire

Investment Fears in Berkshire We have received many calls from followers of our blog regarding the state of the investment markets, the reason being that the media is making comment on the possible collapse of investment markets. The 30th anniversary of the 1987 crash is just ahead, however looking back to that period, the market […]

Why not kick off with this investment ?

One of the worlds top fund manager duo’s have just made an investment. Not startling news, surely, isn’t that what fund managers do, buy investments? Not these two. They rarely buy anything. Their fund Finsbury Growth & Income invests in only 25 to 30 shares only worldwide. I suppose you could accuse them of being […]

Investment Advice Berkshire – Not If But When …

Investment Advice Berkshire – Not If but When … Our sources indicate that there will be a big stock market correction. If you have investment portfolios such as ISA’s, unit trusts or pensions – then you should have benefited from a big increase in values. Be warned those increases could dissipate very quickly when the […]

Investment Excellence – Berkshire.

Investment Excellence – Berkshire – We have recently received a review from Vouched For, plus a certificate saying how wonderful UnaVida is and that we have a rating of 4.7 out of 5. I wonder if that is a true reflection of our firm, or have we achieved that rating for another reason? You see, […]

Aging Gracefully – That’s for Wimps !

Aging Gracefully – That’s for Wimps ! Quite recently I woke up to the fact that I was putting on too much weight and was pretty unfit. naturally I enrolled at the local gym and also quite naturally, like most people, found the gym pretty boring, so gave up. So I decided to start a […]

I’m Worried about My Pension, said Frank from Reading in Berkshire !

I’m Worried about My Pension, said Frank from Reading in Berkshire ! OK Frank, what are you worried about? I know, I shouldn’t be worried, after all I have a big pension, and I appreciate all you do to look after it, but I still worry about what will happen to the investment markets and […]

Buying Commercial Property in Berkshire

Buying Commercial Property in Berkshire Many business owners would like to buy a Commercial Property in Berkshire, so that either their company can occupy it, or simply as an investment. There are a variety of purchase options available to them:- The company could buy it and so it would appear in your company balance sheet. […]

Berkshire IFA Investment News

Berkshire IFA Investment News – The last few years have been very kind to you the investor, you are almost certainly sitting on a heap of profit. As we are all born with a sense of innate optimism, you will be expecting more of the same. Not only that but we are having the most glorious […]

Investment Advice Berkshire

Investment Advice Berkshire – The Investment Car Crash I must admit I have always found the recommended approach when advising clients rather bizarre. I wonder if it is the right approach, it seems to be overly risk-centred, so that financial advisers are boxed in when delivering advice. I wonder if this draconian approach is justified? […]

Business Advice Berkshire

Can a Business have too Much Cash? For most business owners cash is king, it is the lubricant for the engine of business. Having lots of cash is the aim of a business, however, having too much cash can be problematical. The cash in the business is clearly an asset but if there is no […]

Future Based Financial Planning – It May all end in Tears

It may all end in tears. Improvements in technology have enabled financial advisers to reduce the amount of time spent on administration of client files and provided more time for them to focus on client’s real needs. Improvements in technology have enabled financial advisers to reduce the amount of time spent on administration of client […]

Should I have an ISA?

Is Your ISA, Your Flexible Friend? Since April 2016, it has been possible to take your monies out of an ISA (effectively borrow) the money, and use for whatever purposes you require. Providing you pay the money back into the ISA, within the same tax year you took the money out, then the I S […]

Clive asked – why aren’t we being taxed !

Clive asked – why aren’t we being taxed ! I received a worried call from a retired client recently, they had, had their neighbours in who were complaining about the tax they pay every month on both their pension and their savings . . . Don’t you remember Clive, many years ago when we first […]

Rumbles In the Investment Jungle !

A debate has been raging in recent weeks about the valuations of US equities, the US is the most important stock market that cannot be ignored, even if you invest elsewhere. Just to remind you the US market would have to fall by 40% just to hit the US market long term average. What is […]

45% of Business Owners Will Go Broke in Retirement

45% of business Owners will go broke in retirement states a recent newspaper article. It takes a lot to really irritate me these days but when the authors of the report state that businesses who use their pension funds to make loans are putting themselves at risk, one must question why the report focuses on […]

29 Days Before Your Business Collapses

29 Days before your business collapses – The life expectancy of any business can be as short as 29 days, does that surprise you? All it takes is for one of the partners or Directors to be involved in a car crash and end up in intensive care or a coma. Or perhaps to suffer from […]


JOHN – I asked John how long he had been a taxi driver. Three years, he said, although he previously drove taxi’s in the 70’s. So, I asked him, what happened in between? He told me that he ran a large transport company for many years, unfortunately, the margins were low and one year his company […]

