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PostHeaderIcon Budget 2015 - Our reaction

George Osborne delivered his 6th Budget on 18th March 2015. We have summarised the key announcements from a personal financial planning perspective:

  • Pensions - Lifetime Allowance to drop to £1m.
  • Pensions – Second hand annuity market to be developed?
  • ISAs – allowance keeps increasing!
  • Inheritance Tax – deeds of variation to be reviewed.
  • Income tax – allowances changed as expected.

It should also be noted that with a General Election coming in May it seems likely that a further budget will be announced later in the year.

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PostHeaderIcon Inheriting pensions becomes a reality

bill s

Bill Skinner is a Chartered Financial Planner at Evolve, based in Manchester. Bill has a number of clients for whom inter-generational financial planning is a key part of their approach to money. In this blog, Bill looks at the pension changes in April 2015 and how they might allow pension funds to pass through the generations.

Much of the recent comments on the forthcoming Pension reforms have focussed on the new freedoms available for taking benefits and the avoidance of having to purchase an annuity. This of course is a natural headline grabber. We have also seen debate over whether pension plan holders will be sensible enough to avoid the temptation to’ spend, spend, spend’ and the obvious ramifications for the State if they run out of money too soon.

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PostHeaderIcon 55% Tax Charge on Pensions Abolished

We wrote about Pension Freedoms earlier in the year and, to summarise, from April 2015 anyone over 55 can take out as much or as little as they want. The latest political language is “treat your pension like a bank account”. If you’ve got enough money in your pension and fancy a Lamborghini, the rules won’t stop you.

The catch, of course, is that you’ll pay lots of Income Tax and, more importantly, might run out of money.

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PostHeaderIcon Why a valid Will is so important

Let’s be honest, writing a Will rarely reaches the top of people’s to-do list.

In fact, a recent survey found that 57% of UK adults didn’t have a Will.

The main functions of a Will are to:

  • Name your Executors – the people who will deal with your estate
  • Name your Beneficiaries – the people who will inherit your assets
  • In some cases to try to minimise Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Most people know where they want their money to go and who they trust to deal with the estate. The barrier to getting it done is often a fear of the legal documentation and legal costs.

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PostHeaderIcon Why markets are efficient

The price of BP is the price of BP.

Every day millions of shares are bought and millions of shares are sold.

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PostHeaderIcon Why does Evolve exist?

We started the business from a blank sheet of paper back in 2004. We had no clients and no financial backers but we had an exciting vision. We wanted to change people’s financial futures, to give them confidence about their finances, to help them make the right decisions for themselves and for their families. We believed that helping clients make the right financial decisions wasn’t just about numbers.

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PostHeaderIcon 2015 Pension Changes

In our Budget 2014 newsletter we discussed the Government’s proposed overhaul of pension rules. The Chancellor has now produced his response to the 'freedom & choice' consultation, which provides some of the detail about the changes that come into play in April 2015.

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PostHeaderIcon Why we won’t be buying Neil Woodford’s new fund

Given the amount of free publicity that Neil Woodford and his new CF Woodford Equity Income Fund have received over recent weeks, it would be easy to assume that the fund is an odds on cert to beat its peers. There hasn’t been this much hype about a new fund launch since Anthony Bolton of Fidelity Special Situations fame launching his China fund.

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PostHeaderIcon The role of fixed interest - why hold a bond fund in the current environment?

Interest rates around the world are at historic lows. They can only go in one direction from here, right? And aren’t rising interest rates bad for bond investors?

Firstly, we should remind ourselves why we hold fixed interest in portfolios. It’s all about diversification and volatility management. Most of our clients, for all sorts of different reasons, aren’t comfortable having 100% of their money in risky investments and this is understandable.

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PostHeaderIcon Are you missing out on valuable tax relief?

Research from Prudential has suggested that approximately £229m a year is being unnecessarily kept by the tax man because more than 182,500 people have not claimed the correct tax relief on pension contributions.

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PostHeaderIcon Market timing – does it work?

One of the consequences of the Retail Distribution Review, which requires advisers to hold better qualifications and charge fees for advice rather than receiving commissions, is that many High Street banks have now closed their doors to personalized investment advice.

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PostHeaderIcon Financial Planning - It's a marathon not a sprint

This Sunday I will be joining 37,499 other people and competing in the London Marathon. To those standing on the roadsides, or watching at home on TV, the event might involve just a few hours out of their lives. For those people competing, the journey to that finish line began many months ago.

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PostHeaderIcon 10 Questions to ask a financial adviser

All advisers operate in a different way but ultimately their job should be to provide you with Peace of Mind that your finances are “on track” and that you are making the most of the financial position that you find yourself in.

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PostHeaderIcon Five popular investment excuses

People who make bad money and investment decisions can often rationalise them. We’ve put together some thoughts on some of the most common excuses but there are plenty more. These arguments are often elaborate short-term excuses that we use to justify behaviour that runs counter to our own long-term interests.

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PostHeaderIcon ETFs versus Mutual Funds – where do we stand?

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) have been around since 1990 but it’s in the last 5 years or so that they seem to have become more of a mainstream investment solution, as increasing numbers of investors have become disillusioned with high cost actively managed funds and have moved towards a passive strategy.

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PostHeaderIcon The top 5 regrets of the dying

Earlier this year, Australian nurse Bronnie Ware published “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying - A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing”. A number of newspapers ran articles about her findings and judging by the number of social media interactions (over 400 comments, 115,000 Facebook “likes” and 11,000 retweets on just the Guardian’s article), it seems that this emotive subject got the reaction it wanted.

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PostHeaderIcon What is the value of advice?

A question we often ask ourselves as advisers is, how can we communicate the value we add for our clients? Although this article is written from a Financial Planner’s perspective, the same theory holds true for people who are more comfortable taking the DIY approach to their finances. How can they feel comfortable that they are making the right decisions?

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PostHeaderIcon Flexible Drawdown a year on - was all the fuss worthwhile?

Historically, one of the misgivings people had about pension funds was that you had to buy an annuity at retirement and then if you died early, the insurance company pocketed your hard-earned pension fund.

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PostHeaderIcon Should investors be fearful of equities?

One of the key aspects of our investment philosophy is that we are not market timers, in other words we do not try to predict stockmarket movements to guess the best time to invest or disinvest.  In fact, we positively discourage this approach in the firm belief that beating the market with any regularity is almost impossible.

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PostHeaderIcon Junior ISAs – red hot or red herring

Our clients often ask us for advice about putting money away for their children and grandchildren and the introduction of Junior ISAs in November 2011 has made this something of a hot topic with financial journalists. In this article we will start with a reminder of the Child Trust Fund and Junior ISA rules and then provide our view on how best to use these.

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