News & Resources

Auto-enrolment ahead for smaller firms

The pension auto-enrolment scheme, under which employers must put virtually all their employees into a pension scheme and help pay for it was launched last October with a TV campaign featuring well-known entrepreneurs and business gurus. The rollout started with mega employers and month-by-month embraces smaller companies, down to those with 4,000-plus employees in June 2013.

Cross-Channel fog lifts for investors

Some European economies bounced back rapidly after World War II. Manufacturing capacity that had switched to aircraft and armaments reverted to goods such as cars and kitchen appliances. Technologies that advanced during the war, including jet engines and computer science, also found valuable peacetime applications that revolutionised global travel and communications. Germany, France and Italy developed huge car industries, later shifting some production to lower-cost countries such as Spain. The Mediterranean countries also gained tourism revenue as package holidays and cheap flights lured sun-seekers from the UK and Scandinavia.

Care Fees Cap Will Benefit Some

On 11 february 2013, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt floated proposals that would address some of the key issues surrounding care costs in old age. The two key changes confirmed pre-Budget, due for implementation in 2016, were an increase in the level of assets someone might hold whilst qualifying for a means-tested state contribution towards care fees. This has latterly stood at £23,250 in much of the UK and the new limit will be set at £118,000. The second change is the introduction of a £72,000 cap on the amount anyone can be required to pay for care during their lifetime. Such a cap, albeit at a lower figure, was recommended in the official Dilnot report as a perceived means of enabling insurers to offer meaningful care fees cover at reasonable cost.

How ISAs Help Build Wealth

It was reported last year in the daily and financial press, that dozens of investors had ISAs worth at least £1 million. The ‘ISA millionaires’ had mainly invested the maximum amount each year from 1987 in a Personal Equity Plan (PEP), the stocks & shares ISA’s predecessor, and continued investing when ISAs took over in 1999. Often with income reinvested, their contributions of around £200,000 had multiplied fivefold in a quarter of a century or so. This shows what can be achieved – not guaranteed – through steady investment in a tax-sheltered environment with the right investment strategy and timing.

Flexible pensions still a draw

With auto-enrolment under way and a flat rate State Pension looming, the retirement planning scene is looking more prescriptive; but it is right that individuals should still have access to all relevant pension arrangements and a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) remains an interesting option for some.

Taking the sting out of 60% tax

The Government brought in a Personal Allowance Income Limit of £100,000 in 2010. This means now that when annual income exceeds that amount, the personal allowance begins to shrink by £1 for each additional £2 earned. Thus far, the Personal Allowance Income Limit has not been adjusted in line with inflation, so for 2012-13 it is still £100,000.

The care funding challenge

Media coverage of mistreatment of care home residents and Care Quality Commission revelations that shortcomings are not a total rarity have made uncomfortable reading. There are, of course, many employed in the sector doing a great job, handling tasks that can be unpleasant and often for modest pay. Care quality is not all about money, but it would be strange if care provision were not subject to one of life's harsh realities – 'you get what you pay for'.

Taxman waits at Pearly Gates

A little internet research suggests that death duties first came to the UK in 1796, some years after US founding father Benjamin Franklin first talked about death and taxes being the only two certainties we all face. Those death duties brought an even stronger link between the two dreads in Franklin's words; and what we now call Inheritance Tax (IHT) still combines a loved-one's departure with a potentially large tax bill payable from the deceased's estate before probate can be granted and distributions made to beneficiaries.

Change and opportunity in 2013

They say that RDR is "…establishing a resilient, effective and attractive retail investment market that consumers can have confidence in and trust at a time when they need more help and advice than ever with their retirement and investment planning." - we discuss in more detail.

FT Adviser – H&C in the Pinks

So proud - we are in the Pinks!

Directly Authorized – H&C & FCA

There have been big changes brewing at good ship H&C….

Direct Authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
We are very pleased to announce that we gained Direct Authorisation status from the FCA on 3rd September 2012. This confers a large amount of responsibility on our firm but also gives us complete control over the direction and future of our business and importantly the levels of service we can provide for our clients.

This consequently means that we are no … Read the rest

Junior ISAs a boost when needed

Given current life expectancy, if everybody just handed down their family wealth to the next generation at death, hardly anyone would receive a financial boost until they were well into middle age.

When income tax hits 60% you can mitigate the impact

Back in 2010, the Government introduced a Personal Allowance Income Limit, which was set at £100,000. Once someone's annual income passed that figure, their personal allowance would start to reduce by £1 for every extra £2 of earnings. The Personal Allowance Income Limit has not so far been increased to reflect inflation, so remains at £100,000 for 2012-13.

Insurance cost pressures mount – expensive to delay

Not so long back, UK Governments were so keen for people to make cautious long-term investment, cover their lives and other risks through insurance policies, that life assurance premiums qualified for income tax relief. That ended for new policies in 1984, perhaps a turning point to mark the start of a trend towards insurance being regarded less benevolently by Government.

Emotions and fads thwart investors

It as important for investors not to allow their emotions to dictate investment decisions, because emotions can often be giving the wrong signal. Markets and economies move in cycles and naturally attract a fair amount of human emotion as they evolve.

Protection – Back to Basics

Money that has been diligently saved over a number of years is very quickly spent if your earned income stops. Until an individual has a significant body of capital to fall back on or even generate sufficient income from, pooling risk using insurance is a cost effective way to avoid short term financial problems.

Holistic Financial Planning

Holistic financial planning looks at the income and capital you have now, and how best to use this to ensure that your lifetime financial objectives become a reality.