Investing Mindfulness

Long Term Investing Over the last 100 years, statistics show that equity investors have averaged gains of 7% per annum. That is if they bought and held their investments over that time. No other form of investment comes close to matching these returns. Unfortunately, most investors fall short, there are two main reasons for this:- […]

Beware the Year of the Rooster

Although the festivities start on Friday, Saturday 28 January 2017 is the start of Chinese New Year, fun and games continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year. This year is slightly unusual, as it is a Chinese leap year, we add one day onto our leap year but the Chinese […]

Ripe for a market correction

“Market conditions are brewing up a perfect storm for a 10 per cent correction during Q1 this year, according to Rathbone Investment Management’s David Coombs, the FE Alpha Manager, who is head of multi-asset investments at Rathbones, is therefore holding high highest-ever cash weightings across his portfolios. His five crown-rated Rathbone Total Return Portfolio fund, for instance, […]

Fund managers turn more bullish

Fund managers turn more bullish ahead of Trump inauguration Despite headwinds facing global economy, managers and companies reveal more optimistic outlooks, new studies show reports Rob Langston of FE on 19/01/17. Fund managers and company management teams became more bullish during January as the outlook for corporate profitability strengthen ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration, according […]

Preparation for Meetings at UnaVida Offices

Preparation for Meetings at UnaVida Offices – Client meetings are held at our offices (close to the village of Hurst). To get the best results from any meeting please complete and return any forms we send you in advance of the meeting. Risk Profile Questionnaire Investment Planning is very sophisticated these days, completion of this form enables […]

Premium Bonds – are they worth holding?

Premium Bonds – are they worth holding? – An awful lot of people own Premium Bonds, so many in fact that the total amount invested in Premium Bonds is now over 63 Billion. There are two main attractions to Premium Bonds:- First, there is no risk to your capital, when I say no risk, I mean […]

UnaVida Offices – How to Find Us

UnaVida Offices – How to Find Us – We work from modern offices set in an idyllic location very close to the village of Hurst. Our clients always come to us as then we can demonstrate our sophisticated investment and financial planning software. We have made this investment in our business to better enable us […]

Beware Investment Scams – Average Loss £32k

Beware Investment Scams – average loss £32,000. As an Independent Financial Adviser, I have a vested interest in contributing to the wider effort of helping protect consumers from pension and investment scams. A low interest rate environment, coupled with far reaching pension reforms, have left consumers vulnerable to a raft of ‘too good to be […]

Turning Financial Planning on Its Head

Turning Financial Planning on Its Head – Paul Armson’s latest book expresses the opinion that many financial advisers are promoting products, rather than providing solutions for their clients. A solution based approach via delivered comprehensive financial planning may be more helpful in the long run. Paul’s viewpoint serves as a timely reminder to both advisers and […]

ISA’s Post Death

ISA’s Post Death – What happens to your ISA when you die? If you have saved money into ISA’s over the years, you may have accumulated a large sum. Naturally you are happy with the very tax efficient treatment of ISA’s and want to hang onto your ISAs for as long, as you can. What […]

Why Traditional Estate Planning Usually Fails

Why Traditional Estate Planning Usually Fails – Estate Planning or Inheritance Tax Planning, is a complex area, to provide for planning that will allow your assets to pass to beneficiaries with the minimum of tax, a considerable input of time and expertise is required. When I hand clients my co-authored book of 295 pages “Inheritance […]

How to Select investments – Pin or PE Ratio ?

Investors who buy shares, often use the price/earnings ratio as a measure of selection. Using the PE ratio you can decide whether the price relative to earnings makes a share an attractive proposition. To calculate the PE ratio you divide the share price by the earnings per share, a low PE ratio may indicate that […]

2016 – What a Year for Investors !

2016 – What a Year for Investors ! Politicians around the world are getting increasingly nervous, voters have it seems lost their senses, or have they? After the shock of Brexit and the (alleged) shock of Trump, it would appear that voters are not doing what they are told by the liberal elite and sections […]

Investment Fund Charges

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a report recently into the charges made by Investment Funds. The FCA believes that investors should pay a single charge and that this should include all the transactional and third party costs, that are normally added to the fund management charge. Passive Fund charges have fallen steadily over […]

What is a Grant of Representation?

What is a Grant of Representation ? The Grant of Representation is a court-issued document , which proves the executors’ entitlement to deal with the administration of the deceased estate. This could be by way of :- A Grant of Probate Letters of Administration or a Certificate of Confirmation (Scotland). Grants of representation issued by […]

Big Up Your Pension

Big Up Your Pension – Carry forward allows you to “Big Up” your Pension and make pension contributions more than the annual allowance, and receive tax relief. The use of Carry Forward can transform your pension “biggly”. Making use of unused annual allowances Carry forward allows you to make use of any annual allowance that you […]

When did you last look at your will?

As many as 67% of High Net Worth individuals cite succession and inheritance issues as a risk to wealth creation and preservation. Despite all the recent high profile publicity regarding disputed estates, very few families have bothered to seek meaningful advice about how to leave their assets in a fair and equitable and tax efficient […]

Will Investment Markets Wobble ?

By now you will probably be immune to my constant warnings about the current pricing of equities, instead you will be basking in the warm glow of the increase in value of your investment and pension portfolios. Today marks the anniversary of an historic stock market event. Who could forget “Black Monday” when in 1987 the […]

Is the stock market set to drop ?

MARKET ALERT — Is the stock market set to drop ? – We understand that the US stock market was sold aggressively on 11 October leading to a broad-based fall of US stocks. It was further reported that the Traders Index (TRIN) showed intense selling pressure as the market moved to the lows of the […]

Investment & Pension Portfolios – “I See No Ships!”

Investment & Pension Portfolios – “I See No Ships!” – You have been persuaded to obtain a second opinion on your investment or pension portfolio and have received an unfavourable report about your portfolio. You are in a quandary -what are you to do? You have built up a relationship with your existing adviser and are […]

Modern Family Arrangements

Modern Family Arrangements – There are more than 130,000 divorces every year in England and Wales. This means that many people move onto to second or third marriages and can end up with a large number of relatives to consider when making a will. Increases in house prices over the years often provide for substantial estates. […]

A Question for your Bank

A Question for your Bank – With the increasing amount of cyber-crime in this technological age, you would assume wouldn’t you, that your bank is at the very forefront of the fight against fraud. Think again, somewhat astonishingly Santander bank allowed a celebrity “look alike” and stooge to con bank staff into allowing one of them […]

Investment Turmoil

Investment Turmoil – Billions were wiped off stock markets around the world yesterday. Clearly the investment world at large did not react to my previous doom laden blog, but rather at the news that Europe’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, is in disarray. The massive sell-off in Deutsche Bank was triggered by Chancellor Merkel’s ruling out any […]

Quantitative Easing – and – The Mad Hatters Tea Party

Quantitative Easing – and – The Mad Hatters Tea Party [Spot the Difference]. With the latest pronouncements on quantitative Easing [QE], you might be forgiven that the world has gone slightly MAD. The Bank of Japan for example has been propping up the Japanese market by making very large capital investments into Japanese companies is […]

The Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime ISA- The government have belatedly published draft legislation on how the Lifetime ISA will work. This means that savers can look forward to next April for the planned launch of the Lifetime ISA. So from April anyone age over 18 and under 40 will be able to pay up to £4,000 a year into […]

Investment Trust – Value and Patience!

Investment Trust – Value and Patience! – We are very pleased that a number of our selections have made positive returns over the last month with jumps of 12.75% and 10.39%. If you invest in unit trusts, then normally the trend is your friend but investment trusts are different, with investment trusts, it is best to […]

It’s Difficult to Get a Return in These Markets!

It’s Difficult to Get a Return in These Markets! – That’s the opinion of many investors. Although I am not sure why, unless you are investing in the same old, same old way you have been over the years. Well yes, then you may have a problem. We get approached by a number of investors, […]

Forward Financial Planning – What does it Mean?

Forward Financial Planning – What does it Mean? In the first instance it means finding the time to take stock of all of your current assets and income streams and then projecting these forward, to enable you to understand your future income shortfall. Secondly whilst you still have time and the money to be able […]

Financial Planning for Business Owners

I was prompted to write this blog by an e-mail from an Insolvency Company who informed me that “Many businesses of all sizes are slipping towards insolvency, here is a list of things to look out for that could potentially show the signs of insolvency. Over trading (lack of capital to pursue growth strategy, declining […]

Innovative Finance ISA’s

Innovative Finance ISAs are a new style of ISA. It is similar to a Stocks and Share ISA except that you can include Peer to Peer loans within it. The first problem is that the FCA has yet to formally approve any of the Peer to Peer firms, so currently you can do nothing. Despite […]

Investment Trust Realisations

Investment Trust Realisations – To realise or sell assets is a normal process for many invest funds, with investment trusts however this can present opportunities to investors to make above average gains on investing in an investment trust, that is going through a “realisation” process. I am sure that I have told you have many times, […]

Take a Loan from your ISA !

Take a Loan from your ISA ! – In the March 2015 Budget, the government announced that investors would be able to withdraw money from cash and stocks and shares ISA, and replace that within the same tax year – without reducing that years ISA allowance. So if you are thinking of taking advantage of this […]

I Don’t Want to Retire !

I Don’t Want to Retire ! – This is often stated by people with retirement on the horizon, after being active for many years and concerned about what to do when they retire. However it is also often yet another excuse for not creating sufficient wealth for you and your family so that when you are […]

Emerging Markets Rock

We normally take investment recommendations from the large investments houses with an equally large pinch of salt. We make an exception for BlackRock. They have recently advised that their view on Emerging Market equities is a positive one and that investors should to increase their investments in this sector. Their view is, that Emerging markets […]

Will Brexit be final straw for UK commercial property?

Will Brexit be final straw for UK commercial property ? Just a few blogs ago we mentioned a crisis in UK property funds in a recent blog as the £2.9bn Standard Life UK Real Estate Fund has suspended redemption’s for “at least 28 days”. In other words, if you have money in the fund, you can’t get […]

Helping Children Buy Property

If you have been considering assisting your children to get a step on the property ladder, then this is as good a time as any. There are a number of reasons for this, firstly given the current economic uncertainty, it is believed that there is potential for property prices to fall over the next two […]


TIME – We rarely stop to think about time (we don’t have time to), but time is a gift, that can’t be replaced. Time can be filled with love, hate, joy, laughter, pain, sorrow, anger, kindness …… Many talk about equality but the only true equality is time, as every day time is equally allotted to […]

UK Property Funds in Distress

UK Property Funds in Distress – Standard Life Investments has suspended trading in its UK property fund blaming “exceptional market circumstances” following the EU referendum result. The fund manager said the number of investors asking to withdraw their money had increased following the vote. “The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors […]

Don’t Worry – Be Happy !

Don’t Worry – Be Happy ! Worrying is a negative emotion and can range from simply feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.” Worrying can affect the body in ways that may surprise you. […]

Investment – It’s the Market Stupid!

The UK equity market has been hit and global investment markets aren’t looking as good either. It’s times like this that investors question whether they should sell off their investments, until times get better. So the “investment behaviour cycle” starts again, we often make investment decisions based upon how we feel rather than what we […]


Brexit – The UK’s momentous decision to leave the EU will lead to a lengthy period of considerable uncertainty, the wider consequences will be far reaching. We believe there will be a domino effect throughout Europe, and that numerous European countries will be demanding a referendum also. The UK can therefore anticipate a very robust […]


The dubious “debate” between Remain and Leave has left no-one the wiser. It is simply beyond the grasp of most members of the public to comprehend who is telling the truth – and increasingly evident that the politicians making these dubious statements – don’t have a clue either. There is considerable drama about the outcome […]

Future Holiday Planning?

We are persuaded not to use the term “Financial Planning”, so I am wondering what we could use to describe this term instead, as most people spend more time planning their holidays than on their financial planning, perhaps “Future Holiday Planning” could be used instead. Because when you choose to cease work, or are forced […]

Child Trust Funds

Child Trust Funds were introduced in 2002 by the government ostensibly as a way to encourage long term saving for children. Parents or guardians of children born between September 2002 and January 2011 were provided with a voucher worth £250 (or more if they were in receipt of child tax credits). As many as 900,000 […]


Many clients have asked how I am going to vote in the Referendum, as you may appreciate there are passionate differences between the Leave and Remain camps, so probably best not to state my own views on this. David Cameron agreed to a referendum, and also agreed to re-negotiate our terms of Membership in the […]

Enterprise Investment Schemes

Enterprise Investment Schemes – Latest UnaVida House View on Alternative Investments. Enterprise Investment Scheme Investing has proved quite popular, with a 30% tax reduction against income tax – and many EIS schemes backed by assets, what’s not to like! New Legislation A series of changes to the qualification rules for EIS means that the EIS companies […]

Investment – Global Stocks Look Vulnerable

Global Stocks Look Vulnerable – Black Rock Investment House have recently published their view on Word Markets, they state that “Equities no longer look cheap. The MSCI World Index is up 14% from its mid-February low, as stocks have shaken off fears of a global re-cession, an oil-price collapse and a Chinese currency devaluation. Black Rock state […]

Asset Allocation is King

  In a recent blog we stressed that Asset Allocation was capable of being responsible of providing up to 80% of the total return from a portfolio and as a comparison we stated that Asset Allocation was the Elephant of investment returns and Investment Charges the mouse. So if you are looking for Elephant type […]

Investment Fees & Charges

Investment Fees & Charges – This week I would like to focus on what it seems most clients are concerned about, that is investment charges. On the Money Facts web site is a section entitled “ How Fees Stop Your Money Growing”, it later describes how John & Jo invest £10,000 each, and how John only […]

Inheritance Tax Advice – Take It Early

According to estate agent Savills, the average price of a property within half an hour’s train ride from London now stands at £458,000. If you add in other family assets, then this often means a large IHT bill would have to be paid. When an estate goes into administration, HMRC require that the IHT bill […]

Investing – with Cookies?

Investing – with Cookies? Have you ever used cookie cutters (a gadget for makings cookies). Cookie cutters are extremely effective when you’re making cookies. They let you produce lots of identical looking cookies, very fast. I wonder if your IFA using the same “cookie cutter” approach when it comes to investing, using the same investment […]

Sunday Times Top IFA

We are very pleased that UnaVida Life Planning has been mentioned in despatches. “On Sunday 10th April the Sunday Times published their first supplement listing the Top 250 IFAs in the UK based on reviews on the independent consumer ratings website We are extremely pleased to confirm that I was included in the feature […]

Investing for Children – Child Trust Funds

Investing for Children – Child Trust Funds were introduced for children born between September 2002 and 2 January 2011, the introduction of Child Trust Funds preceded the introduction of Junior ISA’s. Child Trust Funds still exist but since April 2015 you have been able to transfer your child’s CTF to a JISA if you wish […]

The Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime ISA – The chancellor announced in his recent budget that adults that are currently age under 40 will be able to save up to £4000 per annum in a new Lifetime ISA from 6th April 2017. Even better news the government will add a 25% bonus to that amount. The monies saved must be […]

Investment Research and Fund Selection

There is a lot of “noise” in the financial world, over the years we have witnessed a number of companies promoting their services to financial advisers. Their promotions are often supported by glossy brochures, or highly persuasive advertising. Advisers want the best for their clients and often get taken in by promises of a better […]

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (Investments)

The FSCS provides protection or insurance cover on investments, (typically this will be collective investments). Unlike the protection for deposits which provides cover for £75,000, investment protection is limited to £50,000. You should be aware however that in practice this form of protection is only really required in the event of fraud, dishonesty or negligence. […]

Death taxes

The government is proposing an increase in probate fees on larger estates. The fee proposals will realise much higher revenue than is currently being generated. If the value of an estate is more than £5000, then you need to obtain an official grant of probate before you can distribute the estate. Currently this now costs either £155, […]

Senior Loan Funds for your investment portfolio?

Senior Loan Funds – These are not loans made to OAP’s but large, ultra-short duration loans made to non-investment grade businesses primarily in the U.S. and Europe. Senior loans are classified as non-investment grade assets, so they typically pay a higher rate of interest than other short-term debt instruments. This rate of interest is based […]

Investment Supermarkets and fund tips

Investment Supermarkets and fund tips – Fund Supermarkets are quite popular; they tend not to provide advice but often offer lists of the most “popular investment funds” or “best-buy lists”. I met someone recently who was buying shares in single companies on the basis of coloured scale which was green if more people were buying a […]

Stock Market Worries ?

Stock Market Worries ? The last seven to ten months have been a difficult and testing time for investors, probably more so if you have been reading my doom laden warnings in my blog over this time period. A reduction in demand from the Chinese economy has led to a sharp decline in world markets. […]

Can I sell my annuity ?

It has always been possible to sell second hand annuities but impractical as once sold, the proceeds would be taxed at between 55% and 70%. These high tax penalties are being removed with effect from April 2017 and that means that you can convert your annuity for a cash sum to spend as you like. […]

Presumption of death – Lord Lucan is Dead

Presumption of death – Lord Lucan is now officially Dead . There have been numerous “sightings” over the years of Lord Lucan, who disappeared following the murder of the families nanny, whom it was believed was mistaken for Lord Lucan’s wife. The scandal surrounding Lord Lucan’s disappearance has dissipated in recent years. However Lord Lucan’s […]

Stock Markets and Investments in the year ahead

Stock Markets and Investments in the year ahead – Please forgive me if my blogs’ have become increasingly investment biased, many clients are worried about their investment and pension portfolios and I have had many requests to provide further blogs’ on this topic. What is our view on investment markets? Well naturally we were pleased […]

Stock Market Investing

Stock market Investing – Stock markets around the world are experiencing very high levels of volatility. The FTSE100 recently dropped to more than 20% below its peak in April 2015. So, should you sell your investments in case things get worse? That really depends on who you believe, a number of IFA’s are burying their […]

What are your adviser charges?

Most of our clients are introduced to us by our professional contacts, people who know what we do and trust our judgement. When we meet new prospective clients that have not been introduced through our professional contacts, there is no automatic transfer of trust, so often the first thing on prospective client’s minds is, what […]

Tax Free Pension ?

Tax Free Pension – George Osborne’s startling changes to pensions in 2015 heralded the year of “pension freedoms” in the UK, and whilst you can take your entire pension pot now, you could be stuck on an “emergency” tax code meaning you pay up to 45% income tax on your entire pension pot. Even if you […]

Reserve Power EIS

We have heard a whisper on the grapevine that an EIS provider has been unable to deploy funds raised in to “Reserve Power” within the required deadlines and are returning funds to clients. That will allow one of our EIS chosen providers to possibly facilitate a further £1.5m – £2m of funding with an EIS which […]

Should you help your children buy a house?

Should you help your children buy a house? – That depends on your relationship with your children and your financial circumstances. If you decide to lend a helping hand, you need to be sure that you are going about it in the right way – to protect your own interests, as well as your children’s.Why […]

British Empire Trust (BTEM)

British Empire Trust (BTEM) – The main focus of this invest trust is “value investing”. What you may ask is “value investing”, essentially a value investor will buy an investment – if they perceive a greater value in the investment than the current market price indicates. That is, in their opinion they are buying the investment […]

Changes to ISA rules

Changes to ISA rules – The recent market weakness has meant that shares in P2P Global Investments (P2P), (the specialist investment trust that provides exposure to a portfolio of peer-to-peer loans) have fallen from more than £11.50 in February to around £10 and now trade at a small discount to NAV with a prospective yield of […]

Changes to Inheritance Tax

The previously announced addition to the existing inheritance tax rules, the introduction of the ‘main residence nil-rate band’ for the estates of those who die after 6 April 2017, will cause many to consider that they no longer need to plan for Inheritance Tax. The changes are now law as the Finance Act (No.2) has […]

Pension Freedom or Pension Poverty?

Pension Freedom or Pension Poverty ? – New research published points out the downsides of pension freedom and calls on the government to identify emerging risks both to consumers and taxpayers. The report, Golden Years? What freedom and choice will mean for UK pensioners, provides a stark warning and remarks upon the Australian and American pension freedom […]

Investment Trust Firecrackers

Investment Trust Firecrackers – Did you make it to one of the firework celebrations over the weekend, if not don’t despair I have two firecrackers for you:- Gresham House Gresham House IT have recently agreed to acquire 100% of Aitchesse a UK commercial forestry manager with assets under management of around £193M. This is the […]

Investing in the Stock Market – Market Turmoil

Your success as an investor will largely be dependent on either having a reasonably knowledgeable investment coach OR if you plan to go it alone then you need to understand and differentiate between short term and longer Market Volatility and Volatility. Investing a lump sum can be tricky but if you can master an understanding […]

Lights Out for EIS Investing !

Lights Out for EIS Investing ! The government have just announced in the last few hours that EIS investments that fall into the Reserve Power category will no longer be a qualifying activity for EIS after 30 November 2015. This move follows the government ceasing the use of asset rich EIS funds (generally at the […]

Pensions Allowance Changes

Prior to July 2015 – a £40,000 annual allowance applied to pension contributions each tax year, including those made by you, your employer and any benefits built up in a final salary scheme. Contributions over the allowance do and did not receive tax relief. A new additional £40,000 allowance has effectively been introduced for contributions […]

Sparks will Fly in Gresham House !

Gresham House is an Investment Trust and one of the oldest companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange. Gresham House used to feature regularly in our investment recommendations to private clients. It invested and developed out of town industrial and business parks and normally was at a massive discount to net asset value. Several years […]

Following the Horses and Investing

There are a lot of similarities between profitably following the horses and profitably following investments. Both require a great deal of research and also a good understanding of what is required to be a winner. For investment house substitute stable, for jockey substitute fund manager and for the market conditions, substitute course and going. Both […]

Bitcoin – Currency or Fad ?

Bitcoin – currency or Fad ? You may have heard of Bitcoin and dismissed this as a bit of a fad, surely you may be thinking Bitcoin is an artificial currency, particularly as Bitcoin is derived from complex computer equations by people called “miners”. Transactions are verified also by “miners” using similar complex calculations to […]

What has really changed in investment markets?

What has really changed in investment markets? It’s fairly obvious that investment markets are in turmoil, what has really brought this about AND and perhaps you should consider whether market falls reflect opportunity or a threat to you. There are a number of challenges that have been facing markets for some time and now these […]

Investment Markets Latest

The US Stock Market Charts show numerous price movements closely bunched together, this indicates a great deal of indecision even amongst professional investment advisers as to where the market is going next. The UK Stock market is in a similar position, although there is always is a summer lull with markets, in the UK this […]

Social Impact Investing – the Quiet Revolution.

There is a quiet revolution taking place called social investing. Rather than simply donating monies to charity, wealthy individuals who want to give something back to society are taking on social projects and applying their entrepreneurial skills to a variety of social projects that aimed to improve society in one way or another. This quiet […]

Investment Markets Volatility

Investment Markets Volatility – How do you deal with the volatility of investment markets, the recent market unrest has demonstrated just how interconnected global markets are and how important for you to consider a global strategy before deciding on the direction of any investments. From the turmoil in China, to the global oil and commodity sell-off […]

Investing Overseas

If you are then please take into account the additional Risk and Return your portfolio will be subject to. It is often said that “Risk is the uncertainty that an investment will earn its expected rate of return.” Typically, individual investors think of risk as the possibility that their investments could lose money. They are likely […]

Profiting from Investment Market Collapse

We advised our private clients several years ago to invest into the CF Odey Absolute Return Fund. Crispin Odey is a master of short selling, a process in which fund managers can profit from the collapse of value in stock markets around the globe. Although this is an Absolute Return Fund, it is run as […]

Investment Markets Tumble

Investment Markets Tumble and Equity markets have continued their downwards slide this morning , with investor confidence rattled by further concerns over the Chinese stock market . It seems a though the Chinese economy is entering a deflationary period (after many years of stellar growth). The Chinese government’s response in depreciating the Yuan is to […]

Taxation of Dividends

Taxation of Dividends – You may be aware of the changes to Taxation of Dividends announced by the Chancellor in his recent budget. If so have you made any changes to the structure of your investment portfolios? If not, then maybe you should! From April 2016 – the notional 10% tax credit is being on dividends […]

Tracker Funds

The argument for tracker funds as often stressed by the institutional passive investment houses Vanguard and Dimensional is that investment markets are efficient and that they do not believe that the majority of the active fund managers add value. As actively managed investment funds have higher charges then they believe that investors are paying “over […]

Life insurance and critical illness policies

How to arrange your life insurance and critical illness policies in order to best protect your family ? You can make a good start by taking out life insurance and critical illness protection when you are fit and healthy to obtain the possible price from the life insurance companies. Always arrange your life and critical […]

Boost your yield with Real Estate Investment Trusts

YES, you can boost your investment yield with Real Estate Investment Trusts. What are Real Estate Investment Trusts ? REITs are essentially companies or groups of companies that manage a portfolio of real estate to earn profits for shareholders. Their special tax status means that they pay no corporation tax on the profits of their […]

Can the wishes in your Will be overturned ?

In a recent legal ruling, the wishes in a will have been overturned and the daughter who had been cut out of the will – awarded a £164,000 inheritance. The daughter went to court after her mother Mrs Jackson left her £486,000 estate to animal charities when she died in 2004. The Court of Appeal […]

Saving for School Fees

It is always best to arrange your school fee planning well in advance, so if you are saving for school fees you may be uncertain of how many children you may need to plan for. In addition you will be uncertain of what school they are going to attend and when they are likely to […]

Top IFA in Maidenhead

Vouched For IFA – say Ray Best is the top IFA in Maidenhead Vouched For IFA – say Ray Best is the top IFA for Maidenhead, Vouched For reached this conclusion based on reviews from clients of Ray Best. Vouched For state – “When you search for an IFA on Vouched For, the results are […]

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to encourage investments in small unquoted companies carrying on a qualifying trade in the United Kingdom. Investments in companies that are not listed on a stock exchange carry a high risk. The tax relief is intended to offer some compensation for that risk. EIS offers both income tax and capital gains tax reliefs […]

Outflow of monies from Pensions

Outflow of monies from Pensions – Savers have withdrawn £1.8 billion from their pensions in two months. This is a massive outflow of monies from pensions and is being withdrawn at an alarming rate of £30 Million per day. The government is suggesting that this indicates the popularity of the new pension’s reform and that savers […]

Exchange Traded Funds – (ETF’s)

Exchange Traded Funds – (ETF’s) – How do ETFs work? ETFs are index funds, but have the trading characteristics of a share as they are traded on exchanges. When it comes to buying and selling ETFs, they work similar to shares. ETFs trade on your local stock exchange in the same way as shares of any […]

State Pensions – Part 2

Our previous blog on state pensions discussed how you can increase the returns from your state pension by deferring payment. This post concerns those age groups that may want to consider making a top up payment to their state pension. If you are eligible for a state pension but will miss out on the new […]

Equitable Life

Former Equitable Life with profit policyholders will receive a further payment from the compensation system early next year. The budget announcement confirms that those in receipt of either a guarantee or savings credit will be eligible. The total pay-out is estimated to be £45M and applies to with profit policies bought between September 1st 1992 […]

High Rate Tax Payers and Pensions

If you recall our previous blog which stated that if you are a high rate tax payer you should consider making the maximum pension contribution prior to the budget on the 8th July. In the budget the chancellor however merely restricted annual allowances for Additional Rate Tax Payers, this will be done on a tiered […]

Bank deposit protection to be reduced to £75,000.

Bank deposit protection to be reduced to £75,000. As if deposit holders needed another excuse to seek other homes for the derisory returns that are provided on deposits. The meddling European Union will reduce the overall protection for deposit holders and, via the FSCS, will reduce the amount it guarantees for bank deposits from the […]

Investment Trusts – Complex Instruments?

Investment trusts are to be classified as “complex instruments” – from January 2017 investors who want to buy an investment trust will have to complete a questionnaire, the same type of questionnaire that people complete if they wish to get involved with unregulated funds, hedge funds and warrants. This requirement arises from the European Markets […]

Bad Investment Funds – Investment Dogs!

The presence of bad investment funds, or investments with persistent poor performance, has led to poor investment funds being termed “investment dogs”. Last week was Dog Awareness Week, so we thought that it would be fun to unmask some of the worst funds that may be lurking in your investment portfolio. No matter how thorough the […]

Elderly Relatives, Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney

If you have an elderly relative, you should consider setting up what legal protections you can for them to prevent local authorities from attempting to grab their assets. Ensure that they have wills that are up to date, protective trusts established and – of utmost importance – lasting powers of attorney. It is not only […]

New ISA Rules

There are new rules for ISA investments that take place with effect from 1st July. The investment funds that can be held in ISAs , Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds are to be widened to include shares in peer to peer lending companies and also a wider range of investment trust choices, plus retail […]

Avoid inheritance tax by giving my assets away…

“Ray, I understand that the only way to avoid Inheritance tax is to give monies to my children!” Well it is certainly true that many people want to reduce the amount of assets in their names so as to not only avoid inheritance tax, but also avoid paying for nursing home and care home costs. […]

Offshore Bonds and Trust Planning

If you have accumulated worthwhile amounts of capital then you may be considering tax-efficient options for investing large amounts of capital. Offshore Bonds and Trust Planning are often combined if you intend to give away your assets at some point. Offshore bonds are investment wrappers set up by life insurance companies in an offshore jurisdiction […]

Investment Trusts can be profitable and fun!

Investment trusts have been ignored for too long. They have many features that unit trusts do not possess and this makes investing in an investment trust far more exciting and potentially more profitable than unit trusts. If you invest in “normal” collective investments such as life insurance funds, unit trusts or OEICs – then, if […]

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Important For All

Thinking and talking about what would happen if our faculties deserted us is uncomfortable. That is why it is important to consider Lasting Powers of Attorney. Imagine how much worse the situation would be for your family if you had a stroke, serious accident or dementia without making appropriate arrangements. A catastrophe can happen at […]

High Rate Tax Payers Pensions

High Rate Tax Payers Pensions have long been mooted as a target for the chancellor. The Tory party plan to significantly change the huge benefits that high rate tax payers enjoy – currently high rate tax payers can get 80% relief on passing monies to their pensions. 40% relief from making contributions and 40% off […]

Investment Funds Tip: Follow the Manager

If you are an investor it can pay to, before investing, check whether the investment manager is still in place. In the news recently was the departure of the manager of the excellent Newton Asian Income. It clearly is a serious blow for Newton to lose someone of Jason Pidock’s talent and experience. Investors in […]

Premium Bonds

Premium Bonds – We recently received an enquiry from an accountant: Since short term deposits do not attract a great deal of interest and there is only security of capital on up to each £85,000 deposited with each bank – could we recommend anywhere to place short term cash? One area that might be considered […]

Can I transfer my ISA? If so, how?

Your ISA (NISA) can be made up of a mixture of cash and shares or investments under the NISA rules introduced in July 2014. The ISA/NISA allowance increased to £15,240 on 1 April 2015. The most recent budget provided increased flexibility for savers, so that you can now withdraw cash from your ISA and, so […]

Pension Performance

Many people suffer from poor pension performance, do they not realise than an additional 1% of performance growth or additional income per annum could increase their pension by a significant amount. hasn’t anyone explained how pensions work ….. I made the point that if George Osborne really wanted to introduce pension freedom then perhaps he […]

Pensions Freedom?

Pensions freedom is here if you believe what the media says. From April 2015, there is considerably more pensions freedom as new tax rules simplified the way people access their pensions. People will be able to draw sums from their pension and will be taxed at marginal income tax rates rather than the current rate […]

Your State Pension

If you are nearing retirement, you probably can’t wait to get your hands on your state pension, after all you have waited a long time to get some money back from the government , so why not? One reason that you may wish to reconsider is that until April 2016, pensioners who delay taking their […]

Life planning – It’s easier to do nothing…

Why bother with any financial or life planning, it is easier to do nothing …… You don’t stand out and so that feels safer. It’s more comfortable because that is what most people do – nothing. The quick fix, the One Minute Manager , the 15 Minute Retirement plan – the easy solution …. Where […]

Retirement Marathon

If you were planning to run in the Abingdon Marathon in October this year, then just to let you know that the entries are now closed. Running and training for a Marathon is a bit like preparing financially for retirement, starting your preparation early is advisable. Yet one in seven of those planning to retire […]

Recent Election

This recent election has wound a number of people up and we received a number of panic calls from clients prior to the election. Should they sell up? After all, if Labour got in then the pound would go down. We told them not to panic and that contrary to the polls and the coverage […]